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April 8
, 2005

LetsRun.com is pleased to present the following interview of Matt Lane, a scheduled competitor in this weekendís Papa Johnís U.S. 10 Mile Championship. The interview was conducted by former US elite Keith Dowling.

Like Robert Gary, Matt Lane is a track specialist who is gracing the Papa Johnís U.S. 10 Mile Championships with his presence this year. Twice a heartbreaking fourth place finisher at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Trials, this 5000meter specialist will do anything to place high in the field Ė as long as itís not fourth. During the recent Jacksonville 15k Championships, Lane drifted off the lead pack mid race only to storm past 3 runners in the last mile to nab 3rd place. With Papa Johnís fast last 3 miles and his recent confidence boosting 28:31 10k at the Stanford Invitational, look for a similar Herculean effort from Lane.

KD: All of a sudden youíre becoming a road racer.

ML: It seems like all of a sudden, but Iíve run a few roads in the past like Beach to Beacon and Falmouth. Iíd see my training partners like Chris Graff go off and do various road races that started a shift in my mentality. In college I was more of a track purist where the real running is on the track, not the roads. After the Trials and all the confusion as to who was making the Olympic Team and then going to Europe and having to run another 5k, I just needed a change. I went to Falmouth and ran well there and really felt like I was enjoying running again. I had a good time and it was a laid back atmosphere.

KD: Really? I thought you wound up in the medical tent after Falmouth?

ML: Oh, right. Well it was laid back before that happened (laughs).

KD: What exactly happened? The humidity level at Falmouth didnít seem that bad this year.

ML:  I remember saying the day before the race, after hearing about Mike Donnellyís troubles at Falmouth the year before, that if Iím ever looking that bad in a race, Iím going to drop. Thereís no way Iím going to run that hard. It was the weirdest thing. I was getting that end -of Ėrace- fatigue feeling and then it was like a switch was flipped and suddenly I was done. After the last hill into the finish I could barely make it to the finish line.

KD: Was it a classic case of heat stroke?

ML: Yeah, I think so. Just before 7 miles my body temperature finally got to a level that cause me to shut down so nothing fatal would happen. Then I got hypothermic because I was in the ice tub for 15 minutes.

KD: Did the medics give you an actual body temperature reading?

ML:  Yeah they had me at 107 degrees.

KD:  Wow, thatís worthy of Salazar-esque type legend.

ML: It really was except I didnít run as fast and I didnít win.

KD: With the exception of those races you were new to the US Championship circuit until this past January where you started the year with the US Half Marathon Championships in Houston followed by the Jacksonville 15k.

ML: I decided it was a New Year and I wasnít excited about running on the track all the time. Plus, you know the money is very enticing.

KD: I know, God forbid you make a living from the sport.

ML: Right. God forbid youíre not poor, living in a trailer somewhere, trying to make ends meet. So financially that was part of the draw. In Houston I went out conservatively and closed hard to finish in 5th for 1:04.18. Graff was 1:04.17 thereís a great picture of the finish line where Graff is just leaning past me at the line. I learned a valuable lesson that day: the end of the race is the chip mat not some white line on the ground.

KD: It is hard mentally for someone used to running 12 laps to racing up to 13 miles?

ML: With road races, especially 10 miles and up, you get a couple of miles where you donít feel like youíre running that hard. It slowly creeps on you. In the 5k you get out there and you can feel great for maybe 2 or 3 minutes, but thatís about it. Then the pain really starts to get to you and the lactic buildup piles up.

I think what takes the most concentration is the workouts associated with running longer road races, like a workout of a 4 mile, 3 mile, 2 mile, 1 mile  Ė that kind of thing. I feel like I havenít run more miles this year but more of the miles are at higher quality.

KD: How do these longer workouts compare to what you were doing a year ago.

ML: The last month or so with Jacksonville and then the 10k at Stanford, the normal work we might do has been thrown out in favor of recovery. These longer races might not tear me up in a muscular sense, but they definitely wear you out. After the 15k I took a few days recovery and then I did a mile repeat workout. Iíve had to suffer through more of those types of workouts versus a year ago when we were getting ready for Mt. Sac. Getting ready for a 5k we were doing more speed. Now weíre not focused on making 64 second pace comfortable or 62/60 second pace comfortable. Weíre making sure that threshold work is staying in the mix with attention to the 4:30 mile pace type stuff. Plus, these races are such great workouts in and of themselves that Iím just trying to get to the next race healthy and making sure Iím recovered and ready to go for the next one.

KD: Talk a little bit about your pending move to New York. Youíre leaving what seems to be the perfect situation, with Palo Altoís laboratory-like conditions, a great track, the Sports Medicine Institute (SMI), and great training partners. What challenges to do you see ahead?

ML: Erin (Sullivan) and I are getting married two weeks from Saturday and weíre moving to New York so she can attend graduate school at Columbia. I think living in New York will take some extra focus at times but I think when I first get there it will be exciting. It will be a whole new scene. Plus weíre closer to our families. As far as places to run, I have no problems running on pavement. Iíve always been someone who would prefer to run on paved roads versus a wood chip trail. So running in Central Park wonít bother me. Leaving the SMI situation is something to think about. You know we pay our Farm Team dues, which arenít that much, and you get this incredible service nearly for free. Once a week we get massages and thereís a cold whirlpool available.

KD: What about a training group?

ML: I have a lot of connections in New York. Iíve spoken with Fam (infamous Anthony Famiglietti) and Matt Downin doesnít live too far away.

KD: You have the Papa Johnís U.S. 10 Mile Championships coming up. Who do you see as your main threat?

ML: Abdi is always frisky. You donít know what youíre going to get with him on any given day. He can really take it out and hammer you up front. If you let him get too far, even if heís having an off day, heís not coming back that easily. I think he had a little bit of an off day in Jacksonville and he still got away. It took me until the 8-mile mark to catch him. Thatís the kind of runner Abdi is; if you let him go heís not coming back.

KD: You closed incredibly fast over the last mile in Jacksonville passing three runners. What caused the gap in the first place? Did you have a mental lull in the middle of the race?

ML: I think ďa lullĒ is as about as good as you can describe it. Right around the 6-mile point, we caught up to the women and there was this golf cart. As soon as I passed this golf cart I found myself with this gap. I think it was just a mental break where I lost contact. The problem when you lose contact is you start focusing on the back of the pack, while the front of the pack is moving faster. Thatís where the 20-second gap came from. The one thing Iím learning along the way is that I feel better at the end of these races than I think Iím going to feel. I just have to trust that and let the elastic band stretch a little bit in the middle miles.

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