Thankful Things Thursday: For Everything That Will Help Me Run A Marathon

It’s the last Thankful Things Thursday before the marathon.

Dun dun dunnnn.

It’s. So. Dramatic.

I have so much to be grateful for today — everything from helpful humans to sweaty shirt sales to, as always, graph paper — so let’s get right into it.

I’m thankful I live in a place where water is clean, free and plentiful. I’ve been hydrating like a beast lately — and yes, being careful not to over-hydrate — and I know how lucky most of us are to have accessible water at our disposal every day. It’s a little thing, but it’s a crucial thing.

I’m thankful for the wonderful friends I’ve made at JackRabbit Sports. When I got picked for the Run For The Rabbit campaign, I knew I’d develop a close relationship with JackRabbit. It was already where I bought all my running gear anyway. But over the past few months, I find myself lingering into the Upper East Side store almost every night, whether it’s to borrow an “inspirational marathon movie” or to stock up on delicious treats.

Oh look how delicious!

I’ve gotten to know two of the JackRabbit girls very well. Molly has been my go-to shirt guru throughout the Sweat shirt ordering process, and Amanda answers every single (stupid) question I have about fueling, running and why hills are so scary.

Amanda, me and Molly. At JackRabbit. Obviously.

That photo might be blurry, or I might be a little drunk. I’m not sure.

Kidding. I’m not drunk. But I will be in roughly 49 hours.

Last night I went to JackRabbit for all my last-minute marathon needs. I was really excited when I walked in and saw this little display:


Yes, there are still shirts at the Upper East Side location! Sizes are limited, but they’re there so grab them while you can.

Before I left the store, Molly gave me a good luck present. I cried a little bit…after I left.

ALL MY FAVORITE THINGS! Chocolate, Starburst (Fave Reds, of course), toilet paper and Body Glide! Genius.

I felt very loved and very supported.

I’m thankful that I have raised more than $12,000 for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. That isn’t my final fundraising number, but it blows my mind that I’ve surpassed $10,000…or even $5,000. Fundraising is hard. It requires persistence, dedication and sending a crapload of emails. The process has been stressful and time-consuming, and even though I know I may not win this competition (I’m holding strong in third place right now!), I’m so proud that I get to hand over a big check to CCFA after the race.

And of course, a final push: My fundraising deadline is Saturday — Race Day. That means I still have two days to snag the top spot. If you’d like to donate, you can do so here.

I’m thankful for #137.

Check. That. Out.

I picked up my race goodies last night for the Hamptons Marathon!

There was no big expo or wild pre-party. Instead packet pickup was at JackRabbit’s Upper West Side store, and it was pretty low-key. The “swag bag” is good, though!

Which race am I running, again?

I’m most excited about the fleece hat.

Also, I felt kind of cool when everyone waiting was in the half marathon line and I got to move ahead to the “full” line. I probably won’t feel as cool when they all finish running 2 hours before I do, but I’ll hang onto this feeling for now.

I’m so, so, so thankful for Coach Cane. He has been an incredible coach throughout this process, and he’s done much more than just hand over a training plan.

This is when I first met Coach Cane. He had no idea at the time just how crazy I would get.

He calms me down when I’m freaking out about pretty much everything and he gives me the confidence I need before particularly challenging runs. After each disappointing race I ran this spring and summer, Coach Cane helped me learn from it. He also very kindly loaned me his pregnant wife for a morning so she could push me through the Mini 10K race.

I met with Coach Cane last night to discuss my Race Day Strategy.

All caps. Very important.

I sat down to chat and here’s how he opened the discussion: “You run the marathon, you cross the finish line and the clock reads…?”

“Um…I’m not sure…But I’m smiling!”

Turns out that wasn’t really the answer he was looking for.

Coach Cane told me to think of the race in three parts: 10 miles, 10 miles, 10K.

That would be fine except that I friggin’ hate 10Ks. So I will imagine two 5Ks that are identical.

He gave me specific paces to run each part in. He has a time goal in mind for me. If I hit it, that’s awesome. If I don’t, it’s my own fault.

A few Coach Cane-isms for you:

  • “It’s a long race. You have plenty of room to play.”
  • “I see smart runners do stupid shit in marathons.”
  • “Those first 10 miles, it’s gotta feel easy.”
  • “During that last 10K, all bets are off. You race.”
So happy togetherrrrrrr. I wonder if he'll miss me when this is all over. Probably not. I require a lot of assistance and attention.

I love my coach.

I’m thankful this is all happening. I never thought I would run a marathon. Ever. I just didn’t see the fun in it. I remember finishing my first half and saying, “Why would anyone want to do that again?”

But after watching last year’s New York City Marathon, I knew I would cave and eventually attempt 26.2.

When I saw that JackRabbit was looking for aspiring marathoners for a competition, I applied immediately.

So did a lot of other people.

See? Other applicants. Find Ali. Go.

But somehow I got picked…

Yes? What would you like me to do now?

…and this has been an incredible experience. Regardless of what happens on Race Day, this has made me a smarter runner and a better person.

I’m thankful for nail clippers. What a great invention.

I’m thankful for my coworkers, who genuinely seem as excited as I am about the race this weekend. This morning I was gifted with Double Stuffed Oreos, Andes Mints and a card that says “We hope you win!”

I’m thankful that I trained in rain. The forecast for Saturday doesn’t look good. Luckily I know that rain isn’t necessarily deadly. There were many mornings during training when I woke up to pouring rain. I still ran, thinking, “What if it rains on Race Day?” Boom. Prepared. Also, this:


And this:

I’m thankful for all of you. Fine, I’m cheesy and sappy but KEEP READING, DAMNIT. I’ve been overwhelmed with well wishes this week and I promise to do my very best to make everyone out there proud on Saturday. Thank you for being so nice, so supportive and so encouraging. All the love has made this experience incredible.

I’m thankful that at this time tomorrow, I’ll be on my way to the Hamptons.

I’m thankful that at this time on Sunday, I’ll be a marathoner.

I’m thankful for lime green. It’s such a good color.

I’m thankful for the Internet and smart phones. What did we do without them? Oh right, we had to write our high school research papers using encyclopedias. Remember, you had to photocopy the page you wanted, then highlight whatever information you wanted? Because you weren’t allowed to check out the “Reference books” from the library. Insane. Life was so hard for us. Not really. But kind of.

And now I have run out of time.

YOU KNOW THE DRILL: What are you thankful for today? Perhaps you’re thankful that you didn’t spill an entire bowl filled with leftover pesto pasta all over your kitchen floor this morning. Just saying. I’d be thankful if that didn’t happen to me…



59 Responses

  1. GOOD LUCK!!!! May the power of lime green and sweat propel you to the finish line! No matter what time your cross it in, you should be so proud! (And it seems like you are already)

    #1 Thing I am thankful for is the fact that I have been training for NYCM and still feel strong and haven’t been seriously injured!

  2. I’m thankful I read this post before I left the office today, because I was able to swing by the UES Jack Rabbit and finally get my very own Sweat Shirt while I was uptown picking up my NYRR number for Saturday’s 5th Avenue Mile. And I’m thankful I’m going to wear that shirt in the 1/2 marathon I’m running Sunday. =)

    Have a GREAT time on Saturday….you’re going to crush that marathon!

  3. Hi Ali….I started reading your blog the day of the trapeze adventure only to realize later that you are a real life friend of Susan from Nurse on the Run & the Sweat Squad, one of my nearest and dearest high school friends. Needless to say your blog is endearing and knowing that she likes you makes me like you even more! Anyways I read every day and even though I am not a runner I am so excited for you and your marathon…I will be thinking about you all day on Saturday and rooting you on from Illinois…if you ever want to run the Chicago Marathon I would be there in person cheering you on like a crazy person with all of the joy you always seem to have.

    In terms of Thankful Things…I am thankful for cool people who do things like marathons that I would be too scared to do. I am also thankful for giving quizzes on Fridays and the 80’s day we had at work yesterday…when else do you get to rock a side pony and get a free t-shirt for doing it 🙂

    Rock out the Marathon…Love the Sweat and don’t worry about anything else. Being a marathoner makes you much cooler that most of the population. And that is coming from a non-runner!

  4. Hey Ali,

    Just stopped by to wish you the best! I can’t wait to read all about your experience as I’m about to embark on my first half-marathon (Staten Island Half… yeap, all-caps…) in less than a month. Who knows – maybe I’ll start a little shiny blog to document it all and follow on your [dancing] foot steps. You rock! 🙂

    ¡Buena suerte!

  5. Ali, I love your blog, you always make me laugh!

    I’m thankful that’s it’s actually Friday here in Australia, and not just any Friday, but the last day of Term 3 (I’m a High School teacher) which means 2 weeks of holidays!!

    I’m also thankful for blogs like yours and the other ones I read – I feel constantly inspired to be a better runner and person. I feel connected to other runners, even though I live so far away (and I don’t yet have my own blog – one day soon).

    I’m also thankful for coffee. As I said above, I’m a High School teacher. We run on coffee. 🙂

  6. I felt the need to comment again because I’m SO excited for you 🙂 But I’m also thankful that 1.) I finally decided to start a blog thanks to you and 2.) I joined the local running club by me in MA so now I will actually have people to run with!!! BEST OF LUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. I’m thankful there is someone else who thinks it is normal to put Broadway showtunes and Miley Cyrus in a playlist! Seriously though, your blog has been so inspirational to me as a newbie runner. I definitely used many of Coach Cane’s mantras (and the thought of finish line beers) to push me through my very first half marathon on Sunday in Philly!!

    Best of luck Saturday, you will be a force to be reckoned with!!

  8. Oh gosh, I am so excited for you. I can’t wait to hear how it goes (maybe handsome friend can live tweet??). I am thankful for inspirational, awesome people like yourself. Kick ass, my friend. Already so proud of you 🙂

  9. Good luck on Saturday! I love reading your blog everyday, and I am really looking forward to reading your race recap! I know you said that made you nervous, but I couldn’t imagine that you don’t rock the marathon! I am trying to build up to run a 10K soon, and you have always been very motivational!

  10. Ali, I inadvertently stumbled on your blog through another QU friend and I couldn’t be more thankful for finding it. I’m training for my first half marathon, after running several smaller local races, and your blog has been so resourceful! I’m also a NH QU alum. So thank you for all your daily blogs!

  11. Yay yay yay! I’m SO excited for you! Stop with this “I’ll try to make you all proud” thing. Seriously. Don’t worry, be happy! (Ya, I went there…)

    -I’m thankful for the song “september” by earth wind and fire. As yesterday was the 21st, I do remember the 21st night of September. And I’m singing the song alll dayyyyy.
    -i’m thankful for internet friends turned real life friends! -I’m thankful for the joseph remix at the end of the soundtrack- that thing is 9 minutes of awesome.
    -i’m thankful that the singoff is back- I love a capella.
    -I’m thankful for blogs that distract me briefly when I need a breather.

  12. I’m so so so excited for you Ali! I know you are going to do freaking amazing, and I can’t wait to read ALL about it soon!!!
    I love love love Jessica’s line about the sky loves sweat, too! What a great way to think of it!
    Today I am thankful for all my little volleyball players who make me smile everyday! 🙂

  13. Good luck Ali!!!!!! I’ll probably say it again a couple more times before Saturday, but you can never have too many people wishing you luck.
    I’m thankful that you’ve shared your marathon journey with us. 🙂

  14. I’m thankful for YOU! It’s been so inspiring to read about your marathon journey. I love that you take fitness and training very seriously, but never take yourself too seriously. Your posts always make me smile! Have a WONDERFUL marathon, and know that lots of strangers will be cheering you on too!! (and I’m totally jazzed that Book of Mormon will be on your playlist – it’s one of my very favorite shows ever!)

  15. GOOD LUCK!!! You trained so f**king hard for this there’s no way you can’t make Coach Cane’s time goal. Believe in yourself. You are going to do great!! I can’t wait to read your race recap!

    Do you have any other fulls or halfs planned after this one? (Yes, this question may be a bit premature, but it helps after the marathon to have something else lined up, ya know, so you don’t go crazy with too much time on your hands)

  16. I am so excited for you! And, I actually teared up reading this post. I, too, am training for my first marathon, and can relate to a lot of your words. Good luck this weekend, and congratulations on surpassing your fundraising goal. You are amazing!

  17. Hi Ali! I started reading your blog at the begining of your training! I am so excited for you! I know you will do amazing! I am thankful for you and your blog! Last night I ran ( well walked run or a shuffle jog 🙂 ) for 2 miles I hope one day I could complete a half or full marathon. You are such an inspriration ! Thank you and good luck. Leah

  18. Good luck!! I love your upbeat attitude about everything, it will get you very far! I just wanted to throw in that I ran a marathon in a complete THUNDERSTORM with blankets of rain, horrible wind, lightning, thunder, the works and I got a PR (and that race got me into Boston!). It was freezing and my shoes weighed about 10lbs each but honestly I don’t think it added more than 5 minutes to what my time would have been on a glorious day. So, even if it’s raining, don’t freak out!!! Can’t wait to hear how you do 🙂

  19. Yayyy! Great number.

    Please let us know exactly how you end up carrying your fuel. I am desperately trying to figure this one out for NYCM.

    I’m thankful for coffee. And the fact that Groupon has had a lot of fab food-related deals lately. And that Trader Joe’s is coming to Houston!

    Congrats on the amazing fundraising! How the F are you not in first place??

  20. I love that you got toilet paper in your good luck bag from Molly. So key :). I also love that you are thankful for nailclippers.. they are indeed a good invention.

    12,000? AMAZING. YOU are amazing. Such an inpiration.. I am so excited for this weekend… because YOU are running a marathon.. YAY! Ali the Marathoner!

    I am thankful because I got some good news from the doc last night.

  21. I think this is great. “Um…I’m not sure…But I’m smiling!” Whether or not it was exactly what he was looking for at the moment. Haha. You are a really strong runner and I have a lot of faith in your ability to really surprise yourself out there!

    I’m thankful I get to race the mile this weekend (never done it) and go to an event with all the running superstars later in the evening. I am thankful for all the awesome running blogger friends I have been getting to know.

    Good luck!!

  22. I am thankful for my Italian Roast coffee this morning, it is delish!

    Just so you know reading your blogs every morning is like my little dose of happiness. So excited for you this weekend…you are going to rock the Hamptons 26.2! Can’t wait to read how it went! Enjoy it!

  23. Ahhh! I’m so excited for you! Is it weird that I teared up a little reading this post? Probably. Ha. I told you, marathons make me cry… reading other people’s posts ABOUT marathons make me cry. I’m so excited to read (and prob tear up while doing so) your recap. You will rock it! Good luck 🙂

    And I’m thankful that I’m taking a hot yoga class with one of my besties from college on Saturday. The studio is in the South Loop and on the top floor of whatever building it is in and has amazing views of the lake and city skyline. I’m so thankful to have access to things like skyline view yoga classes… and so lucky to live in and enjoy such a great city!

  24. Such a great post! You are going to be a marathoner, indeed!!

    I’m thankful that I started blogging and started my weightloss journey.
    I’m thankful for coffee
    I’m thankful that we no longer live in the land of no smartphones or internet. Woohoo!

  25. I’m always thankful for your Thursdays!!!
    I’m thankful my Sweat shirt came this week so I can wear it on Saturday in your honor.
    I’m also thankful that I beat my dad at racquetball last night. Granted, I won by 2 points…and it was one of like 7 games…and I get two serves for every one of his. But still…I like saying “game point!” before I serve. 😀

  26. Lime green. Bam, awesome color. I used to have a lime green studded belt in middle/high school when I was so cool and alternative. I would wear it with my Hollister graphic tees and feel so anti-mainstream.

    I am thankful for the pretzels I had for breakfast this morning. Marathon training has turned me into a pretzel fiend. It’s crazy to think that I used to hate pretzels.

  27. I’m thankful for your blog and the fact that you crack me up every day! PS when I walked out of my building today, I was like, “perhaps i’ll run into ali today.” I was specifically thinking about you because the humidity was killing my hair and I could imagine us commiserating on the walk to the subway about these dire circumstances.

    Anywho – I like Coach Cane’s advice about the marathon – 10, 10, 10k! Can’t wait to hear about it!

  28. Hi Ali!! I wanted to add on to YOUR list of things to be thankful for (well really I’m just thankful myself for this and I wanted it to be on your list…). I’m SO thankful you’ve been healthy (ie: not INJURED) throughout your training. It can be so discouraging and a total pain in the ass to get injured midway through training and it can really mess with you physically AND mentally. I’m so grateful you’re entering this race STRONG and HEALTHY.

  29. I’m thankful that after reading inspirational blogs such as yours and PBfingers specifically, I finally got the courage to walk away from an abusive relationship before I reached the altar. I can’t begin to tell you how much your blog has helped me to realize my own self-worth and that I deserve to be happy in life. Beginning with your heart-wrenching post over your break-up and then continuing to discover yourself and find happiness while training for your biggest goal yet literally brings tears to my eyes. You were always such a fun-loving and wonderful person when I was friends with you in college, but even though I never see you I want you to know just how much more I ADORE you now. Thanks for writing, Ali. and you will KICK @SS and take names this weekend! XoXo

  30. Mmmmmm Reese’s Minis and Andes. Such good treats. I love everything in your post today (especially the Coach Cane-isms) and I am so excited for you. So about that Jack Rabbit store… my boyfriend had to give the evil eye to a male employee there who was apparently (I am oblivious to all things) staring at my chest as he rung up my purchase.

    1. Oh I forgot! I am thankful that it is almost a very much needed weekend. I am thankful for 90210 (the original). I am thankful for black and white cookies from Corner Bakery because they are made with almond flour and frosted freshly.

  31. I’m thankful for being able to run, my husband, our pets and that the forecast for Saturday is few showers and 67 degrees. I will be able to enjoy my 5 mile race in that type of weather!

    I am really excited for you! I can’t wait to read all about it. Good luck!

  32. At this point, I feel like I’m running the Hamptons Marathon myself. I don’t think I’ve read more about ANYONE preparing for a race than you, and I’m so excited that you’ll be a marathoner shortly. You’ve done everything — now go enjoy!

    Don’t forget about us on Saturday! Go get drunk and have many beers immediately afterwards (what? beers have lots of nutritional quality after a race) but update us first! We’ll all be waiting with bated breath. VERY BATED BREATH. Mmm.

    Let’s have vino night after your race? You need a break anyway 😉

    PS. Love the reference to “reference books” in the library. I once accidentally took one with me and it never set off the sensor, and when I got home, I realized what I did and felt SO BADASS. Nerd.

  33. Ahhh!! This post gave me total chills and also put a great big smile on my face. I LOVE how excited and inspired and READY you are to face down 26.2 this weekend. So so so cool. And yes, this pretty much cements for me that I WILL be running a marathon of my own within the year, I just can’t get it off my mind – so that’s what I’m thankful for: that I’m ready and confident in my strength and my running to be able to face 26.2 of my own. I’m also thankful for my I heart sweat shirt that I wore with pride today, it TOTALLY made the run even better!! 🙂

  34. I don’t even know where to start! I am so excited for you to run this marathon. It has been amazing to follow your training. You are going to kill it this weekend! 🙂

    I’m thankful for: my family, boyfriend (who loves me even when I can be a little crazy), friends, supervisors (who send me positive and uplifting e-mails at 12 am), Rain Berry Gatorade, and running! 🙂

  35. Again, good luck!

    Today I’m thankful that I got in my whole six mile run this morning in central park and that I sprinted up all the hills (well as best as you can sprint up them anyway). And I’m thankful that I have a fun dinner to look forward to tonight!

    Also, I’m thankful for finding your blog because you are really inspiring me to run another 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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