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January 30, 2012

Brooke Wells - February Pro's Perspective

Written by Dena Evans
BW_trials_croppedBrooke Wells was 22 years old and the youngest athlete in the field when she ran 2:42 to qualify for the 2008 Olympic Marathon Trials.  Four years down the road, Wells toed the line at the 2012 trials with a 2:37 personal best in the bag from 2010, and the confidence to attack the race in hopes of a personal best.

A high school triathlete from the central coast of California, Wells ran track and cross country at UC Berkeley before graduating in 2006.   When she began with Focus-N-Fly, her personal best in the 10,000 meters was about 5:55 pace.  With her 19th place finish in 2:36, she can now run a marathon that speed!

This month, Brooke chatted with us as she reflects and recovers from her second Olympic Marathon Trials experience.

Coach: This was your second Olympic Trials.  How did this race compare with your first experience?

BW: This time I think I had more of a performance goal.  I definitely felt like I have learned how to execute a personal goal within a race that was so overwhelming; last time, I was just told how honored I should be to be there.  This time I felt like I was entering a personal race in a really competitive environment.  There was all of this spectacle, but I felt I could just stay within myself and not get overwhelmed.

When I had Teresa and Catha in my group [two local athletes with which she had done some training this fall],  I just closed my eyes and pretended we were at Sawyer Camp [local trail].

Coach: How did your race compare to your anticipated race coming in?

BW: I had talked a lot with two other women beforehand, and we had set the goal of running through the half at 1:17:55, 5:55 pace. I had envisioned it being really relaxed… the first two miles were slow, but that happened in 2008, so I was prepared for them to drop to 5:30s soon.

We ran in that big group until about mile 13, and then I had to decide whether to stay or to go.  I had to do what Tom and I talked about, which was move at that point.  I thought I was going to be with people for longer, but it didn’t work out that way, I cannot reiterate enough how important it is when you have the chance to run with a group.

Coach: Last year, it took you a while to get up to speed due to some injury problems.  How is your body feeling after this race?

BW: I am a bit beat up from the fall I took [around mile 8, while approaching the fluid tables].  I took 8 days completely off and went on vacation, but my hip got a huge hematoma, and I actually just got it drained.  I’m giving everything time to settle down this time.  Last time I tried to train through and it didn’t work out well.

Coach:  What were some of the key moments in your training and how did Coach Tom help prepare you specifically for this race?

BW: Well, we started at the San Jose Rock “n” Roll Half, where I had a big PR.   We had a Michigan workout  [a workout alternating on track and off track continuous intervals] which is usually one where I can turn to see where I am.  We extended the normal workout, and I crushed it.

Monday, he’ll have me double [two runs] , so I would go into a workout on Tuesday, and not feel totally fresh.  I learned to push while tired, which is something that I respond well to.  Wednesday, I would never run over 6 mi.    My tempo pace for many of our workouts on Thursdays was 5:42, and I never would hit it, because I would run at 6am in the morning.    I think that is where I have come a long way – I am not as concerned about the little minutia, stressing over every second.


Coach: What is on the horizon for this year and beyond?

BW: Fun things, but not necessarily track this spring.  Tom and I have talked about 2:30 being a goal for 2016.  I want to run Boston and New York and I really want to run a destination marathon like Berlin or London.

Last modified on February 17, 2012
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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