Monday, November 26, 2012

Runner's Spotlight: Meet Ali Hatfield

I'm very excited to introduce my next featured runner, Ali Hatfield. When most people run their first marathon, the goal is to just get across that finish line. Well, Ali not only got across the finish line, she ran it in a BQ time! Ali will be running in the prestigious Boston Marathon next year, but before she kills it in Boston, she has a little business to take care of in Dallas. If you don't know Ali, you should, she's a wealth of running knowledge! 

Q: When did you start running and why?
I began running at a young age. My parents would take me to a local track meet with other young kids and I would compete in various track and field events. I loved this track meet each year because I would come home with many medals and also made new friends! I also loved to run in local 5k's with my parents and brother.

My official running career began in Middle School when I joined the cross country and track team. I continued running on both teams through my senior year and have so many amazing memories from each.  

Q: What are your current running goals?
I have been training for many months to break 3:30 at my next marathon. My current PR is a 3:32 and I am determined to top that! I would also love to PR my 5k (19:40) and half marathon (1:34) in the very near future.  

Q: You were supposed to run in the NYC Marathon - Describe what the atmosphere was like leading up to and after the cancellation? What were your emotions?
The NYC Marathon was an emotional experience for me. This was my dream marathon, and I had been looking forward to it since February when I received my acceptance. I worked so hard for 14 weeks to ensure I would run this race fast, and come home with a PR.

After receiving word from the Mayor of NY that the marathon would go on, my family and I went along with our plans to go to NYC for the race. We arrived on Friday morning and I tried to get myself excited. It was very difficult to feel happy when you knew that many people were suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, and many other people were protesting the marathon altogether.

When I heard the race was canceled on Friday evening, I was very upset. Many people do not realize what runners put into completing a marathon. I was sad that months of training, months of planning, and months of saving my money would not go into running the NYC Marathon. I completely understood why the race should have been canceled, I just wished the decision would have been made earlier in the week so I could have saved my family the travel costs and time.

The trip to NYC ended up to be a fabulous experience, and one I will not forget. While there, I was able to contribute to the Hurricane relief funds, and provide necessities to a fellow runner in need. This gave me piece of mind that my trip was worthwhile :) 

Q: What was your most memorable race?
I have two very memorable races. One experience was from high school when I ran the 800 at the State track meet. I've never felt more "on fire" than I did during that race. Even though it was 10 years ago, I still remember that race so vividly. I ran a 2:18 800, and placed 6th overall in the state of Missouri. It was so amazing.

My second memorable race was the 2011 Dallas Marathon. This was my first marathon, and one of the best experiences of my life (if not the best!). I ran my heart out in the freezing cold rain and shocked myself by running a Boston Qualifying time.  

Q: What is your weirdest/funniest running moment?
In high school, my best friend and I hated running our warm up runs, and would hide behind cars in neighborhoods to avoid them! The day we were caught was not a happy one!!

I have also had my fair share of getting lost on runs, sometimes turning a short run into a rather long run! 

Q: Who is the biggest motivator in your life?
Easy! My parents. They have been there for me through everything. They are always supportive of me and do whatever they can to make me a better runner, as well as a better person. My Dad is my running coach and I trust all my training with him - even when I think he is trying to kill me with insanely hard workouts.  

Q: What is your favorite quote?
"Tough times never last, but tough people do!" - Robert Schuller.
This quote can be applied to all aspects of life!  

Q: If you could only give one piece of running advice to a newbie runner, what would it be?
Don't give up! Running is often hard and uncomfortable. Even for someone like me, who has been running for years, it still hurts and isn't always fun. But the pride and sense of accomplishment you have in yourself after a great run or new PR makes all the pain worth it.

I always tell my friends who are just starting out to try to go a little bit further each run. Even if it is just 5 steps more than you were able to do previously, it will help you become a stronger runner.

Q: When is your next race?
I will be running the Dallas Marathon on December 9th as my NYC replacement. I am so excited for the race, and look forward to seeing a number below 3:30 on the clock when I finish! 

Q: Anything else we should know about you?
You can catch up with me on the following sites:

Twitter: @AliHatfield
Instagram: AliHat

I am also a member of the Fitfluential Family!

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