Coming off of a spectacular race in Boston, University City senior, Mac Fleet, is preparing to go back and do it again for Nike Indoor Nationals.
Fleet has been laying down fast marks since his freshman year, running the 800 in 1:55.72. The following year he ran a 4:08.09 at the State Track and Field Championships setting a new sophomore California state record. He also ran a 3:50.48 for 1500 and broke 4:20 ten times the same year. Injuries during his junior year slowed him down but not enough to keep him from getting a PR in the 800 (1:50.40) and 3rd in the 1600 at the California State Track Meet. Last November Fleet won the California Cross Country State Meet for Division 3 in 15:08 over the 5K course.
Fleet heads to Boston in two weeks to run the mile at Nike Indoor Nationals and will then turn his focus onto his final prep track season. In the fall he will travel north to become a duck at the University of Oregon.
Mac spend some time talking with Milesplit California about his race in Boston, his upcoming track season and more. Read on to learn more about this very intriguing and witty runner.
One Mile Run - 4:09.06
5000 Meter Run - 15:08.00
Three Mile Run - 14:22.00
800 Meter Run - 1:50.40
1600 Meter Run - 4:08.09
1200 Meter Run - 3:03
1500 Meter Run - 3:50.48
CalRunners: Mac, congratulations on your recent win at the Reebok Boston Indoor Games. With four runners running under 4:10, it had to be an exciting race to win. What was your plan going into the race and did you execute it?
Mac Fleet: Thank you. It was very nice pulling out the win, especially with such a deep field. There was no real “race plan” before the race. My coach and I knew I could run under 4:10 so all we talked about was staying near the front. I have an occasional bad habit of “falling asleep” mid race when I let runners by, which happened to be the case during laps 6-7 causing me to drift back behind the leaders. Luckily though I “woke up” with just enough track left to make a final surge.
CalRunners: You've had some injuries earlier in your career. What have you changed in your training to stay injury free?
Mac Fleet: I haven’t changed too much regarding my training. I get massages every week and go see my chiropractor and acupuncturist if I feel like any part of my body seems to be going south. Getting to know my body and knowing when I’m pushing too hard and need to take a step back has really helped to stay injury free.
CalRunners: You are competing again in Boston on the 13th for Nike Indoor Nationals and it looks like you will be racing against Andrew Springer and Pat McGregor again. What do you expect from them?
Mac Fleet: Nothing less then how they ran at Boston Indoor Games, both really talented fast guys.
CalRunners: When did you first get involved with track and field.
Mac Fleet: I’ve been around the sport since I was born. Probably the reason I have such a passion for it. My dad has either been running or coaching my entire life and I’ve known my coach (friends with my dad) for almost 12 years. Some of my earliest memories of track are sitting in the San Diego sports arena watching the indoor races back when I was about six years old. I started seriously running the summer before freshman year, putting in about 500 miles.
CalRunners: What is a typical training week like for you?
Mac Fleet: This winter I have really stepped up my training, if it isn’t an easy day I try to run six minute pace or faster. It’s really been working out well. This is the usual week give or take a few miles here and there.
Monday is either an easy 8 or a lighter track workout. Tuesday I run 14 in the morning and 8 in the afternoon. Wednesday is an easy 6-8 miles. Thursday-12 in the morning, 4 easy in the afternoon. Friday is usually an easy 8 miles. Saturday’s are 14’s, usually pretty moderate effort. Sundays are longer runs- 15-18 miles.
CalRunners: What are your goals for the upcoming track season?
Mac Fleet: To get as many San Diego section records as I can. Roughly 1:48, 3:59 and 8:45. I would also love to win the state meet for the 1600, I’ve gotten 2nd and 3rd already, but no 1st .
CalRunners: How do you prepare yourself mentally for a race?
Mac Fleet: Preparation for a big race usually begins a few weeks before. Getting the body and mind used to race pace and the pain required to run a certain time is key. This means a few extra track workouts and a few extra hard long runs to get the body in tune. A few days before the race I try to drop it from my mind and relax. During my warm ups I try to keep a free mind and not delve into a single race plan because races rarely turn out the way you plan. I constantly remind myself to remember during the race to keep the breathing in rhythm and keep the form together. Efficiency is key.
CalRunners: What message would you tell younger runners who aspire to be at the top?
Mac Fleet: Hard work pays off, especially in this sport it couldn’t be truer. If you have to do all of it by yourself, do it. If you have people to train with, train with them. Remember to always look at the big picture, if you have a bad race or you get injured remember that there will always be another opportunity in the future.
(Photo on right by Jim Baird)
CalRunners: If you had to attribute your success to one thing, what would that be?
Mac Fleet: The people that I have around me. Without all the help and support I don’t know where I would be. Coaching, my team, family, doctors, training partners and friends. Everything I have accomplished has happened because of their support and help.
CalRunners: Do you have any role models or mentors in track and field or cross country?
Mac Fleet: I don’t have any people where I go “ man I want be just like them!” But I do look up to people like Meb, He’s been through a whole lot this past year, everyone thought he was done and should retire. But he’s come back from being bed ridden from pain to US national champion in one year, that takes some serious heart.
CalRunners: What does your season look like? When is your first race and will you be competing in any out of state track meets during the season or post high school season?
Mac Fleet: My first serious race after NIN will be the Arcadia two-mile, with relays on either end and a mock up 3200 at Mt Carmel. After the state meet I’ll be looking to head back to NON and up to Eugene for USATF nationals. If things are going well maybe even a race at Pre Classic.
CalRunners: Is there a person you look forward to running against?
Mac Fleet: No person in particular but I do think we could set up one amazing 800 race this season. There could be as many as 5-6 people that run 1:48 or better this season, that is simply unheard of in high school. Just Imagine if we all get into one race.
CalRunners: What do you like to do when you are not running?
Mac Fleet: Outside of running I try to play other sports with friends as much as possible. Basketball is my first love, I play pick-up basketball with Joaquim Cruz at the local rec. center during the off seasons but I'm usually too tired from training to really do much. That means a lot of movies and food. The occasional trip to theme parks like sea world and six flags.
CalRunners: Do you have any superstitions ?
Mac Fleet: No I don’t really believe in superstitions. If one thing is out of line then what do you do?
CalRunners: Looking back on your cross country season, what was your favorite cross country moment?
Mac Fleet: Seeing my coach with 250 meters to go at State and knowing I was going to pull out the win. One year earlier I was a spectator, watching from the sidelines because of surgery the week before.
CalRunners: What kind of surgery did you have?
Mac Fleet: I broke my foot at running camp, the navicular bone bone in particular. I chipped the corner off it. The surgeon said I wouldn't be be able to get a surgery date until later in the year but a date opened up right right around Section finals so I took it. They went in and took out the broken pieces then shaved the bone down a little.
CalRunners: What is your favorite track moment?
Mac Fleet: Favorite track moment would be running 3:50 for a 1500 sophomore year. It really let me know that this sport could take me somewhere.
I think the cross country moment is a little better
Favorite pre-race Meal?
Usually just a banana or bagel, maybe a sandwich if it’s a later race.
Favorite TV show?
Favorite race (meet)?
Reebok Boston Indoor Games - awesome trip
Track or Cross Country?
Favorite Track Event?
4x4, maybe the mile, or the 800. Man I can’t choose.