Our positive running story this time is on a woman runner that I had the great fortune to meet recently at an unleash your awesome positive race workshop that I held before the Zion half marathon at the end of April, Tara Allred. What instantly struck me about Tara was her glowing enthusiasm for running outdoors, and her calming nature. I also found out that she is very keen on healthy nutrition, and came from a cycling background that she meant that when she started on two legs rather than two wheels, she hit the ground running, so to speak! We caught up with Tara after her Zion race, and this interview is the result.
Can you give everyone a brief background on your running history to date?
I started running while living on a small island about 3 years ago. I never ran in school so you could call me a newbie beginning my running career over the age of 40. I ran the pavement for awhile and then found trail running and this really excited me. I feel like a kid running around in nature.
What is it you enjoy most about running?
I love hitting that groove after a couple miles warm up where you feel free and like you are floating. The place where my mind shuts down and my body moves without effort.
You describe yourself as having great endurance. Has this always been there, and if not, how did you develop this?
I have been a long distance road cyclist for years. I have finished LOTOJA a 206 mile road race 10 times with my Dad. This has given me a strong cardio base of endurance.
You raced the Lake Powell half from Vacation Races last year. What attracted you to that race, and as your first half marathon, how did it go for you and what did you enjoy most about it?
Two of my friends invited me to run the Lake Powell half with them. Powell is one of my happy places so it only made sense to experience my first half marathon here. I felt amazing on this half. I ran my pace and waited for my friends at the aid stations and it was the first event I have ever done where I did not have any pressure on myself to beat a time or finish. Without this pressure I was amazed at how much FUN it was to just go and see what my body could do. I finished the last mile running the strongest I did all day and with a huge smile on my face- finishing strong is such a delight.
Last weekend you ran the Zion half marathon. You were concerned before the race about your technique running downhill. I gave you some tips in the unleash your awesome positive race workshop the day before the race. Did those tips help you, and what difference did this make to your race experience?
WOW- lean into it and expand my joy on the downhill! The simplicity of your techniques changed my running forever. I had a blast practicing them on the Zion Half and was surprised and how much faster I was able to go and how much more ease I experienced. The amount of energy I was expending fighting gravity on the downhills prior to your workshop was over the top. Being more relaxed and using your techniques helped conserve energy, increase my pace, and increase my JOY! I continue to practice and am amazed at the difference it has made. Thank you Terry you are a brilliant coach.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your life physically, and how did you succeed?
I have had a few challenges in my life. I used to weigh 200 lbs (I am 75lbs lighter today). This was challenging on every level of my being. I was training for the road bike race LOTOJA (206 miles in one day) and the amount of effort it took to pedal myself up any hill was intense. I felt horrible about myself and it seemed that every excess pound was not willing to let go. I pursued my PhD in Holistic Nutrition through this journey and used myself as a test-subject trying every diet under the sun. Eventually I found a lifestyle that allowed me to consistently drop 2-3 lbs per week with ease. I woke up one morning and weighed 135 lbs where I stayed with ease for a few years. I am now down another 10lbs and feel great- my body is happy and I feel alive. I know that there is nothing I cannot achieve. When I am out on the trail I recall how amazing my body is and I find a happy place that allows me to jog to the top of the hill with ease.
Can you tell us one thing that is uniquely Tara that no-one would know by looking at you?
I spend a large amount of time being aware of what I am thinking and what I allow into my mental world. All the mirrors in my house are covered with personalized messages to retrain my thinking to support me. I smile and say thank you when people tell me that things come easy for me (if they only knew)!
If you could choose to run anywhere in the World, where would it be, and why?
I must say that running in my backyard in Southern Utah is the most spectacular place and where I want to continue to run! The beauty of the desert speaks to my soul (minus the occasional rattle snake on the trail). There is something magical that occurs on the trails in the part of the world.
What are your running and life goals for 2018 and beyond?
To increase my JOY! I am so excited at how fun it is to run events without the internal pressure I used to place on myself. I would like to improve my trail running skills and see where that inspires me to. I am pondering running Speedgoat in the next 1-2 years.
If I could share one message on your behalf to mankind, what would it be?
It may sound cliche but life is truly lived in the journey – It is the moments on the way to your goals where life is at. Anymore I am less concerned about the target and more interested in what fun adventures I can have on the way to them. This has changed it all for me.
We wish Tara every success with her running, racing, and that your affirmations continue to guide your thinking and bring you joy. Also with running Speedgoat too!
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