Chat with Shalane Flanagan
Flanagan won bronze in the 10,000m at the 2008 Olympics.
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, U.S. Olympic runner Shalane Flanagan stops by to chat as she prepares for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
In London, Flanagan will represent Team USA as a marathon runner, after having won the U.S. Olympic trials in January, setting an event record time. On Friday, she will be competing in the U.S. Track & Field Olympic trials in the 10,000m.
Flanagan will be providing insight into the lead-up to her Olympic experience through Nissan's Innovation for Endurance Facebook page. Fellow Olympians world record swimmer Ryan Lochte, Ryan Hall, Kara Goucher and Chris Horner will also be blogging for Nissan.
Send your questions now and join Flanagan Wednesday at 3 p.m. ET!
The 10K is grueling enough, what made you decide to move on to marathons?
Shalane Flanagan (3:01 PM)
I think it started at a pretty young age. My parents were both marathoners. It is grueling, but I think the ultimate test of a runner is the marathon. It's something special that happens after 20 miles. I wanted to take that ultimate test. I accomplished more than I could ever do in the 10K and I was up for another challenge, the marathon.
How much are you looking forward to the opening ceremonies?
Shalane Flanagan (3:03 PM)
I'm not sure if I will be participating. These are my third Olympics. I went to my first in Athens and had an unbelievable experience. What most don't realize is that you're actually on your feet for 4-5 hours, maybe more. Knowing that I have marathon a few days later, I'm not sure my coach will advise I participate. So, I'm not sure. It's one of the most unbelievable experiences, other than standing on the podium in Beijing. It's something I won't forget.
Has your routine changed training for the Olympics rather than other events?
Shalane Flanagan (3:04 PM)
I think knowing that I have an opportunity to compete on such a stage like the Olympics brings an intensity to my training. The lure that the Olympics are coming up gives me the extra drive, but physically and mentally, it's like the other events that I do. I hope to put on my best race for the Olympics. That's what everyone hopes for.
Jim Carey (Portland, OR)
Do you see yourself ultimately converting to the marathon?
Shalane Flanagan (3:05 PM)
That's a good question. I think my body will naturally decide if I can go back to track or not. With age, unfortunately, you're not as fast. The beauty of the marathon is it's more about the endurance. I will go back to track because I find it so much fun and it's stimulating to do the events. But I can see ultimately the last few years of my career sticking to marathoning.
Do you and the other Nissan athletes have any side bets about who will perform the best at the Olympics?
Shalane Flanagan (3:06 PM)
That's something that should be in the works! We have three marathoner and a swimmer. Once everyone makes the team, I think we'll start placing some bets. I think Kara and I have a pretty good shot. Ryan Lochte have some impressive accolades to himself as well.
What's the biggest difference between the 10K and marathon?
Shalane Flanagan (3:08 PM)
Well, the 10K usually lasts around 30 minutes of hard running. You go to the marathon, you focus for almost 2.5 hours. So there is a lot more focus involved and a lot more patience involved. That's been the hardest part for me along with transitioning my body to run for that long. I'm used to getting my body to burn right from the beginning. With the marathon, you have to delay the pain and fatigue.
ANy thoughts of moving on to the triathlon. You've got the marathon down already?
Shalane Flanagan (3:09 PM)
Yeah, I've always been captivated by the Ironman. I swam in high school. But I think I'm pretty atrocious on the bike. I remember running into a parked car when I was a kid. I'd have to reach out to some bikers to improve those skills.
Scott Adam (Charlotte, NC )
Hey Shalane, how cool that you get to work with Kara on the Nissan program too. What is that program about? And good luck to you at teh 10K time trials tomorrow and in London.
Shalane Flanagan (3:11 PM)
Basically, Nissan reached out to Kara and I. I feel fortunate to be a part of the program. We get to educate consumers about their fitness. This program is about taking them to the next level. Kara and I can totally relate because we're trying to always improve ourselves. We train together and we can work outside of that which is pretty cool. Recently, I've never been on Facebook, it's a whole new world to me. Through Nissan, they've brought me into Facebook and this new world. On the Facebook page, you can see the videos we've done.
What has been the hardest obstacle you have overcome in your career?
Shalane Flanagan (3:12 PM)
I think every athlete faces challenges and obstacles that test their drive and determination and will. When I get an obstacle it just confirms I love what I love to do. I had a foot problem and I was running in pain. It was very inconclusive to what was wrong. I was told I might not run again if the surgery didn't go well. I had the surgery and everything went well. It showed me to not take things for granted. It confirmed and was an afirmation that I love what I'm doing.
Is it any different going back to the Olympics already having medaled? You can't really sneak up on anyone if that's the case.
Shalane Flanagan (3:14 PM)
No sneaking. The beauty of this Olympics is this is my third. I have some great experience behind me. The first one, I think I was there almost more as a spectator. It was a great experience and I was a little naive. But I learned that I wanted to go and do something special. I was able to do that in Beijing. But now I'll be going in basically a whole new sport. People can have ridiculous performances. I carry the confidence that I have a medal already. I would love to be on the podium again, but on any given day anything can happen. I hope to have my best performance that day and if that means a medal, I'd be happy with that.
Ian L. (Troy, NY)
Shalane, racing the marathon (as we all know) takes a good amount of both physical and mental grit. If a gap opens up between yourself and the leaders, which do you think you will rely on more in order to reel them back in?
Shalane Flanagan (3:17 PM)
Wow....There are two different scenarios, you can be physically not be able to respond, despite all of the mental power you have. That's just the marathon. But if there is anything in my control, it's mental. I find that if I put myself in position and practice a lot and battle those demons and put myself in uncomfortable positions. A lot can happen. In my first marathon in NYC, I was dropped and was third. But I fought back and finished second. You make your body do things it doesn't want to do. You can regroup within a race at times. If you don't feel good in a patch, there will be a patch where you feel better. I rely on the fact that I'm mentally pretty gritty in the end.
how do you like your chances to medal at the Olympics?
Shalane Flanagan (3:18 PM)
My coach and my training partner and I have talked about this. We all agree that we're setting ourselves to be in the best shape we can be. I find that when I have a big challange and the pressure is on, I love to perform. I love my chances to mix it up and be in a position to win. That's all an athlete can ask of themselves is to have their best on the biggest stage.
Shalane Flanagan (3:19 PM)
I'm super pumped and I hope that we get a lot of fans cheering on Aug. 5 while we're running 26.2 in London!
Buzzmaster (3:19 PM)
Thanks for chatting Shalane!