Michele Trimble is trying to get her priorities straight.
That might seem like an unlikely quandary for the 3-time Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference most valuable cross-country runner.
But for all her success, the Occidental senior has had difficulty determining when to go and when to slow.
In seasons past, Trimble has peaked for the SCIAC championships, leaving her with little in reserve for the NCAA Division III championships that follow.
"You can't hammer every time," Coach Bill Harvey said. "One of her tendencies has been that she has to be in a meet and prove it to herself that she's ready. If you do that, that's your nationals race gone down the drain."
This season, however, Trimble has been practicing moderation in her training regimen to ensure that history doesn't repeat itself. Though her performances aren't as aesthetically pleasing, she has made big strides.
"She was a month ahead of everyone she was running against last year so her places tended to be higher," Harvey said. "But now she's moving up against people at the time last year she was on a definite downswing."
Trimble's training has made a difference. The 3-time Division III All-American works out intensely for a few weeks, then backs off in preparation for a big race.
Trimble hopes the new routine will result in a better finish in the Division III championships. She placed 13th as a freshman in 1985, couldn't improve on that as a sophomore, then missed most of last season with a broken toe.
Trimble says she is considering training for the 1992 Olympics after she graduates, but Harvey says her running style may preclude her reaching that goal. Harvey said Trimble tends to overstride--something that might plague her if she competes beyond the collegiate level.
"It's something she's reluctant to change," Harvey said. "You can't have flaws and compete on the highest level."
But her plans do not necessarily hinge on the Olympics. Last spring, when her feet and knees were tender from training, Trimble took up biking--her newest passion.
"If I'm not going to run competitively then I'll have something else," she said. "I'm a perfectionist and I always want something to do."