• About Allison

    I am a 26-year-old married Michigan gal living in Sarasota, Florida. This blog is a chronicle of my journey toward a healthier lifestyle! I started running in January 2009 and began to change my eating habits in May 2009. Now, I am dedicated to training smart and eating right. Join me as I seek to balance running and eating healthy, local foods with my crazy work life and hilarious home life.

    Contact me: allisonisactive@gmail.com

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Another Half on the Schedule!

Today’s Run

It’s Saturday, so I ran with my Fleet Feet Sarasota training group this morning.  My buddy Michelle from work was there, and midway through the run, Whitney caught up with us!  She had been late and booked it to find us.

Chatting with Michelle about work, life, and kids made the run go fast, and once we ran into Whitney, I was happy to catch up with her because we hadn’t run together in forever!

Good news:  Whitney announced that her sister signed up for the Disney Marathon, so she’s taking that as a sign that she should run, too!  Now I just have to work on Sue… 😉

We ran five miles in about 65 minutes; I’m happy with that pace, given the heat and humidity!  (It was better today, so I didn’t feel like I was about to die.)  Before the run, Pat from Fleet Feet was encouraging everyone to add a scoop of GU electrolyte powder to their water, so I gave it a try.  The raspberry flavor was yummy, and since I sweat a LOT, I think sipping an electrolyte drink helped contribute to the I’m-doing-okay-and-won’t-die-on-this-run feeling!

After the run, I stayed and listened to a local physical therapist talk about stretching.  I should have taken notes, but his main ideas were:

  • Runners should stretch every day
  • Aim to hold a stretch for at least 30 seconds
  • Stretching is important because it allows our muscles to stretch out and work more efficiently when running, rather than snapping back and forth
  • Foam rollers are wonderful and every runner should own one.

Updated Race Schedule

A lot of race scheduling has been going on lately!  One big decision I’ve made is that instead of running the Lakeshore Miracle Run, a 10k on the Lake Michigan dunes, I’m going to watch the Husband and his friend Josh run.  I know the area of the course, and I think the dunes would be too much for my knees.  Also, we have a wedding at 2:00 that day, the race starts at 8:30, and the wedding is 2 hours away.  I am slow and this would put us in a time crunch.

Also, the Maine marathon won’t be happening, despite the fact that we were SO excited about a fall long weekend.  We have friend getting married in Michigan the weekend after that and I cannot take all that time off work.

So here’s what’s on the schedule:

  • Sammy’s Run 5k, May 29, 2010:  I wrote about this last week; it’s a 5k that benefits Oak Park School, a special needs school here in Sarasota.  I’m sure my teacher running buddies will join me, and Mike plans to run as well!
  • Charlevoix Half Marathon, June 26, 2010:  This is new to the schedule!  We’ll arrive in Michigan the Thursday before this race for our summer trip.  Husband will be canoeing with fraternity brothers this weekend, so when my friend Michelle (from Michigan) announced her race plans on Facebook, I immediately volunteered to run with her.  We have done one race together before – the Grand Haven Coast Guard Run 5k in 2009:

GEDC1398 Michelle and me in matching outfits, preparing to kind of ignore each other for 36 minutes at the Coast Guard Run in 2010.  We’re not big talkers.  :)  We’ll call her Michigan Michelle or Michelle S. from now on to avoid confusion.

  • Disney Marathon, January 9, 2011:  I am officially registered for THE BIG ONE!

I have registered for all three of these races, so they are “official” as of right now.  I’m pretty geeked for the Charlevoix Half Marathon – it’s in Northern Michigan, which is beautiful, and I always love running with Michelle.

Right now, the Husband has dinner on the grill (BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, zucchini and summer squash) and I need to eat and sleep since I am meeting Sue for a morning run!


Stressing and Indulging

Like a lot of other bloggers I read, I have been two things lately:  stressed out and indulgent.  School had kept me busy and stressed, so I haven’t been eating all the healthy things in my lunchbox lately.  (Not that I’m eating junk, either – I’m skipping eating at school, which is bad news.)  Also, we’ve had a bit of money lately, so we’ve been eating out a lot.  This is bad because it’s not healthy and we could find better things to spend it on or, better yet, save it for!

I’m going to write down some goals for the next month, which is the end of the school year followed directly by my three-day educational consulting trip to Kentucky.

  1. Run 2 times per week:  long run on the weekends, and one weekday run.
  2. Cross-train 2 times per week.  (This should be easy because I just picked up my summer gym membership again.)
  3. Eat a fruit and a vegetable every day.  I have been relying too much on peanut butter, granola bars, and yogurt instead of eating fresh snacks.
  4. Limit restaurant patronage.

I know these goals don’t seem lofty (6th grade vocabulary word!) but I feel they will present a challenge, especially right now when I am up to my eyeballs in work.

I definitely plan to re-adjust my goals for the summer; I do a lot of my best training in the summer purely because I have a flexible schedule when I’m not teaching all day, every day.

What are your fitness goals for the next month?  Are you like me – struggling to get by?  Or are you excited to embark on a new journey?  (Okay, that’s me, too, since I just registered for the Disney Marathon!)

Shin Pain? What Shin Pain?

Shin Pain Update:

This week, I took six days off running.  Last Sunday, I went out for a 2.5 mile run to make up for the 5 miler that I cut down to a 2.5 miler on Saturday because I had to work.

At the start of the run, my shins were screaming, but I thought they just needed to warm up and get stretched out.  Not so – halfway through the run, it was worse!  I walked the last mile and cried when I got home.  I was so worried that I was developing stress fractures, but confused because I certainly hadn’t been overtraining!

I did some major icing and resting all week, and on Saturday I went for a 2.8 mile walk and felt really good – just a little pain in my hips, signaling I could use new shoes soon.

Since I couldn’t run Saturday morning with my group (West Florida regional conference and professional development for work), Sue and I met up at 7:00 this morning for a 4 miler.

I warned my running buddy ahead of time that we may have shin issues, but guess what?  No problem!  Not during the run, not after the run.  Rest and ice all week must have worked – I felt fabulous the whole time.

Okay, my shins felt fabulous – I felt hot and sluggish, the symptoms of running in Florida in the summer!  Summer training will be tough; last summer, I mostly hid inside my old gym in Celebration or went on runs after dark.  I’ve been following all the advice, though:  wearing light, moisture wicking clothes, a CoolMax hat, and sunscreen; carrying water; and keeping my pace slow.

Upcoming Races:

I’ve updated my race calendar based on my marathon training plan from Fleet Feet Sarasota’s Galloway training plan.  My group doesn’t have a scheduled run the weekend of Memorial Day – our schedule says “Sammy’s Run.”

I Googled this event and found out that it’s a local 10k that benefits Oak Park School, a special needs school in Sarasota, and the Phelen-McDermid Syndrome Foundation.  I’m always up for supporting local schools (I know some Oak Park teachers through county professional development and they are wonderful) so I signed up ASAP!  Mike plans to run, too, though not with me as he is much faster.  🙂

Since it’s on our training schedule, I’m hoping at least a few of my running buddies will be there.  The race is on Sunday, May 29, and it’s sure to be HOT!  When I ran a race last year on July 4, I ran my worst time every because it was just so hot and muggy, so I’m not expecting a PR.  I am expecting to have a great time with my husband and friends on a Sunday morning, though!


So, my friend Michelle from work is a runner who has done some serious races, recently including the Sarasota Half Marathon.  She said she would love to run with a group, so I gave her a Galloway flyer from Fleet Feet and she tried it out this Saturday (even though I wasn’t there to run with her, sniff, sniff!)

I got this e-mail from here today: 

I just wanted you to know I had a great run on Saturday and decided to join.  I will see you next Saturday & I am going to run the Disney marathon!

I’m thrilled to have a new friend joining me, and even more thrilled that she has set her sights on a marathon!  I have to e-mail her the link to this blog so she can check it out – hi Michelle!

So much excitement on the horizon: new races, new running friends, and hopefully no more shin pain!  I’m looking forward to at least one trail run this week.  Stay tuned!

Two Quick Items

  1. I was going to post on this topic sometime soon, but Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point beat me to it: running in hot weather!
  2. We had a little extra money in the checking account this month, so in addition to buying a grill and checking out some camping gear, I am registering for some future races.  Here’s the big one:  last night, I registered for the Disney Marathon!  This is the full 26.2 miles, and it is in January 2011.

First Trail Run

Wow!  I really haven’t been around in a while.  I’m sorry I keep doing this, and I’m going to use the same excuse again:  work.  I have a goal of posting every other day, but the end of the school year is a very busy time.  I am not a teacher who “coasts” to the end of the year – I am a teacher who puts every ounce of effort possible into keeping my kids engaged and ending the year right!

Anyway, I wanted to write about our first trail run!  Last Sunday, we took a trip about 30 minutes south on US-41 to Oscar Scherer State Park to hit the trails.  Mike and I are tentatively planning on doing the Lakeshore Miracle Run, “the toughest race you’’ll ever love,” when we’re up in Michigan this summer.  It’s a 10k trail race, so we thought we better start training!

Here’s Mike ready to run, doing his own Team Zissou pose:


Skirted up and ready to hit the trails:


I had run the day before and my shins were bothering me, so while Mike took off to run the 3-mile loop, I opted to walk it.  We made sure to be smart on the trails:

  • Carrying water (in my nerdy hydration belt!)
  • Wearing sunscreen and bug spray
  • Wearing a hat
  • Wearing good shoes
  • Staying on the trail


I didn’t wear a watch, but walking the 3-mile trail, which included sandy areas and areas of hard-packed dirt, took me about 35 minutes by my count of songs on my mp3 player.  🙂

Sweaty and satisfied:


I don’t know much about trail running and then was my first attempt, but I had fun!  I hear the Lakeshore Miracle Run is tough, so I need to do some more training for hilly trails (since the Michigan race is on the dunes) and I need to actually run some trails instead of walk.

Also, I discovered that running skirts aren’t the best attire for trails in the heat: the extra material swooshing around was just annoying.  I bought a new pair of capri-length running tights and a pair of knee-length running shorts and Fleet Feet Sarasota this weekend, which will probably become my new trail running bottoms!  (Pictures coming soon.)

The Husband and I packed a picnic lunch for after the run: we each got a sandwich and a bag of chips from Einstein bagels.  (I ordered turkey but got chicken salad, which was okay.  My chips of choice were Sun Chips.)  I also brought an apple and the Husband an orange, but I wasn’t hungry enough!


(Do you love my little Vera Bradley cooler?  Birthday gift from the parents!)

In other running news, I’ve started my marathon training program.  I spread my 5-miler for this weekend over two days because I had an all-day work training on Saturday.  However, my shins were killing me on Sunday and I did lots of walking.

I’m certainly not overtraining, so that can’t be the cause of my shin problems.  I’m trying to figure out if:

  1. I need new shoes (unlikely since I bought mine in January)
  2. I have a stress fracture

I am taking this week off running (boo!!) and icing my shins.  I’ll head out for a run on Sunday (another work training on Saturday) and see how it goes.  If I have pain, I’m going to the doctor.

Good Times, Great Oldies

Saturdays don’t get any better than this!

My day started early when we headed out around 8:15 to run neighborhood errands: we walked to the bank, Sarasota Downtown Farmer’s Market, Whole Foods, and a neighborhood cafe to grab bagels.  We came home with all sorts of goodies… corn on the cob, gala apples, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomato, and two loaves of focaccia bread.  Yum!

After our errands, I slipped into some running clothes and headed to Fleet Feet Sarasota for the kick-off of their new Galloway training program.  It is technically training for November full and half marathons, but I paid for the full marathon program.  I plan to run a couple fall halfs and have Pat from Fleet Feet help me tweak the training program to get ready for the Disney Marathon in January.

I’ve roped my running buddies from the last Galloway training, Sue and Whitney, into running with me again!  They’re both excited to do fall half marathons, and I’ve pretty much got Sue on board for the Disney full.  YES!  Whitney will take some working on, but I’m hoping to talk her into it.  :)  Races are SO much more fun with good friends, especially during training.

After our kick-off meeting, the three of us gals ran a quick loop around the area – probably not more than 1.5 miles.  We mainly just wanted to see Whitney’s sister’s new house, which we checked out during the run!

All afternoon, we ran non-neighborhood errands that involved driving – we try to do those all in one big trip each weekend.

This evening, we attended our first neighborhood event!  I can’t believe we’ve lived here since August and never made it to any of these fun activities.  The downtown Sarasota neighborhoods are mostly built around and named after local parks, and ours is no different.  Our Laurel Park Neighborhood Association was putting on a “tunes in the park” event with a potluck dinner and an oldies band.  We made a big salad, and headed over to enjoy an evening of food, company, and music.  It was so fun!




We just arrived home (with an empty salad bowl!) and unpacked our picnic stuff.  I’m totally beat and am about to lay on the couch and watch as much of Clue as I can stay awake for!  (Clue is one of the best comedy films ever made – if you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it!)

Husband and I might be going on a trail run tomorrow – stay tuned!

Earth Day Run

Happy Earth Day!  I’m not a big Earth Day person because the Husband and I try to live a pretty “green” life year-round.  We did have a dress down day at school today, though!  (Yes, I participate in these.)

In honor of Earth Day, here are some things that I do to save the planet:

  1. Recycle!  We recycle everything – yogurt containers, soup cans, cereal boxes, milk jugs.  Sarasota has weekly recycling pick-up and they’ll take several kinds of plastic, metal, paper, cardboard, and glass.  The recycling program here is much better than in Celebration (they hardly picked up anything) or Orlando (they didn’t pick up at all!)  I grew up in a big recycling house.  I recycle in the classroom too; we have two recycle bins, one for paper and cardboard and one for plastic.
  2. Walking and biking around our neighborhood.  We live too far for me to walk or bike to school, but after school and on the weekends, I rarely get in my car.  Grocery stores, restaurants, theaters, and the library are all within walking or biking distance.  Today we biked to the library, Wednesday we walked to go out to eat.
  3. Using reusable shopping bags.  I started using this mainly for convenience – they hold more groceries and are easier to carry than paper or plastic grocery bags!  I like that I don’t throw away so many plastic bags anymore, either.  I recently found out that I can buy reusable produce bags, too, and I’m going to get some ASAP!
  4. Watch our electricity usage.  Now, this I partially do for the budget, but also for the environment!  🙂  We’re proud that we haven’t turned on our AC yet this year – we’re going to see how long we can make it into may.  (We live in Florida, so this is a minor miracle.)

There are more steps I would like to take as well, mostly related to food, such as buying more local foods.

After work, I ate two snacks (gala apple + Kashi and Chobani), read my new Better Homes and Gardens magazine, biked to the library for new books, and then went on a run!  Yes, yours truly squeezed in TWO runs this week!

Run Stats

  • Distance:  3.14 miles (the same loop I always run around my neighborhood unless I go over the causeway)
  • Time: 37:40
  • Run 2/walk 1

Before my run, I had a headache and an upset stomach but I decided to head out and see how I felt.  I ended up doing just fine and making great time.  I felt fabulous afterward! The thing about running is that I don’t always feel like going, but I have never, ever regretted going for a run.  (Except maybe that one time.)

Bonus: I got home just in time for chicken enchiladas and Community on NBC.  Life is good!