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November 3, 2010

Simon Bairu

Shalane Flanagan

Katie McGregor

Madai Perez

Dathan Ritzenhein

Jorge Torres


JORGE TORRES: I did well here last year. I finished the race. I totally told myself, I love this race, I love this distance. I want to come back and definitely do a lot more and do the things that got me here.

Q. Your mom got into a car accident, didn't that happen before the marathon here last year?
JORGE TORRES: Yeah, it happened about 13 weeks after.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about how that affected you maybe on that day and then after that race, because you did say it was kind of difficult?
JORGE TORRES: It affected me quite a bit, more than I thought. Definitely last year I was just trying to keep it, trying to be like kind of lying to myself. Like if I can do that, use that as your distraction from wondering if your mom is doing all right or wondering the questions of life.
That was the first person I'd ever lost was my coach in an accident. But, you know, the thing was that I realized like you know running actually helps you cope with it because it kind of helps your life. Keeps things in perspective and that's one thing that I have.
Like it took me a while to realize that running is actually enjoyable. Because for a while I thought running was distracting me from my life.

Q. How is your mom?
JORGE TORRES: She's doing well.

Q. So what's going to be different about this New York versus past New Yorks?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: Well, I think the fact that who knows what's going to happen here. I wouldn't be surprised if the time is good. The weather looks really good. The field's great. If it didn't go down, I would be shocked.

Q. So New York's not generally a PR course. Meb set his PR here last year. What do you think?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: My PR's pretty soft, so hopefully I set a PR.

Q. You talked about wanting to be in 2:05 shape. Translating that to this course, let's say when you're 2:05 shape, that doesn't mean 2:05 from New York shape?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: No, I think if you think about it, I tend to use the course record a little bit on a well run course. It's 2:07:42, so probably two minutes slower than maybe something like London.
So if you're in 2:05 shape, then maybe you can run 2:07. I mean, who knows. It's such the factor of the marathon is it has to go right. Everything has to be right. And to run a fast time you have to be clicking it off like that, which is really hard to do in the last 10K of this course.

Q. In Boston this year we saw what we never thought would happen on that course, a time we thought nobody could ever do on that course. Do you think New York could be faster?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: That's kind of what I started to thinking. And Haile was going to be here and these guys are really fast, Kwambai. This is like a new age of marathon. These guys are running 2:04 and not major, major marathons. So I can't imagine that it's just going to skip New York.
That's my thought. There definitely is that competitive difference, you know, where the time doesn't matter maybe. But at the same time, it's got to catch up one of these years. And I really think it's going to be this year.

Q. Often times a runner in a 10K, cross country you've done, whatever, they've dropped a few pounds when it comes to marathon time. What is your weight now? Is this a little less than you normally run?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: Yeah, right now I'm about 5'8" and 120 pounds, which is probably about what I was last year when I ran the half marathon championships. I'm actually about ten pounds lighter than I was my first marathon, because I overate so much leading up to that race. Thinking like I've got to eat everything I can, and I started to carbo load a couple weeks out instead of a couple days out.
This is about normal for me for racing mode. I'm in the 120s, and I'm definitely as fit as I've been.

Q. Did I get this correctly, that you said you're doing the best workouts ever now?

Q. Injury-free for how long?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: I've had 17 weeks in this build-up. I've had little things that, but nothing that ever interrupted training. But I've had a lot of little things. I would say though for the last -- ever since the last seven weeks, I'm completely healthy.
The last seven weeks has been the best training that I've put in in a very long time. I feel great. I've done workouts now. I've done all the workouts that I did before my best marathon, but I've done better.
I've done the same amount of volume. And I've done the workouts that I did before the half, before the world half too. So I feel like I've been able to run both half workouts, which I was in great shape, and I'm running better than I have in my best marathon workouts.
And I feel like I've figured out the problems that I've had with electrolyte problems and cramping. Hopefully that adds to a huge performance.

Q. Tell us one example of your best, let's say, interval workout that you've done this year that you're pleased with?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: I would say for intervals I did ten times a mile about ten days ago at altitude.

Q. Where?
DATHAN RITZENHEIN: Albuquerque. 4:32 miles.

Q. People really have some very high expectations for you Simon, how do you feel about that? I assume that you share them?
SIMON BAIRU: Yeah, people always ask how do you feel about it? I've always had the highest expectations of myself. And I think, like our discussion, I've put more pressure on myself than anyone.
So I've gotten my goals for this race, and really the key was just to get consistent and stay healthy. And I knew if I could do that, the race would take care of itself, and I've been able to maintain both and I'm really excited about it.

Q. Where are you living now?
SIMON BAIRU: In Portland, Oregon.

Q. I can't remember whether we spoke before or after the Toronto Marathon?
SIMON BAIRU: It was before that.

Q. I think we're talking about the hope. The Canadian marathon was very -- based on that performance, the expectations for Canada have been great.
SIMON BAIRU: Yeah, it's been great. The best is all the talk on Twitter or Facebook, talking about it. And I think that was really the goal for us was to get that going, and seeing it right now is exciting. And I think it's going to be a fun time for us as Canadian racers.

Q. Talk about your training for the marathon.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I've had to work hard over the last year and a half ever since I met Jerry to build up my endurance, because it's not fun to go into a marathon under prepared. And I just felt like Jerry was the guy to help me fulfill this goal and dream of mine. There are a lot of growing pains.

Q. I was going to say. You just can't go from middle distance to long distance that easy, right?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: No, as you've seen over the past year and a half, I've had mixed results just because I've had no compromise or preparation for the marathon. Not saying that this first one's going to be spectacular because I've had to kind of dig myself, in a sense, out of a hole and it hasn't been easy.
So regardless of how the marathon goes on Sunday, I feel like, in general, I'm going to be a much better athlete for having put in the training. I know that I'm going to be thankful for New York. Because, long-term in the next couple of years it's going to really pay dividends.

Q. Do you see this move as kind of converting you into a marathon runner down the road? Look at the success you've had, obviously, on the track which speaks for itself. Are you converting yourself into more of a marathon runner?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I think long-term, yes. But I think initially short-term I think also it's just only going to help my track running. I think in order to really bring -- I have high expectations and goals on the track as well over the next few years.
In order to elevate my game, I needed to update my training. This marathon training has totally taken me out of my comfort zone. Made me really question how bad I want it, because it's been -- it hasn't come natural.
I feel like as much as my parents are naturally talented and I have some great genes, I don't believe anyone's just born a marathoner. It's something you have to work towards. I've worked really hard to get to where I am today.

Q. Can you talk more about patience. How do you learn? How do you learn to be -- I talked with Jerry a little bit before. He said your natural instinct is you're sort of wired to go. How do you learn to be patient?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I have a tendency to want to get to pain right away. In a marathon that's very dangerous obviously. I've been practicing delaying the onset of pain. Yeah, I have something about me that just instinctually says to just get out there.
But it's something that I've worked on and I've paid the price in a couple of workouts with Jerry where if I've gone out too hard and been too aggressive, I've paid for it. He's reminded me to not feel sorry for myself. Keep going and put one foot in front of the other.
So, yeah, he's really worked on that with me with the patience.

Q. How did you pay for it? Was there one particular run you went on where it was the 15th mile on the side of the road?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: No, there's been multiple occasions in workouts where I've said, Jerry, I'm dead. I'm tired. He's like well, you did that to yourself by being too aggressive. I told you this pace, and you ignored my words of wisdom. You still have to continue to work out regardless even though I'm just exhausted. But it teaches me that I can't do that.

Q. You ignored him by just going too fast?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I just get excited. I'm passionate about running. I get excited about the workouts he gives me because they're challenging, and I know that I can accomplish them. And sometimes if I can run them faster it gives me a lot of confidence.
So sometimes I just push the line of wanting to exceed when he's given me some advice.

Q. Does this affect a block of training? If you have a day or two like that then you say, okay, I have to back off of it, or just do you say no, no, stick to the plan?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: He's not a slave driver in that sense. He's very appropriate with how much workload he gives me. But he makes me realize that it's kind of a lesson when I do that. It teaches me a lesson that you can't do that and you're going to pay for it. And if you want to be successful, you have to sacrifice.

Q. You said a moment ago you have a tendency to run to get to the pain right away?

Q. You want to get to the pain right away?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I don't know what it is. It's almost like if you suffer, you know you've run hard and you've run to your full potential. So I have a tendency to get to the hurt faster, just because then I know I'm working hard. But in the marathon, that's not how you're supposed to run it.

Q. But it might give you like greater mental strength in the latter stages if you're the type of runner who can handle pain.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I told Jerry, I like to be in pain in a fair amount of my workouts just because it's callousing. It mentally and physically makes you tougher. When you have those weak moments and you want to give into the pain, I feel calloused in my training because of it.
But there are times and places to hurt. And Jerry's trying to teach me that not every workout has to be that intense, as intense as I'd like to be.

Q. So talking about patience. Is that going to affect the way you're running? Is there a place in the pack that you prefer to run, to the front or the back?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: On the track I traditionally like to run towards the front and key off of major contenders. I mean, it will be very similar in a marathon. I want to key off of who I think are going to, you know, be the potential winners and run with.
But Jerry and I have discussed that I need to exercise patience in my best way possible. He'll have a heart attack if I'm in front. He did not want me in the lead whatsoever, and I agree. It's windy and I'm new to the marathon, and I have to exercise what he taught me.

Q. Is there a point in the race where that rule might not play in anymore?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I don't want to give away my total race plan, but I hope to be in the final stages with the leaders up until the last moment. I'm going to capitalize on maybe the little speed that I have over some of these women.
I ran 4:06, 1500 this past year. I'm going to draw strength from that knowing that I have some decent speed for a marathoner, about -- well, I'm not a marathoner yet. But I'm going to remind myself that I am fast.
And even at the end it's going to be brutally painful. I can at least have a quick step here or there. I will wait until the last moment to move from the field if I have the opportunity.

Q. Have you previewed the course recently?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I did right after the Philadelphia Half Marathon about six weeks ago. And had the opportunity to run from the Queensboro Bridge in and repeatedly ran probably the last five to six miles.

Q. Is this the most ready you feel compared to any previous New York Marathon?
KATIE McGREGOR: I think so. I was prepared before, not only physically but mentally too. Just because I've been here before, I think it makes it a little more familiar. So it gives you a little bit more confidence than, you know, when you're coming in to run it for the first time.
And I also, I mean, I think I'm ready to run fast. But I'm definitely not someone that other people are focusing on. So, I think it puts me in a good position because there's not much pressure from other people. It's just pressure on myself.

Q. How do you deal with the temperature changes between New York City and Mexico, and the training?
MADAI PEREZ: I'm from a state that is quite high above sea level. It is 2200 meters above sea level. And there is a mountain where I go train, so there isn't really such a huge temperature discrepancy.

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