Along with eight other bloggers, I had the opportunity to have an informal luncheon with Apolo Ohno and his trainer, Todd Rushworth. Last Friday, we all met in the back dining room of a Subway in downtown Chicago to interview Apolo about his newest endeavor, marathon training. “This was NOT my idea,” he told us with a laugh. Due to his natural competitive spirit, Apolo could not turn down the challenge in which he was presented, by Jarod the Subway Guy, last fall. He teamed up with Subway and as of June, started his strict training with Todd. As many of you locals know, the Chicago Half Marathon took place yesterday. Todd & Apolo participated as a training exercise for the upcoming New York Marathon.
- His favorite Subway Sandwich: Double turkey on honey oat with cheddar, lettuce, tomato, banana peppers, spinach, oil and vinegar. Of course, this was one of our selections for lunch.
- His take on food: He’s a foodie (BONUS!) Says he eats a LOT – but stays very active. Doesn’t have an allergy, but has found that he performs better if he eats less gluten. “It sucks to eat like an athlete,” says Apolo, “If you have balance in your lifestyle and mindset, it’s easier to make the right decisions.” He had a difficult time choosing a “spluge” food item, but decided it would be something ethnic.
- Differences in training: Marathon training is by far the most intense, with running on average 40 miles per week. Going from training for a two and a half minute speed skate to a three hour run has been a difficult adjustment. Todd has had to help restructure his body from a directional position to a vertical one; shortening the elongated muscles and lengthening the shortened ones. His Dancing With the Stars training was all together different. Of course, Apolo can never not face a challenge and has found success in each and every sport in which he has been involved. Over all, he loves training in extreme weather. Really hot or really cold, the weather pushes him to strive for more.
- Why athletes do so well in Dancing With the Stars: They are already used to being coached and have the ability to take criticism. Atletes are also accustomed to a strict schedule and rigorous training. Others may have a hard time adjusting to those elements.
- Half marathon goal: Apolo and Todd laughed when they realized they kept setting their running goal at a lower and lower time with each interview they did that morning. They strived for a 1:45 run…they finished at 1:40:59 today!!!
- Funny Story: Apolo grew up in a single parent home, raised in Seattle by his father. He considered himself a “bad kid” which is why his dad enrolled him in as many athletic activities as possible. “He knew what was best for me,” agreed Apolo. “He recognized that I had a real talent in short track speed skating.” By age 12, Apolo’s father drove him around the Northwest US and Canada for competitions. At age 13, he was the youngest skater to ever be admitted to the Lake Placid Olympic Training center. His father drove him to the airport to see him off. When his dad drove away, Apolo admitted to calling his friends to come and get him. Needless to say, he didn’t quite make it to New York that day; he decided to house hop with friends instead. Well, that plan backfired as a few days later, his coach phoned Mr. Ohno and asked if his son was still planning on attending. His father replied (Apolo said in his best Japanese accent), “Whaaahhtt?? You loss ma son?!?” Obviously he wasn’t lost, but he was losing himself. His dad called around, found him, flew with him to Lake Placid and marched him to the door of the training center. That “bad kid” is now the most decorated American Winter Olympian ever, bearing 8 medals.
- How Sports affect every aspect of your life: Experiencing athletics has helped him in his personal self growth and self confidence. “[Sports] forces you to face yourself with instant results; you either win or lose. I’ve won competitions where I have learned nothing. When you lose, the lessons learned are your biggest assets.” Apolo tries to apply this thought to all facets of life…and that is what drives him to be the best.
In celebration of Apolo’s first half marathon, Subway would like to give one of you a $25 gift card. You can then go try Apolo’s favortie sandwich or any one of their items on the “Fresh Fit” menu. Three ways to enter (be sure to leave a comment for each entry):
- Leave a comment telling everyone your favorite Subway sandwich.
- Like Food. (Just Sayin’) on Facebook. (right hand column)
- Copy and Tweet: I want to win a $25 Subway giftcard from @ItsToni to celebrate #ApoloRunsChicago http://bit.ly/qaVZne
A winner will be chosen on Monday, September 19th at 7:00 pm CST by random.org. Good luck!