Q & A with Jeremy Mineau
Oct. 12, 2008
Two years ago, Jeremy Mineau led Washington to a 12th-place team finish at the NCAA Championships, finishing 53rd overall. That would be his last major race for nearly two years, as two stress fractures put his great career on hold. After redshirting the 2007 cross country season, Mineau is back at full health this season, and his comeback has started with consecutive Top-10 finishes at Washington's first two meets. The senior talks with GoHuskies.com about his route back to health, and whether this group of Dawgs can equal the 2006 team.
GoHuskies.com: You were out of action for over a year, so how does it feel now to just be back and going through the normal day-to-day practice routines?
Jeremy Mineau: 'It feels really good to be back and part of a team. This is an awesome team to be part of right now too. There's a really good vibe among all the guys. Very welcoming to come back to, especially after such a long absence.'
GH: Can you take us through the recovery process from your injury?
JM: 'My second stress fracture was last winter, so coming back from that one was about six months of pretty much nothing. It's a difficult injury to come back from, and even certain forms of cross training will really agitate it. So it was about four months of just rest, then two to three months of active recovery cross training. I was on the bike a fair amount, in the pool a little bit. And then I started running a little bit at the very end of spring quarter, and then over the summer gradually built up. I'm only running 30 miles a week still, it's just at this point it's been an integration of cross training and running.'
GH: Do you feel all the way back? All distance runners are looking to peak at the right time, but how do you feel now compared to this point in your last season?
JM: 'It's hard to say exactly how much back I am, because two years ago when I was running cross country I was running 80-85 miles a week. Right now I'm running 30 miles a week, and my performances are about at the same level--which is interesting, kind of surprising but encouraging. For this cross country season I'm 100% healthy, and we're just playing it cautious, playing it safe, and we really want to hit a big one in the track season.'
GH: Was there ever a point that you worried you wouldn't make it all the way back, or might not be the same runner?
JM: 'I think that thought enters everybody's mind, especially with a second stress fracture where there was really no specific cause identified. We had little cues and things that we worked on, but it hasn't been just one thing we were really doing wrong that we fixed. It's still kind of a mystery. I'm just really happy to be healthy right now, and again, just taking it conservative. I'm running 30 miles a week and the thought is that at 30 miles a week it's pretty hard to get another one.'
GH: What would you say you took away from the whole experience?
JM: 'Whenever you get hurt; whenever you go through a setback like this, everyone always says it's a great learning experience, and you never really think it is. And it took me about a year after the first stress fracture to realize that it really is a great learning experience. In terms of both athletically and personally, I've grown a lot. I think I've matured a lot through it. In terms of specific things I'm doing, I don't know that it's really that different, but in terms of just general maturity and perspective it's been amazing.'
GH: The pieces seem to slowly be coming together for the men's team. Where do you see the team now and where do you think you can be?
JM: 'Last week somebody asked me how I thought that our team this year compared to our team two years ago that finished 12th, and honestly I think we have an equal if not better chance this year to go and do what we want to do at NCAA's. And I think that's just because the people on the team are mature, we know what we're doing, and most people have done it before. We trust in the training we're doing and trust that it will come together at the end of the season.'
GH: In pictures from the Sundodger you looked a little pained at the end. Was that due to just it being your first race in a long time? And how would you rate your first two runs?
JM: 'It was a very strong run at Auburn. I feel like it was a strong run at Sundodger as well. To be honest, my face always looks like that at the end of a race. (laughs) You always want to look great finishing a race, but there's a little bit of pride in knowing you've timed it right and have spent yourself all the way. They were definitely different races, though. Sundodger we went out fairly easy and we ran as a team a bit more. At Auburn it went out hard, and I responded accordingly, and followed not quite behind the leaders, but at a quick pace and it was a struggle at the end. But in both races, I think you kind of get a perspective from doing both things and they're both going to be helpful for the rest of the team.'
GH: What is the team looking to accomplish at next weekend's Pre-National meet?
JM: 'We haven't talked about our goals as a team yet, but two years ago individually I was 20th, and so if I can be in the top-15 or 20 again I'll be pleased with that effort.'