By Justin Britton with David Monti, @justin_britton & @d9monti
(c) 2019 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
HONOLULU (06-Dec) — For any goal, the path to success is rarely a straight line, but that tends to make the journey even more exciting and potentially satisfying. Renee Metivier of Bend, Ore., knows this better than anyone as she readies herself for Sunday’s 47th annual Honolulu Marathon here.
Metivier, 37, who has described herself as the “Comeback Queen,” finds herself in a unique situation for Sunday’s race. She’s the only American woman in the elite field, making her the lone runner who is aiming for the 2020 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying standard of 2:45:00. Metivier said that she is grateful that the Honolulu Marathon organizers have been supportive of her competing here (she only registered for the race about a week ago). After a six-week block of consistent training, she felt that it was the time to tick that box now. Her original plan was to wait until Houston in January to aim for a quick half-marathon time and qualify that way, but that wouldn’t leave much of a recovery period before the marathon trials on February 29. She hasn’t completed a marathon since December, 2014.
“It’s been a long road to get back to the roads,” Metivier told Race Results Weekly here yesterday.
Since Metivier has a best of 2:27:17 for the 26.2 mile distance (Chicago, 2012, when she made her debut), one might think that a 2:45 should be a walk in the park. But she is in a totally different place now. She had major surgery on her right Achilles tendon about seven years ago, and after dropping out of the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials (her last split was 58:42 at 10 miles), Metivier broke her leg after slipping on black ice in December, 2016. More surgery was required.
“I broke my leg after the Olympic Trials and had surgery in 2017, and surgery last winter as well,” she explained. “I had nine metal screws and a six-inch metal plate in my ankle and it bothered me, especially on pavement. So, I had to go back into surgery at the end of last year.”
Her first race in over a year on the roads was the Applied Materials Silicon Valley Turkey Trot 5-K, on Thanksgiving in San Jose, Calif., where she ran a credible 16:41. Certainly, it was at a much shorter distance than what’s to come this Sunday morning, but the idea was to get the feel of the intensity of the roads again on her leg prior to flying to the Aloha State. It was a good step forward.
“I feel very fortunate that it’s come around,” she continued. “I’ve been very diligently working on rebuilding it. I didn’t know if I would make it back in time (to try for the Trials).” She continued: “I actually feel really ready to go.”
To keep her speed in check on Sunday, Metivier said she’ll be writing “No Ego” on her arms to continuously remind herself throughout the race to not get too ahead of her goal of getting the Trials standard. Her aim is to stay just under a 6:18 per mile pace; her personal-best pace is 5:37 per mile, so it’s going to feel very slow.
When she looks back on how her elite career could already have ended, she’s proud of the work she did to get back to this point. Perhaps most importantly, her confidence is back.
“I think you always have some doubts and thoughts that come up when you come from a really big injury,” Metivier admitted. “This was really, really big, potentially career-ending. I don’t have them anymore. I did for the last couple of years, which is why it’s been a long road to get back to the roads.”