Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
- July 2, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 258: Feel-Good Friday with Claudia Thompson, President of Claudia Connects
- July 1, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 257: Nutrition Q&A with Starla Garcia, Registered Dietitian
- June 29, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 256: On the Job with Vikki Spruill, President & CEO of New England Aquarium
- June 25, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 255: Ramblings on the Run with Ali & Matt
- June 24, 2020 by AliAli on the Run Show Episode 254: Samia Akbar, Fastest U.S.-Born Black Female Marathoner
Remember five days ago when Instagram decided to enable the “Questions” feature on Instagram Stories? That was fun! At least for a few minutes, right?
I got so many good questions, but fun fact about me (and, I imagine, many people?) is that I hate typing on my phone. I basically only respond to text messages if I can do so through my computer, and I never send emails from my phone. (That’s why my inbox is a black hole. I read everything on my phone, but don’t immediately respond, and that’s why if you’ve ever emailed me, you are probably still waiting for a response. I’m really sorry. I read your email! Three times, probably! And formulated a lovely response in my head! But alas…)
Anyway, figured I’d screenshot those babies (the questions, that is) and answer them here. Yay posterity!
Anything else you want to know? Probably not, since I am an aggressive over-sharer on the internet, but I like it when we all share! With that, somewhat organized…
PODCAST & WORK STUFF
Are you thinking about making the podcast your full-time job? You ask such good questions.
Full-time, no, not necessarily. I like that right now it’s more of a part-time job, but I still devote a good amount of my time to freelance writing and editing, which I also love. I think that’s what keeps me the happiest — getting to dabble in lots of different things, so no two days of my life are ever the same. It’s exciting and invigorating getting to look forward to something new and challenging every single day. I love that my podcast is now a source of income (thank you, sponsors! and listeners!), but I don’t plan on having it be my only job. (And thank you for the compliment! I’m a very curious person.)
What’s the biggest challenge having a podcast?
Sound quality. I am fortunate to have access to a podcast studio here (thanks, Brian!), but unfortunately I can’t record all my interviews in person since my guests are all over the world. That means we record many episodes over Skype, and the reality is that Skype sometimes kinda sucks. I can’t control the sound quality on my guest’s end, and sometimes they have a shaky internet connection, kinda crappy headphones, or lots of background noise. I work with a brilliant podcast editor (hi, Tyler!) who is able to clean up some major issues, but sometimes it’s beyond our control. I get that as a listener that’s super frustrating and trust me, poor sound doesn’t bother anyone as much as it bothers me! My goal is to get really really rich and then have a private jet so I can fly around (with Ellie) and do all my interviews in person! (But until then, thanks for putting up with the occasional blip, static, or interruption.)
Who would you most love to have on the podcast whom you haven’t had yet?
Michelle Obama, Ellen DeGeneres, Mary Wittenberg, Shaquille O’Neal, Katie Couric, Robin Roberts, the entire former cast of Saved By the Bell (minus Screech), Elaine Welteroth, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Celine Dion. Obviously.
What publication would you like to write for that you haven’t already?
How did you know it was the right time to leave your day job to follow your passion?
I haven’t had that many different jobs in my adult life, and they’ve all been fueled by my passions! I worked at Dance Spirit, which was the best, then spent eight months working at JackRabbit (a running store), before deciding to go freelance. Freelancing, at first, was just freelance writing and contributing to my favorite magazines and websites. It has since evolved to also include podcasting.
More on my decision to leave Dance Spirit below, but when I left JackRabbit, the decision was clear and easy. The job wasn’t what I was expecting, which is OK, but it wasn’t what I wanted it to be. At all. And honestly, I knew that within the first week. It was hard for me because I had left my dream job for that one, and I felt like a failure. I walked away from being an editor in chief to do something I almost immediately hated.
I tried to make the best of it, and the environment was fun — young people, runners, etc. — but it wasn’t what I wanted from my career, and I knew I was at a time in my life when making smart career decisions was vital. After eight months at the job, I went on vacation, and I dreaded going back to the office. That was such a clear sign to me. I’d spent 10 amazing days on vacation, and while no, every day isn’t going to feel like vacation, there’s no reason not to make every day as amazing as possible. I handed in my resignation the day I got back.
I am a firm believer in doing whatever is in my own power and control to make my life the best it can be. No one else is going to make my life better, easier, more rewarding. People, places, puppies, and things can add to my happiness, but it’s up to me to put myself in the right place to succeed (whatever that means) and be fulfilled. And at that time, it meant not spending the majority of my time at a desk (in a basement) I dreaded. I met some super special people during my time at JackRabbit and I learned a lot and had some great opportunities, but ultimately it was not the place for me.
Next live show?!
Working on it! Pinky promise!
How do you get such awesome podcast guests? People you know, networking, cold calls?
I’m confident. I will reach out to literally anyone and ask them to come on the show. I have no problem asking for what I want. Most of my guests have either been people I know or people I have some connection to, either through a mutual friend or colleague. Very few have been “cold calls” (or emails).
BABY & PREGNANCY STUFF
Do you think that getting pregnant helped get you out of your slump?
Nope! I was actually out of my slump before I got pregnant. I swear that played a part in actually getting pregnant! I think my mind and body were finally both in a good place at the same time. Going to California by myself helped get me out of my slump. Then, after I returned, I re-slumped, and going to Minneapolis and working at Super Saturday Night got me out of that.
Is there something you are most excited about with this pregnancy?
All of it. I’m super grateful to be pregnant and to have had a pretty stress-free pregnancy so far. Aside from the current Crohn’s flare, it’s been mostly uncomplicated, and for that, I am so fortunate. That is never lost on me. As for excitement, every day feels like a mini adventure! It’s so cool seeing and feeling my body change. Also the kicks. I really love feeling the baby kick.
Have you invested in a running stroller yet for you and baby?
Not yet! I figure we have some time on that one since I won’t be running for a while, and definitely won’t be running with baby for a while! (Trying to purchase as little as possible before we move, too!)
How do you think Ellie is going to handle sharing the spotlight?
I’m obviously optimistic that she’ll do great! She has always been so good and so loving around kids, which just warms my heart. I can see her being very curious, and very protective. The thought of Ellie sleeping in the baby’s room makes me sob. Them napping together? Snuggling? Ugh. It crushes me. This is also something Brian and I will be keeping a really close eye on. Ellie is the love of our lives, and my hope and goal is that we continue living life with the same mindset we always have, which is that the more humans and animals in this family, the more fun we get to have! Life is going to change pretty drastically, of course, but I’m excited for us to have one more little buddy to take on adventures and have fun with! I think Ellie will do great. We’ll make sure she’s still getting exercise and attention, and I’m confident she’ll continue being psyched about life.
Is the girl’s name you are considering Celine in honor of Celine Dion?
It’s not, but I was totally trying to decide if Celine or Dion could be cute middle names…
What’s your plan for work and childcare post-baby?
TBD, but I’m leaning toward eventual part-time daycare.
Have you and Brian picked baby names yet?
We feel pretty good about a name if the baby is a girl. If it’s a boy, we are still totally hopeless. Fortunately, my niece and nephew give us lots of suggestions! Tyler (my 6-year-old nephew) likes Scarlet or Daffodil for a girl or Zachary for a boy. Abby (my 4-year-old niece) is still hooked on “Mawness,” which, allegedly, is for a boy, and she likes Max for a girl.
Do you have any races planned after baby arrives?
Definitely not. I am putting zero pressure, dates, or goals on myself for after this baby arrives — same as my pregnancy approach. This is my first pregnancy and I have no idea what my delivery and recovery will look like, and no idea what life with a baby will be like for us. So no. When the urge strikes and I feel ready (physically, mentally, and all that jazz), I’ll do something.
Do you like the feel of baby kicks?
I LOVE THEM. It’s my favorite thing.
Have you seen a pelvic floor physical therapist yet?
I have not! I know a great one, but haven’t had an appointment with her yet. I should get on that, huh?!
How did you get your energy back after being diagnosed with Crohn’s?
I was diagnosed when I was 7 years old, and my Crohn’s was pretty manageable for the first 15 years. Once I transitioned into post-collegiate adulthood, it got pretty bad, and has continued giving me hell for the past eight or so years. My energy comes and goes. When I’m healthy, I’m full of it. When I’m flaring, I lack it. Physically, I’m constantly exhausted. Mentally, I tend to become depressed. (I did a terrible job answering this question, I know… It’s complicated?)
What’s the hardest thing about pregnancy and Crohn’s?
I feel like I waste so much valuable time in the bathroom. Between the Crohnsing and the pregnancy-related peeing, I am in there pretty constantly, and that’s frustrating. I hate wasting two hours every morning just going back and forth to the bathroom. It’s also frustrating that, aside from this little flare right now, I feel so great! I could totally be out running and enjoying this time, but instead I’m pretty confined to the bathroom these days. I’d love to be going for lots of long walks or short runs, but I get really anxious when I’m away from a bathroom.
How did you decide which Crohn’s meds to take during pregnancy?
I was already on Stelara when I got pregnant, and I was super healthy at the time, so we were feeling like it was working. Yay! I consulted both my gastroenterologist and my midwife (who is very well-versed in all things Crohn’s and IBD) and we really weighed the pros and cons of staying on Stelara or cutting back. It’s scary that there’s not much research out there related to Stelara and pregnancy, particularly in the long-term. It’s very, very limited, and this is something Brian and I have discussed quite a bit. I’ve continued with the Stelara up until now, but we have not yet decided what I’ll do once I enter the third trimester and when/if I’m breastfeeding. I’ll let you know!
If you couldn’t run, what would your next passion be?
Impossible question! But in the past when I couldn’t run — thanks, Crohn’s! — I really enjoyed doing other lower-impact things, like cycling and yoga. I also love hiking, going for long walks with Ellie, and taking naps on Saturday afternoons.
What’s your favorite song to run to?
Totally depends where I’m at in my run. I love starting a race listening to “Drove All Night” by Celine Dion. I like finishing a race to “A Brand New Day” from The Wiz. And at some points in between, my favorites include “Womanizer” by Britney Spears, “So Much Better” from Legally Blonde the Musical, and “The Lonely Goatherd” from The Sound of Music. So basically, pop music and show tunes. But it depends on my mood. Sometimes I run angry, sometimes I run sad, sometimes I run peppy, and I have playlists for all of the above!
How are the Lululemon sports bras for big boobs? Supportive?
Great! I’m loving the Lululemon Enlite bra. Supportive, soft, comfortable, and worth the investment, in my opinion. I cannot tolerate a cheap, unsupportive sports bra.
When are you moving?
July 30! So soon!
Are you staying in West New York or moving to the ‘burbs?
We are staying in the area we’re in! Even though the new apartment is less than half a mile from our current one, we will technically be crossing town lines, so we’re saying farewell to West New York (sad!) and hello to Weehawken (cue so many Hamilton references, I know).
Are you moving to that gorgeous high-rise with many windows in the sky?
The one Brian posted a sneak peek of on Instagram Stories a few weeks ago? You bet we are.
Where’s the next place you’re hoping to travel?
Everywhere! Italy is very high on the list right now. So is Greece. Alaska. New Zealand. Mount Rushmore. (I like big things and monuments!) Portland, OR. I will definitely get back to Africa someday. Pretty basic list, I guess.
Why don’t you post more llamas?
Because they’re in New Hampshire! My parents live next to a llama farm and I love those llamas, but I haven’t been getting up to New Hampshire very much these days, so the llama content is lacking! I’m so sorry!
How did you and Brian decide it was time to move in together?
We were both living alone in NYC, and my lease was up. (He was on a month-to-month or was squatting or something. IDK.) That’s the funny thing about relationships when you live in New York City — they can kind of dictate just how quickly your relationship moves along! We had been dating for a little less than a year when we moved in together, but we knew we really really liked each other. And it worked out. Phew!
What was the most difficult decision you ever made?
Deciding to leave my dream job at Dance Spirit. I could write a novel about this, but it was something I really struggled with. I loved that job so much. I loved the work and I loved my team, and I was so proud of the work we did. I never dreaded going to work there, and I learned so much during my time at that job. But unfortunately, I had been so sick for so long, and I needed to make a change. I was stressed out all the time: small team, big responsibilities, an ever-evolving publishing world. There was a lot going on, and after coordinating (and pulling off!) a very stressful shoot involving all 10 of Beyoncé’s backup dancers at the time (and I wrote the cover story!) and ending up in the hospital, I knew I needed to make a lifestyle change. It was hard, and it became a decision I struggled with for years afterward. I left on good terms, so I still freelance for Dance Spirit and its sister publications. But stepping away from the job I had dreamed about since I was 16? That was hard. And honestly, I was so young. I was in my late twenties and still had so much to learn. (Still do!)
Anything else? Let me know!