Team Member Spotlight

August 2021

Alison Talarcek

Alison Talarcek of Austin, Texas has been running for more than 40 years, entering her first road race at age seven, after being inspired by the movie “Chariots of Fire.” Not long after watching the movie with her parents, the young Alison spotted an announcement for an upcoming one-mile race in the local newspaper. “I asked my parents if I could sign up,” recalls Alison, “and, they absolutely loved the idea. They weren’t runners, so they rode bikes alongside me while I trained. I fell in love with running and went on to do many 5ks and 5 milers in my early days. Also, growing up and through high school in Cleveland, OH, I competed nationally as a short-track speed skater.”

Although Alison has lost exact count, this accomplished athlete has completed more than 500 endurance races to date, including four Ironman Triathlons as well as marathons in all 50 states!  “These days I especially enjoy middle distance races, from 5 miles to half marathon, and really love the energy at big races,” says Alison who is currently training for a few half marathons this fall and winter, including the Detroit, Coastal Delaware, and 3M half marathons.”

After running for four decades, getting injured was becoming inevitable for Alison, with Achilles tendonopathy being the most challenging to bounce back from in 2014.  “I had eight marathons lined up that year, in my journey toward racing in all 50 states,” explains Alison, “I tripped over my cat one morning a few days before the New Jersey Marathon.  Ignoring a back strain, I regrettably went on to race.  I quickly learned how connected the body is and, while I finished the race, I messed up my Achilles along the way and limped to the finish.  I ended up having to skip several races over that year and learned to listen more closely to my body.  Eventually, I completed the 50-state marathon goal in June 2019 in Anchorage, AK.

Running is an integral part of Alison’s family life. Her husband of more than 20 years, Phil, and 11 year-old daughter, Caroline, are active members of Texas Beef Team and Beef Team Kids.  “One of my motivations for staying active is to train with my daughter and set a good example of lifelong fitness,” says Alison. “I also have other motivations including to manage my asthma, it always is easier to keep under control when I am in good shape. Also, I enjoy being able to eat dessert and drink wine guilt free.”

While the global pandemic affected runners in different ways, thankfully, Alison reports it had a positive impact on her training. “I lost several pounds and am fitter than I was in March 2019,” she reports. “Not having to spend time on a work commute also helped me accomplish a workout streak that lasted 416 days and was only ended recently due to a severe allergic reaction.”

Read on to learn more about this amazing lady we are proud to have representing the Texas Beef Team.

Outside Volunteer Activities: My dad passed from ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in 2002, and for the last 20 years I have devoted my time and fundraising efforts to the ALS Association.  I am currently on the board for the Texas Chapter of ALSA, serving as the Secretary.  

Pets: We have two cats, Taco and Salsa, who are also runners, but only inside the house.

Inspired By:  Dick Hoyt was always an inspiration for his incredible strength and the sacrifices he made pushing his son races (and pulling him in Ironman swims).

Training Group: We train with Born to Run (coached by Paul Carrozza) in Austin.

Favorite Beef Recipe: I don’t have a specific recipe, but our favorite beef meals are steaks, tacos, burgers, and chili and I use a range of seasonings to make them.

Beef Team Memories:  I have many great Beef Team memories. Among them are the massive cheer sections at the 3M and Austin Half Marathons, giving me extra energy when I needed it most.  I’ve also really enjoyed volunteering in cheer sections at those races and having fun with teammates!  I’ve also learned so many grilling tips from Grill Master Jerry and also enjoyed the comradery and friendships of the past 7.5 years of being on the team.

Favorite Austin Races:  In Austin, it’s a toss up between Capitol 10,000 and the 3M Half Marathon.  Living in Northwest Austin, I’ve always loved running 3M since it’s on “home turf,” I get to see many people I know and soak up the energy of our team cheer section!  I love big races and Capitol 10,000 is one that we’ve always enjoyed together as a family.  After several years of weather and pandemic cancelations, I’m looking forward running it in 2022!

Favorite Marathon:  The Big Sur Marathon has a beautiful course along the California coast and very interesting aid stations that kept me moving through the miles. There was a guy playing a grand piano on the course, in the middle of the race!

Other Sports:  We love downhill skiing, especially in Utah, and cross-training; Les Mills OnDemand got me through 2020.

Pre-race Food:  Nuun hydration tablet and a banana or granola bar

Best Advice:  Understand that not every race is going to be great; sometimes you have to suffer through performances that don’t meet your expectations to be able to really appreciate the good ones.  

Favorite Running Shoes: Hoka Clifton

Songs to Run By:  When I ran marathons, I loved to listen to “Carry On” (Pat Green) and “Shake it Off” (Taylor Swift) late in the race

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