Jenna Dubrow makes sure she eats her peanut M&M’s before every race.
“I get packs of trail mix before I race and pick all of the M&M’s out and eat them,” Dubrow, a sophomore on the women’s track & field team, said. “It’s weird, but it’s something I always do before a race.”
Peanut M&M’s is not exactly the prototypical pre-race snack, but it appears to be working for the second-year distance runner, who already has a place in Temple track & field history.
Using a different 400-meter leg in each distance medley relay – DMR – in the indoor season, Temple’s group began to turn heads at Penn State’s national invite on Jan. 26, on Penn State’s Horace Ashenfelter III’s indoor banked track, which features an incline from the inside of the track to the outside on each of the two curved ends of the track.
Junior Anna Pavone, freshman Demisha Davis, senior Tonney Smith and Dubrow wound up taking second in the race with a time of 11 minutes, 56.75 seconds, which Dubrow and Smith both said would have converted to approximately 11:48 on a standard indoor track, and a Temple school record.
Though snubbed of a school record the first time around, the same group with sophomore Michelle Davis Timothy running the 400-meter leg in place of Davis ran a fourth-place, 11:55.61 DMR time, and broke the school record.
Pavone, Smith and Dubrow then teamed up with Davis-Timothy in the DMR once again in the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference championship on March 3 in Boston and shattered the former record with an 11:43.63 finish.
“We ran our best time at the ECAC championships,” Dubrow said. “I think it was more of all of us being more motivated at the same time. It was the last meet and we all wanted to do well, but we all just had a big race on the same day. I know for me, I wasn’t doing too well, but I happened to run a good race that day, too.”
The performance in Boston was the second record-breaking performance in two weeks, both coming in championship meets.
“I didn’t expect to break the record [the first time], but we had a lot of talent and I knew we’d do really well,” Smith said. “I figured we started out strong breaking the school record so I knew it was inevitable to break it again. Every week we plan to run faster so I wasn’t surprised.”
“This relay was a new relay this year,” coach Eric Mobley said. “From indoor and even the outdoor season, it was an interchangeable group. We figured it would be one of our best relays, and we put our best relays together when we can. [Pavone] and [Dubrow] have been the most consistent part of it, and the [400M] has been interchangeable with different girls running it at different times.”
Though the group hardly practices the relay itself as a unit in practice, they all seemed to hit their stride in unison at the right time.
“I knew that we had it in ourselves to break the records,” Dubrow said. “Speaking from a personal aspect, you want to keep getting better and I know that if my mile time keeps dropping I’m going to be able to help the DMR more. Anna has been dropping her 1200M time too.”
“I think we expected [the records],” Dubrow added. “We know that if we’re all having an on day, we’ll be able to do something good.”
Although the DMR isn’t an outdoor NCAA track event, the group will have one more chance at cracking the 11:40 mark and another school record at the annual Penn Relays at the University of Pennsylvania from April 25-27.
“If we do get the chance to run it again, I’m excited,” Dubrow said. “I think we all are.”
“I think we’re looking to run down in the 11:30 range,” Smith said. “We’ve been working really hard in the past couple weeks and looking forward to nicer weather. We definitely can drop the times and I see it happening. I’m looking forward to it.
Andrew Parent can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @daParent93.