This week, I talked with freshman and distance runner Josh Janusiak. Last weekend, Janusiak traveled to the Hillsdale Gina Relays with the top runners on the track team. At the meet, Janusiak faced some of the stiffest competition in division three track. The freshman rose to the occasion, running the 10,000 meters in a blistering 32 minutes and 25.1 seconds for a second-place finish. At just over six miles, the 10,000-meter run is the longest event in collegiate track. Janusiak’s time puts him in first place in the Midwest Conference in the event.
Teddy Kortenhof: Hi Josh, congratulations! Your race last weekend was more than impressive.
Josh Janusiak: Thank you, Teddy.
TK: How did it feel traveling to Michigan with only your coach and three other teammates?
JJ: I had a great time because I got a couple extra days off of school to relax after my race, which was Thursday night. I really liked the individual attention from coach and having an excess supply of food. But I also missed my teammates, of course. It would have been fun with the whole team, but it also wouldn’t have been as realistic.
TK: Did the meet feel different without the whole team there?
JJ: It did feel like a different type of meet because there was some really good competition, and it had a different kind of atmosphere from some of the meets that we go to. A lot of the events were at a different time of day, and it was spread out over multiple days, so it was a different experience. Like having to go to bed and come back to the meet. It was pretty fun.
TK: Did you prefer the different experience to a more normal race day experience?
JJ: They both have their pros and cons, but I wouldn’t have preferred that experience had I not raced Thursday night, which was the first day [of the meet]. I like to get it over with so I can enjoy the competition.
TK: How do you feel about your race?
JJ: I was really happy with my race because I always thought I was a long distance runner, and I always liked the longer workouts. And I was optimistic about the 10K, and it went really well, even though we got off to a kind of slow start in the race. I negative split, which was exciting. I had a lot of help from [seniors Clare [Bruning] and [sophomore] Erin [Schrobilgen], because they cheered me on every lap of that intensely long race. And the music helped too. So some distraction was pretty good.
TK: Did they play music during your race?
JJ: They did! And it was great. I loved it. I’m not sure if I would have loved it in a shorter race, but in the 10K it was really nice to have music.
TK: What is your ideal race music?
JJ: Oh, some ‘80s mixed with pop, probably. Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift.
TK: I have heard that this was your first 10K. Was it what you expected?
JJ: It is my first 10K, and I almost expected it to feel worse earlier on in the race. I felt pretty good. I think the next time I race it I will feel worse earlier on because I will have to start a little faster.
TK: Do you have a routine to get ready for competition?
JJ: I think the routine changes with the meet. If it is a nice day I will go on a warmup. I will spend a lot more time outside, just enjoying the weather. If it is a colder day I will spend more time inside, listening to music or something like that.
TK: You have only one meet left before conference. What do you want to accomplish with the rest of the season?
JJ: I would like to try to win the 10K at conference. And, of course, [personal record] time-wise. And I would like to see the team do well. I like to see PR’s with all the team members because it creates a better sense of solidarity and togetherness at the end of the season if we can end on a good note.
TK: Right now, your 10K time puts you at the very top of the conference, which suggests that you might wind up having to lead the race at conference. Is that something that you think you are ready for?
JJ: In this past 10K I did have to lead for some of it. I have struggled with leading races at some points in my career, but I think if I have to lead a race, the 10K will be a good race for me to lead, because you can just focus on time splits. I have my coach there. If I mess up on one lap, I can always just make it up in the next laps.
TK: I look forward to seeing you run this weekend!