Cady McPhail: Female Athlete of the Week

Walk me through the race and how it unfolded.

Yesterday going into the race my coach and I planned to have me pace my two teammates, Mia Dunavant and Ty Cason. I wanted to help them clock a fast time and place high in the meet to win the Team title. We went out pretty hard the first 600m or so to thin out the race and to make sure we were together and ready to stick to the plan. I was super pumped for them and they were running well and sitting right on me. I would look back and encourage them when I saw they were starting to hurt. There were a few times in the race I had to throttle back and let them group back together so they could run right behind me. I sat patiently in the front waiting for my coaches to tell me when it was time "to go". So with about 1000m left in the race I shifted gears and ran it in. I was pretty surprised when I saw the clock at 18:14, cause I had been pacing the race and never really hurt during it. It was cool to see my teammates drop big PRs to achieve the Shelby County Championship Team title.

You've progressed every race this season and are inching closer to your PR. What do you credit this to? 

Actually I was severely anemic and iron deficient last year and my levels were rock bottom during cross country and track. We didn't catch it until after Outdoor State in May. I then had to get an immediate iron infusion to help boost my levels. And so instead of training for post season track races, I got my first real summer of base mileage training in and have been feeling good since! I've been destroying workouts and dropping fast reps so I'm super excited to see it all come together in a race.

You recently committed to Auburn. Can you explain why specifically you chose Auburn?

Yes! I'm so excited to join the squad next fall at Auburn. Some things that made me pick Auburn was how much they cared about me as a person. I felt so wanted there. Every coach, even the sprints and field event coaches, spent time with me on my official visit. They really showed that it is a family there. That was the key word I had been looking for. "Family". Coach Kindt had been recruiting me for several months and we had built a pretty strong relationship, I'd say. He cared about me regardless of what I ran timewise and that really stood out to me. Not every race is going to be perfect, but after the difficult races he would call or text me and check in to make sure I was okay. He was even at our State meet in May and checked in on me after a tough race. In fact, he was the first to really catch my iron deficiency at the time. I trust Coach Kindt and I know he will help me reach my goals! He is building something special on the distance side and I can't wait to be a part of it.

What got you into running?

When I was younger, I always looked forward to my elementary school's Fun Runs! My PE teacher, Mrs. Dorrell, suggested I run some 5Ks and join the summer track team. So I've been running since about the 4th grade! I trained with my coaches in Texas and competed in many different events and even ran a half marathon in 6th grade with my team!

What brought you to Alabama?

My dad's job! We lived in Texas for 11 years before we moved to Alabama.

What's a core running memory for you?

I'd say winning 3 state titles in 5 hours against strong competition was a core memory of mine. Sophomore year, I won the 800m, 1600m, and then the 3200m all in one day at the Indoor State Meet. That day or this past year at the Indoor State Meet when I ran 2:10 to win the 800m.

Track or XC?

I'd say track because I like the relays and the faster events. But during cross country season I love the team bonding and how we are all working together and lining up for the same event.

What's your go-to cheat meal?

I love a good post race Cookies and Cream milkshake.

Who is your favorite professional runner?

Athing Mu or Sydney McLaughlin.

What's a pre-race ritual for you? 

Eating a pasta dinner the night before! And wearing my green socks on race day.

Why the green socks?

Every race since August 13, 2020, I've worn a green bow or green socks to support the #RunforDylan Foundation. The foundation provides CPR and AED training to athletes and coaches. Dylan Dorrell died unexpectedly at a cross country practice at my old school in Texas. The foundation honors him by purchasing AEDs (automatic defibrillators) for schools and public parks to help save lives! They also provide free heart screenings for athletes to help with early detection of possible cardiac issues.

What sport would you do if you weren't running?

Probably soccer. Or I would probably be pole vaulting like my brother did.

What's your favorite movie?

My latest favorite has been Top Gun, but I do like watching scary movies with friends.

What's your favorite type of workout? And what's the hardest workout you've ever done?

My favorite type of workouts are probably 800m speed days. But a tough workout I ran well in recently was 10x800m at sub 2:40 pace and I closed in 2:20.

Who is your celebrity crush?

Craig Engels. 

What's an unfinished HS goal you're chasing? 

I've been wanting the Outdoor 800m State Record of 2:06. I also think our 4x800m relay this year is going to be pretty strong and will have a shot at that record as well.