Eva is an aspiring Olympian, training to be selected for steeple chase for the Czech Republic. She was at San Francisco University as a student athlete. Last year she went back to Czech Republic after her studies, but she came back in January to train in Las Vegas and then Boulder, Colorado.
Eva when did you start running competitively?
I started running when i was around 4 years old and I had my first competition when I was 6. I looked up at my dad as a role model, he introduced me to outdoor sports and to running. I saw him leaving the house with his running sneakers and one day I asked him if I could join him. I believe it must be hard for a father to say no to his little daughter; even though he knew that I would slow him down, he said yes and he took me for my first run and since then I never stopped.
What did you like about running since then?
As a child I loved the company of my father and he came up with such great adventures! I loved to follow him. Sometimes now I ask myself: "how come am I still running?". Then I think that I am proud of little Eva that was so stoked of going for a run when all her friends where out playing. I think this is why a keep running. I don't want to disappoint the little Eva. She is the biggest competitor in my mind and she still pushes me.
Can you tell us more about your role models?
My dad has been my role model. He introduced me to this whole world of adventurous lifestyle and the outdoors. I also admired Emil Zátopek, the first athlete to ever win 5km, 10m and marathon at the 1954 Olympics in Helsinki. When I was younger I was hungry for different source of inspiration but now I find inspiration between my friends and people who are passionate about something in their life. They are striving for either adventure or education or they are just curious about life and the world around them. I was very lucky in the 5 years I spent in the states I was surrounded by great inspirational people.
How do you train now?
After training for 20 years I can finally enjoy the life of a professional runner. It is not a Michel Jordan contract but it allows me to train every day and actually come here for a training camp in the USA. For me it has always been hard to do just one thing. In college I had a double major and double minor together with training twice a day. My time was crammed with training and school and then after graduation I was working and running , doing and internship and running. It was very overwhelming and I realised that it did not allow me to recover fully because I was always stressing about the next thing and it took focus away from running. Now with the training camp I can just focus on training twice a day and this is what really makes me stronger.
Do you follow a specific training regime?
No I love food and I am greedy so I fit as much as I can in my schedule and so I can enjoy eating. It is ironic that my diet is healthier in the USA (than in Czech Republic). I lived in San Francisco and Boulder, which are both health conscious cities and I was surrounded by active people and athletes. I like eating healthy foods. The hardest thing is just controlling my portions.
What about training books that you would recommend ?
I also enjoy rock climbing and I was always inspired about the climbing community and like reading the mountaineering and climbing stories. Climbing for me is like a therapy to turn of my brain, shut down these "screaming monkeys" in my head so I feel when I read climbing literature that helps me for my running. The place where I am staying now, at Martina and Benny's house, it is full of climbing and mountaineering literature so I have been reading them! My favorite part of the day is coming downstairs in the morning and starting the day with a big bowl of oatmeal, a delicious cup of coffee and the Alpinist magazine !
Can you describe more of what you called these "screaming monkeys" ?
Well you know in your head you have yourself but there all these voices, sometimes you need to silence them and shut them down to stay in the moment. I feel athletics in my case, but especially climbing helps me concentrate. When you go rock climbing ( and you are not scared to die) and get the flow, all those worries and doubts in your head all of a sudden disappear. This is what I mean with shutting down the "screaming monkeys".
Are you ever worried about falls or injuries when climbing ?
That is a tricky thing for climbing. Of course in normal situation if you fall off and twist your ankle it sucks, but if you are a professional athlete that will ruin completely your whole running career. But when you are climbing if you freak out that is the worst reaction that you can ever have because then you start panicking and the whole situation gets worst. That' s when you need to calm down, breathe, refocused your attention and be in the moment. But that is really hard, if some one knows how to do it please hit me up.
Do you have any sponsorship ?
At the moment I am a professional athlete, I am part of the athletics federation in the Czech Republic. I get a monthly salary which is tight, I have to watch my budget but it will cover the season. Then I can call on the generosity of my friends that let me stay at their place in the USA, like Benny and Martina and other people in Boulder as a form of sponsorship. Then I have product sponsorship from Hammer nutrition. They make recovery drinks and protein bars.
Your are training for the Olympics, what are your hopes ?
The whole Olympic dream started when I was really young. There is a cute story that I can tell you. I was playing in the garden of my grandmother and I placed this red ribbon around a tree. My grandmother called me in to eat lunch. I said : "yes I am coming" but I would not go to have lunch because I was at the Olympic stadium. My grandmother came to the garden and asked me: "Eva, what are you doing here ? What is that ribbon doing on the tree? ". I looked at her and said: "Grandma, this is not a ribbon, is the Olympic fire !”. I was Five years old then and since I have been wanting to make the Olympic Games. Sometimes I doubt myself, it has been taking a while and I wonder if it is all worth it. I am very close this year. Last year I run 3 second slower than the Olympic standard. If I could run a little faster and shave off this 3 second, this year I could qualify.
What is more scary for you, a day at the office or a day racing ?
Every time before a race I am nervous and I ask myself why am I doing this ? I'm stressed and nervous and over thing the whole race, but after the race I think, whoa this is cool, it is a rush. Now when I'm comfortably sitting on a couch I think a day at the office is easier but you will not remember it, but I will remember a day on the starting line.
What are you hoping to do after being a professional runner?
Well, I will never quit running completely. It became my lifestyle so I will always go for some nice runs. I would like to do more rock climbing. I want to experience being on the sharp end and not fear that I will fall, injure myself and not been able to run so I am excited about investing more energy into rock climbing.
Eva you are 6'2". Do you think it is an advance in running or climbing to be as tall as you are ?
I think that as for other things in life there is no perfect type of body. We are all so diverse and we need to take advantage of what we have got. I have this tall body so obviously in steeple chase it is an advantage because I jump over the big barriers, but when I run in a pack it is harder for me to jump over the barriers because there are so many bodies around and it is harder with the long legs to extend over the hurdles. I end up loosing seconds and energy. I am also heavier and use more oxygen then the others. In climbing it is the same: I can reach some further holds but if I am climbing steep walls the pendulum is bigger.
Is there any other advice you would like to give to the readers ?
I'm not sure, I am normally the one that seeks advice !... My general advice is to have a passion, something you strive for and get excited for and makes you smile! For climbing find some stoked climbing parter to go out with. It is always easier to go in 2.
Evan has been suffering with plantar fascia injury that she is recovering from. We really hope she recovers fully, keeps training and makes it to the Olympics!