Dreams Realized: 2020 Olympic Trials Marathon

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Saturday February 29th was historic for me; I have shed so many tears of joy since then. The hills, wind, big fields and the deepest ever elite women’s marathon trials was epic. American dreams realized.

Thank you all fans and support system, I have seen some incredible videos and pictures of you going nuts cheering. It warms my heart to know that my passion gives others joy. It truly takes a village! Thank you HOKA ONE ONE for those cheers, HOKA Naz Elite teammates for believing in me and each other, Stephanie Bruce, Kellyn Taylor for the amazing journey we shared, Wesley Gregg, Dr. Aj Gregg for the strength and office work, Monica Coplea for the weekly massages even on impromptu notices, Atlanta Track Club for the amazing organization you had, I can’t get over how meticulous everything was, Ben Bruce for the many miles you helped pace us, Coach Ben Rosario and Jen Rosario for your belief and leadership. Thank you flagstaff community for everything from clearing the roads in the winter, a nice send-off, to the cheering party you had. Tim Ganman, my love, without you as my behind the scenes strength, confidante, and #1 supporter, I wouldn’t have been able to do this, I am so glad that we get to continue to explore and experience life together♥️.

America truly is the land of opportunities, where hard work is rewarded; I am honored to represent Team USA 🇺🇸 at the Tokyo Olympics. Here’s my story!

The Olympic Trials Pre-Race

Aliphine Tuliamuk with her race bib for the 2020 Olympic Trials marathon

Friday: The Day Before

Friday morning: I am exhausted, but I can’t sleep in. I have no appetite, lunch comes around, I feel like I am about to race, not hungry or care about food. I am freaking out for real! Oh and my quad is on fire, same place as my stress fracture but in the muscles.

By Friday afternoon I am okay, tired sleepy but mostly okay. Tim and I do our usual pre-race run after the tech meeting, I don’t feel my quad while running, cool, my strides are fast and smooth. I eat a hearty dinner provided by the race at the aquarium, I am back to being myself.

Friday night: Now my shin is hurting too, same right leg as quad, both are painful. Dr. AJ Gregg & Tim (both medical professionals) calm me down, they advice I take a sleeping pill, that I should be okay. Took 3 baby Benadryl, & painkiller; slept like a baby midnightish -9:40 am.

As Tim and I walked to get dinner on Friday night, we ran into Meb and a couple of HAWI Management team at the hotel lobby, we had a group hug, then Meb was like, look, there is 5 of us, the Olympic Rings, I thought “hmm yeah you are right, is this a sign.”

An important fun fact. On Friday evening, Meb came to my room and gave me some last minute advice, he also asked me how many people were predicting a win from me. I thought probably very few.

Race Day: Saturday Morning

Saturday morning, I am rested, “like New” but nervous. Tim gets me 4 slices of bread with jam &coffee, I eat everything, (forcing myself of course). Shower and meet the group to head to start line. Intentionally Left my phone in the room. I am very emotional

We walk to the start line, they won’t let anyone that’s not an athlete into the athletes area, I cry, for no reason, Stephanie Bruce and Kellyn Taylor are surprised, we all say our goodbyes and head to the tent.

Oh and when I woke up Saturday morning, I not only had the pain on my quads and shin, but now the right hip too, I think I am definitely screwed. Probably the moodyness & emotional. I was hoping to feel like I did at the New York City Marathon where absolutely nothing hurt. Took 3 ibuprofen.

Warmup with my teammates feels good, the crowds are just wild, it’s maddening. Nice temperatures but pretty windy & gusty at times.

The Olympic Trials Marathon Begins

What better way to find out this isn’t a dream I am gonna wake up from than watch the replay of the entire race! Here we go!! My play-by-play.

How about that kind of false start? Thanks it’s a marathon😊. I am strategically upfront, you know to show off AllieResiliencyHats, well and because the first 15 seeded athletes were up there. 😁😎

2:30 min into the race, okay my show off is done, time to tack-in now and enjoy this experience.

Mile 1. I feel absolutely amazing, this is very easy, I am zoned in. Oh wait was that a 6:10s minute mile? Oh shoot, now that makes sense, well whatever, just go with the flow.

As we passed the guys for the first time running opposite ways, I saw one guy clearly ahead of everyone else, and thought you go brother, then was like wow he is bold, there is along way to go, oh well moving on.

Somewhere between 5&6 miles, I looked around, most everyone had ditched their extra layer, I thought “ok don’t be too stubborn and a weirdo”. As I was taking my long sleeve off, my beanie came off too and dropped on the road, too late to get it back, I hoped I wouldn’t freeze.

As I watch this, from a second person perspective, I am worried about me, I am not showing any signs of distress but I am also not showing any signs that I look and feel great! I am all over the place. Just a little over 11 miles in, there is 15 more to go.

I zoned out for a while, half way in, I glanced at the clock, we were running a little under 2:30 pace, I was pleased. I reminded myself that we still had a long way. My left calf was tightening up occasionally. Luckily, I had forgotten all about the pain on my right leg!

Ryan Hall, were you on a scooter or was that a bike? I remember seeing you yelling right next to us, before a certain right turn.

About 16 miles in, I take a moment to appreciate the fact that both of my HOKA NAZ Elite teammates Stephanie Bruce, Kellyn Taylor & I are in the lead pack, almost right next to each other, just like we practiced many times during this buildup. Wow what a day we are having so far.

Okay we are now onto loop 3, the last loop, y’all, shit is about to go down, anyone knows that this is where the magic happens, just a matter of when! I am at a high alert so I don’t miss any moves, like I have in some of my past races. Mindfulness Allier T, mindfulness.

Okay, a little scoop on how I felt up to this race. I was very fit, I didn’t really struggle in any of my big workouts, I was closing them faster than ever, regardless of whether they were hilly or not. My last big session, we were running an average of 5:40s for 11ish miles.

I closed down and had 5:36 at the end of 15 miles some were uphill, and was feeling great! But then, once taper began, I felt a little sluggish, workouts didn’t feel that smooth or easy anymore. I never felt peppy during my taper, this was different from all my previous marathons.

The Reward: The Tears and ♥️

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Aliphine Tuliamuk

2020 US Olympic trial’s marathon champion. 10x US national champion. HOKA NAZ Elite, HAWI Management. Enjoy gardening.
Running, Track and Field
Santa Fe, NM