NOVA Featured Runner – Alex Markenzon

By | November 11, 2019
2019 Marine Corps Marathon

From Coach Jerry: Alex has been a great addition to the team.  His consistent training has led to dramatic improvements in his performances, and there is much more to come.  Alex’s 3:09 at MCM in horrible conditions would have been worth 3:05 in good conditions, and sub 3 hours is well within reach this spring.  With another solid training cycle, big things are in the offing for Alex in 2020.

1) What are your PRs (5k, 10K, Half/Marathon, any others?)

5k: 18:40 at the NOVA 5k 2019

10 Miler: 1:06:34at theArmy 10 Miler 2019Half Marathon: 1:29:22 according to my Garmin during the Marine Corps Marathon 2019

20 Miler: 2:29:26 at the DCRRC National Capital 20-Miler and 5-Miler

Marathon: 3:09:26 at the Marine Corps Marathon 2019

2) Goal race(s) for this year? Other races planned?

I was considering running the Richmond Half on November 16th but everyone is trying to talk me out of it since I just ran MCM a little over a week ago. That would be my last race for 2019. For 2020 I plan on trying to get as close to, if not break 3:00:00 which I think I will try to do at the Shamrock Marathon in March, giving me about 3 months starting in December to train hard. I have been told it’s a great course for PRs. My parents agreed to run it as well and even my sister is on-board to train for the half, which would be her first race!

3) What do you consider your best race performance to date?

Out of the few races I’ve run, my Marine Corps Marathon performance would definitely be my best race performance to date.

4) How and when did you find NOVA, and what do you like best about the team?

I actually did not find NOVA through googling, like most of the members haha. I was trying out my first race post foot surgery and about 2 months of running. The race was the Marine Corps 17.75k which I needed in order to get a guaranteed spot to run MCM. Following the race, I watched as two guys with yellow singlets stood up on the podium in first and second place to receive their prizes. I was really impressed by their times, which seemed impossible to me at the time. I decided to speak to them and ask them about their singlets. Evan and I hit it off, discussing things like how great NJ bagels are and complaining about the traffic lights in Virginia. Evan told me about NOVA, the club both him and Landon are a part of and suggested I come out to practice one of the Tuesdays to try it out. I kept in touch with Evan for details on when and where to show up and the rest is history.

What I like best about the team is how positive everyone is and the diversity of the team. Whenever I show up on Tuesdays, every single person has something positive to say. Whether it’s congratulations on a race performance, words of affirmation, or just small talk, there is absolutely no negativity when you’re on the track with NOVA. The vast amount of ages, backgrounds, and points in life of the members of NOVA help to make it an interesting and engaging team to be a part of. There is something unique about every runner on the team.

5) What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received from Coach Jerry, and/or another member of the NOVA club?

I would have to say that being consistent is the best advice I have been given so far, although I can’t recall which member had given it. Consistency played a major role in my performance at the past few races and has helped me achieve the level of fitness I have right now. I did my best to get every workout in, no matter the weather, how unmotivated I was that day, or if I had to do it after a happy hour.

6) What thoughts do you have on your performance at the Marine Corps Marathon, or other recent races?

I’m extremely satisfied with my result at the Marine Corps Marathon. I started out my training hoping to hit 3:30 which I had already thought was very optimistic. As I kept training and running tune up races, I watched how my fitness level started to hockey stick and increase faster than expected. Towards the last few months, I started to get quite confident that I could hit 3:15 and maybe even 3:10. I even started considering aiming for 3:05, although the weather thought otherwise on the day of the marathon. Key races which gave me the confidence and motivation I needed include the DCRRC National Capital 20 Miler and the Army 10 Miler. The weather for the 20 Miler was in the 70s and humid the day I ran it and despite the conditions, I was able to pull off a 2:29:26 with plenty of energy still left in the tank. When I ran the Army 10 Miler, I could not have asked for better weather and ran an easy 1:06:34 at a pace I had never ran at for so many miles. I was amazed by how efficiently my body was working and how much energy I had, even up to the 9th mile. Coming into the marathon, I truly had no idea what my limit was since my body kept surprising me with great performances. This was slightly concerning but also very exciting. I think that for my next training cycle, I will try to go 95%-100% for the tune-up races I do just so that I have a better idea of my fitness level.

7) What non-running fitness related (or other) activities do you enjoy?

My dad recently got me into cycling which I added into my schedule on Mondays after lifting and on Fridays and Saturdays. It’s been great for cross training and limiting the impact to my legs on recovery days. He is also trying to get me into swimming, so I will most likely be introducing swimming into my routine once a week now as well. In order to stay fit, I lift on Mondays and Wednesdays. I’ve been doing the same lifting routine with slight adjustments for the past few years and it works great for me. In the winter I enjoy skiing and snowboarding. I haven’t been able to get up on the mountains the last few seasons due to my foot issues, but I plan on giving it a try this year post surgery.