A Hayward Field favorite is all grown up, but not leaving Eugene anytime soon. Alex Kosinski was recently introduced as one of the new faces of the Oregon Track Club Elite.
The former Duck was a big contributor over the past 5 years to the university’s cross country team and distance squad on the track. Kosinski ranks 3rd fastest on Oregon’s all-time 5k list and received many All-American and All-Pac 10 awards during her collegiate days.
Alex kindly to took time to answer a few questions about her time at Oregon, how she’s dealt with injury and her recent transition from college athlete to newly minted professional distance runner.
TrackFocus (TF): A couple of weekends ago, the university honored the women’s track and field team for the 2012 Indoor NCAA Championship during halftime of the U of W-Oregon game. How was that experience?
Alex Kosinski (AK): Being honored as a member of the Oregon Track and Field team is always an awesome experience. I am so grateful to be part of such a special program that has accomplished so much. Being a track athlete in Eugene has so much fan support and getting honored at other sporting events is always fun.
TF: I know it hasn’t been a long time, but what are some of your favorite memories from your days as a Duck?
AK: I have so many great memories as a Duck. The the team atmosphere is amazing. Everyone supports one another and gets excited about what everyone is doing. My favorite memories as a Duck have to be running at Hayward field. Wearing the “O” in front of the home crowd is a really special feeling and hearing the crowd cheer as you run really does give you goosebumps.
TF: A lot of Oregon fans are curious to hear what you’ve been up to since finishing up your school and eligibility. What are your future plans (running, work, school, etc)?
AK: After completing my eligibility at Oregon I went home for the summer and focused on healing an achilles problem that had been bothering me all track season. After the achilles settled down I focused on building a solid base for a few months. Currently I am back in Eugene and training with the Oregon Track Club.
TF: It can be quite a change going from a college team atmosphere to the individualized life of a pro runner. How has the transition been going from Oregon to getting your feet wet in the professional running scene?
AK: I am just scratching the surface with life as a post collegiate runner but have found that the transition to be easier because of the team atmosphere of OTC. I have been able to make friends quickly which always helps in making practice a more enjoyable experience. As of right now I very excited to represent OTC and work hard to be the best runner that I can.
TF: Injuries and are part of running. During your career at Oregon, you dealt with more than your fair share. How did you stay positive during those tough times and keep the fire burning to come back stronger? Do you have any advice for younger runners going through the same thing?
AK: Injuries are definitely part of running and something that all runners will have to go through at one point or another. So far in my running career keeping me healthy has been somewhat of a struggle. I feel like I would benefit the most from consistent uninterrupted training. For me the best way to stay positive during an injury is to try and cross train like I would be running. It is easy to get depressed and feel sorry for yourself when you cannot run, but having a structured cross training plan makes me feel like I am not only recovering from my injury but maintaining and even enhancing fitness in other ways. I just try remember that no matter the injury I will heal and be a better a runner for going through the hardships of an injury.
TF: Your final outdoor season was full of ups and downs. You had a great opening outdoors 5k at the Pepsi Invitational. Not only did you run a new PB of 15:36.90, but you beat future NCAA 10k Champ Natosha Rodgers. But NCAAs didn’t quite go the way you had hoped and you appeared to be the last athlete left out of the Trials 5k. How do you view those experiences and what do you take away from them?
AK: The Pepsi Invite was a breakthrough race for me. It was early season so I knew I had a lot more in the tank. It was great because I was able to run that time at Hayward and get a win. That race was really special for me and it was one of those moments where you truly understand why it is that you love to run. I remember doing my victory lap and crying because I was so happy. However, after that race my achilles flared up and bugged me for the rest of the season. I was still able to train on it but not at the level that I should have been. I raced in spikes at NCAAs and that really aggravated up my achilles. Being the first women out of the trials was upsetting but probably for the best because another race in spikes would have compromised my health. Watching the race from the stands was bittersweet because I wanted to be out there so bad but it made me even more hungry to get to the starting line healthy and fit in four years.
TF: What are your goals for the rest of 2012, next year and beyond?
AK: My goals for this season make some big PRs. I want to run fast times and be able to compete with the best women in the country. I am excited of where my running is at and hope to accomplish some big things this year.