World-Class Running is Still A Hobby for Keira D’Amato

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Keira D’Amato is a world class runner who broke the American record in the 10 mile and clocked an incredible 2:22 at the Marathon Project this past December, but incredibly, she’s a full-time realtor and running is her side gig.

Keira, an unsponsored Realtor and mom of two from Virginia, unexpectedly placed 15th at the Olympic Marathon Trials last February, emerging onto the American running radar after a comeback mission that spanned over a decade.

Keira was a rising star at D1 American University, even beating future Olympians Molly Huddle and Amy Cragg. Then an ankle injury and subsequent surgery seemingly ended her running career for good.

Switching gears, Keira started working at her mom’s real estate company, started a family, and called herself a “hobby jogger.”

She started training hard again to fulfill her life-long dream of becoming an Olympian, continuing to get faster and faster even as the pandemic shut down the world and Tokyo postponed the Olympics.

In 2020, Keira got an unofficial Olympic standard in the 5K, ran a blisteringly fast 4:33 mile, and in November, Keira became the fastest American woman in the 10 mile. To cap off the year, Keira clocked a truly world-class time of 2:22 at the Marathon Project last December, coming in second place behind Sara Hall, a 12-minute improvement over her time at the trials.

As remarkable as all that is, running is still a hobby for Keira. She remains a professional realtor, not a professional runner. She talks to Coach Claire about running at an elite level while being a full-time realtor and mom, what 2020 was like for her, including the Marathon Project and her PRs, and how she trains for both speed and distance. As a bonus, this fun and inspiring episode even includes some corny mom jokes! Enjoy!

Questions Keira is asked:

4:14 What an amazing year 2020 turned out for you in running! After what you call a decade of "hobby jogging" you have emerged as one of the best American distance runners, breaking the American record in the 10 mile and clocking an incredible 2:22 at the Marathon Project in December. Can you talk about what last year was like for you?

5:43 It’s easy to think that you just came out of nowhere, but you ran Division I in college, you were coached by Matt Centrowitz, even beating out a few future Olympians in races back then. What were your plans for your running career back then?

7:06 I imagine it must be such a mind shift to think, “Okay, my life is headed in a certain direction,” and you get injured. “Well, my life is not going in that direction.” And then to get a second chance. Not many people get a second chance like you got.

9:39 You have become one of the distance moms. The field of American female distance runners right now is so deep, and most of them are moms which would be unheard of not that long ago. How do you feel that motherhood has intertwined with your running? Do you think there’s something to do with it that makes you a better runner?

11:34 When your kids were younger, did you do the running stroller thing?

12:46 Let’s talk about the Marathon Project last month. You had a massive PR and came in second place. What about your training said that “Hey, I can do this. I can get a sub-2:30. I can get close to 2:20.” What kind of workouts, what kind of things were going on in your mind that told you, “Yeah, I’m a contender?”

14:22 Did you have any thoughts of running out with Sara Hall and going for the American record at the time?

15:13 Not only did you kill it in the marathon but you got a new 5K PR and a mile PR this year. How does training for those shorter distances, or at least testing yourself at those shorter distances, how does that relate to your marathon, and what would you say to that 20-yr-old girl that you used to be that you’re pretty much beating all the time now?

17:57 Would your advice to somebody who is let’s say plateauing in the marathon be to do track work? What would be your number one tip to get a breakthrough like you had?

18:45 Speaking of your training, you are on Strava and your Strava feed is like a corny mom’s joke, so I would love to hear what’s your favorite corny mom joke?

20:16 We have something else in common besides running. You are a realtor. I’ve been a realtor for almost 19 years now so I can relate to that. You still work full time as a realtor and you’re not sponsored as a pro runner. Tell me about that.

22:35 That’s a great point. You think, “Oh, you’re an elite runner, you should just get signed and have running, running, running all over your life,” but the fact that you can be riskier because you have real estate as your income source, running isn’t about money for you.

23:58 I read somewhere that you do real estate negotiations while you’re on a run, on an easy run.

25:06 You said multiple times in this conversation that you are going to be an Olympian, so what’s next for you?

25:29 You’ve hit the Olympic standard in the 5K, right, but it was unofficial? Is that correct?

Questions I ask everyone:

26:30 If you could go back and talk to yourself when you started running, what advice would you give?

27:41 What is the greatest gift running has given you?

28:27 Where can listeners connect with you?

Quotes by Keira:

“I think through all the chaos, and all the hurt, and pain, and just everything that happened in the negative space in 2020, I really clung to running to be my hope, to be my good time, to be my goals.”

“It’s important to keep the mileage up and to make sure you’re getting your long runs and your tempo runs too, but I think just developing your speed. Like when I first did a marathon, I think that was like my 5K pace too, and then I’ve been able to drag my 5K pace down so much that now I feel really comfortable running marathon pace, so I think that that’s the key.”

“I live, I train, everything about me is elite athlete. If you look at my life, I have a very similar structured life to the elite athletes but just instead of taking as many naps or having some downtime and going on Netflix binges, I’m doing my real job.”

Take a Listen on Your Next Run

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Mentioned in this podcast:

Keira D’Amato – Stone Properties (stonepropertiesva.com)

FlipBelt.com

Runners Connect Winner's Circle Facebook Community

RunnersConnect Facebook page

RunnersConnect Focus Classes

email Coach Claire

Follow Keira on:

Instagram

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