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The Weekend That Taught Me How To Prioritize
This weekend was everything I needed. I didn’t blog. I didn’t Tweet. If you posted something cool on Facebook, I know nothing about it. I never once checked my To Do list, or even thought about it, and I didn’t set an alarm all weekend.
And in the most shocking news, I also didn’t run. Not on Saturday. Not on Sunday.
Big deal, right? Most people in the world don’t feel the need to wake up at 6 am on Saturdays — and Sundays — to run for hours.
But that’s what I like to do. So when that doesn’t happen, for whatever reason, I pretty much always freak out and go nuts and feel guilty. It’s one of my worst habits.
There’s this whole Crohn’s/colitis thing going on with my body right now, though, so taking a mere two days off running wasn’t just good for me — it was absolutely necessary.
Rather than bore you with a whole rundown of my weekend, I’ll try to make it quick and bullet-pointed.
- I went to work. I did not like being there. I felt awful all day.
- I attempted a spinning class after work. Every time the teacher guided us into a standing climb position, I thought my stomach was going to shrivel up or explode or do something very terrible. I survived the class, but I don’t think it did me much good. When will I ever learn to rest?
- I made a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. Ambitious, I know. I burnt it and set off my apartment’s smoke detector for a solid five minutes. You’re welcome for the excitement, neighbors.
- Vacation day! I took the day off so Brian and I could drive out to Cape Cod to spend the weekend with my parents, my brother (Ryan) and my sister-in-law (Michaela). They planned this whole trip as a celebration back while I was training for my marathon: we were celebrating my 26.2 miles of fun, my mom an dad’s 30th wedding anniversary and Ryan’s 28th birthday (today!).
- I went for a run in Central Park before we left. It was not lovely. Nor was it fun. I ran 5 miles, slowly, and due to sheer exhaustion and total lack of nutrients I had to take a few discouraging walking breaks. I also made many bathroom stops.
- I finally gave in and started taking the Prednisone (steroids) my doctor prescribed me. Within a few hours, I swear, I could feel the positive effects. Healing time!
- I successfully learned all (meh, most of) the words to Beyoncé’s “Countdown” song over the course of the long drive. Brian does not seem to agree that I have the voice of an angel.
- We gambled. During the drive, this magical thing appeared:
- Why yes, we will stop outside Newport, RI, to hang out with some sluts. Slots. And we won big. Big = $12.
- We were the first to arrive at our little Cape Cod villa: a 3-bedroom (and, yay, 3-bathroom) house at Ocean’s Edge Resort in Brewster, MA.
- Brian and I didn’t want to sit around waiting for my family, so we ate. And drank. And, miraculously, the wine didn’t kill my stomach. OK, it did a little bit. But it was good.
- My parents, Ryan and Michaela finally arrived and we all did some more drinking. I had a dance party.
- Bike riding.
- Tennis. Fun fact: My entire family sucks at tennis. But we still played. Many times.
- The boys golfed. The girls got massages. And I went in the hot tub. We also explored the resort’s pretty sights and the nearby beach.
- We ate and drank all night. And played games. Girls are better than boys at Catchphrase. Just saying.
- We sang Happy Birthday to Ryan, even though his birthday cake had no candles.
- I woke up feeling like death. This should come as no surprise to me, considering the mass quantities of unhealthy/delicious things I gorged on all day Saturday.
- We did some more bike riding and tennis playing.
- We did some more exploring.
- We all eventually said goodbye and I got sad. I flat out told Brian I didn’t want to come back to the city. All my stress seems to live in NYC. Yes, I love it here and I know I’m lucky to live in this very cool place. But getting away and being around my family was perfect. I didn’t want the weekend to end.
So this is where I started getting crazy. And remember, crazy by Ali standards is very, very mild by all other peoples’ standards.
Normally after a weekend away, I want to get right in the car and drive back, without stopping, so I can return to…what?
But Brian and I were all, “Let’s not end the weekend right away. Let’s do something fun.”
So we drove through Newport, and it was the perfect way to wind down from the weekend.
We drove along Ocean Drive and I put imaginary deposits down on all the mansions. We also took a tour of the Breakers Mansion. I didn’t put down a deposit there, but I mean, I’d live there if I had to.
Before we hit the road again, we decided to really wrap up the weekend with a seafood dinner on the water…during sunset.
Life is good.
We went all-out at dinner, which to me means starting with a cup of whipped cream with some hot chocolate in it, and then eating a 2-pound lobster.
I didn’t get home until 10 last night. Normally that would stress me out. But this weekend I realized that I need to refocus a bit, and really stick to my priorities.
I will never get my email inbox down to zero. I will never have time to do everything I want to do. There will always be errands to run, lists to make and people to please. There will be many, many more days in the future when I get to go for a long run on a Saturday morning.
But I won’t always get the chance to spend a weekend with my family, away from everything else. And that, to me, is the most important thing right now.
And I did return to running — this morning I covered 6 miles in Central Park. They weren’t my fastest miles and my stomach still isn’t close to being back to normal, as again evidenced by the multiple urgent bathroom stops. But I’m getting there.
This weekend I learned that it’s really not a big deal if I don’t run every day. I love running. But when I don’t feel well? I shouldn’t push it. And when there are better ways to spend my time, running can take a back burner. I’ll always have running, I hope. I need to learn to relax and I need to learn to chill out. I’m pretty sure my health will thank me.
Lastly, to my big brother, Ryan, here’s wishing you a very Happy Birthday! Thank you for being the best big brother I know. Thank you for beating up CJ Phelps that time he pushed me on the playground in fifth grade, and thank you for sharing my deathly fear of eye drops.
I hope your day is perfect!
I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!