How did you get involved in the sport?
Kennedy: I got involved in this sport through Without Limits. I would always run 5K races for fun with my parents - who are both runners as well. I joined Without Limits once I found out that I was a good runner. It was through them that my running foundation really grew. They taught me so many things - that I am still grateful for today. I am also grateful for Coach (Todd) Prochaska, he always helps me through my season and he helps me with my mentality. He is a great coach!
Madison: My eighth grade year I wanted to play volleyball at my middle school. Kennedy had already decided she wanted to do cross country. I started conditioning with the team to get in shape for volleyball but I noticed that I actually liked running more, which was probably one of the best choices I had ever made.
"Kennedy's work ethic and dedication to this sport have been unwavering for four years now. She challenges herself in every workout and race. The only difficult thing about coaching Kennedy is getting her to slow down sometimes. The competition that has developed between her and her sister has served to make both of them better. It is fun to watch. It is a wonderful thing that Kennedy will be with this team for two more years." - Coach Todd Prochaska
How have you looked at the season so far?
Kennedy: So far, I am looking at the season from a positive perspective. Thinking positively is really important when it comes to running. I know that I am capable of so much, so I am excited to see how far I can go- especially with my sister there to push me! I am so lucky to be on such an amazing team. They are a great group of girls - and we have such a strong bond. I look forward to running with them every day.
Madison: I was really looking forward to this season because I had really improved my track times and had gotten huge PR's while in quarantine. Although, in the beginning of the season I was a little discouraged because it wasn't clear if we would actually have a season or not. It was definitely different and interesting with all of the new requirements and procedures, but as we kept conditioning and training as a team I was more encouraged and ready for the season.
After George Moss Classic at J.L. Mann, what else do you want to achieve?
Kennedy: I really want to win state and break 18. I know that I am capable of both things, so it is really just about mindset. Having my sister push me this year will play a major role in how far I will go. I also want to win state as a team. I look forward to motivating my teammates to believe in themselves. Teamwork is what makes great things happen- so I am grateful to have that!
Madison: My goals for this season are to break 18 and to win state individually. I also want our team to win state again.
Do you have a specific motivation for this season?
Kennedy: My motivation for this season is to show myself what I am capable of. I feel like a lot of times I look at myself as an average runner, but I know that I can do so much more. I want to run and work hard this season because I know that I deserve to succeed and do what I am capable of.
Madison: Yes, I would say that COVID-19 has taught me to treat every race like it could be my last. This motivates me to push hard and run to the best of my abilities in every race.
How are you looking at the rest of the season?
Kennedy: I am looking at the rest of the season with grit and determination. I know that I am ready and that when the race starts, the outcome is in my hands. The race isn't over until it is over.
Madison: Our team and I have been looking really strong and have been doing really well in races. This year has brought lots of fast races and I'm excited to see how far I can push myself and what times I can get. I'm also excited to see what our team is capable of and how good we can get.
What's training going to be like leading up to state?
Kennedy: Leading up to state, training is going to stay the same. Tempo/long runs on Mondays, and hard workouts on Wednesdays. The rest of the days are training pace. We will then begin tapering about two weeks before state. This helps us run the best we can on the day of state.
Madison: I'm sure we will reduce our mileage and focus on speed and maintaining our fitness like Coach Prochaska has had us do in previous years.
"Madison is a serious competitor who is having a breakout season. She is running this season with much more confidence and competitiveness. In addition, she has developed into a team leader on and off the course. Madison and her sister along with other teammates push each other to great results every week. I look forward to watching Madison in the remaining few races this season and beyond. J.L. Mann is extremely blessed to have Madison on our team." - Coach Todd Prochaska
What has your mileage and workouts been like this season?
Kennedy: Our mileage and workouts for the season have stayed the same. Every week, we run about 25-35 miles. For our hard workouts, coach makes sure that he gives us a variety of workouts. Each one helps us prepare for state. We have run 200's, 400's, 500's, ladder workouts, mile repeats, and 1000's.
Madison: Our mileage during the summer was about 30 miles a week but when we started training for races it dropped to about 25 miles per week. It has stayed at that amount for the whole year with us doing long runs on Mondays, hard workouts on Wednesdays, and training pace/easy for the rest of the days.
What challenges do you encounter in the sport? Please explain.
Kennedy: The challenges that I encounter in this sport are all mental. I know that after every race, physically, I could have gone a lot faster. The only thing that blocks me is my mentality. I am grateful for this challenge because it helps me get stronger- that way I know how to handle it in the future. My mentality has been getting stronger, but I am still working to improve it. The mental part of running is just as important as the physical part.
Madison: Running has definitely brought a lot of mental challenges. Sometimes thoughts, such as "I'm not good enough" or "I'm not fast enough", get into your head. These thoughts can be hard to deal with sometimes but I always try my best to believe in my training and believe in myself. This oftentimes helps and pushes those negative thoughts out of my head.
How is it to have a sister on the team?
Kennedy: At first, having a sister on the team was difficult. It was odd because since we live in the same house, we are always together. It made it hard to strategize. As the season went on, I realized that it is better to have someone to push me - instead of trying to run by myself. I knew that it would be easier if we worked together. She is the reason that I have come so far in the season, and we will continue to push each other until the end!
Madison: I think it is amazing to have Kennedy on the team because she can always push me and she's always there as a training partner and as a friend. Although we fight and don't agree on everything, it is truly nice to always have a running buddy with you all the time.
Any postseason plans?
Kennedy: My postseason plans are just to run road races. I loved running the local races when I was little, so it will be nice to take a break while still getting to have fun racing.
Madison: I was planning on possibly running Footlocker but since that is canceled I might run Dash for Doobie.
How do you prepare for a race on race day?
Kennedy: The way I prepare for races is by trying to keep myself calm. I get really nervous before races, but I know that nothing that happens before the race can determine the outcome. This helps me stay calm and focused.
Madison: When it is race day I always try to think of nothing but the race. I go over my strategy and plan in my head, remind myself of all of my training, and tell myself what I am capable of. The most important part for me about having a good race is to make sure that I have fun on race day. I always try to laugh with the team and have fun before the race. Often times this calms my nerves and gets me excited and ready for the race.
Any goals for outdoor?
Kennedy: My goals for outdoor are to get sub-11 in the 3200-meter run, and to win state for that event as well. It would be amazing for our 4x800 meter relay team to win state too! I also really just want to help the other girls that are new to outdoor, and motivate them to run their best.
Madison: I definitely want to try to get sub 5 in the 1600-meter run and also try sub 11 in the 3200-meter run.
What hobbies do you have outside of running?
Kennedy: The hobbies that I have outside of running include sculpting clay, art, being outside, and being around animals.
Madison: I really like to spend time outside and spend time with my friends and family. We usually go hiking or take our dog for walks.
What do you hope to achieve after high school running?
Kennedy: The things I hope to achieve after high school running include going to college for business, or something in the medical field.
Madison: I really want to run in college and get some good times. I also want to go to college for engineering or marketing.
Am I missing anything?
Kennedy: I want to thank Coach Prochaska for being an amazing coach. I also want to thank Matt and Vica Hammersmith for being such great mentors to me while I was running Without Limits. My family, teammates, and friends have pushed me to do great things, so I would also like to thank them! John Olson, thank you for everything you have done for the running community!
Madison: Just want to give a special thanks to my family, team, and coaches. I would not be here today without them. They are all so supportive, encouraging, and amazing.