Mike Brown

[Some athletes focus on their sport before they reach high school. Mike Brown found his focus in his senior year at Andover High School. As we see in Mike's story, it's never too late.]

GTD: Mike, when did you start running?
Mike: I began running my freshman year, joining the XC program at my high school. I never took it too seriously, vowing to keep it "casual" and just to have fun with friends. However, I learned I wouldn't be able to be a casual runner in this sport and still have fun. I saw people similar to me, pushing through these barriers, running at times I never could've imagined running. I started thinking, "Why couldn't this be me too?" With things happening in my personal life, along with being motivated to become a more fit guy and just better myself overall as a person, I started putting more work in. Of course this happened way later on, at the beginning of my senior year. It took me a while to mature, and realize what I should be putting my energy and time into. I didn't want to waste any more potential that I may or may not have had.

GTD: How much running did you do in high school?
Mike: I did a lot of running throughout high school, but I definitely favored track and field over XC. I developed a passion for more mid-distance running, as I found myself wanting to run faster and for a shorter period of time. It started with my coach telling me they needed one more for the 4x800 relay at indoor states. At first I really hated the idea of 2 laps of gritty running. Somehow though I ended up loving it, and the 800m was really all I ran my senior year through the winter and spring seasons besides a stray 1 mile or 2 mile race for some variety.

GTD: Tell us about your decision to train in the Braz Camp xc program this summer?
Mike: One of the best coaches I've ever gotten the chance to work with, Sue Kiley, told me she would be a coach at this camp. I had also met Coach Braz at the All-States outdoor meet, and I had been aware he was a great coach. It seemed like an easy decision, but it also meant a 30-40 minute drive 3 days a week, for a program that started at 8am. I considered another camp right down the road from me, but decided I wouldn't be getting the best training I could if I went there. With that being said, I ended up doing it. Now in the last week of camp already, I can easily say I have no regrets.

GTD: As a runner new to Coach Braz's xc program, what were your expectations before you started? Was it what you thought it would be?
Mike: My expectations were that this would probably be the most vigorous training plan I've ever been on, which I liked. I thought the camp would be a lot of the same, hard workouts, but I was wrong about that. There is so much variety in the workouts, different every day but always getting a super good sweat in. About a month in I began feeling more fit, and confident in my training. It's a great feeling leaving the camp in the morning knowing what you've just accomplished.

GTD: The 90+ minute sessions have phases, and each day is different, and each week is different, and progressively more challenging. What drills and segments did you really like? Any that were not your favorites?
Mike: My favorites so far have been the steady/tempo pace on the field, as it really simulated a XC race. It's fun to run with the guys going at a fast pace, and knowing you can hold the pace is a great feeling. Going to the hills in the morning is also super fun, yet difficult at the same time. You know that once you complete that workout you're going to feel super accomplished. I've also enjoyed the Plyometric workouts we've done, and most recently a 3.5 mile tempo which was very rewarding to complete.

At 6' 4" Mike is easy to spot in the crowd of xc runners.

GTD: How do you keep your focus during the sessions
Mike: I like to think about a race situation, when I'm really fatigued and just want to stop. Building mental toughness is a huge role at camp, and without you realizing it will help you when race time comes. With that being said, I definitely space out during some workouts. I will clear my mind, and try not to think about anything else besides that workout in that exact moment. Sometimes it helps me to take deep breaths, and realize the work you're putting in is all a part of your plan to get faster.

GTD: How do you handle nutrition on Brazcamp mornings?. It's the heat of summer, you're starting at 8am and you have 90 intense minutes of work.
Mike: I've never been the guy to eat a lot before a run, especially since the heat can mess with your stomach sometimes. I'll have 1 waffle with peanut butter on it for a little volume, along with a cup of coffee to wake me up a little. I save my big meals for post workout.

GTD: How would you describe the program to a runner who has never done it, but might be interested?
Mike: If you have goals to become better at running, you can definitely get the help you need at Braz Camp. Everyone starts somewhere. You can come in at any level of running, and come out more confident and fit then you were months prior. It's also a great community of runners who just want nothing more than to just be better. You can find guys to compete with and guys who can make you faster. If you work hard, you'll see results.

GTD: What are your plans for the upcoming fall, winter, and spring sports seasons?
Mike: This fall I will be attending Umass Amherst as an Economics major, but I don't really know what I want to do yet. As far as running goes, it's a competitive school. My main goal this past year has been to become a better runner, and to get fast. I'm going to continue doing that for a while, whether I get a spot on the team or not. I will be exploring many different options, whether that is to take on a role where I'm needed on the team and build up from there, or if I score a practice team spot, and can train and work my way up from there. Either way, my ultimate goal is to be able to train with some guys better than me, so I can feed off of them and work my way up the ladder. The training will continue, the hard part is just getting there.

Was it really xc? Does the path in that apple orchard look like a track?

XC Edge Athletes

Interview Home

Michaela Staniec, Central Catholic HS, Sep. 2022
Sarah DiVasta, Peabody HS, Sep. 2022
Mike Brown, Andover HS/UMass-Amherst, Aug. 2022
Molly Kiley, Andover HS, Aug. 2022
Ellis Iurilli-Hough, Melrose HS, Aug. 2022
Colin Kirn, Andover HS, Aug. 2021
Victoria Lombardi, Stonehill College, Oct. 2020
Adam Abdulghani, Peabody HS, Oct. 2020
Shannon Bresnahan, Bishop Fenwick HS, Oct. 2020
Summer 2020 - click here
- Caroline Johnson, Marblehead HS, Sep. 2020
- Shannon O'Connell, Colby-Sawyer College, Sep. 2020
- Victoria Lombardi, Stonehill College, Sep. 2020
- Emily Ernst, Essex North Shore Tech, Sep. 2020
- Rachel Brennan, Gordon College, Sep. 2020
Sean Kay, Arlington Catholic, Oct. 2019
Shannon O'Connell, Colby-Sawyer College, Oct. 2019
Riley Dowd, Stonehill College, Sep. 2018
Kate Mitchell, Boston Collge, Aug. 2018
Nadja Ueckert-LaPlante, Ipswich HS, Dec. 2017
Marissa Farago, Triton HS, Apr. 2017
Anthony Pizzo, AIC, Dec. 2016
Matt Loehle, UConn, Dec. 2016
Emily DeMarco, Ipswich HS, Apr. 2016
Sarah Oliver, Marblehead HS, Jan. 2016
AJ Ernst, Marblehead HS, Dec. 2015
Abby Walsh, Beverly HS, Dec. 2015
Sydney Packard, Bishop Fenwick HS, Dec. 2015
Griffin Barriss, Melrose HS, Dec. 2015
Tia Patterson, Boston College, Dec. 2015
Thomas Mackin, Lynn Classical HS, Dec. 2015
Riley Dowd, Stonehill College, Nov. 2015
Emily Weigand, American University, Nov. 2015
Connor Wolff, Stonehill College, Nov. 2015
Lexi Buonfiglio, Stonehill College, Nov. 2015
Victoria Holleran, St John, Peabody, Mar. 2015
Abby Walsh, Beverly HS, Dec. 2014
Riley Dowd, Peabody HS, Dec. 2014
Sarah Oliver, Marblehead HS, Dec. 2014
Tia Patterson, Lynnfield HS, Nov. 2014
Emily Horgan, Univ. of Vermont, Nov. 2014
Arianna Maida, Bishop Fenwick HS, Sep. 2014