She won races at Oakton. She was a several-time All-American at American. Now more than a decade later, Keira Carlstrom is moving up in race distances and continuing to win.
Now Keira D’Amato, 33, she won the Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington D.C. Half Marathon in 1:16:31. Even though she lives near Richmond, she said she felt like a “hometown girl” running the D.C. race.
She’s running longer distances since having children — she has a 3-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter. She’s drastically decreased her marathon times and is now looking to beat the Olympic Trials standard of 2:45 at the Boston Marathon in April.
Humbled by the last six miles of her first marathon in 2012, she did better at the Shamrock Marathon in March 2017, hoping to qualify for Boston with a time of 3:35 or faster, and ran 3:14. At the Anthem Richmond Marathon in November of the same year, she wanted to break three hours, and ran 2:47.
Her performance at Saturday’s race made her more confident going into Boston, although she is thinking about things she could have done differently. Still, she wanted to break 1:17, and she did.
D’Amato and the second-place runner in the women’s half marathon, Rebecca Spellman, 34, realized they had the same goal and ran together for the first five miles or so, D’Amato said.
“I was really excited to have her to run with,” D’Amato said.
Around the steep hill nearly halfway through the course, D’Amato lost Spellman — but Spellman didn’t end up too far behind her in the end, with a time of 1:17:05.
D’Amato said she got helpful advice from mentor Ray Pugsley of Potomac River Running (where she is the marketing director): to break the run into two six-mile tempo runs with the hill at mile six-to-seven as a recovery section.
She also works also a realtor in Northern Virginia and Richmond.