Ali Back On The Run

Date: February 9, 2015 at 2:23 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 35

Hi! It’s been a while. My bad.

What’s new? Well. I got a wedding dress! So that’s exciting. For me. Probably not for you. It was the fourth one I tried on, but I didn’t go back to make the purchase until the next day, and then I spent the following 48 hours with severe anxiety wondering if I had picked the wrong one. I’m over it now. The dress is awesome. And I am Bridezilla, I guess.

SAID YES TO THE DRESS. Not this one. Couldn't even move in this one. But when your bossy bridesmaids demand you try it on, YOU TRY IT ON. Because you are afraid of them.

SAID YES TO THE DRESS. Not this one. Couldn’t even move in this one. But when your bossy bridesmaids demand you try it on, YOU TRY IT ON. Because you are afraid of them.

I wasn’t super excited to go dress shopping, mostly because I was afraid of how sickeningly expensive everything would be (yup) and because I am not very much in love with my body right now, and the idea of spending an entire day being zipped into things and standing in front of people and a mirror was not so appealing. But I was armed with my mom and two of my best friends, and it was a pretty great day. Go figure. I was wrong about everything. We went to four bridal shops, and we successfully negotiated the price of “the dress” significantly, so go us. Feel free to hire me to join you next time you need to buy a new car.

I KNOW I AM HIDING IN THE DRESSING ROOM BUT CAN I STILL PLEASE HAVE ATTENTION?

I KNOW I AM HIDING IN THE DRESSING ROOM BUT CAN I STILL PLEASE HAVE ATTENTION?

So we now have a date, a location, a photographer (two actually), a videographer (two actually, plus a PA because come on, this is what Brian does for a living), and bridesmaids (they all said yes! because I threatened them).

Le Pens are very fancy pens and they are the only pens I will use because I am a pen snob.

Le Pens are very fancy pens and they are the only pens I will use because I am a pen snob.

We don’t have “hotel blocks,” because that’s a boring thing to do, and I only want to do the fun things like daily cake tastings.

Speaking of wedding things (sorry to the one person who commented about “no offense no one cares about your wedding” — you should skip this part, and we’ll talk about running in just a bit), Brian and I decided to have “date night” on Saturday. Not so much because we’re romantic, but because we’ve been hermits lately who stay inside and order Seamless for all three meals plus snacks.

Actually I DID get out once. I went to my friend Lauren's house in Westchester. I wore sweatpants and cuddled with her dog and drank champagne. I am an animal who parties.

Actually I DID get out once. I went to my friend Lauren’s house in Westchester. I wore sweatpants and cuddled with her dog and drank champagne. I am an animal who parties.

Here's Brian during a particularly wild recent night in. My hard drive broke (very very sad and tragic, RIP), and he was determined to fix it, and I was determined not to help and to go to sleep instead of looking for a tiny screwdriver. So he opened up my computer surgical-style using a chef's knife.

Here’s Brian during a particularly wild recent night in. My hard drive broke (very very sad and tragic, RIP), and he was determined to fix it, and I was determined not to help and to go to sleep instead of looking for a tiny screwdriver. So he opened up my computer surgical-style using a chef’s knife. We will now have to register for a new chef’s knife…and a tiny screwdriver. And a new computer.

So there we were, sipping champagne (me) and martinis (ew gross, him), and he goes, “OK, but seriously, we need a theme for our wedding.” I stared at him waiting for the punchline, but there wasn’t one. “I’m serious. We need to brand it because right now we’re all over the place with gold glitter tablecloths (YUP) and giraffe cake toppers (YUP), and why don’t you want us to incorporate running and cycling? That’s basically how we met, and it’s what people think of when they think of us.”

Actually, Brian, THIS is what people think of when they think of me, I presume: inappropriately dressed, a braid, and sunrise photos. Oh and mittens that may as well be oven mitts. They MIGHT be oven mitts, actually.

Actually, Brian, THIS is what people think of when they think of me, I presume: inappropriately dressed, a braid, and sunrise photos. Oh and mittens that may as well be oven mitts. They MIGHT be oven mitts, actually.

So I guess now we are having a running- and cycling-“themed” wedding. Or something. I will save my vetoes for larger discussions. Like whose job it is to arrange those damn hotel blocks.

I think part of the reason I didn’t want to put an emphasis on “me as a runner” is because Brian is always out there training and racing and generally being a legitimate cyclist, while I’ve sort of just been poking along for a while now.

CLEARLY TAKING THIS WORKOUT VERY SERIOUSLY.

CLEARLY TAKING THIS WORKOUT VERY SERIOUSLY.

I know I know, I’m the first to preach that “If you run, you’re a runner,” but there’s no doubt lately I haven’t felt like the die-hard runner I used to be.

After running two fall marathons — one of which went well, and one of which most definitely did not — I was still somehow amped on running. It was fall, the weather was spectacular, and then I went to Hawaii where I didn’t run a whole lot, but when I did it was gorgeous and special and there were actual rainbows, so everything was precious.

Neon is my spirit animal. Makes perfect sense, don't question it.

Neon is my spirit animal. Makes perfect sense, don’t question it.

Then, I have this little tradition I try to uphold where I “run the year” or something. So on December 31, I set out to run 14 miles in honor of the end of 2014, which was a good year for me.

It did not go well.

I took a ton of walk breaks. Bathroom breaks (less because of Crohn’s, more because the bathroom was there so why not go sit down for a little while where it’s warm?). Phone call breaks. I was miserable. I hated that run. It did not feel victorious nor celebratory.

And sure, bad runs are inevitable in this little hobby, but it was sort of the beginning of a downward run spiral.

Oh, you want me to run up the stairs and then do some tricep dips and then repeat repeat repeat? Actually I'm just gonna sit down.

Oh, you want me to run up the stairs and then do some tricep dips and then repeat repeat repeat? Actually I’m just gonna sit down.

Soon, even with ample rest days and time off, every run felt horrible. I was struggling to keep my pace under 10-minute miles, and what started with an innocent “I’ll just walk up Cat Hill today, only today,” quickly turned into walking up every hill, incline, or slight upward curve in the road. I had excuses for everything — “I’m tired, I’m hungry, I’m lazy, I’m stressed” — but they were all pretty lame. I had no motivation and a million reasons not to run.

Actually not so interested in fitness.

Actually not so interested in fitness.

And while plenty of people will preach to “push through” or something along the lines of “I’m so glad I didn’t run today, said no one ever” crap, I knew exactly what this was. All those marathon miles had piled up and I was feeling significantly burnt out physically and mentally. I didn’t need to “power through” this or try to prove some kind of mock badassery. I needed a break!

Running. Is. Too. Hard. Everything hurts.

Running. Is. Too. Hard. Everything hurts.

So I decided to take some time completely off running in January. I spent two weeks doing very little. I took a handful of yoga classes and went to SoulCycle once or twice, but I generally gave my body some much-needed and very appreciated rest.

Oh god I love yoga so much. Though after more than a year of practicing, I still have not figured out my "perfect yoga hairstyle" that lends itself to both headstand and savasana.

Oh god I love yoga so much. Though after more than a year of practicing, I still have not figured out my “perfect yoga hairstyle” that lends itself to both headstand and savasana.

I didn’t plan to take two weeks off — I just said I would start running again when I felt like it. And that happened to be two weeks.

This is me with some yoga friends. It was Annie Wang's birthday. We celebrated by down-dogging all afternoon.

This is me with some yoga friends. It was Annie Wang’s birthday. We celebrated by singing “Happy Birthday” to her while in Wheel pose. I struggled.

The first few runs back were uneventful — it was only two weeks, after all, not a truly significant amount of time — but still slow and sluggish and lazy-feeling. I still walked up some hills and took breaks to check Instagram on my phone on the side of the street because maybe something important was happening there like a really funny picture of a golden retriever puppy holding a stick! I wanted to be out running, but I didn’t feel that push or that drive to try and increase my speed or get stronger.

Frankly, I expected Cat Hill or Harlem Hill to just feel easier one day, even though I wasn’t even trying to run up them. I wanted it to be easy! My logic rarely makes sense.

It wasn’t until this weekend that I finally had “the run.”

The run that felt comfortably hard and challenging, but really really good and satisfying.

The run that reminded me why I love doing this, and that I am a runner.

I joined my November Project friends for a loop of Central Park. The turnout was incredible, and spirits were flying really high. It was 8 AM on a Saturday and there was no place any of us would rather have been. The air was cool and crisp but not too windy, and the roads were clear and packed with fellow happy runners.

Look at all those people! Everyone loves free fitness!

Look at all those people! Everyone loves free fitness! Can you find me?!

We started running and I quickly fell into pace with fellow NP-er (and blogger!) Kaitlin. I know she’s a lot faster than me, but I wanted to try and hang on, so my goal was just to keep her in my sights.

And I did.

She stayed in my sights up Harlem Hill, throughout the West Side rolling hills, down around the south end of the park, and back up Cat Hill. I never lost Kaitlin. I never checked my watch to see what our pace was. And, best of all, I never took any walk breaks or stop breaks and I never knew what was happening on Instagram.

TO ME, YOU ARE PERFECT. JUST REMEMBER THAT, OK?

TO ME, YOU ARE PERFECT. JUST REMEMBER THAT, OK?

When we reconvened at Engineers’ Gate, I wanted to pounce on Kaitlin. I was so happy and grateful to have had her as my little rabbit, and I had had the best time chasing her around the park. I apologized for possibly following too close behind her, but she assured me it wasn’t a problem. She’s a nice girl.

I did a few cool-down miles, got a free Juice Press juice (that’s why people hashtag #willrunforjuice, because you actually get free stuff from it), and then spent the rest of the day happily horizontal, basking in the return of that runner’s high (AKA dehydration and a BLAT food coma).

I told Brian I was going to the bedroom "to get dressed," and this is how he found me. In my defense, I was wearing my new softy soft robe and we just got a new bed, so...how could I resist?

I told Brian I was going to the bedroom “to get dressed,” and this is how he found me. In my defense, I was wearing my new softy soft robe and we just got a new bed, so…how could I resist?

So to Kaitlin, thank you for leading me through a really great run. Sorry if I was breathing loudly on the hills. And to my November Project friends, thanks for getting me out there. You really do always show up.

Yeah, no, Ali, really great call on wearing shorts on that 18 degree day. Idiot.

Yeah, no, Ali, really great call on wearing shorts on that 18-degree day. Fool.

Oh and to you, thanks for sticking around. I know Ali On The Run hasn’t so much lived up to the “On The Run” part lately, but I’m feeling it now and I’m in the groove.

I guess I’m OK with this “theme.”

Things I love: Black racerback tank tops, gold glitter, Beyoncé, and puns. NAILED IT, Lucy. Greatest gift.

Things I love: Black racerback tank tops, gold glitter, Beyoncé, and puns. NAILED IT, Lucy. Greatest gift.

All of me loves all of you.

35 Responses to "Ali Back On The Run"

Your post came at a perfect time — after running 60+ miles weekly the last few months, I finally started to feel the burnout over the weekend. This morning I woke up and thought, “Dear god, I just do NOT want to run” but I made myself do 5 miles anyway, because that’s what I feel I’m “supposed to do” as a runner. The whole time I was mulling why I wouldn’t allow myself to take a break, especially since mentally and physically I am tapped. So I’m going to take your post as divine intervention that I do indeed need to take that damn break! Thanks for sharing!

Happy to divinely intervene anytime 😉 And for what it’s worth, I feel about a billion times better now after taking that time off. Running is more fun and physically my body seems much happier. Enjoy the break!

Giraffe wedding toppers. Its genius.

I’m thinking dancing animals should be the theme. You know, after Katy Perry made dancing sharks HUGE.

I just can’t get over those dancing sharks or that Madonna is 56.

I accidentally took most of Jan off running (I ran twice — 10 miles 1/1 and 3 miles 1/28 at Barrys, yikes). I exercised a lot and enjoyed it and now that its 55 degrees at home, am getting back into running. Its nice to remember how hard it is sometimes and that walk breaks are ok. And, hopefully it will get easier soon!

Run soon?

AWWWW… my bridesmaid card must have gotten lost in the mail! 😉 But really… I’m Lauren Ashley too!! haha

and also – I am officially the worse penpal because I have yet to reply to your e-mail… and now that I’m writing this here I promise I will respond tonight!

Miss you and so excited that things are going well for you! Yay for running and wedding planning! 😀

Of COURSE I need you to be my bridesmaid! You can never have too many Lauren Ashleys in your wedding, right? Plus, as former Runner’s World cover models, people will be begging us for autographs all day I’m sure. Miss you!!

Le Pens really ARE the best. I have them in a box in my desk neatly organized because I am a weirdo who is obsessed with pens. Glad you’re getting back into the swing of things with running – I am too, and boy can it really suck sometimes!

Awesome. Love when you share the good and the bad. We all have those terrible runs where running feels impossible and stupid and why am I running. Currently I am nursing an ankle injury and I have a rose-colored view of running because I can’t right now. But I love remembering that it’s a mixed bag, but you power through. Or you take a break same same

Ouch for the ankle, but happy to hear you have a good outlook. That’s the hardest part! Cheers to a speedy recovery and lots of amazing runs in your very near future.

It sounds like life really is going so well, with or without the running! I think we all lose that running groove once in awhile and it takes one really good run (and an even better running buddy) to find it. I LOVE KAITLIN and she’s the best running partner ever. But really. I’m making her run with me this weekend while I’m in the city. So if you want to join us….

KAITLIN TOLD ME YOU ARE COMING TO VISIT. Will you be here for Friday’s NP_NYC workout?! That would be amaaaaaazing!

I’m injured and haven’t been running. I’ve been so busy with life thst I can’t even remember how I managed to fit marathon training into my schedule. I don’t miss is most of the time but then all of a sudden I feel anxious and realize I miss running.

Awesome! If I ever get engaged the dress price really worries me. I’ll want something pretty but definitely not ridiculously expensive. That’s awesome that you guys got a lot of planning done! I went through a running funk after my fall marathon too-just took some time off . I missed doing other things like yoga and spinning that I didn’t really do when I was training. Just like life, my hobbies are kind of cyclical in terms of how much I’m all about them at a given moment.

That one chick who commented that? She’s an angry elf. Don’t listen to her. I admire your yoganess. I need to get summa that back in my life! Love hearing about all your updates! 🙂

Girl, that seriously was such a good feeling run and I’ve been coming back from a foot injury as well. Although my idea of taking time off failed, I am inspired by your yoga-dedication. NP has been the highlight of my weeks lately and we had an awesome run this weekend. Always jealous of your good looking outfits too. I think neon could be a good wedding theme/color scheme. I’ve been coming back from a foot injury and felt just as inspired as you said you did. Also, I second what Sarah said! In terms of running 🙂 P.S. your idea of a night in = amazing.

I LOVE Le Pen. I discovered Le Pen when I was getting married and AUGH, love them for letter-writing and writing cards and all that good stuff! Good discovery!

WE SHOULD BE LE PEN PALS!!! We could write each other really pretty letters and it would be amazing.

Hey there! Congrats on getting your running groove back! It’s always ebbs and flows and nice to enjoy both 🙂 Hope it’s not too cold in NYC – we’re dying of humidity here in Australia. Roll on Autumn! Gill 🙂

Want to trade places? Pretty please?

I don’t know what’s funnier …. the Feyonce shirt or the “oven mitt” running gloves! Snow?!! Great dress! Happiness to you!

I now want Le Pen.

I’m at that point waiting for the run that “clicks” which I think will happen sooner if I hopped off the treadmill; I just keep trying to truck along until that happens.

Yay for running! I want fancy pens to go with my fancy new planner. Also, I totally screen-shotted your instagram photo of that Feyonce tank top so that I can find it when I get engaged – AMAZINGNESS.

How many bridesmaids will you have?

I mean, I think the only way to “stay in love” with running is to take a break, man. I’ve never understood the crazies who run like all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I hate taking breaks from fitness as a whole (#gymrat), but running erryday is too much. Oh! Speaking of running, what are you doing the morning of March 14? Did you want to run a couple few pre NYC half miles w me? 🙂

1. Agreed re: running and taking necessary breaks.
2. March 14 I’m all yours, baby.
3. POST ELLIOT PICTURES I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT HE LOOKS LIKE ANYMORE I MISS HIM.

Can I crash this March 14th pre-NYC miles party? #stalker

In a blog world where people only take a few days off of running after a marathon, and “only” ran 50 miles this week, and where a 10-mile run is NBD, this was a VERY REFRESHING post to read. I appreciate your honesty and openness in writing this.

I see you’re wearing one of the Lululemon fluff pullover and I have been struggling to decide on a winter outer layer for PA winters and I was wondering if you could give a short review of your experience with that particular item? Thanks in advance!!

Gladly! I’ve been wearing it a lot this winter because it’s SUPER warm — like surprisingly warm, and I get super sweaty wearing it. I like the thumbholes and that the jacket is nice and long (almost covers the bum, even!), but my major complaint is that it doesn’t really have functional pockets. There’s a kangaroo-style pocket on the inside, but with the two off-centered zippers, you have to unzip one or both of them to then get into the pocket. I prefer pockets on the outside of the jacket to hold my phone, credit card, etc. That’s my only gripe, though. I love the color, the warmth, and the hood. (And I happened to get it on Black Friday on bigtime sale, so that helps, too!)

I’ve been married for almost 20 years, but I WANT that tank top!
Glad you’re back in a groove 🙂

I fucking love Le Pens. When I get married we’re registering at a stationery store.

I am a firm believe in proper, decent stretches ‘off’ running after key races. My key race was the 1st Feb. I had a whole week off, guilt-free, doing NOTHING at all except a fun trail run on my birthday, which I adored. This week (the second week after), I’m doing a couple of easy 6 milers. Nothing more. And the next week I’ll start training for a spring of 10K’s as a different challenge. I totally believe in the need to take time off. So don’t beat yourself up, have some fun, shake it up a little and get back out there!!

That last line? Perfection. Also, I’ve had Le Pens in my Amazon cart for ages now because I’ve heard such good things about them, but haven’t yet purchased. That’s happening now!

Two side braids have always worked well for me in yoga! Nothing on top of your head for head stands, and nothing digging into the back of your neck for savasanna 🙂