“When I was younger I really struggled with separating myself from sport. I really believed that how I performed is what defined me and I started to perform way better once I was able to separate myself from sport and realize that sport does not define me. And that’s something that’s just been huge for me.”
Really enjoyed talking to Gwen Jorgensen for this week’s episode of the podcast. The 33-year-old Jorgensen is the reigning Olympic champion in triathlon, who, in late 2017, announced she was retiring from multi-sport racing to turn her attention to running full-time. Her goal: Olympic gold in the marathon. In early 2018, Jorgensen signed with Nike and joined the Bowerman Track Club to train alongside 2017 New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan and reigning Olympic Trials marathon champion Amy Cragg under the watchful eye of coach Jerry Schumacher.
We covered a lot of ground in this conversation, including Jorgensen’s recent surgery to repair a Haglund’s deformity in her right heel and how she’s dealt with it from both a training and psychological standpoint, the importance of separating yourself from sport and having balance in your life, last fall’s Chicago Marathon and why she didn’t feel that it was a fair representation of what she’s capable of in that event, reflections on her first full season of training as a runner, learning from Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan, what it’s been like going from being at the top of one sport to an underdog in a different one, how she’s learned to get comfortable sharing her story (and struggles) with a large audience, why the Olympic gold medal in the marathon is still her goal, and a lot more.
Related links, references, and resources:
— The Total Reinvention of Gwen Jorgensen: “I think people see in her what they want to do themselves—like those people working a job they’re good at but don’t love,” her husband Patrick Lemieux told Outside magazine. “Here’s a woman who was literally the best, and she left to do something that she’s probably not going to be the best at.”
— Gold Digger: “In short: Jorgensen will have her hands full,” I wrote in the fall of 2017 after Jorgensen announced she was retiring from triathlon to pursue Olympic gold in the marathon. “But if nothing else, her presence at the 2020 Trials will make the race that much more competitive up front, not to mention interesting and exciting for those of us following it from the sidelines—and that alone is worth its weight in gold.”
— “I’ve set some pretty crazy goals in the past,” Jorgensen told Triathlete.com when she retired from the sport in 2017. “For me it’s just something I’ve wanted to try since I had the first thoughts about doing it a few years ago. I know I’m going to have to take some big risks, but I really believe I’m capable of doing it.”
Music and editing for this episode of the morning shakeout podcast by John Summerford at BaresRecords.com
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