Monday, June 18, 2007

Graham Looks Forward to "Just Racing" at USA Outdoor Championships

After a spring spent training hard and racing on tired legs, Sean Graham is eagerly anticipating the pure competition of championship racing.

"I'm really looking forward to getting to race on fresh legs against a really strong field," the Stillwater High School grad told DtB recently. "I think I enjoy the championship races because you don't have to worry about hitting a certain pace or certain split, its all about racing the guy next to you and beating as many people as possible by the time you get to the finish line."

Graham, who trains with the Oregon Track Club Elite in Eugene, will get that opportunity on Friday in the 5000 meters at the AT&T USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Indianapolis. Blessed with a 13:29.30 qualifying mark for the meet from last season, Graham burdened himself with heavy training this spring.

"... we focused a lot on quality workouts and trained through a few of the races, so I was running on tired legs a bit this year," he explained. "I think that was some of the trouble I had earlier this year, I was always trying to hit a time rather than just competing, so like I said I'm really looking forward to just racing."

The hard work Graham has done suggests he may be ready for big things in Indy, where he is seeded #5.

"I have done a lot of workouts this year that I have never been able to do in the past," he said, "and having Gags [OTC coach Frank Gagliano] out there pushing the envelope with workouts and getting me to realize and believe that I can do the things he has set up for training has been great this year."

It wouldn't be a bad time for a breakthrough for the William and Mary graduate. A top-3 finish -- along with a 13:21.50 or faster qualifying mark -- would put Graham on the USA team for the IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan later this summer.

But Graham isn't putting any extra emphasis on the Osaka possibilities of his USA race.

"I think with a race like this, so long as you put yourself in a position to be successful and just compete well, everything will work itself out just fine."

Read the story we did on Graham before USA Indoors HERE.

Entrants for the USA Outdoor Championship can be found HERE.

Entrants in the USA Junior Championships -- held in conjunction with senior meet -- can be found HERE.

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