Ali on the Run Show Episode 173: You Can Run a Marathon with Dawn Grunnagle

“At about mile 9, I was in the porta-potty, wishing and praying that somebody would pick it up. I was like, ‘If I stay here long enough, somebody will pick up the porta-potty. I just want to disappear in here.’ That’s how terrible I felt.””

At 41 years old, Dawn Grunnagle is proof that you can, in fact, keep getting faster with age. Dawn is a Nike-sponsored professional 1500-meter runner turned master’s marathoner. (Before going pro, she spent 10 years teaching third and fourth graders. Aw!) She has qualified for the Olympic Trials three times: first in 2012 in the 1500, and then in 2016 and 2020 in the marathon. Last year, she ran a 2:34 personal best time — but the road to OTQ glory hasn’t been easy or pretty for Dawn. On this episode, she talks about her earliest marathon days, which involved a lot of porta-potties and puking. (Relatable!) She talks about how she chipped away at her time over the years, going from a 2:49 to a 2:34, and talks about her adventures in fueling. (Key takeaway: Just because it works for someone you admire doesn’t mean it will work for you!) Dawn is currently training for the 2019 Berlin Marathon.

Thank you to Generation UCAN for sponsoring the You Can Run a Marathon series on the Ali on the Run Show! Click here and use code ONTHERUN for 20 percent off your order, plus free shipping. (First-time buyers, check out the UCAN Run Starter Pack here, and get 50 percent off.)

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What you’ll get on this episode:

  • How Dawn got into the marathon distance — and why she stuck with it despite getting off to a rough start (2:00)
  • What Dawn considers her breakthrough race (17:50)
  • How Dawn went from a 2:49 marathon to a 2:34, and what her marathon training looks like (19:00)
  • What Dawn’s recovery looks like (26:50)
  • What race week is like for Dawn (33:00)
  • What Dawn’s goals are for the 2020 Olympic Marathon Trials (39:30)

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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