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chicago marathon

Biggest Loser Champ Danni Allen Won More Than Weight Loss

Written on October 7, 2013 at 9:46 am , by

Look at her go! Danni kicked major asphalt in Chicago this past July. (Photo courtesy of Danni Allen)

Written by editorial intern Gabriella Rello

Danni Allen proves it’s not so bad to be a loser. The season 14 winner of NBC’s The Biggest Loser shed an incredible 121 pounds during her 12-week stay on the show and gained something much greater in the process: a bright future.  “It was about winning a life that I never knew I could possibly have,” Allen says. A new life that includes half-marathons, triathlons and daily 10Ks. What’s next for the Loser-alum? Running her first 26.2 before her 26th birthday! We caught up with the speedy long-distance runner and chatted training. Here’s what she had to say:

What was your biggest motivation to lose weight?

The biggest thing for me was when my dad got sick in February of last year. He was actually rushed to the hospital and I get the call that no daughter wants to hear that says, “Bring the whole family in.” In my head, I was like, “If I keep following in his footsteps, that is going to be me at 50.” A miracle happened and he’s okay, but that was my “Aha” moment that I needed to change.

You’re running in the Chicago Marathon on October 13–was this always a long-term goal of yours?

Goodness, no! Before The Biggest Loser I thought running was stupid. I was like, “Who would do this? My knees hurt, my legs hurt; I can’t breathe!” When I got on the show, I knew I needed a goal beyond the finale. I told myself, “If you find something you love, then continue with it.” Running was one of the first things I found I loved, so I really wanted to follow through. In past seasons they’ve always run marathons. Our season didn’t get to because we were so short. I felt short-changed! I’m running with St. Jude now. It was really fun to start doing that.

How are you training for the race?

I’ve had to be pretty strict with it. It’s all about getting your miles in. If you talk to anyone who’s training for a marathon, they have one long run a week. My trainer wanted me to learn how to run on dead legs, so whatever my long run is, I’m running half of it the day before. On Sunday I ran 20 miles, so on Saturday I ran 10. I have an awesome running partner, too, and we turn our long runs into our gossip time. We won’t talk all week and then we’ll get it all out on the road. She’s turning 40 next year and her goal was to run a marathon before her birthday. Mine was to run my 26 at 26.

How do you get yourself excited for races?

I have two pump up songs: “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys and “My Songs Knows What You Did In The Dark” by Fall Out Boy. I just get into it and my head starts banging.

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Fit Blogger We Love: One Twenty Five

Written on July 19, 2012 at 3:54 pm , by

Liz conquered the Berlin Marathon, and made sure everyone knew her name while doing it!

If you’re looking for someone who lays everything out on the line, regardless of what other people are going to think of her, then you need to immediately click over to One Twenty Five. Liz, the writer behind this weight-loss blog, shares her uncensored thoughts, which is exactly what we love about her. Now if we could just pack up and visit her in Melbourne, life would be pretty swell, don’t you think?

On my fit life list: Drum roll please…an Ironman. I know it sounds ridiculous to say as, um, I’ve never biked more than a 5K or swam more than one kilometer. But (and this is a big but), I once dreamed of doing a full marathon when I was over 200 pounds and the mere thought of a 5K made my heart skip a beat. And guess what? I ran that full marathon. So I know it’s possible to dream big and accomplish something once deemed impossible.

I’m happiest when I’m: doing CrossFit or running. Wait, what? Did you really believe me? Let’s clarify that: I’m happiest when I just finished a CrossFit session or a run. The moment I stop my watch after a run I didn’t want to do, or the moment I fall to the ground to get my breath back after a CrossFit WOD (workout of the day), is always my favorite. They’re my happy, self high-five moments. It’s always a battle to get out there, but always so worth it when I’m done.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to is: Are you ready for this? I don’t actually listen to music when I run. Nope, I listen to super-duper-steamy-trashy romance novels. I found out when I get into peak training for a marathon, I can’t download music quick enough, so instead I listen to, “she felt his burning eyes…” They’re entertaining, cheap on iTunes and so silly that it’s easy to distract myself from the pain of a long run.

My “I Did It” moment: Since I decided not to be a couch potato and actually knock off some of my “bucket list” tasks, I have to admit I’ve managed to accomplish some pretty awesome things. Three full marathons, a month-long hike to Mt. Everest’s Base Camp, and a move to Melbourne, Australia, to name a few. But my favorite “I Did It moment” was, without a doubt, when I was running the last 50 meters of the Chicago Marathon. Going from obese to running a full marathon within a year is very emotional, and seeing that finish line was just incredibly overwhelming.

My motivation comes from: Knowing I am capable of more than I’ve done. Which yeah, I know sounds really corny, but I’ve decided I am no better or worse than anyone in this world, so why can’t I do all the awesome things out there? Exactly – I can.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email us at blog@fitnessmagazine.com.