My Happy Place

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit!

(Did you say it this morning? I did!)

Happy August!

July was pretty amazing and it’ll be a tough month to top, but I’ve got a great feeling about this week and about the month ahead.

If you’re just tuning in, here’s what you missed over the jam-packed weekend:

Not a bad weekend. Not bad at all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about happiness lately. The other night I was talking to a cute friend who sometimes brings me cake, and we were discussing our “happy places.”

I think everyone has a happy place.

Sometimes it’s an actual place, like Central Park or the California Grill in Orlando…

Oh California Grill, I love you and your chocolate cake

…or by the fireplace at my parents’ house in New Hampshire…

Merry Christmas! We are happy.

…or on a dance floor. Any dance floor will do.

Dancing with my dad at a wedding

Other times it’s a state of mind, like “anywhere there’s pizza.”

Your happy place is a place you can channel when you’re feeling upset or discouraged, and it’ll put an instant smile on your face or bring you a sense of calm.

My parents have a timeshare in Aruba, so for a long time my happy place was on the beach in Aruba, relaxing with a strawberry daiquiri (admittedly the times I went to Aruba I was not even close to being 21, so I’m not sure where the daiquiri fantasy came from, but it was a crucial addition to my happy thoughts).

But now, with few things on my mind besides the fast-approaching Hamptons Marathon, my happy place has changed.

The first place that popped into my mind when asked about my happy place: a finish line.

Crossing the finish line at the Fairfield Half Marathon!

It doesn’t matter which finish line I’m crossing — it could be the finish of a 5K or a half marathon. But nothing beats that feeling when you see the finish approaching, you push as hard as you can toward it, your legs start to feel like jelly (or lead) and then your foot finally touches down on the speed bumpy sensor thing that catches your time.

If I’ve had a great race, I’m proud to be wrapping it up with a smile (and perhaps a fist pump, or maybe some jazz hands).

A strong, proud finish at the National Half Marathon

If I’ve had a tough race, I’m happy it’s over!

Happy to be done with the Healthy Kidney 10K

Finish lines are the best.

Almost every day over the past week I’ve found myself picturing the finish line at the Hamptons Marathon.

I’m so excited that my parents are coming down for the race and in one scenario I picture myself crossing the line and hugging them, and in another I’m barely making it over the finish and I’m collapsing onto them. Either way, I will cross that line and I will finish my first marathon.

(There’s a third scenario, too. In that one, my friend who is a man and who accidentally put on a pink robe before our massages yesterday is there, too. In that scenario, I get a little/giant kiss at the finish. We’ll see…)

For the next 53 days (holy F), that’s the happy place I’ll be channeling. And I hope that after September 24, I’ll fondly look back on that specific finish line as my new happy place.

Other happy places of mine include Australia, where I studied abroad in 2005, Fire Island (Lauren, take me baaack), dog parks (no, I don’t have a dog of my own, so please stop judging my puppy stalking tendencies), the East River at sunrise and Lincoln Center.

TIME FOR SHARING AND STORYTELLING: I told you my happy place — now tell me yours. Is it on a massage table, getting a rubdown? That’s one of mine, too. We have that in common. Cool. Is your happy place in bed? I like that one. Is your happy place on a spin bike? Oh hey, me tooooo! Except for this morning’s spin bike, because I got my butt seriously kicked and it wasn’t really fun but rather grueling and painful. Anyway… Talk to me.



0 Responses

  1. So needed this post today! My happy place? Bi-weekly massages. Best thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. I always leave feeling better than I came in no matter what is or is not happening in my life.

  2. I love this post! Thanks!! The North Shore of Lake Superior in northern Minnesota is my happy place. We went my mom’s friend’s cabin almost every year growing up. I dooo love finish lines to though!

  3. I really really love my bed on a Sunday morning – just because thats when I let myself sit in bed for as long as I want to. But after that, running on the beach in the early morning when its still deserted or San Diego!

  4. Great post – I have also been thinking a lot this past year about what makes me happy. My husband said to me once: “You can have the life you want.” which is now my motto.
    I have two happy places. One is quite fabulous and the other is more realistic and low-key. Fabulous happy place is on my honeymoon, on the beach in Sifnos, Greece which is probably the happiest I’ve ever been in my life, drinking a glass of white greek wine during sunset.
    More realistic/low key is Saturday mornings in my comfy living room, post long run and shower, enjoying a delicious big breakfast while sitting next to my dog and catching up on reality TV. (I did that this weekend and even said out-loud: “This is my favorite part of the whole week.”)

  5. My happy place is really a state of mind to me. It has to be felt and it is felt most when I’m in the loving company of family and friends.

    I also like running at sunrise and watching sunsets – and crossing my “finishing point” after a good run!

  6. My happy place is Maine – I literally tear up with joy when I cross the state line. I spent a lot of summers in the Casco area growing up, and I get incredibly “homesick” for Maine every summer, especially the mountains/trails, lakes, and many small ice cream places. The White Mountains, Providence, running at night when it’s snowing, small-town libraries, (the smell of) campfires, and hot drinks on cold fall days are up there too. Fall is definitely my favorite season.

  7. My happy place is reading on my couch with my husband on the other side of my and our kitten sleeping on top of the couch. It is our little family and I love when we are all together and mellow:)

  8. Ali! I love this post so much, it gave me some goosebumps. Even the best visual of crossing the finish line of your first marathon is not as AWESOME as the real thing. I’m so excited for you to experience that!

    Hmm, my happy places. Central Park, the living room at my Dad’s house, Carl Schurz Park (and the doggies), my couch, Candle Cafe, Union Square and the corner of West 10th and Bleeker in the West Village (Marc Jacobs + Magnolia Bakery. Can’t go wrong.)

  9. I’m glad your wrote this post because it’s been a while since I’ve thought of my happy place!

    My happy place is sitting in the park alone and reading a good book…or hiding in the magazine section at Borders/Barnes and Noble.

    My happy place is also sitting at an outdoor cafe in Italy, sipping a glass of wine 🙂

  10. Your posts are always such a a happy start to my day!

    Right now one of my happy places is thinking about my upcoming 3 week vacation and visualizing how it will feel to cross the marathon finish line after a great race. 🙂

  11. I agree with you. there is NOTHING like crossing the finish line of a race. i bet you’ll cry when you finish hamptons… I know I did when I finished Chicago last fall.

  12. I have to agree with some of your happy places. Anytime that I’m running I’m happy (for the most part). Anytime I’m home with my family or spending time with people that I love I’m happy. Also, whenever it’s gorgeous outside and I”m able to take a walk or just be outside I’m happy.

  13. I so agree with you on the idea of a race finish line. It’s such an amazing place to be!

    But I also love being snuggled in the couch with my husband, on or near 9:31 p.m. every night, watching tv, eating some kind of snack, and just feeling so deliciously comfortable.

  14. What fabulous happy places! Some of my happy places include sitting poolside with a good book – ending a day in relaxing child’s pose … sitting and doing nothing while I catch up with my mother – or relaxing on the beach my my boyfriend. I also find happiness after I teach a successful lesson at school where I see the “lightbulbs” in my students heads go off 🙂

  15. A finish line and central park are really good happy places……I would probably ad any trail with running water and airports (seems wrong I know) because of the buzz in the air and the likely start of vacation!

  16. So I just got back from a week back home in Nebraska and I was like, “I’ll read Ali’s blog to put me in a good mood and remind me how awesome New York is.” You did not disappoint! This post is exactly what I needed right now 🙂 The happy place on my mind right now is watching the sun set over the neighborhood lake my parents live by back in Nebraska as I’m driving in my car listening to country music. My happy place in NY is on my rooftop in the middle of the day drinking an iced coffee and reading a good book.

  17. I love this post. It made me… well… happy. 🙂

    Here are some of my happy places:
    Finish lines. (Totally agree with you on this one.)
    Anywhere with my college girlfriends. Preferably with lots of giggling.
    By the Atlantic Ocean. I prefer Cape Cod, but anywhere will do. It turns me into an 8 year old, laughing, splashing, running, and playing in the almost-too-cold-but-totally-refreshing water.
    That place right after a good workout where you feel totally accomplished, sweaty, and endorphin-y.
    The town where I went to college.
    The Museum of Science & Industry in Chicago.
    My parents’ house.
    My wedding video. <3 It's not really a place, but it takes me to the happiest of places.
    My bed. Especially if I have a good book and there's a thunderstorm.

    I'm smiling just thinking of all of these things.

  18. Right now my happy place is on my road bike! I cant run right now (otherwise my happy place would also be a finish line) and thought I’d just bike instead but I really really love it! There’s nothing like riding through rural Virginia early in the morning and watching the sun come up!

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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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