Cross Country: Lily Anderson finished the season Nov. 6 at the IHSA competition. She broke a school record with 18:49.13.

Mia Graske, Staff Writer

Lily Anderson (Junior)

What interested you to run?

My dad does it, and I wanted to be like him because I look up to my dad… I was in a dark point in my life, and it pulled me out… Sometimes I imagine myself running from something, and the peacefulness of it too.

What is your favorite aspect of running?

Probably feeling powerful. Feeling like you’re fast is a different type of feeling… All runs are meaningful; … they all work towards a common goal of getting better.

Where is your favorite place to run and why?

There’s not a specific place, but I like running in forest preserves, they’re pretty and interesting.

Who or what inspires you to keep running?

I’m very self-motivated. My dad is what got me into running, but I think I myself keep myself going. Running is good for you, and I know that. It keeps me healthy, and it keeps me in a good mindset.

How do you stay motivated to run (especially in COVID times)?

One, running is a one person sport. You don’t need everyone to do it, so that’s part of it. Two, being cooped up in a house made everyone crazy. Going outside was one of the few things people could do. I know a lot of people who didn’t even go outside, [and] they started going outside. The fact that I was already going outside all the time and running, I just kept that the same.

How does this year’s season differ from the last?

This year I actually started lifting, and I think that contributed to how much I improved. I’m also a lot more confident in my running this year.

What makes you more confident this year?

I did become team captain, so that could be part of it. I feel like I’m more experienced… I lead stretches; I lead the warm-ups. A lot of the younger people on the team look to me for where to go when we get to meets.

Is there a specific meet that you’re looking forward to and why?

[Until this year], I’ve never made [the Illinois High School Association state competition]; no girl [in Cross Country] at Plainfield East has made state before. …

Lily Anderson finished her season Nov. 6 at the IHSA competition running a new school record of 18:49.13

How [did you] prepare for state?

… Telling myself that whatever time I get it’ll be a good experience. I know there will be a lot of really fast girls there, girls that are faster than me.

How do you train for meets?

The day before I usually run two miles, and I usually stretch for about 30 minutes. I usually meditate too. I meditate for 15 to 20 minutes.

What specific meet has been memorable? [prior to state] 

Probably this year’s regional meet. It was my first time breaking 19. I remember my freshman year, I would look at girls who were running 17, 18, even 19 minutes. I’d be like, ‘I’ll never be that fast.’ I saw the clock as I was coming in, I was like, ‘Oh my God. I’m going to break 19.’ It was a really good feeling.

Do you have a lucky charm or superstition that you apply to meets?

I have to have my hair in two braids. I have a lucky pair of socks. I also have to eat rice cakes with peanut butter on them for breakfast for every meet or else I’m just going to run bad.

How do you regulate yourself in cross country?

I’m pescatarian, so I don’t eat meat, so I really just have to watch my protein. I have to make sure I get enough of it, otherwise I get really sore really fast. Sleep is a big factor. I need to make sure I’m not getting too much but also not too little. Either end of the spectrum can make you feel really sluggish.

What are you most looking forward to next season?

Probably breaking 18 minutes, which is a really big goal, but I’m going to try. 

How do you think you will break 18 minutes?

Just keeping up what I’m doing, honestly. Just keep training, eating right, and sleeping. Just staying healthy.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

Just that the team has really been like my family this year. I feel like we have grown so much from the beginning of the season to the end of the season.

Mia Graske