Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
- October 23, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 183: Stephanie Pennington, Creator of Project Finish
- October 16, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 182: Carly Gill, Olympic Trials Qualifier
- October 14, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 181: Carrie Tollefson BONUS EPISODE!
- October 9, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 180: Roberta Groner, 2:29 Marathoner, Nurse, & Mom of Three
- October 8, 2019 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 179: Janae Baron BONUS EPISODE!
Back On The Run
Blog? What blog?
Eeeeesh, I suck. I know. To think I used to write daily here…
But the absence is with good reason, you see.
Last summer, I abandoned this blog for weeks at a time because I was too sick and sad to write.
This time around, I’m neglectful of the internet because I’m out having fun, and actually living my life rather than constantly documenting it. Cheers to that.
But here I am, and things are good.
Really good, dare I say? Am I jinxing everything great that’s going on by putting in writing that “I’m happy and I feel joyous and even though I feel like I’m barely keeping my head above the proverbial water lately, I am fine with it?” I’m “excitedly busy,” as Brian used to encourage me to say (in lieu of “so stressed out, die”). I swear buried somewhere beneath a few layers of Velveeta and Nutella crepes, I have really defined abs, simply because of how much I’ve been laughing lately.
Again, I’ll cheers to that. You can cheers, too. I’m on a mojito kick, so let’s cheers with those. SOMEONE BRING MOJITO INGREDIENTS TO THE HEALTHY CHEESE PARTY, PLEASE. (The “healthy” part of that party being me; not, like, healthified cheese products. Also, I don’t eat Velveeta anymore because it was the last thing I ate before this latest horrid flare-up, and I never want to touch it again.)
A few exciting [maybe only to me] updates…
I have a niece!
She’s so F-ing perfect. I shouldn’t swear around her ever. Her name is Abigail Riley, and she was born on August 16. Little lady clocked in at a whopping 5 lbs. 4 oz. — bigger than Tyler when he was born!
I got to spend this past weekend in Beverly, MA, the lovely town where my brother, Michaela, Tyler, and Abby reside, and it was really wonderful. Exactly what I’ve been craving. I ran along the water…
…we took Tyler to the beach, and I let Tyler spray me with the hose after my runs (I will do anything to hear him laugh, no matter how cold, humiliating, or silly).
I also spent a lot of time just sitting and staring at my new niece. She does things like sleep and get the hiccups, so naturally I think she’s a perfect little baby genius.
Tyler is so good with her, and watching Ryan and Michaela take care of two children has officially terrified me and made me think I will never be capable of caring for another human life. Seems like a lot of work. I don’t know how all you people out there do it.
It feels so good to be able to train — like actually train — for a race. I haven’t fully trained for a race since my first marathon in 2011. I was sick in 2012, and rallied just in time to run (and PR at) the Manchester City Marathon, and I was sick again last year, and ran the New York City Marathon while still partially in flare-up mode.
Now, I’m fully invested in getting myself in some sort of shape to run the Steamtown Marathon on October 12. I’m really excited about this race. I tend to do well at smaller races, and Steamtown seems like the perfect fit for me. Also, my two most favorite coworkers told me this week that they’re coming up for the race, and that’s just the coolest. My other most favorite coworker is running the race. More on that person in a few paragraphs.
I decided to run Steamtown just a few days before registration opened and, soon after, filled up. Yay me for being on top of shit and getting a spot. It’s a net downhill course and apparently the spectators are top-notch. I invited Abigail to come watch, and her response was that she took a huge poop. Unclear whether that means she’s in the market for a teeny tiny cowbell, or if she’ll pass. Stay tuned.
My first move after registering for the race was getting myself some sort of coach or training plan. As much as I had been enjoying racking up the slow, leisurely junk miles, I knew I needed someone else to hold me accountable and to actually make me do structured speedwork for the first time in [yikes] 2+ years.
Enter Coach John.
I met John Honerkamp through November Project. He’s one of the New York City chapter’s co-founders, and I was basically like, “Hey, you’re a coach! You seem nice, and not bad to look at. What’s your deal? Are you into tough love? Lots of individual attention? Are you a total dick?” His response was basically, “I can do the tough love thing, and I’m not a total dick.” And then he hooked me up with a training plan.
The plan is through New York Road Runners’ virtual training system, so John is technically my e-coach? Virtual coach? Drone Coach? But I see him twice a week at the NP workouts, so we’ll do a little check-in there, and he did two of my long runs with me, all the way to Brooklyn and back, with November Project workouts mixed in.
I’m following the 12-week training plan spot-on, and all is going well so far. I’m glad I’m able to keep doing November Project workouts in addition to training, and my volume is getting pretty high. Two weeks ago I completed my highest mileage week ever: 66 miles! That’s a hell of a lot for me. I was shocked at how well my body responded to the mileage, and at how good I felt after this past week’s 20-miler.
Enter my coworkers. Specifically Coworker Paul.
They all think I can run faster than I’m running right now. I’m not so sure.
My workouts are going well, but I’m not in the shape I used to be in, and that’s hard to accept sometimes. When I was training for the Hamptons Marathon three years ago, I was in the best shape of my life. I was running more than I ever had, and I was strength training and spinning regularly. Now I feel flabby and I don’t lift weights because I don’t have a gym membership (excuses, I know, blah blah blah blah blah, haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate), and I don’t really know what my “regular” paces are for most runs.
I felt that I was pushing myself a reasonable amount during the first few weeks of training. But Coworker Paul The Ultramarathoner insisted I push harder. And I insisted he wake up at 4:30 AM, meet me in Central Park (absolutely nowhere near where he lives), and pace me for my interval workout. And he did. And it went awesome.
And then this week, Coworker Paul drove his car (who has a car in NYC? make friends with those people) to pick me up at 5:30 AM, drove me to Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx, and paced me for my first-ever track workout. That also went awesome. And VCP is amazing. And afterward, there were chocolate chip pancakes! Do you want to come run with us?
I am loving a few things about this. I am loving pushing myself. It feels awesome to be out of breath at the end of an interval, and I’m hoping to see my paces drop as the marathon gets closer.
I’m also really loving that I can comfortably run with other people! Before our track workout, I did have to make a semi-urgent bolt into a nearby Burger King for the bathroom, because I was feeling awful that morning, but otherwise most of my workouts have been stop-free, and I even did an 18-mile run a few weeks ago without making a single stop! That’s been unheard of in my life for the past two years.
I can’t do a single pull-up or chin-up.
Apparently everyone else I work with can. I found this out the other day when everyone got in on a little friendly chin-up game action, and I couldn’t even hang and hold my body weight. I got the giggles and fell right down. It was pathetic. So weak. Also, when is the rest of the world out practicing pull-ups and chin-ups? Is it while I’m sitting on my couch staring at my to-do list while simultaneously watching DJ have a stairmaster freakout-fest on “Full House?” Yeah? That’s when the practice happens? OK.
Sometimes I cry because I feel really happy and it scares me that this may not last forever.
I realize how stupid that sounds and that I have the maturity of a 7-year-old whose brother just chewed the feet off her favorite Barbie (seriously, Ryan, why? so rude). But after being down and out for much of 2012 and 2013, I’m so happy to be too busy and active to actually get shit done. And I realize the cheesiness that comes with me being like “I feel so luckyyyyy,” but I really do. Gratitude is not lost on me.
I did a headstand, and it was awesome.
Tripod headstand. And then I didn’t make it back to yoga for two weeks, so I kind of can’t do it anymore and I’m re-scared. Upside down = very likely I will tip over and snap my neck. Practice makes headstands, and not going to yoga makes you weak and lazy and stressy.
I love running on trails.
I think I want to do a lot more of this in the future.
That study drug I’m getting? It kicks ass.
It better get approved or whatever needs to happen, because this stuff is legit. The change in my health has been so drastic between today and six months ago. Thank god. But also, thank science. And thank my doctor, because he’s training for his first marathon right now, and he’s so excited, and my appointments (three shots every four weeks) are so fun now because he tells me about his runs and how he’s sore and tired and hungry and I love him.
I just like that I can leave my apartment. And do stuff. And run. And see people.
I’ve gotten close with a lot of new people this year.
Again, with needing to use the word “lucky.” Sometimes I wonder how certain people came into my life. Like those people you just click with right away, you know? My world feels filled with them right now, and that’s so cool. I feel like I have so many possible “in case of emergency” people.
I ordered a pair of white pants one week before Labor Day.
Idiot. Honey would never approve. She’s 90 years old and is pretty chill and lax about a lot of things. But white pants after Labor Day isn’t one of them.
Finally, a question for you, if you’re still here…
Weekly training recaps: Totally interesting and yay data, or skippable and kinda boring and the only person who cares about my splits is me? I’m genuinely curious.
Thanks. I love you. Bye.
P.S. I just wrote a whole post without using the words “Crohn’s disease” (this P.S. part doesn’t count), so cheers again. Who’s drunk? Mojitosssss.