After London Olympic Marathon 2012

Kara & Shalane after London Olympic Marathon 2012

They battled valiantly to 10th and 11th places at the 2012 Women’s Olympic Marathon in London last summer, finishing just 16-seconds apart.  Last night training mates Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher tuned their racing engines for the April 15th Boston Marathon at the Cardinal Invitational in Palo Alto, California.

Racing over 10,000 meters, Flanagan soloed to an evenly paced 31:04.85 win, ripping off consistent 75-second quarters before capping the night with a 69-second final 400. Kara, exceeding expectations, produced a negative split 31:46.64 to take second place, just missing the World Championship “A” standard 31:45 with a cracking 68-second last lap.

There are 17 days left till Boston.  Marblehead, Mass. native Flanagan will be making her hometown debut, while Ms. Goucher will be starting her third Patriot’s Day 26-miler.  Each hopes to break the U.S. string of futility at Boston marked from Lisa Larsen Weidenbach’s 1985 victory.  It’s understandable having grown up on Boston’s North Shore that Shalane would have proprietary feelings for the race and the area, but Kara isn’t to be discounted in that sphere, either, writing “I have a crush on Boston….”

While training and racing fashions come and go in the insulated world of distance running, in recent times marathoners have been sticking to the half-marathon as their sole prep race for the full distance, even as many East Africans simply forego any tune up race what so ever.  Yet there is precedent for both 10k road and 10,000 track racing (and longer) as a useful Patriot’s Day precursor. Continue reading