The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Q&A | Iowa distance runner Abby Ryon talks pre-meet routine

The Iowa senior spoke to The Daily Iowan about her mentors and family life.
Senior+Abby+Ryon+competes+during+the+Hawkeye+invite+at+Ashton+Cross-Country+Course+in+Iowa+City%2C+on+Friday%2C+Sept.+1%2C+2023.+The+Iowa+mens+team+won+the+invite+with+the+women+coming+in+second.
Theodore Retsinas
Senior Abby Ryon competes during the Hawkeye invite at Ashton Cross-Country Course in Iowa City, on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. The Iowa men’s team won the invite with the women coming in second.

The Daily Iowan: What is your pre-meet routine?

Abby Ryon: I like to wake up and get a little shake out [run] in. Just a little jog to shake out all those nerves. Then, I have breakfast. I like to have cereal. On the way to the meet, I like to meditate a little bit. I close my eyes, take a few breaths in, and feel my body to prepare myself for what I’m about to do.

DI: Has this stayed consistent through all of your years of running?

Ryon: It has definitely changed. I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast, but it sat a little too heavy, so I switched to cereal.

DI: I have to ask. What is your go-to cereal?

Ryon: My go-to cereal on race day is Cheerios. I have to keep it really plain. My favorite cereal, though, toggles between Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Frosted Flakes. Those are my top two, but if you ask me in a month, it might change.

DI: What do you do right after you cross the finish line?

Ryon: I find the water, find the shade, and take a seat. One of my favorite things that is also part of our cool down is [the team] says one thing we are proud of ourselves for doing during the race and something we are proud of another person for doing.

DI: What has been your proudest race moment?

Ryon: A big moment for me was when I finished my first [10,000-meter race]. That race is kind of a monster. I really pushed hard through those tough moments, and I came out on the other side.

DI: Looking back on experiences like that one, what’s something you wish you could tell your younger self?

Ryon: In high school, I had a very limited mindset. But if I could go back, I would tell myself that I can do anything.

DI: Who all helped you realize that?

Ryon: Coach Randy Hasenbank is definitely one of them. He has the mentality that anyone can be a superstar, but it just might take some time. One of my mentors in the biology department has been there with me since freshman year as well. And then my dad — he’s been a big part of my entire life. My parents see the best in me and the best in everybody.

DI: Are you close to your family?

Ryon: We are super close. Going into college, I thought I would call my mom like once on the weekend, but I still call either my mom or dad once a day.

DI: What do you wish you could tell the people who got you to where you are today?

Ryon: I would give them a big thank you. I would not be the person I am today without those people and so many more. It’s the same with my teammates. Everybody wants to succeed themselves, but they also want to see others succeed. It’s a really special thing to be a part of.

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About the Contributors
Mia Boulton
Mia Boulton, Sports Reporter
she/her/hers
Mia Boulton is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, as well as exploring a possible double major in Sports Media. She works at the Daily Iowan as a sports reporter. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Mia has been a photographer for her hometown newspaper, The Record.
Theodore Retsinas
Theodore Retsinas, Photojournalist
(he/him/his)
Theodore Retsinas is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Neuroscience.