As reported in an earlier blog post, Meb Keflezighi was the winner of this fall’s NYC Marathon. Here are his thoughts on his performance during the Boston Marathon this month. (courtesy of http://www.marathonmeb.com/?p=541)
Following my victory at the ING NYC Marathon, I was in pursuit of my next goal which was to try to win the prestigious Boston marathon. On Dec 1, 2009 I began my training in San Diego and made it up to Mammoth by year end to start my marathon training. Things were clicking right away and training was going exceptionally well. It felt as though I hadn’t lost any fitness following the fall marathon. Then came along a major setback because I started to feel some discomfort on my left knee at the end of January. I consulted with Dr. Karch in Mammoth to determine the cause and severity of the injury. Dr. Karch suggested taking time off running, so I took off about two weeks.
Anxious not to lose the endurance training, I attempted to do water workouts but that would only last one day. The inflammation on my knee seemed to get worse by some of the resistance in the water so I just gave my body complete rest.
Two weeks later, I got out for my first run to test the knee. I was getting a little nervous because at this point I didn’t know how the knee was going to feel. Following my first 30 minute or so run, I could still feel the discomfort on my left knee. Nonetheless, I resumed my training and Boston was now 9 weeks away. I began training again but very conservatively so that there wouldn’t be any more setbacks by building up too fast. The next 9 weeks of training were going to be tricky because it was going to require a balance of therapy/rehab and trying to get the mileage so I can get to the starting line and be competitive. Luckily my knee was holding up ok with the faster workouts but the pain was intolerable with the slow runs. Over the first week I was able to get 38 and 68 miles into the workout. I could only manage to run 100 to 110 miles for 5 weeks. Therefore, it is evident I did not have the ideal preparation of running or cross training.
My training leading up to the race was adequate for me to do well, but far from ideal, given the short time for training. I wanted to just run a gutsy race and see how things go. I knew there were guys in the race that had far better preparation than I going into the race but I felt I could tough it out and try to be competitive. The Boston Marathon only comes around once a year and I wanted to seize the opportunity, but also knew that it was going to require a little bit of luck to come on top given my limited training, injury setback, and not feeling 100 percent healthy. I didn’t want to make any excuses for myself to not do well. I trusted in my experience, years of buildup and competitive nature to carry me through the race.
Race day conditions seemed to be perfect with lots of energy. The first 5k was nice and easy and I just decided to sit back and relax to conserve energy. As we were coming up to the 10K mark, I thought to myself this is going to be my kind of race and that I just need to be ready if a move is made. The pace was fairly comfortable (averaging 4:50 mile) and I could still tolerate the discomfort on my knee. Just as I was feeling good and getting into a rhythm a big move was made at mile 10. It was too risky to let them go so I covered the move at 4:35 for mile 10. In the next 4 miles, we averaged 4:48 or so which was not too bad but I could feel my knee flaring up and my quadriceps tighten.
At mile 16 the guys made another move by running that mile at 4:37. At this point my body was starting to fall apart. My quads were tight and of course and not having the proper mileage to carry me through to 26.2 miles became evident. The next 10 miles were very painful and I could see the leaders drifting away. I just had to push through the pain and try to maintain my place and hopefully someone would come back to me.
Once I got to mile 20, I desperately needed to take a bathroom visit but couldn’t afford to stop. Those last miles seemed so long and painful. I could see my pace slowing down now to 5:20’s. My good friend Ryan Hall caught me right before 25th mile and I gave him words of encouragement. I was glad Ryan was making up ground but I knew this wasn’t the year for an American to win Boston. It was a day for a young man that shined and ran a personal best. No time out to regroup in this sport. Robert Cheruiyot ran a great performance. Robert, you have a long future in the sport, as long as you have the same drive.
Overall, I was thrilled to have participated in this year’s Boston Marathon. I gave it my best and that is something I am very proud of and hopefully I can come back and get another shot at winning it for America. It is my kind of course and under ideal conditions it is not a distant dream.
Thank you to John Hancock, Boston Athletic Association, and the fans who made it possible for me to come out and race this year.
Thanks to the Mammoth Hospital and Mammoth S. P. O. R. T. Center who worked on me weekly and sometimes daily to get me to the starting line. I wouldn’t have been able to get through my training without their help.
Thanks to all of those who showed concern and asked about my injury. Dr. Andy Rosen just did an MRI on my knee while in NYC for the launch of my foundation. The results on the MRI scan show a small amount of fluid in the pre-patellar bursa. I am relieved to hear it is not too serious so it gives me plenty of time to treat it and be healed before beginning my buildup for the 2010 ING New York City Marathon.
I would like to wish my friends Deena Kastor and Zersenay Tadese and all of the runners of the Virgin London Marathon the best of luck.
Run To Win,