Q: Let’s start with a quick recap – tell us your pre-race mindset, goals, expectations and the emotions of coming down off such a big performance like that.
A: Coach Ben and I put Grandma’s Marathon on the schedule pretty quickly after Boston. I felt that my fitness had been wasted in Boston and I wanted to try to salvage my spring marathon. Being a runner you rely on results to fuel your career. Results pay the bills. Results keep you hungry for the next race. Results are the fuel to the fire. Following Boston I needed results.
The buildup was different. Instead of long marathon based workouts, we did short speed based efforts. The strength I had from the Boston segment didn’t dissipate, it was still there, I just needed to sharpen up a bit. I felt a lot like I did before I ran my 10,000 meter PR at Payton Jordan (Watch on FloTrack: 2016 Payton Jordan Invitational) a couple of years ago, unsure of my fitness but confident. I knew that I was fit but just didn’t know how it would translate into the marathon distance. I decided to have faith in the process. I set big goals and believed that I could hit them.
First, I wanted to win. It had been a long while (Dec ‘16) since I had won and even longer since I had won a big race. Second, I wanted to run a PR, sub 2:28:40. Third, I wanted to break the course record, 2:26:32. The most lofty of the goals, breaking the course record, was my primary goal and I knew it would require a pretty great day. Running 2:24 never even entered my mind. 2:25 did but 2:24 wasn’t even in the building. I’m not sure I’ve ever exceeded a goal that I’ve set for myself. I tend to set lofty goals and more often than not I don’t hit those goals. Actually hitting my goal and then flying past it by 2+ minutes is uncharted territory.
Relief was the biggest thing I felt post race. I am a pretty good runner who tends to always run pretty well but never great. Grandma’s was a great performance that I feel validated me. I realize that my performance was good but I still want more, as I feel all good athletes do.
Good is never good enough. You can see it as a blessing or a curse but whatever fuels you and gets you out the door, working toward the next goal, is all that matters. Could I have run harder…without a doubt (not to say that I wasn’t pressing because I was…I just know I could have). Does a 2:24 put me in the conversation for 2020? Absolutely. Does it make me a favorite? I don’t think so. The 2:24 was the result I needed to keep faith in myself and this crazy journey.
Check out Kellyn’s training leading up to the Grandma’s Marathon on her Final Surge log.
Q: You were very public about saying that this run was to be a bit of a redemption run from Boston. What was going through your mind during the race in Duluth?
A: I was very focused. I didn’t worry about what everyone around me was doing. I wanted to run my own race. My best races and workouts have come when I don’t focus on what others are doing. I find my rhythm and just roll with it. I made the race into a workout. I visualized myself out on Lake Mary Rd. doing a long steady state. When we hit halfway I imagined that I was three miles into my steady state and only had 13 to go. I did this all of the way down until the last couple of miles when I told myself to just keep putting one foot in front of the other…to keep pressing. I knew that I was about to run a fast time but I hadn’t done the math to know how fast. Seeing 2:24 on the clock was a very welcome surprise.
Q: As an athlete, you are always learning about yourself. Tell us about some mistakes you’ve made along the way and how they allowed you to have a performance like the one in Duluth.
A: Well, the biggest mistake I made was not wearing a coat at Boston which almost certainly led me to the performance in Duluth. Seriously though, I make a lot of mistakes. I tend to lack preparation. Most marathon buildups I don’t practice ‘race day’. A workout is a perfect opportunity to practice pre race meal and routine. I just didn’t. During the Grandma’s segment, I did this several times. When race day came my morning was not a unique experience. It was one that I had done just a few weeks prior. The more familiar things can feel on race day the better.
Q: You made a comment in FastRunning.com’s interview that you can be a “workout warrior”, after running 2:24 from the front and dictating your own race, how do you think that will play into future racing?
A: Looking at the race as a workout helped in more than one way. I was able to better focus on what I was doing and not what everyone around me was doing. I mentally was able to break the race up into segments, like I do in a workout. I also feel more calm going into a workout. I know that I’m going to hit the workout whereas with a race I feel confident but uncertain. I will definitely be taking a similar mindset into my future races.
Q: Do you have any bucket-list World Marathons Major that you want to race?
A: Yes, all of them but especially Boston! We have some unfinished business…
Q: The Women of HOKA NAZ Elite have been on fire in the last few months. Can you speak to the dynamic between Steph, Aliphine and yourself and how that has played into recent performances?
A: Our team just keeps getting better. It’s fun to be a part of such a dynamic group of ladies. We are all very different as individuals but equally motivated to succeed. None of us want to see the other fail. When someone has a successful day it feels like a win for all of us. I think that this is only the beginning.
Q: Least-favorite but most satisfying/encouraging session that Ben assigns you?
A: I hate fartlek runs. I like having a set distance and pace. I am not very good at running effort. Outside of those I really embrace all of the work that I am given. I may not love everything but I do love the challenge that each workout presents. I like proving to myself that I can ‘beat’ any workout given to me on a given day.
Q: When visiting Flagstaff, what is the go-to running spot and a staple for a post run meal?
A: I think that everyone should go do a loop at A1 Mountain Road. It’s an awesome 20.7 mile loop. Beautiful views, great footing and light traffic are about all that a runner needs. After the run hit up the Toasted Owl or Diablo Burger. Honestly can’t go wrong with either…pick your poison.
Q: Okay, let’s switch gears, what is your favorite activity outside of running to do with your family?
A: I love to camp and fish with my family. We haven’t figured out Arizona fish yet, because we never catch anything, but we always have fun trying. It’s fun to pack up the kayaks, polls, a dog or two and head out for the weekend.
Q: Favorite off-season meal?
A: I took dairy out for the last two marathon segments so it’s not really a meal but more of a food group. Cheese. All of the cheese. I was fortunate to be in Wisconsin post Grandma’s Marathon so I have been indulging. I also make these bomb lemon brownies. I only make them in my off-season because they have over a stick of butter in them. I eat the whole pan…hence the problem. My daughter usually gets one and then yells at me when they are all gone the next day.