On life and running: A conversation with Alisha Perkins
Alisha Perkins is a blogger, writer, and runner who is a mother to two girls, and wife to Glen Perkins (3 time All-Star Minnesota Twins closer). You may also know Alisha as a founder of the Fifteen’s 5k, a local charity race which benefits the PrairieCare Child and Family Fund.
Her new book, Running Home: Big-League Wife – Small-Town Story, hit stores in May  and details her love affair with the sport, her challenges with anxiety, and the beautiful way in which running has helped to heal and give balance to her life.
As someone who has also struggled with anxiety, I loved Alisha’s straight-forward and honest story and admire her willingness to open up about challenging, and often painful situations. As a runner, I loved reading her various race reports throughout the book, especially as she developed her running abilities and racing skills. Recently, Alisha was gracious enough to share some insight on her book, life, and running.
Many thanks, Alisha!
I love that you created the Fifteen’s 5k as a way to give back to the community and benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. How has the event evolved since its conception?
Thank you! It was really the brainchild of one of my long runs and I love being able to mix my passions for greater good. This year was our 5th year and we changed the beneficiary to the PrairieCare Child and Family Fund. I am the board vice president and am really excited about the way that they are going to change education and innovation in mental health care. We have been blessed that the race continues to grow and raise more money every year. This year we brought in some awesome new changes, two of the big ones being a new course and an after party starring GB Leighton.
In your book, you reference running as an outlet for your voice – what type of voice does running give you, and how does it continue to give you your voice?
Running gave me the self-confidence that I needed to step out of Glen’s shadow and be the person that I was meant to me. In finding myself I found my voice and wanted others to hear what I had to say. I found the conviction to speak my mind and be myself.
Much of the book details your many race experiences; how has your perspective changed on distance races (half marathon, marathon) since your first few races? What have you learned from your previous racing experiences?
With each race the possibility of running further became a reality. Each half marathon brought me a step closer to a full, then the full led to an ultra. I have learned that your body is capable of more than your mind would ever think is possible.
In the book you run many different races including a marathon, half marathons, 5ks, an obstacle course race, and even a relay race – which distance/type of race is your favorite and why?
I want to try to run more 5k’s some day – it is strange to think that I have only gone up in distance and never tried to go back down and go faster. That being said though, my favorite is the 10-mile. It seems like the perfect distance and is obtainable for even the most casual of runners.
You describe a few things you were doing to overcome anxiety, including running, therapy, and medication. Running seems to have been the most beneficial, why?
I wish I knew. I like to think that it is the release of adrenaline coupled with the endorphin high. I overproduce adrenaline in my body and so when the anxiety gets going it latches onto the adrenaline and ramps up my mind and gets my heart racing. If I run and deplete my adrenaline storage, it seems to stop the anxiety before it latches on because there is no adrenaline. That’s my best guess.
Several times you mention your struggle with calling yourself a “runner”. Why do you think this is? What does being called a runner mean to you?
I think a lot of people struggle with that word…to me it implies that I know what I am doing and that I must be really good. In reality, I am just learning by trial and error and trying to give it my best, and some days my best is still disappointing. Of course, if you run at all then you are a “runner”, but I think people think that if you use that term when defining yourself that you have to have the legs of Kara Goucher, the speed of Usain Bolt, and the knowledge of Bart Yasso… so it is a daunting term to throw out.
Finally, what running goals are you currently chasing? Is another marathon on the horizon?
I have a few goals in mind but am reluctant to share them in case I don’t achieve them… ask me again in October!
Thanks again to Alisha for the opportunity to read and share her story! Find her new book, Running Home: Big-League Wife – Small-Town Story online and wherever books are sold.