Interview With Former TCU Track Standout Khadevis Robinson
July 15, 2003
Khadevis Robinson was second to David Krummenacker in the 800 meters at the USATF Championships in June in 1:46.21. This summer, Robinson has already won an 800 in 1:45.03 in Lucerne, Switzerland, finished second to Krummenacker at the US/Russia/Great Britain meet in Glasgow in 1:46.39, and won in Cork, Ireland in 1:47.1. He has a personal best of 1:44.41, set in 2002. Robinson was the USATF indoor and outdoor 800 champ in 1999 and was the 1998 NCAA outdoor champion while at Texas Christian University. He was fourth in the 800 at the 2000 U.S. Olympic Trials. Robinson, who turns 27 on July 19 (the day he'll race an 800 in Madrid), lives in Santa Monica and is coached by Frank Little and Johnny Gray. We reached him in Lapinlahti, Finland, where he was preparing to race at 400 meters.
Runner's World Daily: Why are you doing a 400 in Finland?
Khadevis Robinson: It's part of training. I ran the USA Championships and I left the same day. I ran Lucerne and had a great race. I had been racing 800s and traveling from that point on, so it was really time for a break. I could train right through the 400 and see where I'm headed.
RWD: The 1:45.03 in Lucerne must have been encouraging.
Robinson: That amazed me, to be honest. This has been a very funny year. I had some problems early on in the season. I didn't race as much. I want to peak at World Championships. Last year, I think I peaked early. I was running really fast times in July and it seemed really easy, but I was tired by the time August came. I knew I could run that fast (the 1:45.03), but I didn't think it would come until the beginning of August. I stayed relaxed and increased the tempo a little bit by the time we got through 500, and by 650, I felt good and just went with it. The last 50 meters, no matter how fast or slow you're going, you're going to feel it. I just held on as well as I could and it was a great race for me.
RWD: What was your early season injury?
Robinson: It was displacement of the cuboid bone in the bottom of my left foot, a dislocation. I'd take off two or three days and run, and it would still hurt. Finally I took off almost a month and swam and cycled and didn't get on the track until January and didn't put on spikes until a week before Millrose. Maybe it was a blessing in disguise because I prolonged my base for another two months. To be quite honest, I haven't done much speedwork this year, and that's fine, because I can get some of that in now, instead of having done it early. The foot may have kept me from overtraining.
RWD: Last year, you had 800 victories in Lapinlahti (Finland), Cuxhaven (Germany), and Ludvika (Sweden). Those are not first tier Grand Prix races we hear about. How do you get in those races, and what's the atmosphere like?
Robinson: I've been fortunate enough that most of the time, I've already run 1:45 before I come to Europe, and usually you can get in pretty good races by running 1:45, but it's hard to get into the bigger races. When I come to these races like Lapinlahti, I'm treated fairly well. It's like "okay, he's first or second at the USA Championships, he's run 1:45." I usually take it out and make sure it's a good race. The meet promoters are usually happy because I made the race. People run fast in these races; you have Kenyans, 1:44 and 1:45 guys. But last year in Zurich, I went through 49 for the 400 and 1:16 for 600, and everyone was still there. It wasn't like I had time to recuperate or adjust or take a deep breath. You have to continue to run. That's the challenge I've been facing the last couple of years. Coming out of college, I was very confident I could kick with anyone. That was fine, but when I came to Europe, when it came to kick in, I was too far behind to even catch up with anyone. Going out hard is great, but you have to learn to be relaxed and go at a certain tempo.
RWD: You're pretty clearly the number 2 American in the 800, but you're in the era of a guy, David Krummenacker, who's established as truly world class. What's it like to be in that situation?
Robinson: At first it was tough, because I was used to beating him all the time. If you look at '98, '99, early 2000, I don't know if I lost one race to him in that period. And then he figured out something, he changed coaches and has a system and a training partner that's really working for him. I'm happy for the guy. Obviously, I want to beat him. My competitive nature says I want to beat everybody, not just David.
RWD: Will you consider it a disappointment if you don't make the World Championships final?
Robinson: That's my main focus this year, making it through the rounds and to the final. If that doesn't work out, I'm going to have to figure out something. I don't care about anything else. Everything else is to better myself to make the World Championships finals. Everything I'm doing from now to then, I don't care if I come in last. Personally, I don't care how fast I run. If I'm not able to make the finals, what am I doing this for? I only make enough to barely get by, so it's not about the money, it's not about the prestige. I'm doing this to see how good I can actually be. I want to be able to get to my fullest potential.