Adventuring with Alia

Chronicles of a distance runner

MIA at the US Marathon Championships


Welp, this is not quite the blog post that I had hoped to put up post Twin Cities Marathon weekend.

My training segment leading into October had brought me to a new level of fitness. It seemed that the early patience in my coach’s conservative approach to adjusting me to the new area and altitude had paid off. I had high hopes as the big day approached; this was my first completely focused marathon training segment, and I felt ready.

As far as fitness goes, I certainly was ready. Unfortunately, I this time around I fell a bit short of actually being able to see it through.

The deal 

I was handling the mileage and marathon-specific workouts well up until 10 days out. During a fairly relaxed workout session, I noticed my right arch cramping and not letting up. To play things safe, I stopped the workout about 5k short of what we had in the books for the day.

At the time, I actually wasn’t too concerned. My foot just felt generally tight and I didn’t want to push it to something worse. I grew much more worried as the pain increased after I stopped running. Not good.

With a solid week of resting the crap out of it, rehabbing it, a last attempt at a workout the Wednesday before the race made my heart-breaking decision for me. After a mere three miles at marathon pace, my foot was so inflamed that I couldn’t cool down. Even attempting to gut out an entire marathon was out of the question.

Getting over it

This one wasn’t an easy one to swallow, but you know what? At the end of the day it’s only a race. One race. It doesn’t mean forever, just right now.  I’ve been injured before and let the loss of that immediate competition completely unravel me. And has that ever worked out well for me? Not once.

This time around I did whatever I could in my immediate grasp, but understood that sometimes your body just isn’t in a place to cooperate. I felt that I was taking the necessary steps toward healing, but I ran out of time. My foot just wasn’t ready to be run on quite yet.

Disclaimer: I came to this enlightened state of mind with the help of awesome friends, red wine and chocolate.

Recovery presents

My hairdresser brought her A-game when she saw the boot and mustered up a glass of red for me. And my awesome teammates and friends put together a package of kind words, sugar, nail polish and Halloween stickers. If that doesn’t say “get better soon,” I don’t know what does. 

This isn’t the first injury that has sidelined me, and it likely won’t be the last. Set-backs are a part of the athletic process, and I like to think that they tend to weed out the mentally tough from those who aren’t willing to work when things get rough.

The group

I am continually amazed by the support and enthusiasm that I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded with in Boulder, throughout training and during this setback.

(Quick shout-out to my incredible training partner, friend and roommate Nicole Feest, who did make it to Twin and nailed her marathon debut, in 2:41 style. Olympic Trials qualifier!!)

The group that trains out here under the guidance of Brad Hudson has an awesome dynamic that I feel truly lucky to be a part of. Brad’s dedication to his athletes is astonishing as are the character of the runners that he coaches. Pretty awesome.

The take-away?

I know that the months of work leading into this all has made me a better athlete overall and I can’t wait to get the chance to demonstrate it. That work doesn’t just disappear. It’s just hibernating for a short amount of time.

I also know that there are better things ahead, and despite the crappiness of this situation, I still feel lucky to be where I am right now.

Throughout everything, Boulder has become a home to me.

Right now, I’m off to get some R&R in the Virgin Islands (oh yeah!) and rest this baby up. I’ll be back in action with fall cross country racing. I’m already counting down the days until I get to toe the line with my HTS Elite teammates at the club cross country race in Bend, OR come December.

Get excited!


Author: Alia Teixido Gray

I like reading, writing, running, and drinking coffee. Lots of it.

2 thoughts on “MIA at the US Marathon Championships

  1. Alia! I’m so sorry to hear about your foot! I totally feel your pain in this post, but you sound like you’re in a good place. I’m so excited to see what you can do with your new fitness level, and I can’t wait to experience that for myself soon. I am really getting the itch! I’m thinking about training for my first marathon next year and am leaning towards doing Twin Cities. I hope to race/run/get to know you better in the near future. Have a great cross season! 🙂 🙂

  2. You’re a champ Alia! Keep your head up girl

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