Ryan Hall, 65:38, 2nd place

The Olympic countdown clock is ticking. For some, like today’s Rock `n` Roll San Diego Half Marathon winner Meb Keflizighi, the Olympic Games are right on schedule, 10 weeks out with all his tickets punched, ready for the final big training push toward the medal stand in London.  For others, like second place finisher Ryan Hall, August 12th is approaching like a runaway freight train as he finds himself still lashed to the rails of injury wriggling to get free in time.

“I felt good out front,” said Hall after his 65:38 time put him 2:26 behind Meb’s 63:12 win.  “I was faster through 10K than at Healthy Kidney (the 10K in New York City in May.) But I was a little flat in the second half.”

In what was their final race before the August 12th Olympic Marathon in London, hometown hero Meb Keflizighi and 2008 Olympic Marathon 10th place finisher Ryan Hall established themselves early with a 4:40 opening mile on an overcast day with the temperature holding at 61 degrees Fahrenheit.  But by two miles(9:14) Meb had already opened an eleven second advantage that did nothing but grow through the next 11+ miles.

Coming on the heels of Ryan’s 30:15, 15th place performance at New York’s Healthy Kidney 10k, where Meb ran 29:08 for seventh place, today’s half marathon result begged for an explanation. While the sweet-natured Hall generally holds his inner thoughts to himself, begging off any rivalry with Meb, or caring much about his times at events other than in the marathon, a man with 4:46 per mile pedigree over the 26.2 mile marathon distance built atop a 3:42 1500 meter high school chassis can’t average 4:50 per mile over 10K and 5:00 pace in the half marathon without raising some red flags.  And today Ryan copped to the issue at hand, or should I say foot?

“I’m not going to lie. When I was first looking at doing this race, right after starting back training after the trials, I was thinking about trying to come here and run 61 minutes or something good. But as things progressed, my body didn’t quite come around like I was hoping.  I’m still battling this plantar fasciitis.  It’s really lingering, and giving me some problems. I need to get rid of that.   I’ve run 65 minutes the month before a marathon before (Boston in 2011 after the NY Half), so I look at that and know these races are always tough for me.  So just go back to training, get back in shape, and get things figured out with my foot.”

However, it’s one thing to be flat due to high mileage a month out from a major marathon, and quite another to deal with a nagging injury that won’t go away with one of the two or three biggest races of your life coming on fast.

“It (left foot plantar problem) cropped up in November,” explained the tousled-haired bleach blond with the boy-next-door demeanor. “I took three weeks off, and I thought doing therapy on it it would be gone, but it’s worse than before.  It’s one of those things where your foot is bothering you, and you’re favoring one leg. Now my right hamstring is bothering me.  So it’s one thing leads to another.  But I have great people around me, and I believe it’s going to get better before the Games.” Continue reading