Thankful Things Thursday: Let Freedom Ring…At The Beach


I went running this morning.

I ran six slow miles, and for each of those miles I had to make an urgent, awful bathroom stop. So great, right?

And so instead of telling you about my sad little run — yeah I got the miles in, but do you know how stressful it is to try and peel off sweaty clothing in a rush in a 90-degree bathroom on an 80-degree day? — I will tell you about the abundance of things I’m very thankful for.

Thankful Things Thursday, commence!

I’m thankful for head-clearing moonlit walks. On Monday night, I found myself riddled with anxiety. I went to the gym for a little Chisel action after work, and I don’t know, maybe all that reverse-lunging got me worked up. I grocery shopped, made my way uptown and then just felt jittery.

I tried to convince myself to go to bed early, but then I realized 7:30 PM was maybe a little too early? And also it was still light out.

That is beautiful, and also it indicates that it's not quite time for bed.

So I did exactly what my mom made me promise I would never do when I moved to New York City: I went for a walk in the dark in Central Park by myself.


But Mom, before you get all pissed and scared, remember the other promise you had me make? The one I actually kept? You’re welcome for that.

Yes, my mom asked that in pursuit of a career in magazine journalism, I never work at Cosmopolitan magazine. I guess she doesn’t want me having a byline next to an article called “99 Ways to Be A Ho” or “What is Your Va-Jay-Jay Telling You?” Weird. I thought that’s exactly what I went to college for, but I guess she disagrees.

Anyway, the moon was full-looking on Monday, and instead of staring at it from my apartment, I decided to go for a walk. And maybe being alone in the dark was dangerous, but it was worth it for views like these:

Reservoir, you are nice in the morning, but you are extra beautiful at nighttime. I DID NOT KNOW THAT.
This is The Met. Its full name is The Metropolitan Museum of Art, but we're super close, so to me it's just The Met.

I’m thankful for friends with beach houses. Oh I’m sorry, does that sound shallow? OK, fine. I’m thankful for my amazing friends. Specifically the ones with multiple homes and who invite me to come spend time at those magical places.

This is not a bad place to spend the Fourth of July.

When my friends Kristan and Will invited Brian and me to their “compound” (I just like calling it that because it sounds so friggin’ cool) in New Jersey, it took me about two seconds before my bag was packed and I was ready to buy a one-way ferry ticket.

See, growing up in New Hampshire, people only had one house. You know, the one you lived in. You stayed there for all seasons. You didn’t have a ski house in the mountains or a lake house or a beach house. New Hampshire only has 9 miles of coastline, so I’m not sure where my big beach house would even go.

But then I went to college and met all these people with more than one home. I think that’s the best concept ever.

So Brian and I were very fortunate to spend the July 4th holiday doing typical summer things with extra-wonderful people.

There was pool volleyball. I sat in a chair and watched. I didn't want to show off my athletic prowess too much, you know?

Will and Kristan’s families are the best. My plate was always filled with food, my bed was comfy and I always had a full cup of wine (thanks, Steve).

I’m thankful for this little group of people I found somehow. I don’t really know how I got lucky enough to be a part of the Kristan/Will/Sofia/Anthony/Nicole/Gian posse, but I’m psyched they let me hang out with them, even if it’s only so they have someone to make fun of after I leave the room.

They are fast runners, too, and that’s cool. Nicole and Sofia let me tag along during their beachside run yesterday.

Yes, I took some walk breaks. Yes, I used that opportunity to take a photo. Whatever.

I managed to hang on for a full 2.5 miles before I was bolting for a bathroom and trying not to puke from the midday heat.

Guess which miles are the ones I ran with Sofia and Nicole? SERIOUSLY, TRY TO GUESS:

I will give you a hint: It was not the last mile.

Yeah so that last mile was a little rough. It was hot, I was cranky, blah blah whine complain. I survived and then spent the day by a beach, in a pool and eating. I’m officially done being bratty about this run.

As I was saying, these people are all so nice and so fun. They don’t appear to judge me when I bring my own shovel to parties with which to feed myself massive amounts of food…


…and they understand that I will always be the life of the party, and they’re OK with that.

We like to rage.

Yeah, so I slept through a lot of the fun, it’s fine. I was tired. So was Brian, because he was willing to cuddle with just about anything.

I've been replaced.

Aside from the fact that I had the best company ever and you, therefore, didn’t, the rest of my July 4th celebration was probably not unlike yours. Beach, food, drink, sleep, America the Beautiful.

I am guessing that when our founding fathers died, their last wishes were that people wear American flag bathing suits at least once per year. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

I’m thankful for my building’s rooftop. As much as I didn’t want to leave The Magical Home in New Jersey, Brian and I managed to make it back to the city just in time to catch the fireworks, which you could see pretty dang clearly from the roof.

Not a bad view.

We actually ended up seeing about 12 different fireworks shows from the roof and from our actual apartment. Queens, New Jersey, we saw ’em all.

I’m thankful for carrot cake. I didn’t realize how much I liked this dessert. I usually go for chocolate-specific follow-ups to each meal, and I always shy away from carrot cake, because duh, it’s basically a health food.

I know what you're thinking: "OMG, Ali, when did you become so healthy?" And the answer is "last weekend, when I had this frosted vegetable."

Vegetable cake? I may as well order a post-dinner salad. I’m pretty sure they have the same nutritional values.

I’m thankful for Tyler, who is almost two months old and continues to grow. Keep it up, buddy!

Oh you know, just enjoying some cuddle time with my friend. And probably getting eaten alive by bugs. Excellent.

Also, fun fact, the New York City Marathon is officially less than four months away. During the ferry ride I had a little run-in with a certain bridge…

You may look pretty, but I know you're secretly evil.

…and we chatted. I was like, “Listen, I’m going to crush you in four months, I hope you’re cool with that,” and Bridge was like, “OK, Ali, you should probably start training then.”

Fair enough.

On that note, it’s work time. Working the day after July 4th, how cruel.

J/K, it’s not bad, it’s almost the weekend and I have memories of this to keep me entertained…


SO WHAT’S UP WITH YOU? We haven’t really chatted in a few days. So what are you thankful for today? I bet you’re thankful if you don’t have to work today. I bet you’re also thankful you remembered to wear sunscreen yesterday so you’re not all sunburned and stuff today. Or maybe you’re thankful your friend Kristan made you a to-go plate of brownies and cookies when you had to leave the party early to catch your ferry back to NYC. Share. Share!



41 Responses

  1. Love this post! I’m smashing your blog with all kinds of posts this morning. Can’t help myself. I am thankful I only had to run to the bathroom 4 times at work tonight instead of 10. Ahh, the little things lol. I’m thankful for my handsome, kind boyfriend and amazing parents. I’m thankful that God has given both of my brothers and myself the strength to battle Chron’s daily and be happy doing it. Life is good (even if 1/2 of it is spent on the toilet hehe)

  2. I’m thankful that I was able to host my friends for the holiday and keep them well fed and happy. Oh and I’m thankful for Grandma Grandma.

  3. I’m thankful for our Founding Fathers, while writing the Declaration of Independence, inserting a footnote that at least one person (whether half-Puerto Rican or not) celebrating the 4th at their amazing friends’ beach house should wear American Flag shorts.

  4. I’ve been trying to get into running lately, but I’ve been doing kind of a half-ass job at it. Last night I got all Nike and hopped on my tread mill and did 2 12 minute miles. Yes, this is a very short, slow distance for all you running folk, but I was pretty proud of myself. And, you know, thankful.

  5. Sounds like an awesome 4th! I pretty much did nothing all day and I LOVED it. I needed a day to relax and have some time with my birds. I did do some laundry and such, but no stress in my day at all. I’m so thankful for that!

  6. I am thankful for being healthy , having a wonderful family, and friends that are patient with my weird personality 😉

  7. I am thankful that by forgetting to put on sunscreen and getting scorched to death yesterday, I will be more inclined to drench myself in it for the rest of the summer. Positive thinking? I am also thankful for aloe vera, funfetti cake, and the adorable children/dog 4th of July parade that came by my home yesterday. So many babies! And puppies! And babies with puppies!

    Happy Thursday!

  8. i’m thankful for days like yesterday… and fatfluential friends… and brownies… and the fact that it’s sort of almost friday. heyyy mid-week beach party!


    I’m thankful that my dad is one of the 600,000 Marylanders who got their electricity back after last Friday’s storm because I’m NOT one of those people, but I have been able to move in with him for the week. As a result, I’ve kept cool and well-fed. Win win.

  10. Man, today just feels like Monday all over again. I used to espouse the greatness of having to work Monday- Tuesday, Wednesday off, work Thursday-Friday, its the weekend.

    I think I may have to rethink that idea. Because its terrible. You should never have two Monday’s in a week.

    Luckily, I have a new roommate who is awesome and I love being home now. Its great.

  11. What a great Fourth of July!! You need to try the carrot cake from Candle Café… so, so good!

    I am thankful for a great day off yesterday and working from home for the rest of the week… aka I can do all the things I cant do at work: blog, Gmail, twitter, phone calls etc.

  12. I’m thankful for foods with onions, specifically pico de mango. And consequently, mint-flavored gum.

  13. I’m thankful my inaugural I <3 Sweat shirts arrived today! I bought two matching ones to sport at the San Francisco 1/2 Marathon later this month with my best friend. (I may not have told her yet we're wearing matching shirts. And/or holding hands. No big deal.) Thanks for the quick delivery!

  14. AHhhhh – I totally agree about the second home concept. When I moved to Seattle I fell in love with the fact that people have beach homes…. The added bonus is the guest bedroom is bigger than my whole house!!! I can’t wrap my head around owning a second home, but I am thankful other people are able to do so!

    I am thankful for fourth of July outfits (red cut offs and blue flannels), 3.5 day work weeks, and the dinner that I will be eating tomorrow on the company card!

  15. I love this blog! Hmmmm. I am thankful for the sanity I have managed to maintain for the 6 (yes, SIX) days without power or phone at home. I am thankful for a job to come to that has air conditioning! I am especially happy that I am starting to train for a 15 miler (a huge feat for this 5K girl) starting today! Finally recovered from a foot injury and it’s time to get back on the horse! YAY!

  16. Actually, I’m at work. But thankful anyway, because I have a job that pays the mortgage on the house that I’m going to be cleaning & the yard I’ll be mowing when I leave for a 1/2 day off the get ready my daughter’s rockin’ graduation party. 🙂

    Oh, and I’m thankful for your blog, Ms. Ali On The Run, yes indeedy! Stumbled on it from your spotlight on Womens Running, and now convinced that you’re the coolest 8-minute miler I feel like I almost know. 😉

    When I saw your note about the GW bridge chat, I lol’d, really. When I saw your mileage – even the ones you thought were sucky – I thought, “But she seems so normal! I could maybe even do that.” 🙂


    1. That is true, but I alsooooo call the art museum The Met. And guys from the baseball team. SO MANY METS IN NYC.

  17. Yay for beach houses and frosty veggies!

    While it would be lovely for it to be the weekend (since it f*cking feels like it should be!), I am thankful for work. As a freelancer, any work in the summer is something to be grateful for!

    Also grateful for being on the west coast and waking up to posts from all my favorite east coast bloggers!

  18. I’m thankful I’m getting my hair cut today. It’s long overdue. I’m thankful I ran yesterday because I don’t think it’s happening today (I feel like a broken down robot today, but maybe that’s because I ran in the heat yesterday).

    7:30 is far from “the dark” in Central Park. I’m not even done with my evening run in the park by then. It’s probably considered twilight at this time of year. The reservoir is beautiful in the evening, but it’s mosquito heaven.

    1. I didn’t actually leave for my walk until about 8:30, so by the time I got to the park, I assure you, the sun had long since set 😉

  19. I can’t decide what I loved more. The idea of carrot cake as a vegetable with frosting or the bit about growing up you only having one house, for all seasons. I have only ever had one house for all seasons, although we do have a tent you are welcome to borrow if you fancy a trip to California!! FAB writing, thanks, you made me giggle.

    My July 4th was all about BBQs, sunshine and fireworks…and feeling slightly awkward being British in America on Independence Day!!!

  20. Sounds like a lot of fun! Friends with amazing summer houses are to be encouraged 🙂 I’m thankful for the amazing friends that I got to spend the 4th with yesterday, and for the opportunities that allowed me to be in this great country at all!

  21. Could you still write a piece called “99 Ways to Be a Ho?” Because that would be amazing.

    Your 4th looks amazing! I need to find friends like yours 🙂

    Thank you for writing Thankful Thursday! It’s always my favorite post of the week. I am thankful the sun is FINALLY out in Seattle. It’s been a long time!

  22. Let’s see…today I’m thankful that I fell asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow last night! I guess sitting around and eating food for the 4th of July somehow wore me out & gave me a great night’s sleep 😛

  23. I’m thankful for my positive and supportive parents, and for my friends who make sure I have a drink in my hand at the end of a rough day. I’m also thankful that tomorrow is Friday.

  24. Glad you had a nice 4th – I will spend the 4th at the beach one day! I’m thankful for my awesome husband and family. My birthday was the other day and I got a bike – I cannot wait to ride it all around this weekend! Sooo happy!

  25. Sounds like a perfect 4th of July! I wish I had friends who had compounds. I’m thankful for my boyfriend’s family – who also always make sure that my belly is full and happy whenever I go to their house, and who let me bring my roommate to their 4th of July BBQ. I’m not thankful for having to work today (grr!) but I am thankful that I get to work from home tomorrow (yay!)

  26. oh i’m at work. but i’m thankful that there is literally no one else here so that i can get caught up on a few things, and leave around lunch.

    carrot cake is so clutch, i love it.

  27. I am thankful that I managed to get up at 4:30 to crank out miles before the sun melted me and I am thankful my work has air conditioning (my apartment does not). Happy thankful thursday!

  28. Sounds like an awesome 4th of July! I’m thankful for having a husband who comes to pick up my drunk-derriere and my bike (!!!) after my bookclub last night cause I once again drank way too much to cycle myself home safely during this pseudo-intellectual-bourgeois activity. No morning run for me today! 🙂

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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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