MEMBER: Christine Eisenberg
Name: Christine Eisenberg
Hometown: Hauppauge, NY
High School: Hauppauge High School
College: Stony Brook University
Occupation: Graduate Assistant XC/Track Coach - La Salle University
3K Steeple: 10:09
2-time Outdoor NCAA East Prelims Qualifier (2016-17) for the 3000m Steeplechase
2017 Indoor America East 3K Champion
America-East All-Conference in Cross Country & Track
Northeast All-Region in Cross Country
Nominee for Stony Brook’s 2017 Female Athlete of the Year
By: Kevin Brandon (01/11/18)
Christine, thanks for taking time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running with PRTC?
Of Course! I'm from Long Island, NY. I moved to Philadelphia this past August of 2017 for a job position as a Grad Assistant Coach for Track and Cross Country at La Salle University. I wanted to find a running club here in Philly since I feel I have some unfinished business in the sport. I found PRTC through a little research online and reached out to them and was excited that they welcomed me on!
When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
I first became a runner in 10th grade of High School. I tried a plethora of different sports throughout Elementary School and Middle School. I have always been a very competitive person and was constantly trying out new sports to figure out if there was one I could be successful at. Sophomore year I decided to join my high school's Cross Country team. I ran 26 minutes in my first 5k cross country race, not a very promising result. But a few months later I broke my first school record in the indoor 1500 and found my rhythm in the sport from there on out.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
First, I joined Stony Brook University's XC and Track team as a walk-on. I started training with other girls on the team that inspired me to keep up and motivated me to do better each day. My coach Andy Ronan emphasized that hard work pays off when you buy into a program, and I decided to buy in to his. The results of my four years at Stony Brook are something I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I ended my career at Stony Brook with receiving a full athletic scholarship, becoming the 2017 indoor America-East Conference Champion in the 3k, 2-time NCAA East Regional Qualifier (2016-2017) in the 3k Steeple, breaking the SBU school record in the 3k steeple and being honored a 2017 SBU Female Athlete of the Year nominee!
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment?
There are two memories that come to mind. First one is from my Junior year at SBU. I spent the season trying to chase down a Regional qualifier time for the 3k steeple. I had one more race left to try to qualify. I remember it was a rainy day, my legs were extremely heavy on the warm up and I felt a bit burnt out. I had to decide if I was going to let those circumstances dictate my race or suck it up and go for it. I decided to go for it and the result was my breakthrough race. I ran a 19 second PR that day to qualify for Regionals and it was the first time I broke the Stony Brook school record in the event. It was a defining moment in my running career. A moment that showed me that I could do whatever I set my mind to; a mindset I kept for the following year as a senior at SBU.
Another special moment comes to mind, although it is a very bittersweet memory. This was when I won the indoor 3k at America East Champs. Before the start of my indoor track season of my senior year at SBU, I found out my grandma had lung cancer. I spent that indoor season running every race for her. We talked before and after every race, she told me she was inspired by my running, which meant a tremendous amount to me considering she had always been my role model. The last race that I was able to race for her was at 2017 Indoor America East Conference Champs where I won my first and only conference title. She was able to watch a live stream of the race in a hospital across the country. She passed away a few days later, but I am eternally grateful that I was able to win that one last race for her.
How about a not-so-great moment?
Easy Answer for this one, it would have to be my last collegiate race, which was when I raced the 3k steeple at 2017 NCAA Outdoor East Prelims. I had spent a year focused on this one race with one goal in mind; which was to qualify for NCAA Nationals in Eugene. I was seeded 12th in the East heading into the race, giving myself a huge shot at making the National meet.
Unfortunately, a week leading up to Regionals I developed a sharp pain in my hip. The days leading up to the race, every run was painful. Despite this, I tried to remain confident going into the race, reminding myself that I was somewhere around sub 10 pace. The race felt uncomfortable the moment the gun went off, I didn't feel like my usual self, my body hit a wall around less than half way through. Instead of finishing top 3 like planned, I finished 11th. This was definitely the hardest heartbreak I've experienced in the sport, but an experience I've learned a lot from.
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
My goals for my running future is to keep training and keep competing while staying injury free. I hope to get some PR's in the 3k steeple, 1500, mile, and 3k, while also trying out the 5k and 10k on the track and a half-marathon out on the road.
You've recently transitioned from athlete to coach/athlete. Have you enjoyed coaching so far? Has it changed the way you view running?
At first, the transition from athlete to coach was not the easiest transition. It's hard to identify as both an athlete and a coach while taking on Grad School and another part-time job outside of coaching. At first, I had to take a step back from my own training in order to focus on being a coach for others. After 5 months, I am starting to find that happy medium between these roles. I really enjoy being a coach, and have found a lot of joy seeing watching my athletes progress. As a coach I have learned that each individual is going to respond to training and races in very different ways and that each athlete should be trained individually.
As a coach, what sort of training philosophy have you developed? Any recommendations for current club members?
I've developed a lot of my coaching philosophies based off of my collegiate coach, Andy Ronan's philosophy, while also reading about other Elite coaches and their philosophies. My training philosophy focuses on a few important aspects: the importance of buying into a program, communication and trust in coach/athlete relationship, focus on nutrition, rest, and all the rest of the "little things", and the importance of mental health.
What inspired you to explore coaching as a career path?
My old collegiate Assistant Coach Jason Headman inspired me to go into coaching. He helped me explore my options and figure out that this was a career choice that was right for me. I love the sport and the community that surrounds it. I have found more joy in helping others succeed than I had ever felt when I succeeded myself.
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills or talents we may enjoy hearing about?
Non-running hobbies I enjoy are trying new foods, watching indie films, and traveling to experience new places and cultures.