My Promises To You

Sometimes blogging is a really wonderful thing. I get to ramble on and on about running and Crohnsing and whatever’s on my mind. It’s cool having my own little place here on the magical Internet where I’m not confined by editors or assignments or word counts.

But other times, blogging is weird. I wake up most mornings knowing exactly what I’m going to write about that day. I usually draft my posts in my head while I’m out running or while I’m hanging out on the downtown 6 train to work, pretending I’m listening to Brian go on and on about Lance Armstrong, when really I’m brainstorming alliterative titles for my upcoming post.

Did you forget that I’m a very attentive person and that I’m up for Girlfriend of the Year? It’s OK. I’ll keep reminding you

So anyway, there are times when I have nothing to say.

Brian refuses to believe this.

"Ali, are you listening to me, or are you mental blogging? Whatever, it's fine. I love my bike sometimes more than I love you. Carry on." J/K, love you, Bri.

In real life, I never shut up.

Blogging is fun when I have lots to say. But I can’t force myself to post.

There have been a few times over the past year when I’ve created posts out of nothing. I look back on those posts and regret writing anything at all.

Yesterday, I didn’t have much to say. Right now I’m just cruising through life, enjoying the day-to-day and loving these last few weeks of plan-less runs. I’ve been working hard at the office and doing really exciting things at night, like folding shirts…

Pretty, neat little piles. OCD? What OCD?

…and partying.

Every night I tell Brian, "I'll be awake when you get home." Every morning, I realize I lied to him.

In other words: I haven’t been doing much lately that’s noteworthy.

When my “regular blogging time” rolled around yesterday, I got an email from my friend Lauren. “No blog today?” Nope. Sorry, Lauren. Nothing to say. My brother and mom also asked, “Where’s your post today?”

I think my mom is convinced that if I don’t write every day, it means something is wrong, when really it just means I’m home being boring, eating Tzatziki sauce by the ladle-ful.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about why I blog. The reasons I started blogging a year and a half ago are very different from the reasons I blog today. When I “launched” Ali On The Run, it was because I wanted to write about running. I wasn’t training for anything at the time. I just loved to run, and I had been reading running and “healthy living” blogs for a few months. So I started my own, hoping it would not only let me keep track of my running, but also be a part of a community. I wanted to make new friends in NYC, and, remarkably, my blog has allowed me to do exactly that.

Friends! Friends through social media! WE ARE COOL.

So now that I have a few cool friends, why do I keep blogging?

Well, most of the time it’s just because it’s fun. I blog for the same reason I run. I’m not the “best” at it. I don’t have a million readers and I don’t post pictures of my oatmeal garnering 116 comments each time.

And I’m fine with that.

When I started blogging, I never anticipated anyone actually reading it or commenting on my posts. My mom and my brother were my most faithful readers from that very first day, and eventually a few more people made their way over here. It blows my mind whenever someone tells me in person that they read my blog, whether it’s in the locker room after a spin class (Hi Julia, remember when we met at SoulCycle in the locker room!) or at a college alumni event at a bar.

And then crazy cool things happen, like this:

The latest issue of FITNESS magazine! Holy crap.

I got the July/August issue of FITNESS last night and geeked out quite a bit.

Hey, I know her. That weird legwarmer girl.

No, I would never refer to myself as being “inspirational.” That word makes me feel weird, mostly because I blog primarily about mediocre running and the number of times I go to the bathroom on any given day. But I guess if you’re inspired by that, awesome?

I recognize that people read my blog each day, or each month or whenever they feel like it. Some people read because they like it, and I’m sure some people hate-read and find me annoying and think it’s fun when I attempt a speed workout and fail miserably. It’s cool.

Blogging will never be my full-time job. It’s a hobby, it doesn’t pay the bills (or even one bill, or even a fancy dinner bill) and it’s not something I ever expect people to take very seriously. If I don’t take it seriously, trust me, you shouldn’t either.

But I do have some integrity, and I plan to keep it. And so, as a blogger, here are my promises to you:

I will never post if I don’t have something to say. There have been times in the past when I’ve written lame “filler posts,” and I cringe each time I come across them. I won’t do that anymore. There’s no need to waste anyone’s time filling your Google Reader with crap.

I will never apologize for not posting. I think we’ll all survive. “Sorry I haven’t posted in three days!” Not my style.

I will probably not delete your comments. In the time I have been blogging, I have only deleted one comment ever, and that’s because it was just nasty and not at all helpful. I don’t ever expect everyone to agree with my opinions, even though I’m always right. It’s true. Ask Brian. I am literally correct all the time. It’s crazy.

The comments here are open, they’re not moderated (first-time comments have to be “approved,” but that’s just so I know you’re not a spammy robot, and then you’re good to go) and as long as they’re not cruel, I welcome them. The one comment I deleted was basically someone calling me a bunch of names and listing all the reasons I’m a bad person. There are plenty of reasons I might be a bad person, but those reasons weren’t quite constructive, and so I ditched that comment. It was a year ago. My skin is slightly thicker now.

I will try to proofread. I always give my posts a quick once-over before hitting publish, but the font is small and sometimes typos get in there. I try really hard to avoid them. I’m an editor. It’s what I do. But I’m not perfect (I know, you are surprised by this information. Don’t tell Brian. I’m trying to convince him that I am, in fact, super perfect.) and mistakes happen.

I will not work with companies just to get paid. I have never read a blogger’s “sponsored post” and thought “OMG such good points! I need to go buy that product now, and yes I will use your discount code so you can get a portion of my sale! Thank you so much for that!” It’s totally fine and as a blogger it’s nice to get paid for those things. But it’s not something I’m interested in.

I will do giveaways if I think it’s something people truly want. The few giveaways I’ve done before — Billy Elliot tickets, a Subway gift card, Saucony shoes, an I Heart Sweat shirt and a pair of legwarmers — were because these were things I thought you might enjoy.


I have never been compensated for doing a giveaway and I’ve never received anything on my end from them. I know some people don’t like giveaways, but I think it’s nice to offer up free stuff and a chance to win something cool every now and then.

I will not claim to be an expert on anything. Especially running. When I’m writing about running, working out, whatever, I’m writing about my own experiences. I’m not saying you should do what I’m doing. I’m not posting my workouts with the expectation that you’re going to use them yourself. If you want to do the same speed workout I did one morning, go for it! But if you hate it, or if you do it the night before a race and then you bonk during your race, I’m going to go ahead and say that wasn’t my fault. Sorry.

I post what I do — that’s not necessarily what you should do. Whenever I’ve gotten an email with someone asking for running advice, I cringe, because I can only offer reflections on my own experiences, which are kind of pathetic and simply based off trying, not expert methods.

Working with Coach Cane has taught me a lot, but my goodness there’s still a lot to learn. There’s a difference between sharing a story and offering advice. I’m sharing stories. My only advice to you is to not go too crazy with the 16 Handles flavors. Mix more than three yogurt varieties and you’ve overdone it.

I will keep it real. Do people still say “keep it real?” Or is that, like, a 1990s thing? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m not a person who likes to sugar-coat things. Most days I really am having a good day. I like being optimistic! It’s fun! But sometimes I have shitty days, and I’ll write about those, too. That wasn’t a Crohn’s joke.

I will always try to convince you that Celine Dion is the most talented human alive. If you’re not on board with this yet, I’m surprised you keep coming back.

I will not change my blog merely to please you. I will always post what I want to post. I like that I feel I can write openly here — isn’t that the point? — and I don’t ever want to censor myself. As much as I write because it’s fun knowing people read, I ultimately write because it’s therapeutic for me and it’s a good way to get things off my sports bra-clad chest. There’s only so much “Can we talk about my splits more, please???” talk that Brian can take. Ali On The Run is my little dumping ground for my brain crazies.

From the bottom of my warm-and-fuzzy-and-sometimes-made-of-stone heart, thank you for reading Ali On The Run. I really do love it every time I get a comment or an email or something that lets me know I’ve connected with someone. The emails I get from people who have Crohn’s or colitis are the ones that really knock me off my small feet. Those are the best.

Oh also, I officially officially love biking.

This happened today. My longest pre-work ride yet, and definitely my quickest pace. Rock on. Biking. Woo.

I spent this past weekend watching Brian ride 111 miles like it was no big deal.

Cool pose, Brian. You're so gangster.

And now, naturally, I want to do that too.

I also want to do some running races, so the other night, this happened:

My first race since January. Yikes.

Anyway, those are my thoughts for today, and my blogging promises to you. Thank you for reading. Thanks for being so nice. Thanks for your helpful advice and your funny stories.

Happy Wednesday! Happy Summer!



77 Responses

  1. So, as you can see, I’ve found some of your favorite posts. This is awesome and I truly stand by the fact that blogging is a great outlet. I don’t think people should be forced to post every day if they don’t have something to say. It’s tough finding your identity and goodness knows I’m still on that path. Days and days to go 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. I love this! I just moved and started a blog, because I have no running friends in my new area. It’s nice to see what it can evolve into eventually and to get ideas on what other, more experienced bloggers believe in. Thanks for posting!

  3. Love this post! I haven’t posted on my little blog in weeks! I have things I want to say but don’t feel like sitting down to type them out. I’ll do it when I want to. It’s my blog!

  4. Dude you are just as fast on the bike as you are on your feet! I just started biking too and you are putting me to shame. Time to step up my game – thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

  5. Keep on, keeping on! This sounds super creepy, but I’ve been following your blog since the days of ABS (is it taboo to mention his initials on here?) And I have loved how your blog has evolved. As someone previously said, your bowel movements have become inspirational to many, including myself!

  6. Hey! I’m so glad I found your blog! I actually discovered it through when she posted a pic of the magazine article in Fitness Magazine, that she was also chosen to be featured in. To be honest, I seriously thought that your blogs website address( meant A-lion-the-run-blog, but once I further explored your blog, I figured out the real name….i’m literally blonde btw 🙂 I found your blog inspiring, despite your claims of being an un-inspirational individual. I am a sprinter and hurdler on the track team, so my running style and workouts are different than yours, but I still find your blog helpful and inspiring. — A fellow runner, Ellie 🙂

  7. Running experts are cool. For a health expert, I usually turn to a doctor (or, a mom, depending on the seriousness). But thank goodness I can rely on you for sound fro-yo advice!!! “Mix more than three yogurt varieties and you’ve overdone it.” That little gem had me laughing out loud, and when you live alone, that’s not weird/awkward at all….:) Thanks for always making me laugh a little!!

  8. I started reading your blog after your feature on the Women’s Running Magazine blog. I have to say, I enjoy reading your blog the most of all I have read. I find your posts enjoyable and real. I too understand the bathroom visits before or during runs. Your marathon post had me in tears. I could feel the determination and accomplishment in your words. It has helped me in my training for my first marathon this fall. Keep doing what you are doing and for the record, you are pretty cool in my book

  9. I am just going to say I was super sad to not see your post bc to me you are inspirational but i do get your point and I have started training for a triathlon and now love biking too. I think that should be your next big training focus. hint hint 🙂

  10. Wearing “your” shirt today I got a lot of comments in these ridiculously hot temps we are having but this is not the kind of sweat I love.

  11. I took your advice after my not so successful first trip to 16 Handles. This time, I only got two flavors of the yogurt and I didn’t go crazy with the toppings. I regretted getting the mini gummy bears, though. They were cute, but very hard, kind of like Dots, but harder. I will be back at 16 Handles again. They opened one on 6th Avenue below 14th Street that is somehow convenient for me (I’ve passed it twice in the last month).

    I’m running the Bronx 10 Miler, too. Well, I’m signed up for it. It takes a lot for me to get to the Bronx from south Brooklyn. I was psyched for the Bronx Half Marathon last year (not really, but I will say I was now), but then the hurricane happened and it was cancelled. Of course someone possesses me and takes my credit card and registers me for almost all NYRR races, so my registration for the Bronx 10 Miler is no big news.

    Congrats on your Fitness Magazine recognitition. You and your blog are very inspirational.

  12. I love your “promises”! I’m the same way, a small time blogger who will probably never make money at it, my family are the only ones who currently read and if I don’t have anything to say, I’m not going to post. When I realized blogging for fun is so much better than blogging for what everyone else wants me to blog about, my life got a lot better 🙂

  13. For someone who takes blogging less seriously than a lot of folks out there, I think you have a lot more figured out about the best way to approach it. I completely agree with your reasons for blogging in terms of having a “space” to mind dump and make connections with other people. That’s exactly why I started mine too, and reading your blog 100% INSPIRED that. See? Fitness mag is right 🙂 Also, have you found that blogging has helped your work writing? Because I definitely think it does!

  14. Congrats on getting into Fitness Mag! This post is why I enjoy reading your blog…you keep things real…real real SON. I love reading about a runner that I can relate to. You just push yourself to be the best “you”, bathroom stops included. Keep up the good work!

  15. Ali, congratulations! What really drew me to you your blog was that you are a real girl, with real life distractions, problems, and inspirations. I love seeing how you balance work, love, and fitness and it is a breath of fresh air because this is something you do on top of work. You are a great example of a twenty-something success story. Keep it up!

  16. Keep on keepin’ it real. It’s the reason why I love reading. Trying to stay positive is a great way to live life – but let’s be honest, shit happens. And you don’t overlook that. Definitely makes you relate-able.

  17. I simply don’t understand why anyone would leave a hate comment! The whole vibe behind your blog is so laid back and fun! But anyways just wanted to say that I love your posts. I try to read them in the morning so I start my day with a positive attitude so yes that qualifies for inspirational. Fitness magazine is totally right! Good luck on your race!
    BTW I tried to order one IHEARTSWEAT tshirt I couldn’t select a size…don’t tell me I missed it again! I really wanted one!!!!

    1. Thanks, Ruth! You seem nice. I like you.

      As for the shirts: They’re sold out right now BUT I may have a few extras going up in the next few days. Stay tuned!

      1. haha I like you too! I will stay tuned for the extras! I hope I can get my hands on one of those babies. They are super cool!

  18. 111 miles, MTK century? I was out there that day, a little sad I didn’t ride but I pretty much traded in my bike for sneakers 🙂

      1. Sort of, I drove though around 2:30, it was packed and I had to pick the BF up from the marina at 3:00. Such a fun ride, I’m for sure going to do it next year. I live in Babylon (which is the start) so I pretty much know the first 50 miles or so by heart (plus I’ve done that ride 2 or 3 times). Town was crazy with bikers though, so fun!

  19. Oh, man, thank you for promising not to apologize for not posting! Whenever I read someone’s “sorry for not posting” posts, I think of that Erica Jong quote, “Show me a woman who doesn’t feel guilty and I will show you a man.” It makes me want to grab them by the shoulders and tell them to stand up for themselves. So glad I found your blog!

  20. Ali, you are awesome! Congrats on the Fitness feature. I’m fairly new to your blog but I’ll be a loyal follower even when you go dark. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, yes? No? Anyway, moving on.

    Quick question: I am a (very new) blogger with a full-time job (I’m a Creative Director. Oh, also I’m a mom, but I consider that more of my volunteer work). But I digress. Can you tell me as a fellow full-timer what time of day you usually post? Like you, I plan a lot of my posts in my head during my runs (currently working on my goal of 50 marathons by age 50!)

    I’m trying to find consistency without getting fired from my day job.

    Whoa, sorry for this long comment-ramble! It’s a good thing you don’t screen.

    1. Welcome to the blogging world, Melisa! Exciting!

      I write my posts between 7 and 9 AM. It’s tough to do that while getting ready/commuting/etc., but I write fast, thankfully! I always get my posts published before the workday technically starts at 9.

      There are also times when I actually manage to write a post the night before. It’s rare, but that’s nice because then I make a few tweaks in the morning and just hit publish. I’m constantly writing notes in my phone, too, like during my commute (I don’t drive, thank goodness), and then I just send them to myself, edit and post.

      1. Thank you, Ali! I think I am going to try to switch it up so I can post in the morning. That seems to make the most sense. Except I already have tonight’s post planned, so I’ll start this new way tomorrow (tonight’s post is going to be a re-cap of that one time I gave myself an IronMan as a “gift” for my 30th birthday!!!) – shameless plug alert.

  21. Ali, you are definitely one of my favorite blogs because I can relate to you. When you write about your thought processes, I get it because so often I’ve had that exact same thought go through my head. Especially about puppies. So many puppies.

  22. Great post. All good, honest points, except I think you are officially a FroYo expert. AND if 16Handles offered you the opportunity to do a “sponsored post” you might cave. 🙂 I read different blogs for different reasons. Some for inspiration, some for experts, some for giveaways, etc. I definitely read yours because it’s fun to know what’s new in Ali’s world. For that, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  23. Love it. And totally agree. Congrats on the feature, you deserve it!
    Now you can officially say that even your bowel movements are inspirational. That’s something few people can say! 🙂

    1. For a regular discount code, I highly doubt that. But for affiliate links that go to the website where you can use that discount code, yes. You can usually tell if the URL you click on is a long string of characters rather than the website’s regular URL.

  24. Agree with most of the other comments. I’ve stopped reading the post five times a day because it’s their job blogs because I can’t relate to them. As a fellow mid-twenties, career driven, marathon running girl I can completely relate to your blog, and the emotional roller coaster or trying to keep it all together. So ‘keep it real’ (love that phrase) and post less if you have to.

  25. My cool status has gone up 115% since being mentioned in your blog almost daily for the past 2 weeks. Keep up the solid work, Al.

  26. I hate to say it but yours is my favourite blog – it makes me laugh, it makes me run further and faster and makes me think of you whenever I need to stop to go to the loo mid-run!!! Thanks for all the hard work you put into it, people really do appreciate it!!

    1. Don’t hate it – own it. I straight out love this blog best of all running blogs. It’s not only the conversations about running it’s the awesome self-deprecating humor.

  27. Thank god you wroe this today, lol! I have been feeling the same way, trying to please everyone and writing just to write. I, too have decided that if I dont write that day, so be it. My blog is supposed to be fun and when it becomes work, I need to step back and reevaluate. Again thanks for posting and only 3 flavors, come on now. I like to make mine as colorful as possible, even if that means adding that 4th flavor:)

  28. And THIS is why I love your blog — and why I always come back around to read it. Even if I don’t comment every single day, I am reading it (just fyi, hehe). Because you are NOT trying to be someone you’re not, you’re NOT a blogger who can be “paid off” (I seriously cannot stand that, won’t do it, ever), and you don’t blog for anyone but you. Exactly what I do as a blogger – it’s for me, always, and if you care to listen, I’d be honored.

  29. Great post– way to “keep it real” and only post what means something to you. I think blogs are meant to be a way to express yourself and it should feel true to who you are, end of story!

  30. I had a feeling we’d get a “sorry I’m not sorry” post today. And even though I can never have enough in my google reader, good for you for respecting yourself and your blog enough to know when to apply the “if you have nothing to say..” rule. BUT, if you don’t stop putting words like “pathetic” in sentances about your experiences, we’re going to have issues. Ya hear me? You don’t have to be an expert to be proud of your accomplishments, nor do you need to put yourself down in an attempt to seem modest. [end rant]

    1. Haha, deal. You know I’m plenty proud — remember the 180 Days of Marathon Photos I posted? I like you. And I always love your comments.

      1. wait – you ran a marathon?!?!?! 😉 j/k i like you, too. And if you actually counted 180 days, I’ll be really impressed….and potentially concerned that you need some new hobbies…

  31. I love this Ali! And this is why you are a fantastic blogger and why I read. Because you are real and write real things. No pretense, no puppies and rainbows (even if I do happen to like both hehe). Amen to your promises, I completely agree and those are all reasons I blog too!! (and yay for biking, you are seriously making me want to too!)

  32. I love this blog Ali! I read about 10 of them and yours is my favorite! Thank you for entertaining me most mornings while I’m bored at work!

  33. Always love and appreciate honest bloggers. Congrats on the fitness award. I love road biking too. I took it up 4 years ago while I was mountain bike racing and training for my first marathon. I needed a way to not torture my body too bad. Then I got addicted. It happens.

  34. I got into biking not too long ago myself and I love it! It doesn’t give me the same feeling I get after running, but I really enjoy it and I don’t feel as tired afterwards. Biking 26 miles is way easier than running it!

    Thanks for keeping it real Ali!

  35. I just wrote down “Ali 10 Mile Race” in my calendar. It starts at 7am, so I’m already seeing what Bronx bars stay open that early.

  36. Congrats on the press! That’s pretty cool.

    I feel like I could have written some of this post. Especially re: sponsored posts, giveaways, etc. They kill otherwise decent blogs.

  37. This is why I love your blog – you’re real and honest with your readers. I always look forward to your new posts because I actually enjoy reading them, beginning to end and don’t have to skim through the post because it’s just a bunch of “filler.”

  38. I totally agree with all of these points….especially the one about bloggers doing sponsored posts. You can completely tell when someone is raving about a product because they are getting paid for it. Even if their comments are legitimate, they’re not authentic. Thanks for keeping it real Ali!

  39. Great post. Love your promises. It’s actually what I have tried to keep in mind as I venture into blogging. You sort of have to find your spot in the interwebs and try not to lose sight of why you started it to begin with.

  40. Love it ali! All such good points. I think its totally okay, actually more than okay to only write when you really really want to and have something to say. You’ll definitely feel better. Awesome job on your ride! Thats impressive before work! I want to get a bike! And congrats to Brian : )

  41. “Mix more than three yogurt varieties and you’ve overdone it.” – BEST LINE IN THIS BLOG.

    I’m the same as you – I don’t post just to post. I am also not like you, because I am too lazy to post most times I do have something to post.

    1. IT’S TRUE. Sometimes I get excited when there are like, four really good flavor options. But I’ve learned my lesson. Two flavors is ideal. Three is OK sometimes if the flavors REALLY complement each other.

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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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