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U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon Athlete Press Conference Quotes

Quotes - U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon
Athlete Press Conference, February 11, 2016
Desiree “Desi” Linden, No. 2 women’s qualifier
On preparation for 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials - Marathon
Preparation has been good, and I think I’ve brought really moments out of 2012 to this race, and hopefully (it will) be a breakthrough race. Hopefully I can break the tape and get that winner title for myself. That would be nice.
On her two running careers between 2012 and 2013
I think they are actually fairly similar in terms of building momentum and making steady progress, taking little chops of the marathon time every time out. Obviously 2012 was a huge setback and one of the hardest parts about the injury was forgetting where I was. That was just going to set me back in the comeback process. When you think about how high you were, the things you were achieving and the times you were hitting, those weren’t doable at the time, so you have to shelf that and start over and just appreciate all the little steps and little successes along the way. That was super difficult because you want to look at yourself as a Boston runner or a 2:22:00 marathoner. You go and have a good day, and maybe you look like a 2:26:00 girl and you should be really proud of that, but it’s difficult when you look at past achievements. I’m a new runner this is a fresh start. Let’s find out where I’m at and let’s build from there. That 2012 point was certainly a big part.
On what it’s going to take to make the team
I think it’s closing well. I don’t know what time it will be. The heat is going to obviously play a part. It’s handling that last 10K and being able to finish the marathon, and not only just hanging out and getting in, but you have to be able to close well in the last 10K.
On the heat and how that affects physical and mental preparation
I think you have to understand what your fitness level is and then make necessary adjustments. It will impact the times. I’m super fortunate to be with Hanson’s Brooks. We went down to Florida as a group for six weeks and had plenty of 72-plus degree days, where we had workouts. Hopefully it’s not as big of a factor for us. I feel confident that we are pretty well-prepared for it. But 80s, you still need to make adjustments, so we’ll do that and know the exact temperatures.
On the team selection procedure
I love it. I think it’s what it’s all about. It’s the competition. You have the favorites on paper and the names that sound exciting, but really every day you have to show up. It’s a great, fair system, but it’s a cruel system because you have to be 100 percent. You have to be ready to go, and then you have to be even better in the next one. I wouldn’t want it any other way. It’s fair, but it can be cruel.
On the looped course
I like the setup. I think it’s great for spectators and just getting a big crowd in a single place. For the athletes mentally, personally it’s a great way to break down the marathon and just focus on each segment. You can learn that course a lot quicker. Here, you can come in and do a couple runs on it and cover distance and understand it pretty quickly, I think those are the advantages I’m not opposed to a different way, but I like the looped course personally.
On what marathon training is like
That’s just the grind. It’s the 125-mile weeks. It’s being ridiculously tired and wanting to fall asleep in your soup. It’s going to bed at 9:30 and waking up at 6. It’s the process. It’s not pretty. It doesn’t sell well. Nobody wants to see that because it’s an ugly life, but you do it and you buy into it, and you know that on race day you’ve gone through the whole thing and that’s what you’ve gotten ready for - so you can go off and show it all off. I think the finished product is kind of sexy.
On what it would mean to win on Saturday
If I could be an Olympian and a U.S Champion after Saturday that would be great. I think I’m still chipping away at getting into the upper echelon of the sport. I still have work to do, and I’m trying to take those baby steps forward. Obviously Boston and New York were very big days for me, so I feel like I’m in that position, where I’m threatening to be a threat, and I’ll keep chipping away at that - to at least be in the top three.
On her strengths coming into the weekend
I think just my coaches and their knowledge of the event. Their preparations is so meticulous and dialed in. I just take a lot of confidence from that. We have a big group with Hanson's Brooks, and we’ve all been logging the mileage and doing the work and seeing the results. So when you have a bad day, and look to your teammates to see that everyone else is still on and fresh, so it’s going to come around.  It’s the group and the coaches and the knowledge they have. As a group. we’re pretty ready to go.
From 2012 to now, I think I’m well ahead of my qualifier 2:23:00 Boston in 2014. I dont think Im quite as fit as I was in 2015 Boston, but I think Im significantly fitter than that. I think it’s kind of a calculated risk preparation where I don’t need to be 100 percent to this if it’s going to cause e to get hurt. Ninety-five is good enough if I’m healthy and feeling fresh.
Luke Puskedra, No. 3 men’s qualifier
On how he feels coming into the race Saturday
I feel good. I just got in with my wife and baby, so it’s good have them (with me.) This will be the first meet that my daughter will be able to be at, but I don’t think she will remember. Training has been good. It’s pretty relaxed. First thing after Chicago was to digest it and make sure I was healthy coming into this one. It took some mental downtime and kind of let the body get back into the full swing of training.
On what has changed now that he is a father with a baby
Training for sure (has changed). I kind of thought about how if something did go wrong, not holding myself accountable. Saying this went wrong because of this or this went wrong because of someone else. But, I wake up in the morning, play with my daughter and hang out with my wife, and I’ll go train. When I’m at the track, it’s for three or four hours of hard stuff and making sure I’m doing everything I can do in training and being professional about it. I go for a run, have breakfast and then afterwards I come home and have lunch with my wife, stay with my daughter and try to get her to take a nap for three to four hours while she goes to work. I think that it’s a good balance. My wife has a tennis background, she’s a tennis pro in Eugene (Oregon). It’s good having her have that as well and me taking some of the responsibility.
On what it’s going to take to finish among the top-three
It’s going to be the type of race that you get yourself into and how well your prepare to finish at the end. The weather makes it more tactical, and I think it’s going to be huge. You have to be ready for everything. That being said, it’s going to take a 2:08:00 effort. I really respect the field.
On the heat and how that affects physical and mental preparation
I guess coming into it, I think it’s the training that you do and just try to prepare yourself as much as possible. I think a lot of it comes with the toughness and some of it will probably be more of a mental head game. I stayed in Eugene, Oregon, and turned the thermostat up to 80. My wife didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.
On Los Angeles as a host city
I think the biggest thing with why it was a good place to host for this one is that the whole point of this weekend is to find the three best Americans to represent at the Olympics. If I’m not one of the top-three, I feel like the other person should go. That being said, it’s hot here, and it’s going to be hot and humid in Rio, so I think you try to figure out who’s going to be the best team.
On Roads Scholars helping support his running career
That was big thing for me. I think the Roads Scholars, I am indebted to them. Where I was at in my career. It’s not just the money you’re getting and that accomplishment. It’s a sense of appreciate. For me, being a man, it was hard to watch my wife working full-time and be pregnant. It was almost like she was supporting my hobby, so it made it so that I kind of felt like I was doing it on my own at least at that point.
On his strengths coming into the weekend
I think the harder the race is, the better it is for me. I know that it’s hard to say that there are a lot of guys with good track speed, but sometimes it doesn’t correlate. You run 26 miles, who cares if you can run the last 400. Usually the last 400 is 83 seconds because you’re throwing your arms in the air, so I think it’s just to go out and compete and have a tough effort.

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