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.

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!