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USATF teleconference excerpts


On Wednesday USA Track & Field hosted a national media teleconference with Bernard Lagat, Jillian Camarena-Williams and Jenn Suhr, who all recently set American records.

Lagat established a new American record in the 5,000-meters Saturday at the 105th Millrose Games while Camarena-Williams bettered her own American record in the women's shot put at the USA Track & Field Classic in Fayetteville, Ark., and Suhr improved her own American record in the women's pole vault February 4 at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix.

Bernard Lagat (holder of seven American indoor and outdoor records)

On how his indoor season has been going
“I’m feeling good. Everything has felt good. Everything is going great. I am definitely looking forward to a few more races left.”

On qualifying for the 2012 World Indoor Championships
“That is one of my objectives. My objective is to go to Albuquerque and win and if I am able to win there I would be happy to represent the United States at the World Indoor Championships. I’m looking forward to representing the United States again and to defend my title.”

On his race plans for Saturday’s Millrose Game
“The plan was to have a good 5,000 meters. That is the most important preparation for the outdoor season. I wanted to run hard and if I get the record that would be great. I wanted to treat indoor as a good preparation for outdoors. My plan is to make the world team for the indoor season.”

On the status of distance running in the United States
“It’s really at a high level. I have never seen it like it is. It’s great for track and field and it’s great for the United States. When we go to competitions we have a lot of Americans now. We get athletes who are working hard to achieve their goals.”

On competing with younger athletes
“I try to run with the young guys and it is sometimes hard. They can run wild in training. I have to think I can run with them sometimes. They will say to me that I still have speed. I like to hear that. Staying healthy is the most important part.”

On maintaining a high level as an athlete
“One of the things that has helped is I don’t push myself too hard. I don’t do too much in volume. At the end of the week, if I write down my mileage I might run as much as a high school runner. I don’t over-train. I try not to over-race. You can get hurt. At this point I have to listen to my body a lot. It’s about keeping your body fresh.”

On the chance of running both the 1,500m and 5,000m at the Olympic Trials
“Last year when I made the team I knew I was going to concentrate on one race. At this moment I feel like the 5,000m is what I am focused on.

On the recent performance of Matthew Centrowitz at the Millrose Games
“I watched it. The way he ran; he made it look so easy. There are races I have seen him that were so easy. The one was where he beat me last year (in the 1,500m at USA Outdoors). He has the best mechanics; he doesn’t struggle.”

On the chance of Galen Rupp racing the 3,000m at the USA Indoor Championships
“I would really like to have him come and run. He is one of the strongest runners right now. The USA is going to send a good team to the World Championships. He looks strong and he is in good health. That would be really nice to run against him. He is going in there and wants to win. I am doing the same thing. It will be interesting to see two strong guys going for the win. I think it will be pretty exciting.”

On racing plans for this weekend
“This weekend I will be running the 1500m in Birmingham. I have high expectations.”

Jillian Camarena-Williams (American indoor and outdoor record holder and 2011 World Outdoor bronze medalist)
“Things are going really well. I picked up this year where I left off last year and that is where I want to be. I have been able to train full time. I had a great meet last week. But we watched film and I did a lot of things wrong. We kind of regrouped. I just have to go back to the things we have been working on. I have been lucky to spend most of my time outside training. Hopefully I can add a few more centimeters to that mark.”

On coming back from injury
“In 2008 when I was really struggling with back pain it was really frustrating, I couldn’t do anything. There were times when any movement hurt it. For me now I am so grateful.  I can have weeks at a time when all I feel is soreness. It helps to have a husband that is a personal trainer that can work on me at 10:00 at night.”

On training this season
“Last year I did a lot of training on my own. It helps to have that instant feedback. It’s nice that I have that reinforcement. We have been able to do a lot of things this year. A lot of them were small technical things and to get my strength levels back up.”

On advancing to the World Indoor Championships
“I am hoping to make that team. It’s a good way to test myself before the outdoor season. I would like to have a good competitive effort.”

On when she changed to the spin technique
“In 2005 when I left Stanford and switched coaches; I have been spinning since then. I don’t feel like a veteran spinner. I understand the technique but I’m still learning.”

On the exposure of the women’s shot put in the United States
“With what I have been able to do and with having Michelle (Carter) right beside me has been great and I hope to bring others into that group. When I do leave the sport I hope there are more people to fill my spot. I broke a 24 year record, but I don’t want mine to stand that long. I want others to be involved.”

On keeping athletes involved in the shot put
“It’s a hard sport to be in. Funding wise it is hard. It’s hard to stick it out when you don’t have the support or the funding. Hopefully we can get the younger kids into it. I have enjoyed the coverage what has been going on for our event.”

On winning a medal on the world stage
“I was one of the top girls in 2010 and the next thing I knew I am having back surgery. All my dreams are to be on the top of that podium. Once I get through to that point then I can definitely talk about it.”

On winning a bronze medal at the 2011 World Outdoor Championships
“I took a lot away from how I am as a competitor. There were years prior where I didn’t compete well. I saw things from the rounds and I learned it doesn’t matter how fast you are going as long as you hit your positions. That is something we really worked on. When I was a glider I could just heave it out there. “

Jenn Suhr (American indoor and outdoor record holder and 10-time USA Indoor and Outdoor champion)
On going after the world record
“Jumping 16 feet indoors was always something that I wanted to do indoors. I don’t think about the world record. There are a lot of bars that need to be cleared yet before I can go after that one.”

On how many times she has attempted to reach the world record height of 5.00m/16-4.74
“Honestly I don’t really know how many times I have tried that height. Maybe one or two other meets. This last time I just took one attempt at it.”

On her lone attempt at the world record height at the Boston Indoor Grand Prix
“It felt good. It was at the end of a meet so I guess I was a little tired by then. Overall it was a good performance and we were happy with the results.”

On competing at the World Indoor Championships
“I think it’s a decision that my husband and I will have to take into consideration. There will be a lot riding on that decision. We will make that decision when we have to.”

On winning a medal on the world stage
“I get that question a lot. The answer is that you can’t think about what your dreams are when you haven’t been on the (Olympic) team yet. I don’t care if it’s first, second or third if it gets you on the team. Until that times comes I can’t answer that.”

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