“What the marathon experience—that first marathon experience—did for me, was it gave me a perspective shift on life, which, wow, that sounds really lofty hearing myself say it back, but truly, everything was like so muddied and I couldn’t pull myself out. I had gone to really good schools and done all of the things I was supposed to do but I couldn’t pull myself out of feeling terrible and feeling like I was a failure and there was no blueprint of, ‘What am I supposed to do with my life?’ But the marathon gave me this very concrete training plan—like in 16 weeks, if you do this, you will get this—and never in my life outside of school had something been so prescriptive and easy. I mean, [it was] really difficult because you have to do that work but if even a stranger can promise me that if I do this work and I get that, then like f*ck yeah, I’m gonna do this. So I stuck to that training plan like it was my bible and what I saw was that it wasn’t magic but these physical challenges that I was doing really were very much tied to my mental ability to push through it and to stay in places of discomfort…You’re in a place of discomfort but you're moving through it—you don't get stuck in the place of discomfort, so that was a really powerful lesson for me.”
I’ve been waiting a while to have this conversation with Alison Mariella Désir and it did not disappoint. Alison wears many hats: she’s a mom, athlete, and coach. She works as the Director of Sports Advocacy and an Athlete Advisor for Oiselle, she’s a co-chair of the Running Industry Diversity Coalition, co-founder of Harlem run, a community organizer, and a lot more.
In this episode, Alison told me about her relationship with running, the ways in which it’s evolved over the years, and how she views her place in the sport today. We discussed how feeling out of place as a runner led her to create communities where people feel like they belong, we talked about the lack of diversity in the running industry and the work she’s doing to help change that, as well we her upcoming book, The Unbearable Whiteness of Running, due out in 2022. We also talked about identity and extroversion, competitiveness and community building, and a lot more.
Complete show notes: https://themorningshakeout.com/podcast-episode-168-with-alison-mariella-desir/
Sign up here to get the morning shakeout email newsletter delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning: www.themorningshakeout.com/subscribe/
Support the morning shakeout on Patreon: www.patreon.com/themorningshakeout