The Comeback Queen: Exclusive Interview With Kim Smith

Competitor.com: Do you consider your race this weekend at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Providence Half Marathon to be a comeback race, taking into account your injury at Boston?

Kim Smith: I’ve done a few short races this year since Boston. This race is a race to kick-start my marathon training, really. It’s a race to get me ready for New York. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon will be my next big race.

But Providence will be the longest you’ve raced since Boston, correct?

Yeah.

How has your training been going in the lead-up to this race?

I’ve just been doing a lot of shorter, faster stuff to try and get some speed back into my legs. And then this week has been my first week of marathon training.

How’s your calf feeling?

My leg is feeling really good. I took a couple weeks off and then it was fine. It healed quite quickly.

Were you surprised at how fast it healed?

Yes. I was surprised at how good it felt with just a few weeks off.

Looking back at your Boston race, your front-running strategy almost paid off if it weren’t for your calf problem. Do you have any regrets for that strategy now that you’ve had ample time to think about it?

Smith set a U.S. all-comer's half marathon record at Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras this year, running 1:07:36. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Not really. My calf problem was probably going to happen anyway. After the first mile, I had kind of a burning sensation. At the time, I didn’t think that much of it. It kind of hurt a little bit the day before in the spot where the MRI showed the actual tear, so I think it would have happened anyway. I don’t think I went out crazy fast. I actually went out the same pace that I did in London and nothing happened to my calf. I was much fitter for Boston than when I ran London the year before. I was much more ready to go faster and obviously it was a really fast day in Boston. I think the women could have run a whole lot faster than they actually did. I mean, obviously looking at the men’s race and Ryan Hall and how fast they ran it, I don’t think there was much I could have done to stop that from happening.

How bad was the pain in your calf before the race?

It was just a little bit tight two days before, maybe. I never thought anything of it. As a runner, you are always feeling something. But when you are running marathons, you can’t get away with a lot, because you are running hard for a long way.

You mentioned that this race is the beginning of your marathon training. So it’s a tune-up race, then?

I’m looking at it as a kick-start to the marathon. It’s kind of like a tempo run.

So are you running it at your goal marathon pace for New York or are you going to aim for something faster?

I’m just going to see how I feel. I haven’t really done a lot of long tempo runs since before Boston. I’m definitely not going to try and run it fast and race it any faster than marathon pace. It’s probably going to be really hot and humid. I like doing the Rock ‘n’ Roll races. This one is local, so it kind of fit in with the training plan.

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