W75 Marie-Louise Michelson pulled off a Daegu double-double

W65 Marie was a beast at 2008 Spokane nationals.

A month ago, I noted a surprise (to me) American entrant at Daegu — W75 superstar Marie-Louise Michelson. She didn’t show up in last year’s rankings. Now we know why: “I took 2016 off from track in order to do triathlons,” she writes. “I did five of them.” At Daegu, she did a quad — four events in two days. She called it the double-double — 200 and 800 on Thursday and 400 and 1500 a couple days later. (She’s also listed as DNF in the 3000.) The fields weren’t big, but I’m still in awe of anyone who goes back-to-back in sprints and middle distances. She offered how it felt to compete at worlds: “I really loved it. Instead of doing it like a masters runner — running to see what kind of time I could maintain — it felt like I was a high school student or college student at a meet – recruited to compete in four races at a track meet for the team and having to figure out how to hold back in order to win all four. I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up by the last one – the 1500. In fact, it took a couple of laps until I had my legs.”

Here’s how Marie-Louise ranked nationally in 2016 in W75 triathlon. Good 4U!

Here’s the rest of our Q&A:

Masterstrack.com: How much time between those finals?

Marie-Louise Michelson: Just under an hour and a half between each pair of finals. And 42 hours between the end of the first pair and the start of the second pair.

On Thursday, start time for the 200 was 1:34 and 3 p.m. for the 800. On Saturday, start time was 9 a.m. for the 400 and 10:30 for the 1500.

Is it true you took 2016 off? Reason for pause in competition?

I took 2016 off from track in order to do triathlons (I did five of them.) My husband, Blaine, likes to do them and I go to support him. So I decided to actually compete for the year and see if I could do a decent ranking — they have an excellent system of ranking. Our ranking for long-distance racing would be very much improved by using it.

My goal was to be in the top 5. My biking is very slow — I’m not willing to take the risks of fast turns — and even the downhills scare me, so I hold back. I knew that I could make up some of the time in running — but not all of it since the major amount of time in the race is on the bike.

I managed to make fifth. I would have made third, but in one race I thought the water was just barely too warm to be wetsuit legal (but it was wetsuit legal and some people wore them) and that cost me enough time to keep me from ranking No. 3.

So that was fun and different.

What’s motivating you now?

What’s motivating me is that I love everything about track. I try to set new challenges — like the double-double — and just competing in the sprints. Not my strongest suit. For example, a few years ago going for the American record in the indoor 400.

What’s your favorite event now? Any record attempts in mind?

Favorite event? That’s hard to say. I love them all.

Record attempts in mind — I think I might train for the steeplechase again. I haven’t even done it since outdoor nationals in Chicago and while that was a world record it was really slow since I wasn’t recovered from the 10,000 I had done not long before. So it might be fun to actually concentrate on that.

Are you still teaching? What occupies your days — and where do you live?

I am still a full-time professor (mathematics) at Stony Brook University. That is the reason I cannot go to a lot of meets — they are often during term.

I live in Stony Brook. My days are very full. Full-time job. I run a business with my daughter. I have a fabulous grandson. And I try to keep up with my vegetable garden in the spring, summer and fall.

How long do you expect to run — till 80 or 90 or beyond?

I expect to run until I drop. I just love every part of it. I love running in the woods. I love workouts on the track. I love competing.

How did you like the trip? South Korea?

We loved it. My husband, Blaine, and I combined the week of the track meet with another week of visiting the top science and technology university of Korea. They have an extremely fine mathematics department. They asked that one of us give the colloquium lecture — Blaine gave a talk on his recent work. We had wonderful interactions with the mathematicians.

We found Koreans to be extraordinarily gentle and warm. We had a fabulous time both weeks.

And we LOVED THE FOOD. And managed some great weekend sightseeing too. Among that a marvelous open-air market in Pohong with, in addition to everything else, had an amazing array of fish and shellfish that we’d never seen before that went on for blocks and blocks.

All in all, a marvelous experience.

Here are Marie-Louise’s results:

Event 22 W75 200 m
===========================
WMA: R 33.06
Name Age Team Finals
===========================
Finals
1 Michelsohn, Marie-Louise W75 United States 39.35
2 Parrish, Noreen W75 Australia 41.54
3 Bayler, Frances W76 New Zealand 42.35
4 Harris, Frances W75 Australia 44.31
5 Langenwalter, Carolyn W79 United States 44.78

Event 33 W75 400 m
===========================
75 WMA: R 1:21.28
Name Age Team Finals
===========================
Finals
1 Michelsohn, Marie-Louise W75 United States 1:31.40
2 Parrish, Noreen W75 Australia 1:51.08
3 Langenwalter, Carolyn W79 United States 1:57.96

Event 44 W75 800 m
===========================
WMA: R 3:16.21
Name Age Team Finals
===========================
Finals
1 Michelsohn, Marie-Louise W75 United States 3:54.40
2 Carlsen, Eva W76 Norway 4:07.57
3 Langenwalter, Carolyn W79 United States 5:24.60

Event 55 W75 1500 m
===========================
75 WMA: R 6:47.04
Name Age Team Finals
===========================
1 Michelsohn, Marie-Louise W75 United States 7:41.18
2 Woodlock, Ann W78 Ireland 7:49.73

Event 69 W75 3000 m
============================
75 WMA: R 13:55.58
Name Age Team Finals
============================
1 Woodlock, Ann W78 Ireland 16:45.57
2 Carlsen, Eva W76 Norway 17:43.00
– Michelsohn, Marie-Louise W75 United States DNF

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April 6, 2017

2 Responses

  1. Ken Stone - April 7, 2017

    Marie-Louise says the 3K was meant just for warm-up. “And to feel the track. And to know the pace of the call-room.”

  2. Christa Bortignon - April 7, 2017

    I met Marie-Louise in Daegu. We ran the 400m together. Great lady in super shape. Very nice person.

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