A conversation with Wellesley’s Athlete of the Week: Priyanka Fouda
Published: Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, October 17, 2012 10:10
Priyanka Fouda ’16 could run home if she wanted to. The cross country standout grew up running around Wellesley’s home field, and had a successful athletic career at Wellesley High School.
She is carrying that momentum over to collegiate running. Fouda has already earned the New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) Runner of the Week honors. Most recently, she led Wellesley to a first place finish in the Seven Sisters Championship. She finished the 5k event in 18:29, good for a fifth place individual finish, and a spot on the All-Seven Sisters team.
Fouda sat down with me during a rare off-day to talk about the transition to college running and her strategies for big meets.
Emily Bary (E.B.): What is it like going to school so close to home? Why did you choose to come to Wellesley for college?
Priyanka Fouda (P.F.): It’s actually really nice. My sister joined me for lunch recently, and I can see my family whenever I want. It made the transition to college a lot easier and it gives me a great safety net. I came to Wellesley because I liked Coach Babington and his demeanor.
E.B.: So are you running on a lot of the same courses that you ran on in high school?
P.F.: The Wellesley home course has actually moved from being around the lake to where my old high school field was. We ran a different course in high school, but it’s scarily familiar.
E.B.: How was your transition to college running?
P.F.: I was really worried because I tore my interior cruciate ligament (ACL) in November and didn’t compete in indoor or outdoor track last year. When I first got here, we practiced twice a day and I wasn’t used to that. But I was able to transition well and I like running with the team.
E.B.: How did it feel when you came in second at the Pop Crowell Invitational?
P.F.: I didn’t realize that I had set a course record for Wellesley. I was happy to have followed the strategy of my coach, which was to stay with the pack for the first two miles and then try to separate myself.
E.B.: What do you eat before a big race?
P.F.: It depends on what time it is. I usually have two or three hard-boiled eggs but it’s hard because the dining hall often isn’t open for breakfast by the time we have to leave for a meet. I don’t like eating right before I run so the eggs usually help me stave off hunger.
E.B.: Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions?
P.F.: I don’t really have any. I think I get really quiet on the starting line. One thing the team does is that we share quotations about teamwork on the bus.
E.B.: How do you avoid getting injured when you’re running so many miles a week?
P.F.: My mileage isn’t very high. There wasn’t a big jump from my high school mileage to what I’m doing here. I’m injured right now and I’ll always be injured because I opted not to have surgery for my ACL. I think of running as a holistic pursuit. I eat and sleep properly and try to remember that some injuries are just unavoidable. My coach talks about having a circle of control and knowing what is in our control. Injury for any athlete is sort of on the periphery. One nice thing that we do on the Wellesley team is a lot of strength training in the weight room which helps with injury prevention.
E.B.: Do you prefer cross country or track?
P.F.: I like cross country better, but I love running the mile in track. It’s the perfect race for me. I’m looking to run a fast 5k later this season. The team really wants to go to nationals in cross country and I would love to contribute.
Fouda certainly ran a fast 5k this past weekend in the Seven Sisters Championship. She’ll be back in action for the Blue this weekend, when the team hosts the Wellesley Invitational on campus.