Allison is record-breaking pole vaulter. A graduate of UC Berkeley where she competed on the track team, Allison is fearless and strives for perfection in her technique.
The One X Ten Interview:
1. Where are you from and where do you currently call home?
I am from Newport Beach, CA. I currently live in Phoenix, AZ to train with a track & field training group called ALTIS.
2. How did you get started in your sport and when did you realize you wanted to pursue it professionally?
I started pole vaulting because I was a gymnast for around ten years and wanted to find something to pursue after I "retired" from gymnastics. Several of the people I asked for advice recommended pole vaulting because gymnasts tend to make good pole vaulters. I realized I wanted to pursue it professionally when I realized that I truly enjoy being out at the track every day and look forward to developing my training in every way possible.
3. What is the biggest setback you’ve suffered as an athlete?
Pole vaulting can be a very mental event within track and field. My biggest setback is not an injury or any external factor; my biggest setback has been the fear, ruts, or mental blocks that accompany pole vaulting. That being said, I also would not call it "suffering." Like most things that have been in my life, those trying times have taught me about myself and have given me valuable feedback to work with throughout all aspects of my training.
Many track and field athletes training professionally don't HAVE to be out there- track and field lacks the money and flash that some of the bigger sports have. We do this because we love it. It is our own investment. It's always fun when you're doing well, but on those days when your head's down low, you have to ask yourself if the result was the only thing you were looking for or if you were happy with the process that got you there.
4. Best piece of advice from women starting out in your sport?
Be patient, and don't be dependent on gratification from winning or jumping a personal best. That can't happen every day. Don't set your goals or limits in stone; you may surprise yourself with what you can do.
5. What’s the biggest misconception people have about being a female athlete?
People notice that results (time run, height jumped, distance thrown) or the style of play may differ, and they translate that to an idea that women have less talent, are not as tough or aggressive, are not as mentally and emotionally resilient--that we are inferior athletes-- when that is nowhere near reality. I think that misconception will continue to die down, though.
6. Whom in your sport do you admire the most and why?
I admire everyone I train with right now. We have around 100 athletes out here in Phoenix and almost every one has made some sort of sacrifice to be here. I've never been in such a positive, focused, encouraging environment. It's changed my own outlook on training.
7. What’s in your gym/workout bag?
Workout journal (to stay on top of progress, injury, self-talk, sleep, etc.);
smoothie to sip on throughout practice (usually a mixture of whey protein, spinach, berries, almond milk, almond butter); sunscreen;
pole vault spikes (the shoes we wear on the runway); tape (for gripping the poles); GoPro; Himalayan pink salt (good for hydration);
yoga mat (for stretching and general strength circuits)
Sprouted grain toast with avocado, olive oil, sea salt, & red pepper; scrambled eggs; coffee.
9. Favorite workout or workout tip?
Other than the days we pole vault (which usually are the most fun), I love our sprint/speed development workouts; they're tough and they take a lot out of you, but they make me feel strong and powerful. Outside of the track, yoga or rock climbing.
10. We define “The Wonder” as the state of reaching the truly extraordinary—the achievements that most people, including you at one point, could not fathom. What is your Wonder and what has it taken—or what will it take—to reach it?
My Wonder would not necessarily be a specific height or result; but more so the idea of consistently staying on top of the fears that can come with pole vaulting. I feel like many good things could happen at that point.