Yep. Just this. 

The latest installment of our athlete profiles features Alice Laussade; a comedian (not technically but she could be), a writer, a non-runner turned runner, and a Meat Fighting fundraiser doing huge things to help those living with Multiple Sclerosis through the power of bikes, beer, sausage and brisket; not to mention offering up huge support network of positive, energetic people sharing the same passion. So, read on. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, and you’ll want to do some good in the world.

Kelly: Alice! Thanks for taking the time. Tell me a bit about yourself; you live in Dallas, did you grow up there?

Alice: So yeah, I’m Alice. From Dallas. Born and raised here, went to UT in Austin for college, and then moved back pretty much entirely because of El Fenix pralines.

Kelly: Let’s start with Alice the Runner – what prompted you to get into running?

Alice: The aforementioned pralines.

No, actually, I had a bit of a bump health-wise after I had my son in 2013, and I swear my body was just trying to reset and a bunch of stuff was wonky—I had to go to a bunch of doctors to figure out what was going on, and I suddenly also had this intense anxiety.

At some point, I figured out that when I would ride my bike, I would feel better. It helped a ton with the anxiety. So I did that for a while, and it was great, but there was this one day in 2016 when I went out for a walk/run on a whim. I remember seeing some ad for a couch to 5k program and I was like, “I wonder if I could be a yogger.”

I had done a half marathon as a dare about 7 years before, and it was terrible. I was convinced I would never run again. Runners were stupid. Stupid dummies. Looking back on it is hilarious: it was the Austin Half Marathon, and I trained for it only on a treadmill. Max distance I trained to was 9 miles. So, yeah. It was dumb. I remember after that race, I couldn’t walk up a flight or stairs to my room at my friend’s house, where all my stuff was. I just started crying at the base of the stairs until my husband went up there and got my pacifier or my bottle of Jack Daniels or whatever crap I was whining about needing at the time.

Anyhow, I went for this yog around the neighborhood and I felt so great after. I immediately texted my sister-in-law, who is a badass runner, and she was so supportive. She hooked me up with a training plan and I just started running all the time. I ran in the heat, in the rain— didn’t care. I did the Dallas Half Marathon later that year, and finished strong and happy, thanks to her guidance. And I’ve been running my face off ever since.

Kelly: OK Alice the Writer; do you still write? Little fact that you won the James Beard Award for Humor for “The Cheap Bastard’s Ultimate Guide to Eating like a Total Cheap Bastard in Dallas.”

Alice: Yeah, my most recent piece was for a local fancy pants Dallas magazine about a time when my driver’s license fell into a porto potty and I fished it out of there. Yep. Did that. And you’ve hugged me. So you’re gross now.

Kelly: HOW did you fish it out (or do I not want to know)?!

Alice: In short, very quickly. In long, see here

Kelly: OK so tell us a bit about Meat Fight; the vision, where it has gone, where you see it going.

Alice: I’m the CEO of Meat Fight, Inc., which is the best job title ever. The other day, I was at a happy hour for High-Powered Fancy Dallas Ladies and halfway through, some nice woman leaned in and said, “I’m sorry— does it say ‘Meat Fight’ underneath your name on your name tag?” I said, “Yep, sure does,” and chugged my Miller Lite at her. Then she asked how I got a Miller Lite at a wine tasting. I told her to shush.

Meat Fight is a nonprofit built to help people living with Multiple Sclerosis be unstoppable. The way we do that is through the power of barbecue, whiskey and beer. We host ridiculous food events throughout the year to raise funds to support research through the National MS Society, and to support original programs we have created that help people living with MS tackle endurance challenges like BikeMS (150-mile bike events), the Dallas Marathon and the 70.3 Ironman in Galveston.

Recently, all of our programs went national, and they’re growing like crazy. Ultimately, we want a cure for MS. In the meantime, we want to help as many people kick ass as possible. It’s really cool to see how many people that is becoming, thanks to our sponsors and to our followers.

Kelly: How did Meat Fight start, wasn’t it just a backyard bbq?

Alice: Meat Fight was just a backyard kegger at my house. We had gone to a friend’s house and he made us really great brisket, and we are lazy and selfish and we wanted to have that brisket again, but without having to leave the comfort of our own home. So we sat down over whiskeys and tried to come up with a name for a barbecue competition that would inspire him to participate. “Sausage Blast?” Too weird. “Brisket Bash?” Too violent. “Meat Fight?” Holy hell, we’ve got a party.

About a year later, a family member was diagnosed with MS. So we made the BBQ party into a fundraiser so we could meet our minimums to ride in Bike MS.

Today, Meat Fight, Inc. is a nonprofit and we host several events in a year to raise funds. And we’ve created original programs that directly benefit people living with MS right now.

That little backyard Meat Fight event has grown from about 40 people into 1300 attendees that raised $225,000 last year to help people in one way or another. Meat Fight is still a family— we’ve just grown a little bit since 2010.

Kelly:  I know you also ride bikes, clearly for a cause most of the time; since having found running, do you like one more than the other – and in what ways?

Alice: I love running. I can’t believe you just made me say that, but I do. I think it’s the intensity of it. I’ve never ridden a bike out in the world to the intensity level that I run. I’m too risk averse. I’m always, like, looking for a blinker on my bike to signal. After years of riding, I still can’t reach for a water bottle out of fear of wobble, and I can’t do that thing where you ride downhill without screaming your favorite Catholic prayers. “HOLYMARYMOTHEROFGOOOOOOOOOHNO!!”

I don’t run to win races. I run to get my heart rate to reach that What The Shit level that it doesn’t when I ride the bike. It’s that level that helps me with anxiety. It tunes everything else out. I can’t worry about anything if I’m too busy cussing my coach for putting Hill repeats on the schedule.

You just put them on there right now didn’t you. Dammit.

Kelly: Talk to me a bit about how it feels to have changed over the past year ‘as a runner’, since I know you hesitate to call yourself that… but you are.

Alice: The other day, an old man on a bike who has been out at the lake since the lake was born said to me, “Nice job, Runner!” And since then, I feel like it’s ok to call myself a runner.

The gains I’ve made over the past year have been insanely amazing! I had a 21-minute PR on a course that whipped my butt the year before. And another PR before that at the Austin half marathon: I walked up freakin’ stairs after the race no problem, y’all. #goals

I’ve lost 30 lbs, gained a preference for strawberry kiwi GU, and a love of post-run Old Fashioneds.

Kelly:  Any goals you care to put out to the world – with sport, or otherwise?  (I guess here, you can talk about what really makes you ‘tick’).

Alice: I always try to have something on the calendar. I learned that from my brother. It motivates me so much more than anything else.

And also, I don’t have a gym membership, so I have to run outside no matter what. I have to have that kind of “no excuse” moment built into all of this in order to do it consistently. So that means if it’s hot, I run. If it’s raining, I run. It’s not a choice, it’s a given. So I don’t even think about it. There was one time I got caught in a thunderstorm and called it when the sky turned green and my phone lit up with a tornado warning. But other than that, if I missed a workout it was because of my own dumb ass and nothing else.

As far as goals go, I want to get better. I want to get faster. I want to run on a rainbow and slide down the other side into a rocks glass filled with a nice whiskey.

Kelly: That sounds wonderful. I wanna join; I like whiskey and rainbows. Where do these thoughts originate from in your brain? ?Thanks for taking the time Alice from Dallas! #GoMeat

After Austin 1/2 Marathon 2018 with Brother Jim 🙂 

Start of MS Dallas ride; look at all those Meat Fight jerseys!

Alice from Dallas – 3 yrs ago

After Dallas 1/2 (note ‘name’) thinking “Damn her, I totally love running!”