Emily Graves: New To Running, VA's Next Distance Star?

Patriot sophomore, Emily Graves is brand new to running but doesn't run like it. She already has run 5:11 (1600) and 10:57 (3200) this season and her coaches think she has only begun to show her potential. 

This outdoor season is her first time ever running on a team or competitively. Thankfully though, it seems like it will not be her last but first of many for this distance star. MileStat reached out to her last last week to learn more about her, her running, and future. 

MileStat: Emily, tell us about yourself, how did you get into running?

Emily: So before I ran I used to dance. I started Irish dancing when I was six years old. I started running to build stamina and endurance for dance about a year or year and a half ago. I began to cross train and then ran more to be outside more (since dance is almost always inside). 

MileStat: Everyone knows your name after that Dogwood 3200 where you finished third, did you expect that time? Did you know you were a good runner? 

Emily: I was actually really nervous for tryouts this season. I thought I was slower than the other girls but during time trials I won all of them and I was like "Woah!". I kept pr'ing every meet and that was crazy for me. 

I'm kind of surprised that it is happening (becoming a star) and I am trying to not let it affect my mind and keep it in perspective that there are a lot of other fast girls in VA. I use it as motivation to improve. 

MileStat: Speaking of that Dogwood race, was there a particular strategy for it and in general what has been your racing strategy? 

Emily: It is a little bit of both pacing and racing. You definitely need to have a certain pace because it always backfires if you go out too fast. You need to be willing to go faster than your set pace though to go get that place or time. 

@Dogwood... The plan was to stick with the leading pack and to not let too much distance between me and them. 

MileStat: Do you have any goals for the season and do you know what events you will be running at States? 

Emily: Right now I am just trying to continue to do well. I want to improve and don't have any specific times in mind, I'm not sure if I could cutoff 11 seconds in the 1600 (5:11pr) this season. I just want to do well. 

States... Honestly, my goal is a little bit of both (pr and state title). A state title would be cool, I don't know if I could win it this year but it will be a good meet with great competition. I will be running the 3200 at states and maybe the 1600. 

MileStat: Will you be running XC in the fall? What do you think will be your ideal race? Have you previewed any of the courses on your runs with your teammates?

Emily: Yea! I am excited for cross country in the fall. My coaches are excited too. It will be exciting running the longer distance and not being on the track. I prefer running on trails and eight laps around the track is not the most interesting. 

I definitely think the 3200 is my race right now. I just like the pace and the distance. I've never done cross country before so I don't know much about it or much about the racing strategy. I think it is a 5K so it will be difficult. I've never run on any of the XC courses either. 

MileStat: What is like having a state champion (Lindsay Yentz) as a training partner? Are you chasing her and Rachel McArthur's records? 

Emily: It is always good to have someone who gives you a higher standard to achieve. She never skips a workout and even gets the workout in if she wasn't at practice or school. It is really good to have her on the team. 

Lindsay gives me something to look forward to trying to hit her times. Rachel's records are something I can strive for, I have two years left at Patriot. 

MileStat: Do you have any long term goals? 

Emily: I want to make it to states and nationals consistently. I also want to break five minutes in the mile, that is what I am working towards. 

I also think running in college is a goal and would be a good experience. Being a D1 athlete would be iconic and it would be cool to run in college.