asics Greenville Track Club-ELITE - a post-collegiate, Olympic-development program
During this time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic non-essential operations are basically restricted or limited -- including running competitions. So we will use this "social/physical distancing" period to learn a little more about our ASICS Greenville Track Club-ELITE athletes. This blog is about Annie Rodenfels.
Q: Why did you move to Greenville?
AR: I moved to GVL to pursue a professional career in running with ASICS GTC-ELITE! That was, pretty much, the main reason. Of course, I also really liked the area and how active and outdoorsy it is. Greenville has been a great place to live an train so far (except when the humidity gets crazy in the summer).
Q: What about the Greenville Track Club-ELITE program was most important in making your decision to join?
AR: For me, there was several main factors that contributed to my decision. The first was financial support—I found that the benefits at GTC-Elite far outweighed most other groups similar to it. Secondly, I choose the program because of the opportunities it offered me—travel and access to competitive, professional meets, quality training, etc. I feel like the program maintains a good balance of being a place where you can truly consider yourself a professional—it gives you the opportunities and access to everything you need to reach the level you want to reach in running, and because of my big goals that was really important that I wouldn’t just outgrow the program.
Q: What do you like the most about GTC-ELITE?
AR: I like the balance that I can have in my life at GTC-Elite. I do feel it is important to take myself seriously as a professional runner and to reach out and give 100% to my goals, but I don’t feel like I am constrained to just running here. I am able to have balance in my life because of how flexible Mike and Laura are, with my jobs in the community, and the larger community of the Greenville Track Club. I can pursue running as seriously as I want, but also still function as a normal person and pursue my other passions alongside running if I want.
Q: Have you experienced improvement in your running since joining the program?
AR: I have! I’ve been fortunate enough to PR in almost every race I have raced thus far in my time at GTC-Elite. I’ve seen a 40-some second PR in my indoor 3000m, a small PR in my 5k, and a mile PR (as well as picking up some new distances like a one-time 8k race). Of course, I was looking to improve a lot during this upcoming track season, but unfortunately, due to the coronavirus my breakout season will have to wait.
Q: Which competitive distance are you focused on?
AR: I am focused on the 3000m steeplechase almost exclusively. I’d really like to knock down my 5k PR and mile/1500m PR’s as well, but I think I can go the farthest with my steeplechase—additionally, it is my favorite event.
Q: What is your favorite place in GVL to take friends or family?
AR: I love taking visitors to the downtown (water) falls. I think it’s absolutely beautiful and run past the falls every chance I get. It is certainly a big stop on Annie’s Tour of Greenville.
Q: What is your favorite eating establishment in GVL?
AR: Without a doubt, Biscuit Head. Albeit I haven’t tried many of the other Greenville establishments due to limited time (I’ve only been here 9 months) and the undeniable fact that despite being a bad cook I never eat out really, but I really really love Biscuit Head. It has something to do with the fact that my favorite food is breakfast and that the jam bar (and orange juice?!) is to die for.
Q: How is your training with the program different than what you experienced previously or in college?
AR: There are a few key points in the training that definitely do vary from my training in college, but I don’t feel like they are ultimately very different. I do run more mileage than I did in college, and I get to double now (which I both love and hate at the same time). In terms of workouts, in college we focused more on hammering workouts pretty quickly and did less work. At GTC-ELITE, I’ve found that I’m doing more mileage and less hammering but am also doing more workouts overall and more consistently. I think this is just due to the major difference between the college season and the professional season. In college, it’s a race to get in shape and stay in shape in a small amount of time, whereas in professional running it’s a long run of gaining fitness. The lifting/ancillary work is also different than what I did in college. Here it is more focused on specific movements and pre-rehab, while in college it more closely resembled ‘normal’ lifting and emphasized power over strength. However, at GTC-ELITE my lifting is much more consistent and encompassing than it was in college. Not to mention that now I just get to go outside to my backyard to do my lifting. :)
Q: Which model of ASICS footwear is your favorite for training? For racing?
AR: Beyond any doubt, my favorite ASICS shoes are the Glide Rides. I would wear them all day, everyday if I could (and I do).
For racing, I like the Gun lap spikes. They are lightweight (my kinda shoe) and springy, and have a nice mesh-like upper that works ideally for steeple.
Q: When you cook, what is your favorite meal?
AR: I am easily the worst cook on the team and I am not ashamed to say it (mostly). Cooking endeavors of mine have included baking a quiche in a graham cracker crust accidentally and setting a pan on fire. However, when I am successful in my cooking, I enjoy making Asian cuisines—pad thai, General Tsos chicken with udon noodles, etc. Honestly, I’d usually just rather eat Victor’s (Pataky) authentic Hungarian or Thai food when he cooks that.
Q: What was your major in college and why were you interested in that field of study?
AR: I majored in Psychology with a minor in gender studies at Centre College. I was interested in psychology because I enjoyed the blend of humanities and STEM that come with the major. You get to both be scientific but also utilize anthropology and sociology in your evidence and research. I like to study human behavior and the reasons behind it. I minored in Gender Studies because feminism and social justice like-anthropology work is my passion. I am incredibly interested in the ways we act as we do, especially in regards to gender and gendered work. All my passions combined cause an extreme interest in gendered work and women in sports, which I’ve done some basic undergraduate research in for classes before.
Q: Where are you employed and what is your current position?
AR: I am currently employed as a Corporate Wellness Coordinator at Joy Real Estate and a high school Cross Country/Track and Field Coach at Greenville Tech Charter High School!
For more details about Annie's performances please visit ANNIE RODENFELS.