The other day, Dori sent me this link about some creepy things happening on the Upper East Side.

Awesome! There’s a serial groper roaming my ‘hood?


I didn’t think much of it at the time, other than thinking, “That’s gross. Who does that? Who wakes up in the morning and says ‘I’m going to grab some stranger booty today?’ ”

So let’s backtrack a bit. We’ll get back to the groping in a minute. Promise. It’s exciting stuff, I know.

Last night, after a grueling spin class at the gym, I decided to stay at a friend’s apartment. It was very hot last night.

My air conditioner is mediocre.

My friend, however, has a powerful one.

So I ate the rest of the Ali Cake

…and spent the night sleeping in a blissfully cool apartment.

But this morning I had to return to my own place.

And I’ll be honest: I was a little freaked out about the walk home.

It was 5 am, so it was still a little dark out.

The thought of running into some sketchy dude was definitely on my mind.

Naturally I could kick his ass if I ran into him. And then I could run away at a nice 7:30 pace if I pushed hard, while calling the cops at the same time and getting the guy arrested. As I walked home, I devised this whole plan of how I could not only catch a criminal but also get some speedwork in.

Multi-tasking at its best, don’t you think?

So obviously I made it home just fine. I was a little more aware than usual, but I was fine. There’s really no fun criminal-catching story to be told. Sorry. But this morning did get me thinking a little bit about fear.

I’m not afraid of a lot of things.

I lived in Spanish Harlem for a year when I first moved to NYC. I didn’t know what that meant when I got the apartment, and there were only one or two times that I was a little freaked out walking home late at night. Typically though, I felt untouchable. I heard about bad things happening (there were more than a few shootings and stabbings in the area that I’d hear about on the news from time to time) but never thought they would happen to me.

And they didn’t.

I survived just fine on the Upper Upper East Side (which is what my roommate and I called it).

This morning Coach Cane had 4–5 miles on my training plan, done at an 8:45–9:00 pace. Easy enough, I thought.

But then I got outside (after breaking a sweat just getting into my running clothes at my apartment).

And then the heat hit me.

As I struggled through the first mile — and the subsequent 4.5 throughout the hilly Central Park running road — I was brought back to the Fairfield Half Marathon.

The heat. The hills.

And then I started to feel afraid again.

Afraid of the Hamptons Marathon.

It’s just 60-something days away, and every time I have a really reassuring run I feel amazing and confident that I can run 26.2 miles in September…but when I have a discouraging run like today’s, I can’t help but freak the F out about race day.

I’m afraid I’m going to wake up that morning and my stomach won’t cooperate.

I’m afraid it’ll be a freak 90-degree day and the sun will be beating down on me the entire time.

I’m afraid those two hills on the course will be the death of me. I don’t do well on hills.

I’m afraid that I will have spent all this time training and fundraising, and that I’ll let everyone down if I don’t do well.

I’m afraid I won’t raise as much money for CCFA as I want to raise.

I ran 5.5 miles today. I need to run more than 20 more miles on top of that on marathon day.

I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it.

There are other things I’m afraid of, too.

  • Hairless cats. Nothing is scarier than an animal that looks like it has been turned inside out. They have giant ears and they’re not cuddly looking at all. Hairless cats are evil and disgusting.
  • Snakes. Are there people out there who aren’t afraid of snakes? That’s weird. They slither and they have no limbs. Gross.
  • Kinesio tape. I can’t even think about it. It’s freaky looking. If I’m running a race and I see a fellow runner decked out with kinesio tape, I will make a point to run far away from that person. Because you know what? That may not even be kinesio tape. It may be the runner’s pet snake, hanging onto his or her body for a good time. It’s weird and terrifying.
  • Kids + Wheels. I see a child coming toward me on a scooter, rollerblades or those fancy sneakers with wheels built in and I go crazy. Their mission is to run me over and kill me. Obviously.

I also used to be really afraid of mascots and anything in costume. I hated that my college dance team had to perform alongside the Quinnipiac Bobcat and didn’t so much enjoy my junior spring break trip to Disney World.

I hated the idea that there was a person inside those costumes. It was a paralyzing fear and I blame it on the MTV special called “True Life: I’m A Furry.” It was all about people who got dressed up in animal costumes and got freaky in them. I’m sorry, that’s not really normal. I’m all about being open-minded, but that is not cool.

I’m over that fear now, though.


So anyway. Those are my fears.

Lastly, I was going to stop posting my outfits for a while because I’m a little bored with that part of Ali On The Run. I started doing it as a way to keep track of what I wear, honestly, and maybe I’ll keep sharing from time to time.

Today, for example. I will share my outfit today.

I bought this long pink skirt at Anthropologie back in March and it’s been hanging in my closet unworn ever since.

I’m not sure I’m sold on how I’m wearing it.

I initially had the shirt tucked in and wore it with a big brown belt.

I didn’t like it once I got to the office though, so I did some playing.

I still can’t decide. But I love the color.

And here is a dog, for your enjoyment.

Time to conquer Wednesday. Some deadlines, some phone calls then going to the U2 concert at the Meadowlands tonight! So excited!

ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? I want to know what you’re scared of! Tell me!



0 Responses

  1. Birds… specifically beaks. Terrified of them. Geese, seagulls, ducks, crows… creepy tropical birds. And frisbees. I see a theme… maybe I’m scared of flying things?

  2. I’m scared of the UES groper. Seriously, walking to the subway to go to work at 5:30a.m. scares me. This morning some creeper was verbally harassing me on my walk to the train. Luckily, I don’t think it was that guy, but it freaked me out. I hope they catch him soon!

  3. yikes!!!! i did not know about the psycho groper in the neighborhood. THANKS for sharing. i keep my guard up all the time in the city, but now i will be extra safe 🙂

    and you are going to do AMAZING at hamptons. you’ve put in an incredible amount of dedication… don’t let one ol’ run get you down! you NAILED that 15 miler. i just have a great feeling about your marathon too and know that you will love every second!

    xoxoxo christine

    ps. i saw your coach tonight in the park. it made my night!

  4. Ok, I have to defend my hairless cats! haha I seriously gasped out loud when I read that part of this entry haha
    They are totally creepy looking at first, but once you meet them in person they’re so sweet. I promise! I mean, ok they get dirty, which is disgusting. One of ours is like a dirt magnet, but I swear they’re not actually scary (or evil 😉
    Anywho, when I lived in San Francisco, I frequently walked alone at night in all kinds of neighborhoods, and was never actually scared.

  5. One of my favorite running quotes of all time is “if you aren’t nervous (or scared or afraid) it’s time to quit.” Running isn’t easy and that why its such a challenge… there are going to be bad days but that doesn’t mean you won’t be able to run 26.2 because you can! You can do anything you put your mind to! Especially with your positive attitude.

    Oh and Im pretty much scared of everything. Heights. The Dark. Driving Fast. Rollar Coasters. I’m lame : )

  6. I’m afraid a lot when I go out and run by myself. I got followed home once in college about a mile away from my house… it was the scariest moment of my life. Now I only run with people or with the dogs.

  7. Don’t be skirrrred of the marathon! Trust me, you will be ready to conquer come September!

    I am absolutely petrified of big hairy spiders. I can’t even say the name of the biggest scary one (it begins with a T. shudder). And I’m also freaked out by the groper. But did you hear that he’s 4’11”? WE CAN TAKE HIM.

    Have fun at the concert! And happy Fairway Day!

  8. In my past set of marathon training, I had super highs and super lows. Ultimately what I learned is to listen to my body and my heart. Bad runs will happen. I’m guessing you’ll run 500+ miles during your training, so 5, 50, or even 100 that feel horrible aren’t a big deal at all. None of that will matter on race day!

    I have an irrational fear of bananas.
    I’m scared of tripping up stairs with my hands in my pockets and knocking my teeth out. Or just knocking my teeth out in general.

  9. i just LOL’d so hard! I love this post, I have similar fears and EVERYONE needs to see the epp of True Life…

    And I love the skirt and the belt… 🙂

  10. Hi! You don’t know me, but at the start of the year, I stumbled across your blog after stumbling across Theodora’s blog after stumbling across a little local rag called the New York Times. I’m new to the running world – just ran my first race this spring – and have found reading about your experiences as a NYC athlete both inspiring and comforting (and maybe a little bit creepy, since you don’t know me, ha.)

    Either way, I’ve been wanting to comment for awhile to tell you how motivational your site is, but didn’t have a good reason to – until now. This morning, on my Central Park run, I ran by you! Well, not BY you – there was definitely no passing involved considering your speed – but we ran past each other, and I’m not going to lie – it felt a little like a celebrity citing. (Plus I felt good about myself that I saw you for the first time on a running path, rather than in the 16 Handles line, which I half expected would be the case.)

    Anyway, thanks for all the great advice (and photos of dogs), and I’ll see you on the Central Park Loop!

  11. I just wanted to say that I am NOT afraid of snakes! I used to work in a pet store so I had to handle them a lot. I also see lots of little garter snakes around my parent’s house, and I kind of like them! haha But, we don’t have any posionous snakes around, so maybe if we did, it would be a different story!
    But I am afraid of driving downtown in a big city – what if I end up going the wrong way on a one way street!?! I also am always freaked out that somebody is going to break into my house during the day and steal everything.
    I agree with the others, I love your fashion postings – you always look so cute!

  12. So I had to google kinesio tape because I’ve never seen it before. It IS TOTALLY FREAKY LOOKING, I agree with you. Not scared of the dark persay. I like to sleep in a completely dark room but being outside and alone in the dark would freak me out completely. I think my biggest fear is deep water. Sure, I can get on a cruise ship or put me on a yacht or something, but the second some says, “Hey let’s go deep sea diving..” my answer is a big fat NO. With the exception of a few random snorkeling trips that I didn’t particularly enjoy, I’d have to say deep water and some the not-so-friendly creatures that live in it (cough cough SHARKS) scare me the most.

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  13. Ali, you are going to KICK BUTT in your marathon. You had your pre-marathon flareup already. It’s gone, because you told your Crohn’s to get the F out and it did. If you have to walk the hills, you have to walk. It’s okay!

    As for fears… I don’t like heights where I think I could fall. Like railings on the top floor of a mall. They creep me out. It’s weird because rollercoasters and other heights don’t really bother me. But yeah. That and creepy people when I’m running in the dark… so I don’t run outside in the dark.

  14. Fears? Lightning, failure, locking my keys in my trunk, rejection, and most of all loss of my loved ones. There’s like 10 more irrational ones but I cant think of them now!

    I always make a plan when I’m freaked out, too – its usually very detailed and specific, and then before I know it I don’t need the plan anymore. But at least I was distracted instead of afraid!!

  15. I’m scared of freeway driving. I learned how to drive in a tiny town in Oregon and then spent six years in NY without a car. I’m registered for a race in Austin next year (which is a two hour drive from Houston). Surely I will conquer this one by then, right??

    It’s never happened before, but I’m always afraid that I’m going to spaz out and take a spill during a race and be forced to finish covered in blood.

  16. Thanks for the dog picture!!
    We all get discouraged after a worse-than-anticipated workout. All you need is a kick butt workout this week and your confidence will be back up.
    Groper = scary. Down here in Philly we currently have a “Philadelphia Strangler” who is lurking around and strangling people to rob them. Scary. I LOVE Philly but got a reality check on Monday when MY BIKE WAS STOLEN right outside my office in broad daylight. Cities are cities and can be dangerous. Just have to be smart and listen to our womanly instincts!
    PS: I like the skirt with the belt.

  17. I vote with belt for outfit.

    I am scared of snakes. And now, thanks to you, kinesio tape. Which I had no idea what it was until I just Googled it. Actually, it always freaked me out a bit, but now at least I have a name for it.

    And duh – one not great run does not a race failure make. You are made of awesome and you know it.

  18. This is such a good post, Ali. I live in Washington DC and people are always telling me to be cautious when I’m running. I hear all these horror stories about women being attacked while out exercising, and I get scared for a day or two but I also have that feeling of invincibility. I stay aware of my surroundings, but I could probably do more to be safer – like, um, telling people my routes? Anyway…

    The second part of your “fear post” also resonated with me. Some days, I think “Yes! I can totalyl run 10 miles on October 9th and 13.1 miles on February 26! No problemo!” and then I have a craptastic 3 mile run and I want to cry thinking about running 7-10 more miles than that on race day(s). Ugh. Then, I remember that everyone in the world has rough running days which is why so few people do this sport and stick with it. You are going to ROCK your marathon and you certainly won’t let anyone down.

    Finally, I think I have that same skirt from Anthro. I love the way you styled it with the belt and white top, especially for the office. If you want to wear it out, I usually pair it with a yellow top for a bit of color contrasting. Aqua accents also pair nicely with the white-on-top look.

  19. You look great on this outfit, especially with the belt 😉
    Don’t worry about the marathon, you’ll be fine. You’re doing really great with the training, good runs and bad runs are all part of the journey and perfectly normal…I think that a marathon is not just the day of the race, but encompasses the long period of efforts and determination of the training days, and although we can’t predict 100% what the future holds for us, we surely can choose not to worry over what we can’t control, and prepare ourselves at our best … and you are doing an AWESOME job at this!This is my greatest fear, letting fear freeze me!Fear is my fear 🙂 and dark lakes 😉

  20. I LOVE your blog! I think your training has been going great – and I love your honesty on how great (or not so great) your runs have been going. I think its encouraging for all of your readers to know that not every run is perfect and enjoyable! I’m sure you’ll do great – you’ve conquered so many other obstacles and you’ll be more than ready for your marathon.

    I think one of my biggest fears is getting injured and having my active lifestyle taken away from me. Another one is when I initially start walking into the ocean and I forget to ‘shuffle step’ because I am deathly afraid of getting stung by a stingray one day!

  21. There’s been stuff like that in my neighborhood in Philly too! There’s some guy going around robbing women for the past couple weeks! I definitely think the thought of running away from him if he’s behind me has made me faster!

  22. Hey Ali!

    I vered from my normal East River run this morning and decided to explore Central Park and I saw you running. I didn’t want to be super stalker-ish and stop you in the middle of the run to let you know I love your blog haha. But you look liked like a girl on a mission – you are going to be kill the marathon, don’t even worry about it!

    My fear — rodents (eehh hard to even write the word)…being hit my a biker in the streets (very very valid fear as it almost happens to me every day)…being far away from food and hungry (I get extremely cranky when I’m not fed)

  23. OMG your commentary about the kinesio tape made me laugh out loud, for real.

    I think it’s totally normal to be afraid or unsure about the marathon. It’s a new experience, and it’s a challenging experience! You can’t 100% control what happens on race day, but you can control these next 2 months leading up to the race. That means recovery (more SLEEP!) and getting in quality miles. Not every day will be a great, awesome run…but I think you need the crappy runs to keep your head on straight and appreciate the good runs. I think that if your legs are tired and you feel challenged, you’re doing something right on the hard days versus just coasting along.

    You’re going to ROCK the marathon! 🙂

  24. With your are you afraid of the dark question.. all I can think of is that show in Nickelodeon.. that used to scared the bejeevies out of me. And my brother used to force me to watch it. (apparently I thought his word was golden…) and I’d have nightmares for days (nights).

    Ali – you are going to do AMAZING in your marathon. You are going to finish it. And y ou are going to feel like a superstar when you cross the finish line (not that you aren’t already one…). You’ve been training like a mad woman. You are a runner.. an inspiration.. and nothing short of amazing. I know every one of your followers is rooting for you! You’ve got in in the bag!

  25. First, do not be afraid of the marathon. I know how much the race means to you and I know how daunting 26.2 miles can feel, but you will be trained and ready on race day. And when trained and ready for a race, anything can happen. That’s part of the allure of the marathon. It’s a distance greater than us. We never really know what will happen on the course. The great thing is that the journey leading up to the marathon is incredible, empowering, and builds you up in ways you never thought possible. Regardless of what happens out there in September, every mile will be worth it.

    And I have an irrational fear of birds. Weird, but true.

  26. I totally feel you on the early morning creepies. I hate admitting that, but between that news story and some other recent events, the early mornings have rattled me – but at least its lighter in the summer right now! I think its just important to be super alert. Meanwhile, I got a roadid. I haven’t worn it yet bc I haven’t run since sunday (bc I’m lazy…)But in theory I think it will make me feel better? Or at least I’m identifiable if something does happen?

    But, back to you! (And optimism…)
    You WON’T let anyone down! You WILL handle whatever conditions are thrown at you on race day. You WILL rock that course! You WILL crush your first marathon! Then you WILL celebrate!! Got it? Great!!
    Its fine to be nervous (I kinda like prerace jitters- kind of gets me pumped) but don’t let fears break you down. Just my 2 cents.
    Also, love the skirt!!

  27. carry pepperspray in case of groper. and then take a picture and put it up on here for evryone to see the groper and to beware. haha

    I love it with the belt! it looks more put together! (:

  28. Your outfit is cute! I love it both ways, but I like it better with the belt 🙂 And don’t worry about the marathon, you’re going to rock it! You’re so determined and you work so hard, it’s just going to happen. You put in the work, you’re going to get the result. I know you’re going to kick ass.

    As for fears….yeah, I’m scared of the marathon in April haha. So I understand where you’re coming from, even though you’re wayyy more prepared than I am right now. Umm, also the weirdest thing I’m afraid of, it’s hard to describe: I’m terrified of being at the top of rollercoasters. When they just leave you there, dangling, before they let you go. I’ve decided that’s probably going to be the way I die someday. I’m not afraid of heights bc this is the only “heights” thing that freaks me out, and I”m not afraid of rollercoasters in general because I loooove how fast they go. So maybe I’m afraid of suspension? I think I’m just going to fall out and die one day.

    Yeah, I’m weird.

  29. I found your blog and I am so glad I did!

    I struggled today on my run and all of the doubts you wrote about could have been mine. I came home really defeated and frustrated, and scared. This will be my first half and I struggled through 6.3 miles this morning knowing I will have to double it… Nerves, and doubts make us push harder!

    I believe you can do it!

  30. LOVE the outfit! you totally pull it off so well (and I wanna know where the shirt is from too!). As for fear. I can completely relate, given I’ve struggled myself with running of late, and when I do, my fear and panic over my half marathon next month go into overdrive. BUT today, I ran 8 miles and felt awesome. Hard to channel the good runs when you have a bad one, but I hope you channel your awesome 15 miler last week!! 🙂

  31. Hot outfit! For hot weather!
    Carry some Bear Spray with you, that will show them… Lots of pervs around
    Everything will fall into place after your 14/ 16 week training cycle… You will be more than prepared


  32. I think its very natural to be afraid of a marathon – there are def times when I’ve struggled through 6 miles and then been like “JESUS I HAVE TO DO 20 MORE?!?” When it comes down to it, you’ll get the job done, I have no doubt.

    I am afraid of fatal illnesses and always think I have one – meningitis, brain tumors, lymphoma, leukemia, gastric cancer — I have self diagnosed myself with all of them.

    I am also afraid of flying. I hate it. But I don’t let it stop me from traveling.

  33. Not afraid of the dark, I am afraid sometimes walking late at night alone in NYC even though I was born and raised here, I am extra vigilant at night and early morning, particularly in the subway.

    You are going to KILL the marathon, so while nerves are okay, don’t worry to much, you will FINISH a Marathoner, no one can take that from you even the heat and hills!

  34. Where is your top from? I LOVE it. “If I’m running a race and I see a fellow runner decked out with kinesio tape, I will make a point to run far away from that person.” – HAHAHA

  35. I had a horrible run this morning too! 6 miles turned into 3.4 and me genuinely worried about puking on the side of East Drive. The humidity + the fact that it seemed like the entire lower loop reeked of horse manure made for a pretty miserable morning.

    My fears:
    – Not making it through my first half-marathon on 8/28 (bad run today = not helping)
    – Falling face-first down an escalator
    – Burning down my apartment by leaving my hair straightener on

  36. I can’t wait to see what kind of traffic comes to your blog now that you’ve talked about mascot fetishes.

    Seriously woman, do not be afraid. You’ve got this marathon in the bag. We all have less than stellar runs during every training cycle, no matter how bad we are, how prepared we are, or how in shape we are to dominate our races. Focus on what you’re doing right, because you’re doing A LOT right. That 15 mile training run for instance, that was straight up bad ass. You’ve got more determination that the UES and the UUES put together and a marathon is all about how determined you are to crush it. I’m not scared for you, I’m scared for the Hamptons marathon course because you are going to destroy it.

    And snakes are terrifying. As are children on wheels. Let’s banish them both.

  37. I’m totally afraid of the dark and am only not afraid if other people are around. You had me cracking up about your fear of furry things and MTV’s responsiblity for it! You will do great at the Hamptons Marathon no matter what happens that day 🙂

  38. I am also terrified I will not be able to finish my marathon in October!! eek (My first full too). Besides that my top three fears are death, failure, and sharks – but snakes also scare the crap out of me too! While mountain biking a few weeks ago in Texas I came across a rattlesnake!! Not cool.

  39. I love that pic of you and the White Rabbit, haha! I have never heard of someone being scared of a mascot before. 🙂 I don’t have any weird fears, but my sister is so afraid of clowns. My mom bought her a birthday cake when she was little with clowns all over it, not knowing the effect it would have on my poor sister. She was scarred, refused to blow out the candles, and did not eat one bite of that cake.

  40. Yes, we all have fears, and I know I do. Continue to have faith and believe in yourself and you will conquer all your fears 🙂

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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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