Friday, August 29, 2008

It’s Confirmed: There’s Life After the Olympics!

Elva Dryer at Beach to Beacon (Photo by Victah Sailer)Lots of KIMbia folks in action over what for non-professional American runners is a holiday weekend.

First up, on Sunday Matt Tegenkamp and Chris Solinsky race 3,000m in Gateshead, England. You can watch the meet live online here, starting at 9:55 a.m. Eastern time.

On Monday, Elva Dryer, James Carney and Fasil Bizuneh will contend for the national 20K title in New Haven, Conn. Elva and James were second in last year’s race. Running Times will have live coverage here.

The same day, (much) further south, Jane Gakunyi, Richard Kiplagat and Luke Kipkosgei will race half as far at the U.S. 10K Classic in Atlanta, Ga. Luke and Richard were second and fourth, respectively, in last year’s race.

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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Teg 13th, 13:33.13

Matt in Beijing.Matt had a tough day once the leaders got going, and faded to 13th.

Here’s what he had to say right after the race: “I just didn’t have it. It was a slow first mile, and then they started going. At the mile we were 7 seconds off 12:55 pace, but he still ran 12:57. I’ve got a lot of work to do. I’ve got to get a lot stronger. I know I have the finish. Now I have to get close enough to use it. I have to work on the important part of the race, the first 3K. I hope to close the gap. I’m disappointed. I felt good. I thought I was ready to roll. They were messing around with the pace. It took a toll. It was tough. I might have forced myself too hard to cover the moves. I should have run more patiently to get back in it. I’ve got the anaerobic system. I can kick with gusto. I’ve got to get more miles in to get stronger, but I have to be smart about it. My coach and I have a plan. We’re going to switch things up a little next year.”


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Friday, August 22, 2008

Track Teg in Real Time Saturday

Matt’s 5,000m final is scheduled to start at 8:10 p.m. Beijing time on Saturday. That’s 8:10 a.m. on the East Coast, 7:10 a.m. in Madison and an eye-rubbing 5:10 a.m. on the West Coast. Rumors are that NBC will show the day’s track session live.

We had been intermittently lucky earlier in the week with live Internet feeds through various end-run machinations, but NBC and the IOC seem to have contacted our friends in Denmark, the Bahamas, etc., and those feeds are no longer available. If the promised live showing on NBC doesn’t pan out–and we are nothing if not defensive pessimists–here are your back-ups:

Amby Burfoot will live blog the race on the combined Runner’s World/Running Times Beijing site. He’s in China, and will no doubt frequently update where Matt is in the field.

Parker Morse is live blogging the entire meet for the IAAF. His accounts aren’t as American-focused. Of course, if things go as they should, there won’t be a distinction between writing about the leaders and writing about Matt.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Teg’s Olympic Journal #7: On To the Final

Matt celebrates just after making the Olympic team.Step one, complete!!

What a crazy race, the most physical race I think I have ever been in. People may question why I like to race from the back, but in these races if you want clean running it is either in the very front or you give yourself room at the back. I don’t really understand the reason for the pushing and shoving, either, because no one is going anywhere and they waste so much energy. I guess if I am out of trouble I should not complain.

Because of the physical nature of the race it was very hard to get into a good rhythm, and I felt terrible for the first 10 laps. “Terrible” may be an overstatement, but I was not comfortable because I kept getting cut off. At least I was able to run on the rail the entire time and use as little energy as possible. The last 800 felt great; we were actually running! When I needed to respond I was able to with ease. Hopefully I didn’t use it all up!

Recovery has been going well. The legs are not too beat up, but the track is hard, so they are a little sore from the pounding. It does not seem that the race took too much out of me, but only time will tell. I am pretty sure, from my experience last year, that the first half of the final is going to be horrible no matter what. I have been able to get in the ice bath a few times, get massage and lots of sleep. I have been around family, which is taking my mind off things for awhile, which I like, because I don’t want to think about this race for every minute leading up to it.

Jerry, on the other hand, that is all he can talk about. Good thing he is staying at another location; what are coaches for!

Matt with the other U.S. distance Olympians who walked in the opening ceremonies.I will head over to the track tonight to watch the women run their final, and that will be the last little tune-up I need. I really like to go over to the track the night before I race because just being there gets the adrenaline going.

Some more exciting news is that I hear the Saturday portion of track and field is going to be live. NBC is finally doing something right!! Hopefully I will hold up my end and show that it was no fluke in the prelim.

I truly believe that the athletes always strive for medals no matter what event they are in. You would not survive in the sport if you did not dream of winning a medal. Some are happy just to make it to the Olympics, even more so making it to the final. I realize it is a great accomplishment, but I was expecting to make the final. I want to compete and challenge for a medal; that is why I am here.

Hopefully, we will start getting more Americans to think the same way. By “Americans” I am referring to the general public, family and coaches who are influencing the athletes. We need more of these people, who are in the ear of the athletes daily, that we can succeed on an international level. That is what is so special about Jerry–he is a great motivator and never lets you lose sight of the goal. The final will not come easy, and I am looking forward to butting heads with the best in the world.

Hopefully good news will unfold right before everyone’s eyes!!!


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teg Wins His Heat!

Matt in his semi-final in Beijing.Matt Tegenkamp made sure he would be in Saturday’s 5,000m final by winning his heat today in Beijing. Matt was in the first of three heats, with only four automatic qualifiers from each heat advancing to the final. Knowing that he couldn’t leave it up to chance, Matt ran a beautiful tactical race, covering every move by the lead pack but staying out of trouble toward the back. He squeezed past the others on the homestraight to take the heat in 13:37.36. Matt’s last kilometer was just under 2:29.

Matt’s immediate post-race thoughts: “It was a little tense out there for a long time. I didn’t feel confident until we started running hard the last 800. Before then, there was just so much pushing and jostling around. My family hates it when I run in the back like that but it’s the most comfortable place for me. I can stay out of trouble and keep my eyes on the front of the back. The last 800 was awesome. I felt great. I had gears coming down the final stretch. I’ve been working on my kick, and I’m confident in it now. Not that anyone should put a lot of stock in the finish of this race. Everyone was just trying to save energy for the final. I’m going to run the exact same race in the final. There’s no way I have the ability to get out there and run away from these guys, so I have to believe in my kick and try to be there when someone makes the big move. I have total confidence in my coach Jerry Schumacher. He put together a great long-range plan. At this point I’m feeling very fresh.”


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