Student-Athlete to Student-Athlete: Alex Dadds
Women's Water Polo's Allison Peotter Talks Cross Country with Senior Alex Dadds
Dec. 18, 2012
GWsports.com contributor Allison Peotter is a redshirt senior on the women's water polo team. Allison will periodically sit-down for a chat with fellow student-athletes at GW in a new feature - Student-Athlete to Student-Athlete. Alex Dadds is a senior and captain of the men's cross-country team from Louisville, Kentucky. The cross-country team concluded its season last month at the IC4A Championships.
Allison: "When did you start running cross-country?
Alex: "Growing up I played football, baseball and basketball. I was a big kid, if you can believe that. In seventh grade football I played defensive and offensive lineman. In 8th grade when my friend decided to quit football and do cross-country, I decided to do it with him."
Allison: "Was he a lineman too?"
Alex: [laughs] "No, he was a wide receiver. He was a fast guy."
Allison: "So you did cross-country..."
Alex: "I wasn't very good on my grade school team. There were sixth graders faster than me. I started getting a little bit better in high school and by junior and senior year I broke through and thought, `this is what I want to do.'"
Allison: "Did you love it the whole way through? There has to be moments when you didn't."
Alex: "Well, cross-country is a weird sport. There are those classic shirts that say, `Our sport is your sports punishment.' It's true, but when you're out there it's natural. You say to yourself, `What am I doing? I'm out here on this 15-mile run, putting my body through so much pain.' This is just what we do and nobody else really understands it."
Allison: "It seems as if everyone is competing for themselves, but is there a team atmosphere?"
Alex: "Yes, absolutely. The team is the most important aspect of cross-country. Obviously you go out there and your individual results are reflected on paper but you can't succeed without your teammates."
Allison: "What is a typical practice like? I see you guys out there in the cold, in winter, wearing very little clothing at seven in the morning."
Alex: "It depends on the time of the year. The summer and winter are our big base-mileage periods of the year before the season starts when we run about 80-90 miles a week."
Allison: "I'm sorry, you said base mileage is about 80-90? I run about four miles in a week and that's a lot for me."
Alex: "Well, during the season we cut it back; to anywhere from 60-75 miles a week."
Allison: "Where do you run in the city?"
Alex: "Few people realize how many trails there are in DC. One of my favorite spots is Rock Creek Parkway. There is a path that will take you all the way to a park that's similar to Central Park in New York with trees everywhere and it's beautiful. It's a good 15-mile day if you can go all the way up there."
Allison: "Do you ever run around the monuments?"
Alex: "For an easy day we will just go down to the mall and run to the Capitol. It's a 6-mile run. That's one of those `only at GW' things. Last year there was a school group out by the Capitol and I was out there running by myself and everyone just started cheering, `run, Forrest, run.' We get a thrill out of it. Sometimes people will honk at us, but it's fun."
Allison: "Do you talk when you run or is it all focus?"
Alex: "I have to talk and have conversations. I love making people laugh during runs. We're always talking."
Allison: "Isn't it hard to do both?"
Alex: "For sprint workouts on the track, yes. But for a long run, you have to keep conversation or you go crazy."
Allison: "Every sport has a typical personality, what would be a common cross-country personality if you could define it?"
Alex: "We are a very funny team amongst each other. Other people might just think we're a super weird group, [laughs] but we're a fun group and we enjoy spending time with each other. With the sport that we have, we have to make things light hearted for each other once in a while. "
Allison: "How is the experience of being a cross-country athlete at GW?
Alex: "It's good. For cross-country you're just always tired. I understand other sports are really hard, but running 70-80 miles a week is just not natural."
Allison: "When you tell another student you're on the team, what is the typical reaction?"
Alex: "A lot of people don't understand it. It's only when they see a picture of us running on the website that they realize what it really looks like, and we actually do wear those short shorts [laughs]."
Allison: "How do the races work? Do you run all at the same time or are there heats?"
Alex: "We all run the same race and the same distance. The distances vary from 5k in the beginning of season to 8K during the season. For NCAA regionals and NCAA championships it's a 10K."
Allison: "So the average is about five miles? I always thought cross-country was long, something more along the lines of 25 miles?"
Alex: "That's a common thing people think. People ask me, have you run a marathon? No, I haven't. Our coach would actually be really mad if we did. A lot of people just don't know that."