‘I’m not crazy that I thought I could do it,’ says NYC Marathon champ Shalane Flanagan

From ESPN

New York City Marathon champion Shalane Flanagan hasn’t slept much since Sunday, when she became the first American woman to win the race in 40 years, but she’s still exhilarated. “I updated my Instagram profile and wrote ‘New York City Marathon champion,'” she said. “Adding that title, that validation that I’m not crazy that I thought I could do it, that feels so good. That sense of accomplishment is huge.” We spoke to Flanagan on Tuesday from her home in Oregon to break down her tactics, her emotions at the finish and her thoughts on whether she’ll race at the marathon distance again.

ESPN: Have you taken the laurel off yet?

Shalane Flanagan: I’m trying to figure out how to preserve it. It’s slowly decaying and I need to figure out somehow how I can keep it pristine, because it’s probably my favorite piece.

ESPN: You put your goal out there so explicitly. It strikes me as a risk, that only one result was going to be acceptable to you.

SF: Part of me is like, ‘Oh, don’t say exactly what you want. Maybe sugarcoat it.’ But then I have this verbal problem where I can’t keep it in. I say to my dad sometimes, ‘Maybe I’m too honest.’ And he says, ‘Shalane, since when is being honest not a good thing to be?’ If I feel I’ve had good preparation and I think I have the potential to do something, I’m excited and I want to convey that excitement. I guess it could be a bit dangerous, because yeah, there is only one result that would ultimately make me happy. There’s some accountability behind it, so I think that creates some pressure on me, but I don’t mind that. It’s a good position to be in at times, to make sure you’re doing your job.

ESPN: How did the race evolve compared to what you thought might happen?

SF: My coach and I had analyzed Mary [Keitany’s] past couple wins, how she’d captured those wins. It seems like she just kind of listens to her body. She’s run it in a variety of ways — very aggressive from the beginning, aggressive at Mile 10. She ran 2:17 within the last year, so we knew her fitness should be really high. Six months ago, she was the best in the world and set a world record in London. Given that data, I prepared myself for literally any kind of race. She knew the course really well, having won three times. She was for sure the woman to key off of, and a lot of times I would actually try to run right behind her so that if she made any distinct move, I’d be there to cover it, I wouldn’t be caught off guard and gapped. My coaches said if the race wasn’t a full-on assault of 26 miles, every mile that was kind of slow was to my advantage. I saw her split at halfway, we were about 76 minutes to the half, and I started to get excited. . .

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Boulder-born Shalane Flanagan upsets Mary Keitany, ends U.S. drought at NYC Marathon

Shalane Flanagan of the United States celebrates winning the Professional Women’s Divisions during the 2017 TCS New York City Marathon in Central Park on Nov. 5, 2017 in New York City.

From the Daily Camera

NEW YORK – Shalane Flanagan thought about the seven years building to this race, possibly her last. She thought about the running star striding next to her. She thought about her family. She thought about Meb.

With one hellacious holler at the finish, it all poured out.

Flanagan dethroned Mary Keitany on Sunday and became the first American woman to win the New York City Marathon since 1977, potentially ending her decorated career with her first major marathon victory.

Flanagan’s breakthrough came in the last career race for American great Meb Keflezighi. The 2009 New York winner collapsed at the finish line, his 42-year-old body pushed to its limit in his 26th marathon. Keflezighi finished 11th, about five minutes behind 24-year-old winner Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya.

This may have been Flanagan’s final race, too, although the four-time Olympian wasn’t ready to commit. But she likes the idea of her and Keflezighi going out together.

Mike Sandrock: Zeiger, Lindley, Wellington. 3 women, 3 champions, 3 books

From the Daily Camera

Joanna Zeiger, seen here racing in the 2010 Boulder Peak Triathlon, will speak about her just-published “The Champion Mindset” March 10 at Flatirons Running. “Surfacing,” by Siri Lindley, also a former world champion triathlete, also has just been published. (Cliff Grassmick / Staff Photographer)

Just about a year ago this time, I was standing near the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles with a large crowd of running fans watching the exciting finish of the women’s U.S. Olympic marathon trials.

Early leader Shalane Flanagan was faltering in the heat, and Boulder’s Kara Goucher looked to have chance at a top-three finish. (She ended up an oh-so-close fourth).

We were not the only ones watching.

Joanna Zeiger, Boulder’s seven-time Olympic trials participant over three sports, was just about to begin her final six-mile lap when she heard the loud cheers for the fast-approaching leaders.

“I decided to wait and cheer on (winner) Amy Cragg ,” Zeiger, 46, said in a recent phone interview. “I hung out to see who was in the lead. Amy was amazing and seeing her gave just such a chill up my spine and motivation to get through the last lap.”

There was really no need for Zeiger to finish. She could have easily joined the roughly 50 women who pulled out of the marathon that day, done in by the near-90 degree heat. Zeiger’s spot in triathloning history is secure. There was, however, no way she was not going to finish the marathon.

“I knew it was going to be a major struggle,” said Zeiger, who has suffered daily debilitating rib and nerve pain ever since a bike crash in the 2009 70.3 World Triathlon Championships. “I was prepared for a long, tough day; every time I saw a runner walking back to the finish after dropping out, it strengthened my resolve, and I thought, ‘I am going to get through this.'”

Get through it Zeiger did, fueled by her “champion mindset,” which, appropriately, is the name of her new book.

On March 10, Zeiger will talk about “The Champion Mindset: An Athlete’s Guide to Mental Toughness” at Flatirons Running in south Boulder. She will also show footage of her Ironman World Championship win.

In a nice coincidence, “The Champion Mindset” is one of three new books by world champion female triathletes with local ties.

Long-time resident and former world-ranked No. 1 and 2001 world champion Siri Lindley, now a coach of elites based out of RallySport, tells her riveting story in “Surfacing: From the Depths of Self-Doubt to Winning Big & Living Fearlessly,” while four-time Hawaii Ironman world champ Chrissie Wellington, a native of England who lived in Boulder during her top competitive years, is out with “To the Finish Line: A World Champion Triathlete’s Guide to Your Perfect Race.”

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