Back On The Run

Date: August 27, 2014 at 10:51 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 41

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.

DOESN'T THIS LOOK LIKE A PAINTING?! I am yelling with excitement! Should I try to sell this??? Yes, probably.

DOESN’T THIS LOOK LIKE A PAINTING?! I am yelling with excitement! Should I try to sell this??? Yes, probably.

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.

Typical.

Typical.

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.)

I wonder how many pithy sunrise captions I've attempted to write since I started this blog. So obsessed.

I wonder how many pithy sunrise captions I’ve attempted to write since I started this blog. So obsessed.

A few exciting [maybe only to me] updates…

I have a niece!

Throwing a little shade to the paparazzi. She was exhausted from all the growing and sleeping and pooping.

Throwing a little shade to the paparazzi. She was exhausted from all the growing and sleeping and pooping.

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. β€” bigger than Tyler when he was born!

My BFF Neighbor Michael, you know her? I talk about her a lot. She made Abby this little headband. So cute.

My BFF Neighbor Michael, you know her? I talk about her a lot. She made Abby this little headband. So cute.

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…

A few years ago, I declared [to no one], "I will always live very near water. I need to be able to see it and smell it as often as possible." Just FYI.

A few years ago, I declared [to no one], “I will always live very near water. I need to be able to see it and smell it as often as possible.” Just FYI.

…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).

LOOK AT HIS FUNNY DINOSAUR HAT HAHAHA. I bought it for him.

LOOK AT HIS FUNNY DINOSAUR HAT HAHAHA. I bought it for him.

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.

Insta-besties!

Insta-besties!

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.

OMG SO MANY KIDS SO MANY DIAPERS.

OMG SO MANY KIDS SO MANY DIAPERS.

I’m training!

It feels so good to be able to train β€” like actually train β€” 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.

This is how I feel about running and training and life in general right now.

This is how I feel about running and training and life in general right now.

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.

Coach John Honerkamp is second from the left. I am on the far left. Hi!!!

Coach John Honerkamp is second from the left. I am on the far left. Hi!!!

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.

Running to Brooklyn with Coach John Honerkamp and friends!

Running to Brooklyn with Coach John Honerkamp and friends! If you’ve never watched the sunrise from the Brooklyn Bridge, you obviously should. Tomorrow.

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.

I'm in the tiger suit. Coach John Honerkamp is in the mom jean stretch capris. This was during a November Project outing that involved a four-mile run to a bar, and some planking and burpees along the way. I straight refused to put my dainty hands on the ground in the middle of Madison Avenue, so I planked on his ankles. Plankled? Let's make that happen!

I’m in the tiger suit. Coach John Honerkamp is in the mom jean stretch capris. This was during a November Project outing that involved a four-mile run to a bar, and some planking and burpees along the way. I straight refused to put my dainty hands on the ground in the middle of Madison Avenue, so I planked on his ankles. Plankled? Let’s make that happen! My hair is really long right now.

Enter my coworkers. Specifically Coworker Paul.

They all think I can run faster than I’m running right now. I’m not so sure.

Hey, here's some data. I did a decent job pushing myself during this workout. It was a warm-up of some distance, then a marathon-ish pace mile, then some recovery, and then some faster miles or something, and then another marathon-y pace mile, and chill-out time. I loved it.

Hey, here’s some data. I did a decent job pushing myself during this workout. It was a warm-up of some distance, then a marathon-ish pace mile, then some recovery, and then some faster miles or something, and then another marathon-y pace mile, and chill-out time. I loved it. Pretty sure a 7:22 mile is my fastest mile ever. I was on a slight downhill for part of it, though, so do with that what you will.

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.

"Strength training" these days = knee-style push-ups with a little added weight. Did you really have to bring your book with you onto my back, Tyler? That seems unnecessary.

“Strength training” these days = knee-style push-ups with a little added weight. Did you really have to bring your book with you onto my back, Tyler? That seems unnecessary.

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.

This is what very early morning training sessions look like in Central Park. Deadly, basically. And kind of terrifying.

This is what very early morning training sessions look like in Central Park. Deadly, basically. And kind of terrifying.

I loved this workout so much.

I loved this workout so much.

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?

The workout was warm-up + 8 x 400m at whatever something pace + 1 mile at marathon pace or whatever + cool-down. I told Paul to "go and I'll follow." We are not allowed to talk during the workout portion, which I find sad. But apparently if I'm "chatty," I'm not working hard enough. Iron Fist Paul.

The workout was warm-up + 8 x 400m at whatever something pace + 1 mile at marathon pace or whatever + cool-down. I told Paul to “go and I’ll follow.” We are not allowed to talk during the workout portion, which I find sad. But apparently if I’m “chatty,” I’m not working hard enough. Iron Fist Paul.

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.

If you're having a hard time "becoming a morning runner"...here ya go.

If you’re having a hard time “becoming a morning runner”…here ya go.

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.

Grateful that my greatest friend lives next door and is available for unannounced early morning hair braiding sessions.

Grateful that my greatest friend lives next door and is available for unannounced early morning hair braiding sessions. She calls this a “Crown Braid” and I called it “my hairdo for the next four days.”

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.

Bethany says it's all about the "shoulder integration."

Bethany says it’s all about the “shoulder integration.”

I love running on trails.

I think I want to do a lot more of this in the future.

Look at all that splendor. So lush.

Look at all that splendor. So lush.

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.

My company puts on an annual 10-mile race in Prospect Park, and I was working it and Ashley and Dori ran it. We took this cute picture afterward. I am in my standard work attire.

My company puts on an annual 10-mile race in Prospect Park, and I was working it and Ashley and Dori ran it. We took this cute picture afterward. I am in my standard work attire.

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.

This is Lucy. RAWR.

This is Lucy. RAWR.

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.

This is Honey! We threw her 90th birthday party in New York City. She grew up in Astoria.

This is Honey! We threw her 90th birthday party in New York City. She grew up in Astoria.

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.

41 Responses to "Back On The Run"

I’m happy for you! I love your NP tiger costume-better than bedtime was so fun! I am thinking I want a virtual coach for marathon training next year. I clearly need to make it up to NP New York! I too want to run on trails more-it’s way different than what I’m used to. All of my friends think I’m faster than I am I think, haha. Cheers to being happy!

I like weekly training recaps!! I find numbers and data interesting though . . .

66 miles in one week after just recovering from a crazy sick year WHAT? You are insane/I want to be just like you. Also thank you for clarifying what you meant by Healthy Cheese Party. I was worried it was going to be healthy cheese.

HEALTHY CHEESE IS NOT INVITED TO THE PARTY.

Brittney C says: August 27, 2014 at 11:40 am

Hey! I love your recaps for running! Also, what app do you use to get the split times/how do you divide the splits according to the shorter runs than a mile? I’m trying to find an app that can help me with that now for my speed interval trainings!!

AND YAY FOR FEELING SO MUCH BETTER!!

I upload my splits using Garmin Connect, and then just take a screen shot of the splits to upload here as images. (My watch is the Garmin 110.) To divide the splits mid-run, you hit the lap button on your watch.

ALI I AM SO EXCITED FOR YOU! I love your enthusiasm and your positive attitude. You’ve been through a lot and it is so nice to see you back to your happy self.

I’d love to see weekly workout recaps!

PS. Mojitos are glorious. Suddenly I need one now and it’s only 9:06AM. This will be a long day.

I want to hug you. Thank you for saying such nice things. Let’s get mojitos together ASAP.

LOVE your positivity!! Am super impressed with your before dawn running adventures. GO ALI!

Also I am pro-weekly training recaps.

Ali, I am super happy for you and that everything is going well! Looking forward to hearing about your training!

best post ever

Such a great post. And you are seriously kicking some major training ass!

I like training recaps! But maybe because that is the only post I really have time to ever write πŸ™‚

Your funny! So glad things are working out for you these days! I like training recaps – numbers, numbers, numbers give me all the numbers. I don’t know why I like to know training paces about people I’ve never met, but I do! Perhaps it motivates me to get off my booty and lose the rest of this baby weight!

I am so so so happy for you!!! Life IS good again! Yes to the training posts. I am running Chicago the same day as your marathon, knowing you are able to run makes me happy you will be in my thoughts that day!

Lynn Carlson says: August 27, 2014 at 4:06 pm

YAY! Great post, and YES to data, and YES to normal stuff too… Actually, I would like even more data but I am weird like that! I actually have a marathon the same day and have been kinda slack lately on my runs. I was on top of it until travelling the last two weeks, and now on my runs, my stride feels quite foreign… I definitely need to incorporate more speed work! GAH!

Your niece us sooooooooooo cute! I’m so glad things are going well for you. We’re (12 week old Henry and I) still don’t have a “schedule” that allows for sunrise runs, wahhhhh I miss them! Your pictures are like therapy.

Ali, long time reader, coming out of lurkdom, but its so nice to read such a positive post and to hear that the drug is working! I am very happy for you. I like reading the workout recaps (a lot) as it helps me see what type of workouts work , etc as you progress. I hope you are doing easy runs too though! Anyways, I did Steamtown in 2012 and you can read my recap here: http://www.therightfits.com/2012/10/fits-do-race-reviews-steamtown-marathon.html

Scott Mullen says: August 27, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Just found your blog. I grew up in Manchester, NH. so it was nice seeing you ran the marathon there. Funny blog. Keep writing and running!

– Scott

Yeah to happiness and the word “lucky”! I don’t know about the weekly recaps. To be honest, sometimes it scares me more than anything else because I feel like I am not doing enough compared to this or that person. Also, 66 miles in a week?! I am training for my first marathon right now and never reach that kind of mileage in my training plan… and now, I am scared!

Blogger weekly training recaps = my biggest guilty pleasure. Creepy. But actually they help when I do them myself, so I’m all for them! Archiving win!

Also, November Project! 66 miles! Speed! Try and stop my exclamation points for you, just TRY.

<3

HOT DAMN to you and your 66 miles. That is insane. The good kind of insane. And weekly training recaps are good! Also this is the part where I RSVP for the chocolate chip pancakes and the mojitos. COUNT.ME.IN.

I am so happy to hear you are doing well. I think you look awesome! Congrats on the newest family member, and yay for co-workers and coaches (and friends) who believe in you. You are indeed lucky.

Firstly…congratulations on the niece, she is gorgeous! I can’t fathom having two children either…we stopped at one for that very reason!

Ref weekly training recaps…yes, I like them. I am not fussed about the data charts but I like to know what people did and what went well/badly!

I love those braids!

Great post! Your doctor sounds like the perfect fit.

YES to weekly training recaps and YES to that pretty braid. I would have worn my hair like that for 4 days too.

I love reading splits and run data..my own, other people’s…keep ’em coming! Also, I’m really thankful you weren’t talking about “healthy cheese”. I don’t even know what that would be and I don’t want to find out. Regular cheese all the way!

christine says: August 28, 2014 at 10:54 pm

my favorite are the pictures and captions and punnies. i fast forward through the splits and scary looking Excel type spreadsheet stuff. But love your blog no matter what and so happy that you are feeling well. More pics of you and Brian. and omg, dying over the dude’s mom jean capris. no no no, a thousand times no.

I love this post. You’re just awesome. Also the pacifier is bigger than Abigail’s face. That’s hilarious. I also love that your hair is long enough to braid crown. It makes you fancy. But… you already know.

Yes to recaps… You’re my current hope I’ll run again (totally different problems but you weren’t and now you are… I’m not not maybe someday I will…)

I prefer fewer Healthy Posts to more Sick Posts.

Also, I went to November Project today, for the first time ever! We did knee-ups and assisted pull-ups on the Traveling Rings in Riverside Park and it was hard and scary. But I didn’t fall on my face in the sand, so in the end it was a good workout.

I don’t think you were there, but I don’t know you. Maybe you were the girl who was doing flips on the rings.

So sad I missed you at the workout!! I rarely miss NP, but I was heading out of town and had to get my long run in that morning instead. I hope you come back!!

I loveee your recaps! I pretty much love everything you right. You do know you’re hilarious right! I love it! I’m interested in what kind of training you do for running. I’m just getting into running seriously and have no idea what I’m doing!!

I’m not much of a runner myself but reading about your running adventures makes me want to wake up at 5 am and go running in Central Park! I live on the UES too and in the 2 years I’ve been here, I have yet to take advantage of the closeness of the park and east river for super early morning workouts! I’m always afraid I’ll encounter a creeper πŸ˜‰

You and me are kicking CD’s ass right now!!! I’ve been feeling great the last couple of months thanks to 6mp and Humira, and starting running again a month ago! I am still running much, much less than you are, as I’m still relatively new to the running world, but I’m so happy doing it! And I feel like I have a hard time feeling anything but happy since getting out of my long flare. Like, I feel guilty when my boyfriend is stressed out and unhappy because I don’t think I physically have the ability to be anything but cheerful right now. And “I’m so sorry your job is so stressful right now.” seems a lot less sincere when I can’t stop smiling. πŸ˜›

I totally get the crying because you’re so happy and know it won’t last forever. That’s the rough thing about CD. At some point, it’s going to come back and we’ll be suffering and in pain again. There’s no way we’ll be lucky enough to be in remission the rest of our lives. And that sucks. So I guess that just makes our remissions that much sweeter, right? If nothing else, CD has made me way more grateful for my life, especially during the pain-free days.

I skip all your numbers, but it’s not a big deal that they’re there. And I think it’s cute how much you love them. πŸ™‚

YES to weekly recaps! It helps remind me that there are real people who can run seven minute miles without dying and that I should probably try harder

I’m really happy for you! Like you, I was in the best shape of my life just before the first flare and I am trying to get back to that, I just need to let fatigue know of my plans. πŸ˜‰

Keep posting chica! I have been in two of the worst flare ups since I was diagnosed. One in February that ended mid march and once that’s lasted for two months and just landed me in the hospital for 5 days. My mind set has been HORRIBLE and makes everything else horrible, but knowing it can get better and I will hopefully feel better and be able to run again w/o having a panic attack about where the porta potties are or if I get around the 3 mile loop is there really time to make it to the next rest stop..is inspiring. ( I can write really long run on sentences right now if I want to because the extremely high and stupid tapper dose of prednisone that i’m on says so πŸ˜‰ ) I’m so happy you are feeling better!!! Nothing sucks more than feeling like you suck in both the health and mental department!!! soo yahhhhh to long runs and training again and hopefully I can follow the same deal soon! Wanna smuggle me some of this miracle drug?!

Yay data, and yay you! Watching your comeback has been inspiring and your blog makes me giggle. Seriously, you could post what you ate for lunch and I’d still be happy to read it.

That drug BETTER get approved.

Hey Ali! I was planning on running the Kiawah Island Marathon in December but had to cancel that marathon. I have both celiac and lymphocytic colitis. And this summer the colitis flared so badly that I could not run the distance or the pace. But the good news is I am back on meds and a major diet change and am feeling much better. So much better that I have signed up with Team Challenge for the IM Chattanooga next September. So excited about it! On a final note a while back I met your friend in Charlotte (which is where I live) at the Inside Out Store. I had on my I heart sweat shirt and we got to talking about where I got the shirt and she said she was your friend. And then I remember reading all the post about her. How cool is that! I know you will do great in your marathons and you will appreciate every moment out there!