As the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials quickly approaches, we are highlighting some of Team B.A.A.’s athletes who will toe the line for 26.2 miles in Los Angeles on Saturday, February 13. Our next athlete is Brookline’s Amanda Nurse, a member since 2012.
Name: Amanda Nurse
Marathon Personal Best: 2:40:47 (Cal International Marathon, 2015)
What are you most looking forward to regarding the Olympic Trials? Taking in the whole experience. Until September 2015, I never thought I would get the opportunity to race in the 2016 Trials, so I am just psyched to be part of it, and line up among some of the best marathon runners in the world.
What has been the best part of your Marathon build-up? Two things: 1) Finding new training partners, and becoming good friends with them! There are six of us that have done some tough workouts together, and it’s made it SO much more enjoyable and fun! We push each other, and getting to know them all better has been so great!
And 2) I got to run with Joan Benoit Samuelson, a fellow Mainer, and huge idol of mine. It was so inspiring to hear her stories, get advice on training and race tactics, and getting to know her! We’ve become friends!
What has been the toughest part of your Marathon build-up? The trials will be my third marathon in five months (I ran Berlin, Cal International, and now the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials), so my body has been through a lot, and during the taper mode now, I can tell that it needs a good break after this race!
Does it give extra meaning to the Trials knowing that you will be competing along with many other B.A.A. members? YES! I am so excited to have two other women in yellow and blue out there. I’ve been able to train with Rachel [Hyland], and I ran CIM with Madeline [Duhon], where we both qualified. So, it’ll be great to experience this together (all for the first time) and hope we can work together out there! I can’t wait to see how Eric [Ashe] and Brian [Harvey] do too! They might be passing us on the six mile loop at some point, so I hope to be able to cheer them on!
What are your thoughts on the Olympic Trials course? I am a little nervous about the course – for one, I have never run four 6-mile loops in a marathon. Second, I have never run a marathon predominantly on concrete. And finally, it could be pretty warm by 10:30am when our race starts. So, it’s certainly going to be a challenging course, but I’m just looking forward to seeing my family and friends four times on the course AND getting to run with all the most talented marathon runners in our country. I’m going to do my best to enjoy it!
Going into the race, what is your race strategy? I didn’t want to set my expectations too, too high, as I haven’t given my body much rest since starting my training for Berlin back in June. However, I am hoping to run 2:45 or under, go out conservatively – with the concrete, heat and the speed of all the other runners, it’s easy to go out too fast. So, I want to make a conscious effort to go through the half no faster than 1:22 and see how I feel. If I’m feeling good, I’ll pick up the pace!
What was your favorite workout leading up to the Trials? 2 great workouts – Recently, I ran with Rachel Hyland and three other Boston area Trials qualifiers – Hilary Dionne, Katie Sheedy, Meghan Nedlo – and did 20 miles with 12 miles at 6:30 pace. I couldn’t believe how quickly the 20 miler (of Fresh Pond loops!) went by, and it was because we were pushing each other and chatting the whole time! It was great to get a group together like this for one of our last long runs! Second, I’ve done some great early morning runs with Katie Sheedy. One day, we met at 6:15am, where the wind chill was – 9 degrees, and it was pitch black outside. We did a progression run of 8 miles working our way from 7:00 down to 6:00 pace. We were so psyched to do it – it was SO hard with the 20 mph winds and we could barely feel our faces, but when we finished we were so proud of ourselves for doing it!
What are your goals heading into the race — do you have a time or place you are aiming for? I’d be lying if I wasn’t hoping for PR (anything under 2:40:47), but with two other marathons recently under my belt, I don’t know if this is a realistic goal. So, I’m hoping for around 2:45 and would be totally psyched if I could pull this off with the conditions, and my tired legs! I’m going to really enjoy my experience, and hope that I will be back again for the 2020 Trials, too!
Three things I couldn’t leave LA without are: 1) A picture with Kara Goucher, 2) A walk on the Santa Monica beach, and 3) A celebration with all my teammates/Boston running friends after we finish! Can’t wait for the whole weekend to commence!