August Athlete of the Month – Amanda Aussems

What is your age, occupation, background, hobbies, and other sports?

I am a 29-year-old currently living in Slingerlands with my husband, Noah, and our two fur-babies, Samson and Bruce. Growing up in a sports-obsessed family, I was exposed to athletics at a very young age. My dad always advocated for being a multifaceted athlete and encouraged me and my siblings to play a variety of sports, but my three main sports were soccer, basketball, and track. I still love to shoot hoops and play a little 1 vs 1 with my husband, although my shot is definitely a little rusty. I am a Physical Therapist and am a Board-Certified Neurologic Clinical Specialist. Aside from running, I love reading, baking healthy snacks, and spending time at the beach.

When and why did you start running?

My mom is an avid runner and I became her running buddy early on. In the third grade, I started accompanying her on some of her longer runs. My mom is still running and I love when I visit my parents and get to run with her- my runs with her are some of my absolute favorites. Once I committed to the DPT program at Ithaca College, I decided not to pursue collegiate sports and instead shifted my attention to long distance running as a way to balance school, health/ fitness, and stress. I participated in a lot of races through college but only recently started to competitively race.

What’s your favorite race to date, and why?

My favorite race to date has to be the 2023 Boston Marathon! This was my first year running and it definitely lived up to the hype- the crowd was ELECTRIC! The rain made the conditions a bit more challenging but I felt strong! It was such an amazing experience and I just loved soaking up every minute of it!

What is your approach to training? Do you follow a particular training plan, or do you work with a coach and if so, who?

Last year I started working with a coach and it completely changed my training. Coach Mike has really helped to challenge me and show me my potential as a runner. I also love training with others. One of my best friends, Meg Mortenson, and I run together often. Having others support and push you to be your best makes the long miles fun and you want to put in your best even during those very early morning runs. I also recently joined Willow Street running team and am so excited to have such a supportive group of women surrounding me.

What is your weekly mileage in peak racing/marathon training season? What is your approach to the off season

My peak mileage during racing/ marathon training can range from ~48-52 miles per week. During the off season, I love to do hot-yoga, have more lifting days, and of course- still run!

During our cold winter days, do you brave poor weather conditions or stick indoors on the treadmill?

This can vary. I love doing the Winter-Series Races and know that it’s important to train outdoors even in the winter. I tend to opt to do my speed workouts on the treadmill to keep me honest with my pace goals. Living in the Northeast the majority of my life, the cold weather/snow doesn’t bother me too much.

List your PRs: Race, time, year:

  • 5K (2022): 19:40 (not an official race but I still count it!)
  • Electric City 10K (2023)- 41:12
  • Helderberg to Hudson Half Marathon (2022): 1:29:13
  • Boston Marathon (2023): 3:17:20

What is your favorite distance?

I really love a 10K and Half-Marathon!

Your favorite shoe for training and racing

Favorite shoe for training: Brooks Glycerin
Favorite shoe for racing: Nike Alphaflys

Ever run in a costume?

No but if the opportunity presents itself I would!

What are your favorite pre-race and post-race meals?

Pre- race I am very particular. Only a GoMacro Bar and ½ a banana.

Post-race is always much more fun. I usually just go with whatever I am craving.

What challenges / races / adventures are you planning for the coming year?

I would love to continue to work on improving my racing times- it would be awesome to get my marathon under 3:10:00 and beat my PR for a half marathon. I hope to contribute to the Willow Street team by placing within my age group, meet new people, support my teammates, stay healthy, and enjoy each run.

What is the greatest piece of advice you've ever received in the sport?

When I was younger, my mom taught me the “Velcro Trick”. During a race, set your sights on a runner ahead of you- use their energy and pull to drive you forward, once you pass them, find another person to “Velcro” on to. I use this strategy all the time!

She also told me to have fun and empower others. We achieve so much more when we lift those up around us and celebrate in all the joy and positivity that running brings!

     Meghan Mortenson and Amanda Aussems at Boilermaker 2023

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