An Interview With Michael Wardian
by Jay Jacob Wind,
Q. Congratulations on qualifying for the Trials! How do you feel?
A. First off, I would love to thank my sponsors: Pacers/New Balance, Gu, Race Ready, Crescent Moon Snowshoes.
Also, I would like to thank my family (Dick, Vivienne, Matt, Mariele Wardian and Jennifer Higgins) and training partners: Heather Hanscom, Chris Farley, Frank Sprtel, Glen Mays, Todd Martin, and Aaron Church.
Q. You're the first Olympic Qualifier from Arlington since Jim Berka in 1980. How was the race?
A. The Detroit Marathon was great, the race and in particular, Steve Evans (the Elite Coordinator) was very accommodating and treated the Elite Athletes well. The course itself was beautiful and challenging but still fast. It was also quite interesting and special as it was an international course in that a part of the race was run in Windsor, Canada. Also, we got to run a mile underwater in the Detroit/Windsor Tunnel and crossed the Ambassador Bridge.
Q. Did the tunnel bother you at all?
A. No, the tunnel did not bother me at all. It was actually very peaceful but also kind eerie as I kept thinking if a car comes I have not where to go to get out of the way.
Q. What about the crowd support?
A. The crowd support was adequate to above average, nothing like Boston, Chicago, or New York but for a smaller race it was loud and very supportive. Also, and this is important to me, the volunteers were first class at the expo, water stops (in particular) and finish line.
Q. What made you choose Detroit?
A. I choose Detroit for a few reasons: The first is I almost was hit by a car while training a few weeks ago and thought I did not want to wait until Marine Corps to run a qualifier as I felt fit now (then) to qualify (from my last few races at the Philadelphia Distance Run: 1:06:30 - September 21, and the New Haven Road Race 20K National Championships - 1:03:41 - September 1).
The second reason is that I started running (seriously) in Michigan while I was in school at Michigan State University and thought it would be a nice place to qualify for trials.
Q. Could you have run as fast, say, at the Marine Corps Marathon?
A. I like to think that I could have run as fast (or faster) a race at the Marine Corps Marathon but you never know. I thought I was ready a few other times this year (to qualify) and I got sick once (which is unusual for me) and just had a bad race in the other race so it really depends on the day. I am just glad that I can focus on February and the Olympic Trials and not worry about qualifying anymore.
Q. How many marathons is this for you?
A. I think that is about 30 some marathons for me. I have done a lot of racing but never focused as much as I did the last two years.
Q. Any special diet or nutritional supplements?
A. I do not have a special diet except that I am a Vegetarian (basically a ovo/lacto vegetarian) but that is not for running I just don't really like meat and had a bad experience with some chicken once. I do have to credit Gu for helping the last few miles, that was crucial, without that boost (from the Gu) at the end of the race, I might have been 12 seconds on the wrong side of 2:22:00, which would have been very tough to handle.
Q. You are famous for your win in the Himalayas International Marathon, more an endurance race than a speed race. How did you train to achieve this breakthrough?
A. I really have to credit a ton of miles (i.e., 100 plus mile weeks since June) and Chris Farley of Pacers for getting me to try tempo runs (where you run race pace or faster for a set number of miles) once a week. The miles and tempo runs have been very good to me and have made me a much better runner.
Q. Where do you train? Who with?
A. I train all over the Metro D.C. area but I have been doing a lot of running from Iwo Jima and along the Towpath in Georgetown. I train with Heather Hanscom, Chris Farley, Frank Sprtel, Glen Mays, Todd Martin, and Aaron Church for the most part. When I am not with them, I train with my dogs, Nikki and Maggie Wardian and my sister Mariele Wardian or by myself.
Q. What motivates you to train so hard, and set such lofty goals?
A. I guess I have always been able to set goals (especially lofty goals) and I would have to say that I learned from a young age, from my parents and family, that if you want something you have to work hard and almost anything is possible. As far as the training goes, I enjoy it and like the way my body feels after a tough workout so the more tough workouts I can do the better.
Q. What's your next target? Will you run another marathon soon?
A. My next target is the Olympic Trials in February. As far as another marathon soon, I am planning on running the Marine Corps Marathon on October 26, 2003.