Let Me Explain

"If a person's bodyweight is at least 20% higher than it should be, he or she is considered obese. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is between 25 and 29.9 you are considered overweight. If your BMI is 30 or over you are considered obese." - Medical News Today

That is fact. It's not an opinion on the topic, but merely a definition. I don't believe you have to be skinny to be healthy. Would I like to lose weight? Absolutely. Have I lost weight? Sure have. But that's not what this is about. This is about running. Mostly running with a side of other fitnessy stuff... and a WHOLE lot of goofy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 13 Wrap Up

Sept 10th-Sept 16th ~ 29.1 Miles

Day 86 ~ Recovery Run (3.1)
Day 87 ~ REST
Day 88 ~ Boot Camp & Run (3 Miles)
Day 89 ~ Run (4.07)
Day 90 ~ Cooper Young 4 Miler
Day 91 ~ Long Run (15 miles)

(One of these days, I'll get the numbers right again. UGH.)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  Thai Quinoa Salad Bowl

There was a time, in the not too distant past, when I struggled sooooo hard to fit 20 miles into my training schedule every week without killing myself, burning out, or absolutely hating running. I won't be so bold as to say that time has past, because I'm sure it hasn't. I'm sure there will be weeks in the future where running at all will be a chore. That's real. But we're not going to talk about what the future MIGHT bring. We're going to talk about the fact I put up almost 30 miles last week and I didn't die. That last part... the not dying part... is important, because Saturday, I honestly thought my death was upon us. I'm going to go ahead and tell you everything I did wrong to make Saturday so hard.

First... it's important for you to know that 15 miles was my longest distance to date.

Second... it's even more important for you to know that I'm one of the most stubborn people you'll ever meet in your life, and if you doubt that, Kirsten - the crazy lady helping keep me in check - will gladly back me up on this.

So, Friday night I did the Cooper-Young 4 miler. It's a great race, known for the epic party throughout one of the coolest neighborhoods in the city. I signed up for it a LONG time back... so long ago my bib number was like 134 or something. Upwards of 2,000 people signed up for that race. Anyway, I told myself I was going to be a good girl and take it nice and steady. I honest to god thought I was, and at the half mile point RunKeeper told me I was running at about a nine and a half minute pace. C'mon, Allison, slow your ass down. Everyone knows this is a huge problem for me. Before the first mile ended, I'd had a shot of Fireball, and I swore I was slowing down.

The first mile was behind me and I'd managed to get myself to about a 10:00 pace. Awesome. But not good enough. I was going to pay for this tomorrow on my long run. I just knew it. 1.5 miles, 10:20 average pace. 2.0 miles, 10:17 average pace. Then I came up on another guy offering Fireball. What the hell, right? It worked a little. Why not try some more? I pretty much did intervals after that. Walk whenever. Run whenever. Just enjoy the party. And right before the last turn, maybe a quarter of a mile from the finish, someone was handing out Vodka gummies. After all I'd had, I couldn't turn down booze AND sugar.

I got home that night around the time I normally go to bed on Friday nights. I was wound up from running and my husband and a couple friends had just come in from throwing darts. They wanted to throw a few more rounds in the garage. I stayed up and talked to them. Before I knew it, it was 10:30.

Oh. My. God. So late!

All jokes aside, I slept like crap that night. I remember checking the clock at midnight, 2am, 3am, and then at 4am I just decided to stay up since it was about that time anyway.

And to make matters worse, I didn't properly fuel for Saturday because I had a race Friday night and didn't want to eat anything too heavy...

So as you can imagine, Saturday was pretty miserable for me. Wait. No. That's too broad of a statement. Saturday started out awesome. For eleven miles I felt like I could conquer the world. Then all the bad things started to happen. It started with my thighs burning on even the slightest incline. Then fatigue set in and my back started to hurt. My shoulders hurt. My head hurt. Then my stomach hurt. Every time I tried to run I felt like I was going to hurl. I spent four miles bitching, moaning, complaining, and making every excuse why I couldn't run anymore, to the point I told Kirsten if she would just leave me she could get on with her day. Stubborn cow stayed with me the whole time. <3

Moral of the story, don't deviate from your routine and expect a stellar performance, especially when you're adjusting to new distances or speeds, or even new routines. Your body will real fast teach you that you are not a.) the exception to the rule, or b.) half as bad ass as you think you are. I've definitely learned my lesson. Soooo... I guess I should strap on a Nun's habit for the duration of my training. HAHAHA!!!

Takeaway? 26.2 miles in like 5 or so hours doesn't sound so scary now that I've squeezed in 22 miles in less than 48 hours. It probably doesn't compare, but as of this moment, I believe I can do it.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I Became Overweight Today... and I'm Thrilled About It!!!

I know you're probably thinking what is this crazy lady talking about. Who is happy about being overweight? Well... give me a moment to explain. I'm going to start with the word obese. It's not a very pretty sounding word, is it? In fact, Google's dictionary gives a grim and unappealing definition:
Gross. Bloated. Bulky. Paunchy. Corpulent?!?! Doesn't sound too pretty, huh?

**This isn't to fat shame or body shame anyone. I know people get super sensitive about words these days. I'm obviously sensitive about the word obese, otherwise we wouldn't be here right now. Right? Personally, I think if you're happy and in love with yourself, that's all that really matters in the end. I'm not the person who is happy and in love with myself because I know what I'm capable of and obesity isn't it. Not for me.**

Now that the disclaimer is out of the way...

When I started with my Fitbit on February 7th, 2014, I weighed 250 pounds. And that wasn't even the heaviest I'd ever been, but it was the most humiliating and damaging to my self esteem because I'd let myself get that way after working so hard to get the weight off. I'd lost 90 pounds in 9 months, only to have it come back with a vengeance after I'd gotten laid off from my previous job. I'd spent 2-3 months sitting on my butt, drinking coffee and eating comfort food because I was scared and sad. I was going to lose my house. I was up to my eyeballs in credit card debt because the state of Mississippi maxed out their unemployment at $217 a week back then and we still had to make ends meet while I was looking for a job. IT jobs weren't aplenty in that area.

I moved back to Memphis in 2012, and because of my living situation, I was eating a lot of fast food. I wasn't making good food choices and I damn sure wasn't exercising. I had books to finish writing, things I'd started when I was still unemployed. I had excuses... sooooo many excuses not to take care of myself.

In 2013, we were finally back on our feet enough to get our own place again, and every single morning I drove past an Anytime Fitness. It kept calling to me. "Allison, get off your fat ass and get in here. You know you're not happy." I wasn't. It took awhile, but eventually I joined. I bought a Fitbit because the company I work for has fitness incentives, not the least to mention was a fat deduction to the cost of my insurance. So basically, my gym membership paid for itself because of the discount on my insurance... because I went to the gym. Okay. Cool. I'm in. Lot's of other fitnessy things followed, but that makes this story SUPER long. Basically, I started walking for an hour a day, then I added dance twice a week, then came running, then came boot camp and cycling and... yeah, I've lost my mind.

When I bought my Fitbit in 2014, I was 250 pounds with a BMI of 41.6.

By this chart's logic, I was very severely obese.

What? No? You gotta be kidding me. I didn't look very severely obese. I mean... those are the people who can't get out of bed, right? Apparently not, and I HATE this chart and that word so much. Because had I seen this chart at that point in my life, I might've become the person who couldn't get out of bed, who couldn't tie their own shoes, who couldn't take care of themselves on the most basic level. I could've easily become so depressed it got worse. But I didn't...

This is where I am today.

I'm not sharing this to brag, though I will admit I'm going to celebrate the hell out of this. Might even get the cake my husband and I were craving so badly last night. I'm sharing this because the very real truth of weight loss and transformation is it doesn't happen overnight. It happens over hours, days, months, and years of dedication. It's not easy, but in the end it's rewarding. 

The expectation is always to see pounds fall off fast, and they will, but don't get discouraged when they stop falling off, when your body gets used to the new things you're doing and stops responding the way it had been. It'll happen. It's called a plateau and it sucks. In fact, when I plateaued, I got so discouraged I told my husband, "I might as well eat all the things since the weight isn't changing." I didn't stop running or working out, but I totally ate ALL THE THINGS I could get my hands on. The harder I trained the more I wanted to eat, and that's still a thing. I come in from working out soooooooo hungry and I want everything I'm not supposed to eat. The longer the miles get, the more I want to stuff all the sweet carbs in my face. Every Saturday is cheat day. I get one. I make it worth it. Prepping my lunches has helped get my weight loss going again. All I can do is stick with it and hope the pounds keep coming off. In the meantime, I'm perfectly content being overweight.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 12 Wrap Up

Sept 3rd-Sept 9th ~ 24.4 Miles

Day 79 ~ Recovery Run (3.1)
Day 80 ~ REST
Day 81 ~ Boot Camp & Run (3.1)
Day 82 ~ Run (6)
Day 83 ~ Dance & Run (3)
Day 84 ~ REST (Carb up!)
Day 85 ~ Long Run (9.1)

(I just realized my numbers are completely off this week. Sorry, y'all. I can only blame vacation brain.)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  None this week. We got back in town from camping on Monday and I took the day off Tuesday so we spoiled ourselves with Cheesecake Factory. Don't judge me. ;-)

I started this post with a rundown of all the stuff I'd done all week and blah, blah, blah about how it went and how I felt. Then, after pouring two paragraphs onto the page, I decided that wasn't the story I wanted to tell this week because something much bigger happened, something I needed, something that really reminded me that I'm a lot harder on myself than I should be. I don't know why, but I am. I keep trying to prove to everyone else I'm a good person, when really the only person who needs to know that is me. Well, Saturday, three very special ladies, someone calling me a "true success story," and an amazing co-coach made me really see the things I needed to see. And then my husband said, "See, I've been telling you this stuff the whole time." #blesshim

Let me back up, because this has the potential to be a really good story and I'll try to condense it as much as I can...

In 2015, a friend told me to come join this women's run/walk program with her. She wanted me to be a beginner runner. Ummmm... no. I didn't want any part of it. I was fine dancing two nights a week and WALKING on my treadmill for an hour every morning. I was losing weight and life was good. My friend, she persisted. She asked me two or three more times, and finally I gave in. I hated everything about it. It was too hot outside. I couldn't breathe. My stomach always hurt. Who the hell in their right mind ran... for the fun of it? I mean I liked walking my 5Ks just fine. I didn't need that to change. Obviously, it changed. I'm a sucker for good peer pressure.

After eight weeks of I hate this crap, we finally got to the morning of the graduation 5K. I was freaking pumped. Soooooo excited to be out there. I'd worked my butt off and now it was over. I went out hard and fast, and by the halfway point I hated life. Past the second mile I thought this would never end and I would die wayyyyyyy before the next mile marker. Then I came roaring across the finish line and I couldn't wait to do it again, but next time I wanted to be faster. That's when I knew the bug had really bitten. I freaking LOVED running.

In 2016 and 2017, I went back as a coach for the beginner runners because I wanted to pass on what I'd gained from the experience. It was important for these ladies to know it wasn't going to be easy, but it would damn sure be worth it. They needed to know it got easier if you did things right and trusted the process. I wanted them to learn from the mistakes I'd made.

This year was an exceptional year for me personally with this program. I honestly thought I was sort of useless as a coach because I'm super shy if I'm not familiar with you. I don't talk to strangers. I'm very much a back of the class kind of girl. I'd hoped that coaching would get me out of that, but thus far it hadn't. Then I met Bobbie and Shirley...

These ladies were tough and committed, and they pushed through the training and set goals for themselves, and week after week I watched them become stronger runners. They were so grateful to me for spending my time with them when I could've been doing something else--their words, not mine. Truth? I enjoyed every second of it. It didn't matter how fast or how slow we were going. I was doing exactly what I'd come back to the beginner runner program to do. I was helping someone love running the way I did. Both ladies set a 40 minute goal time. Both ladies finished right around 38 minutes. I couldn't have been more proud of them.

Then there was a third lady who I'd seen but hadn't really spoken to. Catherine was with Bobbie and Shirley, and a few other ladies when we started the race Saturday morning. Somewhere before mile two I heard someone call my name. It was Catherine. She said, "please don't leave me out here alone." I told her that I was going to pace the ladies like I promised, but I would come back for her. I kept watching for her, making sure she was close by. She was. Then she wasn't.

Well, luckily, Terri Clarke--another fine member of our wonderful running community--was also there and between her and Marley--another lady runner--they were able to pace everyone else to the finish line while I went to get Catherine. She wasn't that far behind. Close enough if I'd had my glasses on I would've seen her. The race wasn't easy for her, and though she wanted to give up, she didn't. And when she crossed that finish line, she did it in beast mode. She ran hard and fast with me yelling beside her to "run, girl! Run!"Again, I found myself incredibly proud of what these women were doing for themselves. Sappy, ain't it? Catherine cried and hugged and cried and hugged, and it was probably the sweetest thing I'd been a part of all day... until Bobbie handed me a thank you note that made my eyeballs leak. Then Julianne--you guys have seen her name a lot--gave me a high five and said "Good job, Coach" when I told her that Bobbie and Shirley made their goal.

There was a point to this, I promise. While people say "I hate running" or "running sucks," I can't help but disagree. I know it's a matter of perspective, but the perspective it gave me was seeing that even though I'm no one important, I can inspire. I can empower. I'm not rich and famous, but I too can be looked up to simply because of how I chose to treat other people. Am I perfect? Not by a long shot. Will I ever be perfect? Not even close. Can I see perfection in myself? Well, I'm certainly trying. I'm hoping at the end of this journey, when I cross the finish line after 26.2 miles and all these weeks of training, my eyes and heart will be more open to the possibility of me being this awesome, inspiring person everyone else sees.

"Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless." -Mother Teresa

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 11 Wrap Up

Aug 27th-Sept 2nd ~ 25.8 Miles

Day 72 ~ Recovery Run (3.4)
Day 73 ~ WRWM Coaching (3 miles)
Day 74 ~ Boot Camp
Day 75 ~ Base Miles (6.18)
Day 76 ~ Walked 3 miles (after packing the car)
Day 77 ~ Set up camp and ate camp food, then did planks by the river... on my rest day.
Day 78 ~ Long Run (Traded 14 pavement miles for 10.34 gravelly, hilly miles.)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  Chipotle Chicken Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Week eleven already seems so far away, that I had to go back and look at the pictures to remember everything I was feeling/enduring/or fighting to push through the previous week. I'm telling you, three days of quiet time on the river was everything the doctor ordered. Okay, maybe I could've done without the rum and the Fireball, but this girl had needs, and getting sloppy ass drunk was one of them. I'm such a lightweight, however, sloppy ass drunk is one rum and diet coke and a single shot of Fireball. Don't hate me because I'm a cheap date. LOL

It's pretty safe to say that each run felt pretty good. I think the only day I absolutely didn't want to do anything was Thursday, and that had everything to do with having to pack up the car and nothing at all to do with exhaustion from training. So massive bonus there. Boot camp Tuesday morning was even awesome. I had slight pain over my left knee, but Dr. Wonderful took care of that for me.

My long run wasn't 14 miles like it should've been. Mentally, I was there. I was ready to do it. I told myself that just because I wasn't at home didn't mean I couldn't do those miles. That was before I realized that getting out of camp was ALLLLLLL up hill, and I mean up long, tall, gravelly hills. So in reality, for the effort, I might've done 14 miles. I will say that it was a fun and somewhat frightening adventure. My love of horror movies made the adventure better than the run. I'm woman enough to admit that. There are more pictures on my Facebook and Instagram.

The Sunday recovery miles have yet to disappoint. I know its coming. I know that after running 16, 18 or 20 miles on Saturday there will be a Sunday when the thought of pounding pavement will reduce me to tears. Right now, I plan to enjoy the comfortable Sundays, while doing the cross-training needed to make this whole experience a lot less painful.

The best part of the week, however, wasn't the training or eating the bad foods, but the fact that my LARGE InkNBurn singlets finally fit me in a way that I'm not embarrassed to wear. I started out in an 2XLarge, so this is a huge deal for me.


I'm not one who typically likes to wallow in my self-pity. After an inspiring email from my best friend in the entire world, you guys know her as Pookie, I decided to stop making myself more miserable than I needed to be. Or at least try to. To start that process, I reached out to a running buddy who nearly made me puke all over my Mizunos last time I ran with her. In her defense, she was trying to get me to finish a 5k in 28 minutes, in the middle of summer and on a full stomach. We figured out real fast the three things don't constitute a working combination for me.

Anyway, Kirsten is funny as hell, crazy, and loves to talk, and from what I hear can keep me on pace pretty damn good. She has agreed to do the long runs with me, and since she's all like "I can do a 50k for breakfast" I figured she was just insane enough to get up before the sun and run lots of stupid miles with me. Sometimes training is also about regrouping and finding what's going to work for you. Just because things didn't start the way they were supposed to doesn't mean they can't finish with a stellar ending. In December, I expect to have my stellar ending. To quote Michael Jordan...

"You must expect great things of yourself before you can do them."

Monday, August 28, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 10 Wrap Up

Aug 20th-Aug 26th ~ 23.7 Miles

Day 65 ~ Breakaway Bardog 5k (3.1 - 10:00 pace)
Day 66 ~ WRWM Coaching (2.78)
Day 67 ~ Rest (Doc's Orders)
Day 68 ~ Base Miles (6 miles)
Day 69 ~ Rest
Day 70 ~ Rest (Red Robin DGB Burger with Fries and Onion Rings for Fuel)
Day 71 ~ Long Run (12 miles)

FOOD PREP MEAL -  Cold Spicy Thai Shrimp Bowl

After running really hard Sunday, then obligations that kept me from resting on Monday, I decided to skip the extra-curricular gym activities this week, and just let the anti-inflammatories do their job. I continued going to the chiropractor as ordered as well. So there's not much meat in the way of physical activity this week. I will say that thanks to the rest and actually listening to my body, I had a stellar run Saturday morning (after I got past the mental part of it, which I will talk about in a minute.)

I changed my strategy this weekend on my long run. In the past, I've done the long runs with a quarter mile run interval/one minute walk interval. I thought my running too hard during that quarter of a mile was the reason I was finding myself so exhausted, and I think that might've been part of it, but I'm also thinking it had more to do with all the stopping.

A co-coach of mine was telling the beginner women that slowing down to the point your heart-rate drops significantly essentially makes your body have to warm up all over again, and that will tire you fast. So I marinated in this thought for a little while and I adjusted my own run. It paid off. I didn't skip or shorten a single interval. I'm thinking next time I get on the pavement for a long run, I might even try one mile run/one minute walk. I know I'm capable. I've run nine miles without stopping before. But I also want to be smart and find whatever is going to work for me come game day. I. Must. Finish. Failure is not an option.

I've also found that I might have a little superstitious side when it comes to night before fueling. My best half marathon time ever (2:22) was fueled by Red Robin. I'm not even kidding. The first time I met my 2:30 half marathon goal (2:29 in Greenwood, MS.) I'd fueled with Red Robin. Call me crazy, but I see a trend. I'm laughing as I type this, by the way. I had zero stomach issues. Even Saturday I was 100% comfortable for 90% of the run. Sooo... what was up with the other 10%, you might ask? It was all mental.

So, I'm going to go ahead and put this out there, because talking about it face-to-face with people doesn't work. It makes me all watery-eyed and I HATE being all watery-eyed. But I am very lonely. Incredibly lonely. Not because I don't have awesome, supportive people in my life, but because I'm looking for something that I lost when I moved away from Mississippi. I have a best friend down there. She's the kind of best friend I have my own language with, one who can finish my sentences and relate to me on even the most unrelatable level. She's the one who I can absolutely share my space with and enjoy every second of it. She doesn't run. When I say I'm going to run, she's like "Okay, you do that, Pookie. I'll be right here." And that's totally okay with us because she knows I love running and she loves me and that's all that matters. I rely on her. I know I can rely on her. I know if I say "Pookie, I need you, get your ass up here," she'll do everything in her power to make that happen.

I didn't realize how badly I needed a running "Pookie" until Saturday. The 19th, I ended up running the last two miles fighting tears because I was alone. It made the entire run miserable. Saturday, I spent the first two miles of the run in that same headspace. I was ready to say screw the marathon, screw the training. I wasn't going to do it anymore. I was prepared to turn around, go back to my car, and never show my face in the running community ever again. Honest to God, had Rich and Julianne Tutko not been there with big, warm hugs when I came running up to the next turn, I would have marched my ass across the intersection and gone back to my car. Nothing sucks worse than trying not to cry while trying like hell to breathe. It's scary. I've never hyperventilated before, but I imagine it's just as scary.

I say all the time that I'm a solitary person, that I don't need people, and for the most part, I still consider it true, but it's hard to feel like you're on the outside of a "tribe" you're supposed to be a part of. I've been finding that when I'm out on these long runs, I feel very much like I'm an outsider trying to fit in. That's when I need my Pookie. I don't need a group of people who smile and ask "how're you doing?" just to make small talk. I need someone I can look over at and ask "am I going to fail" when I get in that bad headspace, and have them tell me "hell no, you're a beast." That's what I'm missing. Unfortunately, there's not too many people who want to get up before dawn on a Saturday and follow me for distances in the double digits just to tell my crazy ass I'll be okay.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 9 Wrap Up

Aug 13th-Aug 19th ~ 28.3 Miles

Day 58 ~ Recovery Miles (2.5)
Day 59 ~ WRWM Coaching (4.93)
Day 60 ~ 55min Bootcamp
Day 61 ~ Base Miles (6.06)
Day 62 ~ Base Miles (4), Dance 55min
Day 63 ~ Rest (Shrimp Quesadilla, Chips and dips, and Churros to fuel)
Day 64 ~ Long Run (10.83 miles)

Clearance from the doctor gave me a new lease on running this week. I took the miles gently, and there were many more to be had. I just wanted to run and run and keep on running, and for the most part, I did. It was nice to get back into my routine with boot camp and dance. I did feel like tweak a little dance class on Thursday, and I called it quits a little earlier than I wanted to. I just didn't want to take any chance on overdoing it. 

For now, I'm treating with an anti-inflammatory and three to four visits with the chiropractor. I think Monday will be my third visit. That being said, I've told him he's my guy for the rest of the year. By the time the marathon rolls around, I want to be running like a well oiled machine. I believe Dr. Aaron is the guy to get me there. He seems to understand runners. It helps that he's really nice and truly listens, then explains everything that's going on.

Our wonderful Memphis heat and humidity decided to make reappearance. It's my fault. One day last week I wondered when the heat wave would be back. We were wayyyyyy too lucky to get out of summer without too many triple digit days. Yeah, Mother Nature got me good for that one. She rolled in a heat wave that made me sweat buckets, which made for a few excruciating run days, but I got the miles and at the end of the week my legs were feeling pretty good. My mind that got the best of me Saturday (which happens), but we've had a talk and it's not going to do that shit again. If it does, I'll torture it with reality TV.

Also new this week... (2 new changes, actually.)

I've started using MyFitnessPal again. I absolutely hate counting calories. Hate. It. I can think of more pleasant ways to be tortured. However, everyone I know keeps warning me about how I'll want to eat everything in sight while training for a marathon, so I thought I should get control on that now. Especially since my weight seems to be hovering in the same five pound range. It's frustrating to exercise so much and not get anywhere, but then I remember the slice of cake or ice cream or the entire pizza I ate after pounding the pavement for two hours. I'm also very aware that I need to eat better. I need to fuel my body better to get me through all this working out. I'll still have my cheat days on Saturday for sanity's sake, but Monday-Friday, we gotta get real.

Which brings me to the second thing I changed this week...

I've jumped on the meal prepping bandwagon. Oh yeah. Totally did. I went to IKEA and bought two - 3pks of containers. My husband cut up all these veggies he swore I wouldn't like. We mixed up the recipe, and he tweaked it a little by adding some garlic. I think it could've used a little more dressing, but overall it was a success. Each portion came in under 400 calories and filled me up all day. I was impressed. So we're going to do it again next week, with a different recipe that pushes the line of my incredibly picky taste in food. Tune in to found out how it goes. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 8 Wrap Up

Aug 6th-Aug 12th ~ 19.8 Miles

Day 51 ~ Recovery Miles, 22 Mile Cycle
Day 52 ~ Rest
Day 53 ~ 50min Bootcamp, Therapy Run
Day 54 ~ Painful Run
Day 55 ~ BENCHED (11 Min HIIT)
Day 56 ~ Rest (Or visit a chiropractor)
Day 57 ~ Long Run (10 miles)

Not every chapter of our lives will be a good one. Some days we'll see sunshine and rainbows for as far and wide as the eye can see. Some days, no matter how hard we search, we can't see past the grey skies. That was pretty much my week. And I just realized that my post last week started out much the same way. I guess it's safe to say I'm in a funk. 

It's no coincidence that you don't see a bunch of pictures of me drenched with sweat and smiling from ear to ear. I just didn't have it in me this week. I wanted to put on my big toothy grin and get through the pictures, simply because it seems to be more inspiring when people see you having fun. But that's not real. Don't mistakenly think I'm saying running isn't fun. It is. Besides my husband, it's probably one of the best things that's happened to me. It's just hard to explain and I'm trying hard not to sugarcoat anything. Not even the mental aspect of this journey.  My first promise to myself was to do this blog for me. So when I go back and relive this journey--for whatever reason I need to--I'll have an accurate account of everything. So in the spirit of being real, this week sucked for me, both mentally and physically.

So... about that chiropractor. 

My therapy run on Tuesday did the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. I was supposed to hit the pavement and clear my head after I let my emotional state keep me locked in the house Monday evening. As soon as I started running I knew it wasn't going to be good. By the time I got to the 1.5 mile mark, my entire left leg hurt. I'm talking from the hip to the bottom of my foot. Something wasn't right. I'd hurt myself. I wasn't going to be able to do the full marathon. I'd screwed up. I'd over-trained. I didn't do something right. I thought I was doing everything right. What. The. F$%@!?!?!

By the time I got back to the house, all I wanted to do was crawl in bed and cry.

I soaked and iced and wore compression, and I knew that Wednesday night I could run with the beginner ladies and go super, super easy, and those ladies always cheer me up. I needed all of the above, but I swore if I felt the least little bit of pain I would stop. So I went out Wednesday evening and everything felt okay enough. I didn't run hard. I finished 3.25 miles and life was good. 

Come Thursday my left leg hurt all over, just walking wasn't comfortable, not to mention the popping that has been coming and going for awhile was LOUD. I was scared again. Scared enough I desperately started searching for an orthopedic doctor. Every time I hit the wall of receptionists and found myself trapped at another road block, I nearly lost it. I was on the verge of panicking while my dreams of success where slipping out of my hands. (Yes, I really am this dramatic.)

Of course, like most people in the modern world of too much information sharing, I took to Facebook looking for recommendations from other runners. Very specifically, I needed a doctor who I could get a damn appointment with and someone who wasn't going to tell me I couldn't workout or run, because neither of those were an option. My friends suggested this chiropractor in Lakeland, TN--Dr. Aaron, they called him. Or Dr. Wonderful according to my friend's kid. Admittedly, when I left his office on Friday, I agreed with her. I can't remember everything he said, but I know he said I have some IT band issues and some inflammation of my Anterior Tibialis. All I know is he was saying all these Latin words while bringing the pain down on my leg. My husband paid attention to the words. I drooled all over the chair.

At the end of my session with Dr. Wonderful, I was cleared to run my ten miles on Saturday, with the caveat that if starts to hurt, pull back. I honest to God listened. I took it super easy the first three miles. When I was sufficiently warmed up, I picked up the pace for the next few miles. The hills in Germantown aren't friendly. We fought. I'll say I won more than I lost. At mile 9 I was feeling phenomenal. The only thing that would've made the run better was less humidity. And I felt every bit of that 100% humidity between mile 9 and mile 10, in the depths of the Greenway's lush green jungle like atmosphere--breathing was almost impossible, but at the end of the day, I enjoyed every single mile.

Next week, we'll see what the orthopedic doctor says about my leg...

"A champion is not made when he succeeds; a champion is made when you look back at the seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months, he has spent preparing." ~ Eliud Kipchoge

Monday, August 7, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 7 Wrap Up

July 30th-Aug 5th ~ 19.7 Miles

Day 44 ~ 5k Recovery Miles
Day 45 ~ Sick
Day 46 ~ 50min Bootcamp
Day 47 ~ 5k Base Miles (Bad Day)
Day 48 ~ Base Miles (dreadmill), Dance
Day 49 ~ Rest (Carb up, Grocery shopping, Chill with the hubs)
Day 50 ~ Long Run (9 miles)

Not every week or every workout will be paved with rose petals and showered in rainbows. Sometimes, life gets in the way. Sometimes, emotions get the better of us. This week was like that for me. Actually, let me re-phrase. Sunday was amazing. I had awesome splits. The weather was perfect. I had the best time running the 5k loop around Cancer Survivors Park. I volunteered for MRTC (Memphis Runner Track Club.) Life was good and I felt great about myself. Then Monday happened. Stupid Monday. 

Mother Nature kicked my ass Monday morning. I wasn't even trying to fight her on that one. But it was a really sucky start to the week. It seems like if I have no motivation on Monday, the rest of the week ends up shot too. So we chalked Monday up to being a total bust. I told myself I'd work through it and everything would be okay. I wasn't going to let negative Allison get in my way. 

Tuesday I crawled my hind parts out of bed and went to the gym. Boot camp felt pretty good. I had a good feeling that the rest of the week would get progressively better. I went to work, prepared to do the damn thing and turn the week around, then I got a call from my dad. My mom was in the hospital and it sounded serious. The doctors never seem to be any help when you're trying to find out what the hell is going on. It was frustrating. I didn't have anything to tell the family, nothing to tell work, and I didn't want to leave until I knew what was going on, or at least until it looked like she was feeling better. I spent most of Tuesday at the hospital with her, went back after work Tuesday night. Still didn't know much and had a really hard time sleeping because of it.

Wednesday came and I couldn't roll my butt out of bed no matter how badly I wanted to. All day long I beat myself up for not rising and shining and hitting the pavement like a good little runner, but I just couldn't do it. Later that night, I made a promise to myself that I was going to take all that bad energy out to the trail (asphalt trail) and leave it there. I was supposed to run five miles, but I didn't. Instead, I ran three incredibly hard and possibly too fast miles, and I left every bit of the icky on the pavement. I felt like a million dollars after.

The rest of the week got better. Thursday, I did five miles on the treadmill watching The Barkley Marathons on Netflix (by the way... I will NEVER reach that level of insane. I'm putting this in writing... NEVER. EVER. EVER. Watch the documentary and you'll get it.) After the miles, I spent seventy minutes in my most favorite class of all time--Dance Fusion at Germantown Athletic Club with Cari. Her dance class is one of the best things to ever happen to me (from a fitness perspective.) She honest to gods makes working out sooooo much fun. I was so exhausted when it was over, I slept like a baby. Thankfully, Friday was a rest day.

As always, the end the week ended on Saturday with a nine mile long run--which is still not long for me. I won't start getting worried until we're above fifteen miles. The great thing was four miles were long gone before I started feeling it at all. The long, gradual hills from downtown to midtown were a pain in my glutes. But I got it done. I pretty much slept all day after. My body needed it. Badly. And to make things better, by the end of the week we knew what was going on with my mother and she was on her way to recovering. 

In my search for perfect fuel, I came across two new to me products that I foresee becoming staples in my running gear. 

The first was the Cinnamon Waffles from Honey Stinger. I had one before my two long runs to knock off the grumbling belly and give me a little extra boost in the begging. Oh. My. Gods. Those things are freaking delicious. I think I might have to carry them for my actual run. Most of these Gu/Jellys/Gatorade things have a weird taste to me. I mean, I pretty much know I'm eating pure sugar, but this was liking siting down with a cinnamon waffle. Sooooooo yummy! (Click on the picture for more info)

The second was Tailwind Endurance Fuel. I tried the Tropical Buzz first, and again, it was absolutely delicious. I liked this because it didn't make my water fizzy and salty. It added a wonderful fruity taste without color, and to make it even better it's all natural and all organic. 
(Again, click the picture for more info)

Monday, July 31, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 6 Wrap Up

July 23rd-29th ~ 17.1 Miles

Day 37 ~ Rest
Day 38 ~ Women Run/Walk Memphis coaching! 1.6 miles
Day 39 ~ 50min Bootcamp
Day 40 ~ HIIT, Base Miles, 2.4 extra "run buddy" miles (I'll explain this later.)
Day 41 ~ HIIT, Base Miles (dreadmill), Dance
Day 42 ~ HIIT, Rest (Carb up, be silly, chill)
Day 43 ~ HIIT, Long Run (8 miles), Swim

So, I've re-written this post like three times already. I was going to document my entire week and all my thoughts and feelings, but that's boring. I mean, who wants to read the same ol', same ol' week after week? The daily is on Instagram anyway. No sense in rehashing old news, right? Instead, I think I want to share with you guys a little gem of a documentary I found on Netflix this week. It's called From Fat to Finish Line (you can click on the title to see the IMDB listing.)

"The journey of 12 people who share the common bond of losing 100 pounds on average and then embarking on one of the biggest challenges of their lives - the 200 mile mega distance Ragnar Relay Race."

I found this movie because Thursday morning I couldn't make myself get out of bed. The alarm went off at 4am, and I just couldn't do it. The cat kept nuzzling my cheek and purring in my ear, and I just couldn't bring myself to leave the bed. But all wasn't lost. I planned to go to dance class at Germantown Athletic Club that evening, so I told myself I'd get the miles done on the treadmill. I hate the treadmill. Hate. It. So I needed a movie or something on my iPad to keep me occupied for about forty-five minutes while I ran those four miserable miles, otherwise I knew I wouldn't finish. I strolled over to the "available for download" section and went shopping. This is the one I picked... a movie about running, to watch while I was running. Obsessed much?

Immediately, I related to every single person in this documentary. They talked about lifelong weight struggles, one in particular who lost and gained and lost and gained. I know that struggle all too well. Then the woman who didn't have the confidence, the one who felt like she looked ridiculous. I related to the one who got in her own head and convinced herself she couldn't do it. I related to the sick feeling. Every bit of it, even the part where their team-mates stayed by them to pull them through bad runs, and especially the part where they all became a family.

I found a hell of a lot of inspiration in this movie, and it came at a time when I was honest to gods, no kidding, wondering what I was thinking when I signed up to do the marathon. Sure, I make jokes that it's going to kill me, but by Wednesday, I honestly believed I wasn't going to make it all the way to 26.2 miles.

Those four treadmill miles flew by and I felt absolutely amazing. I topped the day off with sixty minutes of dance fusion--which has always been my favorite part of the gym.

By the end of the week, most of my confidence in my ability to see this journey through to the end was coming back. I'll give partial thanks to the people who shared their stories through the documentary, but I would be remiss if I didn't mention my local running community. I mean... they don't exactly let you give up on yourself. And how can you not love people who will get out at 6am on a Saturday morning to sit on the side of the road and wait to hand you water?

Moral of the story, find inspiration however you have to find it. It's okay to give up for a second, even a minute or a day, but don't give up for good. Fall off the horse, but do your best to get right back on it. I've done a lot of giving up, but like one of the women in the movie said, the difference this time was she made a lifestyle change BECAUSE she found running and fell in love.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 5 Wrap Up

July 16th-22nd ~ 18.5 Miles

Day 30 ~ Rest (Or, you know... drive like 400 miles)
Day 31 ~ Base Miles, Swim
Day 32 ~ Base Miles, Swim
Day 33 ~ Rest (Or, you know, drive like 400 miles again and then sleep all day.)
Day 34 ~ Base Miles
Day 35 ~ Cycle (17 Miles)
Day 36 ~ Long Run (7 miles)

This was a special week in my little world and a LOT of slacking off was to be had. Coaches and trainers always harp on cross-training for good reason. It makes running sooooo much easier. So when they say do it, you should do it. I promise. It's not a "nice to have." It's a "you'll make yourself miserable without it." So, I guess the word of the week is CROSS-TRAINING.

Sunday (day 30), I spent recovering from my best friend in the entire world's wedding. We drank a lot. We stayed up late. It was awesome. I got to see sooooo many faces I'd been missing for a really long time. While I beat myself up a little for not doing some sort of training on Sunday, I needed the day off. My body was done.

Monday and Tuesday was spent in Biloxi, rising and shining before the sun. The salty air was welcome to my sinuses. Humidity made everything sticky, but it wasn't the same miserable soupy air I'm used to in Memphis. It was fresh and crisp, and somewhat easy to breathe. It might've been psychosomatic, but whatever works, right?

There were some questionable characters hanging out on the pier (which I will share pictures of because they're super creepy) and I ran for my life out of fear. #speedwork #nailedit. I tried not to get concerned or be scared at all. I tried not to look at these men as vagrants but rather gypsies still trying to find a place to call home, but I grew up in a city where erring on the side of caution saved your life more than not. So that's what I did. I ran until it burned my insides. And I'm still alive.

I went straight to the pool almost immediately after my run on both days. I sincerely love to swim. Ready to have a pool again.

We rolled back into Memphis around 1am on Wednesday morning, and I pretty much spent the entire day cuddling with El Gato, the demon kitty until the following day. Thursday I did my base miles, but again, was too exhausted to go to dance class. I swear, there wasn't enough sleep in the world to recover from my Biloxi vacation.

Friday should've been a rest day, but I'd had enough lying around the house. I went out to my garage and I swear my bike said "ride me." It has a petite, sort of high-pitched voice that's really painful when it whines. Yes, I just anthropomorphized the shit out metal and two wheels, but if you'd been there you would understand. It's teal and gray, and very bright in the dark. It said "Allison, I need you..." and I said okay. Seventeen miles later and I was ready to take a nap.

I went into Saturday telling myself I should've rested, that the body needs a good break, and apparently, the two I gave mine wasn't enough. Or maybe it was the 100+ real feel temperature and ridiculous humidity. I don't know. I just knew running wasn't going well and I ended up with my worst average pace since I summer last year. I'm not beating myself up over this... too much. It was my fault I did so poorly and all I can do is make a promise to myself that I'll trust the process and follow the rules because the people who made them know much more about this stuff than I do. Best thing about Saturday... this crazy chick Yella. At the end of those miserable miles, she was there with a smile on her face, waving and yelling at me "but you didn't die!" How can you not laugh? Seriously.

At the end of the week, I came to the conclusion that I REALLY need to pay better attention to what I eat and any reason not to take at least 10 minutes out of my day to cross-train is just excuses. Excuses won't get me over that finish line in December.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 4 Wrap Up

July 9th-15th ~ 17.3 Miles

Day 23 ~ Recovery miles
Day 24 ~ 20 min HIIT (WRWM Coaching)
Day 25 ~ Boot Camp
Day 26 ~ Base Miles, 20 min HIIT
Day 27 ~ Base Miles, 30 min HIIT
Day 28 ~ Rest Day
Day 29 ~ Long Run

Still didn't go to dance class Thursday or lift weights on Wednesday night. I've been totally slacking at that. Not because I've wanted to. Adjusting to waking up around 4am to go run has been a challenge. Usually by the end of the work day, I'm beat and I just want to go home and veg out. Week 5, gets worse. I was on vacation... hahaha.

I had one comical day when nothing came together. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. Well, almost everything. I didn't hurt myself, but this LOUD bug whose nap I ruined nearly gave me a heart attack, but I couldn't check my heart rate because my watched wasn't fully seated on the charger and was dead when I woke up. That would've been day 26. The picture says it all, right? If everything's going wrong, don't panic. Make the best of it.

Women's Run Walk Memphis started up again. This is my second year as a beginner runner coach. I toyed with the idea of coaching the intermediate group--which is comprised of women who've been running and can hold about a 12 minute or better pace. That would've been a good group for me to coach, but the beginner group is where my heart is. I started there two years ago, at least sixty pounds heavier, and truly having no desire to be a runner, and here I am. I NEED to pass that on to the women who showed up exactly like I did because running has probably been one of the most rewarding and empowering things I've done for myself.

Day twenty-nine I was supposed to run with Breakaway Running (only the most awesome running store in Memphis. It's so much more than a running store) but I had to knock my miles out early because my best friend in the whole entire world was getting married at 2pm and I had a two hour drive to get to her!

As a side note, I drank all the coffee but didn't get a chance to read much of the book.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Marathon Training - Week 3 Wrap Up

Day 16 ~ Cross Training (Spent swimming Spring River. Swimming against the currents was an awesome all over workout.)
Day 17 ~ 3.1 miles (Stars and Stripes 5k)
Day 18 ~ Rest
Day 19 ~ 4 miles
Day 20 ~ 4 miles
Day 21 ~ Rest
Day 22 ~ 10 miles

(Training schedule thanks to Breakaway Running.)

HUMIDITY that, kiddos, is the word of the week. It's been above 90% all week, and if you live in the south you probably know that feels like breathing through a sweaty sock. It's gross. Point blank. <-- ha ha! Wednesday morning it was as bad as 96%. Storms coming through the area have also been messing with everyone's sinuses, so if you can breathe at all right now, consider yourself lucky.

That's not to say everything about the week sucked. Running before the sun even comes up as been nice. It's been a great way to get the happy juices flowing in my brain before going to work. It's been a great way to wake up. Plus, beating the summer heat has been pretty cool too. The neighborhood around my house has some great hills so there's plenty challenge.

WORST PART ABOUT THIS WEEK: Besides the humidity... I didn't get any of my cross training in, save for the swimming on Sunday. The gym was closed Tuesday for 4th of July, so no bootcamp, and that pretty much set the tone for the entire week. I even skipped my beloved dance class. I skipped Seven every single day and there's really no excuse for that. It's literally less than ten minutes of core exercises that I can do in my freaking pajamas. Pajamas on the couch just sounded so much better. I'm holding myself accountable right now. Tomorrow, when I finish my three gentle recovery miles, I'll come home and do the not-so-intense HIIT training. Scouts honor...

BEST PART ABOUT THIS WEEK: Saturday's long run with Daniella. She's always so much fun to be around. She has a light about her, and an incredibly fun personality. I hadn't put that many miles down in a long time, and I felt it the second loop around Midtown. I wasn't properly fueled or hydrated really, but I wasn't racing. The extra miles were just a bonus. I had a great time. It was an awesome way to end the week. Oh! And churros! I love the night before a long run because carbs!

My week of training ended with me standing at the end of my street cheering on runners as they came upon the third mile of the Hope 5k. It' always cool when neighborhood residents come out to cheer runners, even if they're standing out there with coffee in their hands and fuzzy slippers on their feet. I was still drenched from my ten mile run, but I made it home in time to get my booty out there. I had my coffee and my Oofos. Life was good.

Friday, July 7, 2017


I know this blog didn't get going well the first time around, and that's totally my fault. I let the petty grumblings of someone I considered a friend and my own insecurities stop me from doing this, from documenting the work and EPIC FUN to be had when one decides to become a runner, but I'm here now to fix that and hopefully encourage someone else to make the brave decision to do something good for their body and soul. 

"Running is not, as it so often seems, only about what you did in your last race or about how many miles you ran last week. It is, in a much more important way, about community, about appreciating all the miles run by other runners, too." - Richard O'Brien

Community is truly at the heart of Memphis Running. I know that probably sounds strange and ten years ago, when I was living in a tiny Mississippi town and walking a four mile asphalt path alone every evening, I never would've thought that anything related to fitness could be so fun and rewarding. I learned this very quickly when I joined Women Run Walk Memphis in 2015 as a beginner runner. 

I'm reminded of that when I go to the fridge to check out my Breakaway Running (a local shop that is so incredibly supportive of the community) calendar and strap my shoes on for my scheduled miles. I'm reminded of that when a friend on Facebook says "going out for five miles, who wants to join me?" or I get a text that says, "can we run tonight?" I'm reminded of that when I'm struggling to get up that last hill and a stranger pats me on the shoulder, tells me "you've got this," and chases my ass all the way to the finish line. Exercising, jogging... those are chores we do to keep us healthy. Running is a way of life. Running is community. And I can't even believe I'm saying this because three years ago I would've rather had all my teeth pulled... but running is fun.

My new adventure in running is to complete the St. Jude Full Marathon. (Click on the picture to your right to donate. Pretty please!) I've never done a full marathon before and frankly, I'm a little freaked out, but I'm going to trust the process and follow the training plan. I'm going to listen to my coach, and I'll remember the advice of a friend... not a single mile you run will be half as hard as what those kids have to go through. Gah. I got chills just thinking about that. So here's to a new goal and a new start (though I'm already 21 days into the training.)

I would like to leave you all with this video, care of Rob Hunter and the Memphis Runners Track Club. I'll admit I was moved to tears when the Women Run Walk and MRTC Kids came up. I volunteer for both those programs every year, and this video made me super stinking proud of the work we do. This video made me fall in love with running all over again!