While preparing for the upcoming Paul Short Invitational, senior distance runner Christy Planer tries to keep pace with Sun Senior Writer Per Ostman.
1. So, do you guys hate Bruce Hyde?
No, we don’t “hate” Bruce. It’s more that people have different perspectives on him.
What’s yours? Because I love him.
He’s a very funny guy. I’ve had a little bit of a past with him, so, umm –
I sense a missing scene coming on here.
No, no, I don’t want to bash him. We get along this year. We’ve had our differences, but we’ve put them behind us.
Okay, what about the rest of the women’s team?
Well, he comes off a little on the cocky side sometimes. But, we really just shrug him off. He’s Bruce. He’s funny, and he’s a great runner. He’s “kiiiiiiiiinda a big deal.”
Doesn’t it take a healthy ego and a little bit of cockiness to be the best?
I guess. I mean, he’s definitely got that part down. But it does help to be confident. You start out as a freshman, and you don’t really have that edge. But by senior year, you’re like, “I can do this.”
2. Bruce doesn’t necessarily think that running is fun, and many people (even other athletes) would agree. What do you think? Is it good for you?
Like he said, there are a lot of points where you want to just give up. You could be going home, watching TV, taking a nap. But no, you’re out there running for four hours, killing yourself. But when you’re racing well, when you’re in shape and everything’s clicking for you, I mean, I love it. It’s so rewarding. And you feel so much better afterwards. You’re like, “I just ran eight miles, I feel great!”
3. Yeah, what does a “runner’s high” feel like?
I’m so used to it now –
So, you need more and more and more to get the same buzz?
Yeah, I mean Bruce was right in that it’s somewhat of an addiction. If I don’t run, I feel worse, I feel gross. I feel lazy, you know? Adrenaline’s a hell of a drug.
When I run, I just feel more energetic. I’m happier. It’s a great feeling.
4. You battled illness during last weekend’s race. In an endurance sport, where so much of the athleticism comes directly from the lungs, how difficult is it to compete at a high level?
Obviously, there’s the physical part where you’re running and you can’t breathe. But then there’s the mental part, where you know you’re sick and you know you’re tired, so then you keep telling yourself that.
Is it easy to succumb to the mental side?
Yeah, definitely. You have to be tough to fight through it. You have to be mentally tough to run track or cross-country in the first place.
You played basketball in high school. Were you ever sick for a game? Was it different?
Yeah, I mean, in basketball you get breaks from the running. I don’t think many people realize how important that is. Hockey and football are physically demanding, but it’s not sustained motion. You have timeouts, shift changes, etc. It’s not as if you can call a timeout and refocus in the middle of a race. Yeah, when you’re racing, I mean, that’s it. You can’t stop and go have some Gatorade.
5. Endurance athletes know absolutely for certain that they’ll be in intense pain while they compete. By design, racing is always a maximum effort event. How do you deal with this?
You try to push it aside. When you’re at that point in a race where you think you can’t go any faster, you really have to be the most positive you ever are in your life. You have to tell yourself, “I’ve run all those workouts, I’ve worked so hard. I deserve to be here. I can go faster.” You have to overcome it.
Has it ever broken you?
Yeah, it has. There have been a lot of times when I’ve talked myself out of doing well. I mean, this past weekend – I run with that top pack of girls in practice all the time – I was sick for the race. When we got to the hills, I let them go. I was like, “I can’t do this.”
And then you cross the finish line, and you’re still alive-
Yeah, you’re like, “I should’ve just sucked it up!” But it’s hard to do all the time.
6. What are people who only run on treadmills missing by not going outside?
Oh, it’s completely different. Running outside is so much better. I mean, we run even when it’s freezing during the winter.
Isn’t that fun when the ice starts forming on your head and the snow sticks to your face?
Oh, sure. There are definitely times when I’d rather be inside. But a treadmill – you just kind of set a pace and go. You’re just a machine, you know? I feel like you’re more free when you run outside.
As long as it’s not pouring.
After the first five minutes though, it’s not bad. I like running in the rain.
Well, then I bet you’re glad you decided to come to Cornell.
7. Bruce said that your team was the hottest at Cornell. Do you agree?
Hell yeah! We don’t run 60 miles a week for nothing.
Apparently not. What’s the hottest men’s team at Cornell?
This is such a tough question. There are individuals on every team that I like!
Okay, well let’s have some names.
No, no, no. I’m definitely not doing that. I have to think about this. I’m going to have to rule out the guys cross-country team.
I’m sure they’ll be crushed.
Only because I usually like guys who weigh a little more than they do. I think I’m going to go with lacrosse or football. But I don’t really know any of them.
You’re going to base your answer on hearsay?
Well, I don’t know them individually, but I see them in groups.
Do you scan campus for roving herds of football players or something?
Yeah, you know. You check them out. They’re all good-looking. Especially lacrosse. I’ll say lacrosse.
Anybody in particular you want to say “hi” to?
I actually don’t even know their names, I just –
I just see them and I’m like, “He’s really attractive.”
Wow. You sound like a guy.
Well, I’m not going to go up to them and be like, “Hey, looking good today.”
See, we’d love that. Girls never do that. We’re always the ones who have to embarrass ourselves.
So, you want us to do that?
Yes. Go for it. That’s free advice, from me to you.
I’ll work on that.
8. Your team competes in what can only be described as “butt-huggers” – a very intimate cut of spandex. Is this at all comfortable?
Only if you like running in underwear.
Do you like running in underwear?
I don’t feel comfortable in them because they ride up and give you wedgies.
They’re just not attractive. Even the hottest girls can wear them and look bad. I just feel like they’re not very flattering.
What would you wear if you had your choice?
I’d rather just wear shorts or a longer spandex. I wore regular running shorts in high school and then I came here and was like, “You might as well run naked.”
You might as well.
9. What’s on your current iPod playlist?
Hmmm. My taste in music is a variety. I like rap. Me and Kanye are pretty tight. I was up on stage with him on Slope Day.
Really? What were you doing that got you on stage? Do we need to go off the record?
No, it wasn’t a big deal. He was calling girls up on stage, remember? He was going down the line having the crowd cheer, you know, “Do you think she’s the hottest?”
Did you win?
No! You know how the Slope was muddy that day from all the rain? I was wearing these white sandals –
Yeah, not the brightest idea. So, he gets to me and looks down and he’s like, “What are you doing on stage with those dirty-ass feet?” I was embarrassed and everyone was laughing. I was standing up in front of the entire Cornell student body, and I got called out.
Dirty-ass feet. At least you’ll have a good story for the grandkids.
It was really awkward, but it was my one bru
sh with greatness. He’s my favorite artist. Okay, so who else do you like?
Well, I love you too.
This is so sudden. At least buy me a drink first or something.
Oh, you mean the band! U2! Right.
Haha, come on.
10. If you could have dinner with any three people, living or dead, who would they be and why?
Alright, I’m going with Lance Armstrong.
He’s a beast.
Yeah, he’s so awesome. He’s my athletic idol. And, let’s see, I think I’d have to go with Jesus. Would you? Would you have to?
Why? No one’s forcing you to go with Jesus. This isn’t the Bush Administration.
But you’d want to find out, you know? Heaven, Hell. The whole thing. I’ve got a lot of questions to ask.
Would he pick up the check?
No way. I would have to. It’s Jesus.
Jesus does not pay for himself.
Yeah, we pay for Jesus.
Every single day. Who’s your third?
Probably Oprah. Just because she’s met everyone and been everywhere. She’s so successful. She’s got it all right now. I’d like to meet her.
She’d probably give you a free car or something.
Oh, yeah. She’d hook me up.
10 Questions With Per Ostman will appear weekly, or until he gets fired. Suggestions and complaints can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archived article by Per Ostman
Sun Senior Writer