Thankful Things Thursday: On Feeling Kind Of Cool

For the past few weeks — OK, fine, months — I haven’t really been digging the whole Thankful Things Thursday. Last week I even considered bagging the whole “tradition” because it felt “tired and forced.” And sometimes, yeah, that’s true.

But today?

Today I’m totally feeling it. My thankful thoughts are flowing like crazy, and I’m pretty sure it has a lot to do with the fact that it’s finally not raining in NYC, and also the fact that my body is starting to once again function normally.

Want to get grateful with me? Let’s do it.

I’m thankful to be featured on the Women’s Running Magazine blog today. I know what you’re thinking: Why the heck would they feature Ali? She just took, like, a month off running, and she’s only done one marathon, and it wasn’t even that fast, and also she kind of has no idea what she’s doing beyond putting one foot in front of the other.

Hey! That's me! I'm Ali! And I'm On The Run!

Yes, those thoughts are correct. Thank you for thinking them. But I guess the kind editors over at Women’s Running find those traits endearing (or the joke’s on me, I’m not sure), because they chose to profile me as part of their weekly “Blogger On The Run” series.

I’ve said before that I know I’m not the fastest runner, or the least likely to get injured, or the smartest or even the most dedicated. But I do love getting out there, and I’m honored that someone — a reputable magazine, no less — considers me a part of this really cool running world. I never thought I’d see the day…

So check out the interview if you’re so inclined. They let me talk about my love for mango-scented soap, which, yes, actually is related to running. I swear.

Also, Women’s Running likes to give away free stuff, and maybe you’d like to win something today?

SO MANY LADIES. And they are running.

Today’s big giveaway is two Lady Speed Stick Women’s Half Marathon Race Registrations, plus VIP party tickets. One for you and one for a friend. I think that’s a pretty sweet deal. Your winning entries are valid in any of the race’s four locations: Bloomington, MN; Nashville, TN; Scottsdale-Tempe, AZ; and St. Petersburg, FL. To enter, go to the post and leave a comment. You can also share the post on Twitter or Facebook for additional entries. Good luck!

I’m thankful I’ve learned to run without music. I never thought this would happen. Music was a major crutch for me. I used it to drown out the sounds of my heavy breathing — OK, call it what it really is: panting — and because I just genuinely enjoying rocking out to some High School Musical every now and then. (I tried to think of a “cooler” example than HSM, but nothing was coming to me because, well, my playlists aren’t very “cool.”)

Lately I’ve been switching it up, and I’m shocked at how much I love running headphone-less. I don’t breathe quite as heavily now as I did when I first started running, so that’s not a big concern anymore. (Mom, are you reading this? I dare you to run without your headphones.) Sometimes the music, no matter what it is, just seems too loud. I like quiet runs these days.

Quiet, empty Central Park. A total rarity.

I’m thankful for watermelon. It’s so delicious! I can’t believe I claimed to “not like it” for most of my life. I thought the texture was weird, because you know how sometimes it tastes sort of crumbly? Whatever. I don’t even care. This fruit is fantastic.

I’m thankful to have so many people in my life I can learn from. I’ve found myself hanging out with a lot of really fast runners lately. I think it’s awesome that they’re willing to be friends with me.

THEY ARE REALLY RUNNING IN THIS PHOTO. It wasn't posed. I did NOT say to them, "Do something cool for a picture!" And Kristan did NOT say, "Should we just pretend we are running?" This is straight-up candid.

Last night, I joined Nicole and Kristan in Central Park to watch Nicole’s boyfriend, Gian-who-qualified-for-the-Olympic-Trials-like-it’s-no-big-deal, run the JP Morgan Challenge.

When I say we watched him run the race, what I actually mean is we watched him win the race.

Photo by Kristan. My camera wasn't fast enough for Gian. Here he is, leading the pack, breaking world records and stuff. I offered to pace him, and his response was "LOL." Kind of rude, honestly. I was trying to do him a favor.

What a beast. He came in first place. It was so exciting to watch. We caught him on the west side and then dashed over to the east side to see him coming through, at which point he had dropped anyone running even remotely close to him. It was a blast and I screamed as loudly as possible.

So while I love hanging out with Kristan, Nicole and Gian because they’re fun and cool…

Kristan, you are embarrassing Nicole, but it's OK, because she forgot to wear pants.

…I also like being around them because they teach me so much.

They’ve all been running for far longer than I have, and I’m very eager to learn more about how to be a better, stronger runner. They have a wealth of knowledge, and they’re kind enough to share it with me.

Also, they let me bring my cowbell to the race last night and acted like they weren’t completely horrified by my “race spectating outfit and accessories.” Such good people.


I’m thankful I redeemed myself in the kitchen last night. I made a second attempt at “fluffy scrambled eggs,” and I’m pleased to say I nailed it. Totally. Thanks to advice from several people to “add a bit of milk,” and also I calmed down my over-eager scrambling. I watched some YouTube videos that indicated I should just gently move the eggs around instead of karate chopping and dicing them with my lime green spatula.

Duly noted with delicious results.

This is Angle #1. This method of photography shows you all the layers: the English Muffin, the tomato, the eggs and the delicately-arranged spinach. You can also see a stray moving box in the background. I put that there on purpose, for visual effect.

I wasn’t kidding when I said I was becoming a food blogger. Look at that plating! It’s stunning! And the way I positioned the plate near a lamp for optimal lighting? Genius, I say.

OK, I just checked, and it seems food bloggers like to post many, many photos of their food, even if it is the same dish. Luckily I took two pictures, so here is the other one, which was taken from an angle called “above:”

Yes, I do catering and also photography. I learned that some bloggers put their food on the ground so they can photograph it. That seemed a little gross to me, because my floor has hair on it. So I stuck with an end table.

I’m thankful Brian the Repairman fixed my squeaky wheel. Or maybe it was a squeaky chain? I don’t know. But the other day when I rode “my” bike, I noticed I had a new squeak, and I had a feeling that wasn’t ideal.

Why so squeaky, little bike?! Are you sad? Do you need more attention? I totally understand your needs.

This morning, Brian kindly got out of bed at 5 AM to grease up my chain. I appreciate a man who is willing to wake up and get his hands dirty so I can go for a joyride in the park. I promise that as I start riding more, I’ll learn how to do these things myself. I also promise to buy my own bike, since I’m still borrowing from the generous Coach Cane & Nicole & Simon family.

Eventually my little ride was good as new, and we spent 16.4 glorious miles together, cruising around and having fun.

On that note…

I’m thankful for bike shorts. I finally bought some — I don’t know what brand or what style, I only know the tag said “Sale” — and I’m impressed with the comfortable difference they made during my ride this morning. My crotchal area hurts significantly less today than after other rides.

We are a happy family, me and my borrowed bike and my helmet and my padded diaper shorts.

Great investment, even if they do make me feel like I’m wearing a diaper when I stand around in them.

I’m thankful things seem to be falling back into place. Work is good. Running is good. I’m taking care of myself (notice I took today off running, because I’m trying to mix it up and be responsible and not be injured). I’m not stressed about a dang thing. I’m happy and finally — OMG finally — feeling healthy.

Thanks for being so patient with me while I made my way back to my happy place. I know it took a while. I know I was kind of a cranky ho for a while. But I’m back!

TELL ME YOUR HAPPY THANKFUL GRATEFUL THINGS! What are you psyched for today? Dark chocolate chips? Lessons in food photography? Your family? Your dad? (Father’s Day is Sunday, don’t forget!) Today is Flag Day, so maybe you’re thankful for Betsy Ross? I know I am. She did a heck of a job.



59 Responses

  1. Haha 🙂 I’m thankful for the “learning to run without music” part too. Then when I do use music once in a while it seems so much more special and efficient.

    That’s why I was totally rocking it to “Footloose” during my race today – you’re not the only cool person out there 🙂

    I’m thankful for the fact that I have a job which allowed my husband and I to buy our first house this week.

    And I’m thankful that I basically like everything I do in my life (except maybe laundry…) and that I only have people in my personal life who gives me joy and energy. What’s more to want??

  2. Feel free to pass that running-without-music skill along to me. My iPod unexpectedly died halfway through my run the other day, and I was shocked by how suddenly not-as-enjoyable it became. Everything was just…quiet. I eventually got in my thoughts & was fine, but I need that pump-up music!

  3. OMG I feel like I am famous or something for making it onto your banner photo of the page today AND for being in Thankful Thursday. I am still impressed that a big time blogger let’s us be friends with her! I hope I don’t disappoint with my lack of running wisdom.

    Seriously, best cheering time ever. Next time we’ll pace Gian..for like 1/4 of a mile.

  4. I’m thankful that I ate some vegetables today! And that tomorrow is Friday 🙂

    Love that you were spectator for the corporate challenge. Yay, Gian! When I used to work for the law firm (before it went bankrupt lolz), we always fielded a Corporate Challenge team. This post made me miss the race!!

    Also, I miss you.

  5. Yay for being super thankful this week! Congrats on your blog feature. 🙂

    OH and I’ve recently adopted Thankful Things Thursday because I typically feel like I need happy thoughts by Thursday – so don’t stop doing it! I love reading all the happy thoughts 🙂

  6. Don’t you dare give up Thankful Things Thursday. That’s a direct order. BAM.

    Want to hear something ridiculous? I’m thankful for cloudy weather. I need to be VERY productive these next few weeks (a draft of the first four chapters of my thesis is due in three weeks) and the crappier the weather, the more productive I will be!

    Oh, I’m also thankful that a Wegman’s is opening about 15 minutes from me this weekend. So long bank account!

  7. all you people running without headphones..i don’t get it. wish i did. maybe when i’m running 9min miles instead of 16 i’ll be outrunning the sound of my own labored breathing. till then, keep the playlist posts coming for me!
    i’m thankful that getting up at 5am to run isn’t as crimeny-awful as i thought it was going to be. and that i’ve actually done it all this week. and that it’s been like 68*. yay

    1. It took me a really long time to be able to run without music! Just about four years, actually! Keep running, keep laboring, and you’ll get there!

  8. Wow, dude runs FAST!!! Beast is right. Congrats on the spotlight, that is WAY awesome!!! And I love watermelon too! SO MUCH! And cherries. LOVE them. I am thankful it is pre-Friday hehe. Working for the weekend this week!

  9. Congrats on the feature!I am totally thankful that my hubs (who runs without glasses and is blind as a bat – he uses me to tell him of cars and obstacles) didn’t die last night when I stopped paying attention for the slightest of seconds and he almost got hit by a car!! Luckily the car stopped and honestly until i yelled at him when he was on the other side of the street he never even knew he was in danger. Now to look into sports glasses because clearly I cannot be trusted. : )

  10. I’m thankful that I’ve found biking as an alternative to walking/running. I thought biking would aggravate my knees but they actually feel good while riding and I held a pace that I was really excited about. I can’t wait to get my own bike this weekend. YIPPEE!!

    Also I’m happy to hear about diaper shorts because my crotchal region is a little tender right now. So thanks for sharing that tidbit.

  11. Am I the only one who read “grease up your chain” as a naughty euphemism? Only me? Well, that’s okay

    I am thankful at this very moment that I am WFH on the couch with two kitty butts curled up next to me against my leg.

      1. Hahaha. Amazing. I read this comment to Brian, and he has since used the phrase “grease your chain” no fewer than five times. But rest assured, at 5 AM yesterday, the only thing getting action in this apartment was my trusty little bike.

  12. I’m definitely with you on padded bike shorts. Major life (and crotch) saver. I’m thankful that I’m not the only one that says crotchal. I’m super thankful that I’m learning to take a step back and ask for help. I’m thankful for my kindle because it makes reading on the bus/train so easy. I’m thankful for my accupuncture and cupping session tonight because even though it hasn’t happened yet, I’m already relaxed just thinking about it.

  13. Congrats!! I am thankful for the ability to shower away my frizzy hair thanks to this unbelievable NYC humidity. it was painful yesterday.

  14. Congrats on your blogger on the run shout out! I’m thankful for getting the hell out of NYC this weekend. It’s starting to swallow me whole!

  15. I’m thankful that I get to go to the mall all day with my sister!!! And that I’ve already worked out for an hour this morning so technically I can just relax!
    i’m also thankful that my running is getting back on track!

  16. Thankful that I actually got up with my 5:30 alarm to run this morning. I heart morning running, but I also heart snuggling in my bed too, so getting up is a huge accomplishment. And BTW, it was an amazing run along lake Mich today. Chicago is so pretty 🙂 I’M ALSO THANKFUL THAT I”M NOT SICK ANY MORE! WINNING!

  17. Congrats on the running magazine feature! I completely understand the crankiness and how amazing it feels once it is finally over. But don’t worry – I still think you sounded and tried to be way more positive throughout than most people would have been.

  18. Grinning from ear to ear just thinking of this coming weekend’s getaway to Borneo…after last weekend’s awesome run/getaway in Phuket. I’m so lucky!!!

  19. Thanks for cheering last night and mentioning me in your blog! I’m so honored!

    I have to admit that I am slightly disappointed you didn’t pace me, but I’ll forgive you, this time. The cowbells were truly amazing and 100% helped me get through it AND OMG CAN I PLEASE WEAR YOUR HOT PINK COMPRESSION SLEEVES IN MY NEXT RACE!?!?

    1. NO WORRIES, I WILL PACE YOU NEXT TIME. I will NOT give you a cookie at the end of the race.

      My compression socks and cowbell are currently resting so they can come back out in full force. I hear there’s a race happening Sunday morning…

  20. I’m thankful I can occasionally catch a whiff of the ocean when I run (when the humidity and omg-I’m-choking-to-death scent of giant flowers these Floridians like so much fades). So energizing!!

  21. Yippeee for Womens’ Running

    I’m thankful that you kept going with Thankful Thursdays – even when life is grotty there is always something to be thankful for and it’s good to keep remembering that!!!

    I’m thankful for my new iPhone. It’s our first one ever and I’m a bit smitten.

    I’m thankful for Watermelon too, now you mention it. We’re addicted in our household.

  22. I also started running without music lately, which I never would have imagined I’d enjoy. Once I got going though, I was surprised I actually didn’t mind it! Who knew. Congrats on the feature!

  23. #1 – While it would be perfectly acceptable to take a week off of Thankful Things, it would even be okay for you to stop the feature since it’s YOUR blog and you are allowed to evolve and whatnot, but I think struggling with it is part of the reason you do it. Not YOU, but “you”. My husband and I take a minute each night to say something we’re thankful for. Half the time I don’t want to do it, but I always feel better after. It’s okay that it’s a struggle! Also, it doesn’t feel tired and forced to us (or me) :).
    #2 – Congrats on your feature!
    #3 – I’m thankful I get to see my baby today via ultrasound. YAY! I’m due in 7 weeks and I’m getting anxious to meet him!

  24. Oh yes, I too am thankful for bike shorts and if you go on long, long rides also hoo-ha glide for uh, ya know 🙂

  25. I also recently felt like music is just “too loud.” It was during last week’s Mini 10K and I wished I was running without music, so for my next race that is exactly what I will do. It’s actually on Saturday, a 5K. Excited for this! Your eggs look delicious and I’m glad you got some biking shorts.

    I’m thankful for summer concerts, my new fish Donna Martin Graduates and sunny days.

  26. I am thankful for beautiful weather for running & great food 😀
    I can’t listen to music anymore when I run – I like just taking in the scenery

  27. Congrats on being featured on the Women’s Running Magazine blog!! So exciting! I’m excited to get my 6 mile run in today around the lake and to get some new yoga shorts at lululemon!

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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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