We caught up with the 32-year-old Tollefson (pictured) this week to hear what she's thinking about heading into her season. (See our earlier preview of the Boston Mile HERE.)
DtB: We see you're opening your season this Sunday in Boston. Why did you choose the Boston Invitational Mile as your kick-off event?
Tollefson: Adidas sponsors the Boston Marathon and they have some of us athletes out every year to help with the kids races on Saturday and other promotional work while we are there. The mile is a new event and I thought it would work out well to use as a rust buster and help turn my legs over for the beginning of the track season. Normally, I race something shorter like a mile or 1500 before I race a 5k and I am racing a 5k on the 24th of April so it worked out well.
DtB: Tell us how your training has been going. Can you compare how you're doing now to this time last year?
Tollefson: Well one year ago this week I was flat on my back with a nasty case of bronchitis which later turned out to be pneumonia and some forced time off. I had to take a week of no running just to get well and then it took about 2 weeks to finally get back to being able to breathe right. So needless to say I am doing quite a bit better then I was at this time last year. I have had some major road blocks in the past couple of years but I am over those now and hoping to move on and run well again.
Every week things seem to be getting better and I am looking forward to more of a progressive season. I am going to try and play it smart this time around and be happy with baby steps rather then trying to set the world on fire in my first couple races. I can't worry about what everyone else is thinking or saying anymore, I know the plan and I am sticking to it and getting ready to execute it. I am hoping to be back and ready to make the World Team come June. You know, I am old enough now and at a time in my career where I can be analytical now and appreciate the way this whole sport works. Last year, I was trying to fake my way, and I think deep down, I knew I wasn't ready. I am a very passionate about this sport and love what I do so it is going to take a lot to keep me from wanting to get back to the front.
DtB: Your 2007 and 2008 seasons were no doubt frustrating. Did you ever consider hanging it up during those years?
Tollefson: I don't think I considered hanging it up until after I kept having the setbacks last year. It has been tough but that is life. That is what we as individuals have to deal with and it always makes us stronger! I am sick of being hurt but I feel like I have been on a good roll now and am done thinking about all the stuff that happened and I want to focus on the future and realize I am right where I want to be in life. Happy, healthy, and working as hard as I can to be the best professional athlete I can be on and off the track.
DtB: What's the focus for your 2009 season? Will you stress the mile or longer races?
Tollefson: I am focusing on the 5k this year. I love the 1500 but when I have run my best in the 15's, it was when I was training for the 5k, so hopefully later this spring and into the summer I will have my shot at a couple good 15's but for now, I am thinking 5k.
DtB: At the end of this year, what would you like to have accomplished competively?
Tollefson: My goal is to come home and host the Carrie Tollefson Training Camp July 9-12 and tell the the kids that I made the World Championship Team and will compete in Berlin in August. Last year, it was very hard to come home and tell close to 100 kids that I was not going to the Olympics. It will be a busy spring with racing almost every weekend but that is what I have been waiting for, I am ready to get back out there and run well again.
Photo courtesy of USA Track & Field.