From surviving a road biking accident that left her with many broken bones, to nursing her children at World's Toughest Mudder and still finishing second. It seems like there is nothing that Allison can’t or won’t do. Allison continues to be one of the strongest Canadian obstacle racers. Her preference is for the long events. She won the 2016 Sun Peaks Ultra Beast and back it up directly after with a win at the 2016 Spartan World Championships – Ultra Beast event. I have the honor of interviewing her for this piece, as everyone has their “layers”. Allison is a super nice person, but when it comes down to her coaching and training, she is not afraid to push you outside of your comfort zone.
What do you feel is the hardest OCR you have done and why?
They all have their own special challenges. The short, intense ones let you that burn you never feel in the longer events and require 100% obstacle speed and proficiency. Of course, the World's Toughest Mudder is probably the hardest. The obstacles there are insane and dong them lap after lap is tough.
Which race (OCR) will you never do and why?
Anything with zombies… because I am a baby and even though I know they're not real, they still scare the pants off me.
What is the weirdest pre-race food that you will eat?
Oreos. Are they even a food?
What is your pre-race ritual (to help clear your head and get you into the game)?
I usually jog around and do some strides and dynamic stretches. It's the long distance runner in me. I've done it forever and it's never failed me. That or sprint to the start while putting on my race bib and chip. And 500 porta potty stops because my bladder is tiny and my nerves are not.
What scares you truly in the world of OCR?
Jumping. I have catapedaphobia so I hate that feeling of jumping and falling. But I'm getting over it and even managed to do the cliff a few times up until I tore my LCL. Then it was the impact that jolted me to my sole, not my fear of falling.
How do you balance training/ coaching and running OCR races with having a family?
I include my kids a lot in my training. They make great sandbags and pushing strollers and pulling them on the bikes is a great workout. Also, I just work in whatever I can whenever I can. Like the hangboard I have hanging outside the washroom so I can watch them play in the bath and work on my grip.
What is one completely random fact about you that you are willing to share? Any cute nicknames we can include on here?
I used to train horses for a living before I got into endurance sport.
I have two nicknames. One given to me by the Kevin Chow… Tai-Runner-Sore-Ass-Rex. One given to me by my brother as a youngster: Furbicious Alli. I think it's a blend of ambitious and ferocious. But it made me want to chase them and bite them.
Have you ever thought about writing a book about your OCR experience and life? if so what's stopped you from doing so?
Oh gosh. I'd love to. Maybe once I have time to sit at my computer for more than a moment. Or maybe if I could dictate it while running.
What is your go to post race ritual? why do you do it?
I grew up a vegetarian and am not big into meat but I love a good burger after long races. I think I just get sick of all the carbs and need some serious fat, protein, and salt.
What’s the oddest thing you have ever brought on an OCR course?
A baby. When I was still nursing my youngest I waited in line for the Legionnaire obstacle while feeding her.
If you were an animal, what type of animal would you be?
Probably one of those mangey feral barn cats.
As run coaches, we do a lot of cheering at races. I got sick of holding up the typical “your feet hurt because you're kicking ass” signs. So I made one that said “you're not even halfway there” to hold up at the 10k mark in a half-marathon. Some people laughed hysterically. But not many.
If someone wants to reach out to you on social media to say hi where can they find you?
@YoMamasoFit on Twitter, Allison Tai on Facebook.