The day my brother, Ryan, and his wife, Michaela, told me they were going to have a baby, they did so by suggesting I rename my blog Auntie Ali On The Run. (It was the day after the Hamptons Marathon, I was delirious, confused and then I cried in a fit of excitement.)
So it seems only fitting that the day after I became an aunt, I get to finally blog about running again.
Oh yes, people, great things are happening. First, this:
This little guy was born yesterday and clocked in at a whopping 4 pounds, 15 ounces.
He arrived two weeks early, and both Tyler and Michaela are doing great. He may be small, but he’s tough and perfectly healthy! Michaela was in labor for something like 13 hours and managed to do the entire thing without drugs or anything. Michaela, you’re a trooper, and I’d rather run a million marathons, in a row even, than attempt to do what you just did. Awesome and impressive.
I’m hoping to make my way up to Boston this weekend to meet my nephew, who I plan to make my best friend. We’re birthday buddies — mine was on May 6 and his is May 7!
Ryan and Michaela, you’re doing great already. Best of luck with parenthood and diapers and stuff. I’ll come up for the snuggling, you can do the changing and feeding.
My parents got to visit last night, and my mom said Tyler is “very alert,” and “likes to look around at everything.” She is, however, having an incredibly difficult time selecting her grandmother name, and she doesn’t like any of my suggestions. I thought my dad had settled on his grandfather name — either Grandpop, which is what we all called his dad, or Dude, which is kind of cool I guess — but yesterday my mom called me at 7 AM proposing that we call my dad “Big Papi” instead.
No. For so many reasons, no.
Let’s talk about running!
When was the last time I was excited about running talk?
I know. It’s very thrilling.
Ali On The Run is, in fact, back on the run. At least a little bit.
So let me go back in time to recap my running life recently:
- Back in February, my hip starts to hurt. I don’t think much of it. I continue running. I eventually run my first-ever 50-mile week, which I am excited about.
- At the end of February, I get the stomach flu. I am basically on bed rest (toilet rest) for a full week. Running does not happen.
- I start to feel better and get back on the road. Running is fun! Yay! My hip still hurts, but I’m not too worried.
- Crohn’s disease decides to come hang out. Running again goes on a forced hiatus, and I decide not to run the Eugene Marathon as planned. I feel sadness, but also some relief. Time to recover and regain some strength.
- I go on Prednisone, at a fairly high dosage, and the Crohn’s starts to chill a bit.
- My stomach finally feels OK enough to let me run, and as I return to Central Park, everything on my left side begins to act up: my hip, my IT band, the back of my knee and my shins.
- I go to ART, I see an orthopedic doctor, and I run through the pain for a few days.
- Finally, after confirming that I don’t have a stress fracture — just tired muscles — I take a full two weeks off running.
- I am sad.
- I am depressed.
- I miss running.
- I whine a lot.
- I cry a little.
- I decide that without running, my life has no meaning.
- I am not dramatic.
- I only talk to other people who are injured. Healthy runners are dead to me. If you PR a race, you may as well have just killed a puppy. You are the worst.
Good, now we’re all caught up.
So yes, I took two weeks entirely off running. I took a bunch of total rest days, and on the days I worked out I did spinning, strength trained and learned to love Yoga On Demand. My theory when it comes to exercise videos and at-home workouts is that even if you don’t actually do the workout, it still counts. For example: If you turn on Ultimate Yoga On Demand, and then sit on your couch eating breakfast instead of Downward Dogging along, it still totally counts as your yoga for the day. Right?
Two weeks without running sucked. I hated starting my days inside, either sleeping or on a spin bike, instead of looping the Reservoir. It just wasn’t my style and I guess I was kind of a total brat during this time. The fact that Brian and I are actually still dating blows my mind because he most definitely got to witness Non-Running Ali the most, and while I like to think she’s pleasant and delightful, his words of choice would more likely be, “bitchtastic” or “horrid” or “evil.”
I ran last Thursday, and it was OK. Truthfully it wasn’t great because I was still so sore from a Harley Pasternak “squat your heart out” class the previous Tuesday. But I was happy to be running.
By Saturday, I was in Kiawah Island, and though my hip and shin still didn’t feel completely pain-free, the soreness in my calves had gone away, and I was eager to try running again with these bad boys:
I got new shoes, and I swear they are already making a huge difference. They’re still the Brooks Adrenalines I’ve loved for three years, but they’re a half size smaller. They feel so much better, and I have now run in them three times. Allow me to tell you every single detail of the times I ran on Saturday, Sunday and this morning.
Saturday morning I ran with Becky in Kiawah.
We ran six miles at an average pace of 8:50. How did it feel, you may be thinking? It felt OK. My hip was fine. My shins were fine. My new shoes felt amazing. But whoa, my endurance. Turns out, going from high mileage to no mileage does take a tiny toll on you, particularly if your name is Ali Feller, which mine just so happens to be.
The run was tough, though I attribute much of it to the heat. We didn’t start running until well after 8:30 AM, and it was a scorcher out there. I haven’t run in heat since last summer, so this came as a shock. The pace didn’t feel as comfortable and easy as I would have liked, and I got attacked by bugs and have the bites to prove it, but man was I glad to start my day with a running sweat! Things were tight, but they didn’t hurt.
I spent the rest of the day doing as little as possible. Maximum recovery time.
Sunday was my birthday, and though I realize I shouldn’t run on back-to-back days right now, I refused to not run on my birthday. Also, I woke up at 6:45 AM, and no one else was up, so I entertained myself.
Here’s a fun fact: I had never run on the beach before. So I figured, why not do that on my first day as a 27-year-old? That’s a great plan, Ali! Good thinkin’.
I ran four super slow miles. I had no idea where I was going and I wanted to keep it easy, but again I didn’t feel pain. I couldn’t stop smiling…and also wiping the sweat out of my eyes.
I didn’t run yesterday — I took a Chisel class instead, to keep strengthening all my weak, pathetic muscles. Something kind of amazing happened, yesterday though, and I’d like to share it with you.
Since things started hurting, it hasn’t just been running that puts me in pain. Walking hurts. Standing up from my desk chair hurts. Walking down a flight of stairs hurts like a bitch. So imagine my delight yesterday morning when I reached the subway stairs and prepared to brace myself as I’ve been doing — and then realized I didn’t have to. I walked down the stairs pain-free. “Hot damn,” I thought to myself. “Was that a fluke?”
But then throughout the day, I could stand up from my chair somewhat gracefully and walk to the water cooler without a limp or a hobble. That, my friends, is improvement. So naturally I was psyched to run today. I’m back in the city and was dying to hit up Central Park. Have I ever told you that I like it there? I haven’t? Oh, I have. OK.
I ran 6.25 miles this morning. That .25 is important. The first four miles were all done at a sub-9:00 pace, and mile three even clocked in somewhere around an 8:30. I know I shouldn’t be wearing my watch right now or even caring about my pace — and I really don’t — but I wear my watch because I’m obsessed with tracking my mileage.
The final miles were barely under 9:00s, and the last mile may have been slightly over.
Truthfully, I was shot. I kept telling myself that it was OK, and I was thrilled about just being able to run at all. I know that’s huge right now. I was a little discouraged with how difficult it felt, though. I guess I naively expected running to come back naturally as soon as my injuries settled down, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. I’ll need some solid conditioning, because although I’ve been spinning my little heart out, that doesn’t seem to translate directly to the roads.
The plan now? I’m not convinced I’m “better,” and I want to keep being extra cautious. I have no races on the horizon right now, so there’s no need to jump back into high mileage, no matter how good I feel. I want to keep icing, foam rolling, stretching, yoga-ing and taking good care of myself, because if things hurt during New York City Marathon training, I’m pretty sure I’m going to end up living alone in that apartment in the sky. No more pupcakes for Ali.
In final news, thank you to everyone who voted for Ali On The Run in the Fitness magazine Fitterati competition! I’m honored (honored = wicked excited) to have been named the Readers’ Choice winner in the “Best Inspirational Blog” category. I’m glad my talk about Crohn’s disease inspires you…or something.
So that’s Tuesday for you. To recap: I am an aunt, my nephew is small, I can run a little bit again, my endurance is shot to shit, pupcakes are delicious and I’m excited to be a member of the Fitterati. Also, you may now refer to my dad, the former “Mr. Feller,” or “David,” as simply “Big Papi.”
UPDATE ME: What’s exciting in your world today?