Spotlight Athlete: Alex Normandia - Land O' Lakes High School

Land O'Lakes senior Alex Normandia finished in the top ten in every race in 2016 except for the Cross Country Finals where he was 13th. We caught up with Normandia to talk about his summer training, goals, and more in this Spotlight Athlete feature.

How long have you been running and how did you get started?

I started running the summer entering my freshman year. I met the cross country captain at Subway and he invited me out where I was fortunate enough to have my first coach be Coach Keppel. 

Do you remember your first real race?

My first race ever was at Lecanto where I ran JV because my coach just wanted to see what I could do without any expectations. I won and would have placed third on varsity with my time. 

How was your summer training?

Summer training went incredible hitting a peak mileage of 60 a week. 

What was your 2016 XC season like?

My 2016 season went fantastic as I dropped my 5k time from 16:57 to 16:04. I was very happy at accomplishing my goal I set before the season started of "top 15 at states". 

What's a typical training week like?  

Depending on what stage of training I'm at, my weeks will vary. Saturday is ALWAYS a long run (10-13 miles depending on training). Usually there'll be two or three easy days of 45-60 minute runs with strides at the end. The other days will be a sort of workout. Sunday's are either off or easy three.  

What is your favorite workout? 

My favorite runs are the long runs. Especially when the middle 7 are at tempo pace or the whole run is negative split. Other than that I love 800 or 1k repeats. 

Which meets will you be running in this year?

I will be running "Running with the Bulls" at Wiregrass, North Port, FLRunners, Gator Invite, Sunshine Athletic Conference, and of course districts, regionals, and states. 

Do you have a favorite course? What do you think is the toughest course in the state? 

My favorite course is the state course in Tallahassee because of how beautifully kept it is and the amazing scenery. It's also quite fast and a little hilly which gives me an edge. However, generally I do not worry about courses too much because everyone had to race at the same place. If I must choose a toughest course I would say Weeki Wachee just because it was over 90 at districts there and incredibly windy at the time. 

Out of all your running accomplishments so far, which stands out the most?

Getting 13th at states is my most noticeable accomplishment as of yet, but that's nothing compared to this coming season. 

What are your goals for the upcoming cross country season?

My most ambitious goals this year are to win all four post season races, conference, districts, regionals, and states. The first two will be easy, but the latter two are ambitious. If not, definitely top five at states. My goal time is 15:20.

What do you love most about running?

I love everything about running. What I love most about it is the freeing ability that it gives me. Physically, I can do anything I choose to do, and I love being that free and confident. Also, the feeling of a quick long run or a hard workout is honestly the highlight of my day. 

The Low Down

Do you have a favorite quote?

I have two. "If you can't control it, don't worry about it." -Me (I'm probably not the first to say this, but whatever.) "Don't worry. Worrying only makes you suffer twice!" - Newt Skamander

Do you have any pre-race rituals or routines?

Besides warming up and praying, I do not have a pre-race ritual. I like eating toast with peanut butter the morning of the race. I wear the same socks every race (and yes I wash them). 

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food has to be a classic burger with fries and a milkshake. Either that or pizza. 

What was the last movie you saw and what did you think of it?

The last movie I saw was Baby Driver and I loved it! 10/10 would recommend. Amazing soundtrack and visuals. 

What brand of shoes do you train/race in? 

I like New Balance's Zantes to train in and racing shoes I don't pay much attention to. Saucony Shays are comfortable and Nike Victory's look very nice. 

What professional athlete would you like to meet the most?

MO FARAH IS MY FAVORITE!! And Galen Rupp is my second favorite. 

Are there any interesting points people may not know about you?

I'm an open book but some people don't know that, oddly enough, I know how to knit.

Lastly, if you were stranded on an island with three things what would they be?

I'd take a  fresh supply of water, an all you can eat buffet, and a boat.