Ed Moran was happy with his 26.2-mile debut last fall, when he ran 2:11:47 to finish 10th in the ING New York City Marathon.
That's the good news, and the bad. His time made him the seventh-fastest qualifier for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials, just 69 days later, and he was faced with a dilemma. Should he, or shouldn't he?
"When I first was going into New York, [I said] there's no way I'm going to do it, I don't care how successful New York goes I'm not going to run the Trials," said the 30-year-old, who finished fourth at 10,000 meters in the 2008 Olympic Trials to just miss the team. "Then immediately after, you wake up the next morning and you're like, OK, I can do this."
First came his wedding the week after the marathon, and a honeymoon on Kauai. ("They had to drag me off the island," he said.) Then he got to work.
"I really did make an attempt to come back," he said today at a press conference for the NYC Half, where he will make his half-marathon debut on Sunday. "I think the excitement with how well New York went, I got out a little ahead of myself, I got a little over-ambitious in my training, and that beginner's hubris snuck up on me. Little did I know that great feeling only lasts so long if you don't give your body enough time to recover."
About three weeks into his training, little injuries started to pop up. His fatigue level increased. By late December, he pulled the plug. January 14 was just too soon. This was no time for a bad marathon experience, when a poor recovery could then jeopardize his chance at making the team on the track. After all, he'd come so close last time, and this could be his last shot.
So Moran has shifted focus to training for the 5000 meters (at which he was the 2007 Pan Am Games champion) and 10,000 meters in Eugene, pleased that his marathon training has made him strong enough that 120-mile weeks no longer feel intimidating. But first, the NYC Half.
"I love coming to New York just because of the excitement and exposure of the events," said Moran, who was born on Staten Island and grew up in New Jersey. "I'm the kind of person who performs to the level of the competition and the atmosphere of the event and I've always had a lot of success here." Besides his great marathon debut, he cites the USA 8K Championship in 2007, where he finished fifth, as one of the biggest breakthroughs in his professional career.
Regardless of what happens on the track this summer, Moran said he's definitely planning to do a fall marathon, certain that there's room to build and improve on his performance of last fall.
"New York treats me well," he said, "so I like to come back as much as possible."