Catching Up With London-Bound Patrick Rizzo
Every year the London Marathon puts on a show for the sport, with a strong international contingent of professional marathoners pushing themselves to new PRs and record-breaking times. This year, one American pro is entered, Boulder-based Patrick Rizzo. Rizzo, who's a 2:13 marathoner, seems poised for a breakout race after finishing ninth at the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile three weeks ago.
We caught up with Rizzo just before he caught his flight to London earlier this week. Read how he's feeling leading up to Sunday's race and how he's going to approach the race.
Scott Bush (SB): The London Marathon is right around the corner. What are your expectations heading into next Sunday's race?
Patrick Rizzo (PR): This is going to be a bit of a risk-taking race for me. My goal this year is to get onto the U.S. team for the World Championship in Moscow and this is my shot to do it. I also haven't gotten to take many risks in the marathon and the lure of running for the USA again is enough to entice me. I really think I am fitter than when I ran my 2:13 last winter and I guess I'll find out how that plays out.
SB: At the Cherry Blossom 10 Mile, you finished 9th overall in 49:25. Did the performance match up with what you were hoping for?
PR: Yeah, that was almost exactly what I thought I'd run there. I was just about the same as last year, but the difference being that this year it was in the midst of a marathon build-up and last year I was peaking for Cherry Blossom.
SB: With 14 athletes entered at 2:08 or faster, the early pace is bound to be incredibly fast. What is your strategy heading into the race?
PR: I said I am going to take risks, but that doesn't mean I am stupid. I am planning to keep calm early on but run with someone or multiple someones if the pace isn't that far off of my own. I figure it's easier to work as a group than alone. That said, if there is nobody within reach to run with, I am fully prepared to run a PR alone.
SB: You're the lone elite American in the London Marathon field. Why did you choose to run London instead of Boston?
PR: A lot of it came down to funding. When I was trying to get into Boston we still had three American Olympians running on the men's side and no budget for a 2:13 guy. London returned a favor for me pacing British men there last year and allowed me into the field. I still love the people of the Boston Marathon and have run there twice (in 2008 and 2009) and I'd go back in a heartbeat. The World Marathon Majors really do a great job putting on their events and promoting professionalism in the sport and I will always do my best to support their causes as well.
SB: You currently train with Brad Hudson and his group. What are the training dynamics like in the group and how has Brad helped you evolve as a marathoner?
PR: One thing that Brad does that helps me is that he gives me input on what I'm doing and how I think it's working. It's certainly helped me to focus when I need and to really just have fun with it at other times. None of us have million dollar contracts so if it ever loses the fun being out there, I am out.
SB: You're sponsored by Mizuno and work at Runners Roost. How do you manage being a full-time athlete with your work at Runners Roost?
PR: I think the two compliment one another well. I recently took over as assistant manager of the Louisville (CO) Runners Roost and have taken on more responsibilities and tasks. It was a natural step in my work progression as I approach work like I do my training, I should always be improving SOMETHING and should never become complacent.
Another thing that work does is it gets me to where I never HAVE to race for money. If I want to hop into a local 5k because it suits my training at that phase, I do it. If I want to travel for London Marathon, work lets me.
It's great grass-roots marketing for Mizuno and great national marketing for Runners Roost. I think more athletes should do more like that for their local running shops.
Another thing I haven't really talked about yet is that I have recently started a running club for the students at Rocky Mountain Deaf School in Golden, Colorado. It's a learning experience for all of us as I am relearning sign language and they are learning to love exercise. I've found the older I get that I love helping out my local community and the deaf school is something close to my heart, having gone deaf myself.
SB: In this post-Olympic year, as you look forward, what are your professional goals over the next few years, especially leading up to the 2016 Olympic Trials?
PR: I obviously have some long-term and short-term goals set ahead for myself. At this point, I am looking only as far as London on Sunday though. We'll deal with the other goals as I know more about IAAF Championship team later this summer.
SB: Shoes you train in?
PR: Mizuno Wave Riders most days, Creations for long or trail runs.
SB: Favorite post-race meal?
PR: Bacon cheeseburger
SB: Car you drive?
PR: Subaru Forester wagon. It's the most effeminate thing I could find.
SB: Best band?
PR: Ever? Beatles. Currently, John Prine is my passion.
SB: Favorite type of workout?
PR: I like progression workouts without set intervals. When I was at Hansons, it was Sheldon Estates, a 3k loop you had to get 10 seconds faster per lap or you were done with the workout.
SB: Favorite movie?
PR: Blues Brothers