With his third place finish at the USA 20K Championship in New Haven, Connecticut on Monday, Team USA Minnesota's Jason Lehmkuhle reminded people that he is indeed a contender at the Olympic Marathon Trials coming up quickly on November 3 in New York City. We chatted with Lehmkuhle (pictured), who finished 9th at the 2004 Trials, about New Haven and his Trials preparations.
On the New Haven 20K: "I was definitely pleased with the race. I'm never going to be disappointed with 3rd in any kind of National Championship. I wasn't sure what to expect going in. I didn't know about my race fitness, and I also didn't have a good sense where the other guys in the race were at. Much of the field, myself included, had been away from racing, starting our marathon buildups."
How he raced: "My general game plan going in was to put myself in the lead pack and just see how things developed. If I was spit out the back, so be it. I tucked in after a couple of miles. We weren't running particularly fast, and I felt things slow a little further around the 10K mark. I moved to the front there and pushed a little. That broke the pack up, leaving Dan Browne, James Carney and myself. I never felt comfortable after about mile 8, but I could tell the other guys were working hard too. I thought I had a chance. With about a mile to go, though, Dan opened it up. James and I were suddenly squinting to see him up ahead. He looked really strong."
Marathon Trials training: "I'm about a month into my buildup, and it's going well, I think. I still feel like I haven't figured this marathon thing out yet. We've changed some things for this cycle, more course specific work (i.e.: hills). I'm hoping that makes the difference for me late in the race... "
The 20K in Context: "As far as how the 20K fits, I like to race. I thought this was a good measuring stick. I'll race a couple of more times before the trials, the Cow Harbor 10K and the TC 10 Mile. The next month will be the most intense part of the marathon training, and that is the focus. I'll probably be racing on tired legs, so I'm not going to get to caught up with my performances in either of those. I am excited to run the 10 mile, though, particularly as its a national champs race this year.... It'll be an interesting fall."
Photo by Victor Sailer, courtesy of Team USA Minnesota.