Friday, June 29, 2012

Olympic Trials 10,000m

It was my 7th time being 6th at a U.S. Championship, and I have mixed feelings about the performance.  I let myself get into a bad position early, and that strategic error defined the rest of the race.  I got out strong in the first 400 meters, but was then slowly pushed back farther and farther into the field.  The rain was coming down so hard that I thought we would stay bunched up for quite some time, and I didn't think it was urgent to move up on the outside.  It strung out much earlier than I anticipated and I found myself having to close a gap within the first mile.  Each time I made up a gap, there was another in front of me.  I feel like I ran well and made up ground as best I could throughout the entire race, but I am disappointed that I put myself in a position to make that necessary.  There was a lot of energy wasted.  I'm not sure how much faster I could have run, but a solid PR was not out of the question.  In the end, I ran very close to a PR in difficult conditions, and placed well in a very deep 10km field at the U.S. Olympic Trials.  I'm proud of the way I raced and hung in there and continued making up ground after making a rookie mistake early on.

 Thanks to everyone who was out there cheering.  I don't get many chances to race in my home state, so I always appreciate the local support and the opportunity for my family to watch.  Thanks to Brooks as well for making it such a memorable experience.  They have the whole company out supporting their athletes with signs, blue Brooks hulk hands, and die hard running fans.  For those of you in Eugene, make sure to come out for the morning runs at 9:00 AM at the Brooks house right across from the stadium on 18th. There have been great turnouts so far, and we're looking for the biggest yet this weekend!  Hayward Field is a special place, and I look forward to returning.  Now it's time to focus on a summer of road racing in Europe in preparation for the ING New York Marathon in November!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Questions from Brooks Running

  • How has your training felt heading into the trials?
Training has progressed as well as I had hoped.  It's difficult to balance the unique energy that comes from the trials with the temptation to over-train.  As the race gets closer and closer, and training volume starts to taper, it is an effort to keep things under control.  I'm fit, I'm healthy, and I'm excited to compete. 
  • Other than making the Olympic Team, do you have a personal goal for the trials (for example, run a PR)?
I think the trials will offer an opportunity for many of us to set personal bests in the 10,000, so I'm going into the race with that mindset.  The race is early in the day for a 10k, so hopefully it will be a cool day in Eugene.  The field is so deep and so competitive that I don't foresee it being a sit and kick race.  I will be disappointed if I do not run a PR. 
  • Do you have a pre-race ritual?
I wouldn't call it a ritual, but the day of a race usually ends up turning out the same for me no matter what it is.  It's mostly waiting in anticipation.  The longer distances don't go off until the evening, so it's a pretty nerve-wracking day.  I usually end up sitting around my hotel room reading or watching something on tv to pass the time and keep my mind occupied.  Once the afternoon rolls around I'll go for a short shakeout run, eat my pre-race meal, and head over to the track to start my warm-up routine. 
  • What is your favorite Run happy memory
Training in the Czech village of Rodinov, my wife's hometown, truly embodies the Run Happy mentality.  The village has 200 people, a pub, and a small grocery store.  There endless miles of rolling country roads and forested trails that connect other small villages in the region.  My interval training is done on an old 4-lane track at an elementary school and is usually followed by a heavy meal of traditional goulash and dumplings.  It's just pure and simple.  
  • What Brooks shoes do you train in? Race in? What is your favorite Brooks short?
For lighter training runs I'm usually wearing the Brooks Adrenaline or Ravenna, and for the faster training/racing days I'll have on either the T7 or the Wire 2 spike.  For shorts I prefer the HVAC Synergy series.  
  • What is your favorite "Pump Up" songs to listen to pre-run/race?
I am constantly changing the music on my Ipod, but pre-race songs are usually some kind of classic rock.  Often times this will include, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Guns'n'Roses, etc. 
  • Is there a past Olympian who inspires you?
There are many past Olympians who inspire me, but a more recent example is Brian Sell.  It was simple, fundamental training and pure hard work that got him to Beijing.  No gimmicks, just steady progression and consistent training. I feel like I can relate. 
  • What is your favorite post-race food/snack?
It takes me quite a while before I'm ready to eat a full meal after a race, so I'll usually supplement with a Powerbar energy bar or Restore recovery drink. 
  • Do you have a favorite run/race in your hometown?
The Shamrock Run in Portland.  It's the largest race in Portland with over 40,000 runners from 5km up to 15km, and people really get decked out for it.  Everyone is dressed up and excited even though it's usually raining and cold the morning of the race. 
  • What tips do you have for runners just starting out/new runners as they approach their first race? 
Keep training fresh.  It's very difficult to have a positive race experience if you're mentally worn out before the race even starts.  Follow a training plan that has a wide variety of different workouts, and alternate training locations as often as time will allow.  Regardless of where you live, you will probably be surprised at how many parks and trails are a relatively short drive away.  Consider even a running vacation.  Travel somewhere new with an emphasis on training options and new scenery. 
  • How do you celebrate a great race?
After a big race I like to take a day or two off and do something I'm not normally able to do because of training.  Often times this ends up being hiking and/or camping.
Portland Track Festival 1500m - 6/9/12

I feel like the Portland Track Festival was a pretty solid tune-up going into the trials.  My volume has been around 120 miles per week since the Payton Jordan 10km, dropping down to 105 this last week.  I'm excited that I was able to set a personal best in the 1500m off of this volume.  There are only 10 days to go, and I'm feeling fresh and fit.