20 Questions with Kathryn Ritter

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Gophersports: What is the first thing you think about when you wake up?

Kathryn Ritter: I think about what I want to have for breakfast.

GS: Do you have any siblings? How many?

KR: My older sister Megan is 24, and my younger brother Steven is 15.

GS: What is your favorite class or professor so far at Minnesota, and why?

KR: My favorite class has been Human Physiology.  The subject matter was very interesting to me, and I learned a lot over the course of the semester.  This class helped me realize that I really want to pursue medical school after graduation.

GS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

KR: Cereal

GS: Who was your role-model as a child? Why? Has your role model changed now that you are older?

KR: I looked up to Mia Hamm when I was younger.  I started playing soccer when I was in first grade, and I wanted to be just like her.  She was such a talented athlete and always carried herself in a classy manner.  After her brother Garrett passed away, Mia Hamm also worked to support patients who needed bone marrow transplant.  She was such a positive role-model.

GS: How has being a student and athlete at Minnesota influenced your life?

KR: Being a student-athlete at Minnesota has been such a great experience.  I am very thankful for all of the opportunities that I have had to compete for the Gophers and be a part of a team.  Being both a student and an athlete has also taught me how to stay organized and balance my life.  It has forced me to plan ahead to make sure that I am getting everything done.  This can be challenging at times but definitely worth it!

GS: Why did you first decide to become a runner?

KR: When I was in elementary school, we had an Olympic Day at the end of the school year.  I always looked forward to it and had so much fun running the races there.  I was excited to finally enter middle school when I could join the track team.  It was the greatest thing ever back then because it was like having Olympic Day every day. 

GS: What was the biggest adjustment you had to make when moving from high school cross country to running in college? 

KR: I had to get used to running higher mileage and racing a 6K.  My primary event in high school was the 800, so it was an adjustment to transition to long distance training.

GS: What is the most difficult course you've ever run? 

KR: Our home course!

GS: What is the most unusual or creative workout you've ever run at practice? 

KR: Blind fartleks are the most creative workouts that we have ever done.  We run in small groups and then we rotate who is in charge of leading the workout.  The leader gets to decide how long we will run hard before we go back to an easy run pace.  It is a fun workout because you never really know what you will be doing until a few seconds beforehand.

GS: What team or individual performance are you most proud of? 

KR: I am most proud of qualifying for the NCAA Preliminary round in the 1500 during track season of my sophomore year.

GS: Use five words to describe yourself.

KR: Optimistic, Hard-working, Considerate, Determined, Reliable

GS: Describe your perfect day - who would you spend it with, what would you do, where would you be?

KR: On a perfect day, I would go camping with friends.  I would love to spend the day hiking, canoeing, and swimming in a lake.  Then we would spend the night hanging out by the bonfire.

GS: What is your pre-race routine?

KR: When we arrive at the course, I listen to music for awhile and think about my race plan.  About 50 minutes before race time, we go for our warm-up run as a team before we stretch and do drills.  Then I like to do my final strides at the starting line.  We do our final team cheer, and then we are all ready to run.

GS: Other than the Gophers, what is your favorite sports team? (College or Pro)

KR: Green Bay Packers

GS: What do you miss the most about being at home?

KR: I miss spending time with my family and home-cooked meals.  During the warmer months, I especially miss how my house had air-conditioning.

GS: What is the best advice you have received? Who was it from?

KR: One of my high school teachers told our class to always live as if you are in "the best years of your life." 

GS: What are you listening to on your iPod right now?

KR: Dave Matthews Band, Hootie & the Blowfish, Eric Church

GS: If you had the choice to travel either forward or backward in time, which would you choose? Why?

KR: I would travel backward in time because I would love to experience what life was like before the Information Age.

GS: Where is your favorite place at the University of Minnesota?

KR: My favorite place is the running path right next the Mississippi River.  It is so beautiful during the fall when all of the leaves are changing colors.

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