Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
- July 29, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 267: Catching Up with Emily Halnon
- July 26, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 266: On the Record with Mario Fraioli, Host of The Morning Shakeout
- July 22, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 265: Catching Up with Chris Heuisler
- July 19, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 264: On the Record with Dana Giordano, Host of More Than Running
- July 15, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 263: Hawi Keflezighi, Founder & CEO of HAWI Management
My 2014 Game Changers
For the past two years, I wasn’t really into the “year end recap” thing. I cringed looking back on the two previous years, and wanted pretty desperately to just move forward. As I said time and time again, 2012 and 2013 were “just not my years.”
But 2014 was a year that changed the game for me. Although it got off to a sick and somewhat rocky start — I was heavy in a Crohn’s flare for January, February, and March — 2014 was my year. Throughout the course of the year, everything got better. I got healthier. My relationships grew stronger. My general outlook and mindset shifted dramatically. It was just good.
So yes of course now I want to do a little recap of 2014 highlights, because it’s important to remember all the good stuff. (And it’s easy, thanks to keeping little notes in my paper calendar — yes I still use a paper calendar — about the good things that happened every day.)
The best part of 2014? The people.
My god did I get lucky this year. I call these people my game changers, because they came into my life and, well, changed everything. They brought me back to life. Namely my yoga people and my November Project people, but so many people rallied behind me this year as I started to regain my health and take back my life. I know I know I know how cheesy and cliche I sound, but I am so eternally grateful for and indebted to the wonderful humans in my life.
But also the events! And the fun things! Which is what I came here to discuss, despite having just written an entire essay before getting to the point. In journalism, we call that “burying the lede.” I do it a lot.
So without further crap and rambling, here are my favorite moments from 2014…
1. My series of firsts early in the year: My first class back at Lyons Den, my first walk to Central Park to visit Bernie’s Bench, and, eventually, my first little run. I was so sick for so long, and it crushed my soul. These little victories meant the world to me and completely reinvigorated the spirit I thought was gone forever. Aw.
2. The surprise party Brian threw for me after my last day at Dance Spirit. Deciding to quit my job after seven years was a very scary move for me.
After my last day, I “met Brian for dinner,” which turned out to be a surprise party with my favorite people at one of my favorite places. (He rented out Luke’s Lobster!) I had never had someone throw me a surprise party! I felt really special and much more confident taking my next step knowing I had some awesome allies who had my back.
3. My first race back from being sick! Brian and I teamed up for the Spring Duathlon at Smolak Farms and, with my family there to cheer us on, we won the relay division! I ran two legs and he biked one, and I’m not dumb enough to think I actually contributed to the win. He hammered that bike leg and I just had to not lose the race for us. It was my first and probably only time on a podium, and it felt extra victorious being up there together. Precious times.
4. Running the Bridgehampton Half Marathon and not having to make any bathroom stops. I ran for fun, didn’t wear a watch, and enjoyed every step of this no-pressure race. I could not believe I didn’t have to use the bathroom. This was the first time I really, truly believed I was getting better and may not be sick forever.
5. Running 15 miles on a Saturday “because I could,” and meeting my journalism idol, Katie Couric, at the end of my run. We chatted for a while. I love her. And I loved that run. It was another victory. I felt so much like my “old self” that day. Especially when I came home and napped for three hours.
6. Doing yoga as part of Solstice in Times Square. Bethany Lyons, who was perhaps my ultimate driving force on my little road to getting better this year, taught class in the middle of the city and I wanted to write about it afterward but I never could quite put it all into words. Shocking for me, really. I went to class alone, but was there with hundreds of yogis of all abilities and ages, and Bethany and I locked eyes before class started. It was such a special moment, and the energy that day was beyond. I was worried about being in Times Square without any bathrooms — naturally — but I was fine. And I cried for like, an hour straight after class. I was so moved. I was finally learning to live in the present instead of worrying so much about the future or harping on the past.
This was monumental for so many reasons. Joining November Project was huge for me this year. Those people are good. They are genuinely good people. It meant so much getting the award handed to me from my dear friend Emily, who was the person who encouraged me to start coming to the NP workouts.
Plus, the timing couldn’t have been better. I hadn’t been feeling super positive, but that mindset was slowly shifting thanks in large part to NP. When I got the award, I realized that other people were seeing me the way I used to see myself — as a happy, perky, positive person. That girl was back!
8. The birth of miss Abigail Riley Feller! My heart grew about a billion sizes the day Abby was born, and then a billion more sizes the day I got to meet her and hold her and put headbands on her.
9. Running my first relay — Ragnar Relay Adirondacks — with my JackRabbit coworkers and having some of the best runs of my life. I laughed more that weekend than any other weekend this year, I’m almost sure of it. My first two runs were surprisingly speedy and gave me a mid-marathon training boost of confidence.
Then, coming off no sleep and three consecutive runs, I showed up at the start line of the Bronx 10-Mile and busted out a delirious PR. It felt so satisfactory and wonderfully exhausting.
10. Joining an incredible group of bloggers for the Runner’s World Half-Marathon & Festival. We were VIPs that weekend, and I met so many influential people.
I spent a lot of time that weekend wondering how I got to be there and feeling very very lucky. I also ran three races I was super proud of just one week after my first fall marathon (Steamtown, which did not make the list of highlights here…womp womp).
11. Running the New York City Marathon. It’s the most magical day of the year.
12. Going to Hawaii. (Part I, Part II.) I took 10 days off and my phone was on airplane mode for most of the trip. I went on my computer twice the whole time, and got to see a whole new world. It was perfect. The trip, as I’ve mentioned, oh, 38 times, was supposed to happen in 2013, but I was too sick to go and we had to postpone. It was so well worth the wait.
13. Getting engaged. 6 AM. Top of a mountain. Sunrise. Workout clothes. Brian nailed it. This was such a special day and I’m still basking in it.
Being sick is really hard on a relationship. There were times where I was so worried about Brian and me and whether or not we were going to be OK; whether or not we were both strong enough to get through all that crap. And he kept sticking around through it all, and people kept telling me “he’s a keeper.” I got a really really good one.
14. Leaving my job at JackRabbit! I’m onto the next great thing and I’m so excited. More to come. Stick around. 2015 is going to be a good one.
Thank you for being a part of my year. I really do love you.
TOP HIGHLIGHT OF 2014: GO!
Posted in Celebrity Sightings, Crohn's disease, Family, Happy Things, NYC, NYC Marathon, Races, Running, Yoga and tagged 2014, Bethany Lyons, Bridgehampton Half Marathon, Bronx 10-Mile, Crohn's Disease, Dance Spirit, Family, Hawaii, JackRabbit, Katie Couric, Lyons Den Power Yoga, New York City Marathon, November Project, Races, Ragnar Relay, Ragnar Relay Adirondacks, Runner's World Half and Festival, Running, Solstice in Times Square, Spring Duathlon at Smolak Farms, Yoga-