Monumental Runner – Molly Allen

Name: Molly Allen

Self-described age group: 35-39

Residence: D.C.

Occupation: Housing Program Specialist at HUD

Volunteer roles in the running world: I love volunteering at races when I’m not participating. I pride myself on my aggressive cheering as a volunteer. I’m really excited to be volunteering at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Atlanta at the end of February!

Why you run: Because I love running. I don’t think I can explain it better than this quote by Martin Fritz Huber from Outside Magazine- “Running has always given me a sense of joy and time well spent. It’s one of those rare pursuits where, while engaged, I’m never beset by the feeling that I should probably be doing something else.”

When did you get started running: I started running cross-country and track (middle-distance) my freshman year of high school. I was never the best, but I like to think I made up for my lack of natural talent with hard work and enthusiasm. I fell in love with running back then, and not much has changed.

Have you taken a break from running:  I took a bit of a break in college and then forced myself to get back into consistent running by signing up for my first marathon (Chicago) before I graduated in 2005. Then I took a break from focusing on running to train for an Ironman in 2015 (too much time on the bike, not nearly enough running). Unfortunately, I have also had to take several forced breaks due to various injuries over the years.

Training shoe: Nike Pegasus forever

Coach or training group: No regular training group at the moment. I enjoy running alone but will also coordinate with friends when I can. I used the Runcoach app in my training for this year’s California International Marathon (CIM) and really liked it.

The hardest race you’ve ever run: I don’t know, but I always remember the Bix 7 Mile being difficult with that huge uphill start.

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Probably signing up for that first marathon. I wasn’t really running much at the time and didn’t really know anyone who ran marathons. I have no idea what I was thinking, but I’m so glad I did it.

Running mentors: My Mom. She didn’t start really running until her 50s and seeing her race now with her masters team is so inspiring. She makes me believe that my best running is still ahead of me. (Her mom, Kathy Allen, won her age group at the USATF Club Cross Country Championships a day after this was published)

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is: Rock Creek Park

Favorite local trail:  Capital Crescent Trail

My best race was: All of the races I have done in 2019! After having to take off 6-months for my knee surgery in 2018, I started really running again this spring. My first race back was the National Women’s Half Marathon in May and I did CIM this December as my first post-surgery full. It has been the best just to be out there again!

Favorite local race: I love so many, but Cherry Blossom is pretty special

Ideal post-run meal: Fries (lots of salt) and a fountain coke

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: I go through phases with nutrition, but currently into Jet Blackberry GU

Pet peeve: The Georgetown Branch Trail being closed- I really miss that full RCP/CCT loop. Also, closed bathrooms and water fountains that don’t work – such a letdown!

Goals: Just to keep on running for the rest of my life

Your advice for a new runner:  Try not to worry too much about what everyone else is doing (and often documenting in detail on Instagram), figure out what works for you and go with it. If you run, you are a runner.

Favorite running book:  I love running and I love books, but I don’t think I have a favorite running book…

Song in your head during a run:  So many! Embarrassingly, right now it’s Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping“, because “I get knocked down, but I get up again.”

Have you dealt with a major injury:  Yes, the worst of my injuries – a cartilage injury in my left knee- required cartilage transplant surgery in July 2018 and a brutal six months of no running. Coming back from surgery has been a long road, but it has been so rewarding. I appreciate every single run more now than ever. Shout out to my awesome surgeon and physical therapist, supportive friends, aqua jogging at Wilson Aquatic Center and running on the AlterG.

Running quote:  Not specific to running, but “Practice maximum enthusiasm” is a current mantra I apply to my running. (credit to Semi-Rad/ Brendan Leonard)

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner:  D.C. is a great place to be a runner because of the great running routes, multitude of races and the awesome running community. 

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