Belle Lap catches up with Australian Fashionista Heidi See. Born and raised in Sydney, transplanted to Iona College.Heidi was an NCAA finalist and is the 2015 Australian National 1500m champion. She currently runs professionally for Asic’s Furman Elite and is also the designer of her accessory line ‘Boho Kitty‘.
Belle Lap: Moving from Sydney to New York sounds like a big change, how did you handle your transition into college?
HS: My decision to move from Sydney to New York was very quick and hasty. I was contacted by the then assistant coach for Iona College, Gavin Kennedy in November 2008, and two months later was starting my US college running career. At the time I wasn’t particularly enjoying my university degree, couldn’t string together any training, and was looking for any excuse to not live under my parents rules. I was 19, hadn’t run a PB in four years, and didn’t really have the passion for running that I had once had. So the opportunIty to leave my current situation was immediately welcomed.
My first year at Iona was rough. I decided that I would stay the entire year without going home so that I could really give it a chance. I predictably put on the ‘Freshman 15’ and was running at least 10 seconds slower than my PBs. I think the hardest thing to adapt to was the training, and learning to fall in love with the sport again. For the past four years I had dealt with a slew of injuries and heartbreaks, so being held accountable for things was tough. I was missing my friends and family, but at the same time was enjoying being able to do things on my own.
Belle Lap: How do you best function as an athlete?
HS: I have been told by runners that have trained with me, that they admire my ability to separate the serious parts of training/racing, from the not so serious parts. I think my ability to balance my emotions during the season is better than most, but this is not to say that I don’t have my moments. To be a better athlete, I need to have other passions that I am working on so I feel more balanced on a whole. I find when I’m totally consumed with the sport, bad workouts hold more of a weight and it’s not as easy to brush insignificant hiccups. This particularly relates to the creative part of me and has resulted in my luxury accessories line Boho Kitty.
Belle Lap: Did you live with your teammates in college? What advice can you share about living with people you also train with?
HS: I jumped around from year to year with housemates and houses. Sometimes I lived solely with teammates, other times I lived with non-athletes. Overall I think both situations had their ups and downs, but I feel like I am able to adapt to different personalities pretty well. It definitely helped when people were on a similar schedule to me, and I found it was the people that enjoyed an equal amount of alone time and group time that I felt the most comfortable with.
Belle Lap: You were a standout talented youth athlete running a crazy fast 4:20 as a 15 year old, then suffered from 8 stress fractures in 5 years as a teen. How did attending Iona help break this injury cycle?
HS: Consistent training and access to recovery resources was key to leaving those injuries in the past. Looking back, my biggest problem was probably starting and stopping training too sporadically and not taking care of myself enough between sessions. At home in Sydney I had a lot of other distractions that pushed running down on my priority list, but when I literally moved across the world for it, I realized I needed to train harder and recover more efficiently.
Belle Lap: What do you know now that you wish had known in college?
HS: That buying wine glasses for the apartment is absolutely necessary (opposed to drinking it out of a mug)
Belle Lap: haha, that’s great advice. We heard you met the love of your life and now Husband at the NCAA indoor meet, can you tell us about this romantic love story?
HS: It was the first time I had qualified for NCAAs. I made it through the heat but came last in the final. It was the third race I had run in a week and my body was nowhere near strong enough to handle the stress. That night I met my Aussie friend Ryan Foster out at a bar. He was there with another two Penn State runners and two Ohio State runners, one of which was my now husband Jeff. As it turned out, Jeff didn’t have a particularly good race either and the group of us kind of drank away our worries. When the night ended he asked for my number and we parted ways. The following week was spring break and he drove from Ohio to New York to see me. What followed was 2.5 years of long distance until we moved down to Greenville, South Carolina together and joined Furman Elite.
Belle Lap: Fab, we love a bit of track romance. So you currently own a luxury ‘bridal’ and ‘everyday’ accessory brand called ‘Boho Kitty‘. How did it get started and what is the influence behind the brand?
HS: Boho Kitty started during the planning period for my own wedding. I had collaborated with a designer on my gown, and had visualized a certain belt in my mind, but couldn’t find what I was looking for. I’ve always been a very arty/crafty person, so I decided to make my own. After finding a supplier for the Swarovski crystals and a lot of trial and error, I found a real love for creating beautiful accessories and was inspired to continue on after my wedding.
Boho Kitty first began as solely bridal accessories, but earlier this year I began to think about room for fashion and accessories in the running world. Many female athletes have the ritual on race day of doing their hair, make-up and nails. Race day is an opportunity to ‘dress up’ a little, from the usual day to day non glamorous grind of training. I have always worn headbands in races, but have never seen any that are made with high quality Swarovski crystals. The Boho Kitty everyday line provides women with opportunity to feel a little glamorous while they workout. Boho Kitty girls don’t sweat, they sparkle!
Belle Lap: Love it, your line is beautiful, so how would you describe your personal style?
HS: Well when I get the chance to dress up (as most of the time I’ll just hang out in running clothes or lazy pants) I love outfits that are minimal in design, but have a little edge with fabrics such as lace and leather. I love unique and vintage jewelry pieces with a bohemian vibe – headpieces, arm cuffs and over-sized rings are my favourite.
Belle Lap: Who has been your biggest influence in life and why?
HS: The biggest influences in my life are definitely my parents. They have been my number one supporters in everything I have done, especially my running. They have continuously flown all over the world to see me race and have always given me the best opportunities so that I can follow this dream.
Belle Lap: What do you do to clear your mind when life gets tough?
HS: I do something creative. Whenever I’m stressed out I find working on Boho Kitty, painting, cooking, or writing poetry helps me relax. Creating beautiful things brings stillness to my mind.
Belle Lap: Can you share a secret about yourself that not many people know?
HS: My favorite utensil is a spoon. I eat (and drink) as many things as I can with it.
Belle Lap: Hmm sounds skillful… So what’s next?
HS: Hopefully by the end of the season I am wearing some green and gold and living it up in Rio.