Following this year’s string of hot marathons, lots has been written on the weather. While it sucks for everyone, I really feel sorry for the people trying to qualify for the Olympic Trials or earn a Boston Qualifier. Such is the case for Josh Metcalf, 32 of Glencoe, who was trying to drop four minutes from his marathon this year in order to qualify for the trials. Along the way he ran into unseasonable conditions at both Grandma’s and TCM and had to settle for running 2:27:08 and 2:28:26, respectively. In addition to the difficult conditions, Josh has had to deal with the loss of Caty Delwiche – one of his former high school runners, who was hit by a car while running on the sidewalk. (Photo courtesy of Wayne Kryduba.)
How and when did you get involved with running?
I started running when I was pretty young. My dad started the CC team at Mountain Lake, and I would jog around with the team at some meets and practices. I remember the girl’s team making it to state 7 years in a row and thinking that I would like to go to state someday.
You ran 2:26:21 at last year's TCM. What were your goals for 2007? Did you hope to run 2:22 and qualify for the trials? If so, what did you think your chances were?
Last year going into TCM I was having some good workouts. Then in August, I changed the school that I was going to be teaching at and bought my first house. My wife and I were working all day and then trying to fix up the house at night. There were many nights that I wasn’t going to bed until 2:00 AM. I really started to get tired. I went into TCM with no real goals. I felt “bad” for the first 10k and then started to find a rhythm. The next 15 miles felt very easy, which made me think I could maybe qualify for the trials some day. Then a few weeks later, my friend Pete Gilman qualified at Chicago. Having someone that you consistently race with qualify gave me hope. I thought there was a chance to qualify in 2007 if everything went right, meaning the training, staying injury free, having good competition, and good weather.
It just so happens that you picked two marathons to run this year that were warmer than normal, Grandma’s and TCM. Do you think the weather affected your chances of qualifying?
There’s no doubt that the weather had an impact on my times. However, I don’t want to use the weather as an excuse. If I had qualified earlier, the weather wouldn’t have been an issue.
If TCM hadn’t been run on the last day of qualifying, would you have possibly not run the race in order to seek out better conditions somewhere else?
I wouldn’t have run a different race. With coaching CC at Glencoe-Silver Lake, going to another marathon wasn’t an option.
What kind of weekly mileage were you running leading up to TCM?
From the beginning of February until TCM, I ran between 94-122 miles per week. I had two “down” weeks after Grandma's Marathon where I ran low miles and cross trained.
Do you have any key workouts you like to do prior to each marathon?
Most of my workouts are at Tempo pace. I like to build up to at least 8 miles. I also adjust my workouts to what I feel needed more work after the previous marathon.
In general, what is your training philosophy?
It depends on what I’m coaching. During track, I only run the easy days and warm-up/cool-down with the team. I can’t run the workouts with them due to the different events and having three different workouts going on. During basketball season, I do a lot of treadmill runs and mix in some longer tempo runs. In summer, I focus on increasing my mileage, getting a good long run in and 1-2 workouts per week. In the fall, I run the workouts with my athletes. We have more coaches and are running the same workouts so it makes it easier. I also focus on getting in good mileage and a good tempo workout on the weekends.
What are your goals for 2008? What are your long-term goals?
I’m not sure yet for 2008. My long-term goal is to try and qualify for the 2012 trials in the marathon. Hopefully, I can stay healthy enough and keep improving as a runner.
Who or what has been instrumental, as you’ve improved as a runner?
First I would have to say my wife. I met her through running in high school. She has been patient with my running. We both make sacrifices to make it work. I will run early in the morning or at lunch most days to fit in the workouts. She is willing to have me get back from practice a little bit later on some workout days and will keep things running at the house. Second, would be my teammates Pete Gilman, Mark Evans, and Jason Minnick to name a few. We talk several times a week and motivate each other. We also try to get together every once in a while to run or do a workout together.
Glencoe is fairly small and it’s outside the metro area. Are there other runners to train with or do you tend to run by yourself?
I run with my team during the season, but I mostly train alone. It’s amazing when I get together with some of my teammates and run how much faster a workout goes by. Some times I will run 20 miles by myself and feel like I’m out there all day.
What do you consider your strengths and weaknesses?
My weaknesses would be overtraining. I feel like if I don’t run 12 or more miles per day I’m being lazy. My strengths would be my willingness to run no matter what sacrifices I have to make. Some times this means giving up sleep or meals but it’s worth it in the long run. Another strength is my mental toughness.
What are your PR’s?
5k- 14:46 track
Half - 1:09:40
What is your fondest running memory?
Team races every year. It's great to get to compete with all the good runners in Minnesota and cool-down with my teammates.
Do you have a favorite local and/or national race?
I really like Turkey Trot in Worthington and Pow Wow in Mountain Lake. I also like all the team races that aren’t hot and humid.
If you could run with any Minnesotan, past or present, who would it be?
I would like to train with Minnick, Pete and Evans in a setting like the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project. It would be fun to see how fast we could run with only a part-time job and plenty of sleep. I think we would really push each other.
Finally, one of your former runners, Caty Delwiche, was struck by a car and killed while out jogging recently. What was it like to coach her in high school, what kind of relationship did you have with her and how difficult was it to run TCM so soon after her death?
It was an honor to coach Caty. I know when people die; many people talk about the person as if they were “perfect” and don’t really tell it like it is. This is not the case with Caty; she was the dream athlete to coach. She was “classy” in every since of the word. We could start out on a run and I could tell her it was going to be 6-8, depending on how she felt and I honestly trusted that she wasn’t going to cut it short.
She was a straight “A” student and led by example. I had a great relationship with Caty. Caty, Kenny Fillbrandt, and I would always be the last ones running together at practice. When you spend that much time together, you really learn about the “real” person. We would discuss just about any appropriate topic. She also learned to run at a much faster pace. Kenny and I would pick on her non-stop and she eventually started returning it. She always wanted to accomplish more. I remember cooling down with her after the state meet and joking with her that I was disappointed in her 4th place finish. It was her first individual state medal and she ran a PR. Her response was, “I know, I shouldn’t have let that girl pass me on the last lap”. That summed up Caty.
It was very difficult to run TCM so soon after Caty passing away. I knew Caty would’ve wanted me to race and having put so much time into training; there really wasn’t a choice. I can’t even tell you how many times I thought about Caty while running TCM or since. She was a great kid and will be greatly missed.