Thursday, June 18, 2009

2009 CA State Meet 3200m. reflection with Erik Olson...

Today we hear from Novato HS runner, Erik Olson, who just recently finished in 7th place at the CA state meet 3200m. run with a time of 8:56.56. Quite an impressive time for Erik who had multiple sub. 9 min. efforts this year but went into the state meet run in less than ideal condition (explanation below). Erik just also recently ran the world famous Dipsea race and finished in 5th place. No question, that Erik had one of the best track and field seasons ever for a Northern CA distance runners and with one year remaining for him in high school, greater achievements are definitely ahead of him.

1) What did you do training wise (day by day) following the NCS final on Saturday to the 3200m. final yesterday?
Well the day after NCS, I took off. Then Monday, I ran a 10k tempo run and ran a few 200s afterwards to work on closing speed. That day, I had the most amazing headache ever and did not feel good going into the workout, yet come time for the workout, I was feeling great. Then, I got home and started experiencing some severe chills and got my temperature taken from my mother. It turned out I had a 101.5˚ fever. Thus, I stayed home from school for two days and went to the doctor. On Thursday, I went to school, did an interval workout (not at full speed) just to get my legs moving again. Then on Friday, I got the call from the doctor discussing my lab results. It turned out I had food poisoning due to a bacteria found in undercooked chicken. I picked up my perscribed antibiotic as my coach and family left to Clovis. We Arrived at Clovis around 5 pm and did a short shakeout run. Then on Saturday morning went to Woodward Park for a warm-up run and then kept it low-key for the rest of the day until the race at 9pm.

2) What was your race plan going into the 3200m. final? Where there runners you were focusing on or where you focused on running certain splits?

Before getting sick, my race plan was to go out in 4:24 and then just see what I had left. Then after I got sick, I just wanted to be able to finish the race. During the race, I was focused on both the time and the runners around me. I was, fortunately, pulled by my competitors to hit a time that I thought was unreachable due to my food poisoning.

3) Tell us a little how your race progressed from the beginning and how it unfolded as it got into the second 1600m.

Well, after coming through the mile in 4:30, I felt like crap. I started to second guess my physical strength. Then, five guys just sped past me and I felt obliged to follow. As the laps kept on ticking away, I just kept thinking to myself that the faster I go the faster I will be done and my stomach ache will be relieved. As it turned out, this attitude of just finishing as fast as I could so I could stop my stomach from hurting helped push me to a negative split in the second half with a 4:26. With 200 to go, it was an all out sprint and I was trying to catch Dan Mitchell for the coveted 6th spot. I finally caught him at the line and we got the same exact time down to the hundredth with him slightly edging me out for the last medal stand.

4) What was the toughest part of the race?
The first mile was the toughest part of the face for me because mentally it was draining. During that first half, I seriously questioned whether or not I would be able to finish the race, let alone run sub-9.

5) What do you feel that you learned from yesterday's race that will help you in the future?

I learned to not get food poisoning the week before the state meet. But also I learned that in order to race well you have to be able to push yourself through your own mental doubt.

6) Any races coming up for you this summer?
Yes, I plan on running the Dipsea this next Sunday and then running the 1500 and 3000 in the World Youth Trials in Ypsilanti, Mich. on June 30 hoping to qualify for the national team.

Thank you very much for your time Erik! AJC


Anonymous said...

Good luck Erik!
you're inarguably one of the most successful Northern CA runners ever in this decade

Albert Caruana said...

Well, inarguably is a big word.

I could think of two runners just from NCS alone that had great season of their own in this decade, Yong-Sung-Leal and Yosef Ghebray. Both broke 9:00 in the 3200 and Ghebray was a state champion.

Considering what Garreett Rowe did this year at both state meets, you have to add him in there.

Tim Nelson of Liberty Christian who won the 3200 his senior year in 8:53.59 as well as win 3 state titles in cross country.

I am sure there are other runners that we can name. Who else comes to mind in this decade?

This is definitely not a knock on Erik. As I said to begin the interview, he had one of the best seasons ever for a Northern California runner.

People who have been around longer than me can speak much better of the past runners in the 60s and 70s.

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