Oct. 4, 2010
Senior cross country runner Erica Watson continues a strong senior year for the Irish as she led Notre Dame at the recently completed Notre Dame Invitational, covering five kilometers in a time of 17:41 on Fri., Oct. 1 at the Notre Dame Golf Course. The Noblesville, Ind., native and her teammates are now preparing for the Pre-NCAA Meet on Sat., Oct. 16 in Terre Haute, Ind. Earlier, Watson sat down with UND.com’s Vicky Jacobsen to talk about herself, cross country and her Notre Dame women’s cross country team.
Why did you first decide to become a runner? I decided to become a runner after a good friend from my church encouraged me to run track as conditioning for the next basketball season. Little did I know I would grow to love running even more than basketball!
What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college? The biggest adjustment that I had to make was that the expectations are much greater in college – both in racing and in training. The constant challenge to rise to the next level has led to improvement for me.
What is the most difficult course you’ve ever run? The most difficult course that I’ve run was last year at the BIG EAST meet that was held in Kenosha, Wis., over a very rainy and cold weekend. In addition to hills and tight spaces through the woods, the course was flooded and at times we ran through huge puddles in the middle of the course. At the same time, the challenges made racing there even more exciting and rewarding.
What is the most unusual or creative workout you’ve ever run at practice? One workout that really sticks out was our trip to the dunes in Michigan. Running hill repeats on the sand challenged us both mentally and physically, giving us the opportunity to grow stronger as a team. It is always a great experience to draw on when I go through tough times in running.
What team or individual performance are you most proud of? The performance that I’m most proud of came last year when our cross country team won the NCAA Regional meet. I remember watching as tears of joy filled our captain Lindsey Ferguson’s eyes when we heard the news. It was wonderful to be a part of that team and feel like we had accomplished something bigger than any one of us.
Where is your favorite place to run? My favorite place to run is at St. Patrick’s county park. That’s where we go for some of our long runs.
What is your favorite Notre Dame tradition? My favorite tradition at Notre Dame comes before we line up at the start. We always huddle up and say the Lord’s prayer and an Irish blessing. It’s a great reminder of the real purpose of the race to glorify God.
What is the coolest part of being a member of the Notre Dame cross country team? The coolest part of being a member of our team is that I get a chance each day to spend time with people I love working with toward a common goal and growing stronger together.
What is the hardest part of being on the Notre Dame cross country team? The hardest part of being on the team is that giving my best to my training means sometimes making sacrifices and saying no to other things.
What advice would you give a new runner? The best advice that I could give a new runner would be to be patient with yourself and try to stay focused on the positive aspects of running. It can bring so much joy, which partly comes from the hard work.
What are your plans for after graduation? After graduation, I have accepted a Merchandise Planning Business Analyst position at Target in Minneapolis.
What have you learned from cross country that has helped you in other aspects of your life? What I have learned from cross country is so much more than I can answer here! One of the biggest lessons I have to keep remembering is to focus on what I control, the attitude and the effort, and to let go of what is out of my control, the results. I know that all I can do is my best, and my faith grows stronger every time I surrender the rest to God.
Do you have a favorite sports movie? My favorite move is “Chariots of Fire.” I love playing the theme music in my mind during hard workouts.
Where is your favorite place to eat on campus? My favorite place to eat on campus is South Dining Hall.
Do you have any race-day superstitions? I seem to be one of the few on my team who doesn’t have too many rituals.
What are your goals for this season? My goals involve learning how to help lead the team toward our best possible performance at Nationals.
What is your favorite sport outside of cross-country or track and field? I enjoy watching sports the most when I get to watch a friend or family member play, so that includes a variety.
What will you miss most about Notre Dame after graduation? The thing that I will miss most about Notre Dame after graduation are the people here more than anything.
What motivates you to run and compete? Oswald Chambers said that “a man’s reach should always exceed his grasp,” and I think this idea of always having a higher potential keeps motivating me.
What is one talent or skill you have outside of running? Outside of running I enjoy drawing and painting.