Stephanie Rothstein hasn’t raced a marathon since dropping out at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston last January, but this Sunday she will toe the line at the Honolulu Marathon, where she hopes to become the first American woman to win the race since Cyndie Welte last did so in 1988.
The last week in Hawaii has already been a memorable one for Rothstein and her husband, Ben Bruce. At last weekend’s XTERRA Trail Run Championships, Bruce tied Joseph Gray for first place in an exciting photo finish after 21 kilometers of neck-and-neck racing.
Rothstein sat down with Competitor.com a few days before her race in Honolulu to discuss her goals for her first marathon in nearly a year, as well as what the future holds.
What is your plan for the Honolulu Marathon?
Run as hard as I can for 26.2 miles. It’s a really good field this year but I feel like I prepared really well in training. But I really think I’m going to go in to win the race.
What have you been up to since the Trials?
I took a good break after the Trials and I got back on the track this season. I just wanted to run the track Trials and just sharpen up [Rothstein finished 8th in 32:24]. It’s been long time since I had done any short distances so I was getting my speed back under me. I ran a couple 5Ks, 10Ks and was eighth at the trials. I ran a PR there so that was a good sign. I took a mini break and ran a little road circuit series from August to October, which went pretty well. It was all geared toward Honolulu.
You’ve been able to drop your marathon time significantly in the last few years. How have you been able to do that?
The first one I ran was right out of college and my coach at the time wanted me to just run in control and get used to the distance. I ran 2:40 feeling smooth and then two and half years later when I found out I had Celiac disease everything improved and I ran what felt like a debut marathon in 2:29. So, it looked like a huge improvement, but I knew it was in there all along.
You’ve been through your fair share of injuries. What have you learned from going through them?
There is always an answer or a solution. Never give up looking for it. I always believed I was a lot better than what I was running or showing at the time. So I was always looking for different avenues to figure out what was going wrong: Why I wasn’t recovering? Why did I feel bad? Lucky enough I found out I have Celiac disease. If you always keep thinking you’re not going to get better you’re not going to. You almost have to repeat, “I will figure it out. I will get healthy.” Then have the patience to take time off and get the therapy you need.
Do you have any plans for Rio?
Oh yeah! I mean I’m going to try and make that marathon team that I was trying to make this year. The team was so strong this year that I don’t think I could have made it, [even if things went perfect for me.] All eyes will be trying to make that marathon team.