The Three Questions Everyone Keeps Asking

Yesterday was a looong day. So I’m kind of surprised to find out it’s only Tuesday today.

Despite the fact that it was a marathon day, yesterday was a good one! My workday was busy and I scooted out of the office right at 5 in order to make it to the gym for some back-to-back classes.

I took Chisel first, which was lovely as always. Lots of tricep and rear deltoid work. Love that!

Afterward I went downstairs for Spinning. There was a sub and normally that would break my heart because I adore the regular Monday teacher, but the sub was Bethany Lyons, who is one of my favorite Crunch instructors. She is the group fitness coordinator for Crunch and is so adorable and peppy, but totally hardcore. I was sweating within the first 10 minutes. (She also teaches at SoulCycle, so if any of you are Soul enthusiasts, check out her class. You won’t be disappointed.)

I had a work event to attend last night on the Upper West Side that started at 8.

Spinning ended at 7.

I’m getting quite good at the “shower really fast at the gym then get ready while you’re still kind of sweating and P.S. Ali, you’re disgusting” routine.

I was cleaned up, out the gym door and at the Beacon Theater by 7:35.

The Dance Awards are a new event and they were great! The dancing was outrageously good and the people watching was excellent.

All my favorite dancers were out in full force last night and it was great catching up with them. Travis Wall! Nick Lazzarini! Mandy Moore (in a smoking hot little strapless sequin dress)! Misha Gabriel! Sonya Tayeh! Jeanine Mason! Billy Bell!

Nerd alert. Sorry. I like my job.

As great as the show was, it made for a late night.

I didn’t get to bed until 12.

And I had to do some 5 am running this morning.

Coach Cane wanted speedy things happening: 1 mile warm-up, 1 lap of the Bridle Path at an 8:30 pace and a second lap at an 8:15 pace, plus a cool-down.


And yay for running dates! Despite the fact that my phone is a piece of crap and completely failed me this morning, I still managed to find Theodora and Tina in the park.

That’s a lie.

They found me…just as I was about to punt my non-functioning phone into the Reservoir.

I had already finished the bulk of my run, but I joined them for an additional lap of the Reservoir.

It was sweaty and wonderful.

I can’t believe I used to shy away from running dates. They’re the best.

Thanks for the extra miles, ladies! I ended up covering 7.25.

Something exciting: Coach Cane has me running 16 miles on Friday! I am so excited. Maybe a little too excited. All I want to do in life is talk about running. I don’t think I’m going to have any non-runner friends left by the end of marathon season.

Also exciting: today’s outfit, courtesy of my cute mom.

I have the same dress in pink. I think I look a little bit like toothpaste today, but I don’t mind. It’s so comfortable and perfect for a hot day. And it’s from the Banana Republic outlet, so even though it was a gift it makes me happy to know it was probably on sale.

Thanks, Mom!

OK, so the title of the post…

Lately there are only three questions people ask me, and they ask them all the time. I don’t know why, but in the past week these questions have flooded my inbox, Twitter feed, email and live conversations (yes, those still exist).

The questions you’ve been asking:

  1. What is the Hamptons Marathon course like?
  2. What is your marathon goal time?
  3. Who is the “handsome friend” you have mentioned on your blog?

Oddly people never ask “Why do you eat so much frozen yogurt?”

So I’ll answer one of the questions above. Sorry. That’s all you get for now.

You want to know about the marathon course that I’m going to dominate on September 24? Sure, let’s talk about that.

The Hamptons Marathon course looks like this:

What people really want to know is whether or not it’s flat.

Here’s the elevation chart:

Those numbers mean nothing to me. But there you go.

Now who wants to tell me just how steep that hill 4-mile hill is going to be?


As for the other two questions…

My goal, considering this is my first marathon, is to finish and be proud of myself. That’s truly all I want. I want to cross the finish line knowing I pushed my hardest and did my best. And ideally I’ll be smiling.

And ideally I won’t die.

There’s no way of knowing.

I emailed with Coach Cane yesterday, and he wrapped up our chain with this: “All I really care about for first time marathoners is getting them to the starting line and to the finish line.”

I can do that, Coach!

We did discuss a specific time goal. I will tell you that the time difference between my goal and his goal is 40 minutes. Haha!

I’m going to wait to see how my 20-mile runs go before I share my time goal. Hopefully the suspense doesn’t keep you up at night.

And you’re not getting any more information about “handsome friend.” Sorry.

Have a great day!

SO: Any other questions?



0 Responses

  1. Youre lying if you cant agree with me that one of the best parts of being a runner is getting to do some extra fueling .. Sorry that I havent posted any updates on my recovery in what seems like ages. Running is our lifeblood and it gets tricky sometimes without that regular outlet…

  2. I loooove that little black dress. I have a similar one except it has a giant flower thing on the shoulder that’s constantly attacking my face.

    Handsome friend. I like that, might have to steal it for a similar situation soon…

  3. Your goal is perfect. there is nothing sweeter than crossing that finish line in so much pain and tears. bliss!

    ps. LOVE that dress! so cute on you!

  4. My question is: Are you taking ANY rest days? I thought you were going to take more rest days but it seems like when you’re not running you’re doing 2 gym classes. Just curious… every marathon training plan I’ve seen calls for 1 rest day a week. Seems odd that coach Cane doesn’t have you taking any. Congrats on all your great runs!

    1. Who said Coach Cane isn’t giving her any rest days? Trust me, he’s not that crazy. (Nor does he usually speak of himself in the third person, but he’s kinda enjoying it here.) Generally speaking Ali is running 5x/week, with one day of just cross training and one day of total rest.

  5. I definitely say the goal for a first marathon is just to finish and everything else is icing on the cake! When I did my first one, that was my goal and then I made two time goals – to beat Oprah (4:29) and to beat P.Diddy (4:14) – which I did! The second time around I trained for a time goal. I would make your time goal, if you do make one, to be 3:40 or 3:35, whichever standard for Boston your marathon falls under. I mean, hey, why not?!?

    I need someone to bring me cake. Where can I get one of those?!?

  6. A.) I know this might be immature but I laughed at your first picture because there is a woman getting dressed behind your peppy pose. Little does she know she is now on the internet changing for all the world to see… 😉

    B.) I am so jealous of your job!! I am not a dancer and know nothing about dance except that I wish I could do it. But SYTYCD is my favorite show and so I recognize a lot of those names from having watched every single season religiously. I even went to see them live one year when they came to Providence (I told you, I’m a wannabe).

    C.) I really need to come to NYC and have a running + 16 Handles date with you. Oh, and to meet your mysterious handsome friend. Hopefully there will be cake…

    D.) FINALLY – I think it’s actually really good not to have a time goal for your first marathon. The best goal is just to finish and no matter how much you train, those last 6 miles are tough. And anything can happen. Not having a time goal on top of the goal just to finish takes a lot of pressure off.

    Phew…that was long. Sorry 🙂

    1. Oh wow. Didn’t even notice. I’m an asshole.

      There are blatant signs all over the locker room that say “no cameras, no cell phones.” Clearly I took those seriously… Oops. At least she’s dressed, right?

  7. That was quite a tease with those question, Ms. Ali! 😉
    I can completely relate to only wanting to talk about running. I think marathon training does that to almost everyone. Sometimes I think my co-workers really don’t get how much I love running, or why the heck I spend so much time doing it or talking about it!
    Finishing, in my opinion, should always be the goal for a person’s first marathon. Anything beyond that is way too much pressure for a person’s first time running 26.2 miles.
    Hope you’re having a great Tuesday!!
    p.s. I want your job so I can go to cool events all the time!

  8. I have a question- first it is amazing that you can go from sweating to cocktail dress in like 45 minutes….but what I want to know is, how many bags do you have to lug around the city with you? I only saw one little purse! Where are the gym clothes and getting ready stuff?

    1. I usually carry two bags: the purse you see in the photo (which, promise, is bigger than it appears — I fit a ton of crap in there) and my giant gym bag. I left my gym bag overnight in a locker last night so I didn’t have to bring it to the event with me. I really hope it’s still there…

  9. How in the world do you get up so early in the morning to run? I’ll run some mornings before work (so I’m up around 5/5:30) but come Saturday I’m exhausted and cannot pull myself out! And yay to marathons- I’m running the Marine Corps.

  10. I love the dresses! I’m training for my 2nd 1/2 marathon soon and then I’ll look into a full. The distance really intimidates me. But I think you’ve got a great goal of just starting and finishing. That’s the hardest part, time doesn’t really matter.

  11. Can’t wait to hear about how the 16 miles goes on Friday, from your past runs I have a feeling it’s going to be amazing!!!

    Yes, one very important question for you — how do you do it all!? Go to bed at 12 and wake up at 5am happy??

    …and no one asks why you love Frozen Yogurt so much because I think that one’s obvious to all of us! I am kind of curious why you favor 16 Candles over the other Fro-yo places with the same “idea” to them (fill up your cup with yogurt and variety of toppings)?

    1. See answer above: I function on very little sleep somehow! I wake up happy at 5 am because that’s the best time of day! I get to run! And nothing has gone wrong yet. Early mornings mean you’re open to tons of possibilities for how the day will go. I love that.

      As for 16 Handles, it’s my favorite because it’s the closest to my apartment. I really like Flavaboom last week, but it’s downtown. 16 Handles is delicious AND convenient. Can’t beat that!

  12. Your job looks very very awesome. I am definitely jealous that you get to work in a job that you love so much. 🙂

    Haha! I know what you mean about not having any non-running friends by the end of your first marathon…when I did my first I felt all I ever wanted to talk about was running…felt a little bad for my non-running friends sometimes, but also made so many awesome running friends 🙂

  13. I’d say from your training times, Mr. Cane has you coming in at around a 3:35- 3:45 which I believe you are totally capable of….
    What a crappy place for a 4 mile hill, we have a similar hill in the marathon in my city… not 4 miles but it is 1000 meters at 23 miles

  14. I bet those dance awards were amazing!!!! I’m not a classically trained dancer, but I was on dance teams in high school and college, and am now teaching Zumba, so I’m dance obsessed. And, SYTYCD has become my favorite show! I am jealous you got to see a lot of the SYTYCD stars in person. And, you look stunning in the one strap dress!

  15. Although I’ve never run the full, the Hampton’s Half is my all time favorite race! The terrain is a nice mix, there are some hills, windy roads, a sandy stretch in the woods…good times! I’m bummed I’m not running it this year…good luck and have fun!!

  16. How do you balance your job and marathon training and all of those gym days and your handsome friend? Are there enough hours in the day? But I guess the fact that you sleep 5 hours last night and still went running answers that.. I need at least 9-10 hours before a long run or hot yoga session.

    1. There are definitely not enough hours in the day! And I promise you, I’m not getting everything done that I’d like to get done! I’m up super early to get my run in, then I’m at work until 5. I usually go to the gym after work, then am home to eat dinner, get stuff done, and attempt productivity before bed.

      Really, I just don’t sleep enough and I eat dinner too late. I don’t necessarily advise it, but I’m working on getting more sleep!

  17. hahaha, selective question-answering is the best! nice job on the early morning miles – you rocked them!

    and p.s. i would never question your froyo intake 🙂 16 handles > everything else

  18. I love the dress you wore lastn ight. You look like one hot mama!

    I would really love to know more about the handsome man you seem to be spending so much time with. I mean.. texts..with a cake outside the door.. he sounds like a handomse keeper!

  19. I tried 16 Handles for the first time last week, too — completely your fault/credit. 🙂 Amazing. Also, my question is about your early morning runs. Do you usually eat anything beforehand or are you a get up and go kind of girl? I’m starting to run more in the AM so just curious since you’re clearly an early morning runner!

    1. I don’t eat anything before my weekday runs. I eat when I get back. Butt on the weekends if I’m doing a long run (8+ miles) I always eat something small beforehand.

  20. Two things – you look gorgeous in that dress (and I’m jealous of your job, ps). And two (I guess this is three): I am running 10 miles on Friday and am already afraid of the heat in the forecast!! Seriously contemplating getting up at 4am to get it done. I don’t envy those 16 miles on your list for the day though I know you’ll do awesome.

  21. You are beyond wise to have those sorts of goals for your first marathon… and trust me when I tell you that after your first 20, you can really start to put a number to your goal. But the most important part is finishing with a smile on your face and with your awesome attitude, I’m sure you will do that!

    Handsome friend gets a check + in my book : )

  22. Yes… how did you get your job and how do I get one just like it? And did you see Teddy Forance at the Dance Awards? Or Ray Leeper? Faves of mine that I used to compete against/take class from at conventions. (NYCDA anyone?)

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

    PS – I tried 16 Handles for the 1st time this week… The one on the Jericho Turnpike on Long Island, NY. I knew it was a stretch because you live in the city but I was scanning the place hoping to see you in there. At least the froyo was amazing!

    1. Yes, Teddy and Ray were both there! Ray was actually co-hosting it and looked quite dapper in his suit. And Teddy tried to prove to the audience that he “knows how to tap dance.” Very adorable.

      So glad you tried out 16 Handles & very happy you liked what you ate!

  23. Who’s goal is the faster one, yours or Coach Cane’s? 40 minutes is a huge discrepancy! I am impressed with how quickly you got yourself looking so good after the gym! I took a gorgeous sunrise photo today too on the East River, I thought of you!

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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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