Q&A: Cecilia Barowski
May 29, 2017
Cecilia or “Ceil” Barowski, is in the form of her life. This year, the HOKA NJNYTC freshman and 800m specialist has bettered her 800m personal best by almost a second and a half, finished 5th in the 600m at the 2017 USA Indoor Championships, and most recently picked up an 800m World A Standard (2:00.90) at the 2017 USATF Distance Classic. We caught up with Ceil to talk about her new shiny PR and the important stuff (like her favorite coffee creamer flavor).
How did the race play out at the USATF Distance Classic?
The race went pretty much according to plan - the temp was 74 and no wind, I stayed in the middle of the pack to go out in :58, and successfully avoided getting stuck on the rail.
Can you share any pre-race or mid-race thoughts you had?
Before the race, I tried to stay as calm as possible by pretending I was at practice. We’ve had some great workouts simulating race pace so I reassured myself repeatedly, “If I could do it at practice, I can surely do it today!” I took this analogy as far as likening the jittery interval while the first three heats ran to waiting for SVP to finish her strides before a workout.
During the race, I repeated a key word to myself: ENGAGE. Rather than focusing on splits and pacing, I knew if I kept contact with the talented field, I would be pulled to a fast time. It also reminded me to keep my mind focused on the race and what was happening around me. Just staying alert the whole race was a huge success. Like those signs on the highway say, “Stay Alert, Stay Alive.”
Before the 2017 season your previous personal record was from 2014, to what do you attribute your jump in performance?
My previous PR came from a race I went into with no expectations; it was nearly a 2 second PR and just sort of happened. Since then, I struggled a bit to keep it together mentally when it came time for a big race. I’d say having a “confidence breakthrough” has been a huge help. That, and increased coffee creamer consumption.
How has your transition to NJNYTC been?
I’m so glad I joined NJNY! The transition has been seamless. On the track, mileage and training intensity is certainly a few steps up from my college regimen. The biggest difference though, is having fantastic training partners! Kenyetta, Ce’Aira, and I all bring different strengths to the table, and we couldn’t compliment each other better. There are so many endurance workouts I could not have made it through without them! Off the track, living with an awesome roommate who always has fresh coffee brewed when I wake up and shares my affinity for succulents and scented candles is kind of hard to beat!
What workout gives you the most confidence leading into a race?
Our speed workouts make me feel the most race-ready (they also don’t reduce me to near-tears like endurance workouts tend to do...). Running a 600m rep at the beginning of a workout faster than goal pace for the 800 makes race day pace not seem so bad!
Favorite place to race: Princeton
Morning races or night races: Afternoon
3 race day essentials that don’t include shoes and uniform: Coffee, rope, crossword puzzle
Eat a burrito mid-race or drink a milkshake: Milkshake (both would be miserable so I just picked what I’d enjoy regardless of what happens after)
Wear your favorite running outfit for the rest of your life or never again: Favorite running outfit
One drink for the rest of your life (not water): Medium roast hot coffee with a splash of milk and a sizeable splash of french vanilla coffee creamer
Survive on one food for the rest of your life: Pizza. As discussed with several teammates, pizza is the correct answer here. If you want eggs, get a breakfast pizza. If you want a salad, pick the toppings off a veggie pizza. Etc.
Live with chocolate on your fingers perpetually or never eat chocolate again: Chocolate on my fingers. Definitely.
Be 3 feet taller or 3 feet shorter: 3 feet taller
What’s up next: The Adrian Martinez Classic on June 1st