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A Race Like No Other
2011 New York City Marathon - Women's Pre-Race Quotes
On paper, we know who should do what on race day - or so we think. Nonetheless, we like talking with the runners - trying to gauge how they are feeling and what they might do. Sometimes that doesn't tell us much - Moses Mosop continually told us he was injured before smashing the field and breaking the course record at the 2011 Chicago Marathon - it's good we didn't listen to him.
Here is some of the information we learned from the athletes on the days ahead of the New York City Marathon. Sometimes that is about their running, sometimes it's just about who they are.
Q. Why running?
A. I've run since I was 14 years old and have had two injuries. I'm not athletic, I sink if I swim, I'm very weak. When I first started running, I ran well - I'm good at it. I'm not good at much else.
Q. How does it feel coming back to the marathon after dropping out in Boston?
A. It's a bit scary to run a marathon again. Boston was a different course and a very fast day. I had prepared to take advantage of that and it didn't work out. On Sunday, I will know if the first few miles how the race will turn out. If the race came down to the last two miles, I still could have a good chance. I don't think Shalane was the best closer. Keitany will be the one to contend against.
Q. How did you train for the Philly Half Marathon where you set the USA all-comers record?
A. I didn't really taper for that race. At Philly, it was a good test of where I was. I feel I could go out any day of the week and run 69 minutes.
Q. Last year in New York you had a disappointing race. How is this year different?
A. I'm better prepared than last year. It was my first marathon and at the end I was very tired. Last year trained up to 40K, this year I trained to 44K.
Q. New York was your debut and you improved significantly in London.
A. It was after the marathon in London in 2011 that I felt I was a marathoner.
Q. What do you think of this race for this year?
A. Last year we went out at about 75 minutes for the first half marathon, this year I would like to go out in closer to 70? [a followup asked if that meant she was planning the course record - Keitany simply smiled] I don't think it will matter that [defending champion] Edna Kiplagat is not in the race, there are some strong Russians and Ethiopians in the race. But I believe in myself.
Q. You've set the world record in the half marathon, do you think could replicate that for the marathon?
A. Now that the world record is changed to 2:17, I think we can try to beat that.
Q. What are your hopes for the NYC Marathon?
A. I'd like to be a good competitor here, because if I run well here, I will qualify for the Olympics.
Last year, I ran 2:29, but that was 28 days after winning the Twin Cities Marathon. This year, I plan to run 2:22 to 2:23. I will more rested this year, but I have also done longer and harder training.
Q. Do you feel living in New York and knowing the course is an advantage?
A. Yes, knowing the course is important - I know when to save energy and when to run hard.
Q. You've run a couple of marathons this year and quite a few last year. How are you feeling coming in the race this Sunday?
A. In the past I've run lots of marathons in one year and I've really run too much. But this time I've limited it. So far, I've only run two marathons and this will be my third. So, I'm well prepared and I feel confident.
Q. There is a runner in the field that took off at a blistering pace at the start of the 2011 Boston Marathon (Kim Smith), IF this were to happen here, would you go with them?
A. I'll go accordingly to my time. I know what my pace is and I know my time. If they run at a faster pace I will run my own race.
Q. What do you think about the competition?
A. I know Mary is a strong runner, but I will try my best. Sometimes we [the Kenyans] may work together, but in the last 2K it will be everyone on their own. I don't have a time goal - I will follow Mary Keitany...
Q. You were 15th in London, what happened?
A. I trained hard, I worked hard, but I just couldn't go at that pace on that day. This is the first time I've experienced this - when I used to hear others telling me about these bad days, I thought they were lying. I tried my best and it just didn't work out. I've thought back over what went wrong and I just can't point to what it was. I'll be prepared for the New York City Marathon and I will see what happens.
Q. What are the expectations for New York?
A. I expect to have a good race here, just as I did at the NYC Half Marathon. New York starts slow usually, but for 2011 it might be a different start. For me - specifically - it will depend on how my body feels because I do't want to struggle later in the race.
The burn at the 5K is something that you don't feel in the marathon.
There are weeks when it is so hard to get out there and you look for your dog, even, to motivate you to get out. And you tick off the miles.
I'm at 100 miles a week, in my biggest week, I've done 140 mile weeks, but those days are behind me. My focus is less on weekly mileage than on getting in the long runs and having the second half of long runs at marathon pace. My long runs to now have been 18 miles.
As soon as my Mammoth track club teammates came back from Europe - so many made the World Championships - my training was elevated. I guess I need my teammates around.
It's fun being in New York and getting caught up in all of the marathon hoopla without having to run a marathon. But this week is just like a marathon - all of the events.