Speeding Up: An Interview with Billy Orman
It was only a few weeks ago that Billy Orman (Sr., Tuba City, AZ) was pushing to break the Arizona State record for 3,200m, unsure of whether or not he'd get it. However, at the Arizona State T&F Championships, not only did Orman break the state record in the 3,200m by winning the state title in a US#1 time of 8:48, but he also shocked the distance running community by blazing a 1,600m winning time of 4:06.75.
Orman's 1,600m performance surprised everyone, including himself, but it also inspired the Harvard-bound senior. Orman then came out at the Arizona Meet of Champions, chasing the state record in the 1,600m. With fresh legs and a spirited crowd behind him, Orman broke the state record running a US#2 time of 4:05.29.
Billy Orman (BO): I think the last two weekends were some of the greatest, if not the greatest, moments in my running career thus far. I broke the Arizona high school state records in the 1600 and the 3200. I actually feel very, very lucky and grateful that I was able to accomplish that; I managed to stay injury free and everyone was so helpful and supportive that I'm just so grateful. I am also glad that my school, my town, and the Native American Reservations that I grew up on are now represented in the record books.
DG: What type of training have you put in this track season to take your performances to that next level?
BO: I have a new coach this year who really emphasizes speed training. Last year I was doing a lot of 1000, 800, and 400 meter repeats; this year will did a lot of 300, 200 and even 100 meter repeats. I think that really gave me the speed training I needed to break the two state records.
DG: Your performances the past two weeks have been run mostly by yourself. What have you learned about yourself and pushing your limits?
BO: I've learned that I can run the 1600. That sounds funny, but it's true. My PR coming into this season was 4:19, and I've dropped that to 4:05. I guess I've also learned that I can really push myself to extreme limits. Of course, I knew that the body can take more the mind thinks it can but I didn't realize to what extent that happened - if that makes sense. Now I know I can run a hard 800 and then just try to maintain the pace.
DG: You'll be facing some of the best runners in the country in a few weeks at the adidas Grand Prix. What is your goal heading into the event?
BO: I think I have only run the mile once or twice before - we usually do the 1600 - so I would like to race as best I can and try for a PR. Also, I guess I would really just like to meet and talk to some of these guys I've always heard about but never raced - the Rosa brothers, Edward Cheserek, and others. That's half the fun of sports - meeting new people and making new friends.
DG: What are your hobbies or interests outside of running?
BO: Sometimes it gets pretty boring living in a small town in the middle of nowhere, so I do plenty of other things outside of running. I really like to juggle; I can juggle 5 objects. I like to ride my unicycle, even though I haven't quite gotten the hang of that yet. I like to read old literature; I've been reading mostly 19th century novels and I also really like old poetry. I also really enjoy watching foreign films and old movies.
DG: You'll be attending Harvard University in the fall. How excited are you to be attending Harvard? Do you know what you'll be focusing your studies on?
BO: I am very, very excited to be attending Harvard. I really liked everything I saw there. I really like the cross country team, the coaches, the classes I sat in on, all the shops and stores I saw, and just everything. I didn't get to see Boston to much (I was too busy on the Harvard campus) but I'm sure I'll really like that as well. I don't know what I'll be studying but I know it won't be math. I am not a math person, so it will probably be something like history or English.
Quick Six (six quick questions, six quick responses)
DG: Shoes you race in?
BO: Nike Zoom Victories
DG: Favorite movie?
BO: Hmm. Tough one. But I guess I'll go with "The Third Man" Directed by Carol Reed staring Joseph Cotton and Orson Welles.
DG: Best vacation you've ever been on?
BO: I went to France two years ago. I really enjoy going to art museums so it was great to see all of the museums there. And of course, it was really cool seeing all the famous monuments - Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe.
DG: Favorite band?
BO: I have to say Led Zeppelin. My mom really likes them too.
DG: Car you drive?
BO: Actually, I don't even have a license. You don't really need to drive when you live in a town with a population of 8,000 and only two stoplights. Hahaha!
DG: Most cherished possession?
BO: I'll say my most cherished possessions are all my memories. I have great memories of my teammates, all the people we've met over the years, and all the fun we had. I will remember my happy team for many years to come.