In the once a mate always a mate department our old buddy Mike Morgan was kind enough to sit down with me this morning to discuss running the Lincoln Half Marathon and his preparations for the 2012 USA Olympic Trials and beyond.

Will:  Are you excited about racing again in your hometown?
Mike:  I am very excited to come home for the Lincoln Half.  I have been very fortunate to travel the world running different races, but there is nothing that compares to coming back to the streets that I grew up on and putting it on the line in front of my friends and family.

Will:  I know you had a foot injury earlier in the year, how has that resolved?
Mike:  The foot is floating at 60-80% given the day, it’s manageable, and hopefully it takes a positive swing towards 100% once we get into the warmer weather.

Will:  How has training been going recently?
Mike:  Training has been very consistent since early January.  But, being honest, it has become a lot harder to come back from injuries the older I have gotten.  When I was in my 20’s, I came back a lot quicker.  Luckily, I have 10 or so other guys on my team that make me bring by “A” game everyday, so I definitely get back into shape faster than I would if I were training alone.

Will:  Any key workouts to give you an idea of where you are for May 1st?
Mike:  Actually, this morning, we had a “ball-buster” of a long run.  I covered my 18 miles in 1:40.  Our fist three miles were 7:00, 6:15, 5:47, then it got ugly and we rolled a solid 10 miles at 5:30 pace or better.  You can bet that I am paying for it right now!

Will:  We all know your goal is the 2012 London Olympic Marathon start line..  Will you run another marathon prior to the USA Olympic Trials in Houston next January?
Mike:  Right now, I am not planning on another full marathon until the Olympic Trials.  Our daily training is very tough, and our marathon training is brutal, with my injury history, I have decided to play it safe and run some half marathons then moving to some faster stuff this summer.  Now, here is my disclaimer: if I get a shot to represent the US at the World Championships this August in Dagau, South Korea, I might take it.  I don’t know if I could pass up the opportunity to strap on that US jersey and represent my country.

Will:  We were both in Houston for the USA Men’s Half Marathon Championships on January 29th, did you come away with any insights into the new course that will be used for the Trials?
Mike:  I got a great opportunity to watch the race from the press truck with you.  I feel that the course is going to be a lot more challenging than people think.  It is an awesome course for spectators, you could park a lawn chair and a cooler on the side of the road and see us 4 different times, you can’t say that for many marathons.  I am hopeful that the U-turns will be eliminated from the course, they are huge momentum breakers and shouldn’t be part of this race.  The Houston Organizers are very smart, and I know they will have a great course and an unbelievable weekend.

Will:  Any other races that you will be focusing on in 2011 as part of your lead in?
Mike:  Nothing too crazy, I am going to use this opportunity to get to some of the races I wouldn’t typically run such as Falmouth, and maybe Bay to Breakers.

Will:  You and Kelly are expecting your first child later this year, congratulations to you both.  Does this change anything for your running career after 2012?
Mike:  Well, I’m already 31, it’s time for us to start growing our family.  I will always be a runner, whatever time I have left as an elite runner is out of my hands.  I would continue forever if I could.  Our ultimate plan is to stick around in MI until 2013, then evaluate, and make a plan for the next chapter of our lives.

Will:  Any words of inspiration for us merely mortals that are training up for the Lincoln Marathon?  Thanks and looking forward to seeing you soon!
Mike:  Well, you are just under 5 weeks out, that really means 3 more hard weeks of training, then it’s taper time.  Be consistent, and enjoy the weather as it starts to get warmer and things begin to grow.  This is a great time to be a runner!