Q&A Wednesday: Spotlight - Andrew Tankersley

This week we're pulling a Q&A Wednesday double. Now we shift from the sprints to the distance realm. Andrew Tankersley won an exciting mile race at the A&M Classic where he unleashed a huge kick with 250m to go that no one could match. He's looking forward to the Outdoor season where he can get back to the events he likes the most like the 800m.

Mile Champ Interview: Rewatch the Race HERE

800 Meter Run (Graph)1:57.57
1:57.571st2014-04-04San Antonio Northside Invitational»
1,600 Meter Run (Graph)4:15.45
4:28.258th2014-05-09UIL Track and Field Championship»
4:18.201st2014-04-25Region 4-4A Meet»
4:30.411st2014-04-16District 27-28 Area Meet 4A»
4:24.831st2014-04-09District 27-4A Meet»
4:15.453rd2014-03-26Texas Relays»
3,200 Meter Run (Graph)9:21.52
9:39.275th2014-05-09UIL Track and Field Championship»
9:21.521st2014-04-25Region 4-4A Meet»
5,000 Meter Run (Graph)15:32.80
16:29.0540th2014-11-22Nike Cross Nationals South Regional»
16:24.9818th2014-11-08UIL State Cross Country Championship»
15:32.802nd2014-11-01UIL 5A - Region 4»
16:31.181st2014-10-23UIL 5A - District 27»

1. First off, congrats on a great start to your season with a win at the A&M Classic in an interesting Mile race. Started out slow, then it broke up and was a battle between you and 2 solid Southlake runners. You used your short distance speed to kick with 250 to go and take the win. What did the win mean to you at this point in the season, and what will you take from it looking ahead to outdoor?
Thank you. I came into the race with the mindset of wanting to compete in the talented field and so winning the race gave me a lot of confidence as I continue preparing for the outdoor season. The biggest thing I wanted to take from the meet was the mentality of running to win. So as I look ahead to outdoor I want to approach every race with this mindset.

2. How does your ideal race play out in your head? Are you most comfortable running from the front or do you prefer to follow the leaders and rely on your kick to win?
I tend to like following the leaders and relying on my kick. I feel more in control if I'm sitting behind the top guys which allows me to cover or make a move more easily than if I were leading.

3. After your race we talked a bit about your goals for outdoor, distances you were going to target and times you wanted to hit. Name a few, and explain why one in particular will be the most difficult for you.
I want to run 9:08 for the 3200, 4:08 for the 1600, and 1:52 for the 800. However, I think achieving the 800 meter goal will be the most challenging because I have always done the 1600-3200 double at meets and most of my training is structured for those distances. My coach and I have been talking about running the 800 and 4x4 more regularly this season though.

4. There are a lot of great distance runners in Texas right now. Which athlete or athletes do you look forward to competing against and why?
There are so many great runners that come to mind, but I look forward to racing Carter Blunt for obvious reasons. He is a great competitor, the returning Triple Crown Champ for 5A, and has the fastest returning distance times. Having someone who currently has better times than you pushes you to be the best. I hope I'll get a chance to race him at either Texas Relays or the State Meet.

5. As a distance athlete, what type of workout do you look forward to the most each week? Long run, recovery days, track work, tempo, etc? And what draws you to it more than the rest.
I look forward to speed track work hands down. I have always considered myself more of a track guy so when I can get out there and run race pace in practice it gets me going for the upcoming meets.

6. What is the most brutal workout you've done?
It was probably either 3x800 at 2:05 with 5min rest or a workout we do called Gorilla's where we run both the visitor and home stands before running a 400 at target 1600m race pace. We then repeat that process 8 times after getting our heart rate under 120. Both times it was extremely hot and brutal. Besides that I don't remember much of those workouts.

7. Go through your pre race routine. Do you eat something specific? Have any superstitions? Listen to the same Katy Perry song on repeat each time? etc.
45 minutes before my race I start my lunge matrix and stretching. I then do an 11min warm-up, stretch, dynamic drills, more stretching, strides, stretch, put on my spikes, strides, pray, and then try to sit the last 5min before my race and visualize my race. When I'm on the line I take a page out of Apollo Ohno's book and yawn trying to stretch out my lungs before the race.

8. Give a bit of insight into a person you look up to that has been a major positive influence on your running career.
I've been able to get to know Jim Ryun and his family over the past few years through his summer running camps and he is someone who I look up to and respect for numerous reasons. At his running camps he encourages all of the runners to be growing not only physically and mentally, but also spiritually. Having seen how Jim went through his own highs and lows during his career allows me to model myself after him during my own successes and failures. He's taught me to utilize my gift of running for the glory of God and to run for more than just my own success. This enables me to move on when I fail and to give to the glory, whether I win or lose, to Christ.

9. The most difficult moment of a race can be the final moments right before you step up to the line and nerves are running high. What has been the most helpful advice you've gotten in that time, and how has it helped you?
The most helpful advice has come from my coaches, teammates, and family who remind me how hard I've worked to get to that position on the starting line. I think a lot of times runners can psych themselves out before a race and ultimately lose their race before they've even started, so I always try to think about how much work I've put into running and to be confident in my training to execute my race plan.

10. So far, pick one moment in your running career, and explain why it has been more meaningful to you than any other.
Just having the ability to get up and run each day makes me grateful for the ability and gift I have to run. I strive to use my running platform for God's glory, but if I had to pick one, it would probably be winning the then 4A Team XC State Title with my teammates. The entire season we were the underdogs and had our own trials and injuries, but on that day we all stepped up and worked together ultimately winning on a tiebreaker. Finding out that we won was one of the most fulfilling moments of my life as everyone one of us had given everything we had and all of our hard work starting back in June had paid off.

11. Let's end it with a random question. Assuming we are inevitably headed towards a world where we live in a post-apocalyptic destroyed society. You, being the winner of the A&M Classic Mile...are priority #1 on the government individuals to preserve list. You're being given a 1-way flight to a warm island in the Pacific to spend your days. But you must make 3 choices. A) You must choose 1 type of food to eat the rest of your life B) Every hour, on the hour, a clock on the island plays one line from a song. What do you pick? C) You choose any Disney character to come to life and be your daily training partner.
Well you can't go wrong with a Honey BBQ Chicken Strip Sandwich from What-A-Burger so I'd be down to eat that every day of the rest of my life. This next one is a hard one, but I'd probably chose the line "twenty-one" from the remix of the vine "Twenty-one" because that is hands down my favorite vine of all time. If you haven't seen the vine yet, stop reading this and go watch it.. Finally, I'd have to go with Kronk from The Emperor's New Groove because that movie is a classic.