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Top 10 finishes become routine for West's Mickey

Sept. 22, 2012 at 4:22 a.m.

Victoria West cross country runner Todd Mickey begins his training day before the sun rises in the cool of the early morning on Tuesday.

Best of the West

UPCOMING MEETS

• Sept. 29 Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

• Oct. 6 Seguin

• Oct. 13 Industrial, at Brackenridge Park, Edna

• Oct. 20 Texas Lutheran, Seguin

• Oct. 26 District 30-4A, at Beeville

Todd Mickey doesn't like to vary from his routine.

He eats a bagel with eggs on the morning of the day before a cross country meet. His dinner on the night before a meet consists of pasta and pudding for dessert, followed by a smoothie later that night. The morning of the meet he eats chocolate chip pancakes with peanut butter.

Mickey won't deny being superstitious, but he figures why mess with something that works.

Mickey has finished in the top 10 in each of the three meets he's run in this season, including a seventh-place finish at last week's Ricardo Romo Classic at the University of Texas-San Antonio that included 247 runners competing in the Class 4A division.

"What made me like running is it gives you a sense of self-fulfillment and satisfaction in what you do every day," Mickey said. "You can see all the gains from it. It's something that what you put in it is what you get out."

Mickey is known by many of his classmates at Victoria West as "the kid who runs."

But he is running with more of a purpose as a junior after qualifying for the regional cross country meet as a freshman and a sophomore.

"I used to taper for district, get to regional and the rest is icing on the cake," he said. "Now, it's like get to regional and get to state level and then actually do well there and not just be there."

Mickey has increased his training regimen every year since he began running during the seventh-grade at Crain Middle School.

He is up to 50 miles a week after running 40 as a sophomore and 30 as a freshman.

He wakes up at the crack of dawn on school days, eats a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and heads to practice. When he gets home?

"Naturally, I go to bed," Mickey said. "I enjoy sleep more than TV. I go to bed really early."

Monday is Mickey's moderate long day. Tuesday he does speed work. Wednesday is a recovery day that usually includes a long run. Thursday is another speed day. Friday is a meet prep day and after a meet on Saturday, he'll run from 10 to 12 miles on Sunday.

"The fact that I've been building up my mileage over the years has been paying off," Mickey said. "You place better in races so that helps carry the momentum into the next weekend. More confidence translates into overall better running."

Mickey rarely stops running. He competes in distance events for the Warriors track and field team and continues training over the summer.

"After cross country and track, I'll take two weeks off after each to let my body recover," he said. "In the offseason, I do a lot of easy mileage. I work on building my mileage up."

Mickey has yet to run a marathon. He is concerned about the stress it would put on his body.

But there is no doubt about his toughness or competitive nature over the varying five-kilometer or three-mile courses he runs.

"I've heard that running is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical," he said. "I don't know if it's quite that much, but it's a lot mental. You'll be in the middle of the race and you'll be running next to a guy and you just want to slow down. But you know if you fight through it maybe a couple of more minutes it will just disappear and go away."

Mickey loves running so much he doesn't wear headphones when he trains.

"I can't stand listening to music," he said. "I listen to my body and stuff when I run to tell where I'm at."

Mickey got a taste of where he stands in the region at the UTSA meet.

He felt a twinge in his knee near the end of the race, but finished and earned a medal.

He skipped Saturday's Sweeny meet, but is expected to run in next week's Texas A&M-Corpus Christi meet.

"His work ethic is off the chart," said West coach Gabe Rojas. "This is where his heart is at. Nothing he'll do will surprise me."

Mickey has begun to turn his attention to the District 30-4A meet, which is scheduled for Oct. 26 in Beeville.

"I want to win district and if I can stay healthy, I believe I can do that," he said. "I want to make it to regional and go out there and push my hardest and if I can make it to state, that would top it off."

Mike Forman is a sports writer for the Victoria Advocate. Contact him at 361-580-6588 or mforman@vicad.com, or comment on this column at www.VictoriaAdvocate.com.

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