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Track Profile Report: Rowbury Pleased with 1st International Outing

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07/21/2008 - 09:28

July 19, 2008 Track Profile Report #791 by Bob Ramsak. PARIS -- Shannon Rowbury had an important first date in the City of Lights last night. The occasion? The first true international 1500m outing since her emergence in the spring as the leading American over the metric mile. In a fast race, she trailed only the reigning world champion across the line with a career best performance, by any measure, a substantial success.

"I felt pretty smooth throughout," said the 23-year-old Duke graduate, who lowered her best to 4:00.33 to finish behind Maryam Jamal�s 3:59.99. "It was a little bit choppy because we went out a little slowly and then they picked it up a bit. I was kind of locked into a rhythm."

Rowbury first made waves back home in May after she ran 4:01.61 at the adidas Track Classic in Carson, Calif., a near six second improvement. Indeed, prior to this season, her best in the event was just 4:12.31. Now,
one month before the Olympics Games, she's the third fastest woman in the world. And she's relishing the opportunity to race against the world�s finest.

"When I PR'ed in Carson, I was sort of by myself, it was easy," she said. "You could go wherever you wanted, you didn't have to fight for space. But this is great, to be against the best girls in the world and learn how to
compete with them."

Although she came up short down the homestretch, she did narrow Jamal's gap noticeably over the waning strides, and was pleased with her ability to not let the world champion kick away from her.

"It was just at the end of the race that I couldn't quite catch up to her," she said. "I felt strong but I couldn't quite get there."

"(Jamal) is obviously in great shape herself," she continued. "I was just trying to stay relaxed and keep my form, and increased turnover. It was fun to have someone at the end of the race to be chasing after. So that was a new experience I haven't gotten to have for a while. It was great. I loved it."

In her post-race assessment, she said she was also satisfied with her ability to react as the race unfolded. Running comfortably in the middle of the pack initially, Rowbury decided to make a significant move with just
over a lap to go.

"I got a little bit boxed in, and was happy that with about 500 to go Sarah Jamieson moved up, and I got out and went with her. I think that was an important move on my part, and that enabled me to go with (Ethiopian Gelete) Burka and Jamal. Maybe if I�d come out a little quicker I would have been closer. I wasn't sure where I was compared to those two. I wasn�t taking myself out of the race but maybe I wasn�t as quick to react as I might otherwise have been. But I can do that now in the Games."

Rowbury's first post-trials race came five days ago in Lignano, Italy, where she finished fourth in the 800, clocking 2:03.71. She wasn't particularly happy with the outing, but certainly didn't panic over the outcome either.

"It wasn't so great," she said, smiling. "My head was still kind of spinning after the trials and travel, but I was happy to be able to bring it back together here. It was so fun just to be able to walk out into the stadium."

Unless she or coach John Cook have a change of heart, she isn't planning to race again until the first round of the 1500m in Beijing exactly one month from today.

"I think I'm just going to focus on training for the next month," she said. "I was thinking about doing some other races but if this went well, we figured we'd just go back home and focus on getting as fit an strong as
possible before the Games. I still have four more weeks until the Games. I'm excited to be able to work."

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