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When Speedendurance covered Matt Bogdanowicz’s World Record attempts, a lot of you were wondering who set the equivalent WR for a women?
As you know, my good friend Matt is also a sub-Masters middle distance runner who set WR for 1 minute pull-ups (46), 1 hour pull-ups (522), 30 minute pull-ups (433 set in 2006) but missed the 30 minute WR on Oct 2007 (completed 417 when the current record at the time was 442).
The name Alicia Weber comes to mind (actually, she pops up everywhere!) when you check the record books.
She set 9 WR in 2008, including WR pull-ups for 1 minute (31) & 1 hour pull-ups (560) and 30 minute WR (345). Other WR include Chin-ups and dips.
But the story doesn’t end there as there is a running connection to her life as well.
Alicia Weber was an accomplished middle distance and distance runner in High School and College where she ran for JJ Clark at the University of Florida. His wife is 5-time Olympian Jearl Miles-Clark and both his sisters Joetta and Hazel are multiple 800 meter Olympians!
In High school, she medaled 7 times at the National Championships from distances 1500m to 10K and Cross Country as a self coached athlete!
After college, she focused on triathlons and turned professional at age 24 and competed in the ITU triathlon circuit and US non-draft circuit for 3 years.
Then came the muscular endurance and Fitness Championships. Her accomplishments is a modern day Jack Lalane for a woman. There is nothing left to do other than to shackle her to a boat full of people from Alcatraz!
I am sure I am leaving a lot of details out, which you can check out on her website.
Interview with Alica Weber
SpeedEndurance.com: Let’s start with running. What are your favourite Track or Road events? And how did you train for them since you were a self coached athlete?
Alicia Weber: I started track and field in middle school. My initial goals would be just getting into the bigger races and get onto the national level in track and field. In my third year of track and field, I qualified for my first national championship with Junior Olympics in 1995.
The following year, at age 16 and a sophomore in high school, I became a Junior Olympic National Champion in 3,000 meters. I was the runner-up at Junior Olympic Cross Country National Championships in 1996. I went on to run for USA Track and Field and became a 2 X All-American and 3rd in the nation for 10,000 meters, while in high school.
Outside of track and field, my favourite race that I trained for was the Pittsburgh 10K Great Race with international competitors. Each year I kept improving and in 1997 at age 17, I ran a course personal record of 36:41 as the 10th American Woman to cross the line and 19th overall out of 1,094 women.
I made the commitment at age 11 to run everyday. I actually had a lot of catching up to do in track and field to get onto the national level at that time. I lived beside a 2,000 acre park in South Park, PA. The park had many hilly trails, 1,000 meter climbs, a 5-mile forest trail, and an 800m cinder track – all my favourite romping grounds! I started by completing 2 mile all up hill runs, but soon I ran for hours non-stop. I remember being so excited when I worked up to running 10-miles on these hills non-stop at age fourteen – in under 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Then, as a freshman in high school, I had a personal goal to work on cardiovascular endurance and discipline. Let’s say I became obsessed with endurance and wanted to see how far I could go. I ran up to 2 and a half hours after school each day sometimes 20 miles or more on these hills. After that it would be common for me to complete a muscular strength routine such as 250 pull-ups, 50 laps of parallel bar arm walks, 200 L’s and then another 250 pull-ups, followed by 500 push-ups. I won and set trail half-marathon running records with my best of 1 hour and 25 minutes.
As I started peaking later in high school years, I added in days of complete rest and tapering and I also integrated in new training methods with aquatic training and jump rope running. The long endurance running came to a halt in senior year and what was important was tempo running, interval training, and rest.
SpeedEndurance.com: Can you share some of the experiences with JJ Clark at the University of Florida?
Alicia Weber: I was always a big fan of Jearl Miles-Clark that went back to middle school days. I would read about her in Track and Field News. I drew a picture of Percy Beard Track at the University of Florida and put it on my wall and dreamed about running there one day (this was back in middle school). I was recruited by every school in the country except University of Florida. I ended up transferring there after making my world triathlon team when I was twenty. JJ found out about me through making the world triathlon team and he wanted me at UF.
Now, I was blown away that I was on UF soil running next to Jearl, Hazel, and Joetta in practice sessions and I stayed over Christmas break to train with them. I was so incredibly excited to be wearing the orange and blue and running in SEC meets! I was known as the team entertainer and I did a lot of skits at meets and produced daily jokes. This was such an enthusiastic time in my life!
JJ Clark is so dramatic! I remember one workout we did before SEC cross country championships where he had us running on a hilly path by a road in Gainesville. He drove by us in a van dangling his head and swaying his arms out the window (someone else was driving the van!). He was yelling, "Unload, reload, overload – Load Again!" I was laughing hysterically while running, while my teammates had a scared look on their faces as they were flying for dear life up this path! People slowed down in their cars and yelled, "What are you all running from?" We had to meet a certain mile time or else we would need to re-do the workout. I thought my laughing would keep me from meeting the time, but it didn’t (thank goodness)!
JJ workouts are extremely intense! I had to be extremely rested for interval workout days, since we would max out! JJ Clark taught me new training methods and training under him took me to another level as an elite athlete.
SpeedEndurance.com: Let’s talk about your triathlon experience, and I’m sure your running background helped. How did you approach the cycling and swimming events in terms of training? Were you self trained, or did you have a coach and club?
Alicia Weber: I self coached myself in triathlon. My dad was a triathlete and I came out to watch him race when I was 4 years old. I put on a yellow swim cap and chased after him on the course yelling,"I am going to be doing these someday!" A police officer removed me from the course. I did my first triathlon and won 19 and Under age group when I was thirteen at the North Park Triathlon in North Hills, PA. My dad did the swim for me in my first triathlon. It was my swimming that I needed to work on most.
I took up high school swimming my senior year and that is what turned me into a swimmer for triathlon and a year later I made the Junior World Triathlon Team in which I competed in Perth, Australia. When I first started international distance triathlon racing at age 19, my time for the 1500m open water swim was 33 minutes. Nowadays, I do a lot of open water swimming more than pool swimming. In recent years, I got my 1-mile open swim time down to 20 minutes at best and rolled in a few top finishes.
I compete on the open water swimming circuit mainly in distances 1k to 1-mile. I took 14th overall recently at the 2009 Master’s Open Water 1-mile Swimming Championship in Ft. Myers, Florida. I train with another pro triathlete, Meredith Novack, that specializes and coaches in open water swimming. I go to different beaches in Florida to practice open water swimming. With my cycling, it has been about strengthening muscle groups specific to cycling. I do cycling time trials and a variety of body weight drills for my hamstrings and gluteal muscles to build strength and power in cycling. Running came naturally to me in triathlon and I have set run records on triathlon courses.
Part Two of the interview will be continued Monday. The questions will focus on the World Records, training secrets, diet recommendations and more!