Our positive running story this time is about Boulder-based elite runner Hillary Allen. I was fortunate to first meet Hillary at a trail running event at Boulder Running Company in 2015. She shared an experience from a race that year that was perfectly aligned with something that had been on my mind already, and brought it front and center. She was able to join us a guest star athlete for one of our trail running camps in 2016, and the campers, and Hillary, had a blast with the experience. We caught up recently with Hillary during a break in her busy schedule, and here is the interview:
Can you tell us something about your running background, both as a pre-pro and post pro-runner?
Before I was a pro-runner I was a competitive tennis player in college. I would run to stay in shape, but I didn’t know anything about trail or ultra running until about 4 years ago when I started endurance running. I’ve always had a knack for endurance (that was my strength as a tennis player). Once I started running, I quickly found my niche in trail running, sky running, which is more technical and steep terrain. It’s everything I love about trail running, running to the highest peaks, exploring the route less traveled and it’s really challenging!
What is there about you that makes you uniquely Hillary that someone wouldn’t know by looking at you?
I’m a huge science nerd!! AND I love bugs! It’s a perk of trail running, the good bugs are in the mountains.
You are affectionately known as “Hilly Goat.” What is it about running uphill that you love, and who first gave you that handle?
I love this nickname, it suits me so well. I love the grind of uphill running, it’s challenging, there are no short cuts and you can’t give up. I love where the uphill takes me (mountain tops) and the rhythm my body gets into. I also love downhill running, but they are different. I got this nickname on my first trail run ever!
I was at an event at BRC (Boulder Running Company) last year where you spoke about acceptance, and how difficult this can be for athletes. How has learning to accept where you are helped you, and what tips can you give someone else on how to achieve this?
I spoke about acceptance in reference to a race, where I wasn’t competing as well as I wanted and it was affecting me negatively (mentally). So I told myself to accept where I was and then do the best that I could. It changed my mentality and I ended up winning the race and setting a course record. I think it’s very important to know your body, your mental state and know when it’s time to accept where you’re at. This acceptance also goes in the opposite direction, where you must accept to push through an uncomfortable experience.
You were our guest star athlete at one of our trail running camps in 2016. How did your experience at camp vary from how you expected it to be, and what was your biggest take away from the experience?
I loved participating in the trail running camp in 2016, my favorite part about it was the sense of community I felt. There were people from all different backgrounds, with different running experience, yet we all shared a passion for trail running and being outside. It was a welcoming environment and so positive, I could spread my joy for trail running, encourage others and them encourage me. I can’t wait to return in 2017.
What has been your most inspiring moment of 2016, and also your lowest moment of the year?
My most inspiring moment in 2016 was achieving my goal to podium in the Skyrunning World Series (Ultra division). I finished 3rd in the entire season, becoming the first American woman to podium in this series. It was a lot of hard work and dedication. My lowest moment of the year was when my season was over!! I had spent the entire summer in Europe traveling, racing and making new friends, so when I returned home I was a bit low. It took me a bit to transition into a slower pace routine, to rest, get back into my routine and find my community of people at home. Again, staying positive always keeps me grounded.
You come across as a very positive runner, living life to the full and enjoying every moment. Has your life always been this way, and how do you keep yourself on the upward trend?
I’m very much a positive person, If I had a brand it would be “Genuine Joy” because I do live life to the fullest in each moment, and I search for the positive in every situation. I’ve definitely had my low moments, but trying to find the silver lining and choosing to be joyful (no matter the situation) is something that helps me everyday.
What are your goals for 2017, both professionally and personally?
For 2017, I have some big goals! To start off my season I’m returning to Transvulcania in May, then staying in Europe until the end of June. A huge part of running is exploration, so I want to incorporate that throughout my race season. I will run LaVaredo 120km the end of June, then I will be headed to California to start scouting out a route in the Sierra Mountains. This is a huge personal project for me, I’m planning to attempt the women’s FKT on the Sierra High Route, a 195 mile route through the sierra mountains. Again, feeding my exploration side 🙂 Then I plan to compete in CCC in Chamonix the end of September. I’m really excited for 2017, I have a good mix of challenges.
[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text margin_bottom=”10″]Terry Chiplin, the visionary behind activacuity, provides positive coaching sessions for clients, working with athletes to enable a positive focus on their status and goals. He can also create personalized guided imagery sessions for clients, delivered as an mp3 audio file that you can listen to on multiple devices.