Where Your Dreams Become Reality
Page 2 of Shalane Flanagan, Carrie Tollefson and Alan Webb Address the Media
Alan Webb photo by Steve Starr
Confident, Relaxed Webb Ready to Start Quest for Beijing
Webb's season fizzled out a bit at Worlds as he finished a disappointing 8th. He then continued racing and struggled at the Weltklasse Golden League meet (7th), rebounded a little at the Grand Prix Final (4th), before finishing things out with a win in New York at the Continental Airlines Fifth Avenue Mile on September 29th.
Webb now has had one of the longest breaks in his career from racing, five and a half months. Webb said he took a couple weeks off from running (where he snuck in one or two runs), then a month of light running (40 miles a week) and has been building up ever since (now up to 80 miles a week).
Webb gave the indication he is very pleased with his preparations for Beijing. With a slight chuckle in his voice he said, "There have been some good workouts in there. I'm not going to name anything but some good stuff."
Having had some time to look back at his 2007 season, Webb was very pleased as the wounds from Worlds had healed and he could appreciate the season in its entirety: "As a whole, I think the season was a great success....I did a good job to use the momentum I had early in the season to push me to a level I had never been to before."
Zen Like Webb
Each year Webb likes to take what he did the year before and build on it. "Every season is like a new adventure. I try not to duplicate things. I try and have each year and each season be something new and I try and do something I've never done before."
For 2008, doing something he has not done before means an Olympic medal in Beijing. When pressed what time goals Alan has for 2008, he said sub 3:30, but clearly indicated everything was secondary to Beijing. While Webb said in 2004 his focus was on the Olympic Trials and just making the Olympic team (he admitted to being "mentally drained" by the time the Olympics came around), in 2008 his focus is on the Olympics. Alain said, "As long as I take care of my training and get myself physically prepared for the Trials, I think I'm going to be very confident I can make the Olympic team." Later he added, "I'm in a little different position (than in 2004) and can have a little more foresight and look at the Olympics as a very real possibility, with everything, (pause) mentally, training wise geared towards that."
Webb said he first really got into the Olympics and thought about them when he was a competitive swimmer before his running days. During the 1996 Olympics after his seventh grade year, Webb got mono and had to miss his All Star swimming meet which really got him down. While he couldn't swim, Webb said he watched nearly every minute possible of the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. He remembered Michael Johnson's incredible 19.32 200m world record. His sister got him a knock off Athens Olympic shirt when she was in Athens the next year and Webb began to dream of Athens, but in swimming (he said he kept the shirt and wore it to warm up in during the 2004 year).
Webb Admits to Not Having a Clue in High School
The knock on Webb in the past was that perhaps mentally he was too tough on himself when things were down, stressed too much on the little things, complicated things too much, and perhaps got a little too wound up for big races. A more mature, relaxed Webb was on display in New York on Thursday. Webb seemed truly confident that his training and talent could get him to where he needed to be no matter what happened. He said, "I've learned to not stress about things..... There is no reason to get all stressed out. Now it's just a matter of like 'Allright go do it.' If you want to win the race, go win the race. Don't make it so complicated."
Webb showed this maturity when asked whether he was worried about the pollution in Beijing and whether he was going to do anything special to prepare for it. Webb wasn't worried, "Come on man it's going to be equal for everybody".
Webb is driven by the desire to improve and a fierce desire to win races. As he said on Thursday, "There's nothing like winning a race." When first asked about his 2007 season he first commented, "The things I did well are the races I won." Alan said, "I try not to enter races I don't think I can win." There's no race bigger than the one on August 19th of this year, the Olympic 1500m final. And Alan Webb figures to have as good as shot as anyone of winning it.
Webb said if he wasn't racing this weekend he'd probably be doing a 5 mile tempo run so clearly this race fits nearly perfectly into his schedule.