My Return To Long Runs

Good morning!

Ali On The Run looks a little different today, right? The blog makeover is still a work in progress, but many hours were spent over the weekend moving this little blog to actually being self-hosted, and doing the whole redesign thing. Those hours were not spent by me, though I was on hand to say, “Yes, I like that” or “Meh, that’s not my favorite,” and also, “Can we eat dinner now?”

The last time we were in touch was on Thursday morning. Since then, plenty has happened, and because you know I am a huge fan of things like lists and organizational tasks, I’ll break it all down for you as neatly as possible.


I went to yoga! I know, who am I? But my body has been feeling pretty tight lately, and an hour of major stretching felt great. I can’t say I left class on a yoga high or whatever you yoga people feel after class, but I did walk out feeling sufficiently bendy. Crunch has this new yoga class called “The Yoga Adjustment” where there’s a main instructor to tell you what to do (side angle! down dog! baby cobra! argjahdnrasana!) and then there’s a second instructor on hand to adjust you so that things stretch a little further and burn a little more. I loved it. Turns out, I’m doing a lot of things incorrectly.


I went to spinning. I don’t love Crunch’s Friday morning spin class, but I do love starting my weekend early with a super sweat. Class was uneventful and the workday was productive.

We found cheerleading costumes at the office. And we wore them all day.

Yes, this is office-appropriate where I work. Go Bearcats!

And then something incredible happened…

I cooked dinner. And I don’t mean I made English Muffin Pizzas or reheated leftovers. I made a legitimate, from scratch, start-to-finish meal, complete with appetizers.

Here Brian, munch on these carrots and hummus while I transform into Ali On The Oven. I told Brian I made the hummus from scratch, but that was a lie. Sabra made it.

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to cook a real meal once a month. I’m sure plenty of you are shaking your heads because you think I’m “underachieving” and stuff, and you cook real meals every single night, but I do not. I am typically afraid of the kitchen, so I avoid it.

But on Friday, I realized that January was almost over, and I hadn’t made more than a bunch of English Muffin Pizzas and several messes in my kitchen throughout the month.

The plan: To cook dinner for Brian.

The dish: Macaroni and cheese. My favorite.

The appetizer: Bread, that I even toasted a little bit, and an olive oil concoction (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and a bit of crushed red pepper — I’m basically ready to open up my own restaurant now).

Fancy! For me...

So in preparation for my big “I’m cooking a real meal” evening, I found two mac and cheese recipes: A delicious-sounding Martha Stewart one and an OK-sounding but healthier version from somewhere else.

Lesson learned: Always follow the Martha Stewart recipe.

I did not. I used the “healthier” recipe.

And while the mac and cheese was OK, it wasn’t as creamy and gooey as I had hoped.

Why yes, I did cook dinner in my cheerleading costume. Normal.

But Brian still ate it, and he didn’t die, so success!

Thank you, Brian, for telling me you liked this meal. I think you were just being polite, but I appreciate it. Good man.


I ran 15 miles. No, I still haven’t committed to the Eugene Marathon on April 29. But I hadn’t done a big long run in a while, so I wanted to give it a shot, see how my pace was and see how I felt.

The result? My pace was solid and I felt awesome.

Pretty psyched about these splits, actually. NEGATIVE splits!

My goal was to stay under 9-minute miles. Goal achieved.

Double-digit runs look so pretty on the watch.

I ran all around Central Park, saw lots of familiar, happy faces, and loved the fact that, on January 28, I was running in shorts. This month has been stellar for running. If global warming is real, I really don’t see the problem. (Kidding. Kind of…)

Eventually I made my way over to the West Side Highway. I used to run there every single morning and I miss it. It’s so flat, hence the speedier splits later on in the run.

My route. I loved it. I'd do it again. You can come.

By the time I was done, I felt so good and really didn’t want to stop running. I love that!

Pace-wise, I never felt like I was pushing too hard, but it felt comfortably challenging. I most definitely couldn’t sustain that pace for a full marathon, but I like that I kept it up no problem for 15 miles. And guess what else? Zero bathroom stops. Huge accomplishment, which is sad, I know, but I’m psyched about it.

I drank fancy chocolate milk. You people are always saying that “chocolate milk is ideal for refueling,” and I believe you. I rarely have milk in my apartment, but after Cooking Fest January 2012, I had some leftover and obviously I always have chocolate stuff on hand. So I had a chocolate milk cocktail and it was delicious.

Chocolate milk in a cup = boring. Chocolate milk in a wine glass = better.

I didn’t do much else for the rest of the day. I met up with Brian and we ran some errands and got some lunch and got a lot of frozen yogurt. We spent the evening eating mac and cheese leftovers (I still have them for lunch today, too — so much cheesy pasta) and working on blog things.

Correction: He worked on blog things, I laid on my bed to read Runner’s World for a while and apparently fell asleep with it in my hands. I guess the long run wore me out. I forgot how much I love that “I’m so exhausted because I ran forever this morning” feeling.

I want to run a marathon. I want to run a marathon. I want to run a marathon.


We did more blog things. All morning. This stuff is quite a process, and I hardly even know what’s going on.

I ran 7 miles. The plan was to do a 5-mile “shakeout run,” nice and slow. I love those Sunday runs. I did keep my pace slow, but I ran a weird all-over-the-place route, so 5 miles turned into 7. Oops.

I ran with Al Roker. Well, kind of. I saw Al running in the park. This happens often, actually.

Go Al! Cruisin' down Cat Hill!

Fun fact: Al Roker is Brian’s neighbor. So Brian sees him all the time. I only see him running in the park.

Anyway, apparently I have a thing for the Today show hosts.

If I don't see Matt Lauer next weekend, I will be SO pissed.

I ran a lot of errands, I went to the bank, and I got more 16 Handles.

And then Brian and I were up until a midnight hour continuing to work on blog things and definitely not watching the season finale of that damn Kardashian show. It’s still a work in progress and I’m making my way through some kinks, but I’m excited to have a new look with bright colors and without that really old “I’M PUMPING MY ARMS FOR JOY!” photo in the header.

So stick with me, ignore any “this site does not exist” messages and I hope you’ll keep reading.

I also hope you all had a wonderful weekend!



65 Responses

  1. You need to slow down during your long runs. If your 5K pace is around 8 min/mile, it suggests that your marathon pace should be around 9 min/mile which makes sense for your current fitness (~3:55 marathon which should be your goal). Then, your long EASY 15 miler should be run at no faster than 9:20-9:30 min/mile to reap the benefits of a long run.

    Otherwise, you won’t get much benefit out of it.. Keep your eyes on the goal and not winning a workout.
    Although, It is okay to go fast in a long run once in a while (I am guilty as charged as well), just don’t make it a habit. 🙂

    1. I agree. I definitely don’t plan to make this long run pace a habit. This was more of a test for myself — like a personal race! I wanted to see how I’d feel holder a faster-than-usual pace throughout a long run. Now I know, and I can slow back down. Thank you for the advice!

  2. LOVE the blog. Where can I find a Brian to help me out with mine? Can you loan him to me? Also, love the number of marathon pictures at the top of the screen. How did those get there?!?!

    Lastly, WHAT is Al Roker wearing on the side of his head? I am so jealous of your Today Show fame.

  3. I love the new layout! It’s super snazzy! Also, chocolate milk in a wine glass = best idea ever. Now I know exactly what I’m doing after my next long run!

  4. LOVE the new look!! Congrats on the long run, you are doing fantastic, as always 😉 And I really shouldn’t look at pics of food when I am currently starving 😉

  5. Looks great!! Do you eat or drink while you’re doing your long runs? I have my first half in a few weeks and still haven’t figured out the best mix of food.water while running. Any tips?

  6. I’m pretty sure I saw you on that long run–I was out in CP with a teammate doing 400m repeats down the middle of the road. Now I really feel like a stalker.

    Anyway, nice long run. You do realize that people who run that pace for LRs are running marathons in like 3:15, right? On the other hand, lots of coaches swear by marathon-pace longer runs in training. If so, you killed it. And you can either race a lot harder than you do, or you’re racing your training.

    Oh, and thumbs up tot he new decor.

  7. Wow, I just visited your blog earlier and saw the yellow bar on top. Now I read your latest entry, scrolles back up and saw the changing picture thing. I love it! And of course it shows some Marathon pictures 😀 That`s so great.
    Great text, too!

  8. You guys are sooo good. Aaron and I have been working on the conversion forever. And same thing by us working I mean him working but since I am super picky and Aaron is kind of a computer geek he has been building it from the ground up and it takes a while. But wow good for you two getting it done. You have gotten crazy fast. I am not surprised. Oohhh I want to run a marathon too, thought I was. Guess I am not, at least this season though. Although you know what, whether you run it in April or November, there are so many more great marathons in your future and I am sure you will be sustaining that pace for them 🙂

  9. I like the new look of your blog page. You need to add back the comment button at the end of the blog post from the first page (without having to click to the particular post’s individual page — just more convenient).
    I love that you wore cheerleading outfits at work. That sounds fun.
    I saw Al Roker in my race coral once two years ago. I think I beat him that day. I think he looks taller on TV.
    I hope you decide soon about the marathon. It makes me nervous that you haven’t officially decided, yet and haven’t started officially training and time is ticking…..

  10. I like the way the new blog looks. It’s awesome that you can get Brian to do it. I have to change it myself very frustratingly. Seriously 50,000 + dollars for an engineering education and I haven’t even learned basics of html programming. What a waste.

  11. LOVING the new look!! Nice work!!

    I am also very jealous of the cheerleading costume and am sniggering a lot that you wore it for Brian. Bet he loved it 😉

  12. Here’s my favorite part of your new blog: In my Reeder app on my iPhone, where I read all my blogs on my way to work, the icon that shows up next to yours is now a TINY LITTLE RUNNING ALI!

  13. 1. Your site looks FABULOUS!!!! Im jealous Brian knows how to do all that stuff. Seriously though, awesome. 2. Can I have a cheer leading costume???!!!!! It is amazing. Very very jealous. Can’t believe they were just giving those away at your work! 3. 15 miles in 2:04?!?! You are so freaking speedy. That is fast lady. You should definitely do Eugene Because Oregon is amazing and you are running so fast! 4. Have a great day!

  14. makeover looks great! and thank you for confirming my longstanding theory that any project fueled with froyo will be a success.

    I need to start running in central park more regularly so I see more cool people like Al Roker and less of the homeless guys sleeping on benches along the river.

    Also, I’m with you on the average drinks in fancy glasses game. Last week I drank gatorade out of a wineglass. nothing saying classy like the bright yellow/green glow radiating from a wineglass…..

  15. OK, I’ve already told you this, but I’m loving this blog format. So fancy. AND… DUDE, your splits are amazing. You’re going to crush your next marathon!!!!

  16. diggin the new blog look! martha stewarts mac and cheese recipe is hands down the best mac and cheese i have ever made! nice pacing on that long run!

    1. Brian did it all! From what I gathered via staring over his shoulder while he worked, he picked a “theme” from some WordPress-affiliated site and then used HTML coding and all that nonsense to customize it. I paid him with three day’s worth of macaroni and cheese. Even trade? Yes.

  17. Hey! Loving the new layout! I was bummed we couldn’t meet up in NYC but there’s always next time =) Probably for the best since I somehow got a horrible stomach flu this weekend and I don’t think it would fit into your running schedule!

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  18. Ohhh the blog is looking very pretty!!! 🙂

    Killer long run missy! I think a spring marathon is calling your name 😉

    I need to try to make real mac and cheese like that instead of the kind from the box :-/

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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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