Catching Up with Allison Palmer

Aug. 6, 2008

The UCF cross country team will start the 2008 campaign at home when it hosts the UCF Black & Gold Challenge on Sept. 5, followed by the UCF Cross Country Invitational on Sept 13. This season, the Knights will be led by three seniors, including Allison Palmer. The UCF athletics communications staff was able to catch up with Palmer recently to learn how she is preparing herself for her final collegiate season.

How have you been preparing for the upcoming season knowing that it will be your last at UCF?
I have been getting in a good base mileage and for the last month I have been on staff at running camps in North Carolina.

The season starts with the first two meets at home. How great of an advantage is it for the team to run on campus?
When running on campus, you get a lot of support from the school, and other sports teams can come out and help cheer the team on. It will be a good opener to get the girls into a good race mode.

What are your goals for the team and yourself in the 2008 season?
Last year we got seventh out of 12th in conference, so our goal this year is to finish in the top three. My goals for myself this year would be to achieve a sub 18 minute time in the 5k.

Majoring in math education, how hard is it to balance your school work and running during the fall and spring semesters?
It definitely requires a lot of discipline. When it comes down to it, you have to sit yourself down and do your schoolwork. Right now I live with teammates who have difficult majors such as micro-molecular biology, so it is easy when they are studying to tell myself to study also. We all pull out our books together and sit around the table to study. It helps out a lot.

Since you are from Oviedo, did the close proximity of UCF play an important role in your decision to attend school here?
It played a big role, because I knew a lot of the staff here at UCF. I knew some professors, but not any of the coaches. Being local, I know my way around and I can help out my other teammates knowing the area so well. For instance, in case one of their cars breaks down, I can tell them where to take and get it fixed. Also, if they want to know the best Italian restaurant in town, I can tell them that too.

Before a race, do you have any rituals or superstitions?
I do have a ritual. An hour before the race, I go off by myself and pray that everyone has a good race, and that I am focused and not distracted by the elements around me. I get in the race mode by thinking to myself that the conditions are the same for everyone, and that I have trained hard for this race. It is mostly just positive thoughts before the race.

Looking back, what has been your favorite cross country moment thus far at UCF?
My favorite cross country moment definitely has to be the 2005 Stetson Invitational. The course was flooded. In one area of it the water came all the way up to my calves, and we had to run through that part. It was really run, because it was like a slip-n-slide course. It is also one of my favorite memories because I came in third that race with the team winning the meet.

What are your plans after graduating from UCF in the spring?
If I enjoy math education, then I will go onto pursuing my master's degree in the same field immediately. It will most likely be at UCF. As far as teaching plans, I hope to get a job as professor on the college level. I guess it all depends on the internships this coming semester and if I enjoy them.

- Eric DeSalvo