How did you get involved in race walking.
When I was 10 or 11 I joined the local track team and the first two weeks the head coach had everyone try every event. He didn't know anything about race walking, but he had everyone walk as fast as they could for two laps around the track and I kicked everybody's butt. When the first meet came, he asked if I want to try that walking thing. I said sure, and I was hooked.
Was there any formal walking programming outside of the USATF Junior Olympics?
So did you only walk in the summer programs?
Yes, but when I got a little older I would enter some local road races and enter the race walking division.
When you were younger did you ever think that race walking would be such a large part of your life over 20 years later?
No, no. In fact, I went to a junior camp one year in Lake Placid and then Orono, Maine. One time we all sat around and had discussions about where life would lead us. I knew I was going to be a music major. Someone challenged me, didn't ask me, challenged me, if I had to choose between race walking and music what would I choose? I said that I would choose music because I couldn't make a living from race walking. Now I have both, it's the best of both worlds.
I am guessing that your exploits in race walking do not pay the bills, is it music that you consider your day job?
Life is balance between race walking, music and my husband, fellow race walker Dave Talcott. As for the music I play the oboe and the bassoon in a couple of local orchestras, I teach music lessons, play in church gigs, local high school musicals. My biggest musical accomplishment was playing solo in Carnegie Hall. I wouldn't say it pays the bills, but it does provide helpful income.
So, that sounds like it gives you a lot of time to train. What are your current goals?
I qualified for indoor nationals and would like to have a really good showing there. I am also hoping to qualify for the Pan Am Cup team and achieve a B standard (1:38).
What do you look at as your biggest race walking accomplishment so far?
The 50K Olympic Trials.
Do you mean that you qualified for the men's race?
Not just the fact that I qualified, but also how well I did at the race. First, it was about hitting the qualifying standard and I am very proud of my performance at that race.
Refresh people's memory, what place and how many men did you beat at the trials.
I was one of 14 people to qualify. 13 started qualified, I came in 6th.
Did that exceed you expectations?
The place did, because I had no idea what everyone else would do, but time wise I knew that I was capable of it.
I understand a you have another goal. Can you explain what it is?
Since there is no women's 50k team, I want to make the men's 50K team and compete in an international competition in the 50k.
Have you gotten much support for your ambitions?
I actually have. I have gotten some support from some people pretty high up the totem pole. So it will be interesting to see what happens in November at the 50K Nationals.
Have you gotten much negative feedback for perusing the 50k instead of the traditional 20km?
A definite yes. There were a lot of people that did not want me at the 50k trials and were very vocal about it, both men and women. Other things people were saying "If you race 50k's you won't be fast at 20K, just focus on 20K." But for me, racing 50K, and getting strong at 50K, has made me strong all the way down. For example, now, realizing everyone hasn't raced a 3K yet, I have the fastest time in the country (women's) and that really means a lot to me, being a "slow" 50K walker. I am getting faster at the shorter distances as well as the longer ones.
You were the first woman to compete in a men's Olympic Trials track and field event. You did so for the longest footrace in the Olympics. Did you performance motivate other women to take up the longer walking distances as a goal?
I've gotten emails from a fair amount of international women who were really happy that I did that and really want to do a 50k and do not have an outlet to do it. It was really nice to hear. I've had younger girls tell me that they want to try a 50K. I had one mom tell me that my picture was up in their dining room as inspiration, I can't even tell you what that meant to me to hear that.
How do you see the growth of the sport of race walking?
I think the women's side is seeing a lot of growth. We have had some great performances already and a lot of woman are still improving.
Do you see anyone coming after your 50K crown?
I don't think so.
So does that mean you will race the 50K again this year?
Absolutely. For Sure. It's November 24th down in Florida. I will be there with bells on.
Does your husband Dave plan to try and beat you?
He's always planning to try to beat me.
Is he a sore loser?
Not at all! We have a great competition, he is always so happy for me when I do well. If that happens that he beats me or I beat him it doesn't matter. We rarely race against each other because it's usually a men's competition or a women's competition. We just constantly try to push each other. I'm so lucky to have such a wonderful husband that supports me and pushes me and always wants the best for me. My husband and my coach, Jim Leppik, are really the reason I've gotten as far as have. They've always believed in me. And the time my coach has spent figuring out what works best for me, tweaking programs, looking at video, I really owe him a lot.