On Running, Racing, Recovery & Rewards

It’s been 48 hours since the Fairfield Half Marathon and my body is very slowly coming back to life.

Very slowly.

Hi. I'm Ali.

I felt really dehydrated all day yesterday so I was chugging water at my desk. That meant I was constantly having to get up to pee.

The walk to the office bathroom has never felt so far. My achy legs were not happy to be constantly getting up and down.

Coach Cane advised I take a rest day yesterday, but I wanted no part of that.

Sorry, Coach. You can’t keep me down.

After work I went to the gym for some back-to-back class action: Chisel followed by spinning.

Normally Chisel is a perfect post-run class because it’s all strength training. I break a little sweat but it’s not heavy on the cardio. But naturally yesterday the instructor decided that we were going to “kick off the class with some cardio!”

Thanks, buddy.

The class was great though, and despite wanting to cry during the extra-long abbductor/adductor leg lift series, I enjoyed feeling the overall burn.

Spinning was what really helped though. The energy in the room was amazing, the music was perfect and my legs were so happy to be pushing the little bike wheel around. Goodbye, lactic acid. Thanks for visiting.

Last night I celebrated a successful weekend by getting dinner and wine with a friend at Vespa, one of my current obsessions. It has this adorable back patio and last night was a perfect night to be sitting outside and relaxing.


As I pounded sipped my Riesling (oh so sweet and refreshing) and inhaled delicately picked at the bread basket, I realized something:

I’m healthy again.

When did that happen?

I felt fine the entire time I was at the gym, and when it came time to order dinner last night I didn’t freak out about how every potential meal might affect my stomach. (Yes, I ordered chocolate cake for dessert, and no, I did not agree to “split it evenly” with my dining partner.)

The Crohn’s hasn’t completely de-flared (that may not be a real word…), but I can’t believe how much the steroids have helped over the past few days. The increased dose made a huge difference and I’m so happy to report that things are returning to normal. I’m getting my life back! The past month of hellish stomach pains and brutally awkward bathroom moments is becoming a distant memory.

So now I get to move forward. I know that for the rest of marathon training I need to make a much more conscious effort not to be so stressed out, or the Crohn’s will surely make a return appearance.

And that is why I’m giving in and finally treating myself. Look at what finally got checked off the To Do list:

Highlighted = DONE

That’s right: I’m finally getting a massage.

I’m big on the reward system, and I never get massages. They’re a major treat for me and I always feel like I really need to earn them. (I’ve written about this before: the last time I booked I massage I convinced myself to run 12 miles before laying on the table.) I purchased a 60-minute Fusion Massage at Exhale Spa off Rue La La months ago, but kept wanting to do something awesome in order to cash in on it.

My original thought was that if I PR’d in Fairfield I’d get the massage.

We all know that didn’t happen.

Do I look happy? Nope.

But I still made an appointment for this Friday afternoon. And I can’t wait.

This morning, in an effort to do something awesome (because yes, I will spend the rest of this week trying to do impressive things in order to really feel massage-worthy), I ran.

Coach Cane said to do three loops of the Central Park Reservoir, so that’s what I did (plus a few add-ons at the end in order to hit an even 7 miles — I’m OCD like that).

This is my foot. It is running.

My legs are still pretty sore, so my pace was nothing spectacular. I started out slow and once my legs felt loosened up I averaged an 8:30-8:40ish pace. Not bad!

Despite the crazy humidity, the park was packed this morning.

Happy runners everywhere
Bikers, runners, walkers, oh my

Not only did my stomach cooperate today (until the last mile, actually, but I’m pretending that didn’t happen), but the run kind of brought me back to life.

I was feeling pretty discouraged after Fairfield. I felt like I sucked at racing and like I’m trying too hard to be something I’m not: a runner.

But this morning I didn’t worry about my pace. I didn’t care how fast or slowly I was going. I just ran, and I loved it. I’m taking my focus away from racing for a little while. I love running, and I need to re-harness that passion.

Running makes me happy.

So does my favorite blue dress.

I think I wear this too often. I do not care.

TELL ME: What makes you happy?



0 Responses

  1. OK, so others made the insightful running comments. I am going to echo the question on everyone’s mind: what the heck are “frisky pitches”??

    Are we talking cat food? A suggestive curveball? A naughty meeting with advertisers?

    I’ve known some frisky bitches…but frisky pitches? Clueless.

  2. Ali, you rock! I’m glad Crohn’s didn’t get in the way of your half-marathon. I’m glad you booked your massage. Enjoy it. You should reward yourself.

    What makes me happy is reading your blog! It’s true. You are an inspiration. Those Jack Rabbit people knew what they were doing when they chose you to Run for the Rabbit. Other things that make me happy? Well, running of course, knitting, and playing with my little nephews.

  3. I hope you enjoy your massage. I’ve never had one, but I’m not a “touchy” type of person, and I don’t think I would enjoy it.

    Also- I have a similar attitude about rewards, I try to make myself REALLY earn them. I have 4 tattoo designs I am dying to get, but I won’t let myself get them until I: reach my goal weight, run a half-marathon, pay off our credit card, and get a degree.

  4. I love getting massages and I get one for my legs almost every 2-3 weeks. It helps me recover quickly 🙂 Lately, what makes me happy is taking my body to other levels of fitness such as a duathlon, 24 hr relay and this coming Friday, I will try paddle boarding!! Can’t wait 🙂

  5. Wow, a message sounds so nice right now, and you totally deserve it!!
    I’m happy when I’m on a long run in a new place. I love exercising when I’m on vacation because I know that I’ll see new things and it won’t be boring!

  6. You are so massage worthy. I got a massage about a month ago and I really think it helped ease a lot of lingering aches and pains. Pamper yourself! I’m so glad you’re feeling better.

    And I’m happy because I am saying goodbye to drama and hello to fresh starts with amazing people!

  7. Nice! I often say one of the best parts about racing is rewarding yourself afterwards! I always enjoy some wine and a burger after. Good for you for scheduling a massage – you deserve it, esp after your past couple weeks. Glad the meds are kicking in.
    Also – there’s nothing like a run without watch/garmin/equipment and just being outside and enjoying running because we fundamentally love running! Love that.

  8. I’m so glad the steroids are starting to finally work! WOOHOO:) I wish I had somewhere fantastic like Central Park to run…today I ran on a treadmill…what made me happy was the fact that this treadmill has its own individual TV, plus 2 fans to keep you a little cool. Fantastic:)

  9. Hmmmm, well a lot of things make me happy, but playing tennis today made me super happy! Made me realize how much fun tennis can be. Also, oreo cheesecake ice cream from Brusters!

    I take 2 rest days per week but maybe I should implement a little something on the side so I’m not completely inactive those days!

  10. Ali – you did awesome in your half marathon, especially for being dehydrated, and you ARE a runner! Please don’t ever say otherwise. You love running, you run, and that makes you a runner. Period. So glad you are feeling better – it must be such a nice break from those stomach pains and to know the meds are working. Yay for treating yourself to a massage! You definitely earned it!

  11. No wonder why you were so cheery this morning!! So glad you’re feeling better. Lately I’ve learned that vacations make me happy. Hehe, too bad they can’t occur on a monthly basis. But running always makes me happy too 🙂

    I walk by Vespa 100 times a week but have never tried it! Also, how’s Thursday for running? I’ll email/tweet ya’ll

  12. glad to hear you are feeling better ali! always a good feeling, especially since you are marathon training & being healthy (AND HAPPY) is super important. i am so glad for you! 🙂

    i love: running. i ran 7 miles this morning and when i saw my time was coming to an end, i wanted to keep going and going and maybe try for 10. however, work calls, and i kept it at 7. still happy about it though!

  13. I love the bright yellow ribbon (lanyard? What do you call that part?) with your medal! 🙂

    Running (obviously) also makes me happy. And coffee, especially when consumed pre-run. And Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream. And listening to country music while driving. I didn’t expect to like anything about driving.

    ALSO, question I keep forgetting to ask: do you shower just before races, or before every run? And why? Just an extra effort to wake yourself up?

  14. First of all, you have perfect print. It looks like you typed that list.

    Second, YAY for feeling better! So happy for you, I know how it’s been stressing you out these last few weeks. What makes me happy? Hmm….the first thing that comes to mind is waking up early and eating breakfast while the rest of the world is still quiet 🙂

  15. YAY!!! I’m so glad the meds have helped and that even though the partial flare-up sucked, it is showing you that a stress-less Ali is a happy and healthy Ali. So go enjoy that massage on Friday and continue a stress-less week!! I am so happy for you!

    As for me? It makes me happy that I have a back-to-back barre n9ne class schedule for tonight, a new arms/abs class followed by an all over lean & tone class. I can’t wait!!

  16. can’t you be a runner without being a “racer” (i.e. being so concerned about times, winning, etc.)? Run for the sake of running…..might help ease the stress.

    PS – what the hell is “frisky pitches”???

  17. You don’t wear that blue dress too often, because I look forward to every time that you do (is it weird that I have a “favorite” outfit of .. uh, yours?) and you don’t wear it that much!

    Glad to hear you’re feeling better 🙂

    1. Apparently some guy was there a few weeks ago and did some redecorating. I hear he was a real nuisance, and that when he actually got seated one of the girls he was with complained about the inadequacy of the table. Rude.

  18. what is “frisky pitches” and why wasn’t I invited?

    ps you ARE a runner. don’t make me tell you again. i know where you live.

  19. So glad you’re feeling better! I just got a round of Cipro prescribed, so I’m looking forward to that. I never feel better than I do when I’m on the heavy duty stuff.

  20. Wow, I am impressed. a DOUBLE and then a run today after the half this weekend? You are insane, but also perhaps my hero 😉 SO glad your tummy is feeling better and I love that dress!! (and now that I have been to Central Park this weekend, I totally recognize it in pics. So cool).

  21. So glad you’re feeling better these days! I’m totally with you on the “earn the massage” mentality (although my early am super, super slow, grandma pace of a 3 mile run before hand is starting to feel a bit wimpy….), and actually enjoyed one last night (amazing!) ~ ENJOY! you FOR SURE earned it!

    Also, you ARE a runner. Don’t be so hard on yourself!

  22. Awesome that you are getting a massgae! They are so crucial to total body recovery (or atleast that is what I tell myself).
    Glad you are starting to feel normal.. and the flare is dissipating! Must feel great to be feelin’healthy again!!

  23. Hey! Awesome seeing you out there this morning! I almost turned around to run for a few seconds with you but figured you were on your way out anyway. Vespa is awesome, but I lost my favorite Adidas zip up there a few months ago.

    a morning run/bike/swim
    morning coffee on the beach
    accomplishing difficult challenges

  24. So happy you are feeling better! Who is your massage with? I have a definite favorite there. You earned it. I always like to get a massage after a half.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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