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“I knew what it felt like to be an elite runner and then being a spectator trying to get into shape. That’s really tough to do: creating a routine and breaking through those barriers at first before it becomes routine. I just gained a whole different perspective about running. I think where I’m at now I just feel so much gratitude and appreciation because I’ve seen every spectrum of running in my life and I’m appreciative and thankful for where it is now.”
We might be a little late to the game in getting Keira D’Amato on the podcast because she’s been on a tear in 2020. She finished 15th at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in 2:34:24. In June, she lowered her 5,000m personal best to 15:04 with a time trial on the track. In July, she won the MVMT Race Series in Boston with a 32:33.44 for the 10,000 meters. Most recently, she won the Michigan Pro Ekiden Half Marathon and the Sugar Run 5K over some fields with strong competition. So how she is doing this at 36? She is also a mother and a full-time realtor.
We unpack it all by starting with her “decade of hobby jogging” before getting into serious training under coach Scott Raczko (who also used to coach Alan Webb). She shares a bit of his coaching practice and philosophy + why it works for her. She walks us through this year’s races and why things have been going so well. Plus, Keira touches on vocalizing her goal of possibly breaking Janet Bawcom’s 10-mile American record at the Updawg 10-Miler before shifting back into marathon focus for The Marathon Project.
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Episode photography by Kevin Morris.
– “When I stopped running and went into the corporate world, to me I was Keira the Runner who didn’t run anymore…It was a weird time for me and I struggled with it a little bit I guess.”
– “I knew what it felt like to be an elite runner and then being a spectator trying to get into shape. That’s really tough to do: creating a routine and breaking through those barriers at first before it becomes routine. I just gained a whole different perspective about running. I think where I’m at now I just feel so much gratitude and appreciation because I’ve seen every spectrum of running in my life and I’m appreciative and thankful for where it is now.”
– “I did the 4K in just under 4:50 per mile pace and then I had about three or four minutes break and then I did the 2K under 4:40 pace. It was a little faster than prescribed but after that workout I was like, ‘This is probably the best run of my life’ and just knowing how strong and consistent I felt that surpassed any race or run I’ve ever done. That was my best running thing I’ve ever done – which is a little sad to happen on a track by yourself. That one I was surprised at how great I felt.”
– “It was weird to balance in my head. There was a little voice that was the imposter syndrome saying, ‘What are you doing here? You have kids. You’re a realtor. You’re not a professional.’ There’s that little voice that comes in and tries to psych you out. Then there’s another voice that I’ve always had that’s overly confident saying, ‘OK.Let’s go try to win this thing.’ I wasn’t trying to win it. I was going in with my goal of the day and if I could execute this plan then I’d do really well. To try and keep away from all that noise and the voices, I’ve come up with this approach where I’m like ‘Here’s my goal for the day. I’m going to treat it like any other day. For this workout, I’ve done this hundreds of times.’ I go through that same routine, which keeps the pressure off. At the Trials, there’re so many people there. In my head, I’m telling myself this is just another workout. That was confusing because then I wonder ‘Why are all these people here to see my workout?’ I’m still working through that a little bit. I’m learning to tell that voice that says ‘You don’t belong’ to shut up.”
– “I guess I’m not afraid of failing and I’m also not afraid of bringing everyone else along on the journey to see me vulnerable with what I’m attempting to do. Maybe I’ll do it, maybe I won’t. It’s been really fun having support. I found the more that I’ve shared and my goals, a lot of people have really stepped up to help and be part of it to make sure I get there. It’s a little unconventional.”
– “Everything I’m doing for this fall is for track 2021…This is a stepping stone to where I want to go.”
– “I knew the day of the Olympic Trials marathon that I was in better shape than my time. Obviously, the weather was tough. The course was tough. I know my training suggests I can run a lot faster than I have. I’m hoping for a big PR there. I’m going to race like I’m going to get a big PR there. I’m going to go after it like it’s a big PR there. We’ll see what happens. It could just be a big blow up. Take the risk! We’ll see what happens.”
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