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October 30, 2015

Sally Kipyego

New York City, New York

Q.  Got a couple days until your first marathon. How are you feeling?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Anxious. Kind of ready to go. I'm thrilled to be here. I look forward to it. I think it's a great opportunity, and what better way to do it and run a marathon than to run it here? So I'm kind of excited about it, yeah.

Q. You've had some pretty great races here. You had two great half marathons.

Q. Is this place special for you?
SALLY KIPYEGO: The streets of New York City have always been good to me. So I'm hoping that with the 26 miles that it will be great once again. Hopefully, it turns out to be a good day on Sunday.
I've prepared as much as I could, and I think I'm as ready as I can be for the time that I have to prepare for this race. I'm going to commit, obviously, 100 percent and try to compete to the best of my ability Sunday.

Q. When did you and Kevin get here?
SALLY KIPYEGO: We got here on Friday. So Sunday will be ten days.

Q. How is he feeling about the race?
SALLY KIPYEGO: He's excited. I think he's a much calmer person than myself in general. He's much more relaxed. My head is going crazy a little bit. I'm just looking forward to Sunday and getting it over with.

Q. Is it fun to experience this together?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Oh, yeah, fantastic. I mean it's great. We train together and have an opportunity to train and compete and travel with my partner, it's amazing. It's a privilege. I'm very happy that we were able to do this together, yeah. He probably will be way, way faster than myself anyway, but it's just good to be here and experience this together.

Q. What sort of racing did you do leading up as part of your buildup?
SALLY KIPYEGO: None. I haven't raced since Beijing. I just ran the 10,000 in Beijing, and that was the last race. I've been training in Kenya the entire time up to this past weekend.

Q. Did you make many changes in your training to get ready for the marathon?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Absolutely. I had to change everything. Well, not everything, but just had to do longer stuff. Lots of mileage on the track, because we normally do really long reps anyway. But for the long runs, definitely, the long‑distance pace was a new addition to the program. So that is probably the greatest change is the longer stuff.

Q. What was your longest run?
SALLY KIPYEGO: 24 miles.

Q. Can you talk about your mileage. Did it increase, your weekly mileage, and just sort of how much?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Well, close to, I would say, 20, maybe 20, 25 miles.

Q. Increased by 20 or so?

Q. So how much was that per week?
SALLY KIPYEGO: I did 115, 110 mostly. So between 110 to 115.

Q. How was your body with that?
SALLY KIPYEGO: It was shocked. I was in so much pain and so stiff and just not feeling great for about three weeks. It was very difficult to adjust. And then after three weeks it seems like my body understood that, okay, this is not going anywhere any time soon. So I'd better get on with it and just adapt. By the fourth week, I was feeling good. By the fourth week, I was adapting, so‑to‑speak.

Q. Did you make that change after Beijing?
SALLY KIPYEGO: I did not train for the marathon before Beijing. But I had made the decision to run a marathon. I had the goal of winning a gold medal in Beijing, and I wanted to go and win a medal in Beijing. It didn't turn out that way. So that was a disappointing experience for me in Beijing. I had already decided I was going to run a marathon, but I didn't change anything based on what was going on with my training. I just got ready for 10,000 and came back and started marathon training.

Q. So you were obviously in pretty good shape to Beijing. You had a high level to build upon?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Yes, I was fit. I was in very good shape going into Beijing. So coming back to start marathon training was‑‑ I didn't start from scratch, so‑to‑speak, because I was coming from a very high level of fitness.
So I just needed to add a little bit of strength, and I needed to add the long runs. That's all I needed too.

Q. What do you think, looking back, what happened in Beijing?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Just bad tactics from my side. Just bad tactics, bad day in my judgment on that day. I underestimated some people. I overestimated my own ability on that given day. I wasn't as sharp as I thought I would be. I didn't close‑‑ I wasn't ready to close as fast as the girls did, and I thought I was ready for it.
So I think on that part, the execution, I did not execute it to the best of my ability. I know I could have executed it better. And then on top of that, I think I just‑‑ I basically‑‑ I made a judgment error. I should have been better than that. So that was a bummer. I still struggle with it even now.

Q. Talk a little bit about your strategy, sort of where your goals are for Sunday and how it's going to play out?
SALLY KIPYEGO: For me, this is a very open‑ended race for me. I'm really not having any parameters, any limits, any expectations. I'm just going to run. It's a new territory. I don't even know how my body's going to adapt. Yes, I've done long runs, but that was in practice. That was the training.
So I don't know how I will feel running a race pace for that long.
The objective is to get to the finish line in one piece, and the objective is to compete to the best of my ability Sunday, regardless of what happens and to be able to handle the distance. It's just me and the distance. I'm just racing against the distance on Sunday, and whatever happens, I think my body will tell me what to do.

Q. When you get to 20 miles, will that be kind of a click point for you? Because you say, okay, now it's 10,000 to the finish. I've done this hundreds of times in races.
SALLY KIPYEGO: I think it will be comforting if I'm there at that time. It will be comforting to know, okay, I've done a lot of 10,000. I just have to psych myself for it. But 10,000 after 20 miles is a whole different story than 10,000 from scratch.
So I think it depends on what happens in the race. I think I'm going there with a very open mind, and I'm going to listen to my body, and I'll make judgments and judgment calls during the race based on exactly how I feel.

Q. Have you toured the course? Have you driven over it at all or run parts of it?
SALLY KIPYEGO: No, but I've had two opportunities to ride in the lead vehicle previously, a few years back. So I have a good idea of how the course is. I've looked at maps and images and graphs. Mostly, I'm just really concerned about the hills and where the hills are than in other courses. So I basically looked at the elevations throughout the course and just prepare for those kind of slight elevations that kind of sneaks up on you in New York and be ready for those, I think.

Q. That's always a tough part of New York because everybody knows about the bridges, but First Avenue is a long uphill, and that's often where the race kind of breaks open.
SALLY KIPYEGO: Yeah. So we'll just see. We'll see. You can't really‑‑ I don't know how it's going to be, but one foot in front of the other and see what happens.

Q. Will your relative success on Sunday have any influence on what you do in 2016?
SALLY KIPYEGO: I would think so, but for now I am still thinking of running a 10,000 in Rio. That's still the plan unless‑‑ who knows what happens on Sunday. Unless something incredible happens on Sunday. But who knows? Maybe I'll change course. But as of now, I think I'm still a 10,000 meter runner anyway. We'll see.

Q. Kenya's changed its selection process for the marathon, right?

Q. So it's now based on races‑‑ do you think that's better?
SALLY KIPYEGO: I think just because‑‑ I think it's difficult to have a very clear‑cut selection for Kenya, especially for the marathon, because we have such an incredible depth with our runners. So how do you select, when you have, I don't know, 20, 50 guys running a 2:10. How do you select from that? So that's quite difficult, I think. I think any country would have difficulty selecting when you have that kind of depth.
And when everywhere is 5,000 feet above sea level most of the country, it's impractical to have trials in Kenya. So I think the best alternative is to select from races. Hopefully, the best athletes get in, and the best championship athletes will be able to be selected. But it is difficult because of the depth that we have. So I can understand why it is kind of difficult to decide how to select a team when you have that many great talents and great performances with athletics.

Q. Not too bad on the women's side either.

Q. Do you have any teammates or friends that you have been asking advice from for the marathon?
SALLY KIPYEGO: I have family. I have friends. I've consulted quite a bit a lot of people, close people, people that I trust for my marathons. A pair of marathoners. And I've kind of picked their brains along the way, not just this year. I've picked their brains for the last maybe three years.
I think someone told me just the marathon as a way of letting you know. You don't have to rush. You don't really have to make so many calls during a race, a marathon race. It will kind of show itself, and it will let you know exactly what needs to be done because it is so brutal that sometimes anything that you plan will never happen because your body is not really there. So if you're not there, it doesn't matter what you plan in the marathon. It's so long, that you have to just let it kind of guide you. And allow the body to guide you.

Q. You made a pretty big jump in mileage preparing for this. Are you surprised at how your body adapted?
SALLY KIPYEGO: Yes. It was shocking, to say the least. I remember I never thought I would ever run 22 miles, come back the next morning, and be normal, so‑to‑speak. I mean, be able to actually go for one run the next morning after I run 22 miles, I never thought that was possible just because I couldn't even wrap my head around that many miles.
Then after a few weeks, it was okay. I would do these long runs, and I would come back, and I would be tired, but I wouldn't be falling apart the next morning. I was really amazed what the human body can achieve. It was incredible.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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