Alexandria Williams Continuing the journey

I always say that this digital publication continues to open my eyes to a running community that is so much larger than the area that I know as the tri state area. Over the years Mid Strike has opened my eyes to so many amazing runners that have continued to break the trend of accepting what running wants us to be, we are creating our own avenues and opportunities not only for ourselves but our communities as a whole. I came across one of those runners in London, Alexandria Williams. This year she added a few more majors to her belt all while keeping us in the know of what it takes to not only run the race but how to plan for it as well. Let’s chat it up with Alexandria and get to know her and her story and most importantly her why.

MSM: You had a busy 2022 run season with world major finishes at Boston, Berlin, and London. That's a lot of running and training, we’ll get to that, firstly how do you feel finishing the year with all those accomplishments, second what are your remaining majors and third which one stood out to you as your favorite?

Alex: Normally, I brush off my accomplishments and compare them to others. However, for once, I really feel accomplished and appreciate the journey both on and off the pavement. I was at 5 world majors - running 3 and cheering/volunteering at 2. In each race, I had many lessons and grew from each one. 

My remaining are Tokyo and Boston, so I am excited and nervous on having the finish a decade dream come to an end.  Everyone wants me to pick my favorite, and I can’t. London and Boston are tied. London rebuilt me from the brokenness of Berlin. I didn’t want to run and was ready to quit. My run fam was so supportive and shared their own stories. I had the best time from start to finish in London. I have no idea how I was dancing with Drag queens, singing with the band, and folks took the best pictures on the Tower bridge. I even got a compliment on my British slang! 

But since 2018, I have helped and celebrated in some capacity Black Marathons traveling and completing the Boston Marathon. This year, we got a chance to announce our new committee and welcome the largest class of Black Unicorn Marathoners. Boston reforms me to be a better athlete and, most importantly, how to be a better service to others. 

MSM: How did it feel crossing that Boston Marathon finish, I'm sure that one hit a little bit different? 

Alex: HA! Yeah, it hit. I crossed, which is better than 2018. But unfortunately, after my time was contested, I learned I had missed the mark by just a minute or two. I have an unofficial finish thus my time doesn’t count for world major, but nothing can take away being a Boston Marathoner Finisher. So, I have the chance to do it again and 3rd will be the charm. I love that my 6th star will be there. 

MSM: Lots of marathons in a year is no easy feat. It takes lots of dedication, time and passion to stay consistent. How was your training cycle this year? With all those marathons lined up there isn't much down time, what were your typical weeks like going through your cycles?

Alex: After Boston, I was taxed a bit because I also had covid, healing fully from an injury and a battle with anxiety and grief. I believe in honesty. So, I decided to start fresh and had to start completely over because I needed to let go to achieve being in alignment with my goals. I needed a new coach and have been with Amanda Watter and Miles2Training since. She worked with me from my PT session, long emails, and scheduling. I also have a great crew of run friends. I don’t play about downtime because balance is vital to me, but I ensured I had time at the spa for massages and recovery to create a home gym with Peloton. 

I didn’t get my schedule until Sunday of the week. It kept me focused only on that week and adjustments based on feedback and performance. The biggest change was no hill training. I was not too fond of speed training, so that’s what many of our sessions focused on - my weakness. I am also proudest of myself for my training because I endured all this in the heat, and humidity and recovering from long covid.

MSM: I see you’re also into Triathlons. Training for that is a different beast within itself, do you feel the triathlon mentality is something that helped you through all the marathons?

Alex: HA! - I am semi-retired from triathlons. It’s been almost 10 years since my last one. It made me see my strengths and weaknesses and my flexibility to adapt when opportunities present themselves.

MSM: With so much running for us everyday runners I'm always curious as to how we find our balance. Running for most can seem like an escape, a way to release and get a type of reset but it's also important to find your balance through other avenues that aren't running because in the end its us excerting energy. How have you managed to find your balance over the years especially in 2022 with your marathons?

Alex: During Covid, I realized what I thought was balance was a complete lie. I had to reform what balance was and make it personal. Trying to achieve this "magical" balance in life is more stressful than if I do my best with what I have right now. I think of things in moderation. Instead of balance, I seek to do everything authentic to who I am in moderation, including moderation.  

For example: Right now, I am coming up with a hefty busy season with my training, work, and volunteering commitments. I have a few weekends where I blocked off nothing but run and recovery. I will hire or purchase things to give me back time, like meal delivery services, house cleaners, and groceries delivered. It helps me take better care of myself and will keep me balanced. I simply don’t have the energy or time to manage these things, so I don’t stress about it but outsource it to help me. 

Thanks to my running journey this past year, just letting go and focusing on the things I can control helps me achieve balance. 

MSM: What I think is cool is that you approach your running from a point of view of simply having fun. Your IG caption says it best:” Inspire others to run and enjoy the journey”. I think the latter part of that is something that tends to go amiss with runners. At times we get so tied up in the numbers game and goals that we forget to just enjoy the run and journey. How have you managed to keep things fun for you and most of all what would you recommend to other runners to keep it fun and not always focus on the numbers?

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