Catching Up With Shannon Rowbury
For the past six years, Shannon Rowbury has defined herself in the sport as a one of the most consistent elite 1,500m runners, exceling at running rounds and running incredibly smart tactics. Her top level fitness and race smarts have led to three U.S. outdoor 1,500m titles, two Olympic teams and a World Championship bronze medal.
We caught up with Rowbury this week, as she prepares for the Drake Relays. As she kicks off her 2013 season, Rowbury discusses her rough race at Carlsbad, her most recent training and whether or not she's planning to move up to the 5k anytime soon.
Scott Bush (SB): You've been pretty quiet so far this season. How has training been going for you? Can you speak a bit about your training set-up in Mexico?
Shannon Rowbury (SR): Things have been going well. Coach Cook gave me a long break at the end of last season, since it was the end of an Olympic cycle (hard to believe!), so I got a little later start to training than usual.
I've been doing some great training here in San Francisco with the ladies of the Bay Area Track Club, which has been fun. I also had a speed training camp in Florida with Coach Cook and Loren Seagrave, which was a great learning experience.
I recently spent the last two months in Mexico for altitude training. I have been going to San Luis Potosi since 2008, so it have become like a second home for me. As usual the weather was sunny and hot, and we were able to put in a really solid block of training.
SB: You probably want to forget your Carlsbad race, as you dealt with food poisoning before the race, but how ready to race did you feel heading into the weekend?
SR: Carlsbad was definitely not what I was hoping for. I had come off of 7 weeks of really great work and I had hoped that I could really stick my nose in it. Unfortunately, when I arrived in Carlsbad on Friday, I came down with food poisoning at dinnertime. I threw up several times, was sleeping for only an hour at a time, and passed out trying to reduce my fever in the shower. I was able to start eating again about 24 hours before the race and I felt well enough to do a "pre-meet" (if you can call it that) at about 5:30pm on Saturday. Definitely not the best race preparation, but the race directors had been so kind and supportive that I wanted to do everything I could to toe the line. I was feeling much better by race time, but I guess I was still drained from being sick.
Despite everything I felt very strong in the race, but my energy level was just very low. I don't know how I would have done if I hadn't gotten sick, but I have to believe it would have been much better than I did. That being said, I'm happy that I was able to pull it together and compete, even when the odds were not in my favor.
SB: The Drake Relays are this weekend, where you're competing in both the USA 1 Mile Road Championships and the Drake Relays 1,500m race. Why two races in less than a week?
SR: The setup of the Road Mile and London Rematch 1500m seemed like a great way to practice back to back racing with minimal travel. Plus, it will be a good way to familiarize myself with Des Moines before Nationals. I'm really looking forward to these next two races. It's always exciting when you can have strong races on home soil!
[ed. note: Rowbury finished sixth in the USA 1 Mile Road Championships Tuesday evening]
SB: Squaring off some great competition in both races, but knowing it's still basically the beginning of your racing season, what are your goals for your weekend in Des Moines?
SR: I would love to come out of Drake with a World A standard, and of course a win. I know that neither will be easy, but I am feeling fit and would like to test myself.
SB: You've recently been bumped up in the Olympic 1,500m final results. How upset does it make you to know some of your competition is cheating and grabbing glory in World Championship and Olympic competition?
SR: It's extremely disappointing. After the Olympic final, I couldn't even cool down because I was overcome with emotion (and tears). I felt from the beginning that it was unfair to allow convicted drug cheats to compete in World or the Olympics, events that are meant to honor sportsmanship and integrity as well as national pride. Now, as more and more athletes are testing positive, I feel even more strongly about this.
SB: What, if anything, do you think the sport could do more of to clean itself up?
SR: I am proud of the self-regulating system, USADA, that we have established here. I'm not saying it's perfect, but at least we as a country and a federation are trying to prevent cheating. I think there needs to be more regular testing abroad, especially among athletes who's countries don't have a national testing system in place. I am happy about the biological passport system and I hope that WADA continues to grow this program.
SB: 2013 is a new year and the start of a new Olympic cycle. Do you see yourself sticking with the 1,500m over the next four years or perhaps moving up to the 5k?
SR: I am planning to stick with the 1500m this year but intend to explore the 5k more. I have only raced the 5k a handful of times on the track, so I am still pretty green at that event, but I think I have potential and am excited to test the waters.
SB: Shoes you train in?
SR: Nike Elites
SB: Car you drive?
SR: BMW 325
SB: Favorite post-race meal?
SR: Some sort of veggies bowl with quinoa
SB: Best movie?
SR: The Royal Tenenbaums and O Brother Where Art Thou?
SB: Favorite book?
SR: The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
SB: Favorite workout?