"Tiny, tiny little steps", Amy Cragg to make Boston marathon debut, by Carolyn Mather/Running Journal

Carolyn Mather has written for Racing South and Running Journal for many years. She has written for us over the past two years. 

This is her fine piece on Amy Cragg, giving you an inside view Amy's training, focus and attention to detail in her last few month's training for the Boston marathon and her focus on the US team for Rio 2016! 

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Amy Cragg winning RNR Arizona (February 2015) photo by PhotoRun.net


   After her decisive win at the Gate River Run 15K taking the USATF national title, Amy Cragg graciously joined me for over an hour to discuss her win, her past exploits and her debut at the April 20th Boston Marathon. 2014 was a year of changes band the ups and downs of a professional runner. Spring racing and a planned at the 2014 Boston Marathon did not come to fruition, but the ever persistent Amy kept taking  "tiny, tiny little steps" forward. Her Peachtree 10K title kept her on track for a 4th place  Chicago Marathon  in 2:27:03. In November she was married in Costa Rica to Alistair Cragg.

  Amy then spent January and February in Phoenix to escape the frigd Northeast. She returned to spend a bit of time negotiating the  snow covered Boston Marathon course. Her win at Gate was a huge confidence builder for Boston. Amy was very nervous the first few miles at Gate. Her legs did not feel good and she knew she did not have great speed on her
marathon training legs. But when she felt the tailwind at 4 & 1/2 miles, she made a move on the lead pack of four and increased her lead every mile. Her legs felt better until she reached the climb on the bridge, but she blazed a five minute final mile. She conquered the heat, humidity, wind and Hart Bridge then returned home to continue the "marathon grind".

  Each segment of her training builds on itself with those tiny, tiny little steps. She is slowly getting faster with quicker tempo runs.

  In Providence Amy does her regular runs with 5K American record holder Molly Huddle. But her marathon training is on her own or Alistair is on call as a training partner.

  Amy continues to be coached by Ray Tracey and her ultimate objective is to make the 2016 Olympic marathon team. She was a heartbreaking 4th at the 2012 trials but made up for that disappointment by making the 2012 10,000 team.

   At the time of our interview, Amy had five weeks until Boston to be filled with a 24 mile long run cut down, two 22 milers with cut downs and a couple of 18 milers. Amy is meticulous in  simulating marathon conditions as she prepares 3-4 days out for every long run.She drinks blueberry-pomegranete GU Brew. She alternates  
blueberry-pomegranete and orange creme gels with one 15 minutes before the race, then one at 6 miles and one at 14 miles. 

She is running 100-110 miles a week with some 800's at 5 minute pace,long runs, tempos and 1&1/2 to 2 mile repeats with very short intervals. She plans to be as fit as possible.

  Amy plans to run the Boston course again as "the course can defeat you as much as yourself".

 Amy has run Los Angeles and Chicago in 2:27:03. She wants Boston to "my best race so far". She plans to come through thehalf feeling good then cut down the mile pace by five seconds a mile to negative split the race. Her plan is not for a specific time but to execute her plan perfectly.

  Amy is an Arizona State graduate as is Desi Linden. When she makes the 2016 marathon team she will forego the 10,000. She sees Desi and Shalane Flanagan as her Olympic marathon teammates.

  Amy is a 5'4" dynamo weighing 100-105 pounds. She has a pretty regular, healthy diet and prefers salty over sweet.

  Amy also uses her dynamic personality to give back to her sport. She joined a gathering of my Atlanta Track Club Elite teammates two nights before Peachtree for a pizza party. Amy helped several of my teammates strategize running a 10,000 on the track for their first time.She spent several hours with different ladies.  She also spoke at the pre-race sponsor dinner.

  Keep an eye on Amy Cragg April 20th

She will take her next step towards the 2016 trials.

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