Surprise Party Success In Boston


A few months ago, my amazingly smart sister-in-law, Michaela, passed the final part of her CPA exam.

This is Michaela on her wedding day. She is smart and talented. She has a CPA and can blow bubbles, and I have/can do neither of those things.

So when my brother Ryan emailed me about planning a surprise party in her honor — to celebrate not only her new CPA license but also the end of her studying for a while — I knew I had to be there for the fiesta.

Ryan and Michaela live just outside Boston, and the party was planned for Saturday, September 10.

Two weeks before my marathon.

Dun dun dunnnn.

I stressed over whether or not to make the trip up for about a month beforehand. There were no cheap flights, no cheap train options and the bus smells like fast food, so that option was out, too.

In the end, that Handsome Friend of mine used some fancy discount code and snagged a rental car so we could be there to scream “Surprise” when Michaela arrived.

So that’s what I did this weekend. I went to Boston. And for one entire weekend, I let my mind drift — at least a little bit — away from marathon training, and focused on my super-successful new sister.

Do you want to know more? OK I’ll tell you things.

The drive up Friday night was uneventful.

I made a pit stop before hitting the road…

I went here.

Why did I go there? To pick up a new AQUA (er, light blue, really) shirt!

Blue!!! Blue sweat love!!!

I dig it. I hope you do, too.

We got to Ryan and Michaela’s house (she wasn’t there) around 11:45 pm and were sound asleep by midnight.

Saturday morning, thanks to the whole marathon taper thing, meant a not-too-crazy long run. Ten manageable miles, said Coach Cane. He wanted the first six at my marathon goal pace + 45 seconds per mile, and the last four miles at my marathon goal pace.

The pacing I could handle.

The route through Boston I could not.

So I called on two of my favorite Boston bloggers for a little help.

Enter Lauren and Corey.

Lauren, Sweaty Ali and Corey. Colorful, happy girls.

We met up at the Museum of Science on Saturday morning (Handsome Friend came too!), ready to run some miles.

Fun fact: I greeted both of them like we were best friends, but apparently we had never met in person. Crazy. I seemed to have forgotten that fact…

The run itself was pretty uneventful. Ten miles seems like nothing after months of big-time training! The route — around the Charles River — was really pretty, very flat and packed with runners and bikers. I liked the vibe.

Ali On The Taper = permission to stop and take photos on bridges mid-run. Thanks for obliging, friends.

And of course, the company was great. I loved chatting with Corey and Lauren and pretty much forced them to give me their marathon advice. They are really good runners. I was more than excited to steal their hard-earned running knowledge.

I was also sad when the run ended. To delay the “saying goodbye” part, I demanded that Lauren and Corey take jumping photos with me. It’s apparently my new favorite thing to do.

This was Attempt #1. I made the rules (JUMP ON 3) but then failed to follow them. My bad.
Practice makes awesome, so here we are getting it right.
And one more for good measure. Just to be safe. You never know when you'll need a second jumping photo.

After the run, we parted ways and I took a little trip to Quincy Market. I ate a lot. It was good.

This is a lobster roll. I ate it.

Then it was party time!

We ventured back to Ryan and Michaela’s house (she was out with her mom for the day) to shower and “help” get ready for the party. If “helping” means “sitting on my butt and taste-testing everything” then I was a huge help. You’re welcome, family.

My mom was cute and got festive by decorating the backyard with accountant-type things, like numbers and calculators.

Hanging calculators. Cool.
Flash cards and numbers on the food table

Michaela was so surprised when she arrived, which was great. Success! She actually didn’t realize what the party was for right away and she was adorable.

"What is the party for?!"

The party was great. Lots of food. Naturally.

This is my dad. He is eating. And drinking.

And there was lots to drink, but I stayed sober. Tapering is hard.

The best part of the day was just getting to spend time with my family. I was smiling the entire time.

This is my dad and me. We have the same nose.
No he did NOT get a Friends & Family discount on the shirt. Thank you for asking.

I was sad to leave Boston this morning, but coming back to NYC just felt right.

I don’t want to get into writing about 9/11 because I realize that it’s therapeutic and nice for some people to share their feelings about that day, but that’s not really my style. Everyone else’s words are much more beautiful than mine would be.

I will say that running around the Bridle Path in Central Park this evening as the sun was starting to set felt so good. I ran without music and people watched as I ran. I’m sure there are people today in NYC who are afraid and of course there are hundreds of thousands who are grieving. But the people in the park seemed at peace, and it was a really nice feeling. It’s a tragic anniversary, but an important day to reflect and be thankful.

Isn't she lovely?

New York, I love you. Thanks for taking good care of me.



0 Responses

  1. Ali, it was SO awesome to meet you and run with you!! I came home from that run feeling so grateful for blogging for helping me find such sweet, funny, down to earth people like you who enjoy running as much as I do.
    The party sounds like a major success! So glad you had a nice trip and I hope you come back someday 🙂

  2. wish I had known you were in Boston! And maybe if I didn’t have a half marathon on Saturday I may have been running in Boston too! Running around the Charles is definatley on of the best routes in Boston!

  3. I’m so happy I got to meet you and your Handsome Friend this weekend!! It felt like we were old friends and I loved it. When are you coming back??

    The jumping shots are awesome. I love how we look like we’re holding hands in the first one…and how I look like I’m throwing myself over the edge of a cliff in every shot. Clearly I’ve got some mad skillz. 😉

    Glad you made the trip, and really glad to hear that the surprise party was a huge success. Congrats to your sister in law!!

  4. I miss running around the Charles! And so jealous you got to run with Lauren and Corey! I want in on the next jumping photo, hehe.

    Glad you had such a fun weekend with your fam! Those are the best kinds, and I bet you’re glad you got a little break from thinking about the big show. The next time you see them it’ll be game time! SOO exciting!

  5. What a sweet gesture! The hanging calculators are cool.
    Jealous that you have access to so many running bloggers on the east coast! The shadows are pretty awesome in those pictures.

  6. Ahhh you ran in my hood! I was out on the esplanade by the museum this saturday too! I wonder if I passed you. 🙂 Glad Boston treated you well!

  7. I think your picture is perfect for September 11th…sometimes pictures say more then words every could. How fun that you got to spend the weekend with your family! Great after a long work week.

  8. I could write about how pretty Boston was, or how cool I think it is that you met Corey, or how adorable alike you are with your dad, but what I really want to know is …


    I apologize deeply for the nosiness and overstepping of boundaries but I love everything about families and nice boys!

  9. I love the jumping shot shadows too! Sounds like a really wonderful weekend with friends and family. Road tripping is always super fun, but if push comes to shove, don’t fear the Bolt Bus! Or the Megabus for that matter. It’s much less crowded than the Bolt. And they’re both so dang affordable! I ride them to/from NYC-Boston all the time.

  10. I LOVE the jumping shots. Those are my favorite. 🙂
    How awesome that you could be there to celebrate your SIL’s success. I love the surprise on her face when she realizes the party is for her. That is priceless!

  11. Aw! So close, yet so far 😉 Sounds like such a great little trip and probably what you needed mentally too, right? SO cute that the BF scored a good deal on a rental so you could go!! And LOVE the aqua t-shirt!!!

  12. Jealous of your long run! Sounds fun!!!

    Glad you went — gives me reassurance, too, as I think 3 weeks before my marathon I’m in Orlando (well sun night through wed am so I will get my LR in) as an abstract I wrote got accepted for a medical conference (American Society of Reproductive Medicine) which is great for my career. Of course, I was freaking out, but life > all else. I’ll probably drink a glass of wine or have a cocktail, but I think it’ll be ok 🙂 (Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself so my type A self doesn’t lose it.)

  13. Another really cute post! Sad I missed you guys for the run although I don’t think I could hang for ten anyway!!! Loved the hanging calculators- hysterical : ) Your picture of the statue of liberty is beautiful and I totally relate to what you’ve written about 9/11 and feel the same way.

  14. CONGRATS to your sister in law. I am in the process of taking the exam right now and it’s a reaaaal biotch. Glad you had fun in Boston! Sad I didn’t run into you (literally) while you were running the Charles, I probably would have invited myself along for a few miles 😉

  15. The best part of your jumping pictures are the shadows! Fabulous!! And I love how there were numbers and calculators everywhere. Justin has his CPA and would probably enjoy decorations like that! I never threw him a party. Woops.

  16. I LOVE BOSTON!!! Specifically running there – so fun 🙂 also love CPAs, they are pretty cool too 😉 glad you had a great weekend – marathon is getting closeeee!

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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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