Chris Solinsky left the University of Wisconsin after graduating in 2007 as the Badgers' most decorated men's track and field and cross country athlete. The Stevens Point, Wis., native earned All-America honors 11 times in track and also was a three-time All-American in cross country.
Solinsky won five individual NCAA titles on the track and scored a total of eight top-three finishes during his career. In cross country, he earned All-America laurels in three-consecutive seasons, including a third-place finish in 2005.
That performance at the 2005 NCAA Championship helped the Badgers secure the NCAA team title, and Solinsky also was part of UW's first-ever track and field national title at the 2007 NCAA Indoor Championships.
At the conference level, Solinsky won four Big Ten titles in track and was a four-time pick to the first-team All-Big Ten squad in cross country. In all, the UW teams Solinsky was part of went undefeated in Big Ten championships competition, winning titles in cross country, indoor track and outdoor track to secure the Big Ten triple crown in each of his four years on campus.
Earlier this year, Solinsky made the move from Madison to Portland, Ore., where he continues to train as a professional for Nike and the Oregon Track Club under the direction of former UW cross country and assistant track coach Jerry Schumacher.
The move proved to be a good move, as Solinsky and fellow former Badgers Matt Tegenkamp and Evan Jager finished 1-2-3 in the 5,000 meters at the USA Outdoor Championships in June and will represent the U.S. at the IAAF World Championships later this month.
Runner's World has a video series dedicated to following the trio's preparations for the World Championships, including an bcpid=2884339001&bclid=29491092001&bctid=31557098001"> --> installment that follows Solinsky around his hometown of Stevens Point.
UWBadgers.com caught up with Solinsky before he departed for Europe for the final stages of training in advance of the World Championships:
How much are you enjoying Portland
I'm enjoying Portland quite a lot! I have just purchased a house and my fiance, Amy Dahlin, and I are trying to get settled while she is out here. We have such a great setup here as our training base is the Nike Campus, so as you can guess we have some of the best facilities in the world.
How difficult was it to leave Madison after spending so many formative years there
It was a very difficult to leave Madison, because I really enjoyed my time there. I have so many friends there still and miss them all. Plus, Amy has been in Madison finishing up school, so that has been tough to be away from her, but the way the U.S. championships went made it all worth it. I've lived in Wisconsin my entire life until this year, so this has been a tough transition at first, but I used my running to kind of ease myself in.
The 1,500 meters race you were part of at the McClimon Complex last summer ended up being a nice send-off for the three of you. How much did you enjoy that night and all the support from the crowd
That night was great, and the turnout was incredible! I would have liked to run better for my friends and family that were there, but that doesn't change how great the atmosphere was for the race. That is one of the great things about the city of Madison and the state of Wisconsin. You can throw a race together last minute and tell people that you're trying to run fast and they turn out surprisingly well each and every time.
Maybe we can get the same kind of turnout for the alumni cross country race at the beginning of October, as we've talked about trying to make it back to test out the new cross country course at University Ridge.
Youre engaged. How are your wedding plans coming along
I am engaged to the girl of my dreams, Amy Dahlin! We met on the UW track and field team a while back when she pole vaulted for the womens team. I was too afraid to ask her out and, after a few years, she was the one that made the move on me. Luckily one of us has guts!
It has been tough to be away from her for so long this year, but we are making our way through it and will be married in December, after which she will be moving out to Portland with me. I just bought a house outside of Portland, in Beaverton, Ore., and we are planning on getting a golden retriever when we get out there.
What is a typical day like for you now in Portland, training-wise
Well, busy to say the least. For a while I used to feel guilty telling people that I ran for a living as it mostly consisted of running twice a day and that was pretty much it, but now we do so much more.
An average day would consist of getting up at 7 a.m., grabbing a small snack and heading out for the longer run or workout, then following that by some kind of core/strength program. Then get either some breakfast or lunch, or brunch if you will. Maybe have about an hour or so of resting/relaxing, then out the door for either a massage or some other kind of core strengthening. This would be followed by a second recovery run, which I would follow up with physical therapy three times a week. Then it is finally dinner time and time to relax for the night and by this time it is usually 6 or 7 p.m. So we put in a lot of time now and it has become literally a full time job.
What adjustments have you had to make between collegiate track and professional running
Well, we don't have to worry about studying, so we can actually get to bed at a reasonable time, which is about 2-3 hours earlier than I did while at school. I have had to improve my diet because there is no excuse for not taking the time to prepare a healthy balanced meal, versus the typical frozen pizza three times a week and PB&J sandwiches to fill in the gaps.
Other than that the training is just a lot harder, but the other changes in sleep and eating have helped to adjust to that. I guess another adjustment has been to get used to not running for a team anymore. I was so proud to wear the Badger uniform for my four years there, and to just be wearing another Nike uniform was an adjustment at first. Now, wearing an Oregon Track Club singlet, we kind of have that back a bit but not nearly to the same degree. Ill always be running as a Badger and proudly!"
How exciting is it to know youll be representing the U.S. at the World Championships
It is really exciting to know that I'll be representing my country at the highest level for our sport. Not only representing my country, but representing the University of Wisconsin, all Badgers past and present, and my hometown of Stevens Point, I will be carrying a lot of pride when I step to the line wearing the Red, White, and Blue!
I'm quite excited to toe the line with the best in the world and not be intimidated by anyone and to take a shot at a podium spot and see my flag flying.