Middle distance runners Lindsey Gallo and Katie Erdman are two
of the most competitive runners on the Michigan women’s track
and field team. They train with each other on a daily basis, but
usually do not run the same events in meets. When they occasionally
run against each other, as they did over the weekend at the South
Florida Invitational, they run as teammates first and competitors
second.

“The race plan was actually pretty formulated,”
Erdman said of the 1,500-meter event. “We know who is going
to set the pace, but when it comes down to the line, a race is
still a race.”

As Erdman is focused more on the 800-meter and Gallo’s
specialty is the 1,500-meter, their respective strengths compliment
each other, and they are not caught up with inner-team rivalry.
Instead, Gallo carries Erdman on the longer track intervals and
Erdman pulls Gallo on the short stretches. The duo’s
strategies worked, as both ran NCAA Regional qualifying times
— Gallo placed first with a time of 4:23.47 and Erdman
clocked in shortly after (4:28.65) — in their first outdoor
competition of the year.

The two women started the season a meet later than the rest of
the team, following their performances at the NCAA Indoor
Championships in March. Gallo’s sixth-place finish in the
mile was a personal-best and also was the best showing by a
Wolverine at the National Championships.

Erdman, a freshman who redshirted her outdoor season last year,
had not raced on an outdoor track for over two years. A stress
fracture in her femur took her out of commission and gave her a new
outlook on running.

“It can be hard when you are so out of shape that running
two miles feels like death,” Erdman reflected. “But you
just have to be patient and know that you’ll come back
eventually.”

As the current record holder in the 600- and 800-meter events,
Erdman has recuperated and achieved great success. She enjoys the
payoff of having to wait a while to see her improvements affect her
results, and she finds racing incredibly satisfying.

Gallo’s biggest motivation to train is being surrounded by
her teammates.

“I like the feeling of racing well,” Gallo said.
“But I love being on the team and training with my
friends.”

Gallo’s career was also affected by stress fractures. The
junior was forced to redshirt her freshman outdoor and sophomore
indoor seasons because of injuries in her shins. These problems
caused her to always stay focused on the positives and remember
that her only goal is to always run the best she possibly can.

Outdoor and indoor tracks are shaped differently, which affects
a runner’s strategy and mindset. The tighter turns on an
indoor track place stress on the inside (left) leg. This slows down
the runner and also can lead to more injuries. On an outdoor track,
there are the straightaways, making outdoor times a little faster
than the indoor season.

This weekend the Wolverines travel to Knoxville, Tenn., for the
Sea Ray Relays and face Tennessee, who boasts the current Distance
Medley NCAA Champs.

“It should be a very competitive weekend,” Gallo
said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge.”

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