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
New York City Marathon Training: Week 9
Things aren’t going so great around here.
I’m still sick. This was the first week that I really couldn’t run and that my mileage really fell apart. And on top of the stomach stuff, which has gotten progressively worse, plus the fact that I’m so tired I can barely see what I’m typing right now, I’ve also developed a new, very painful symptom, which is a broken face.
OK, not really a broken face. But I woke up in the middle of the night Saturday with very intense jaw, neck, and throat pain on my right side. (Way to stay strong, left side!) It hasn’t let up, and I can barely swallow or open my mouth. Last night, Brian made this nice, very healthy-looking dinner, and I didn’t even eat it. Because I couldn’t. It’s so painful, and so strange, because I’ve never experienced this before. I don’t know if it’s some kind of joint pain and inflammation as a result of the flare, if it’s TMJ (I grind my teeth…badly), or my wisdom teeth decided to grow in (doubtful).
Last night, the pain was so bad that I just cried. Normally if I cry when I’m sick, it’s because I’m sad and emotional, but these tears were strictly pain-induced. I’m a mess.
And with that, here’s how the past week of “training” looked! (Spoiler: terrible.)
Monday, September 12: SoulCycle
This day got off to a rough start. My stomach was a mess all night, and kept me close to the bathroom all morning. Finally, around 10 AM, I was able to get moving, so my friend and I (the one I was staying with in L.A. — remember I was in L.A. last week?) went to a SoulCycle class near her apartment. The class was fine, nothing special, and definitely not as satisfying as the run I was supposed to do, but it was nice to at least move and break a sweat somehow.
Then we went to the So You Think You Can Dance finale, so overall it was a fun day. But pro tip to fellow Crohn’s kids: If you’re flaring, don’t wear a jumpsuit. It’s not fun to fully strip down every single time you make a run for the bathroom.
Tuesday, September 13: SoulCycle
Another day in L.A., another SoulCycle class. My flight back home wasn’t until 12:50 PM, so I took a class with Roarke and then showered and headed straight to the airport. Again, the class was nothing special, though Roarke is a total babe. So if you’re into sweaty eye candy, check him out. Like literally.
Wednesday, September 14: REST
The notes in my handwritten training journal for this day just say, “REST. Fuck everything.” (My mom says I’m allowed to swear when I’m sick, so I don’t have to apologize.) I was sick, tired, unable to leave home, etc. But it was Ellie’s birthday, so it’s fine. I still had a good day.
Thursday, September 15: Yoga (60 minutes) + Run Attempt (2 miles)
I ventured into the city to take a 60-minute class at Lyons Den — and guess who was there? You’re not going to guess. Kate Winslet was there! She was so lovely and sweet and she’s very good at yoga (she was directly behind me, so yeah, I did set my drishti on her during Downward Dog). It was nice to be back at Lyons Den, and fun to have Rose Dawson in class.
I was so encouraged by successfully getting through a yoga class that I decided I would try and go for a run at night! I hadn’t run in a week, and I wanted to give it a go. I had taken Ellie for a little walk and been fine, so I could run, right?
Wrong! I made it a mile from home (with a bathroom stop .4 miles in) and then entered “worse case scenario” mode. So…yeah. I’ll spare you the details. But I spent the rest of the night frustrated, upset, and crying. The crying probably doesn’t help the dehydration.
Friday, September 16: SoulCycle
I was actually supposed to do yoga, but on my way to Lyons Den I urgently needed a bathroom, and SoulCycle was right there. So I ran in to use the bathroom, realized I wasn’t going to make it to yoga in time, and figured hey, I’m here, may as well take a class. So I took Rique’s 5 PM class with all the moms of TriBeCa talking frantically about the weekend’s Bar Mitzvahs. One woman was very upset (like, hysterical on her phone in the lobby) because her Chanel was on backorder or some shit. I don’t know. I want those to be my problems.
Saturday, September 17: Yoga (90 minutes)
Class was fine. I spent the whole time wishing I were out running because the weather was so amazing. I know that’s a bad outlook, and I’m usually pretty good at being able to be grateful for what I can do. But weekends are hard, because weekends are for long runs.
During half-pigeon pose, Bethany read something about watering your garden, and TBH it didn’t really resonate with me because my head was all over the place. But I remember one part that talked about how sometimes flowers wilt — but if you give them time and water, they can come back to life and be beautiful again. I cried, because I’m a wilted flower.
Guess what happened after class? You’re not going to guess. (Unless you’re on Snapchat.)
I was walking back to the CitiBike station, and I saw this cute little doodle puppy walking around. No owner. No leash. Just walking on the sidewalk, by himself. A few people are looking at him, like, “Aw, he’s so cute!” And so I asked the people, “Is this your dog?” Because he was dangerously close to a very busy intersection. So I was slightly concerned about the off-leash situation. The people were like, “No, he just walked into the restaurant — he’s not ours.” So why are you just standing there? Ugh. People.
So I slowly walked over to the little guy (I didn’t want to scare him and send him running), held onto his collar, and, WTF, there was no tag on it. No name, no phone number, no indication if he was chipped or not. So I picked him up and gave him kisses and made sure he felt safe, and then walked around with him asking if anyone knew whose dog he was. No one did. So I looked up the closest vet and figured I’d carry him to the vet and see if they recognized him or could tell if he was chipped.
Fortunately, as I was walking him to the vet, a man and his son came out of their building and were clearly relieved to see their pup in my arms. They were his owners! (I kindly suggested they get him a tag for his collar, to which the owner snapped that “it fell off.”) It was a very strange interaction (please be better dog owners than I judged you to be…), but I’m happy the pup got home safe. I was hoping that earned me some good karma for a while. TBD.
Sunday, September 18: Not the Newport Liberty Half (6.2 miles, though)
I was supposed to run the Newport Liberty Half on Sunday, and I was determined to do it. So I planned everything: I ate dinner early on Saturday, I woke up crazy early to try and “empty my system” before heading to the race, I did my race braid, and I was going to run to Newport before the race so I’d get in my scheduled 18 miles.
Well…that didn’t happen.
It was a really rough night, and my body wasn’t showing any signs of letting up all morning. Finally, around 6:30 AM, I called it. There was no way I was going to be able to run the race. So I crawled back in bed with Brian and Ellie, let myself cry for a few minutes, and then got a few more hours of sleep.
Still, I was determined to run 18 miles. “I’ll wait until I’m ready, and then I’ll run the 1.5 miles to the track,” I told myself. From there, I could just run loops of the track. Would 60 loops be boring? Yup. But I’d always be near a bathroom, so I’d at least have mental reassurance.
Well…that didn’t happen, either.
But I did force myself out the door in the afternoon to at least try. Because I may fail, but at least I’d have tried, right? I was able to cover 6.2 miles, which I was part thrilled with and part frustrated with. No, it wasn’t the 18 miles I wanted, or the half I’d at one point hoped to PR. But it wasn’t zero miles, either. I made a ton of breaks to go to the bathroom and walk, and I was so tired the whole time. But I ran a little, and I broke a sweat, and for a few seconds in there, I felt like I was flying. Those are the fleeting moments I’m living for right now, and the ones that are keeping me going.
In a chocolate-covered nutshell…
RUN DAYS: 2 (kind of)
CROSS-TRAINING DAYS: 5
REST DAYS: 1
TOTAL MILEAGE: 8.2 miles. Crushed it.
TOTAL ICE CREAM: One [half carton] of ice cream. I got back from L.A. late on Tuesday, and I was exhausted and cranky on Wednesday and didn’t have any food in the house. So I ate ice cream for lunch. Once I realized I’d eaten, oh, half the carton (and we’re talking the big cartons, not one of the little Ben & Jerry’s ones), I threw it in the trash, Miranda-style.
TOTAL ALCOHOL: None.
What went great: Nothing! (Ew, so negative.) What went great is that I kept trying. When I couldn’t run, I tried to at least do something. And I’m back home. After lots of travel, it’s good to have a few days at home before jetting off to Paris (which I’m kind of dreading unless my health takes a serious turn, but we can talk about that another time).
Where I need to improve: In the spirit of focusing only on what I can control, let’s just say I could improve my hydration. I should drink more water. That’s something I can control!
Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 9 of training: “All we can do is keep breathing.” —Ingrid Michaelson
New around here? Here’s how training has gone so far. (The short version: It was going great!)
NORMALLY THIS IS WHEN I ASK YOU TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRAINING THIS WEEK! But hearing about other peoples’ amazing runs is, frankly, bumming me out right now. Sorry. So while I truly hope your training is going wonderfully and that you’re running smart and staying healthy, tell me about something else instead. Like your ice cream or alcohol consumption, or about how many puppies you saw while on the run this week.