In this edition of #FriendshipFridays, Nike runner and hometown hero German Fernandez discusses patience, Olympic Trials and southern rap.
Good morning everyone and to our overseas listeners (all seven of you) good afternoon and good evening.
After a two week hiatus that no one noticed, we’re back with another installment of #FriendshipFridays. This segment highlights friends that are doing cool shit and making the world a better place by following their drams.
I’m very honored to be joined today by German Fernandez. We grew up in the same town. Yet he ran away (see what I did there?) with the phenomenal athletic ability and stunning good looks. I got glasses and a beer belly.
German! How are you doing?
I’m doing very well my man, how are you?
I’m doing Mexcellent, thank you for asking. German, you and I are from Riverbank, or the RBKray, as it’s known. And you’ve been running since high school, correct?
Yes, since my freshman year at Riverbank High School.
In going from Riverbank High, to Oklahoma State and now to Oregon, how has your training changed?
In high school I was going through the routine. I was just doing it because my friends were doing it, and my cousin was doing it. So I thought to myself ‘meh, I’ll do it and see what happens.’
And after my sophomore year I won my first championship in cross country. It was kind of a shock. I never thought I would have had that kind of success in my first year competing.
So after that I kind of, you know, I decided to stick with it and see where it takes me. So from there the training increased gradually, so that it wasn’t overbearing. I think coach Edwards did a great job of keeping me healthy and not overwhelming me.
The transition to Oklahoma State was included more volume, more milage, you know higher intensity stuff. And now with the Oregon Track Club, which by the way we need a new name for the group, ha. The training is very similar to college but with more intensity and race simulation stuff which is really beneficial to me because I’ve adapted to it and it’s going to help me in the long term.
Before you began with the Oregon Track Club, you competed in the Olympic Trials for London 2012, right?
It was a great journey. I won’t say that it was the easiest journey but my goal was to get to the Trials no matter what. Going into the trials, I was recovering from an Achilles injury and I was going through some things. I had a bit of self doubt and for a while I thought I wasn’t going to make it.
But I told myself that I’m going to make the most of it and it was a wonderful experience. It opened my eyes to the future and I cannot wait for Rio 2016!
You’ve been racing professionally for almost a year now. Nine months to be specific. Is there any event or particular race that stands out?
This past summer I got to travel to Europe. It was the first time I had a chance to travel through different countries. I got to see Germany, Italy the Netherlands and others.
I was around world class Olympians. You know, you think you’re good over here in the States but then you meet these world-class runners from Kenya and Ethiopia. And it’s both humbling and exciting because it makes you want to work harder. Being around them pushes me to become better and it shows you that with hard work and dedication, you can get to the level that they’re at.
My first big race was in Berlin, Germany, and it was a 1500 meter race. And there was at least 60,000 people there, and it was awesome. It was almost like being in Gladiator, the movie, minus the lions of course! It was like wow I’m racing with record setters here!
Where you star struck by them? I know that if I was around Jay-Z or even Christian Bale that I’d instantly become a 16 year old girl.
Ha, well I told myself that I’m here for a reason and I’m going to focus on the race and do my best because I may not get another shot.
And I got a personal best. It was wonderful just being there. But the personal best made it more special.
What did you learn by being around so many world-class athletes?
Well everyone has a different way of training. So I really didn’t look to change my regiment. But being around them shows you that with hard work anything is possible. It makes my dream and my goals more attainable because I’m seeing it in person.
One thing I learned there was about patience. It’s not necessarily about getting the results now. It’s about building and working towards long term success. You may have bad days but as long you keep at it, your time will come to shine.
That’s awesome man. And I think that that outlook and patience can be carried across every discipline. I feel that as a society we’re primed to look for instant gratification. So it’s very refreshing to hear someone with your success preach patience. You’re like a skinny, brown Buddha
Ha, something like that.
German, in high school, you were nominated for Gatorade Male Athlete 2008 of the year. The winner that year was quarterback Matt Barkley He’s since gone on to have a prolific college career at USC and should be one of the first players taken in this years NFL Draft.
Any advice from a professional to a soon to be professional?
I wish I was a quarterback so I could give him some specific advice! But no, I’d definitely tell him to keep doing his thing and to never stop learning. That’s how you get better, by training harder and approaching everything as a learning opportunity. He’s going to do great things, best of luck to him!
One last question German, what’s on your running playlist?
Ooh, good question, I have a lot of Jay-Z, Kanye West and um, a lot of trap music. Basically anything with bass I’m all for. It get’s me super pumped to run.
Have you heard the new A$AP Rocky album?
No, should I?
Yes. It makes me want to run faster and make money. Great album.
Haha, sounds like it. Those are two great things.
Rumor has it you’ll be racing at Stanford on May 30th?
Yup! I should be there and I hope to see you.
Definitely, I’ll catch you in Palo Alto.
Well, I don’t know if you can catch me, but we can definitely hang after the race haha.
Ha, that works with me man.
#FriendshipFridays highlights those friends that are in pursuit of awesomeness and their dreams. Want to be featured on a future installment? Drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you.