• 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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Good-bye, Sickness! Hello, Swimming!

I have been sick this past week – sore throat on Sunday and Monday, so much so that I stayed home from work on Monday, and then the illness migrated to my sinuses for the remainder of the week.  Lovely!  This meant that I didn’t walk, I didn’t run, I didn’t swim – I didn’t do anything.  Thursday, I actually felt like a walk, so I asked myself: will I feel better or worse after a walk?  The answer honestly was that I thought with the heat/humidity and my stuffy head, I would feel worse.  Therefore, I just stayed home.

Sammy’s Run was a bit of a challenge with a head cold.  I forgot to bring a tissue pack!  However, Pat from Fleet Feet came to my rescue and gave me her handkerchiefThis is why I love Fleet Feet!  (I need to remember to wash and return it, along with one of their towels that I borrowed for a stretch two weeks ago.  I am not on the ball lately.)

Today, although I still have a runny nose, I feel better and in fact felt well enough to swim this morning!  I put on my swim suit as soon as I got out of bed and wore it while making breakfast and reading the paper.  (If I’m already in it, then there’s no excuse NOT to swim!)

I shuffled the card for an 800 meter endurance workout to the front of my Ziploc bag.

Swim Stats

  • Warm up:  1×25, 1×50, 1×75
  • Drill: 2×25 pull, 2×25 kick
  • Ladder: 25, 50, 75, 100, 75, 50, 25
  • Cool down:  1×75, 1×50, 1×25
  • I wasn’t ready to be done, so I kicked another 4×25, and then did 50 breaststroke and 50 backstroke

I kind of hate swimming front crawl (freestyle) but I do it anyway for my workouts.  I used to be a pretty mean breaststroker and backstroker, so it was fun to do a bit of each at the end.

My swim was an even 1000 meters.  I can already feel my endurance improving: swimming 50 straight was a bit of a struggle on day one, and now I can do 100 straight (admittedly it’s still a struggle.)  I’m grateful that I swam so much as a kid because now, as a runner, I can easily get back into swimming for good cross training.  I think a lot of runners shy away from swimming for training simply because they don’t think they can swim.

I need to stop blogging now because I’m really just procrastinating what I should be doing, which is homework for my Methods of Teaching ESOL class.  We have a BBQ housewarming party for some friends this evening, too.  Have a wonderful long weekend, everyone!


A Real Person’s Guide to Finishing a Half Marathon

I like to think that with this blog, I represent for the “real” girls in the blog world.  The curvy girls like me; the size 10 girls like me.  The 12-minute milers, the interval runners, and the racewalkers.  The people who aren’t perfect, but who try to eat healthy with a bit of ice cream now and then.

With that goal in mind, I’d like to share my tips for real people who want to finish a half marathon.  I’m not a seasoned runner; I’m just a girl who likes to get outside and move and has to fit it into her busy schedule.

So, here are Allison’s Tips for Real People Who Want to Finish a Half Marathon:

  1. Find a training group.  I wouldn’t have been able to do half marathon training on my own!  On top of offering me expert advice and coaching, Fleet Feet Sarasota also provided me with a really fun group of people with whom to spend my Saturday mornings.  I can’t imagine running more than about an hour by myself – it’s more fun to chat with my friends!  So, if you’re thinking about a half marathon, I highly suggest you find a training group through a local running store or running organization.  Or, team up with some friends!
  2. Put in the time and the miles.  Sometimes it might not be fun – you’re tired, you don’t have time.  I definitely didn’t do as many weekday short runs as I had planned, but I only missed two long runs in my six months of training.  Even though it meant a lot of early Saturdays and often in questionable weather, I was very proud that I’d done the training.  If you plan to try a half marathon, find a great training plan that works for you and stick with it!
  3. Set a goal and sign up for a race early in your training.  Pick an even that sounds fun to you (for example, a Disney event, or a half marathon in a place you’ve always wanted to travel) and actually pay for your entry.  If you’re like me, once you’ve set a goal and shelled out for the entry fee, you’ll get it done!  Also, tell everyone you know about your plans – they’ll keep you accountable!
  4. Invest in appropriate gear.  If you’re a casual jogger who is just getting into longer running events, you might need to get professional fittings for gear like running shoes and a running bra (if you’re a girl, obviously.)  Get some comfortable, moisture wicking clothes that make you feel happy, too.  (I highly suggest running skirts, of course.)  Whenever I have a cute new piece of running gear, I’m more likely to get out and run, and when you’re training for a race, any piece of motivation counts!  😉
  5. Visualize.  Whenever you’re feeling stressed out, not motivated to run, bored with your training, or discouraged, close your eyes for a bit and think about crossing the finish line.  When I was training for my first 5k and for this half marathon, I often visualized myself crossing the Disney finish line, seeing my husband, and having the medal hung around my neck.  I would motivate myself by thinking how good I’d feel after finishing the race.  I think that visualizing is a powerful strategy to get through half marathon training.

I’m not a professional by any means, but those are my best ideas.  The bottom line is that if you think you can do it, you can.  Set your goal, find some friends, and stay positive.  13.1 miles might seem like a lot at first, but take it from me: it can be done!