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Posted: June 4, 2016:  

Athletics: U.S. Olympians Press Conference Transcript - Rock Ďní Roll San Diego Marathon & Half-Marathon

SAN DIEGO - 2016 U.S. Olympic Team members Amy Cragg, Shalane Flangan and Meb Keflezighi addressed the media prior to Sundayís Suja Rock Ďní Roll San Diego Marathon & Half-Marathon on Friday, June 3, 2016. Cragg and Flanagan are competing in the half-marathon as their only event prior to the Olympic Marathon. Keflezighi will be pacing the 90-minute group in the half-marathon, starting in a special ďMeb CorralĒ after the elite wave. The races begin at 6:15am pst Sunday morning and will be broadcast live on periscope via @RunRocknRoll.

Credit: Ryan Bethke

Amy Cragg

Q; You won the trials. Talk about how your training has gone, how have the last 3 months of recovery been from the trials?

A: Itís been great, the last three months have been wonderful. We really started getting back into that base phase of training and putting some serious miles in about 6 weeks ago. Itís one of those tiring, exhaustive phases but also you start to feel good and excited because youíre getting back into the heart of training. The San Diego Rock Ďní Roll marathon will be the same amount of time at sea level as when we go from altitude to sea level racing in Rio so itís a tester to see how we will feel but no matter what, Sundayís race is really just meant to boost our fitness. Itís going to be a fun one out there.

Q; Have you and Shalane talked about race strategy for Sundayís Suja Rock Ďní Roll San Diego?

A: Our coach actually does the race strategy so we will get more direction tonight. We donít know if itís going to be a race where we run as hard as we can in order to make workouts in the future feel easier or if it will be a very specific paced effort that will mimic the first part of a marathon.

Q; If you two are side by side and have 1/10 of the marathon to go, are you going to hold hands across the finish line together or is it going to be a competition to finish first?

A: We will find out more tonight from our coach and will see what happens on Sunday.

Q; How has life changed for you since youíve won the trials?

A: It was a little crazy right after but a lot of fun. I was able to go to the White House for the Easter Egg Roll with the kids and First Lady, went to Boston to watch the marathon and threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game which was really cool, but honestly I was ready to get back to the mountains and have things quiet down and get back into training. You qualify for the Olympics and youíre ready to start training but your coach wants you to hold back because they donít want you to get in shape too soon. I really wanted to get back into training because Iím excited about whatís to come.

Q; Have you raced in San Diego before?

A: No, but I lived here for 4 years between 2008 and 2012.

Q; Shalane collapsed into your arms at the trials, how has she recovered since then?

A: Sheís recovered incredibly well; she did everything she needed to do afterwards. Within a few days, she was back to normal. She focused on resting and hydrating, and sheís back in full force now.

Q; Are you worried about Zika?

A: We went down to Rio to check out the course during the height of their summer, and we saw maybe one mosquito while there. We are going to take precautions, do everything we can do and be smart. Precautions like mosquito repellant, air conditioner, and just being aware of your surroundings.

Four-time Olympian Shalane Flanagan

Q; What is your race Strategy on Sunday?

A: I donít really know yet what my race strategy will be. My coach will determine what he wants Amy Cragg and I to do, so I would just love to go and run hard.

Q; You and Amy Cragg are teammates and train together, say that there is 1/10 of a mile left to go and you are side by side; will you just go all out to win or will you hold hands across the finish line?

A: We are both very competitive, so I would guess that we will each be running to win. Weíre will be in Rio to push ourselves.

Q; Rio will be your 4th Olympics with many different distances, how does it feel to be going to the Olympics again?

A: If you had asked me as a little girl if I would be a four time Olympian, I would have thought that just one time would be plenty and that would be enough. I am amazed that I have been around this long and have made that many teams. I feel really fortunate and really lucky because itís rare to have gone to four Olympics. I treasure each one, each time I make an Olympic team is just as special as the first time. I hope that all my experiences culminate with a really great last Olympics.

Q; In Los Angeles, you collapsed at the finish line into Amyís arms, how have you recovered from that?

A: I recovered really well, it was my slowest marathon to date at 2:29, so I didnít physically incur damage from the pace of the run, as it was fairly slow. I was massively dehydrated and received an IV afterwards that really alleviated and helped my recovery because otherwise the dehydration would have taken a long time to recover from.

Q; Was that finish line your diva moment?

A: Iím not usually that dramatic so it was slightly embarrassing that I was THAT out of it and that tired and dehydrated. I had no control, other then to just get to that finish line, so I felt that a bit of a diva finishing like that. It was honestly all I had to cross the finish line and see Amy was relief and joy.

Q; You told me that there was a time during that race, with 3 miles to go that you were wondering if you were going to be able to hold onto the 3rd spot?

A: I definitely said to Amy that I wasnít sure if I could do it, I may have to stop and walk. She was like, ďno you just need to get to the next stationĒ and then realized how red my face was and how overheated I was. She was trying to encourage me to get to the next aid station and get some fluids to cool myself down and get hydrated. There was a very pivotal moment where I wanted to throw myself off the course, but Amy told me that I wasnít going to do that.

Q; You have said that your workouts indicate that you are training very well; can you give a specific workout that shows that you are at the top of your game?

A: I donít really share my workout diary with people, so Iím not going to start todayÖ(laughter) I can indicate that some of the workouts have been on par as to when I have run my fastest marathons, before Berlin. They are close to what I have done in 2014 when I ran 2:22 and 2:21 and they are on par with those kind of workouts, so itís indicating that Iíll be ready to go in Rio.

Q; What are your thoughts on Zika heading to Brazil?

A: Iím actually not too worried, not that I am promoting to be reckless and not take care of yourself. Iíll be wearing mosquito repellant, and I did when I went down there 2 months ago. Honestly I didnít see many mosquitos, maybe one the entire time. Itís like here in San Diego, you donít really see many bugs, no swarming or anything and the chances of actually getting bitten by one that actually has Zika is very slim. That being said, my whole family is going to be there, and I have no concerns for anyone. I am saying yes letís use bug spray, but am not concerned for my health or my familyís health.

Q; 2 Olympicsí ago in Beijing, you were in a sick bed?

A: Yes in China, I had contracted food poisoning 4 days before the 10K event. I was running both the 10K and 5K events, but the 10K was where I had my best chance to medal, I came down with really severe food poisoning, to the point where I couldnít even get on the plan to go to Beijing from the training camp. My coach didnít think that I should race, so we were debating that, so when I finally got on that start line I was really grateful to be there. I ended up running the American record and claiming the Bronze medal, so sometimes we try and strive for perfection in our training and that taught me a big lesson that in the most imperfect situations, something really great can happen.

2014 Boston Marathon Champion Meb Keflezighi

Q; Can you talk a little bit about the trials, how did you recover, how have the last 3 months been?

A: The last 3 months have been tough, traveling a lot, making a lot of appearances, but Iím healthy and Iíve been doing some intense training and intervals, but Iím trying to peak in August so time to shut it down and do more consistent training and try to enjoy the training process.

Q; San Diego is your hometown, talk about the Rock N Roll marathon and what it means to you.

A: Rock Ďní Roll San Diego is special because this is where it all started in 1998 and now the race is national and international. Anytime you come to San Diego, Americaís finest city, itís fun to showcase the people here, the community. The economic growth is amazing, and we want people to keep coming back. 33,000 runners is a lot.

Q; How does it make you feel to cross that finish line with all the support you receive?

A: Itís an amazing feeling to be in San Diego- people always cheer me on, and on race day with Rock N Roll, itís a great honor to be able to not stress myself out and finish holding hands is great.

Q; Talk about Rio, whatís your travel schedule between now and the Olympics?

A: Rio is going to be fun, itís exciting to prepare for it. Going to Green Bay next weekend for a 10K, next Iíll take my daughters and wife to Eugie to show them how difficult it is to make an Olympic team so they can experience that, and after that Mammoth for 3-4 weeks then Rio.

Q; What is your goal for Rio?

A: My goal is to land on the podium; that would be a huge honor. Iíve finished 2nd and 4th in the past and if I can get close to that again, it would be a great honor to be on the podium. Itís nice to be where I am because I donít have to do anything great to solidify my career but at the same time, I really want to do it.

Q; How is a 41 year old guy still one of the best marathon runners in the world?

A: I always say the marathon is an old manís sport, and Iím proving that. I went through the process of 5K, 10K, and half marathons; I do the small things that make a big difference- training, stretching, icing, nutrition, recovering.

About Suja Rock Ďní Roll San Diego Marathon & Half-Marathon

The 19th annual Suja Rock Ďní Roll San Diego Marathon & Half-Marathon will run through San Diego over the weekend of June 3 - 5. The race is known for lining the course with live bands and cheerleaders interspersed with themed water stations along each mile of the route. The original Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in 1998 is still recognized as the largest inaugural marathon in U.S. history with 19,979 entrants. A free two-day Health & Fitness Expo at the San Diego Convention Center kicks off race weekend, featuring more than 80 fitness retailers, exhibits, free samples and interactive clinics. The event concludes Sunday afternoon with the Toyota Rock Ďní Roll Marathon Series Headliner Concert by Gavin DeGraw. Over the 19-year history of the race, participating runners have raised more than $176 million for charity in San Diego. For more information about the Suja Rock Ďní Roll San Diego, please visit RunRocknRoll.com.


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