A Super Happy 7-Mile Morning


Question: Did someone put some crack in my “granola bar” this morning? Or perhaps you mixed my “morning cocktail” (sink water) with Absinthe or something?

I don’t know what’s happening, or what I’m on, but I’m in a wildly perky mood at the moment. I hope you’re on board, because I’m about to roll through a whole list of things that I’m smiling about today.

First up, did you know it’s Bring Your Best Friend To Work Day today? My real best friend Becky couldn’t make it because she lives all the way down in Charlotte, North Carolina, and she’s busy with things like banking and wedding planning and saying “y’all.” So instead I brought my pal The Stick.

The Stick got dressed up to come to the office today. See how nice and polished?

We’re going to have a great day together! I figure we’ll enjoy some private time every hour or so, and I’m excited to introduce him to all of my coworkers.

It’s not really Bring Your Stick Pal To Work Day. I lied to you about that. But I did bring my rolling pal in with me — Foam Roller Friend was a bit too bulky for the Downtown 4 train…people get pushy on that thing — to relieve my muscle tension throughout the day.

Why today? Well, because I went to the ART (Active Release Technique) doctor yesterday, and he checked me out. The verdict?

  • I was told that the pain I’ve been feeling lately is originating in my psoas muscle. I explained to Mr. ART that it hurts most when I’m sitting for a long time and stand up quickly, or during quick directional changes (like if I’m running and have to turn a sharp corner, which I’ve been trying to avoid). Right away he said, “It’s your psoas!” He seemed kind of excited about figuring out my little puzzle.
  • The psoas is tight and aching because of my job. Blame the 9 to 5! Damn the corporate universe! Really though, he said this is common in runners who have desk jobs. I sit all day and don’t stand up and stretch enough (um, ever). My psoas gets all squished and confined during the day, and then I run and I stretch it out too quickly. Something like that. Hence the reason The Stick is here to play today.
  • ART feels oh-so-good. People said it might hurt and I might bruise, but it was like a really good deep tissue massage. Basically you move different body parts in the “direction they’re supposed to go,” and the ART doctor works the muscles in that area and stretches them out.
  • Mr. ART says I have a “high pain tolerance.” You bet I do, buddy. A life with Crohn’s disease will do that to you. You think digging at my muscles is fun? You’d have a field day with my intestines. Sorry, that was uncalled for.
  • I felt good and loosened up by the end of the appointment, which included some electric stimulation (scary sounding, but felt fine, sort of like I had little electric bugs crawling on me, only not as gross), traction something, ART and a spinal adjustment. I was into it.

Also, Dr. Levine’s office happens to be next to this:

Sorry, but you may only bank here if you have a 26.2 sticker on your car...or tattooed on your face.

I don’t bank there. But I took a photo because it said MARATHON. So yeah.

After the appointment I thought about going to the gym, and then I thought better of it and just went home. I keep reminding myself that I’m New Ali, and I’m Smart Ali, and I’m Listen To Whatever Coach Cane Says Ali. Coach Cane never says “run in the morning and then go to the gym at night” (though yoga is fine), so I haven’t been doing that.

Instead, I put on some sexy flannel pajamas with holes in them from over-wearing (they were born in 1997) and got to work on my Big Project Of The Week: Addressing Becky’s wedding invitations. Maid of Honor Ali at your service!

What? This is organized...seriously. I HAVE A SYSTEM. Don't question it.

There was stamping, folding, sealing, stamping and making pretty piles.

Neat piles! That's more like it.

Tonight’s task? Actually busting out the inky pens and getting these things addressed. I didn’t even bring gym clothes so I won’t be tempted to hit up a spin class before heading home.

See? I’m learning.

I checked in with Coach Cane after last night’s appointment and he told me to run 7 miles today. Nothing fast, just a steady seven around the Reservoir. Happy to oblige, Coach!

Brian, I specifically asked you if I looked "cool or stupid?" in this photo. I guess I should have taken your lack of response to mean "stupid." Whatever. Still posting it for the world to see, because I like to run and dance.

I also had company!

Brian is stretching/yawning/maybe wincing in pain. It's hard to tell. It was dark.

Brian joined me for some of the miles, which was so nice. We had done two laps around the Reservoir in what seemed like no time, and then I finished up the third lap by myself.

We chatted and I sang and I think Brian tried to ignore me, but we also spent some time debating our pace. I kept looking at my watch, and it never quite seemed right. “Stop looking at your watch and just think about how your body feels,” Brian said. We were running at a conversational pace, and I wasn’t out of breath at all, so I think my splits are actually pretty accurate. But we were running side-by-side the entire time, and here’s how our paces compared (mine measured by the Garmin 110 and his by some iPhone app):

According to my watch, our first mile clocked in at a 10:04 pace.
But on Brian's pacer? We were a full minute-per-mile faster.

I call bullshit…on both.

Overall though, this run felt so good. I had no pain, the weather was incredible and I was happy to have some running company. I love running on the Reservoir because I can zone out, watch the sun rise over the water and just appreciate running.

It is February and I'm not wearing layers. Suck it, winter.

I returned home, foam rolled and haven’t stopped smiling since then.

As for what sort of “training plan” I’m following right now: I’m working a lot with Coach Cane and it’s all about communication these days. Since my hip started hurting, we’ve scaled back on the intensity and he’s just having me do more miles at a slower pace. I actually really like that. I do miss speedwork a bit, but I know I’ll be doing it again soon. We’re just being cautious and gentle while still keeping the mileage up. As long as things don’t hurt, I can keep doing them, but as soon as something doesn’t feel right, I know not to push too hard. I’m learninggggggg and it’s a beautiful thing.

I also haven’t worn heels in a week, which is some sort of record for me. I’d like a prize, please. A brownie, preferably.

And now I will spend the rest of the day being giddily happy because I feel like I had a little setback and a tiny little “injury” or whatever, and now I’m moving forward. No more Sad Ali. Just Dance Party Ali.

This is actually one of my best moves. It's called "Sway to the Side" and it goes best with a little bit of elbow crease sweat.

I hope you have a lovely day as well.

And also, because I need some new running music, how about you do me a favor…

GIVE ME MUSIC: What’s your favorite running song right now? I’m not normally a big Nicki Minaj fan, but I kind of like her new “Starships” song. Also currently in heavy rotation on the playlist: “Danza Kuduro,” “Runaway Baby” (Bruno Mars), “Wild Ones” (Flo Rida & Sia), “5 O’Clock” (Wiz Khalifa & Lily Allen) and “Kyoto” (Skrillex). I like pop music.



50 Responses

  1. My husband recently had trouble with his psoas muscle when he was training for NYCM. When you were mentioning about your pain, I thought it sounded like his. He did a few physical therapy visits, and lots of stretching and rolling and it was good as new in no time. Best of luck!

  2. Lol. I saw “Wiz” in your music and thought it was gonna be from “The Wiz” since you’re a little tiny bit theatre nerd.

    I love Footloose…Kenny Loggins, Blake Shelton, Broadway version…whichever. I run to it in my head if I don’t have it playing. Also “Step Right Up to the Microphone” by the Newsboys.

    And…a big fat congrats on ART problem-solving!!! By all means, eat a brownie.

  3. Man, I’ve tried resisting Nicki Minaj, but I heard that “Starships” song in my car the other week and some obsessive googling of phrases like “meant to fly” and “hands up and touch the sky” and I don’t even know what else resulted in me actually PAYING for the song. And now it’s one of my favorite songs on my running playlist. I’m also loving LMFAO’s “Sexy & I Know It” and pretty much everything Pitbull has done!

  4. Last year, I thought I was having hip/IT band problems as well but when I went to the doctor he told me it was actually my back (L5 nerve). I guess everything is connected and my hip was over compensating for the fact that my glutes weren’t strong enough. Now I try to do PT excercises to strenghten my core and my glutes. It definitely helps. I love the stick. You should also look into getting the Tiger Tail. I like it better than the stick sometimes because it doesn’t have the indiviudal rollers.

  5. I hate when people self diagnose, but I’m pretty sure I’m having psoas problems as well, and I’m trying to get in to see Dr. Levine. He’s a hard man to get a hold of! Anyway, I certainly don’t have a desk job so I don’t know how this one came about…maybe lifting 300 pound patients? hmm.

  6. This is old news… but I love Katy Perry’s Firework. I don’t understand my love but it is a love. I also might just love running to the Wicked Soundtrack. And I sorta kinda like LMFAO cuz I’m Sexy and I Know It.

  7. I looove Kaskade! especially Move For Me and Turn It Down (not the ICE mixes…for running at least). Robyn has some great songs as well off her album Bodytalk. yay happy 7 miles 🙂

  8. I agree with the other poster — Girl Talk has changed my running life. All mash-ups of popular songs, and it’s perfect for someone like me who lacks the patience to listen to full songs while running. So much fun to run to and very upbeat songs to keep up the pace.

  9. Ooooh take it from a wedding invite addresser who made this mistake already…probably should have addressed and THEN stamped, in case you make a mistake. But your handwriting is perfect so you’re good I’m sure 🙂

  10. What Doesn’t Kill You (Stronger) by Kelly Clarkson. It’s killer for both spinning and running (particularly hills). Best played LOUD! And Glee might have covered it last night…you know, if you’re a 20-something person who still watches it by themselves every week and are still into it…

  11. Thanks for posting about your psoas issue… I’m pretty sure you just helped me self diagnose a problem I’ve been having over the last few weeks! Now to do research…

  12. You should totally get a standing desk so you have the option to stand at work. About half our office does it and it’s fantastic! Now, instead of standing breaks, we take sitting breaks. I don’t really stand for more than 2-3 hours at a time because it hurts my feet, and no runner wants sore feet! The best part is – I bought a flat surface shoe rack from Target for $12, plopped it on top of my desk, and voila – cheap standing desk! I have circulation issues in my legs and they feel a million times better since I started standing. Just food for thought! Glad you’re feeling better!

  13. WOOT to feeling better! Electric bugs all the way!

    Domino by Jessie J is my new running jam. I sometimes play it on repeat and sing out loud. Yup. I’m that girl.

  14. I dig your taste in music. I was listening to the Pitbull pandora station during my lunchtime run and thought of you.

    SO so happy you had a great run today and are feeling good! And you have the magic Stick!! Those things are awesome.

  15. Woohoo so glad you asked for music I love hearing everyone’s suggestions, seems like all your readers have good music taste! I’m from New Zealand, and currently I’m loving running to ‘Girl in Stilettos’ by Annah Mac, ‘Broken Heels’ by Alexandra Burke, ‘Knockout’ by Nicki Minaj & Lil Wayne, ‘Titanium’ by Guetta and Sia, ‘Move Your Ass’ by Scooter and my old favourite ‘Pass Out’ by Tinie Tempah.

  16. I’m so glad you’re back to happy AliOnTheRun. 🙂
    I’m just going to take songs from the comments to your post to make a new running playlist. Mine is boring me.

  17. I’ve gotta ask about the invitations. Are you doing them because you have amazing handwriting? I’m planning a wedding right now and can’t imagine someone else doing all the assembling and writing of the invitations! Haha.

  18. PSOAS! I had problems with that muscle this summer. I went to ART and it was feeling better BUT THEN I went and got a massage from my fav girl and she did this massage stuff through my STOMACH and magically my psoas never hurt again. I still thank her for that magic. So if it keeps bugging maybe try that 🙂

    Stupid desk jobs.

  19. Ali,
    So happy to hear about your doc appt. I have the same sort of pain that you do and have been through physical therapy for it and it is mostly gone but comes back now and again. I find positioning a tennis ball in the affected area really helps; you may want to ask your art doc about that. I love your blog.

  20. Hi Ali!

    So I know it’s not the best idea to self diagnose by way of someone’s blog, but I’ve been having serious left hip/groin pain for about two weeks. I’ve scaled back the running and went out for 4 miserable miles today after three days off and I’m still hurtin’. I thought it was an IT issue but after reading this I’m convinced it’s my psoas muscle. What exactly are you doing with the stick? Where are you focusing it? Inner thigh? Outer thigh? All over the place? I know I should see a doctor but I have crappy insurance and I’m reallllly stubborn. Any advice?

    1. Ouch! I’m sorry to hear that, Tara. First, PLEASE don’t just do what I say! I’m trying to learn about all this stuff, but I’m really not one to give advice on the matter. I can tell you that, for me, based on what I was told last night, I’m using the stick primarily on my IT band (the outer parts of my thigh, basically), which is the same spot I spend most of my time foam rolling. I also use a foam roller on my butt muscles and my quads. Check with a doctor though, and get better soon! Take care of yourself.

  21. Pass those happy happy 7 mile run vibes to me please! that’s my plan for this afternoon as a matter of fact!! 🙂 Weather is awesome and already makes me happy! As for songs, let’s see, don’t know why but I LOVE Skyscraper by Demi Lovato. Sort of oddly motivating for a slower-ish song.

  22. I love running to Goodwill & Hook N Sling’s “Take You Higher” and, this is embarrassing, but Selena Gomez’s “Love you like a Love Song.”

  23. The entire soundtrack of A Goofy Movie, and most of the cast recording of In The Heights. I also really enjoy running to Kate Nash, but obviously I have really weird taste. I feel like you will appreciate A Goofy Movie though!

  24. Hands All Over – Maroon 5
    Can’t Stop Me – Afrojack
    Every Teardrop is a Waterfall – Coldplay/Mylo Xyloto
    Middle Finger – Cobra Starship
    Lassitude (Club Mix) – DJ Fresh & Sigma
    If I Was You (OMG) – Far East Movement
    T.H.E – will.i.am feat Mick Jagger
    The Champ – Nelly

  25. I can’t run without All Day by Girl Talk – I got the entire “album” online as a free download. Great mashup of pop and rap. My runs are not the same without it.

  26. I have a few new songs that I’m really into. First (and best) is We Are Young by Fun. Very motivational. Second, Turn Around Part II by Flo Rida and I am just about to download Katy Perry’s new song Part of me or Piece of Me. I’m not quite sure of the name. Have a great day!

  27. I’m glad everything with the doctor went well and you’re feeling better! But I’m also REALLY glad that you posted that last question because boyyyy do I need new music! Thanks 🙂

  28. I wish I could join you at work, but glad you have a good second place best friend, go to work Stick!! Hope you had fun with he invitations last night 🙂 you are the greatest Maid of Honor anybody could ask for!!!!! Love you!

    As for music, could I interest you in a little Kenny Chesney or Miranda Lambert? You know I have no idea who any of the singers are you listed so I won’t bother sharing my country play lists with you haha. Have a great day, y’all!!! 🙂

  29. You gotta check out “High and Rising” by Big Gigantic. It’s such a cool song, and after 2.5 minutes it starts to get faster and faster, and by the end of the 5.5 minutes you’re like stressed out from how fast and awesome it gets. super good pump up song.

  30. Eek, I’ve got no running tunes for you, sorry! Europe is soooo behind with the pop music, all thats on the radio is that techno / house music ish. Two thumbs down.

    Great that you had a good run this morning, that’s the best way to start the day!

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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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