Jan. 28, 2014
Zimmer confident as indoor season resumesBy David Boyce
MARYVILLE, Mo. - Throughout January, the days have been so cold that it takes a bit of courage to venture outside. Northwest Missouri State sophomore Nolan Zimmer is not among the timid when it comes to extreme weather.
In order for Zimmer to have a successful indoor season and carry that momentum into the spring for the outdoor season, he knows he has to get his miles in.
Zimmer, a cross country and distance runner for the Bearcats, has been putting in the work inside and outside.
It hasn’t mattered to Zimmer when the temperature dips below freezing at 32 degrees. That is actually balmy conditions for Zimmer and some of his teammates.
“Even if the weather is pretty cold, we try to get outdoors as much as possible even though it is indoor season,” Zimmer said. “Definitely, we have run well below zero. Several of us who have run in negative five, negative 10 and maybe even colder.
“I have been running close to five years and I have run in any kind of weather you can think of, thunderstorms, blizzards. You name it, and I have run in it. It is part of the journey.”
The journey takes Zimmer and the rest of the Northwest men and women’s track team to Seward, Neb., Saturday for the Concordia Classic.
For Zimmer, it is the first indoor meet in two weeks. He is going in with confidence. In his last meet, Zimmer placed seventh in the 3000 meter run at the Holiday Inn Invitational at Lincoln Nebraska.
Five of the runners who finished ahead of him were from Division I schools.
“I kind of exceeded my expectations of where I would be at this point,” Zimmer said. “I was in really good shape going in because I worked really hard over the winter. I put in a lot of miles.
“I knew I was in good shape, but I didn’t know how good of track shape I was in. I was really happy with the time I ran.”
Zimmer finished with a time of 8:30.8, which was nearly 20 seconds faster than the time he came in with.
The meet Saturday begins a stretch in which the Bearcats will compete in some form every weekend in February in preparation for the MIAA Indoors Track and Field Championships, which will be held Feb. 28-March 2 at Missouri Southern.
A year ago at conference, Zimmer finished eighth in the 5000 meter run and 16th in the 3000. He has already turned in a time 20 seconds faster than the one he had at the conference meet.
In fact, the time he ran two weeks ago would have placed him third last year at the conference.
Obviously, with the conference meet still a little over a month away, Zimmer is not focusing on those things.
“I want to keep working hard and taking it one day at a time and one run at a time,” he said.
He is also enjoying life as a student-athlete, supporting other student-athletes at Northwest. Last Wednesday, he was one of many student-athletes who cheered on the men’s basketball team to a one-point victory over Missouri Southern.
The atmosphere at Bearcat Arena was electric. It was clear the players on the men’s team were pumped up for a battle for first place.
As a long-distance runner, Zimmer can’t afford to use that kind of emotion before the start of the race. It would leave him with no energy at the end.
“Obviously, with running, emotions are more bottled up on the inside than what you would see with a football player or a basketball player,” Zimmer said.
“For myself, I try to remain as relaxed as possible before the race and while I am running the race. I think I do a pretty good job of keeping a relaxed form even though I’m at the end of the race and I am in a lot of pain, I try to hide it. I try to remain as relaxed looking as possible.”
Judging by his results and his steady improvement, Zimmer’s running style is working for him.
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