Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Europe Report Card: Matt Tegenkamp

Across the Atlantic Ocean, there is a vast expanse of majestic landscape, there are bustling city streets, windmills, breathtaking artwork, there’s even something called ”tea time”, AND there is a group of American based KIMbia athletes on the European track circuit. The front half of most of these athlete’s time in Europe is over while some are just getting started. We will be checking in with the athletes to get a full report on how their summer is going. They will be grading themselves on how well they have raced so far and how well their training has been going this season. They’ll also be detailing some of their time off the track to give an idea of what life is like for them on the European circuit.Matt and Statue in Europe

Today, the wily veteran of the KIMbia group weighs in on his season thus far. If you have read anything about Matt Tegenkamp since he finished college running and turned pro, you know that he has a laser guided focus to one race per year. This year, that race is the 5000m World Championship in Berlin on August 23.

Since winning the 5000m U.S. Championship in late June, Matt has only raced once, a 5000m in Heusden, Belgium, and he absolutely lit up the track. He finished 2nd in 13:07, missing the win by half a second and beating a pair of sub-13:00 runners in the process. After the jump, check out Matt’s report on his European season so far.

Grade: B
“With the setback in the early part of the year it would be impossible to say everything has gone perfect. The most important thing now is that I am rounding into my best form right before Berlin!!”

Grade: B+/A-
“I can only base it off of one race, and if we look at time, it was great. It was a really windy race with a lot of surging, so that stung my legs a bit which kept me from trying to take control of the race with 800-600 to go. After the race I realized I need to take the next step and put myself in better position with 2 laps to go (I think I ran tactically very smart to that point). The race was a good lesson which I will focus on all the way to Berlin so it does not happen again.”

The European Circuit Experience Outside of Training and Racing:
The summer is always hard knowing you have to leave the comfort of home for months. This summer, Michelle (Matt’s wife) and I decided to make it more manageable; she just finished a week stay over here in St. Moritz and now it is only three weeks until Berlin where I will see her again for another week. Then I only have two weeks of the season left (in Europe).

Really don’t get to be a tourist over here, I make sure to get out of the hotel and relax in town every once in a while, but we are over here for business. Training and recovery come first so life gets pretty boring at times!!! Lets just say that once my career is over I will have a long list of vacation sites I want to come back and visit.”

A Story From the Trip:
“At the start of the trip, leaving Portland, we check in and on the way to the gate Chris hears his name called over the intercom. We have a non-stop flight to Amsterdam, so I am thinking that this guy is so lucky because he is getting bumped to business class; I am really jealous at this point. Well, he did not have that much luck and the lady at the counter just needed to rescan his passport (turns out she needed mine as well). So Solinsky and I are standing at the counter; Jager gets called up and the lady tells him that coach is oversold so here is your business class ticket. Chris and I lost it, here is a kid that barely has any frequent flyer miles (Chris and I have over 100,000) and he gets bumped up.

So we are there at the counter throwing a fit that Jager is so lucky, we both slammed our fist on the counted in disbelief. I was about to walk away and the lady told me to wait and she would see if it was possible to get all of us there together. I guess we succeeded in making her feel guilty, which I only slightly feel bad about, because it got us all to business class!!!

So in short, Jager’s pretty little face got us all to business class which could not have started off the trip any better!!! We danced a jig all the down the jet way to our seats!!!!”

**You can check out Matt’s next race at a little thing called the IAAF WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS of Track and Field. He’ll be in the 5000m**

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One Response to “Europe Report Card: Matt Tegenkamp”

  1. Steve Lafler says:

    I think Matt could run a big PR/American record over 5000 in 2010, positioning him for medals in the next cycle of Olympics and Worlds.