Everything’s Better With Friends

If I take a nap under my desk today, do you think anyone will notice?


See that? Perfect little spot for some quality sleep.

But don’t you think it’ll start some cool trend?

Maybe people wouldn’t look at me and be like, “OMG, Ali is asleep under her desk, we should obviously tell her boss because that is so not cool,” but instead they’d think, “Oh awesome, Ali got permission to take an under-desk nap. Guess that’s acceptable company-wide now.”

Next thing you know, KA-POW, the whole office is floor-napping.

I’ll let you know how that works out for me.

In the meantime, let’s talk about friendship a little bit, OK?

Last night, after a brutally tough spin class involving way too many hill climbs and screams of “quarter turn to the right!” I was treated to a lovely dinner by my college friend, Wendy.

She invited Lauren and I over for some home-cooked awesomeness.

On the menu:

We started with various cheeses, pita chips, edamame hummus, tzatziki sauce, carrots and celery. And wine.

I ate it all. I barely shared.

Well done, Wendy. Well freakin’ done.

We all agreed that getting together and cooking (or rather, having Wendy cook while Lauren and I provide the wine and sit around doing nothing) is so much better than going out to dinner. It’s cheaper, it’s more casual and you know where your food is coming from and how it’s being prepared.

Duh. You know this already.

After stuffing my face full of edamame hummus (Seriously, Lauren and Wendy, did you guys even get any? I’m sorry. I never learned how to share.) I was almost too full for the main course.

I made room in my stomach, though, because what Wendy whipped up was fantastic.

Here is the food.
Here is the food from a slightly-but-not-really different angle.

Whole-wheat couscous with some stuff in it (I remember her saying feta cheese and red onion, and some other things — clearly I’d be an amazing food blogger), grilled chicken kebabs with some lemon something seasoning and shrimp kebabs with some stuff.

You’re welcome for those very vivid descriptions of what I ate last night. You are now free to follow those exact recipes to recreate these dishes yourself.

Oh but that wasn’t all.

Wendy prepared dessert: ice cream sandwiches!

Yes I will inhale this all in one bite. Thank you.

And she didn’t even know yesterday was apparently National Ice Cream Sandwich Day.

Crazy coincidence? You bet.

So not only was the food delicious, the company was even better. It had actually been years since I’d seen Wendy, and it was so nice relaxing and catching up.

We got to talking about friendships, and Wendy brought up a really good point. She was saying that at this point in our lives, it’s nice that we get to choose who we’re friends with.

Think about it: When you’re growing up, your friends are basically picked for you. Your parents put you in a play group or dance class or child cult or whatever with the kids whose parents they’re friends with, or the kids who live really close-by so as not to inconvenience the carpool.

On the left you'll find Ryan. He's my big brother. On the right you'll find Child Ali. From the looks of it, this was a very one-sided friendship.

Or you just hang out with your brother and hope he’s nice to you and buys you presents with his lemonade stand money.

But now we’re older, and we don’t have to be forced-friends with anyone. (Ryan, I’ll always be your friend, even if you don’t buy me Barbie outfits anymore.)

We get to be friends with people based on our common interests and likability. I mean, it’s obviously better for me if you also happen to live on the Upper East Side. That will increase the likelihood of us developing a lasting friendship.

I’m so happy that I’ve met so many incredible people and found so many friends through blogging. That was always my hope, but I never really expected it. When I first started blogging I did it both to document my running progress and to meet people, preferably in NYC, who shared my passion for sweating.

Major success. I’ve found lots of you!

The first time I met Emily in person, her onlooking boyfriend assumed we were longtime friends. Mwahaha.
Megan, Lindsay and Kelly kept me company during a particularly awesome 15.5 mile run earlier this summer.
Theodora and Tina drink and lot AND they're runners. So that's obviously fun.

I love that I’ve grown close with so many like-minded people, so many of whom are also in the midst of marathon training right now and can understand what I’m going through and shed lots of light on it as well as offer tons of advice.

This morning, as I dragged my lead-like legs through 6 miles around the Bridle Path with Kelly, Megan and new-friend Alyssa (so great to finally meet you!), I realized that our conversations have definitely shifted since we first started running together.

Central Park this morning: bustling, happy, lovely.

The first time I ran with Megan, I was really nervous. I knew she was fast, I was afraid I wouldn’t keep up, I didn’t want to hold her back, and all that jazz [insert jazz hands and spirit finger action].

While we ran, we talked mostly about blogging: that was our shared interest, it was how we met, and we stuck to that topic as I recall. We didn’t get too personal.

But today we all chatted about moving, track workouts (I clearly had nothing to add to that conversation because I was too busy wondering how far 1200 meters is), work things and eventually moved onto the subject of boyfriends and nice men who are good friends.

This little morning running group — which I like to call the ever-expanding A.M. Sweat Squad — is turning into something way more awesome, and I couldn’t be happier.

I’m getting so used to running with friends that I’m actually starting to get nervous about getting through 26.2 miles all by my lonesome.

So Kelly, Lindsay, Megan, Maria, Susan, anyone — care to join me for some miles through the Hamptons on September 24?! Excellent. Thank you. So nice of you to volunteer.

By the time I got home and showered this morning I somehow managed to find myself running quite late.

I like the outfit I threw together though, because I pretty much like anything paired with a white button-down shirt.

I feel like a librarian. But I'm not.

And to top off the morning, I commuted to work with a nice boy.

Time to rock this Wednesday.

Coming up today: tons of deadlines, my favorite spinning class, dinner with a friend and hopefully more than 5 hours of sleep, which would be a major improvement for this week.

WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you run with friends or is solo-style more your thing? I like both! Running alone can be so peaceful and stress-free, but running with friends tends to make the miles go by so much faster!



0 Responses

  1. I’ve made most of my friends in NYC via running/blogging/twitter. CRAZY, but I love it! I used to be more of a solo runner, and while I like to do some runs by myself, without the AM sweat squad I definitely wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. 🙂

    Hmmmm, if you give me some details on your marathon, I may be able to swing a few miles with you….I just caught wind that I’ll have a lot of vacation time around then. Let’s chat if you really want a buddy for some miles…

  2. I love that you have an AM Sweat Squad. I’m pretty jealous. I remember when you never ran with people, so it’s fun to see that you’ve got a great group of ladies to sweat with now.

    And how nice that you had the chance to reconnect with old friends, too. Food and friends…nothing better!

  3. I don’t have running friends! I need them for the days i don’t want to get out of bed… which let’s be honest, has been everyday for the last month. I do enjoy running alone sometimes though – it is nice to just be alone with nothing but a view of the city skyline and lake michigan… set to the sounds of b.spears of course. Heaven.

    PS – I totally consider taking naps under my desk, a la George Castanza, like EVERY DAY.

  4. I debated about this for awhile and joined a running club last week and loved it! Unfortunately, I didn’t make it there today : (. But I am definitely going to try and keep it a regular thing. Like you said, running alone is peaceful, but it is definitely nice to have friends sometimes. I think it also allows you to push yourself more.

  5. I <3 this post! and you! And running with you! I never thought I'd meet such awesome people via blogging. Before I started my blog, I was a solo runner and always thought that was the way to go. Once I started running with people, it was like a lightbulb went off in my head – duh! Doing something I love while chatting with and making new friends = amazing. So glad we are running buddies and sweat squad members 🙂

    You'll get through the marathon solo in flying colors. (but what are the deets on the half? hmmm…)

  6. I like running solo when I’m doing shorter runs, but during longer runs, it’s definitely nice to be running with friends. Even if you aren’t talking the entire time, it’s nice to know there’s someone next to you to distract your mind from any of the potential challenges of a long run.

    After you started blogging, when did you start meeting other bloggers IRL?

  7. I’m a solo runner but I really see the value in running with people. I’d like to run with you guys one day but of course, I’m afraid I’ll hold everyone back. haha. Hopefully, one day I can meet you guys for a run but you’re so far ahead right now with marathon training.

    And I’m totally with you on the “choosing” your friends thing. The older I get, the more I realize it’s okay to decide who you want to be closer with. Time is just too valuable 🙂

    1. Nooo definitely not every day! I usually spin on Mondays and Wednesdays. Yesterday I went because, to be totally honest, I was having cramps and knew that would make them go away. It’s like magic.

      But Coach Cane has made it pretty clear that if I want to become a better runner — which I do — I should cut way back on the two-a-day run + spin workouts. It’s hard to quit, but I’m trying!

  8. I used to run with my husband, but then he all of a sudden got superfast. So it’s great when I want a pacer, but I need to meet more people to just run with. I’ve started to go to the Lululemon Run Club in SF as an attempt to make myself a social runner, so we’ll see how that goes!

  9. What a great post. I LOVE this blogging community too for the same reasons (I know you’re also talking about ‘irl’ friends as well tho), likeminded. Understand. and btw, I think we need more details on this cute boy, he sounds like a keeper 😉

  10. Aww, this post makes me warm and fuzzy inside. So happy we are running together nowadays 🙂 I promise more personal, gossipy runs in the future (even if I have to schlep in from BK…)

  11. I’ve definitely taken naps under my desk… but I do have a door I can close so no one will see me.

    Have fun at spin today! Sad I won’t be able to join you.

  12. I never comment…but, this post topic was so timely for me! I like to run alone and with people. Also… I’m kinda going through a transition of sorts re: friends. I find I have much more enjoyable and chatty conversations and common interest with my running buddies whereas I have been struggling lately in conversation with other friends. Just growing apart, I think.

  13. Yay am sweat session! I am sad i’ve missed out the past two weeks and need to get back in on the action. I do most of my runs solo but am definitely looking to change that up. I also find it so funny how someone you’ve met like once (or never…) can just get together for a run and chat like you’ve known each other for years. I guess that’s the beauty of revealing your life through a blog! I never thought blogging or twitter would make it easy to meet other runners here in NYC, but I am so glad it has! 🙂 PS– that dinner last night looks amazingggg. My friends and I do a monthly cooking club like that, where someone hosts and cooks the entree and everyone else brings the apps, desserts, bread and booze! It’s so fun and a better/cheaper alternative to dining out.

  14. Do you know you are the only person from Hopkinton and Proctor who I still talk to? I think that says a lot about our friendship 🙂

    I like running both alone and in a group, definitely a group for the long runs to make the miles fly by!

  15. If I was a runner and not a I’m just starting and it is really walking mixed with jogging type person… I would so come and run with you! And I live in an outer borough!! Your energy and humor seems amazing!!! I look forward to your blog because it so entertaining and honest. It is also really inspiring! My boyfriend and I exercise together but that just means he and I will go to the gym together and he does his thing and I do my thing (and he refuses to show me the scary man weights- I think this is because he is intimidated but don’t tell him that!!)

  16. I run solo. I’d like to try running with friends, but I haven’t found anyone with my pace and/or that lives in the same general area. I have a huge fear of running with others and then slowing them down or not being able to keep up! (sounds like you had that same fear and got over it, so hopefully one day I will too!)

    Running solo in the morning is relaxing though too. It gives me some “me” time thats sometimes hard to find any other time of the day.

  17. I usually run alone, mainly because I do not have any running friends in Staten Island (care to jump on a ferry and bus and meet me at 5am tomorrow?) 😉 I try to enlist my friend to come over on weekend to do long runs with me. I entice her with my big pool and adorable kids. (It worked for this coming weekend! Go me!) BTW – Your desk is SO clean! Can you stroll over to Flatiron and organize my desk?

  18. I do 80 percent of my running solo in the mornings. Over the past couple of months, though, I’ve convinced a handful of coworkers to join up for a three mile group run on Tuesday nights (yay!). I’ve also been doing my long runs alone on Saturdays, but that’s about to change this weekend, when I go for Day 1 of a local running club’s marathon training program. Anxious and excited!

  19. Typically I run alone because A) I don’t really know anyone around my pace ( no comment about that pace- aren’t you proud?!) B) I don’t know anyone interested in running by me @ 5am but, I actually really like the solitude of it-its my time ( plus if I’m alone I don’t feel silly when I pull out random hand movements and little side slides while rocking out to a great musical theater number…) Although when my parents come to town my dad and I have been going for runs and that’s been really special. But that’s only an occasional treat.

  20. One of my favorite things about your blog is that your sense of humor really shines through!
    Ps: I’d be as bad of a food blogger as you are 😉

  21. I like both too. I run with my boyfriend a lot (or, well, we start out together, and his speediness takes him away from me), and I also run with a group twice a week. It’s motivating for my tortoise self to run with others.
    Other randomness: 1) Your desk is WAY neater than mine. I should straighten up. and 2) You dress WAY better for work than I do.

  22. If I wasn’t in a wedding the 24th, I’d be tempted to rock the Hamptons! I ran this morning, but on the East Side and it was super boring by myself. At least I had Taylor Swift and GLEE to accompany me.

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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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