A week of frigid temperatures and snow had the track at Nike World Headquarters frozen solid. That is until Colleen and Shelby thawed it out with a blazing workout before jetting off to the U.K. for World Indoors. Still feeling the tough weekend of racing in their legs, Shelby and Colleen wanted to get some pop back in their strides.
Shelby was already the 3k U.S. National Champion when she took the track to race the 1500m the following day. Coming into the homestretch of the 1500m, she was in fourth, but in typical Shelby fashion, she unleashed a ferocious final 50 meters to outkick the field. Even after a dominating victory in the 1500m, Shelby thought little of the doubling at Worlds. Immediately following the 1500, when asked if she’d double at Worlds Shelby said, “I’ll probably just stick to the 3k.” That was before she talked to Jerry though.
Although the decision to double came as a surprise to Shelby, she is now just as excited about the opportunity as she is about having authentic fish and chips for the first time. Despite travelling to London last summer, Shelby was so excited to be in the land of Harry Potter that she forgot all about the famed fish and chips. One can forgive Shelby for this error as she is quite possibly the biggest Harry Potter fan in the world, even sporting a tattoo of the boy who lived on her wrist. However, now that her cravings for Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans and Butterbeer, two staple foods in the world of Harry Potter, have been filled, she is excited to finally try eating fish and chips out of a newspaper cone...after her races of course.
Shelby’s weekend begins Thursday when she takes on a loaded field in the 3k. Racing against a field that includes the likes of Genzebe Dibaba,the two time defending world champion and current indoor 3k world record holder, Hellen Obiri, the outdoor 5,000m world champion, Sifan Hassan, the reigning indoor 1500m champion, and hometown favorite Laura Muir, Shelby said, “[I] needed one, last, hard track session to wake my legs up” before heading to the U.K. If her legs were asleep during the workout, it is scary to think about what they will look like when they are awake come Thursday.
Like Shelby, Colleen looked to, “get some pop back in my legs and feel the burn,” in her last workout before heading across the pond. Not that she needs any extra motivation heading into the 1500m at World Championships. Still feasting on being outkicked down the homestretch at USAs, the workout provided Colleen a significant confidence boost. While she has no regrets about her race or how she finished, Colleen said, “I’m excited to go to Worlds with no expectations,” but also admits, “a little redemption wouldn’t be so bad.”
World Championships will quite literally be a combination of Colleen’s three loves: London, indoor track, and the 1500m. While it is no surprise London is one of Colleen’s favorite places to travel, one might be surprised that Colleen sometimes wishes she was a miler. She loves the tactics involved with the distance, which become more apparent in indoor races and even more so in championship races. While she might enter Worlds as an underdog, Colleen will be racing on fresh legs; as opposed to many of the top contenders who are running the 3k the night before.
The women’s 3k is shaping up to be the must watch distance event at Worlds, and Shelby says she is, “stoked,” that it is only a final. Her plan for Worlds is to only think about one race at a time, taking each day and race as they come. The race is likely to be tactical, like most championship races. But, given the talented field, Shelby is prepared for hot pace from the gun; and, would not mind a fast pace as she is only .76 seconds off the American Record.
Unlike the 3k, there are semi-final heats for the 1500m starting on Friday night. While both ladies are confident about advancing to the final, they are not looking past the semi-final heats by any means. It is likely the semi-finals will be sit and kick races, which Shelby and Colleen have proven they are comfortable with. While Shelby went from fourth to first in the final 100 meters of the 1500m final at USAs, Colleen showed her impressive finishing speed when she ran the mile at the Armory earlier this month. Should one or both ladies qualify, the 1500m final will take place Saturday afternoon.
While both women would be happy knowing they ran their best, we hope to see them sporting new hardware around their necks when they return. Below is a schedule of races. All races will be broadcast live on the Olympic Channel and streamed on NBC Sports Gold.
Thursday, March 1: Women’s 3k -- 3:15 p.m. EST (Shelby)
Friday, March 2: Women’s 1500m Heats -- 2:48 p.m EST (Shelby and Colleen)
Saturday, March 3: Women’s 1500m Final -- 3:39 p.m EST (TBD)
For more World Indoors coverage and full race previews, visit LetsRun.
All photos courtesy of Jordan Beckett.