Pac-10 Q&A with Sara Trané, Washington State Track & Field

Feb. 24, 2009

A One-on-One Visit with Sara Trané

At the culmination of the 2008 track & field season, Trané repeated as Pac-10 steeplechase champion. She went on to a fifth place showing at the NCAA West Regionals at Northridge where she regained ownership of the Washington State 3k steeple record (10:14.29). After finishing 19th in the prelims at the NCAA Championships, Trané  was named to the Pac-10 Track & Field All-Academic first team, the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine All-District VIII first team, the CoSIDA/ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America national third team, and the USTFCCCA Div. I Women's All-Academic team. As a member of the 2008-09 Cougar cross country squad, Trané was the top finisher for Washington State in every race but one. Her best performances included fifth at the Clash of the Inland Northwest, first at the Montana Invitational, 47th at Pre-Nationals, 18th at the Pac-10 Championships, and 29th at the NCAA West Regionals. Courtesy of Sara gives a shout-out to 'Dean Clark, a chiropractor without whose help I most likely wouldn't be able to run; and my coach, Jason Drake, who is always supportive and positive.'

My favorite Washington State memory... Since I'm not originally from America, going to my first collegiate football game stands out as an extremely awe-inspiring and vivid memory. It was amazing to be part of such a mass of people viewing one game. Gatherings of that size only occur at professional [soccer] games in Sweden. The entire spectacle of the teams entering the field, the band and cheerleaders making such tremendous noise, and the mascot sweeping the stadium were unlike anything I had ever experienced. Washington State Football

The most enjoyable class I have taken at Washington State... I usually like all my classes, but if I had to choose just one 'favorite', I'd go with Dream Analysis, an anthropology class. The underlying concept in the class was that dreams are interpreted in unique ways by different cultures. The majority of the curriculum compared Samoan and Haitian island culture to that of America. Generally speaking, island communities tend to value dreams much more than the average mainland person; islanders believe that dreams are a reflection of one's actual life.

As a psychology major, though, I also like all my psych classes, particularly those that address positive psychology. I hope to apply the attributes of positive psychology to my profession one day - help people develop in a way that maximizes their life, focus more on health than disorders, etc. I am currently researching graduate schools with concentrations in industrial and organizational psychology.

How I apply positive psychology on the track... It's easy: nothing is negative. No matter the situation, there is always something positive to take away. Even little mistakes are opportunities for growth, because if you can fix the little things then the greater whole improves drastically.
Steeplechase 101... The event [3,000m] is very different from simply running a 3k. There is constantly something to think about because as soon as you clear the steeple, you have to prepare yourself to jump it again. I approach every water pit as a challenge; I want that jump to be more  perfect than the last. I like that my mind is continuously engaged because it makes the laps go faster. Since I started my track career as a [800m and 400m hurdles] sprinter, it has taken me awhile to acclimate to racing for a prolonged period of time.  I also get much more tired in a steeple competition than a flat one; it's hard to engage so many different muscles at different segments of the race while keeping a solid pace. I have learned, actually, that a steeplechase race descends. It is important to reserve some energy for the last few laps. Steeplechase
If I could cook dinner for one person, dead or alive, it would be... Sigmund Freud, because of my interest in psychology. People have such varying opinions of him; it would be really neat to meet him, discuss our science, and develop a personal impression of him. For our meal, I would prepare chicken and rice with a side salad and some kind of sauce. The meal is basic but very common for Europeans. I could be confident that the meal would satisfy his taste. Sigmund Freud
Something about me that others would be surprised to hear... I know how to bike on a unicycle. When I was a child, a man in my neighborhood biked on one. I, of course, wanted one. My dad bought me my own unicycle when I was about 10 years old. It actually was not difficult to teach myself to ride, but before I got really good I did my fare share of falling. To this day I have a scar on my elbow from one of the falls. Though I haven't ridden a unicycle in many years, it is the same as a two-wheel bike: once you learn to stay upright, you never forget how to ride. Unicycle
Teammate I would like to trade places for a day with... I'll say [Spokane, Wash., native] Kendall Mays, mostly because she is a pole vaulter and I have always wanted to learn to pole vault. It looks fun. I have thus far never attempted it, but one day I will!  Unfortunately, that attempt probably won't happen before I graduate.
Favorite athlete in a sport other than track... I don't necessarily have a favorite athlete, but I love the sport of cross country skiing. There have certainly been some individuals who I idolized and really liked to watch in that sport, but their names escape me. I also like to watch biathlon, the sport that combines cross country skiing and shooting. Biathlon
What I'm reading... Cognitive Psychology. It is surprisingly more like a non-fiction book than a text book. The content addresses how to become a winner in life. I have not really learned anything new from it, but it has helped me to see that the issues we study in the classroom are relevant in the 'real world'. The book has given me confidence that, thanks to the skills I have developed at Washington State, I will be able to help people later in my life.
Favorite moment in a competition... When I start to kick within the last 100 meters of a race and immediately I feel a burst in my output. There's no greater feeling than knowing that I am not too tired to race to the finish, that my legs have responded at exactly the moment I need them to.
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