MileSplit Illinois Exclusive Interview: Lindsay Graham Sets The Record Straight

Lindsay Graham enroute to winning the 2014 3A state championship (Ilona Koziel photo)

There is little doubt that Glen Ellyn (Glenbard West) senior Lindsay Graham has become one of the most popular figures in the state on and off the track. On the track Graham has few rivals in the two plus years since transferring from Glenbard East High School. She is #2 on the school all-time 1600m and 3200m lists behind the legendary Madeline Perez. And just like Perez, Graham has a 3A state cross country championship crown on her resume. Off the track Lindsay is incredibly popular among her peers, particularly those on the running scene. Also, she is very accommodating to the media and not afraid to answer any candid question (s) thrown her way. At the present time, Lindsay is facing one of the most challenging times in her high school career. The multiple all-star athlete has been sidelined with a lingering injury that has caused some pundits to speculate whether or not she will return as the same great athlete. Lindsay recently participated in an exclusive interview for MileSplit Illinois to dispel the real from the fake.

First, let us say thank you very much for agreeing to address the issue (s) surrounding you and your injuries.
My pleasure!

You have been one of the most celebrated athletes in Illinois since transferring over from Glenbard East as a sophomore. What has that process been like and are you completely happy with the transition?
The transition was hard but it was definitely worth it. The training program at Glenbard West is very different than that of Glenbard East. It was also hard to say goodbye to friendships and the coaches at Glenbard East, but Glenbard West was immediately a very welcoming environment.

Glenbard West has become a power house in girls running, specifically long distance running. What is the culture like inside and outside the team camp?
The culture is simply incredible. The team is full of amazing girls and it feels like a family. There is a lot of support. The sport of running can help you meet some wonderful people! Outside of running, Glenbard West has a lot of school spirit which I like. It is also a tough academic school filled with driven students, but this has helped me!

You had an awesome junior year in cross country- one of the best in IHSA history. Can you tell us how you mentally and physically prepared yourself for it?
Thank you so much for the kind words. Physically, I prepared by doing runs as usual and not going into overdrive by doing too much over the summer. It is a long season. Mentally, I made sure to keep my love for running and to have a good balance in that running is just one part of my life. I also realized that worrying doesn't do anything for your performance... so why worry!?

It seemed as though it was business as usual for indoor track when you ran eye popping marks (10:22/4:55). Then all of a sudden you disappeared. What happened?
My indoor season of track was a great one and I am very proud of it. Then, starting over spring break, I had a lot of bad luck with injuries. My biggest issue was how tall I grew in a short amount of time, throwing my body out of whack.

There are some outsiders who have begun to speculate that you are hiding something more than a growth plate issue in your foot. Can you dispel the rumors from the truth?
Absolutely. Running is a hard sport on the body, especially that of a growing person. Growing a large amount all at once paired with trying to run more mileage is what did me in as it took time for my body to adjust. I also tried to come back from my injury too quickly, and over-trained my body via cross training. I was making progress over the summer but these two mistakes derailed me, essentially doubling my rebound time. Building back up to normal mileage as well as overcoming the obstacle of being at square-1 running fitness is a big hurdle that takes a lot of time. I am towards the end of my "recovering from the injury" phase and beginning to work on becoming a runner again. When it comes to an injury, you must first recover from it and then regain the lost fitness- the hardest part. That's why it takes so long!

Obviously, you are one of the most talked about female athletes in Illinois, but nationally you have created a buzz. Are you aware of such talk?
Not really, but I am very flattered by the idea of it. I feel like I'm just a normal person that works hard. Some runners and their accomplishments amaze me, and in my head, it doesn't feel as though there can be a comparison made between them and me. That said, I do know I can achieve great things with a smart work ethic and healthy environment!

The colleges are hunting for you for sure. What has that process been like and have they asked you about your injuries?
The process has been great. This injury has helped me find incredible, understanding coaches- which everyone needs. They have been very understanding, and believe that hurdles like this make you stronger! That is so true. I'm excited!

Thank you so much Lindsay. We wish you full speed ahead and back in action soon!
Thank you so much! A smooth sea never made a great sailor. I'll be back soon!