Changing My Mindset

I’m not a person who looks too much into the future.

I have no idea where I want to live eventually, I don’t know how many kids I want and I have no idea what my “dream wedding” entails (but I know it’ll be open bar with tons of dancing, and The Electric Slide is strictly forbidden).

I’m more of a day-to-day thinker. Ask me what I’m doing tonight and I can muster up an answer (dragging my old mattress onto the street for pickup and returning my apartment keys to my super).

Brian says "mattresses aren't that heavy." He seems to think I can accomplish this task alone. I disagree, and think he's going to find my body crushed under a bedspring on the Upper East Side later. But we'll see.

But my plan for next year, next month or even next Monday?

Shit, I don’t know.

So it’s been quite an adjustment changing my mindset lately from thinking about what I want to be doing at this exact moment — which, you know, is running, always — and instead thinking about how my decisions today will affect me in the long-term.

Oh D-tags. I miss you.

I’m now on Day 8 of my self-enforced running rest in hopes that my hip and shin (both on the left side) will chill out and stop being so angry with me. I want to give myself at least 10 run-less days, and I have an appointment with the ortho doctor on Monday for a follow-up.

Up until last night I was actually doing OK with this. I’ve done a lot of strength training and core work this week, so I haven’t been totally sedentary. I’ve squeezed my glute muscles harder than ever before and I’m pretty sure that even though I’m finally off the steroids (yay!), I’m on my way to bulking up. I’m thinking about hosting an arm wrestling competition at some point in the very near future. Let me know if you want in.

WATCH OUT FOR THE GUNZ. I know, you already saw this photo. Sorry.

This week has been a little tough and emotions have been running (running!!!) somewhat high. I have some unplanned travel days coming up this weekend and early next week, on top of planned travel days throughout the month of May, and basically I’ve been excitingly busy. (Damn you, Brian, I just want to say I’m stressed. Hate you, but also love you.)

And when life gets crazy, do you know what calms me down?

Going for a run.

This actually looks like more of a get the point. Probably.

Last night I walked home from the subway and happened to walk past Engineers’ Gate in Central Park — which is “my spot” where I enter the park to go running. It’s one of my many happy places.

But last night, I didn’t feel happy when I saw it. I felt sad. I missed it. And I thought about making a pile of rocks, and then taking those rocks and throwing them at all the healthy runners cruising by with big smiles on their faces.

I didn’t, though, because I don’t have time to get arrested this week. That would suck.

So I came home, did a bit of Boring Yoga On Demand (no photos this time, try to be OK with it) and carb loaded with pasta and Parmesan cheese, you know, just in case.

I woke up this morning with intentions to go to a spin class before heading to a photo shoot in Brooklyn for work (with the Newsies boys!). But I felt tired, so I let myself sleep more.

When I re-awoke, I saw the sun coming up over the river and thought to myself, “Maybe you could try running today. Just three miles or something short, to test things out.” I walked around the apartment, my shin felt OK, and then I said, “NO! ALI YOU WILL NOT RUN TODAY! IT IS ONLY DAY 8!”

Spoiler alert: I did not run!

I did abs. I planked. I glute-squeezed. I stretched. I foam rolled.

I took care of myself today. I made smart decisions.


Because I’m becoming a long-term thinker.

I knew “testing it out” today wouldn’t do me any favors. So I’m waiting. I’m waiting until after I see the doctor on Monday to proceed.

Not running sucks. It sucks in general and it definitely sucks when I have a lot of other things on my mind and just want an hour of solo sweating to distract me for a bit.

Bridle Path, you're so special. Love you. Miss you. See you soon, totally.


I’m reminding myself constantly that not running today means so much running in the future. I’m actually kind of shocked I haven’t caved and gone for a run, honestly, because I can be a stubborn little brat. I know that if I went out for a few miles, I’d feel fine. Maybe my hip would hurt a little after, but these past few days of no-impact-activity have served me well so far.

So, just a few more days, and then we’ll see.

In the meantime, I’m going to continue to get all jacked up in the arm area, I’m probably going to attempt to bench press Brian later, and I guess someday I’ll figure out where I should raise kids or something.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Stay un-injured!

WHAT KIND OF THINKER ARE YOU? Long-term? Short-term? Or are you one of those fancy people who can successfully do both? That’s impressive. Tell me more.



44 Responses

  1. Feel your pain, Ali. Swimming/biking/running are my sanity and I’m going to be on a long break from all three due to injury. My poor husband! Will try to keep up your positivity and remind myself that I’m fixing things now so that I can stay active for a long time. Good luck!

  2. Hey new reader here! Just came across your blog and wanted to let you know I’m going through the same thing! I havent been able to run for 3 weeks because of IT Band Syndrome and its been killing me mentally. I miss running. But I’ve been doing a ton of yoga and strengthening in the meantime. It sucks but it helped me realize how much I love running and being active. And now I appreciate it so much more!

  3. You will feel better! I know it. I’ve had many little injuries and 2 weeks completely off running is usually the trick to curing them. Way to be smart and keep the rest coming!

  4. Ali, as a fellow runner who is now in day 12 of a 2-week block of no running .. I can totally sympathize with your frustration! Good for you for screaming at yourself in FULL CAPS that you were not ready yet – no matter how much you want to throw the running shoes on and go for it. Like you, I have had to change my strategy to be more of a long-term thinker, ie. be a healthy person who can run marathons. Not screw up the next one because it’s on the calendar & I paid for it. Like you, I was supposed to run Eugene on Sunday and cannot. Like you, I am a fellow Crohns sufferer – although not as cute and about 15 years older. You inspire me though and your blog is one of the reasons I went back to the gym and took a dance class the past week. We need to be “whole body” healthy and find out what compliments our running and I think this mini-break is just what the doctor ordered for you. Chin up!

  5. I generally have long term and short term goals, but my long term goals are usually only a 8 months or so in advance, and my short term goals are usually month by month to get me to my long term goal.

    You definitely need a new something soon, or life is gonna get boring quick. if you want, I mean.

  6. I am maybe too long-term of a thinker. Or at least too catastrophic a thinker (“If I do this one thing, I WILL NEVER RUN AGAIN!”). It’s dumb. I am second-hand proud of your running break and trying to start looking forward to mine. Health is awesome! Yay rest! Ahem.

  7. I am def a short term thinker and instant gratification type person. It’s shameful! I had to do some running holding out due to injury this year, so I totally know the feeling. But you will be so happy when you are running pain free! It will be worth it, only 2 more days to go!

  8. You have such incredible self-control! I have been exactly where you are, but instead of being smart like you, I was dumb and tried to run through the pain… which of course got worse. Hang in there, you are definitely making the right decisions!
    I am a long term thinker, which I suppose is good in some situations, but usually just annoys me. I worry myself about ridiculous things a lot of the time, and it drives my very short-term-thinking husband crazy!

  9. Arg I am an annoying, long term thinker. To the point that I am already worried about college tuitition rates for my unborn children and paying a morgage on the house I absolutely do not own (and won’t for many, many years.) I’m less intense on day-to-day stuff. I know when I will workout, and what to eat for dinner, and if I can afford to shop, and that’s about it.
    Happy weekend!!

  10. I’m a long term thinker, but I call it more of a dreamer. I think of things I want later on, but I don’t think of what I should be doing NOW to get there in the future. So basically it doesn’t happen..
    I think that’s worse than short term thinking!

  11. YAY! I feel like there’s always a point during injury when you want to be like, oh fuck it, I want to run. It’ll be FIINNNEE. Good job telling that evil voice to shut it, because it is not your friend. I like to think of it like a savings account – you’re doing so good now, spending it all would screw everything up and you’d be back where you started.

  12. Don’t worry. You will run FAST and PAINLESS again soon!! Fabulous time with the no running thing. I totally understand how hard that is. I am a short term thinker with running (aka… I also have a hard time taking necessary time off for pain) but a long-term thinker with most other things. I’ve never thought about this before! Thanks!!!!! Happy Friday!!

  13. I’m such a short term thinker. Envisioning the “big picture” is so hard, especially when there are ten things that I need/want to do right now. The future is a pretty abstract place, but I know I want to be happy when I get there!

  14. Congrats on not running!
    I’m a long-term thinker and I really wish I was more like you! I just want to be in the moment and not think about how every decision is going to affect the future Caroline 10 years down the line. (Sorry for the rant, this is very relevant to my life right now haha.) I’m also injured.. and not running is still hard for me even though I know long term I’ll be better with rest.
    Hope you can run again soon!

  15. I hear you on the rock throwing. I was sitting in an outdoor cafe the other day and scowling at all the happy people running. Its hard to accept the ‘less running now = more running later’ idea but its definitely true. I like to think my body will get strong and loose and then I can run forever! haha… well thats the plan anyway.

  16. Month 6 of no running for me. Or working out at all. I destroyed my pelvis in a car accident. You sound like a spoiled whiny brat. Be grateful that you can get up in the morning and workout if you like. Be grateful that you can get up and go to work and not hobble around on crutches or in a wheelchair.

  17. Yeah I don’t think long term… if I did, I’d probably have a larger savings account and would have gotten a finance degree (rather than the super amazing poli sci degree I have). However, in light of my recent case of pneumonia, I’ve had to think about my health a littler differently – I’m trying to treat it like you’re treating your injury. I want to run SO BAD. I CAN run, but just short little spurts bc my lungs are still shot. It sucks and I want to push the limits SO BAD, but I know it’s just going to delay my recovery even more… so right now, the long term for me is June 9…. first long run of marathon training. Its more important for me to be ready to run in June than it is right now!

    1. OH PS: i was just tagged me in a pic on FB, my friend and i are both doing the hand on hip pose – made me think of that post you wrote last week. Ha.

    2. Ugh – that’s no fun – I used to get it all the time! I had bronchitis last month, too (not as bad, but similar) and I wanted to run again soooo bad. But I listened to doctor and I guess as a reward my body got back into it at even a bit faster pace than usual! Rest up and feel better soon – you’ll be out there running in no time!

  18. Mindset change is SO HARD for me! I totally feel you on this one. But I know you will be back at it soon and the rest for the injury will do you good!! Happy Friday!

  19. I’m too long term. I tend to look too far into the future and start worrying about things that haven’t even occurred yet. It can be good, and bad. I’m a good planner, but have a bad habit of not focusing on each day. This rest will be worth it! I know mine was. I’m so glad I didn’t push through my calf strain because I’m pretty sure I’d still be dealing with the pain. Instead I took 10 days of rest, and I now I’m blissfully pain free!! Good luck!

  20. Good G-d, you know I feel you, sister. I am sorry. It’s the worst. You are definitely going to be up and running (har har) very soon. Not sure the same is true for me! (Womp womp)
    Hang in there! In other news, I was playing (drunk) Scattergories last night and the letter was “R” and the category was “drugs and medicines.” I chose Remicade, and no one knew what it was! Someone else chose roofies… I am not sure I spelled that correctly, but I also don’t want to Google it at work.
    Have a great weekend! xoxo

  21. I’m an obsessive future thinker. Where will I be in 5 years? What job will be husband have? If we have to move and sell our house, how will the market be and will we lose money? Gahhhhhhhhh!

    I need to take a page from the Ali book I think.

  22. Oh, Ali, I so needed to read this today. This week, I have been “taking it easy” yet I’ve run three times and gone to a few fitness classes. On today’s run, a hill that normally wouldn’t phase me left me winded and sad. My nice friend who had to listen to me wheeze for half a mile kindly pointed out, “Hey, Meg, haven’t you done like 5 long distance races in 90 days? Maybe you should, you know, take a week off from running and training? Do some other activities?”

    Instead of crying at that idea (or from the hill), I realized that if I want to keep improving, I have to remember the importance of rest and recovery. It’s just so dang hard.

    Also, I’m totally jealous of your work outing with the Newsies boys today. I hope they give you a private show – a G-rated one, of course.

  23. FYI – You can’t just leave a mattress on the street in NYC. It’s against the law because of bedbugs. It has to be completely wrapped in that industrial plastic wrap beforehand. There must be info on sane nyc website about the details. I did it last year and ended up getting a ticket, so be careful.

  24. I’m honestly jealous of your mindset!

    I am basically the opposite. I am always future thinking and I wish I’d be more present. Basically when I’m training for races for example, I’m always thinking about the finish line but as soon as I get to the finish line I’m thinking about my next race. It definitely takes away from being present and enjoying the moment!

    Considering you thought about not throwing the rocks because you’d go to jail shows how much of a future thinker you’re becoming 😉

  25. It’s all to easy to get stuck in the short-term! I do the same thing. Just think about how your body will be able to handle running later on with all your strength exercises. Strength moves=better stabilizing muscles= less injury! Good luck Ali.

  26. I think you’re making good choices, if that’s worth anything.

    I like to think of myself as a long-term planner, but sometimes life gets in the way of any shred of long-term plans. When that happens, I get REALLY frustrated, but I’ve been trying to go with the flow as much as possible!

  27. I trained for a 1/2 marathon last year and had left hip and shin pain as well. It turned out if was slight bulge in a disc in my lower back, which was pressing a nerve causing the pain in the hip and shin. I guess it is really common in runners. Maybe you should ask your dr. about it?

  28. Hope everything is OK! I’m with you on the needing the run to calm down, and being sad/mad about not being able to. But this too shall pass. And in the meantime, lets have an ice and elevation party. I’ll make a “i miss running/injuries suck” cake. Safe travels this weekend!

  29. Loving your attitude!! I’ve actually been injured and unable to run for the past 5+ months, and it’s been HORRIBLE. I remember when I first found out, I had a weird hatred for all healthy runners. But now I’ve found spinning, Barry’s Bootcamp and other classes and I’m trying to tell myself that when I can run again I’ll be stronger than ever!

    PS… love your blog!

  30. Congrats on staying with that long term thought. I am the same way, I get stuck in the moment feelings and tend to not think about the long term affects of my actions However after my last running injury my mindset has changed drastically. Your posts always make me laugh and I can so relate to this one! Hang in there.

  31. I am on a self imposed running hiatus for 2 weeks. Tomorrow I am going to try pool running for the first time (just bought the flotation belt). Is this an option for you to try, to run non-impact?

    1. Yes, lots of people have suggested pool running! Unfortunately I don’t have access to a pool. I’m sorry to hear you’re in a non-running state as well right now. Happy, speedy healing! Take care of yourself.

  32. You’ll be back… soon! I once had to take 3mo off for an injury and, oh, that was when I began cycling. So I guess you should just go buy a bike and then you’ll be fine. 🙂 And my coach used to make me take 1-2 weeks off of activity after any marathon or Ironman.

    To sum it up, go buy a bike and don’t worry, you’ll be back running SOON!

  33. I totally sympathise. I’m going through the same thing after my Spring Madness. I told my wife: “Whatever I say or do, don’t let me go for a run until the weekend.” This morning, she practically had to drag me back into the house by my hair…

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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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