Monday, October 12, 2015

NYC training update

Hey everyone!

Only 3 weeks left until the TCS NYC Marathon!!!! AHHHHHHH!! With it on to the final countdown I want to give you all an update on how marathon training is going.

Unfortunately due to weather the half marathon I had planned on doing on October 3rd got postponed until the 31st so I will not be able to run that.  Instead I ended up getting in a great hill workout and 20 mile steady state long run that weekend.

So far during this training cycle I have been hitting some of my fastest workouts ever and am super excited for this build up to NYC.  I am currently starting on those final workouts leading up to the race.  Only 1 more tempo, speed workout, long run, and then my final 3 x 3 mile workout between now and the marathon.

These are the weeks where all the excitement comes out and I hope I will be able to focus in my classes lol!

New York get ready its marathon time.

~Alana <3

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Hokie Half Marathon Video Diary

My Flotrack video diary from the 2015 Hokie Half Marathon:

I ran the Hokie Half Marathon in Blacksburg, VA a week and half ago (Sep 20) as one of my 2 prep races for the TCS NYC Marathon.  It is a fun race if you ever get the chance to do it.  It was pretty much a solo effort but I got off to a good solid start (28:59 at 5 miles) which I was happy about, and then the course gets very hilly between 6-10 miles, which was great, so I could practice for the NYC Bridges (VN, Pulaski, Queensboro) and 5th Ave.  Then I coasted in the last 3-4 miles with a comfortable lead (sort of mad at myself for not pushing that) to save legs for a 112 miles a 24 mile long run and a very good speed workout last week as marathon prep continues.  I ended up as the 1st place overall woman and 4th place person and collected some much needed money (college and running shoe bills pile up quickly) in the process.  Not a quick overall time (I knew it wouldn't be) but some good parts to build from and I left Blacksburg healthy and strong.  

I am racing again this coming weekend (Oct 3rd) in Cherokee, NC in the Cherokee Harvest Half Marathon with, you guessed it, a big monster hill in the middle (bigger than then Queensboro Bridge) for more NYC practice.  Hopefully all this crazy rain doesn't wash us all away in that one. :)   I'll report back after that one as well. 

Happy Running & Racing :)


Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Heeeeyyyy guys!! I'm am absolutely so excited to finally be able to share my awesome news! I am very proud and happy to announce that I will be apart of the elite field at the TCS New York City Marathon on November 1st.

I am super excited to have this opportunity to race in the elite field of the TCS NYC Marathon, something I have dreamed of doing for years.  I believe it will be a tremendous opportunity for me to test myself in NYC and race with the best runners on the planet, as well as provide me with invaluable experience before racing in the Olympic Trials in February.

To help me get ready, I tentatively have plans to run 2 half marathon between now and NYC.  More on those as they approach.

2 weeks ago I moved on campus at UNC Charlotte as I began college, and have made the transition to doing many of my runs around campus, which is actually a pretty hilly campus, good for helping prepare me for the hills and bridges in New York City! :)  My Dad/coach drives up (my family lives 30 miles away from campus) 3 times a week to be there to coach and support me for my stress workouts. :)  

So much is happening in the next 6 months. I am starting college at UNC Charlotte, I will be running the NYC Marathon in November, and I will be running the U.S. Olympic Trials in February.  This next half a year is going to be an awesome experience, opportunity and adventure that I can not wait to continue to dive into!! :D

I will be keeping you all updated on preparations for and my journey to New York City!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Beat The Heat 5k

Hey Everyone!  This past Saturday night I competed in the Beat The Heat 5k in Winston Salem, NC which is also the NC USATF 5k Road Championship.  It always draws a great field of runners from across the state and this year was no exception.

I drove up with my Mom and Dad and little brother and sister (gotta bring my cheering squad) late Saturday afternoon as the race was set to start at 7:00 PM.  The weather was pretty typical for this race and for NC in late July.  The weather app on my phone showed a temperature of 86F and dew point of 64F at the race start, pretty warm and sticky, but not bad by NC standards and it didn't feel too bad.

On Friday, my Dad and I sat down and came up with a game plan for the race.  I haven't done that much speed work so far this cycle, coming off of Grandma's Marathon last month, so I wasn't sure how I'd do in a 5k race, but I knew I was plenty strong.  We wanted to be sure I didn't start off too quick with my lack of speed work so far, but we figured I could close well the second half of the race with my strength.  So we turned my Garmin to the kilometer setting and came up with a target pace range for each km.  This is the way I have been doing my workouts recently so I felt confident with this approach.

After adjusting for the course here was our plan:

1st km:  3:20-3:25  (slight up-hill)
2nd km:  3:15-3:20 (downhill)
3rd km:  3:35-3:40 (long uphill)
4th km:  3:25-3:30 (first part uphill)
5th km:  3:15-3:20 (downhill)
Target time:  16:45 to 17:15

By 7:00 PM all the competitors were on the starting line and we were off!

Here is a video of the start:

It was crowded but I worked to get in my rhythm and made it the 1st kilometer in 3:20 - right on the fast end of my target range - awesome - but that put me in 5th place, a little further back than I had hoped.

Here I am coming through the 1 mile marker:

The second kilometer is downhill so I let it roll some and came through in 3:16 for that km and 6:36 overall. and had moved up into 3rd place.

The 3rd kilometer is a long gradual uphill and so I knew this would be a tough one.   I stay focused and powered my way up and my watch beeped 3k in 10:13 / 3:37 for the 3rd KM - right in range.  At this point I had started to close in 2nd place and made it my mission to catch her by the 4k point.  It was hard as the first half of the km is uphill but I managed to catch her and take over 2nd right as my watch beeped again.  The 4th km was 3:32 and 13:45 overall.  I was 2 seconds out of range that km but knew I had worked hard and hit several of the early splits on the low end of the range so I wasn't worried.

I knew several of the girls I was racing had collegiate middle distance backgrounds, so now I had to keep pushing the pace so that I didn't find myself in a kick with a college 1500 runner.  That last kilometer is downhill so I worked hard and hit my fastest split of the night with a 3:11, 4 seconds faster than my plan.  :)

This put me at 5k in 16:56 and the faster half of my goal range. WooHoo!  But the problem with pacing by your Garmin is that the course may measure differently and that was the case today.  It ended up being 5.13k on my watch so when my watch beeped for 5k, I still had 130 meters to run.  That took me 24 seconds so my official time was 17:20 and 2nd place female.  I know the course is accurate, so that is my time, and I am sure my Garmin was off because of not being able to run the tangents because of the crowded race and maybe because of a few big sweeping turns that Garmin's usually has accuracy issues on.  But I am OK with that.  I trained by my Garmin, we used that training to set-up my race plan and I was able to execute my plan as I wanted.  While I would have liked a faster official time, I am happy with the way I executed the race and being able to hit my pace targets, especially on a warm summer evening.

Here is a video of me in the final 100 meters:

Congratulations to Andie Cozzarelli (former NC State runner and current Oiselle elite team runner) on getting the overall win.  She ran a strong race from start to finish and hit a road PR of 16:53.  This is my 3rd time finishing 2nd in the NC USATF State 5k Champs - hopefully I'll get to win it one year. ;P

Here is a picture of the top 6 women at the awards ceremony afterwards (Andie and I are the 2 shortest)

I got an extra special award though from my little sister in the form of a ginormous hug! :)  Rosie hugs are the best!!

I have a couple more races planned before a fall marathon.  I am beyond excited about my fall marathon but can't announce which one quite yet.  Hopefully soon.

And then it is on to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials / U.S. Marathon Championships in Feb 2016.   I am officially signed-up and looking forward to the opportunity to race against the best in the country in the distance I specialize in.

I had a meeting with my parents this week and am making a few tweaks to my training (adding in more quality) to help me be as competitive as possible in these upcoming marathons.

Stay tuned for more on my fall marathon and for training updates.

Happy Running!

Alana :)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Summer Events & Future Plans

Hey! Wanted to get everyone up to speed on some events that have happened this summer and my plans for the fall and winter.

First, I GRADUATED high school in June! WooHoo!!! :D

I will be attending the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the Fall under Pre- Kinesiology.

At the end of June I went up to Duluth, MN for Grandma's Marathon.  While I was there I interviewed with Carrie Tollefson (interview link on my media page) and participated in the press conference!  Unfortunately for the race I had an upset stomach that morning I made it to mile 12 before getting sick (yuck :P) and then was sick multiple times until I had to stop at 18.  I was devastated to not be able to display all the hard work I had done in preparation.

The disappointment in Duluth really has doubled my motivation to have a strong fall as I race another marathon (have decided on which and hope to announce that soon) and work towards the Olympic Trials in February.  I really want to raise my game heading into these 2 events and get to that next level (top 10 at the Trials) so have gotten back to work with a vengeance.  I am hitting the track regularly for speedwork, doing my tempo runs on hillier routes and attacking my strength training (see my picture page for videos of my drill circuit).  And I am working hard to take full advantage of the heat and humidity that is Poor Man's Altitude during a Charlotte summer.     

To help me get to the next level, I have also taken the time to start reading some sports psychology books to help build up my mental toolbox when it comes to races and training.  Below is one I just finished and really enjoyed; it's a good starter book that helps to break down the overall psych of competing and training. 

I am excited for the future and will keep you all updated on my training and racing here on this blog, on my Facebook page, and over my social media accounts.  

 Thanks for all the support! 

Great things ahead!

- Alana :) 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Spring Racing

Happy to be getting back out and racing more frequently this spring, even if just using some races as workouts.  This is something I plan to continue going forward - racing more frequently.

Know Your Craft 5k

On April 4th, I ran the Know Your Craft 5k in Charlotte, NC.  I did it un-tapered as a speed workout and loved racing again in my hometown and in front of some family and friends.  I picked up the over-all woman's win and earned a $100 - cool way to spend a Saturday morning. :)

Starting line in Kentucky

On April 25th, I ran in the Kentucky Derby Festival Half Marathon in Louisville, KY.  Loved this race and the fun atmosphere of Louisville the week before the Kentucky Derby despite the rain showers.  Enjoyed getting in a hard effort and especially enjoyed the tour of Churchill Downs during the race.  I finished 3rd female over-all and earned $1000 for my college savings.

I am traveling to Cleveland this weekend for the Rite-Aid Cleveland 10k on May 17th, and looking forward to racing my first hard 10k effort in a while and going back to Cleveland for the first time since I ran my marathon debut there in 2013.  

After Cleveland, my next race will be the Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, MN and it is my goal race for this spring training cycle. Can't wait to go back to Duluth (love racing there) and test my fitness over a full marathon distance and against some of the finest lady marathoners in the country.  Going to be a fun day!  

Training is going well, I am through my AP exams as I finish-up my last month of my senior year of high school, and I am excited about the opportunities and adventures (new races, starting college, getting ready for the Olympic Trials) the rest of the year and the future holds. :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Feb. 25th Update & Race Schedule

Hey everyone!  I wanted to write an update to tell you about my last race and let you know my race schedule for this coming spring.

Race Report:  On February 15th, I ran in the 26.2 with Donna Marathon in Jacksonville, FL.  I was leading a pack of the top women at 6 miles when we had to transition from the road to the beach for a 2 mile stretch.  I twisted my ankle in the soft sand during the transition and tweaked my Achilles, but I was able to get back going and stayed right in the lead pack of women for the 2 mile stretch on the beach, hoping that my Achilles would feel better when got back on the road at 8 miles.  As we transitioned from the beach to the road we again had to run through another section of soft sand and once again the sand gave way under my foot and I twisted my ankle again and this time significantly strained my Achilles.  I tried to walk it off again but couldn’t place any weight on it so had to withdraw from the race.  I was devastated, as I was feeling good until that point and excited about being out in a competitive race and leading the pack.  I also really loved everything else about the race including meeting Donna and all the great people associated with the race, doing a social group run on Friday with Joan Benoit Samuelson and meeting and hanging with some great fellow marathoners. I also greatly appreciate the race's hospitality while I was there.  Great people associated with this race.

Achilles Update:  I got lucky, it was just an Achilles strain and not a tear as I first feared.  I was able to get into and see my expert team at Carolina Sports Clinic on Monday and they confirmed the strain and no sign of a tear (had full strength still).  They worked on the Achilles and I took the next 4 days off and treated the Achilles with contrast baths, rolling, and light stretching exercises multiple times per day.  It worked as by Friday I was pain fee and able to do some light jogging and ran easy over the weekend.  On Monday, I went back to CSC for some more work and dry needling to get the rest of the junk out the area.  As of today I am feeling back to 100% normal but will wait until next week before I try to do any quality running on it.  I 100% recommend that any athletes, especially runners and triathletes in the Charlotte area, to go see Josh, Brad and Leah and the rest of the staff at Carolina Sports Clinic if they have any injuries or issues.  They have really been there for me this last year whenever I’ve had any aches and pains along the way. 

Schedule Update:   Ok so I have spent the last 2 weeks planning out my schedule for the next few months until my next marathon and here is what I tentatively have planned.

April 25th :   Kentucky Derby Festival Mini-Marathon (Half Marathon) – Louisville, KY
May 17th :   Rite-Aid Cleveland 10k – Cleveland, OH
June 20th :   Grandma’s Marathon – Duluth, MN

So a 10k’s, a half marathon, and a marathon and possible 1 or 2 smaller races I might use as training.  Hoping to take my PR’s down some in each if weather and training cooperate.  Excited to run a 10k’s again to get my speed on and keep marathon pace feeling easier. :)

Happy Running!