ATHLETE PROFILE: Brian Harvey
With the end of the indoor season rapidly approaching, junior distance runner Brian Harvey has collected UAA Men’s Track and Field Athlete of the Week honors and set two school records, one in the 5000-meter run and one in the mile event.
Having qualified for both the UAA and NCAA competitions that are coming up, Harvey took some time out to talk about the relationship between his running lifestyle and life as a Carnegie Mellon student.
Tartan: Do you have any goals with UAAs right around the corner? What about for the outdoor season?
Harvey: While winning the team title is always the ultimate goal going into any conference championship, the most important thing about indoor is that we are able to use it as stepping stone that we can build on for outdoor.
Capturing the team conference title last outdoor season was easily the most thrilling athletic accomplishment I’ve ever been a part of, and we want more than anything to experience that feeling again this year.
The race I am most excited about for the upcoming championships is the distance medley relay.
Due to a couple guys making huge improvement over the last few weeks of the season, our team not only has a shot at winning the race and setting a school and conference record, but also qualifying for nationals.
T: How is high school competition different than that in college?
H: My success in high school, like many, was almost completely based on natural ability. I only ran maybe 30 to 40 miles a week and never more than six times a week.
When I got to college, I was shocked to learn people ran upwards of 100 miles or more a week. Now I average double the mileage I was doing in high school.
T: What is the best way to prepare for a race?
H: The personality that tends to be interested in running is meticulous and detail-oriented since running is more of lifestyle than a sport.
I am almost always thinking about the food I need to eat and the amount of sleep I need to perform at my best.
Nearly every runner adopts a couple of silly rituals they always must do the night before or day of a race.
The main one I have is I must take a shower the morning of a race despite the fact that I will just get sweaty and gross a couple hours later.
T: Do you have a preference for cross country or track and field?
H: My original interest in cross country back in my freshman year of high school was purely social and was actually a backup after I was cut from the soccer team.
I prefer cross country over track because, while the entire track and field [team] tends to get along and are friends, [the experience] pales in comparison to the bond between the seven guys on the cross country team that push each other towards the same goal.
T: Do Carnegie Mellon and the Pittsburgh area provide nice landscapes to run?
H: We could not ask for better places to run than Schenley and Frick Park. Their soft surfaces significantly reduce the risk of injury, and they are big enough that I can run in them every day and never get sick of them.
I am always reminded how fortunate we are to have these parks when they freeze over in the winter and we are forced to do all our mileage on the roads.
One of my favorite races every season is our home cross country invitation we hold in Schenley Park, where many alumni come back and race and tons of friends and family come out to support.
T: With a heavy workload at Carnegie Mellon, do you find that participating in a sport keeps you organized?
H: I honestly can’t imagine life without running every day. It provides a much-needed break between classes and homework every day. Without running, the workload might have driven me insane.
T: Are there any Olympic athletes you are looking forward to watching this summer?
H: A few months ago, my friend and I made the rash decision that we were going to go watch the Olympics in Beijing this summer, no matter what it took.
We actually went through a good bit of planning, knew exactly which races we wanted to see, flight options, and what hotels we could stay at.
It was at this point that we realized we were poor college students and we could unfortunately never afford such an extravagant vacation, so I’ll be watching from my couch with my teammates.
T: Where is your favorite place to eat?
H: Honestly, I avoid eating on campus at all costs. I usually bring my lunch to school and then cook for myself at night.
With the volume of running that I do, the services on campus just do not cut it. Since I moved off campus after my freshman year, I have learned to love cooking and enjoy preparing and especially eating delicious meals.
T: What interests you most about your major and the classes you are taking?
H: This semester, I am working 10 hours a week at the Human Engineering Research Lab on a large-scale project integrating two robotic arms with an electric wheelchair for people with limited upper-limb function.
The ultimate goal of the project is to attach several sensors to the wheelchair that will allow the wheelchair and robotic arms to work together autonomously to, for example, open a door with very limited input from the user.
Pretty much, it’s going to be one pimped-out wheelchair.