Friday, December 26, 2014

Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015

Well another year has come and gone.  Christmas was a blast and the New Year will soon be upon us along with my 18th birthday!!!  There have been many tough trials that have gone on this year and some amazing victories as well.  I have learned so much this year about myself and about training/racing.

With the New Year coming up it is time to take a look at my goals and make a plan for 2015.  I like to take time with my parents and talk about my goals and plans to see if the past year has changed anything and to use those goals to make a plan of attack for the year to accomplish what I want to for the upcoming year.  Fortunately even through the tough trials of 2014 it has only solidified my need and want to follow through and complete my goals.  I have broken my goals into two main categories: Running Goals and Life Goals.  While they both help each other it’s easier to process having two goals rather than one extremely large one. :)

My Goals:

Running- My running goal is to explore my full potential in the marathon and half marathon races; have a long career as a professional marathoner; and represent the U.S.A. well in as many World Championships, Olympics, and major marathons as possible.

Life- My life goal is to use my career as a professional marathoner to help me start a charity “Alana’s Hope for Autism” focused on helping children with autism get the therapies the need to help them live happy, healthy, and productive lives. 

            As I am nearing the half way point in my senior year of high school, college is on my mind constantly.  With my life goal in mind I plan to get my bachelor’s degree in exercise science and a master’s degree in occupational therapy as I pursue my running career.  At this point I’m still unsure as to where I will be going to college, though it seems the options have been narrowed to UNC Charlotte and High Point University.  As the rest of senior year continues I’ll have a better idea, though one thing is for sure, I want to stay close to home. :)

Now I know that my running goal is a big one so I have created a game plan for specifically 2015.

2015 Game Plan

Main Goal: continue to improve my marathon time in preparation for 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials so that I can be as competitive as possible at the Trials

Racing Strategy: 3 marathons - One in the middle of February, one in late spring or early summer (May-June), and one in the fall (October or early November).  I’ll also run 1-2 races, ranging from 10k to half marathon, in between each marathon.

Now on to super-duper exciting news!!!!!   I am very happy to announce that I will be running the 26.2 with Donna- Finish Breast Cancer Marathon in Jacksonville, Florida on February 15th, 2015.

Timing wise this race works perfect as it is around the same time the Trials will be in 2016.  It is a fast course that normally gets nice weather and sounds like it will set up for a great race!  I have been back into full training and am excited to be preparing for this race. 

To me my running is not just about myself, but is a way to help others as well - in Indianapolis this past November I was able to donate a portion of my course record bonus to the Autism Society of Indiana.  I want to do something similar in all my future marathons as well.  So with that in mind, at the 26.2 with Donna Marathon I am pledging to donate 10% of any prize money I win to the “26.2 with Donna Foundation” to fund breast cancer research and care.

The beginning of 2015 is looking great with my 18th birthday in January and racing the 26.2 with Donna Marathon in February.  I plan to continue to work to take more and more time off of my marathon PR this year and finish off high school with a bang!

2014 was a good year but let’s make 2015 even better!!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

2:38:34 - New Course Record, New Personal Best

I am so happy to report that last Saturday (Nov 1st), I won the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon with a time of 2:38:34!!!  It was a new course record and a PR by 3:20.  

I have put out a new video diary on talking through my race and thoughts:

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Here are some pictures from the race and weekend:


We flew to Indianapolis on Thursday and checked into our hotel - The Westin in downtown Indianapolis

I went out Thursday afternoon and bought my brother the Andrew Luck jersey he has been wanting. :)   Of course I had to try it on first. 

On Friday afternoon my Dad and I had the great opportunity to talk at the race Expo about training and racing.  Great crowd and we loved meeting everyone!  

Then it was on to the elite runner meeting, getting my race number and turning in my fluid bottles along with everyone else's (we had some creative runners by the looks of some of the bottles). :)  

Then it was time for my favorite part about the day before a race:  Lasagna Dinner!!!!
Ate at Buca deBippo in downtown Indianapolis, just like last year - yummy!  

Race morning it was cold and windy and 17 mph winds at the start - but I had a good game plan for the conditions and was feeling good - thumbs up and ready to roll.  

Start Time:  8:00 AM   Temp 30F and 17 MPH winds;  Wind Chill of 18F

I got out smoothly and settled in with a group of guys looking to run 1:19 HM or 2:39'ish Marathon. It was great to have people to work with and these guys were awesome.  Special thanks to Jesse for helping us to 20 miles and to John for getting the Masters Men win.  

By 20 miles we had spread out and I ran by myself for most of the last 6.2 miles

I stayed focused and concentrated on maintaining my pace and cadence and keeping good form in those final miles.

Finally I rounded the last corner and the crowd was so awesome, I could see the clock and sprinted as best I could towards the finish line.

I threw my hands in the air and flashed the peace sign as I crossed the finish line.

I did it - the win, the course record and a big new PR:  2:38:34 (officially)

OMG - I did it!!!!!!!!!!!!!    And Dad was there to give me a big hug - victory hugs are the best hugs.

Celebrated with a new friend Ashley from the Autism Society of Indiana and later talked to the crowds at the finish.

Enjoyed a great post race lunch with fellow 2016 U.S. Marathon Trials Project member, Sarah Lannom, and her parents. 

Very proud to hang my race certificate on my wall showing my new PR and putting it right below my one from last year showing my 3:20 improvement.

Was incredibly honored when the USATF named me the USATF Athlete of the Week for my win and course record. What an incredible honor and one I am humbled to receive.

But by far the greatest thing that happened all weekend was that by breaking the course record I earned a bonus and was able to donate 25% of that bonus to the Autism Society of Indiana, and the race organizers matched that donation.  I thought of this repeatedly during the race, especially in the last 6 miles, and it kept me motivated, positive and determined all race long. 

Race Stats

Start Weather:  Temp 30F   Wind:  N 17 mph   Windchill: 18F
Finish Weather:  Temp 33F   Wind:  N 15 mph  Windchill: 23F

1st Place Female / Course Record / 2:38:34

10k split:  37:20  (6:00 avg. pace)

Half Marathon split:   1:19:28 (6:04 overall avg.)  (6:07 avg. from 10k to HM)

30k split:  1:52:46  (6:03 overall avg.)   (6:01 avg. from HM to 30k)

Marathon:  2:38:34  (6:03 overall avg.)  (6:03 avg. from 30k to Finish)

1:19:28 first half  / 1:19:06 second half

4-6 oz of Gatorade each at 10k, 20k and 30k
Chocolate Outrage Gu at 20k
3-6 oz water at  9, 15, 21 miles

Pre-Race:  16 oz Powerade, Full package of orange Chomps (2 servings), Med. Banana  


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekly Recap - Oct 11

New video diary out on Flotrack of a hill workout I did recently:

Here are Video Diary #3 on a a hill workout I do regularly:

Watch more videos on Flotrack

and Video Diary #4 on my weekly drill circuit I do:

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Today marks 3 weeks until the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, here is what I did this past week in training:

Stress Workout #1:  8 x 1 mile @ 5:35 w .25 mile jog recovery (2 mile warm-up & 2 mile cool-down)

Stress Workout #2:  24 mile long run @ 6:40 per mile on rolling course - building up my endurance. :)

Total Runs:  13
Total Mileage:  113 miles

Thursday, September 18, 2014

FloTrack Trailer

I have been working with over the last month on telling my running story - the premium piece is scheduled to be out on Sept 24th - here is a trailer to it that they put out yesterday.

Watch more videos on Flotrack

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Rock n' Roll VA Beach - Video Diary

Earlier this week I put out the following statement on FaceBook:

"This past Sunday I dropped out of the Rock n' Roll Virginia Beach Half Marathon at the 7 mile point. I regret that decision. It ended up being a hot and very humid race, I had not adjusted my goal paces for those conditions, and when I realized several miles into it I was not going to reach the goal I had set for myself, I got flustered, and began to magnify in my mind every ache and tight muscle and eventually stopped more from personal disappointment of not being in a situation to run a fast time than any real physical issue. I am not injured and will race the Virginia 10 miler road race later in September and the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on Nov. 1st. My training has been going great and I know I am getting stronger and faster each week and I am excited to race these races. To help me in races in the future, I am working on a new multiple goal system for my races to keep me focused for any times when my main goal is not possible that day. I realize now that a sub-par race time is always better than dropping out, for me, the race and my fans and supporters. While being somewhat of a perfectionist has helped me in my training, I realize that I need to put a leash on it in races and do the best I can on that day no matter what, as the race and my fans and supporters deserve that. I thank everyone for all of their support and patience with me, I am young and still learning my way in elite competition, but I am more determined than ever to make it and am looking forward to a great future in the sport I love."

I also have started a video diary on so that I can share my story, struggles and successes with others in the hopes that it can help others on their journey.  The first entry is here 

Watch more videos on Flotrack

More videos from coming soon including a bio-piece:


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

My Extra Motivation

The blog entry below was also shared this morning by the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon's new blog site, please check it out: 

I am absolutely sooooo excited to say that I have an opportunity with the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon (IMM) to help raise money for the Autism Society of Indiana (ASI)!!  I have always wanted to use my running as a way to help raise awareness and provide resources for those with autism.  My little sister Rose has autism herself, so being able to help others is just amazing.  I currently have two ways of raising money for ASI: pledges and t-shirts.

Hanging out with Rose

Pledges:  For the IMM I am going in with two different goals in mind: 1) Break the course record of 2:39:22 and 2) get the A- standard for the Olympic Trials (2:37:00).  For achieving each of these two goals I will receive a bonus of $1,000.  I have pledged to give 25% of each of these bonuses to ASI, which would be a total of $500. Wonderfully enough the IMM has pledged to match the amount I donate.  It would be so amazing if other companies or people joined in the cause and matched my pledges or decide to donate as any amount as well.

T-shirts:  The IMM has also helped me to create an Ink The Cause “Go Alana” t-shirt you can buy to show your support.  Proceeds from the t-shirts will go to support ASI as well.  The t-shirts look amazing and have a picture of the state of Indiana as a puzzle piece on the front, the logo for ASI, which I love!  You can purchase them online, here.  Your support of ASI is greatly appreciated!

For the press release covering the partnership with ASI, click here.

On Training:
With all this going on, I want to ensure that I am in the best health and shape for this race in order to have the best chance at achieving both of my goals.  When preparing for a marathon I have found that it’s not just the training you have to pay attention to it’s all the little things too; such as recovering properly, staying hydrated, and making sure you fix any problem that starts to show itself.  One thing the marathon will do is find your weakness and amplify it, so it is very important that you take proper care of your body throughout training to prevent that from happening.
For me my weakness is my hamstrings and hips, and Grandma’s Marathon in June had no problem exploiting that weakness and ruining my plans for that race.  So the first thing I did after Grandma’s is get in contact with Carolina Sports Clinic, from which I have made a great partnership with.  They have helped me to identify where exactly my weakness is and what are causes for that weakness.  We have found my hamstring and hip problem came from strength imbalances and inflexibility in the area.  Since that discovery in July, I have been working hard to turn that weakness into a new strength by adding new strength exercises into my core and strength circuits.  As more and more time passes I can feel that area getting stronger and stronger as I continue to work and stretch that area and workouts are better than ever with no issues.

Training in the south in the summer

As I have been training through the summer months, and living in Charlotte during the summer the mornings are very warm and humid, hydration and recovery have been extremely important to be able to perform well in training.  If I am not properly hydrated and making sure I have the appropriate amount of electrolytes I end up feeling flat during training.  I’m not sure about you guys but I sweat so bad during runs that when I get home I look like I jumped in a lake, all that sweat is just water leaving your body that you need to make sure you are replacing. 

Now on the topic of recovery, especially during hot training months, my personal favorite is the simple ice bath.  While some people don’t like the idea of sitting in a tub of cold water with ice cubes floating around in it, after a hard workout in the heat an ice bath is exactly what my body wants.  I enjoy sitting in the tub, listening to music and eating my breakfast as my body cools down.  Another good recovery tool is rollers, using rollers helps to get the blood flowing through the muscles.  I notice a difference when I use them before I go to bed, because I wake up the next morning my legs feel so much better. 

As you train for your races, whether it is a 5k or a marathon, remember all the aspects of your training.  The workouts, the recovery, the hydration, and the reason you are training in the first place.  For me during the hard moments of a workout I will think of the wonderful people who will benefit from me achieving my goals at the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon.  I will continue to train hard with a smile on my face with my goals of a setting new course record and getting the A- standard time in mind.  I have found my extra motivation in training, and I hope you will too. :)  

Monday, August 18, 2014

August 18th Update

Hope everything is going well so far this August! I can’t believe school is just another week away for me and that I’ll be starting my senior year of high school…crazy.  I went yesterday and visited my final college (High Point University) yesterday with my cousin Nikki, which was so much fun.  I have narrowed the colleges I plan on applying to down to UNC Charlotte, High Point University, and Lenoir-Rhyne University.  The only thing left to do is apply and see where that puts me! :)

Now for my workout updates! I apologize for missing my blog post last week so I will have 3 weeks instead of the normal 2.

July 28th- August 3rd:

Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 x mile with .25 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- slightly cooler temps but still extremely humid as Charlotte usually is during the summer.  I feel stronger every time I do this workout!

Saturday: 24 mile long run on the road- Had to run of the road this time as it rained a lot the days before and the trails would have been really muddy.  Luckily I have a nice 6 mile loop I could use from my house!

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 2
Mileage for the week: 113 milwa

8 x mile
24 miles
Saturday night was so much fun!  I went over to my friend’s house and had Chinese food for dinner then got to go to the MKTO concert with my best friends and had a great time. :)

August 4th- 10th:

Monday: 2 mile warm up, 16 x 600m with 1:30 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- hot and humid but was still able to run faster than last time.

Thursday: 2 mile warm up, 6 mile wave tempo, 2 mile cool down- was glad to be able to do a wave workout again! Felt slightly flat but still was able to have a good run.

Sunday: 20 mile tempo long run=> 5 mile warm up, 10 mile tempo, 5 mile cool down- definitely a strength building run as I felt a little sick in the stomach but was able to push through and gained some mental toughness.

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 3
Mileage for the week:  112 miles

16 x 600m

6 mile wave tempo

20 mile tempo long run

August 11th- 17th:

Wednesday:  2 mile warm up, 8 x mile with .25 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- was so excited to have come out and film my workout and my day.  Ended up having a great workout and felt incredibly strong and fast.  Afterwards I was able to go to Carolina Sports Clinic and use the recovery compression boots, which felt amazing!

Saturday: 24 mile long run out at McAlpine Greenway- it was nice to be able to run on the trail for my long run.  Struggled a bit at the end as it was incredibly humid, this made breathing slightly difficult, but was still able to get in the miles.

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 2
Mileage for the week: 113 miles

Using recovery compression boots at CSC after my mile repeats

My visit to High Point University with my cousin!

Hope you all have had a great summer and good luck to those going back to school!!

Monday, July 28, 2014

July 28th Update

Hey guys! Hope everyone has had a great week.  Recently I announced that I will be racing the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 1st for my fall marathon.  Between now and then I will be keeping you updated on how my training and workouts are going.  Now that all my workouts are back to their full length I plan on updating every 2 weeks :)

July 14th- 20th

Wednesday: 2 mile warm up, 8 x mile w .25 jog recovery, 2 mile cool down- super happy to be able to do all 8 mile repeats and having no problem with my hip or hamstring! Ended up doing my mile repeats on the road, which just increased the strength building

Saturday: 24 mile moderate paced long run out at McAlpine Greenway- was a little rainy for this run but that just helped to keep the temperature at bay, felt really good and was able to cruise through my 24 miles

8 x mile repeats

24 mile long run

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 2
Mileage for the week: 113

July 21st- 27th

Monday: 2 mile warm up, 16 x 600m w/ 1:30 jog, 2 mile cool down- definitely a tough workout mentally and physically, it was extremely humid making it harder to breathe and I had severe period cramps, however the workout got done and strength was built :)

Thursday: 2 mile warm up, 6 mile tempo, 3 mile cool down- another hot and humid day but that’s normal now for Charlotte in the summer.  Ended up completely drenched but had a great workout!

Sunday: 20 mile tempo long run=> 5 mile warm up, 10 mile tempo, 5 mile cool down- didn’t feel the greatest during my workout but still was able to stay strong and negative split my tempo section with the last 2 miles each sub 6:00. Had a good workout even if I wasn’t feeling the best, this just proves how strong my training has made me mentally and physically!

16 x 600m

6 mile tempo

20 mile long run w/ 10 mile tempo

Number of runs: 13
Number of workouts: 3
Mileage for the week: 113

Now for an update on my race schedule between now and Indianapolis! I plan to run the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach half marathon on August 31st and the Virginia Ten Miler on September 27th.  I am signed up for the Virginia Ten Miler however the Virginia Beach half marathon is still tentative at this point until we here back from the race. 

I hope everyone has a great week!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Fall Marathon Announcement

2014 Indianapolis Monumental Marathon

Super excited to announce that I will be returning to the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon this November 1st for my fall marathon!! After racing it and getting the B standard for the US Olympic Marathon Trials there last year with a 2:41:55, I am returning to the great course and supportive atmosphere in Indy and am aiming for the course record (2:39:22) and the Trials A standard (sub 2:37:00).  I am also looking forward to coming back to Indy to speak at the expo with my dad once again this year.

Here is a the press release that the Monumental Marathon released this morning:

I plan on running 2 to 3 races between now and Monumental, but am still finalizing which ones I'll do, but will let you know once that decision is finalized. :)  

Since the Grandma's Marathon, I have partnered up with Carolina Sports Clinic here in Charlotte, NC to resolve the hip tightness issue that hindered my race in Duluth. We determined it was modest muscle strength asymmetry and hamstring flexibility issues and have been able to successfully correct it, and I have been back at 100% in recent workouts. So I am now fully back into my training and couldn't be more excited to prepare for a great fall race season.