Mary Cain failed to make it out of the the 800-meter preliminary round at the 2012 United States Olympic Trials. On Friday night she had her moment at London’s Olympic Stadium as she finished fifth in the women’s 1,500-meter run at London’s Anniversary Games. (Note: Flotrack was not allowed to film interviews but we were able to get this audio from the interview you can listen to above.)

Accustomed to top finishes throughout the year, Cain found herself far behind the leaders going into the bell lap. It was with 300-meters that she decided to make her move to the front. She unleashed what she’s dubbed her “Oxy” kick, referring to where she ran 4:04.62 for the American Junior Record...only it was five seconds slower. 

“You’re not always going to have a good race. I can learn from this now and regroup, “Cain said. “Now I know Moscow isn’t where I just walk into the final and get a medal.”

During pre-meet warm-ups on Thursday, Cain joked around with training partner Jordan Hasay that the atmosphere would not be too loud. As she walked onto the track for some strides, she realized her underestimation. 

“I felt the whole crowd just drain me,” Cain said. “They helped me the last 100-meters, but I learned a lot from this. I have to get out harder and longer.”

Cain and coach Alberto Salazar were originally leaning towards having her run the 800-meter race in London. After the U.S. Championships in Des Moines, Cain spent most of her time training in Portland, Oregon. Just three days before coming to London, Cain joined Salazar in St. Moritz to train with the members of the Nike Oregon Project, which she is not officially a member of. 

The 17-year-old phenom had to convince her parents a little to let her make the trip to Europe for training. That’s where she let her inner “track geek” do the talking. 

It doesn’t just stop with talking to her parents, Cain does her research before racing.

“I look at the entry lists and I knew I was capable of being top two.” Cain said. “I was top five, but I don’t feel like I was when you’re far behind most of the race and then realize ‘Wow, there goes the field.

For a high school runner, a bad race will help her refocus but she will also get help from summer homework assignments.

“I’ve been reading Anna Karenina for english and been like ‘Oh, I’m learning Russian.’ And then there’s economics, I’ve done all the formatting, picked out everything I want to do, but haven’t done it yet.”

And yes, her stuffed animal Puddles made the trip to Europe. 

------
Cain is keeping stats: “That’s the fourth time I’ve broke 4:11 and third time under 4:10.”

Cain on her intensity: “I think I look like a more intimidating person than Jordan, so I think I can throw some more elbows around than her.” 

Cain on wearing the new kit: “One day I was out running, you know looking good, and Alberto was like ‘Wow, that’s very nice.’ – Yellow is my favorite color –  and he said ‘ You should wear that as a uniform.’ And I was like ‘Really?’ If I’m getting fashion advice from Alberto, I know it’s a good day. I told my mom and she was like ‘Yeah, we can mix it up.’ We were kind of joking about the yellow and blue and what team is that. We decided it was going to be some weird team like the anteaters. So we had to look it up and start making those animal noises.”

Cain on her online presence: “I’m the type that doesn’t like to be online too much minus the track geek websites like Flotrack and Runnerspace.
-------
Chris Chavez is the 2013 Flotrack Europe correspondent and a journalism major at Marquette University. He once beat Joey Fatone of NSYNC in a half-marathon. Feel free to to reach him with any questions, comments, or feedback on Twitter or by email