Today I had the pleasure to talk with Joshua Janusiak. Josh, a sophomore, has continued his dominant cross country season with a first place finish in the Midwest Conference Championships. Josh flew through the 8,000-meter course in 25:42, beating the next closest runner by 27 seconds. Josh’s time was eighth-fastest in Lawrence history. Lawrence as a team placed fourth in conference. Josh will be running at regionals Nov. 12.
Shane Farrell: What was the biggest challenge you had to overcome this season?
Josh Janusiak: My biggest challenge this season was actually that I was doubting myself more than usual before the conference meet this year. I was putting more pressure on myself to perform at this meet since it was my most important goal for this season to win conference and it was more of a realistic goal this year.
SF: When you crossed the finish line did you know you were 27 seconds in front of the next closest runner?
JJ: I was really surprised when I crossed the finish line and turned around and didn’t see anyone because I was racing the last two miles like the next group was right behind me. I made sure to give it my all for the last little bit because I didn’t want to regret having anything left by the end. I owe it to my family for telling me to never look back during a race! I was even more surprised after the race to find out I won by exactly 33 seconds.
SF: What was going through you mind as you crossed the finished line?
JJ: I felt extremely connected to my team during this race specifically so as I crossed the finish line, I was hoping that my teammates would have successful races, but I also felt a sense of relief that my original self-doubts about winning conference coming into this race had no effect on me—deep down I was confident that I was at a good spot physically and mentally and that I could win. I think the strongest image in my mind as I finished was of all of the people that were supporting me in this experience, including my teammates, coach, family, friends, and teachers.
SF: Do you consider yourself to be a leader of the cross country team?
JJ: Everyone on our team is a leader in different respects, and I am glad that I can be a role model for some of my teammates with my enthusiasm and excitement about running and consistent work ethic. I always hope that my presence on the team makes the environment more light-hearted but still focused on our long term goals.
SF: Do you have any goals already set for next year?
JJ: I am excited for the track season, especially outdoor track since I can run the 10K, which is even longer than our cross country races. Now that I know it’s reasonable to set my sights on winning in our conference, I want to aim for titles in the 5K and 10K especially. Next fall of course I’d also like to win conference for cross country again, and I also want to try to make it to Nationals.
SF: How will you prepare for the Regional Championships?
JJ: One thing that’s nice about distance running is that you have to put in most of the work ahead of time—in the summer and the beginning of the season—so that your body can adapt to the training, and at this point it is more about resting and recovering with a little bit of speed work so we’ll feel as fresh as possible for Regionals. The most important thing now is to stay focused, excited, and motivated!