Interview with Andrew Wheating, OTC Runner

Andrew Wheating is the second Oregon Track Club athlete I have interviewed since we began our first official pro athlete sponsorship. It is so exciting to have Andrew on board with us at Wild Friends. Not only is he a fellow University of Oregon Duck, but he is also a decorated NCAA champion, as well as an Olympian! 

We're excited to be fueling Andrew on all his running adventures this year. Read on to learn more about this incredible athlete!

Where did you grow up?
I spent the majority of my childhood in Westford, Vermont and my youth/high schooling in Norwich, Vermont.

When did you first begin running -- did you play other sports first? 
I played, quite literally, every single sport imaginable and running was the last one. I discovered running when I was a junior in high school. My school did not have a track team so for two years I did cross country, it wasnt until the conclusion of my senior years cross country season that I decided to seek out a track coach and test my skills out on the 8 lane oval.

Did you always dream of becoming a professional runner? When did that enter the realm of possibilities for you?
Ever since I was old enough to kick a soccer ball I dreamt of being on the US World Cup soccer team. Even when I discovered running and the dream of being an Olympic athlete crept into my mind, there was still the dream of being a professional soccer player.

It wasn't until I broke 4 minutes in the mile my sophomore year that I started to believe that I could probably run professionally. Then when I qualified for the 2008 Olympic Team that summer it became apparent that being a professional soccer player was a dream that I had to let go, because I was going to be a pro track athlete!

What have been a few highlights of your career so far?
Without a doubt, the 2008 800m Olympic Trials will be my favorite high light of my career. It was the purest result I have ever had. No pressure, no expectation, no loss, only something to gain. Winning the 800 and sweeping (1-2-3) the 1500 at the NCAA championships my senior year on my home track also top that list.
What has been your greatest struggle so far in your career?
Injuries. It's been, by far, the most frustrating thing to have to sit on the couch and watch my peers set records, win medals, and become champions knowing that I am beyond capable of doing the same if not for a strained this or a pulled that.

When did you first start running with OTC? 
I signed up with OTC right after college -- Summer of 2010.

What do you see as the biggest positive about being a part of OTC?

The team and community. My job is to push my body to the absolute limit and often fatigue sets in. Having supportive teammates makes the fatigue hurt less than if I was to be doing this on my own. On top of that we also have a major running community in Eugene that is beyond supportive. I'm not sure we would have the kind of attention anywhere else. OTC isn't just a track club, its a track community.

What are your passions outside of running?
I enjoy creativity, I like filming videos that make people laugh. I enjoy playing the guitar. I have two dogs (who I call my kids) that I absolutely adore! When free time does come my way, I like to spend it with my "kids" at the park.

What does an average day in the life look like for you?

Starts with 4 eggs and 2 strips of bacon, then I'm off to the track for a workout. A general breakdown would go something like this:
7:00am - Breakfast
10:00am - 1st Workout
12:00pm - Lunch/Recovery Nap
2:00pm - Snack (Most days it's Wild Friends Peanut Butter and Jelly!)
4:00pm - 2nd Workout/Run/Swim (it varies)
7:00pm - Dinner
10:00pm - Bed

What are some things coming up for you that you are excited about?
I'm thrilled to run over in Europe this summer! Assuming all goes well and I'm healthy, there's no telling what could happen across the pond in the warm weather.

What role does nutrition play for you in your training?
Everything! What I put in my body is fuel for how I perform and for how I recover. Protein, carbs, fruits and veggies, and sugars are all things I have to be conscientious of in order to maximize my overall performance on and off the track.  

And, of course -- what is your favorite flavor of Wild Friends Nut Butter? How do you like to eat it?
Although I have yet to try them all, my favorite flavor so far has to be Vanilla Espresso Almond Butter! Chocolate Coconut Peanut Butter is a VERY close second though! Big fan of everything so far! Keep up the amazing work!!

Thanks Andrew! We can't wait to hear about what's next for you in 2014.

(Photo Credits: 1. All-Athletics.com 2. Andy Lyons / Getty Images North America 3. Thomas Boyd / The Oregonian)

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