Talkin XC 2014: Madeleine Davison

Davidson came with an eyelash of knocking down the indoor mile record holder Brianna Schwartz of Shaler on two occasions. Though she only has a state silver medal to show for it, Davidson was one of the breakthroughs of the 2013-14 season. After just missing out on the medals in cross country, 2014 will surely provide a better result. Madeleine talked to PennTrackXC about what it will take for her to get to the top of the XC scene!


PennTrackXC - How is your summer training going?  What kind of runs are you doing and what kind of mileage are you hitting? 

My summer training has been fantastic! My workouts have been pretty typical summer fare: long runs, tempo runs, and plenty of hills, of course. 

PennTrackXC - For what 2014 meets are you most excited? 

I'm really excited for this season in general, but I'm especially looking forward to running at the PIAA Foundation Invitational as well as at WPIALs and States.

PennTrackXC - What are your goals for the 2014 cross country season? 

I still have a score to settle with the Hershey course, so one of my main goals this season is to come away feeling satisfied about my races there, both in terms of strategy and effort. I am also hoping to give Footlocker a shot this year, depending on how I feel after the regular season is done.

PennTrackXC - What is the most valuable lesson you learned last season and how can it be used to improve your 2014 season? 

Let's just say that last year's cross country season was, well, a learning experience. One of the biggest "morals" I came away with was that cross country is a sport that demands both mental and physical training, and no matter how driven and tough you are, if you haven't honed your physical strength and endurance, you will fall short–sometimes literally. But I've found that if you take the time to really analyze your failures, you can gain a tremendous amount of valuable insight. 

PennTrackXC - What are your keys to success when it comes to your training program? 

This year, I have been doing some of my training runs with Brianna Schwartz, Mary Malone, Gina Alm, Marissa Deichert, Ava Pietryzk, and Lauren Gronbeck, and having those girls around me pushes me to do my best every time. Plus, they're great people, which makes training about 1000x more fun. :)

PennTrackXC - What is your most memorable cross country performance thus far in your career? 

Most memorable or most fondly remembered? I have had some very "memorable" moments in my cross country career so far, including that one time at PIAA Foundation my freshman year where I collapsed on Poop-Out Hill and they had to scrape me off the course in a golf cart... Probably my favorite cross country memory was the Boardman Spartans Invitational last year, because it was my first time winning a big high school meet, which felt unbelievably cool, and our girls' team won the division, making it doubly special.

PennTrackXC - What is your greatest non-running experience in cross country so far and why? 

It's so hard to choose just one moment; I've made so many wonderful memories in this sport. Recently, though, I got invited along with some other high school athletes from the WPIAL to a pre-race dinner with the pro runners who were competing in the Liberty Mile in Pittsburgh the next day, and I got to meet Leo Manzano and Gabe Grunewald, along with many other amazing runners and coaches. It was so inspiring to meet all of those people, some of whom have overcome incredible obstacles to be where they are today. 

PennTrackXC - When and how did you get started in cross country? 

I used to be a competitive swimmer, but in the winter of 6th grade, I came down with the flu, which kept me in bed for about 2 weeks. After that, I hit a serious plateau with my times, and it was that, among other factors, including one freezing outdoor pool, that drove me to try running in a local 5K race, which was incidentally organized by the Malone sisters and a future teammate of mine as a confirmation project. And as they say, the rest is history!

PennTrackXC - Who has influenced you the most in your life and what have they meant to you and your success thus far in your career? 

I owe so much to so many people, that it would be impossible to list them all here. My parents have been amazingly supportive and caring from day one and I can never thank them enough for all they've done for me. I want to give a huge thank you as well to all my coaches, past and present. Their presence has been more influential in my life that I could ever express. I am also inspired on a daily basis by the girls I run with and all the fantastic high school runners across Pennsylvania.

What is your...

Favorite social media hangout? Facebook!
Pre-race ritual/superstition? I always jump up and down 7 times on the starting line before the gun to warm up my legs. 
Favorite cheat food? This is going to sound weird, but I love vanilla tapioca pudding.
Favorite pro athlete? Gabe Grunewald; I got to chat with her in person at the Liberty Mile dinner, and I realized that she is an amazing person with a truly inspiring story.
Must-have running accessory? I love compression shorts/tights because they come in so many different colors and patterns.
Long run jam? I don't listen to music when I do long runs, but sometimes we listen to music for track workouts and Katy Perry's "Dark Horse" always gets me pumped up to run fast because of that association.
Favorite workout? I especially like long runs and speed workouts.