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Interview: Janet Trujillo

By Chris Lear

Above: Trujillo finishes 4th in the mile at the 2001 New Balance Games. Below: Trujillo finishes 9th in the 4k at the 2001 U.S. National Cross Country Championships.
(Photos by Alison Wade)

After winning the 1,500 meters at the 2000 Adidas Oregon Track Classic in a PR of 4:13.00, Janet Trujillo started to think of her running as a little more than just a hobby. Trujillo graduated from Auburn University in 1997 where she still holds the school record in the indoor 800m (2:08.31) and accumulated numerous All-American honors. She has competed in events ranging from the 800 to the steeplechase to cross country. She currently resides in Boulder, Colorado where she is coached by University of Colorado assistant coach Jason Drake. Trujillo finished third in the mile at the 2001 USATF Indoor Championships in Atlanta. Thanks for your time. Although you have posted some pretty heady results, some of our readers may not know too much about you. So, let's start with the basics. What's your hometown, current residence, college and top collegiate results?

Janet Trujillo: I'm from Albuquerque, New Mexico and currently live in Boulder, Colorado. I attended Auburn University and at Auburn my top NCAA finishes were 3rd and 6th in the indoor mile in 1996 and 1997. My best place outdoors at NCAA's was 8th in the 1,500.

FW: You recently opened up at the New Balance Invite a few weeks back at the Reggie Lewis Center in Boston. How'd you finish and were you pleased with the results?

JT: I finished 4th in 4:39.37. I was kind of pleased with my time, but I was disappointed in the fact that I didn't race aggressively. That was my first sea-level race of the year, and we hadn't worked on leg speed or focused on track work as we were working towards the 4k cross race.

FW: You just ran the US Cross Country meet. How'd you do and were pleased with the result?

JT: I ended up placing 9th in the 4k. My goal going in was top 15, so I was surprised to finish that high. I started out the first 800 feeling pretty flat, and then after that I was able to start feeling comfortable. I was in about 25th at that point and was passing runners pretty much the rest of the way.

FW: Being that close, are you disappointed not to be going to Dublin? (Editor's Note: the top 6 runners in the race qualified for the U.S. World Cross Country Championship team.)

JT: Yes, I'm disappointed that I'm not going, but I'm somewhat pleased considering it was my first national U.S. cross competition.

FW: You've both moved to Boulder recently and are now coached by Colorado assistant coach Jason Drake (aka JD), who also coaches US 1,500 meter Olympian Shayne Culpepper. Why the move and what has been the biggest change in your training?

JT: Actually I always wanted to be in Boulder and this gave me an opportunity to get away from Albuquerque and train in a new environment. My ideal plan is to get a career going here and to stay in the Boulder/Denver area. There are a lot more opportunities to get a job in high tech here than in Albuquerque and that is a direction in which I hope to head.

The biggest change in my training is switching over from three hard workouts a week to two and I am now running more mileage than ever before. I was in the mid 50s then and am in the mid 60s now. Two years ago I didn't really run, so this is a logical progression from 50s to 60s. I couldn't do 60s last year.

FW: Did the fact that JD coaches Shayne impact your decision?

JT: It definitely didn't hurt knowing I would be able to train with one of the U.S.'s best, being that that is where I want to be.

FW: You both have very solid middle distance credentials. Are you planning on focusing on the 1,500 meters this spring or maybe moving up to the 5k? Any chance we'll see you running the roads at all?

JT: Yeah this year I primarily want to improve my 1,500. Depending on how that goes, I might throw in a steeple or a 5k to see how strong I am.

FW: You and Nicole Jefferson moved here together. What's it like to train with her?

JT: We trained together in Albuquerque last year during indoors and outdoors. We complement each other in that I can push the speed and she can push anything over 800 meters.

FW: With Shayne Culpepper, Nicole Jefferson, Faith Byrum, Sarah Toland and yourself, you have quite a training cadre. Is anything in the works to make this a more formal team?

JT: JD is currently making plans for the future but we're going to stay the same size through this year. Those plan include forming a non-profit track club. We're in the process of gaining non-profit status and we're trying to drum up some support to build a modest travel budget. We're not looking for stipends or anything; we just want to get down to sea level to race.

FW: You grew up at elevation, in Colorado and New Mexico. Do you feel that growing up at elevation was an advantage? And, what are the advantages and disadvantages of training up here now?

JT: That is a hard question. I don't know if it was an advantage growing up there, but I have never had any iron problems up here, maybe that is an advantage of growing up here. A disadvantage of training at altitude is traveling to meets.

FW: Best of luck this spring and thanks for your time.

Chris Lear is the author of "Running with the Buffaloes." The book chronicles the University of Colorado men's cross country team's 1998 season. Currently out of print, Lyons Press is republishing the book in hardcover in the spring of 2001. Check for details.


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