Monday, October 4, 2010

My Chat with Mel Keflezighi!!

Meb & Me
It was super exciting to interview Meb Keflezighi at the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon expo on Saturday 10/2! (If you don’t know who Meb is, he is a 2004 Olympic Marathon Silver Medalist and also the 2009 NYCM winner. Yeah, he’s kind of a big deal!) I didn't have as much time as I thought with him since there was HUGE line of people wanting to meet him at the Sony booth so I made it quick (Less than 10 minutes!). Meb was very personable and real. I don't know what I was expecting but I was definitely left with a great impression of him! It’s not everyday yours truly gets to interact with an Olympian!

Here's my interview with Meb! I just jumped right in. He also really liked my iPhone 4 doing the recording.

Julianne: Meb, I'm gonna jump right in. I asked my friends and blog readers to help me find out more about you. And, Dennis from San Jose wants to know if you chafe at all.

Meb: Do I chafe? Yes, definitely and a lot during the off season. I chafe between the thighs and under my arms because I run without a shirt! And if I don't use Vaseline I'm in big trouble.

Julianne: Most of us "regular" runners chafe all over (and I gestured all over) and we definitely wondered if the pros do, too.

Meb: *laughs* Of course we do! But definitely on long runs and races, you should use something like vaseline or Body Glide to prevent chaffing.

Julianne: What's your pre-race ritual or favorite food before the race? Mica from Urbana, Illinois asked.

Meb: Definitely pasta the night before a race. I can't wait to have that tonight. I totally love spaghetti with meatballs. I am totally ready to go the next morning. That's my ritual. But I also love Mexican food, like burritos especially on my hard run days. And I love eggs.

Julianne: I love eggs, too! You have a fantastic website and you're very active on the social networking thing, like Facebook and Twitter. Has it changed how you race, network or interact with fans? This one is from Layla in Lodi, by the way.

Meb: It's been really great to connect with fans and friends online. It's so much easier this way. It's also a big honor for me to meet my fans and interact with them. Twitter is all about me letting people know where I am and what I'm doing. I guess being online is the trend right now and it's where the market is. When I was up in Rock n Roll Seattle earlier this year, I mentioned on Twitter that I was going to be at the expo. And one fan apparently drove up from Portland to meet me after he saw my Tweet. I was really honored.

Julianne: Wow, that's awesome! Jason from New York City wants to know if you're planning on winning New York City Marathon this year?? And how do you stay motivated to win such a big race?

Meb: That's my goal to win New York City Marathon! God gave me this talent to run and if it motivates people than it's my job to do it. I keep going because the talent from God isn't tapped out yet. I'm still running races and PR'ing so, I feel really blessed.

Julianne: Do you ever have days when you don't feel like running and how do you get yourself motivated? This one is from Katie in Boston.

Meb: There are days but it doesn't happen often. It's really an honor to do a job that I am really passionate about. Just like any other people, when I'm feeling under the weather or something, I don't feel like running. But, once I'm out the door, I do more than I set out to do. Again, I try to remind myself that I have a responsibility since God gave me this talent for running. It's really an honor.

Julianne: I heard you injured your hip back in 2008. What was the road to recovery like? Quan from San Jose wanta to know.

Meb: Actually it was my pelvis and I had to take 10 weeks off. It wasn't easy! The most difficult part of the process was getting the correct diagnosis. It was originally diagnosed as a sports hernia and got examined by the doctor in NYC (who also happens to be the medical director for Rock n Roll) and got scanned at Columbia U. Good news was that no surgery was required but the bad part was that I couldn't run.

Julianne: Yeah, I guess it's easier to treat once you know what it is. If you're guessing what's wrong with you, how do find treatment right? My next question comes from Audrey in Los Gatos. She wants to know which celebrity you'd like to pace in a marathon if you ever got a chance?

Meb: *laughs* Well, I did meet Halle Berry once so maybe if she asked, I'd love to pace her in a marathon! My wife said if they ever make a movie about me, then Halle needs to play her. *laughs again* Of course, I'll play myself!

Julianne: Meb, what's going through your mind the last few miles of a marathon? You must be exhausted at that point?

Meb: It all depends. If I'm winning? I have all the energy in the world! I could go forever, I think!

Julianne: Um... I don't know what that's like but wow, that sounds pretty amazing.

Meb: Well, if there's someone ahead of me, I'm thinking I need to catch up very soon. Or if there's someone right behind me, I need to get away. I just need to keep up the speed and the endurance.

Julianne: This is so exciting. You won RnR San Jose last year and you plan to win tomorrow, yeah?

Meb: Oh that's the plan I plan to do the same thing I did last year, from here to NYCM.

Julianne: Good luck tomorrow and next month at New York!! And thank you for your time today!

Did I mention Meb won the race again yesterday??? Yes, he did! He won by quite a margin, too. Part of the RnR SJ Half is an out and back course and I saw him when he had just entered the 13th mile. That guy was sprinting the whole way but he didn't even look tired. Of course, I was only at mile 5 or 6! Really awesome to see him and as I yelled out to him "Go Meb!" I felt like I was cheering on a friend. It was really an honor to meet him and getting to talk to him of course! Thanks to all of you who helped me with the questions. :-)

Ps. I don't know if you noticed the little "inset" looking image of the Sony Walkan MP3 player (on the bottom left corner) in my picture up at the top... It's actually not an inset but a little pop up card that was on the table. Meb trains with the Sony MP3 player is a huge fan! I love this pic of Meb running! --->


  1. What a great interview! Loved it.

  2. AWESOME interview! It must've been sooooo cool to meet him! Nice job, J!

  3. Awesome Julianne! How cool is that!

  4. Great interview J!!!

  5. I like that he doesn't wear a shirt when he runs like me! LOL!
    So cute! And great job girlie!

  6. Great interview, Unni! Thanks for asking my question too. :)

    Meb seems so nice and charming. Now, I love him even more!

  7. Great interview. I have met Meb twice (at the ACLI Captial Challenge 3-Mile race in DC where he comes to be an honorary pacer for congresspersons) and he is a great guy, a class act and an inspiration to all Americans. True story--I was attending a Tampa Bay Devil Rays baseball game in 2004 when they announced that they had an honored guest that night, Meb Keflezighi. Since I think that watching a two-hour marathon race is actually exciting, I knew who he was and clapped. The rest of the stadium was silent, drawing a blank. "The American silver medalist in the marathon at the recent Athens Olympics," the announcer added. The audience burst into cheers then.

  8. What an awesome opportunity and a great interview. I'm thinking you have a sure future at ESPN. :) It was great learning more about him and getting tips directly from a PRO. xo, Jess

    BTW, I'm new to your blog...look forward to reading on.

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