Talkin XC 2014: Kevin James

The spotlight is all Kevin James knows. The Cardinal O’Hara senior has been around the block since he started in 2011 as a freshman breaking into the top 7 on the first of two silver medal AAA teams and two NXN appearances. After a DMR national indoor championship, will 2014 be the year for James to earn big individual gold? James talks with PennTrack about the journey to his senior year and how he hopes to end it on a high note!

PRs: 1:55-800, 4:12-Mile, 9:03-3200, 15:12 -5K

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 going really well so far and I've been feeling really good all summer so that's good. I've been running everyday with some of my teammates, typically at Rose Tree Park in Media. Also, I have the occasional run from my house or at Ridley Creek State Park. After the long track season, I took 2 weeks off then I started at about 30-45 miles a week now were getting up to about 50-70 miles a week before the official start of practice. 

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

Last season I learned that I have to mentally prepare better for races because I went into a lot of races not mentally ready to race and I didn't perform to levels I’m capable of. I also learned that I should be more patient in these races because if you’re not patient, sometimes you end up dying towards the end of the race.

PennTrackXC - For what 2014 meets are you most excited?
The meets this year I am most excited for are probably the Briarwood Invitational because it's always a really competitive meet with a lot of good teams and individuals every year. I'm also looking forward to all of our championship races like Delco's, PCL's , Districts and especially States. I’m also excited about NXN Northeast Regionals and hopefully NXN Finals again! 

PennTrackXC - When and how did you get started in cross country?
I started running cross country in 5th grade in the CYO. I started doing it because I ran CYO track in 4th grade and did pretty well. The next fall, I decided ‘why not give XC a shot,’ and it probably was the best move I've ever made. 

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? 
My parents have been the most influential people in my life and I definitely wouldn't be where I am today without them. They have helped my career in so many countless ways and I can't thank them enough for that! 

PennTrackXC - What are your keys to success when it comes to your training program?
The keys to success when it comes to the O'Hara’s training program is just having faith in the program. Coach K has been doing this successfully at O'Hara since 2001, so at O'Hara we all believe in what K has us doing. But believing and actually doing the program are two totally different things, if you want to be successful in this program if you have to do it all out and not do it halfheartedly. 

PennTrackXC - What is your most memorable cross country performance thus far in your career?
My most memorable XC race so far in my career would have to be Briarwood my sophomore year. This is because it was my big break out race. I finished first for my team for the first time and I got 4th place overall, only losing to Brendan Shearn, Tony Russell, and Ross Wilson, who are obviously no slouches when it comes to running. So I think this race really just brought me to a whole other level in my career.

PennTrackXC - What is your greatest non-running experience in cross country so far and why?
My greatest non running experience in xc would definitely have to be all of NXN because you truly get treated like royalty by Nike. You also get to do so many cool things out there. It's just an awesome time and anyone who thinks they have a shot at making nationals in my opinion should definitely try making NXN. 

PennTrackXC - What are your goals for the 2014 cross country season?
My goals for my senior cross country season are winning my first individual state title and leading our team to its first state title. Other goals include making it out to NXN for the 3rd time, but this time, I want to bring my team with me because that makes it more fun. My final goal is to earn All American honors at NXN! I know these goals are very tough, but me and my teammates are ready to put the work in this season and go for those goals. 

What is your...
Favorite social media hangout- Twitter 
Pre race ritual- I have a couple that I really can't say on here. But one I can say is that every morning of a meet I have a bowl of Frosted Flakes. I don't know why. I just always have done that. 
Favorite cheat food- Easily Ice cream 
Favorite pro athlete- Currently I'd have to say Claude Giroux 
Must have running accessory- I mean I'd say shoes is a big thing I need when I go on a run.
Favorite long run jam- I don't listen to music when I run. 
Favorite workout- 800 repeats at Rose Tree Park just because I always do really well in that workout.