Photo by Paul Nelson
Before the pandemic hit we started interviewing runners in the community so that we could share their stories with you, and we chatted with Alyssa right before she headed out for the Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta, GA where she ran alongside some of the fastest women on the planet!
We checked in with Alyssa this past week as she has settled into a new normal...taking into account how Covid has affected her and her overall running goals.
We hope you enjoy her story!
How long have you been running and how did you get into it?
I ran in high school and my first year of college and then stopped for 4 years. I was not running for the right reasons at that time of my life. I wasn’t running for myself. I got back into it when my dad asked me to run a marathon with him in 2012. I laughed and said I would do the half marathon and ever since then running has been apart of my life either competitively or socially
Have you always ran road and trail? How did you get into trail and how do you balance training for both road and trail races?
I moved to Portland in 2015 from Wisconsin and was introduced to trail in 2017. I feel that trail can really complement road training. Trail takes a lot of strength, power, and mental toughness that can be recycled onto the roads.
My coach trained me through my first 50-mile race where a lot of my speed work was hills and when I transitioned back to the roads for the NYC and Houston Marathon my speed work was focused on tempos and fartlek’s.
What has been your biggest obstacle in running and how did you overcome it?
I think my biggest obstacle has been running for the right reasons and embracing the process. I feel very lucky to be surrounded by so many inspiring runners here in Portland and surrounded by so many incredible places to run in the PNW. It’s something I get to do rather than something I have to do. And this mindset has changed so much for me.
What are you most proud of accomplishing in regard to running?
Qualifying for the Olympic Marathon Trials
How long have you been working with a coach?
I started training with a coach in May of 2019. I’ve learned I am not my own best coach. She has helped me get from a 3:13 marathon to 2:43. I’m not afraid to do the work I just never knew what to do. It allows me to focus on the executing the workouts and recovery. I don’t have to worry if the training I’m putting together is best suited for me.
What is your advice for a newbie to running?
Everyone is motivated in a different way and everyone has a different reason as to why they run. Running is something that keeps me grounded but is something that intrigues me to keeping pushing to find that breaking point. I’ve learned consistency is key, you can’t take yourself too seriously, and just have fun with it.
Can you tell us a little about what you do when you aren't running?
Anything outdoors: hiking, skiing, snowshoeing, bouldering, my two dogs Penny and Chuck, and drinking all the sour beers in Portland!
Has your running or overall training been affected at all due to the pandemic? If so, can you share how you have navigated that?
My running and training has been affected by the pandemic, not being able to race or run/workout with friends, but I also had a stress reaction in my foot. You could say it's an optimal time to have an injury because there are no races but running is a mental outlet for me. Going from 70-80 mile/week to 0 mile/week was hard but then I kind of just accepted it and realized sometimes you need to check in with yourself, remind yourself what really matters, and remind yourself you will be ok.
- Favorite run food/fuel: Spring Energy
- Route: Three Fingered Jack
- Shoe: Nike Kiger for trail, Peg Turbo for road
- Music or podcast while running: Neither, I like to be in the moment and take everything in.
- Dream run: CCC at UTMB