Catching Up With Abbey D'Agostino
It's been a busy past year for Dartmouth junior Abbey D'Agostino. After winning the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships 5,000m title, D'Agostino ran one of the gutsiest races at the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, where she barely missed out on making Team USA, where she finished fourth in the 5,000m final in 15:19.98, less than a quarter second away from third. Taking that near-miss motivation into the fall, despite dealing with injury, D'Agostino placed second at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. She then healed up and had a NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships to remember, where she took home two national titles, winning both the 5,000m and 3,000m events.
With the outdoor season underway, we caught up with D'Agostino, discussing her season thus far, what her plans are for the outdoor season, her rivalry with Oregon's Jordan Hasay and much more.
SB: You're off to a terrific start this track season. At this point, how are you feeling about your 2013 season and what are you most excited for heading into the outdoor campaign?
AD: Excited to have had a wide range of quality competition experiences this winter. I feel as though I've matured as an athlete, especially after experimenting with front running, racing the mile more frequently, and doubling at NCAAs. I'm hoping the positive energy will roll right into outdoor. Really looking forward to running the 5k at Mt. Sac in about a month, and also Penn Relays! It'd be awesome to do a 4x1500 or DMR there.
SB: As the outdoor season gets underway, will you primarily focus on the 5k or is there a chance you'll make the 1,500 or 10k your event?
AD: The 5k will definitely be my event, but I'll also run a few 1500s for speed training throughout the season.
SB: You really shocked the track and field world with your phenomenal Olympic Trials performance. What did you learn from that experience?
AD: The trials were hands-down the most significant learning experience I've had in my running career thus far. I learned the importance of using the 'sense of opportunity' as motivation in races. I actually made a speech about it this past summer, which included a quote from a journal entry I made the night before the preliminary race: “We have so many reasons to persist and keep fighting when the race begins to hurt. It seems selfish, and almost lazy, to succumb to short-term pain in the face of such a cool, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Under this mindset, I had never felt more relaxed and ready immediately before a race.
SB: While competing at the NCAA level this spring, do you have plans yet to continue competing into the summer after the U.S. Track and Field Championships?
AD: None of my summer plans are definite, but my goal for the US Champs is to try to qualify for the World Champs in August. If not, I might consider some racing in Europe. But for now, one thing at a time!
SB: You've progressed so much while at Dartmouth. What do you attribute your big jump in performance to over the past few years?
AD: I don't think I can attribute my performance to anything in particular, but I do consider running part of my lifestyle now, whereas it was more of an extracurricular activity in HS. As Mark (my coach) always says to us, "You only get one body!"-- I now rest and fuel with that in mind. I also think being in an environment where people love and prioritize the sport to the same degree (my teammates) has simply made it easier to succeed.
SB: Whether on the track or on the fields of cross country, you've formed a small rivalry with Jordan Hasay. You saw Jordan at Millrose and at NCAAs this indoor season and will most likely see her again outdoors. What's it mean to you to know you're always going to have her pushing you, and vice versa, when you go head-to-head?
AD: It's an opportunity! Yes, we're competitors on the track, but we're essentially helping each other achieve the same goals: to compete, and run fast! It's been awesome getting to know her better this winter, as well as a few of the other "main players," as Flotrack would call them.
SB: Now that the outdoor track season is upon us, what's a typical week of practice look like for you?
AD: Training for outdoors is pretty similar to indoor-- workouts will be about the same, some with higher volume and intensity than in indoor. Weekly mileage will be around 65-70. Our program doesn't emphasize weight training per se, but we definitely incorporate strength (planks, push-ups, etc) into our daily core routine.
SB: A lot of people have been following your accomplishments at Dartmouth, but maybe don't know much about your running prior to then. When did you get started running and what type of runner were you in high school?
AD: I didn't start running competitively until freshman year in high school. I fell in love with the team instantly, and the fact that it was both an individual and team sport, but, again, did not consider it my "number-two priority." Not being completely healthy both junior and senior year definitely began to diminish my level of motivation, and made it harder to realize my potential in high school. But by the summer before freshman year in college, I was prepared to start anew.
SB: Favorite part about running at Dartmouth?
AD: The team! I couldn't have asked for a more quirky, fun, genuine, and accepting group of women.
SB: Shoes you run in?
AD: NB 1260
SB: Favorite food?
AD: Almond butter!
SB: Car you drive?
AD: Black Toyota Camry (aka "Wizbang")
SB: College major?
AD: Psych, English minor
SB: Favorite movie?
AD: Tough one…but I'm going to go with The Little Rascals