Ila Allen has been a contributing member of the Diz Runs Facebook group for as long as I can remember.
Today she will be joining me on the show as I get to know more about her “zero dark thirty” runs that are an inspiration to many, myself included.
I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Ila Allen.
When running first entered Ila’s life it was stressful time.
Ila was working full time while going to school to finish her doctorate degree.
She was functioning on 3-4 hours of sleep a night.
It was Ila’s brother that suggested she begin running as a way to ease some of her stress.
It was winter in Chicago at the time Ila first began the Couch to 5k program.
At first, running was just one more thing that she “had” to do.
It didn’t take long for running to become something Ila looked forward to and began to prioritize in her busy life.
It was during her first year of running that Ila connected with the nationwide group Black Girls Run (BGR).
My Race, My Pace
It was early on in her running that Ila realized that she preferred to slow down her pace and go longer distances.
Ila admits at one time in the early stages of her running she got caught up in her times and paces.
The focus on beating a certain time took the joy out of running for Ila.
Now when Ila races, she has her own goals that she sets that don’t have to do with pace.
Ila has run numerous races in Chicago including the half and full marathons.
After multiple years of running the same distances, Ila decided she needed a change.
Ila had never heard of an ultra marathon when she came across an article in Runner’s World on the topic.
She was intrigued and began researching what ultras were nearby.
All About The Community
Ila’s first ultra she signed up for was the Chicago Lakefront 50/50.
After completion of her first 50k Ila was hooked on ultras and even more on the community itself.
Ila found that the ultra community was all about camaraderie and just finishing regardless of pace.
In 2017, Ila completed her first 50-mile race.
That first 50 miler was the most challenging thing she had ever done in her life.
The frigid temperatures, challenging course, and elevation were in addition to the many other obstacles Ila faced during the race.
Even with all the adversity, Ila still made it to the finish line.
Age Is Just A Number
Ila first began running at the age of 54 and is now 62.
When she was younger she never cared about exercise.
Her diagnosis of type 2 diabetes was eye-opening and was the push she needed to take control of her life.
Ila is spreading her message, “not to let age get in the way of what you want to do.”
Her health is the best it’s ever been and she has lost 45 pounds in the process.
For the past 2 years, Ila has been living a vegan lifestyle.
Her new lifestyle has allowed her to cut the meds she takes in half while also decreasing inflammation.
Zero Dark Thirty
Ila has big goals and big goals come with a lot of training.
Ila has no choice but to stay consistent if she wants to accomplish everything she sets her mind to.
Her “Zero Dark Thirty” crew help her to stay consistent and to cut out any excuses.
Ila connected with a local running club that meets twice a week at 5:30 am to run.
As Ila has found out first hand, they run in almost any weather all throughout the year.
Running in all types of weather have prepared Ila to be able to adjust to any type of weather come race day.
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