Basalt runner primed for Marathon Trials
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
BASALT – The anxiety first began to set in Wednesday. Megan Lund-Lizotte suspects the feeling likely will not dissipate until the gun goes off Saturday morning.
“The closer you get, the more you realize what you’re getting into,” the 28-year-old from Basalt said Thursday morning, hours before boarding a plane bound for Texas, where she will compete in this weekend’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.
“Competing in the world championships for mountain running is incredibly prestigious, but the Olympics has its own kind of aura. People know it, it’s reputable. … That makes it more exciting but also daunting at the same time.”
More than 300 of the country’s top distance runners are slated to gather in Houston to take part in a 26.2-mile, three-loop race that loops through downtown. The top three male and female finishers will secure a coveted spot in the 2012 Summer Games in London.
Lund-Lizotte will be making her second trials appearance.
“I feel like I’m physically and mentally prepared, but marathons are tricky,” she said. “Everything has to come together. You just hope everything’s right on race day.”
Such was not the case in April 2008 in Boston. Lund-Lizotte entered the trials as the country’s top-ranked female marathoner younger than 25. She left battered and humbled after a disappointing 103rd-place finish.
Lund-Lizotte said she still struggles to comprehend fully what transpired in Boston, an experience she deemed an “emotional letdown,” one that reduced her to tears in the moments after crossing the finish line.
“The whole experience was actually all really new to me. I ran my first marathon in (October) 2007 at St. George (in Utah), and that’s where I qualified. In April, I was at the trials,” she recalled. “All of a sudden, I’m training for another marathon. We had record snowfall, so the training wasn’t very good, and I didn’t have a very good day. … I wasn’t really fast and didn’t feel that good. I don’t know exactly what happened, but I didn’t have my day and just wasn’t on.
“It was pretty overwhelming. I think that’s kind of an advantage now, though, because I kind of know what to expect. I know I’ve put in the work. Now, I’ve got to go out and make it happen.”
Lund-Lizotte made it happen this summer, all while contending with a string of nagging injuries.
She finished fourth despite spraining her ankle at the famed Sierre-Zinal race in the Swiss Alps – an event she won in 2010, becoming the first U.S. woman ever to accomplish the feat. In September, she wound up 12th at the World Mountain Running Championships in Albania, her best showing in three appearances.
In one of her final competitive tuneups before Houston, Lund-Lizotte secured her first national title with an impressive win at November’s U.S. Trail Marathon Championships in snowy Ashland, Ore.
Lund-Lizotte took five days off after that victory before diving into marathon preparation. She has logged an average of 75 to 80 miles per week – and as many as 95 – during the past two months.
“I feel really strong and like I’ve got some good leg speed going into this. I know my endurance is there,” Lund-Lizotte said.
“I think it’s going to take (a time of 2 hours, 27 minutes) to qualify, just given what a lot of women I know are capable of running. I’d love to make the team, but my goals have to be more realistic. My fastest time is 2:41. From that to 2:27 is a big jump, but anything can happen on any given day.
“I think it would be foolish for me to go out and try and run a 2:27 from the beginning. I need to take the whole race in stride, do the first half within the pace range I’ve picked out. In the second half, that’s where the guts come into play and you’ve just got to go for it.”
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