Posted 7/06/11 (Wed)
By Olivia Sundeen
Farmer Staff Writer
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
Christine (Bruins) Schmaltz, the daughter of Gary and Betty Bruins of Arnegard, has an extraordinary gift that allowed her to run a personal record (P.R.) of 2:01.17 in the open 800 meter run at the U.S. Championships. That time qualified Schmaltz for the U.S. Olympic Trials at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. June 22 - July 1, 2012.
“This has just been an amazing and unreal experience,” stated Schmaltz. “I never thought I was capable of this feat.”
After Schmaltz graduated from Watford City High School, she went on to North Dakota State University to continue her running career.
“I went into college pretty much clueless about the running world outside of North Dakota,” stated Schmaltz. “It was a big adjustment as a freshman getting used to the miles I put in running and running year- round.”
Schmaltz continued to excel at running track for NDSU, but ran into a bump her junior year.
“I took a break from running during the indoor season,” stated Schmaltz. “I got mono and could not seem to get over it. It was probably one of the best things that I did because it made me realize how much I missed running and being on the team.”
Once Schmaltz rediscovered her love for running she never looked back. Last year at the NCAA Regionals in Texas, Schmaltz missed advancing on to the NCAA’s by one place.
“I was really disappointed that I had been so close,” stated Schmaltz. “It really got me focused on what I wanted to accomplish this year.”
This year at Duke, Schmaltz ran her first P.R. of the year with a time of 2:05.
Next she shattered her own time by running a 2:02.77 at the American Milers Club High Performance Series in Indianapolis.
“I wanted to make sure I would make it into the U.S. Championships,” stated Schmaltz. “This was a very big P.R. for me. I finally started to believe in myself!”
The U.S. Championships were held Sunday, June 26, 2011. Schmaltz placed 8th out of 30 girls in the finals of the open 800 meters with her current P.R. of 2:01.17. Her time is now the school record at NDSU.
“Running at the U.S. Championships was an awesome experience,” stated Schmaltz. “To be able to compete with Olympic caliber athletes was a real eye-opening experience!”
Schmaltz was the only collegiate runner that made it to the finals of the 800 meter run.
“If you would have told me I would have gotten 8th at the U.S. Championships at the beginning of this year I would have said you were crazy,” exclaimed Schmaltz. “This has been such an awesome experience running for NDSU, I have so much to be thankful for!”
Schmaltz is looking forward to continuing her journey as a runner, but she says she couldn’t have made it this far on her own.
“My family has been there for me through all of my track career,” stated Schmaltz. “My husband, Michael, especially, has been so supportive of me. I couldn’t have done it without all of them.”
Currently, Schmaltz is enjoying a little down time, but not for long. She plans to keep her eye on the prize by logging some more mileage this summer.
“I ran cross country this year, which I feel really helped prepare me for the high intensity workouts that I have been doing,” stated Schmaltz. “Lately, I have been doing less miles because of competition. So the plan is to do longer miles again this summer.”
Schmaltz doesn’t contribute her success to her insane workouts. Instead she feels it was a mental feat.
“I think a lot of improving my time was in my head,” stated Schmaltz. “Having the guts to go out with a fast first lap and trust yourself, that you will be able to finish hard, is half of the battle.”
Even though Schmaltz has qualified by time for the U.S. Olympic Trials, she plans on training for one more year and hopes to make it to the finals again next year.
“So far my strategy has worked,” stated Schmaltz. “If it isn’t broke why fix it. But if I do try to change anything it would be to add more muscle. I am pretty small compared to the runners who ran a sub two minute.”
It will be interesting to see how far hometown hero, Christine Schmaltz will go. Maybe one day she will be representing good ’ol North Dakota on Team U.S.A.