Garrett Heath – you may know him as the guy who beat Mo Farah or it is entirely possible that you haven’t heard of him yet. Make no mistake though you will know who he is come next week when the USA Olympic Track and Field Trials kick off in Eugene, Oregon.

Brooks Beasts train in Albuquerque, N.M. April 2016. Photo by Craig Fritz

Brooks Beasts train in Albuquerque, N.M. April 2016. Photo by Craig Fritz

Brooks gave me the opportunity as a Run Happy Ambassador to ask Garrett Heath, an 8-time NCAA All-American middle distance runner who runs for the Brooks Beasts Track Club, some questions about running and life. What follows are his answers and a kick butt pancake recipe – if you happen like pancakes just as much as you like running.

Your brother Elliott is also a runner: what was it like growing up together? Did both of you run from a young age?

Elliott and I are both really competitive and love anything to do with sports, so we tended to always be playing something together or with the group of neighborhood kids when we were growing up. It didn’t matter whether it was basketball, golf, or just a head-to-head mid-winter football game in the snowy front yard, we were always hanging out and pushing one another in whatever we did. Occasionally this competitiveness would end in a fight, but usually it was just pure fun that would quickly consume the entire day — I can remember many days playing more than 63 holes of golf or spending the entire day at the YMCA playing basketball together. Unfortunately (especially monetary-wise), neither of those sports panned out into a professional career for us, so eventually we found our way to running.

We both always loved to run the mile in P.E. class, but it wasn’t until joining the 6th grade cross country that we really started to get into running. Early on, we didn’t do a whole lot of actual running together, as three years is a pretty big age gap, but by the time I was a senior in high school, we had started to train together a little bit. Since then, we have put in countless hours running together, and I can always count on him to be my biggest supporter and mentor.

How do you think you live the way you run?

Exploring nature and being active are two of my biggest passions in life. Since our annual family road trips to Colorado in the summers growing up, I have been hooked on hiking, camping, and really any outdoor adventuring. These passions have carried over to running where there is nothing I enjoy more than a run along a new mountain trail. For now, I harness this drive to test the limits of my body’s capabilities on the track, but even when my professional running career ends, there’s no doubt that much of my life will revolve around actively exploring this world.

 Describe yourself in one word, what would it be and why?

Committed. Regardless of what it is, I have a hard time not going all-in to anything I’m doing.

 If you had to offer up a bit advice about chasing your dreams on and off the track what would it be?

Take time to step back and see the big picture occasionally.

It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day grind and forget about the big picture of the dreams that you’re chasing. Early in my career, I tended to dig myself into a hole going too hard all the time or always working out with whoever in our group had the hardest workout that day. Day-to-day I felt good, especially early in the season, but by the end of season, I would be out of gas and miss hitting my biggest goals. Stepping back to look at the big picture and analyze how I’m feeling at times has been really helpful in identifying big weaknesses in my routine and making changes to my long term plans. I believe becoming better at this sort of reflecting later in my career has allowed me to stay healthier, be more consistent in training, and ultimately achieve more of my goals.

If you could be a professional athlete in another sport, what would you pick and why?

Aaron Rodgers. My dad was a quarterback in high school, so we grew up constantly throwing the football around and running pass-patterns in the front yard. I always wanted to play football in middle school and high school, but my parents strongly “advised” against it. And, realistically they probably saved me from a lot of pain, as my build has never been one to lend itself to success on the gridiron. Plus, I’m a huge cheesehead (Packer Fan) and live for football season in the fall.

Do you think fast runners are born with a natural talent that they can improve upon or do you believe that rising to the top ranks is only a matter of drive, dedication and hard work?

I think it’s a combination. It’s hard to say that it doesn’t take some natural talent to have the capability to be the best at something, but I don’t believe that means that the most naturally talented person is always going to be the best. Hard work can make up for a lot of those differences in natural talent, and I believe dedicating yourself to being great at something is the largest factor in determining ultimate success. Sure, I think a lot of the people you see at the top of the sport have been blessed with good genes, but more importantly they have taken advantage of those abilities and worked harder than just about everyone else out there to fine tune them. There are a lot of naturally gifted runners who never amount to anything, and a lot of less naturally talented people that dedicate themselves to sport and become great.

Do you have a favorite race moment thus far in your career?

I’d probably have to say the Edinburgh XC race this last January where I won and beat Mo Farah. To beat a guy who I respect so much and has been so dominant in the sport these last few years, it was a pretty exhilarating moment. I also just love competing in the mud, snow, and cold of cross country so having the chance to race some of the best in the world on the course in Edinburgh where there are stream crossings to maneuver each lap and a great crowd cheering you on was an absolute blast. Plus, to do it in the U.S. uniform as part of the team competition there (it’s setup as the US vs. the UK vs. the rest of Europe) only made it more special.

Fand smart – you are quite the combination! I read in an article that you would like to one day start your own business. Do you have any ideas what type of business?

My dream would be to start something in the health and fitness space. I’d love to stay involved in the fitness community when I’m done running, and I think there’s a ton of unexplored territory out there in figuring out a way to motivate all of us to be more active and healthy on a daily basis. I also worked part-time for a social e-commerence start-up company for a while when I was living in the Bay Area and really just enjoyed the entrepreneurial culture there. Combining that environment with a product or service that allowed me to stay involved in the health and wellness community would be the perfect business.

What are you looking forward to most about the Olympic Trials?

Mainly, I’m looking forward to finally test out all this hard work that I have been putting in over the last year, and really last four years, and to see what my body is capable of when it’s put to the test. Last year I was fourth at USA’s, so I’m looking forward to seeing if I can make the jump this year into that all important top-3 and make that Olympic Team.

I heard you are pretty amazing at making pancakes – do you have a favorite recipe to share?

I do love pancakes of all varieties. I usually like to experiment when I’m making them, so the recipe is always kind of changing. Here’s my basic recipe that I typically tend to build off of though:

 

1 cup flour

1/4 cup oats

1/4 cup cornmeal

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 tablespoon of oil (usually replace this with ~1/2 cup applesauce)

About 1 cup of milk but sometimes takes a bit more to get desired consistency

A few shakes of cinnamon

Copious amounts of chocolate chips (the dark chocolate Ghirardelli kind is my go-to here)

The real key are the toppings, though! My favorite topping combination is vanilla yogurt, berries, cinnamon, and syrup!

Name one thing that most people don’t know about you?

I was a better cross country skier than runner in high school.

What do you hope 30 years from now you are most remembered for? {This doesn’t have to be running related but can be}

I want to be remembered as someone who was never afraid to go for it and lay it all on the line. It may not always pan out in my favor, but I never want there to be doubt that I didn’t give it my all.

 

Interested in keeping up with Garrett Heath’s adventures? You can follow him on twitter HERE

Want to hear more about how he is feeling about the Olympic Track and Field Trials? Check out this post on the Brooks Blog!

Comments

  1. Danielle @ Wild Coast Tales says:

    I love his answer to how do you live the way you run! My love for nature and exploring the outdoors definitely carries over into my love for running.

  2. Great interview— definitely trying out those pancakes :)!!!!

  3. My favourite running has always been on paths through the countryside, especially uphill. I don’t wear headphones listening to music, I want to hear the environment, birds, cattle, dogs barking and the wind in trees. Makes all the difference.

  4. Great interview and some awesome pancakes. I tried them yesterday and my entire family loved them!

  5. Definitely gonna try the pancakes maybe after running. I usually apply a Roll-on on my feet because I’m “new” to running. Great interview though!

    Link to Roll-on: http://www.gladdn.com

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