Does this look like a picture of the fastest 800m of 2022? The Atlanta Track Club’s Allie Wilson took control of the race early at Sound Running and held it together until the final moment. Stumbling in the last few meters, she just barely made it to the finish line to win the race in a world-leading 1:58.18 — taking down her previous best of 1:59.02 from her sixth-place finish at the Olympic Trials.
I caught up with the Monmouth University graduate to hear more about her season:
THE LAP COUNT: You shared that you were hurt for ten weeks during the indoor season. What exactly did you have going on and how did you get back so quickly and successfully?
ALLIE WILSON: I had the best fall training I’ve ever had with my highest mileage ever and hardest workouts. Then in January we went to training camp in Florida and the first two weeks I was getting excited about my fitness. But we did one workout that was like 4×400, going fast-slow-slow-fast. We were trying to run like 57 and 60, 60 then 57, but the last one was a 55.
That day I started having shin pain on the outside and it wasn’t super painful, it just felt like some pressure. I never know how to describe injuries, but it felt weird and then eventually excruciating.
An MRI said I strained my extensor – which I didn’t even know I had one of those – but it caused a myofascial tear. So I started biking a lot, even twice a day sometimes to not lose fitness.
Since starting to run again in the middle of winter things have come back quickly. I’m actually feeling the best I’ve ever felt. And it’s weird because I don’t know how I’m even feeling like this right now because it feels like I just started running again.
THE LAP COUNT: After running a world lead and one-second personal best after leading the whole thing, did the time surprise you when you crossed the finish line?
ALLIE WILSON: My coach has been throwing me in with the more distance-focused girls since coming back. I was struggling in some of those workouts and I was like, ‘this is so hard, why are you having me do this?’ Basically, it would be the easy way out to throw me into the 800 meter workouts since the speed stuff comes naturally so we are focusing on building my body back up.
I didn’t touch 800 pace stuff until the Wednesday before my 800 at the Drake Relays with a 200 at race pace. I didn’t know where I was at or what to expect. Then I felt really good, but in a different way than I’ve ever felt.
Usually I get out fast then just cruise, but now I’m coming at it from a strength phase so it felt different and it gave me confidence. And so coming into Sound, I said to my coach, “I think I can run 1:57 right now.” And I never say stuff like that. It’s always him hyping me up and telling me what I can do.
THE LAP COUNT: I have to ask though about the fall at the line. First off, are you okay? And second, how have you handled the attention that it’s received? Have you been in good spirits about it?
ALLIE WILSON: I heard a lot of people thought I went unconscious at the line, which is not what happened. My leg just gave out — that’s never happened to me before and I don’t remember what I was thinking.
I wanted to make sure I got across the line, but I was not in control of my body. And luckily I got it over the line. I was just laying there and I was like, ‘does that count or do I have to crawl?’
I looked around and then realized my chest was across. I looked at the scoreboard and saw the time and that I’d won it. My knees a little banged up and it feels like turf burn and some bruising. I was able to do a workout the next day, so I’m not injured.
— CITIUS MAG (@CitiusMag) May 7, 2022
THE LAP COUNT: I am sure you’ll look back on it fondly one day!
ALLIE WILSON: I think I’ve been overdoing it! I’ve laughed with my teammates at everything that was made of it. Looking at people’s faces in the stands when it happened is pretty hilarious. It’s the most classic me thing possible – just so dramatic not being able to control my body. I’m happy I was able to push myself to that limit.
THE LAP COUNT: I am openly a big fan of the Atlanta Track Club. Your team may have one of the best 4×800 teams in the country. Are people recognizing just how good of a squad it is? Do we need to have a 4×800 face off? If you want to call anyone out, this could be a good venue.
ALLIE WILSON: Thank you for noticing. We were excited about the Penn Relays, but it fell through the cracks. I don’t know if they couldn’t get enough other people to do it. When do you ever get to run a relay at this level?
We have such a solid group of women and I think we are on the rise. We’d love to find someone to race us in it.
THE LAP COUNT: I think the Union Athletic Club is your best shot. They have a good potential team and like doing relays.
ALLIE WILSON: Yeah, we’re always up for relays!
THE LAP COUNT: I’ll consider that a call-out.
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