BTC Athlete Spotlight: Emily Infeld

Emily’s journey to Bowerman TC was one that began in uncertainty. After finishing up a tremendous career at Georgetown, she still had a fifth year of eligibility for indoor and outdoor track. Uncertain of whether or not to make the leap into the professional world, Infeld took a trip out to Portland to get a glimpse of her potential future. BTC athlete, Andrew Bumbalough, nicknamed “Bumbi,” was a nice Georgetown connection, and after getting to meet and train with Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher at the time, Emily became sold on the program and set out to train for the Olympic trials.

Infeld soon became one of the solid foundations of the budding Women’s side of BTC, and with Shalane as a training partner, they forged the path for the now extremely established Women’s group. Along with these formative years of training, a close-knit family culture began to form, which was important to Emily after leaving a very similar culture behind at Georgetown. As Emily navigated injuries and a less than ideal 8th place finish at the Olympic trials in 2012 during her senior year, Infeld felt it was time to take the leap and find out her true potential. Since joining Bowerman, Emily Infeld has had an impressive career, making the 2013 World Cross Country Championship team, the 2015 Track World Championship team where she took Bronze in the 10,000m, and most recently, her 2nd place finish at the 2016 Olympic trials, and 11th place finish in the 2016 Olympic 10,000m in Rio.

Fans of Infeld know that one her greatest strengths is adversity on and off the track. Behind some of her most astounding achievements have been battles with stress fractures and arduous hours of cross training. Despite riding the “ups-and-downs” of cyclic injury, Emily has unique insights when it comes to conjuring confidence on the day it matters most. By staying focused on what you can control, and not falling into the easy trap of“getting sucked into everything that has gone wrong for you,” Infeld notes that “no one has the perfect build up” when it comes to a big race, and staying grounded in the topsy-turvy reality of professional track and field is important. Though she feels she put on a happy face about her most recent injury leading into the 2016 Olympic Trials, Infeld truly felt extremely frustrated and a bit devastated about her situation. But by taking her own advice, she focused on each day, and each week, moving with positive momentum towards the trials. When toeing the line with such a talented field, Infeld says you have to be confident and “put your best self out there, whatever your best self happens to be on that day.” She cautions that there is no point in stepping on the line without confidence. 

So what does the “best self” look like for a Bowerman athlete? Emily finds the trending social media title of #Bowermanbabes hilarious, but also a fitting example of the team dynamic the BTC women have. Bringing in individual talents and personalities raises the group up collectively. For example, doing speed work with Shelby Houlihan, who in Infeld’s words is, “so flippin fast!” and at the same time getting to grind mileage with the “tough and gritty” Shalane Flanagan, Amy Cragg, and Betsy Saina. Infeld finds herself in between the range of these talents, which has helped her grow as a professional.

Along with the day to day motivation of being immersed in a cordially competitive atmosphere, the BTC women have a family culture surrounded by laughter and the ability to be one’s silly self, as Infeld demonstrates with her variety of dance move descriptions. Being close with the Bowerman women allows them to hold each other accountable to their true potential, and gives them motivation at big meets like the trials. After Amy, Shalane, Emily, Betsy, Colleen, and Courtney, had all punched their ticket to Rio, Emily said that Shelby Houlihan, who was the last to race said, “you guys can’t leave me behind!” Emily on the other hand, was one of the first BTC women to race, and after talking with coach Jerry Schumacher about positive momentum, she wanted to set a good precedent and start off the trials on a high note.

Off the track, Emily Infeld recently adopted her little kitten Boots from the humane society, who has garnered instant popularity throughout Instagram. Along with taking care of her new “calendar cat” worthy critter, Emily loves to jam out to Blink-182, asserting herself as a “die hard” fan. All in all Emily approaches running and life by surrounding herself with good people, good things, and of course, good cats.