Gratitude for the good things helps ease the pain of the bad times
He said as rough as the path has been and as discouraged as he's felt in any single moment, he chooses to focus on that which goes well.
"XTERRA is where I thrive," he said. "Your competitors are your best friends. It's awesome; it's unreal. The lifestyle, the people you meet, the places you get to see. Some of the XTERRA races are in the most amazing places."
He recalls a race in the Philippines, in which athletes rode their bikes through back yards, down streets lined with cheering people and through the smells of the spectators cooking dinner.
"What a phenomenal race," he said. "If I could keep doing this the rest of my life, I would definitely die a happy man. It's taught me a lot of lessons in life. The lessons I've learned are very valuable. Just to appreciate being in the places because you might not get the opportunity again. It's such a roller-coaster ride."
That ride, he admits, is made easier because he has the support of his family back home. His parents insisted he get a college degree "so I had something to fall back on," he said. Allen enjoys teaching in the offseason and said it's the people he's met on his wild ride that have helped him navigate the rough stretches.
"The best advice I could give anyone is to never give up," he said simply. "Always try and turn a negative situation into a positive. If something gets you down, always try and get the positives out of it so you can move forward on your path of trying to reach and achieve your goals. If you do that, you'll always come out a winner in my book."
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