THIS WAS TERRIFYING I DO NOT LIKE CATCHING THINGS ESPECIALLY IN FRONT OF LARGE AUDIENCES.

My 2014 Game Changers

Date: January 2, 2015 at 9:40 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 39

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.

I am 100% confident that I hugged more people this year than ever before.

I am 100% confident that I hugged more people this year than ever before.

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.

THE PEOPLE. Can you find me? I'm holding a prop.

THE PEOPLE. Can you find me? I’m holding a prop.

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.

My people <3 But Anne is missing. And Rachel Stein. And Courtney. And Jenny From China. And Annie Wang. Do you know them? You should.

My people

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.

Juliet Doherty is my favorite dancer. Keep an eye on this one, kids.

Juliet Doherty is my favorite dancer. Keep an eye on this one, kids.

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.

SUCH GOOD FORM, ALI, SO BEAUTIFUL.

SUCH GOOD FORM, ALI, SO BEAUTIFUL.

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.

At one of my favorite places during one of my favorite weekends.

At one of my favorite places during one of my favorite weekends.

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.

Yoga in Times Square. It's pretty much the only reason I would go to Times Square. Or to see shows. Or if my mom is in town and wants to go to the M&M store. She really likes it.

Yoga in Times Square. It’s pretty much the only reason I would go to Times Square. Or to see shows. Or if my mom is in town and wants to go to the M&M store. She really likes it.

7. Receiving the Positivity Award at November Project.

THIS WAS TERRIFYING I DO NOT LIKE CATCHING THINGS ESPECIALLY IN FRONT OF LARGE AUDIENCES.

THIS WAS TERRIFYING I DO NOT LIKE CATCHING THINGS ESPECIALLY IN FRONT OF LARGE AUDIENCES.

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.

This is cute Emily. We were on TV together.

This is cute Emily. We were on TV together.

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!

We ran to Queens! It was awesome. But then I was like three hours late to work. My bad.

We ran to Queens! It was awesome. But then I was like three hours late to work. My bad.

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.

OH MY HEART, IT IS MELTING. THERE IT GOES.

OH MY HEART, IT IS MELTING. THERE IT GOES.

That little face! She's a lot bigger now. She chunked up nicely.

That little face! She’s a lot bigger now. She chunked up nicely.

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.

Pre-show dance warmup. Something like that.

Pre-show dance warmup. Something like that.

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.

Is sleep running a thing? Because I think I did it that day. And then I slept for 12 hours straight.

Is sleep running a thing? Because I think I did it that day. And then I slept for 18 hours straight.

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.

WATCH OUT, QUADS AND THIGHS COMING THROUGH.

WATCH OUT, QUADS AND THIGHS COMING THROUGH.

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).

SO HAPPY SO MUCH JOY. And my parents were there.

SO HAPPY SO MUCH JOY. And my parents were there.

11. Running the New York City Marathon. It’s the most magical day of the year.

YOU'RE LOOKING THE WRONG WAY, ALISON.

YOU’RE LOOKING THE WRONG WAY, ALISON.

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.

IT'S OK THAT YOU'RE NOT KISSING ME BACK IN THIS PICTURE, BRIAN. STILL LOVE YOU. WILL STILL MARRY YOU.

IT’S OK THAT YOU’RE NOT KISSING ME BACK IN THIS PICTURE, BRIAN. STILL LOVE YOU. WILL STILL MARRY YOU.

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.

GoPro for the win.

GoPro for the win.

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.

Fresh off the plane from Hawaii, out celebrating with some fabulous friends. My tan has already faded. Sad.

Fresh off the plane from Hawaii, out celebrating with some fabulous friends. My tan has already faded. Sad.

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.

Rooftop sunset. Casual.

Rooftop sunset. Casual.

TOP HIGHLIGHT OF 2014: GO!

Comments (39)
 
BACK UP OR I'LL SPIT UP ON YOU! Actually, Brian was the only one who walked away puke-free that week.

The Dog And Pony Christmas Show

Date: December 31, 2014 at 8:02 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 34

There was Thanksgiving… …and then there was Hawaii… …and then the holidays came and went. And because of the festivities in Hawaii, Brian and I figured we should spend the holidays together for the first time, visiting both our families […]

 
Thinking about life. Thinking about how cold it was at the top of that mountain. Thinking we should have brought blankets. Thinking about snowsuits.

Hawaii Part II: Maui!

Date: December 18, 2014 at 2:00 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 30

When we left off, Brian and I had just gotten engaged, which was a pretty awesome surprise. And, thanks to his meticulously planned itinerary that I didn’t ask any questions about because I’m lazy and was just along for the […]

 
FaceTiming with the BFF, Michael. She knew this was happening. She saw the ring before I did! Sneaky.

Hawaii Part I: Oahu

Date: December 17, 2014 at 9:04 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 51

A note before we get started: Thank you thank you thank you thank you for all the love and wonderfully kind comments on my last post and on Instagram. My mom is worried that I’m “going to want to invite […]

 
Well done, little GoPro. Really well done.

“Are You Serious?!”

Date: December 8, 2014 at 12:48 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 129

“Are you serious?!” That was the second thing I said on Friday — on the top of a mountain in Oahu as the fiery sun was lighting up the Pacific Ocean — when Brian got down on one knee and […]

Posted in Happy Things, Travel and tagged , -
 
Remember foliage? It was here for like a second.

Don't You Forget About Me

Date: November 21, 2014 at 4:02 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 69

Hi! My name is Ali and I blog about running, Crohn’s disease, and life in NYC with a side of sarcasm at Ali On The Run. I’m 29, and I’m a writer/editor doing digital marketing for a running company and […]

 
I SEE PEOPLE I KNOW!!!

“This Isn’t Steamtown”: My New York City Marathon 2014 Recap

Date: November 5, 2014 at 3:01 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 68

After last year’s nearly perfect New York City Marathon, I said I didn’t need to run the race again. Despite being mid-Crohn’s flare and having to make three ugly bathroom stops along the way, I paced myself beautifully and enjoyed […]

 
He insisted on it being a selfie. He really is a cool, hilarious guy. The reputation holds.

10 Reasons The Runner's World Half Marathon & Festival Was Wonderful (Plus A Giveaway!)

Date: October 21, 2014 at 8:52 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 205

I’ve always been hesitant to attend blogger events. From runs and brunches to conferences and weekend-long events, my knee-jerk response is always a swift “no.” Those get-togethers just never seem like my thing. But in the spirit of saying yes […]

 
See? I was having the best time ever for at least, like, three minutes during the race!

Steamtown Marathon Recap

Date: October 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 35

In the months, weeks, and days leading up to the Steamtown Marathon, everything was lining up perfectly for me. I was the healthiest I’ve been in years, I was trying out a high volume training plan that seemed to be […]

 
I'm worried the line between thinking "aw, cute photo!" and "whoa, I wanna punch that face!" is a very thin one.

One More Day I Get To Run

Date: October 11, 2014 at 4:31 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 24

Tomorrow, I will run my fourth marathon. This marathon feels so different from the previous three. The first one — the Hamptons Marathon — was significant in every way. My training was perfect, I felt in the best shape of […]