As an athlete or in your day job, have you ever had the feeling like you don’t deserve to be in the position you are in? That you are an imposter, and at some point, someone is going to figure it out? As a female lead in a male-dominated role, it’s easy to feel this way; and likewise, as a runner trying to make it at the elite level, the tendencies to feel like you don’t belong at the front of the line grow stronger and stronger as your goals get tougher.

It all started when I ran Boston in 2017 with the Elite Women, and I had the worst race of my running career. It was after that race that I decided something needed to change. I wasn’t the positive, resilient, elite runner I knew, and it all had to do with what was going on in my head. It was after this marathon that I learned about positive affirmations, and ultimately started taking control of my mind and focusing on what I knew deep down I was capable of achieving, not just what I wanted to achieve. I am elite. I am driven. I am prepared. I am strong. It is these words of affirmation that helped me to PR in eight distances over the last two years, from the mile to the marathon. I overcame my imposter and replaced it with the Me that believes I can do or be anything I put my mind to.

Similar to running, I’ve been facing my imposter in my work life as well. Studies show that this imposter phenomenon affects women more than men; why is this? Why do we as women tend to call our success luck or good timing? Why is it so hard to believe that we are in the position we are in because we worked for it, and that we are competent, and intelligent? I was recently promoted to Lead Engineer at my work and I face this struggle almost daily, but because of the mindset I have developed through running I am able to overcome these negative thoughts and be more confident. I’m not fully there yet, but I will keep trying because I know I am worthy. I am smart. I am determined.

The 2019 Boston Marathon is quickly approaching, and my training has been without flaws. I’ve run my highest mileage, fastest intervals, longest and fastest marathon simulation runs, and most challenging long runs. As I begin to taper my mileage, this is the time to increase my mental strength. No matter what happens between now and the race, it’s nearly impossible to lose the fitness gained, but it can take a split second to lose my mental strength. Without a doubt, I know I am ready. Ready to be Elite, ready to be strong, ready to be resilient and ready to get the job done! 

Boston, here I come!

Head Up Wings Out,


Primary Subcategory

Team - Haute Volée
Allyson Ely