Michael Aish Steps Up - Page 2
Why did you decide to attempt Leadville? Was it a desire to return to serious competition at a different distance, or was it just the idea of a new challenge?
Living in Colorado, the Leadville 100 is like the race you’ve got to do. When you say you’re a runner here, people ask if you’ve done Leadville. So it’s always been on my bucket list.
After about six months of not really running, I grew itchy to compete. I didn’t have a lot of goals. I was walking the dogs up in the hills one day and thought, I’m going to see if I can get into Leadville. I
What is different, or the same, as when you were training for shorter road and track races?
To be honest, I have no idea what I’m doing. Basically, I wanted to bring a little bit of marathon training into it and see what I could so. I had all these great plans, but working a lot at the running store got in the way sometimes. I’ve been running about five days a week, with one or two days that are a little bit longer. Sometimes I’ve run to work—it’s about 30 road miles—at 6:30 or 6:45 pace the whole way, so close enough to a tempo run.
I probably average about 12 miles per day, and get in a three or three-and-a-half hour run once or twice a week. Some guys factor in hiking but what I’m doing is all running. The 50 was good enough to show me that I must be doing well.
Since Leadville is primarily on trails, have you incorporated more training on trails?
I’ve always run on the trails. It’s nothing new to me. Now I’m just spending a little more time on them.
You said the 50 indicated your training was working—how did that race go?
My whole goal going in was just to take it very easy. I really had no idea, and I’m still kind of guessing at what I’m doing. The race went pretty well, and I got a little itchy in the middle and it took a lot to pull myself back, remind myself I had a long way to go and that it was still new territory for me. The last few miles I jogged, walked and tried to avoid blowing myself apart.
What are your expectations for the 100? Do you think being an elite marathoner will set you up well for this race?
To be honest, the marathon is one of my worst events. I’ve run about a 2:13, and I think my track times should have transitioned into something a lot better.
I’m a competitive person so I always go into a race with that mindset. At the same time, my main goal is to get to the finish line, in one piece, running. That last part is key. If I’m blown apart I probably won’t be as happy.
I’ll follow my personal view of racing, which is that I’m going to go out with the leaders and hold on as long as I can. I recognize this is supposed to be a great field, and this is what those guys do. I’m not under the impression I’m going to go out and boss them around. I’m just looking to hang on, and if I’m feeling good and in a good position late, sure I’ll try and take it. But for now, I’m just going to see what I can do, beat as many people as I can and not beat myself to pieces. I’m looking forward to it … but I’m kind of scared.