Sunday, February 21, 2016

Led by Emily Infeld, Lots of PRs at Millrose Games

Placing third in the deepest indoor 5,000-meter race in U.S. history, Emily Infeld set a personal best of 15:00.91 at Saturday’s Millrose Games in New York City.

Also at the meet, Evan Jager placed fourth in the 3,000 in 7:40.10, just off his indoor PR, and Lopez Lomong ran an indoor personal best of 7:43.01 to place ninth in the race. Six days after setting a 3,000-meter PR in Boston, Laura Thweatt ran an indoor PR of 15:35.24 for seventh place in the 5,000.

Emily’s time bettered the outdoor 5,000 PR of 15:07.18 she set last June, and puts her third on the all-time U.S. indoor list.

The time was all the more impressive as it came in her first race of the season. Also of note: It gives Emily the Olympic standard in the event.


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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A World of Difference as Emily Infeld Starts the Olympic Year

Emily Infeld competes at the 2015 U.S. outdoor championships. She’ll start her 2016 season at the Millrose Games on Saturday. Photo by PhotoRun.

At this time last year, Emily Infeld was rehabilitating a sacral stress fracture and not running on land. Now she’s a world championships medalist who hopes to set a 5,000-meter personal best at her season opener in the Millrose Games on Saturday.

“I am hoping for a PR,” Emily said the other day while finishing up an altitude-training stint in Flagstaff, Arizona. “I don’t know exactly what kind of shape I’m in but I would love to run under 15:00.” Her best is 15:07.18, set at the Portland Track Festival last June.

After Millrose, Emily plans to run the 3,000 on March 11 at the U.S. indoor championships, with an eye toward making the team for the following week’s world indoor championships.

If she dons the USA jersey for the world meet in Portland, she’ll do so with different expectations—from herself and others—than when she ran the 10,000 at the world championships in Beijing last August.

Emily emerged from that meet, of course, with a bronze medal after nipping teammate Molly Huddle at the line. For Emily, the performance was both an eye-opener and a game-changer.

“Worlds really gave me the confidence to run with anyone and put myself in a good position in the race,” she says. “I learned to push myself out of my comfort zone—only then could you have the possibility to truly surprise yourself and achieve something great. I would rather go after a fast time in a race and die than not give myself a shot.”

Emily took some down time in the fall before resuming full training for this Olympic year. Things have been going well since December, she says, in part because of new Bowerman Track Club members.

“It has been great with the addition of Shelby Houlihan, Colleen Quigley and Betsy Saina to the group,” Emily says. “We haven’t overlapped with Amy Hastings or Shalane for more than easy runs in their buildup [to last Saturday’s Olympic Marathon Trials], but it is great having them around to look up to and learn from.”

Emily is well aware that there will be no more “surprise” performances now that she has a medal from a global championships. She’s using that recognition as another source of motivation as she launches her 2016 campaign.

“I definitely feel pressure, especially as a lot of people think I lucked into the medal because the race was slow,” Emily says. “I want to prove that I can run fast times and be competitive with the best at their best, not just in a tactical race.

“I have definitely upped my training game and am very motivated this year,” she says. “That being said, I know that you need consistency in training in order to make big leaps, so I am being cautious in the sense that I want to ensure I can get to the start line healthy. Getting through [coach] Jerry [Schumacher]’s training is grueling, and I know he can get me to maximize my potential as an athlete, but I have to be smart and listen to my body.”

Emily’s race will start at 4:28 p.m. Eastern time on Saturday, and will be run during NBC Sports’ broadcast of the meet.

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Monday, February 15, 2016

Laura Thweatt Sets 3K PR in Season Opener

Laura Thweatt en route to a 3,000-meter PR at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix on February 14, 2016. Photo by Victor Sailer/PhotoRun.

In her first race since her marathon debut in November, Laura Thweatt ran 8:57.11 to take third in the 3,000-meter race at Sunday’s New Balance Indoor Grand Prix in Boston. The time was a personal best for Laura and bodes well for her track plans in this Olympic year.

Even after Laura nailed her first marathon, finishing seventh at New York City in 2:28:23, she and her coach, Lee Troop, said she wouldn’t run the Olympic Marathon Trials. As Troop explained it, focusing on the track in 2016, and trying to make the Olympic team on the oval, will better serve Laura’s long-term prospects, including when she becomes a frequent marathoner.

So on a weekend when the rest of America’s healthy sub-2:30 women were racing 26.2 miles on the streets of Los Angeles, Laura was racing 15 laps inside the Reggie Lewis Center. Nearly outkicking Abbey D’Agostino, she certainly didn’t look like someone who’d lost her track-running legs to the marathon.

Next up: Laura will run the 5,000 at Saturday’s Millrose Games in New York City.

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Amy Cragg Wins Olympic Marathon Trials, Shalane Third

Training partners Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan ran together through the first 23 miles of the Olympic Marathon Trials en route to Amy winning and Shalane placing third on a hot day in Los Angeles.

Amy’s winning time was 2:28:20. Struggling in the heat, Shalane was passed by Desiree Linden in the 26th mile and finished in 2:29:19.

With their finishes, Amy made her second and Shalane her fourth Olympic team.

Sean Quigley ran strongly over the final miles to move up to 10th place in 2:15:52, an improvement over his 16th-place finish at the trials in Houston four years ago.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

A Little Pre-Marathon Trials Reading

Shalane Flanagan, Amy Cragg and Sean Quigley will be racing a certain marathon in Los Angeles on Saturday. Here are a few helpful pre-Trials links:

How to watch the race, via Runner’s World.

Women’s race preview, via Sports Illustrated.

Five things to watch in the women’s race, via Runner’s World.

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