Shalane Flanagan: The Teleconference, courtesy of USATF, Commentary by Larry Eder


Shalane Flanagan, running nearly even splits of 15:17 per 5,000 meters, finished in 30:34.49 for a fine American record at the Payton Jordan Invitational on the distance loving surface at Stanford University. Flanagan now holds the American records at 5,000 meters, (14:44.8) and 3,000 meters indoors (8:33.32).

With women such as Flanagan and Kara Goucher running so well over 10,000 meters ( and do not forget Jen Rhines!), the US prospects for Beijing are looking better than ever! We at want to congratulate Shalane for a truly gutsy performance, taking the lead with 200 meters to go over Kiwi Kim Smith, who destroyed her New Zealand record by forty seconds herself!

Oh, one last tid bit. Shalane's agent is Ray Flynn, former Irish record holder at mile and 5,000 meters. Nice one, Ray! (He also reads the blog so I thought I would do a little pandering tonight as well!).

Read and enjoy!

USA Track & Field on Monday hosted a national media teleconference with Shalane Flanagan, who on Sunday broke the American record in the women's 10,000 meters. Her winning time of 30:34.49 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational improved upon the previous AR of 30:52.32 set on the same Stanford University track by Deena Kastor in 2002.

For a complete bio of Shalane Flanagan, visit

Below are excerpts from Monday's call.

Q: Tell us about your decision to set this race up and go for the record, and about how the race itself went for you.

A: The idea for a 10K started last fall. I was just trying to think of what was the best preparation for the trials and for the Olympics. Last year my timing was maybe a little bit off. I was coming off of injury so I felt the need to get out there and race. I tried to hold my peak. So [in 2008] I thought instead of just training, a nice 10k effort would prolong my season and keep it in a strength-oriented phase but at the same time break it up and see if we're headed in the right direction.

My agent suggested that usually Cardinal [Invitational] presented itself timing-wise and typically has had fast times. I wasn't quite sure it was going to materialize into being as fast of a race. Initially there wasn't going to be a rabbit until the New York Road Runners stepped in and supplied a rabbit. I didn't know how sharp anybody else would be, so I was delighted when I saw Kim Smith was in there. Typically Kim and I tend to run very well with each other. We don't ever pre-plan to help each other but it just seems to work out that once we get on the track, we have a mutual understanding and respect. I felt like last night, it felt more like a workout, and we were working together to help each other achieve our big goal to run fast. It wasn't until the last lap when I reminded myself that it was a race and I should make an effort to win. I didn't feel a need to beat Kim, I wanted to beat the clock and run fast later this year.

Q: What are your plans for the rest of the year?

A: To run fast, run for a medal. I don't know what event it will be, but those are the general goals.

Q: How did you feel when the 5k went by in 15:17.4?

A: The plan was to go out conservative, to run anywhere from 15:25 to 15:30 and then cut down. I felt good, but I also had been warned that all of a sudden the monkey's going to jump on your back and it's going to be a death march. I felt good but was kind of worried. But that never happened. I felt controlled the entire way. The last K [kilometer], I felt like I was getting tight - not fatigued, but a sign that my body was ready to have the race over with, running in spikes for such a long way.

I had set aside three goals entering the race. My coach going in said he thought I was in 30:30 shape. I thought for a debut, that's a pretty big goal. I was more just trying to break 31 and if I felt good, get the record. The next goal was to chop off the record by a second if need be. Running 31:15 was my third goal. I just wanted to make sure I finished strong and didn't walk in.

Q: Did last might's race influence your decision in terms of what event you might run at the Olympic Trials and Olympics?

A: I really enjoy the 5k. We'll have to sit down and look at where my best chances to medal are. They are very different races. For me and my more speed-oriented training, it felt really nice until the last few laps when it was really uncomfortable. I just don't know right now. I don't know where I stack up against other people. Wherever I stand the best chance of medaling and representing my country well.

Q: You must have some sense that was what it was going to be like out there for a 10k.

A: It takes a lot of patience. Over a 10k, there are a lot of times you can talk yourself out of sticking to the pace. If you have one little bad stretch, it's not like you only have 2-3 laps left. You could have 10-15 laps left and not feel good. It's a very tough mental event. In the 5k, when I start to hurt, I can usually tell myself I've only got a few laps left. It's just a different approach. I'm glad I did a 10k because it presented a challenge and opened my eyes to other distances. I was really inspired by the marathon Trials, both the men and women this year. My genetic makeup I think is predisposed to the longer distances but I really have a fun time trying to fine-tune my speed. If you can't have a kick on the international scene, you're a bit hopeless. So I tend to try to stay shorter, longer.

Q: What does this mean to you personally and to distance running in the United States?

A: We've had some great role models so it's not like I'm groundbreaking or anything. I got a really nice text message from Deena [Kastor] last night and it's really nice to have the encouragement from other U.S. women. Everybody wants to make that next step. Kara [Goucher] proved in Osaka that she could do it. Everybody has so much enthusiasm. Sport in general is about breaking down barriers. The next one is sub-30 for the 10k. We're slowly but surely creeping up in there. I'm excited about it.

Q: What are your racing plans before the Olympic Trials?

A: I'm taking it day by day to make sure I recover and bounce back from the 10k. My calves area little torn up, my feet are a little sore. I'll just jog, probably for the next week. We know I'm fit. It's just making sure I get to the starting line healthy and hungry to race. Usually my natural hunger to get out there and perform my best is enough. If I can get out there with 90 percent, I think it's enough. I don't need to be 120 percent.

Q: Was your mother there last night?

A: She was there and so was my dad. I had a really great support crew out there last night. It's kind of a lonely sport if you don't have family and friends at some of these races. I always feel I perform my best when I have people who care out there. I think it's really essential for my success. My husband does about half my workouts with me. We're all really committed to helping me get to that next level.

Q: What about moving up to the marathon?

A: I kind of get excited, and my coach gets excited. It comes a little more naturally to me than those speed oriented events. My dad and my mom both were marathoners. But my dad has always emphasized that if I go[to the marathon] too soon, it could shorten my career a little bit. I really want to be smart about when I start my marathoning career.

Q: Where is your training base?

A: I was in the mountains this winter with Herman Silva ( runblognote: German Silvain Mexico, and with my coach [and training partners]... we came in and out for some racing. Now I'm in Palo Alto and we're getting back together the next two weeks in Colorado Springs in the U.S. training center, doing another two weeks of altitude ] training. [In Mexico}It was 6500 feet, not too extreme. It was north of Mexico City.

Q: Did you surprise yourself last night?

A: Yes. I knew my workouts were somewhat indicative of that time, but it's always special when you set a goal and achieve it. All the elements have to come together and pan out. I'm surprised we were able to run that fast, this early.

This interview is courtesy of USA Track & Field and Jill Geer. For more info on our
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