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November 7, 2010

Shalane Flanagan


RICHARD FINN: We welcome Shalane Flanagan, our silver medallist here in her marathon debut. Fabulous race performance. Shalane is the first American woman here since Kim Jones in 1990 to be second place. So it's quite an honor. Shalane, we'll let you talk about the day, the race.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, as soon as -- I'm very grateful for second, first of all. But as soon as I finished I thought about what I could have done to have won it. So I think that's why the marathon is so addicting, because you always want more to do it again. I'm happy that I actually do want to run a marathon again, because I've heard many times people finish and say I'll never do that again. But that is the opposite.
I love this event. I am just really grateful that I was able to put it all together today. I credit my coach and my team for preparing me beautifully because I felt good.
Really, it was only the lack of turnover that just my legs started to give out, but other than that I felt great. This has been a dream of mine since I was little, and really ever since I met Jerry, he and I have been working toward this is goal. So to have a year and a half of us working together and to produce something like this, I'm very, very happy.
RICHARD FINN: I'll let Mary talk on the record, but we are certainly delighted to hear you'd like to run again, and we'd love you to run again here in New York.

Q. Was there a point where you were coming down with Edna and Mary on Fifth Avenue about to head in and you're still right there that you said you know what, I may win this thing?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Oh, certainly. I thought if I can keep my cool and, to quote my coach, "if I can keep my shit together" then I have an opportunity.
But we had talked about that I had some decent speed. Granted it's a marathon so who knows what you have at the end. But I didn't want to show all my cards quite yet, but I was getting antsy going up that hill and really just wanting to get after it.
As soon as I started to push, I started to hurt a little bit. So, yeah, I was just trying to keep it close and know that to not give up at any point because things can happen, so.

Q. When the pace started pretty slowly, did you think that was working to your advantage early in the race?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yes, I loved it. I loved the warm-up into it. Every mile that clicked away that felt good in delaying the inevitable pain and fatigue, I gained more and more confidence from it.
I didn't take many splits. I think I actually hit my watch a few times, but I didn't really get good splits. I think I only saw one true mile split and that was like a 5:47, and I honestly thought we were jogging, running a 6:30 pace, so I felt very good. Hence my coach did a great job. Because for me to feel that good -- maybe it was because my expectations were to just feel awful. So I had built this up to be a tremendously hard course in my mind and a tremendously hard event.
So when I felt good, I just gained momentum and gained confidence with each mile.

Q. There's a point in the race when you were in third place and it looked like, was there any point where you thought that second might even be out of your grasp?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: I'm always a fighter and I'll fight to the end, but, yeah, there was a moment there. I thought if Mary keeps pulling away, yeah, I'm in third. But I just thought if I can really just compose myself. The finish line, it just takes a few steps to get in front of someone, so if I could just keep it close and not let her gap me too hard.
I knew it was beautiful. I came here right after my Philly half marathon, and I knew the last bit of the course. So I knew that if I could keep it close. I don't know if Mary had seen the course that well, but I knew it. I knew what I could do over the last bit, so I just knew I had to keep it close to her.

Q. You've mentioned a couple of times that there are things that you're thinking about what you could do better to win it. Could you mention what those are and what you would have done differently?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Well, just thinking of when I kind of let them gap me and just feeling like, oh, if I had only had a little bit more energy or just been able to just stay on them close or not let the gap get so big, then maybe first would have been more tangible.
But probably it is what it is. This is the fitness I'm in and this is what I had today. But, yeah, just knowing that there were a few times that maybe I could have made up some ground or something, so, yeah.

Q. As you probably found out marathon is more about power than speed; did it give you confidence coming up the hill towards Central Park you know 35, 30, that you still felt that power was going?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I visualized that last five miles a lot in my training. So I just felt very comfortable. I felt like it was my home turf, and it was kind of like my home course. So I did. I felt good.
I felt surprisingly good until literally that .2 got me, that last .2 felt really hard because I felt like I was just reaching for the finish. But other than that, yeah, it came together today, so I'm very grateful.
RICHARD FINN: Just to clarify, Shalane was here in mid-September. How many times did you go out on the course here with some of the New York Road Runners staff?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, so my teammates and I were here right after the Philly half for about three days, and we ran one day from the Queensboro Bridge on in all the way to the finish. Then had the opportunity to run maybe the last six miles, four miles numerous times.
So I want to say we were on the course maybe four or five times while we were here over three days.

Q. First of all, congratulations. Second of all, can you describe what your typical training week was like building up, just what kind of mileage and what your long runs were like?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, so we began training up at Mammoth Lakes on August 1st. So we had a nice 12-week cycle. Literally just the first month of August, the first six weeks we were in Mammoth and really didn't -- I wouldn't say compared to the track, we didn't do very specific workouts. It was just a lot of volume. For me that was anywhere between 100 and 110 to 120 miles a week. So that was really hard for me.
But with some hill stuff, but nothing specific race pace because you're at altitude, you can't necessarily run quite as fast. Then we went to Philly and just had a real solid glorified workout with some great competition. From there, that's when we began all the serious, specific work and put together some tempos. A 16-miler and an 18-miler was the longest tempo long runs that we did that were race-specific.
Jerry and I decided that we felt like a 2:25 marathon could be a podium position. We felt like if I could be a 2:25 runner, good things could happen, so that's what we trained me for, for New York.
That's really it. I mean, my longest run was probably about 22 miles, but that was back in August when we were in Mammoth. But since the Philly half marathon until now, we've just done tempos and hills and just sharpening.

Q. Last year you were in the lead car. This year you were on the course. So can you say what your impression was of the course last year looking out from the car and how it matched reality?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: In the cart last year I didn't realize how difficult the course was. Just sitting in a truck seemed kind of easy. I had noticed the wind and I had noticed the bridges.
But the beauty of how I prepare myself is I really get in the zone mentally, so today I didn't really notice the hills until getting into the park, that's when I could feel it more so. But I really just got in my zone today and didn't notice anything. And I think it is just a testament to my training that I was prepared for everything.

Q. How does today's performance affect your decision looking at the Olympics whether you're going 10,000 or marathon?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Well, my passion for the marathon training is very strong so we'll see how the whole next year or track season plays out and see what happens. But my passion for the marathon is very strong after today, so we'll see.
RICHARD FINN: Earlier today Haile Gebrselassie announced that he's retiring. Any thoughts or reaction to Haile's announcement about an hour ago.
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Yeah, I'm shocked. It was an honor to have him here this week. He's been a role model for many people. I'll never forget the first time I met him. I was at Crystal Palace and it was my first international track race and I had breakfast with him. So I'm sad that I won't have breakfast with him anymore.

Q. I'm just curious because of your parents' background in the race, is marathoning something that you've known your entire life? Do you remember your first awareness of what this was?
SHALANE FLANAGAN: Absolutely. Growing up in Boston, Patriots Day, everyone went in to watch the Boston Marathon. So it's always been a dream of mine to run a marathon. Knowing that my parents have a passion for running and specifically marathoning, I've always been aware of the pull and the draw of the event.
RICHARD FINN: One final note. Today New York Road Runners hosted the U.S. Championships for the women. Shalane Flanagan is our champion. So along with the $65,000, and this is just the guaranteed prize money right now, she wins $40,000 for being the U.S. Marathon Champion. So a nice payday there and just a nice honor.
We thank and congratulate Shalane and welcome her to the world of marathoning.

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