Monumental Runner – Alayna Bigalbal

Name: Alayna Bigalbal

Self-described age group: 25

Residence: Reston

Occupation: Civil Engineer

How has your running changed in the last few months: My running has definitely become more solitary due to the current pandemic and race cancellations. However, I am using this time to build up a strong running base, incorporate more strength training and drills.

Why you run: I run to challenge myself and give myself something to strive for. I love the sense of accomplishment after reaching a goal and then the determination/anticipation of hitting the next one. It is also a way for me to cope with stress and anxiety.

When did you get started running: I started running my sophomore year of high school.

Have you taken a break from running: I have never really taken a long break from running, just the typical breaks between training cycles and rest days. I love to cross train during this time. I typically bike or swim.

Training shoe: New Balance 880 and New Balance Tempo

Coach or training group: Pacers Select Team

The hardest race you’ve ever run: Mt. Roberts Tram Mountain Race in Juneau, Alaska. It was a four-mile race straight up Mt. Roberts on a technical hiking trail. One literally has to be a mountain goat to run this thing (ascent ~2,070 ft.).

Most adventurous decision you’ve made with your running: Running 2 Ultra Trail Ragnars (Appalachian Trail). As you can imagine, no sleep, small breaks, thunderstorms, and 30+ miles of running in less than 24 hours makes for a good time. I also told myself that I would run wherever I travel, which has gotten me into some interesting situations. For example, when I traveled to Ireland a few years ago, I ended up at a nude beach by accident. I immediately turned around and headed the other direction.

Running mentors: I’d like to change “Running Mentors” to “Running Mentors/Supporters.” I wouldn’t be the runner I am today without the support and advice of my family. Running is not only a physical challenge, but also a mental challenge. My family has and continues to provide me with the encouragement and tools to improve. My kinesiologist and chiropractor have also been great mentors/supporters by providing me knowledge on how and why the body works the way it does, how different parts of the body interact, and giving me tune-ups after countless miles.

My favorite place to run in the D.C. area is:  The Mall

Favorite local trail:  I have a lot but the top four are the W&OD, C&O Canal, Fountainhead and Burke Lake.

My best race was: Marine Corps Marathon 2019. This was my first marathon. Despite the pouring rain and unfavorable weather conditions, I was able to achieve my goal of breaking three hours (2:59) and placing in the top 10 females.

Favorite local race: PNC Parkway Classic

Ideal post-run meal: Skip the meal and take me straight to the the ice cream

Favorite flavor of gel, gu, etc: Any flavor of Huma Gel

Pet peeve: Not rounding off my run to an exact mile or half mile.

Goals: Break 2:50:00 in the marathon

Your advice for a new runner:  Listen to your body. Everyone is different. I truly believe in adjusting your training, diet, etc. based on how you feel, your goals and your lifestyle.

Favorite running book: Run Fast, Eat Slow by Elyse Kopecky and Shalane Flanagan. I love to cook and nourishing food is key for performance. I also got to meet them and get the book signed at the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.

Song in your head during a run: I prefer not to listen to music when I run. Running is the only time I can clear my head. But when I bike, I have a very eclectic playlist that includes rock, heavy metal, alternative/scream, rap, and pop. Just NO country music please. 

Have you dealt with a major injury: Thankfully, nothing major. Just some nagging knee and foot injuries here and there.

Running quote: “Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” –Hebrews 12:1

Why is the D.C. area a great place to be a runner: The running community. I have met so many kind and inspiring runners here and have made strong friendships.

Recent Stories

Derwood’s Lake Needwood helped Maggie Lloyd almost forget all about the summer misery and, somehow, the pandemic, for an hour or so.

Loudoun County’s map of unpaved roads led me to a beauty of a run north of Leesburg.

The sights, smells and open roads of the National Arboretum are open to runners nine hours a day.

Patuxent River Park in Upper Marlboro, Md. boasts more than 6,000 acres of nature trails and wildlife just ten miles off the Beltway. If you prefer a running soundtrack of croaking frogs…

3rd Annual APA MOORE Equity in Mental Health 5K Run,…

About APA’s MOORE Equity in Mental Health 5k
The APA’s Division of Diversity and Health Equity invites you to join us in combating mental health inequities facing young people of color and in honoring mental health advocate Bebe Moore Campbell.

Losing to Live 5K Walk/Run

WHEN Saturday, June 17, 2023 at 9:00 am WHERE This convenient location is just minutes from your house located 1/2 mile inside the 1-495 Capital Beltway at exit 51. Spectators are welcome to watch and cheer on the runners. Capital


Subscribe to our mailing list