A Kick In The Butt

I told myself I would get more sleep this week.

So far: Fail.

Really big fail.

I’m running on 4 hours of sleep and I’m going to go ahead and say it was totally worth it.

Did I was my hair this morning? No. But I got it wet and blow-dried it and that’s about all the effort I could make.

I wear this out all the freaking time. Sorry. I'm unoriginal.

Yesterday was a loooong day. I kicked it off with a 6:15 am spin class followed by too many hours at the office (sans lunch break). I rushed home to change after work to throw on the lone “party dress” that’s still clean in my closet.

Well, it was clean. I put it on last night and was sweating within minutes.

Last night a handful of coworkers and I attended the New York City Dance Alliance Foundation gala at NYU’s Skirball Center. It was fun and fancy and we got our own escort onto the red carpet.

The event itself was stellar. Lots of young, talented dancers receiving much-deserved college scholarships, plus tons of awesome entertainment. Roberta Flack was the guest of honor, but I was more excited by the young kids, like the 11-year-old star of Billy Elliot who was so cute he made my cheeks hurt from all the smiling.

OK so why am I geeking out and telling you all about this? I’m not sure. I understand that it’s not super interesting.

But the highlight of my night/month/life: finally meeting (and gushing over and hugging) Lin-Manuel Miranda, the wildly talented creator/writer and former star of In the Heights.

Me and my hero

I do not look my best. He was still nice to me. He thanked me for “all Dance Spirit does for the arts community.” Yeah, no problem, man.

This guy is amazing. He went to college, came up with an idea for a musical (the lead female character is named after his real-life fiance, who was his girlfriend at the time — wicked cute) and then he went ahead and Made. Shit. Happen.

He brought the musical to life and in 2008 won the Tony Award for Best Musical. High 5, Lin. Big high 5. You are doing an exceptional job at life.

He didn’t propose to me last night, but I’m pretty sure he plans to, via song, very soon.

I stuck around for a while at the post-performance cocktail party, in part because the people watching was so good and in part because there was a chocolate fountain.

I was asleep by 1 am.

Then my alarm went off at 5 this morning.

I look awake, right?

Coach Cane had me doing some speedwork today. Or maybe it was a tempo run? Who can keep all these terms straight? I clearly cannot.

I headed up to the Central Park Reservoir, where I would complete three laps of the 1.6-mile loop: Each time he wanted me to run 1 mile at a “sub 8-minute pace” and then slow down for the remainder of the loop. Then repeat. Then repeat again. Then try to breathe. Then try not to die. Then try not to vomit.

I told myself I would make this workout happen.

Usually during speedwork “challenges” I give up by the last lap. I start to feel sluggish, then I give up.

But it was a beautiful morning — perfect running weather. Cool, breezy, wonderful.

This is not a bad view.
This sunrise makes me want to run fast.

Off I went for the first lap: Almost immediately my watch clocked in at a 7:30 pace.


I didn’t maintain it the entire mile, but I hovered between 7:30 and 7:50. I stayed sub-8:00, just like Coach Cane wanted, the entire time.

Then I kicked off lap two. It was tough to pick my speed back up after slowing down, but I was still feeling good. I channeled my inner Lin and got it done. Again, I stayed under 8:00 for the duration of the mile. I even saw Dori while I was zooming around the Reservoir! She’s so easy to spot with that bright headband…

Lap three is where I really felt myself being tested. I was starting to feel fatigued, and for the first quarter-mile my watch wouldn’t budge from 8:09. There was a short period where I told myself, “It’s OK, Ali. You did a great job on the first two laps, and you’re still close to an 8-minute mile. Just hang onto this pace and you’ll be done soon.”

Then I was like, “OMG ALI NO! ALI YOU ARE BETTER THAN THIS! Run faster, Ali! Wooooo! You can do this!”

And so I ran faster. And before I knew it, I was back into the 7:50 zone.

Then I was done.

Speedwork complete.

Sometimes you just need to kick yourself in the butt.

As I was wrapping up my run — and by wrapping up I mean standing completely still, hanging out at Engineer’s Gate and people watching with a cute boy — I saw Kelly. It made me so happy seeing familiar faces out today. Yay early morning runners! And yay midday runners! And yay nighttime runners!

I am in a good mood today.

Can you tell?

Now, an announcement for my NYC-area friends…

WRITE THIS DOWN: Thursday, August 11 @ 6:30 pm.

Come to JackRabbit Sports on the Upper East Side.

I Love JackRabbit. Obviously. And you should, too.

I’m hosting an event at the store that night and it’s going to be fun so you should be there. Why, you ask? Well let me tell you a few things about Thursday, August 11, and what will be going down at JackRabbit that night:

  • There will be trivia. Plus, prizes for the winners. Awesome prizes. I’ll tell you what they’ll be later this week because I’m building suspense. (Is it working?)
  • I had T-shirts made and they’re awesome and I’ll be selling them in the store that night.
  • 15% of all sales made go directly to my Run For The Rabbit fundraising efforts. So if you need new shoes, new clothes, new Gu products, new whatever, how about you wait until that night to make your purchase so you can get your goodies and send a portion of the proceeds to a good cause?
  • There’s going to be free food.
  • There’s going to be free booze.
  • Coach Cane might show up. Don’t you want to meet him? He’s hilarious.

If that isn’t enough incentive, how about this: My handsome friend will probably be there. You can find out his identity.

Excellent. Fantastic. See you then.

TELL ME: What’s your favorite kind of run? Speedwork? Tempo? (Not that I know the difference.) Treadmill? Running on ice? Long run? I favor the long run. Slow, steady, always sweat-filled. I love it.



0 Responses

  1. The 11th is the day I am moving, but I am going to try to get there, mostly cause I want a shirt. Plus, 16 handles is close by, are they catering?! 😉

  2. SO great seeing you!! I also took pictures of the reservoir — it was stunning! I am more jealous than ever that you live so close to there. I want to run there every morning (or at least have the option to!)

  3. Hi Ali – I have been reading you blog for a while – you are such an inspiration. I am trying to get back to running after a break of a few years and I have a question I am wondering if you and your other wonderful blog reader runners can help me with. The only decent trail close to where I live is over a hill -which means when I run, it is steep up and down and hardly any flat surface. While it might be good for experienced runners, it kicks my butt and I am getting frustrated with not making much progress in miles. Downhill kills my knees and uphill, kills well… me.
    My question is, should I continue to run on hilly trails (which would build my endurance better than flat trails) or should I find a flat trail (which would keep me a little more motivated in meeting my mileage goals sooner). What do you recommend? Is there any other downside to running on hills right off the bat?

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Thanks for commenting! Your question is a bit out of my knowledge range so I’d definitely recommend asking a running coach or more experienced runner. I don’t want to give you wrong advice! I do know that too much hill running hurts my knees, as well, and personally I’d say it may be in your best interest to find a flatter road to mix it up every now and then. But I don’t know about the downsides to running on hills right away. Sorry I can’t be a better help!

  4. I love all kind of runs depending on my mood!! Long runs are awesome (after mile 4… don’t ask me why but I’m really negative until the 4 mile mark) but my mid week 8-miler tempo run felt really great today too!!! I think it is all about the sunrise!

  5. I’ve recently started to really favor speed work. I love giving it all I’ve got and then having a short break and starting it all again!!

  6. I like to run on the treadmill but walk outside. I feel like I can’t pace myself right when I try to run outside…does that make me odd?

  7. hi, i just stumbled across your blog today and i think i love you. i’m sorry if your page hits go up by 1,000% today but it’s just me reading through every single one of your posts. you are amazing.org.

  8. skirball! holla! nicely done ali, make sure to get some sleep. Alas, I do not anticipate making it to CP in the AM, but at least I will see you in the Hamptons! Only 50 something days away!!!

  9. Girl, you are awesome! What a stellar speedwork run!
    I wish I lived up there because I’d so be there in Thursday! You will be an awesome host!

  10. I CAN’T believe you got to meet Lin-Manuel Miranda!! How amazing! We went to the same college, and I gush with Cardinals pride every time I hear/see/talk about him! 🙂 Was he as cute in real life as he looks, well, always?

    My favorite kind of run is either a long, medium-paced run or a short, fast-paced run. I Have a great Tuesday!

  11. Awesome job on your run this morning!! I don’t know how you run on such little sleep, but you’re my idol! Ps: I’ve always wanted to go to a gala, just because the name sounds so fancy 😉

  12. Dude, I think we did the exact same workout this morning! And I actually liked this one too – sometimes mile repeats make me want to puke or fall over and go to sleep. This morning, they felt fabulous 🙂

    I am super excited for the Jack Rabbit event and to buy a super awesome T-shirt. See you tomorrowww!

  13. I’m definitely a long run kinda girl. Speed work just hasn’t been my thing lately. Nice job on your run! Even when your tired you get out there! Dedication. That’s awesome.

  14. Oh my god – I love Lin-Manuel Miranda. I saw in the Heights in NY in January ’09 and then made my husband drive us to Houston (we live in New Orleans) to see it again for our anniversary 3 months later. I am OBSESSED and can basicaly recite the entire play. He is a genius and his story is amazing – so glad to find other runners who love broadway as well! (Side note: if you listen to broadway while you run you MAY hav eto occasionally slow down to sing along – just be careful when people who sneak up behind you while you are singing when you think you are alone)

  15. oooo total boo, I will just miss this event or else i would have absolutely come!!!! i love the pictures. you are soo hardcore for getting up at 5. amazing!

  16. Great job on the speedwork! Way to go on that last loop when things got tougher!!

    Your fundraiser sounds fun! I will definitely try to make it 🙂

  17. Congrats on your awesome, speedy run, after practically no sleep! I’d say that’s a pretty successful kick in the butt you gave yourself! 🙂

    I wish I was in NYC so I could come to your event. It sounds like a blast! And obviously is for a great cause. Good luck with all the planning! I hope everything comes together for you. I’ll be excited to hear how it goes.

  18. Great job this morning! I am doing speed tomorrow and can’t decide whether to do it in the morning or spin in morning and do speed at night. 🙂 We’ll see but I’ll be thinking about you and finding my inner Ali for at least a mile or so!

  19. I’m confused: you mention a “cute boy” joined you for people watching in Central Park this morning but then you refer to your “handsome friend” again as someone who might be at your fundraising event next Thursday night. Are you doubletiming? Seth will so not be okay with this.

  20. I’m out of town otherwise I would totally have come to the event on the 11th. Oh well. Maybe I’ll buy a t-shirt afterwards if you’re still selling them.
    My favorite run is the long run. Any time I beat my previous distance record I feel pretty awesome!

  21. Seriously, you kicked butt on the tempo run (!) and now I’m super motivated to kick my own butt during my tempo later this week. I still don’t run with any type of Garmin so I do all my speed workouts on the treadmill… which makes them hard AND boring.

  22. You are such a rockstar. Serously if you can run on 4 hours of sleep I can surely run on 6 hours. I am going to try and make the event on the 11th. I work fairly close to there so I think it should be fun! Plus I can meet you 🙂

  23. Have you seen the video of lin + wedding party performing for vanessa @ their wedding?! If not, you MUST! Unreal. Makes me so happy.

    Gahh I’ll be boarding a plane the night of your event! Boo! (Can I atleast preorder a tshirt??!?)

    Oh, and my favorite kind of run is any new distance – I just feel so proud over my measly increases 🙂 the close second is any run when my leg doesn’t hurt 🙂

    1. I am obsessed with that video. Seriously, dream wedding. It’s amazing. She looked beautiful and he is the man of my dreams.

      YES I’ll make sure you get a shirt but ONLY if you quit it with saying things like “measly increases” and “I’m so slow” and all that jazz. You’re doing an AWESOME job and have made incredible progress with your running. I can’t wait to see where you are a year from now!

  24. Your job is SO fun. You get to do some pretty amazing things! I am sure you must love love love (yes 3 loves) it so much since you were so involved in dance!

    Great job pushing through the speed work and getting your speed down to where Coach Cane wanted it to be. All on 4 hours of sleep?! Thats pretty fab!

  25. I just started reading your blog and have been loving it – your positivity and running motivations seriously make my day sometimes. But now I am seriously jealous of your life! I love Lin so hard. I saw Heights, erm, a lot of times while he was in it (hello cheap lottery seats!) and he is beyond phenomenal. My closest encounter was walking past him as he headed to the stage door where I awkwardly paused, looked at my feet and then kept walking. He definitely was laughing as he passed.

    I will have to get all nerd-alert on you though to say that Vanessa was actually named after his sister’s friend, and it was just a coincidence that he ended up with his wife Vanessa… the things I know. And if you haven’t seen his youtube channel or Freestyle Love Supreme improv shows, go waste some time on the internets… this guy is such a creative genius. *end ridiculous fangirling*

    1. I had no idea Vanessa ended up being a coincidence! So fun! I love it. And I’m with you on the show obsession: I saw it four times and “96,000” is one of my favorite running songs.

  26. Hope I will see you on Aug.11:-) Reading your blog is one of my daily must-to-do now. Reading it motivates me. Thanks!

  27. I am trying to make peace with tempo runs. I love any sort of repeats and I don’t know why. Top of my favorite run list is the easy, convo run with friends.

    I know, seriously – tempo? race pace? 5K pace? THERE ARE TOO MANY TERMS I CANNOT KEEP STRAIGHT!!!! I feel you on that one.

    I did a similar workout today – a 3 x mile at “tempo pace” (apprx 8 min pace for me or so Im told) – in an ideal world it would’ve been a 3 mile tempo, but I mentally cant take that so I had a very very very short break between each mile to mentally reset–I did the same thing as you, yelling at myself internally. Always a great way to start the morning. YOU ARE SUPER SPEEDY! YOU WILL ROCK THE MARATHON!

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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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