Apolo Ohno, the eight-time Olympic medalist was in Chicago Sunday competing in the Chicago Half Marathon, it was part warm up race for Ohno who is training for the New York Marathon on November 6th and part promise to Jared Fogle from Subway fame.
A guy like Ohno has more than a few PR people hyping the fact that he was coming to town, making sure that we mention Subway in our posts. At first I was less than enthusiastic to hear his pitch for the sandwich brand, but after hearing the details of what Ohno was up to, it pounded home that the man is not only a champion, but a man of his word.
Earlier in the year Jared Fogle invited several celebrity friends to train and run the New York Marathon with him, after he finished his first marathon in 5:13 minutes. It's a part of the Subway healthy menu initiative. Of all the people Fogel reached out to (must have lost my e-mail) Ohno was the only celebrity to step up to the plate and take on the challenge. Training for a marathon is more than showing up at a celebrity auction or playing in a golf tournament, it's a complete lifestyle change and a massive commitment, one that the Olympic champion is taking as seriously.
Ohno is a short track champion, which means his races are full effort, expend a lot of energy, but end quickly. Completely different than 26.2 of miles of hard work, Ohno welcomes the challenge, " It's completely different, at about the 8 mile mark, my body wants to shut down, but my mind set is " you are going to do this, there is no other option, so I just keep on going."
For the world class athlete the challenge is more than putting in the miles, it's a complete body overhaul, something he and his trainer Todd Rushworth, have been working on to make sure that race day is as successful as possible. Rushworth says, " the longest race Apolo raced in to this point was 2 minutes and he is used to going as fast as possible and turning to the left the entire time, bent over. People say, "oh he's a world class athlete how hard can this be for him," but we have had to change his bio-mechanics and teach him to go straight for long periods of time. It's like taking a Grand Prix car and entering it into a motorcycle race, it's completely different."
Challenges have never been something Ohno has walked away from and his go for it attitude has paid off on the world stage as well as the dancing stage, when he won Dancing With The Stars. Though he tried to be modest about his time in the 1/2, when pushed his pre-race prediction was 1:45, he came in at a chip time of 1:40:59, " there is not other choice in my mind, I set a goal, I crank it, I gotta crank it and get to that finish line," says Ohno.
No matter who you are, if you are going to finish a marathon, you have to put in the miles and be able to recover, one of the biggest challenges Apolo faces as he travels around the country, " Recovery is the hardest part " says Rushworth, "Since he was 13 years old he has had the best our country has had to offer. Now he's on the go, his routine is out of whack, it's up to him to take care of himself, so we really focus in proper nutrition and proper rest, which is always a challenge."
But wait, there's more! We asked you on Facebook, "what would you ask Apolo if you could interview him," here are some of your questions and answers.
Jenny- Are you in a relationship or dating anyone?
Apolo- I am not in a relationship or dating anyone, I am on the prowl and looking for someone special.
Nicole(Mom's Who Drink and Swear) Knepper- Boxers or briefs?
Andeep- The short track fans who follow the team wherever they go. Its pretty amazing how committed they are to the sport. Many of them even know the families.
Apolo- Back when I started there were hardly any fans watching us, there would be like 10 people in the stands. Now as we have been able to reach a certain level of success and the sport has grown in popularity, the fans and the people who are loyal to the sport are amazing.
Tina- Will he teach me how to Tango? Which we translated into- Do you use any of those fancy dance moves when you go out and would you recommend dancing lessons to athletes.
Apolo- I don't really use any of the choreographed moves when I do dance, but it has helped my confidence when I do dance, it's great. I recommend, dancing lessons for everyone, it's great for your coordination, confidence and it's a great time.
Andy- What's your marathon time?
Apolo- I'm not sure yet. I'll get back to you later on that.
John- Being a numbers training geek, I wonder what metrics he uses to train by, ie. heart rate, power, etc? Also wonder how specific his training regiment is. Is he a gnats @$$ kind of guy with everything written down or does he just put it into someone elses hands.
Apolo- Todd likes to track my heart rate, my watts and all kinds of stats, I like to go as hard as I can, it's the way I like to race, but Todd keeps me on track and moving forward, so it's a combo.
Adam- What he things of the Petit Ice Center in Milwaukee.
Apolo- I've been there for several camps and events, it's one of the originals and is the home to plenty of great skaters.
Tonya- You and Julianne Hough on DWTS, anything ever happen?
Apolo- No. What people didn't understand about Julianne when I was dancing with her was that she was 18 years old at the time, she looks a lot older and is a gorgeous girl, but more of a little sister to me. She does have a nice tattoo.
Greg- Karina Smironoff was in Playboy, what other DWTS star would you like to see in Playboy?
Apolo- Nervous laugh, "no comment."
One Last Question- You are the only celebrity that stepped up to face this challenge, that's gotta make you feel pretty cool.
Apolo- It's great, I love the challenge. Next year, I am calling out all of my friends, Michael Phelps, Michael Strahan and Laila Ali, you are all next!
To read about what Apolo likes on his Subway sandwich and how to win a Subway gift card, click here to check out Cubicle Dad's lunch with Apolo Ohno.