Fans of American distance running rejoice! Olympian Molly Huddle is officially a world-class marathoner. Molly handled the TCS New York City Marathon like the pro that she is — with grace and a whole lot of grit. After falling off of the leaders around mile 9, she focused on her own race plan while also maintaining her widely coveted stride. Despite her lack of experience at the distance, Molly fought her way to a historic third place podium finish.
I had the opportunity to chat with Molly after her marathon debut. She talks us through the race and explains why she’ll keep running during her time “off” from training. Here’s what the debutante had to say:
Chelsea: What did the last couple of hours before your race look like?
Molly: The hours before the race were spent either busing the 80 mins to the start (reminder of how far you’re running!), fueling, or getting my body moving as best it can.
C: How did you make sure your body was moving correctly and properly warmed up? Is physio or self-massage a part of your race day routine?
M: I saw a chiropractor before the start, foam rolled, and used a ball on my lower back muscles. I used the Trio Massage Balls and the Nonagon — which other athletes also borrowed. It was popular! You don’t do much of a running warmup, but still need everything to feel like it’s moving right or it may catch you late in the race when you breakdown anyway.
C: Did your race play out how you had hoped? What would you have done differently?
M: I had hoped the race would wait to break open at least after half way. When the break happened around 9 miles I tried to keep contact and ended up in no-woman’s land for much of the race. Looking back, I probably should have kept pace with Sally [Kipyego] as she came back strong to pass me about 10k later and I couldn’t catch her back.
C: Did anything about the marathon surprise you?
M: I was surprised at how much of the race you run alone, especially when the women start early. It really feels like just you vs 26.2 out there.
[The elite women at NYC start before the elite men and the mass start.]
C: What is the weirdest or most random thought you had during the race?
M: I kept thinking I can’t believe I’m running a marathon (laughs).
C: What was your lowest moment of the marathon?
M: My lowest moment was between 16 and 19 miles after Sally had passed me for 3rd. I started to get some side stitches. I had to slow down a bit on 1st Ave and was worried I would have to stop if they got worse.
C: Your highest moment of the marathon?
M: My highest moment was moving into third place and knowing I was going to finish ok.
C: What was your first meal after the race?
M: My first meal was a burger. I thought it would be pizza but I was “carbed-out” by then.
C: How is your body feeling now and what are you doing for recovery?
M: Luckily my body feels ok after that. I am going to keep some mobility exercises and self massage (and some short runs) in the down-time program. I want to make sure that when I start running again I haven’t tightened up or gotten too weak anywhere because coming off a break is when I often pick up little injuries.
C: Any thoughts on when and where you will run your next marathon?
M: Next marathon will likely be spring 2018 as I want to do a full track season next year. I’m happy to finish thinking I definitely want to race another one!