Thursday, March 11, 2010

Introducing: Bernard Lagat

Bernard Lagat makes me love middle distance running-- as a spectator of course. Still, this is no small feat. When he competes though, I feel like I am cheering for one of the nicest people on the planet. It also doesn't hurt that he's amazingly talented and has made huge impact in this sport. He wins races, he gets medals, and he sets records...and he does it all with the most genuine smile you'll ever see. It's the nice guy and the talented guy all rolled into one. It just doesn't get much better than that.

Nickname: Kip
Most Notable Performance: They're all so great...I don't know!
Follow him on Twitter: lagat1500

*Please tell me a distance you’re NOT good at over one lap?

I’d say 10,000m- - You’ve got to be wired differently to do so many rounds on the oval! Recently, I did an indoor 5,000m and that was 25laps to the track. I felt like I was doing a marathon..and those laps can make you dizzy; I tell ya’.

*As someone who has been doing this professionally for a very long time, are you starting to feel like the Grandpa of the sport?

Have you ever heard someone say “Old is Golden?” Well, I feel like the most experienced dude out there- - Not necessarily the old guy in the business. So, every time I lined up with the young guys, I know they’re thinking about how better they can challenge me. That’s more pressure on them, which, is to my advantage!

*You have some of the most adorable kids on the face of the planet and they are often your entourage, along with your wife. Do you enjoy traveling with the family and do you get to skip out on Daddy duties when you have a competition?

I’m truly blessed to have a family that loves me and supports me 100%. I try to bring them with me wherever I’m on my business trips. My wife and kids have travelled with me to a lot of exciting places. Training camps in Flagstaff, AZ to our summer base in Tuebingen, Germany and to different competition venues around the world. By having them with me while I travel, I make sure I do my share of making sure that my kids get playtime with me, reading sessions and diaper duties as in the case of my 16-mo old daughter, Gianna.

*If you had continued to race for Kenya and had not become a United States citizen, do you think your career would have turned out any differently?

You know—I think things would have been somewhat different. It was in the United States that I started my carrer as opposed to my colleagues who lived and trained in Kenya. I established by base in Pullman, WA and later in Tucson, AZ and during that period, I earned the respect and admiration of the American people—and that’s why when I took on the US citizenship, I was already a known figure in the American sports scenes. In addition to the above, I earned a college degree in the States and that package enhanced the marketability of the person I had become.

*When you have a bad race, what’s the easiest way to get over it?

You’re a psychic! I was having this topic with Mikki Barber over a cup of coffee here in Doha last evening.

I told her that it takes only 30 minutes for me to get over a REALLY bad race. Sounds crazy isn’t it? But it’s absolutely true! After a bad run, I gather my stuff, exit the track and head straight to the warm up area. There, I talk it over with my coach or a trusted person like my agent about what I felt in the race. At that point, I switch my head to focus only on the good things I had done in practice a weeks prior to that bad race. It could be as simple as a great feeling after a 6mi tempo run, or by thinking about a track session that I did so well, with lots of ease yet fast! After this brief moment of thoughts running wild, a ‘hunger’ for a better performance built inside me and when I approach the next challenge, people will be in for a real battle.

*At times there can be a lot of contact with races over one lap. Have you ever been involved in some of those scuffles? What do they involve and are you usually the cause or the recipient?

No one can say they’re the cause of certain scuffles in the races, but it happens to me so often that I have come to believe that I’m mostly the recipient of all the pushing, kicking, boxed-ins, and worse - -getting spiked.
During the Beijing Olympics and Berlin World Championships the American fans witnessed some of the roughest hits, pushes and blocking by some competitors. I took as part of the game, but at times, I felt like it wasn’t all that ‘innocent’ act! But, unfortunately; this is something to be expected in my events. It comes with the territory I’m operating in.

*If a sprinter wanted to train with you for a day because they claimed your workouts probably weren’t that tough, what training session would you take them through?

Let’s take it easy on the sprinter, in question! Here is the recipe: We’ll both warm up 3mi in say 20min. Do some strides, stretch and put our spikes on. Then we’ll do a 200m in 30sec to get the good feel of the track.

Main course: 500m X 4 @ 1:15 (rest 60sec). We’ll rest 3min and then jump into 200m X 3 @27, 26, 25 (rest 45sec). I think by this time, the cowboy will be sweating and breathing and pleading for mercy! It’s not done yet—lazy!! We’ll do another run, this time a cool down for 2mi in 15min.
By the way, I’m being really nice to the sprinter. I’m that nice… I could have made things a bit spicy here!!

*You have accomplished SO much in your career. Is there anything left that you are aiming for before you hang up the spikes?

I need the Olympic GOLD Medal so bad! So far, I have a bronze, silver and what’s missing?... the big one!! 2012 is coming soon.

*(Blog reader question) What do you think could be done to better sell the sport (realistic or not)?

More live coverage of track and field events especially the ones being staged in the American soil. That’s what we’re missing. This is for both indoor and outdoor competitions.


Arie Jones said...

Aah! I've done that workout before (well not that fast of course. Lagat is super cool! I get so excited when he takes on Kennesia Bekele (sp?). Great Guy!

Thanks for posting!! =]

Anonymous said...

Example of a man that gets the job done. If more American (men) distance runners did his training session they could actually have a good showing. Kenyans do that for the morning track session.

Anonymous said...

Wow, my blog question made the cut. Thank you.

I think a lot of amateur runners will take his easy workout (easy ha ha) and modify it for themselves. This was a very informative interview and an easy read. You are doing a great job and we're all pulling for you. As a former LJ/TJ(long ago), I always watch, or read the stats on the jumps closely since they seem to hate to show them on TV. Somehow we see almost every single throw of the shotput. Not a dig, just an observation. I enjoy the shot also.

BruceTheJuice said...

Don't forget for your next single female athlete interview the question............."Motion of the Ocean or Size of the Ship"?

SecretDiary said...

Brianna, I can beat you on track. Blessings. :)

#2 Fan said...

at least you made it Anonymous lol

Brianna said...

Bernard trains in Tucson so I've seen him in action plenty back in the day. He really is a beast.

I think his most important answer is how he gets over a bad race. How many of us can really let go that easily? It would be great if we could.

#2...what was your question? :/