I Found That Loving Feeling

It was only for a moment, but it’s not yet a fleeting thing.

Last night, I planned to run.


I was going to leave work, head home, suit up and head out.

But then, I lost the little bit of enthusiasm I was holding onto after a long day at the office.

So instead, I left work, headed home, suited into pajamas, played on the computer, suited out of pajamas, took a bath, suited back into PJs and ordered some sushi for dinner (that cooking thing is going really well, yeah — thanks for asking).

I didn’t end up running.

Something semi-magical happened, though.

The sunrises this week have been downright killer. The actual “take your breath away” kinds of sunrises. Maybe I should have a sleepover so you can all come over and see the sunrises for yourselves? Brian will cook us pancakes.

I was in the bath, doing the usual thing I do where I get into the empty tub as soon as the water starts flowing so I get warm right away but then, inevitably, by the time the bath is full, I’m hot, bored and ready to get out.


I was reading the February issue of Runner’s World and read an article about Marc Parent, who writes the magazine’s monthly “Newbie Chronicles” column.

That picture is the best. He’s so happy! Why does he look so happy, and whenever I’m done racing I look like I’ve just emerged from war?

Normally this isn’t my favorite column. Mr. Newbie writes a fantastic piece each month, and I always read — or at least skim — it. But while I’m still dumb and naive (you mean running slowly all the time won’t somehow make me fast?) about running, I’m not necessarily brand new to it. So his stories of first-time chafing, new shoes and uncharted miles don’t typically resonate with me.

I had time to kill in the tub last night, so I read his column, which was blown-out to a whole feature this time.

Parent talked about running his first half marathon — the Runner’s World Half Marathon, naturally, this past fall.

He talked about his emotions leading up to the race.

He talked about his excitement, his anxiety, his fears and his terrible “non-confidence boosting” last long training run.

Ha. Maybe I CAN relate to what he’s writing about!

He talked about eating his pre-race bagel, he talked about asking his family to cheer really loud next time they saw him, and he talked about his “seriously, another hill?” feelings out on the course.

He talked about loving that race.

He talked about finishing that race.

By the time Parent had proudly crossed his finish line, I was ready to think about my next one.

CLOSE YOUR MOUTH, ALISON. Every single race photo…always…mouth wide open.

I forgot how inspiring and motivating first-time racers can be.

After the Manchester City Marathon, I haven’t wanted to race. I haven’t signed up for a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon or a 26.2. I haven’t felt the desire to train and I haven’t been itching to wear a bib.

Go ahead. Count my chins. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

Last night, that changed. At least a little bit.

I spent a decent amount of post-bath time researching races of all distances with my pruney little fingers.

I’m not ready to commit to a race yet. I need to let this feeling hang around for a while before I decide when I’ll be ready to jump into a training cycle, and how intense I’ll want it to be.

I’m enjoying the junk miles and I’m enjoying doing other things like spinning and taking baths.

Oh SoulCycle, you expensive, beautiful bitch.

But, at the risk of scaring this feeling away, I’m ready to start searching. Not registering. Not training. Just Googling. And thinking about swapping out my spin shoes once or twice a week and getting back into the Brooks.

I’m ready to start running workouts I’m proud of. Yeah, I’ll fail at plenty of them. But I miss that feeling you get when you dominate a tough speedwork session. (Actually…has that ever happened to me? Maybe I’m just imagining what it would feel like.)

Back into training mode = ditching the phone and focusing on speed.

We’re taking it slowly this time, me and the races.

One Google search at a time.

And then, eventually, one mile at a time.

I’m pretty sure that if I have a training plan, I’ll actually get out of bed before this beautiful thing happens. It’s OK. I’ve gotten my fill.

One hill repeat at a time.

And maybe, when I get there, we’ll start seeing PRs. One at a time. No pressure.



30 Responses

  1. Speedwork fills me with a little bit of dread (most of the time). Most of my running is very early in the morning, and it can be hard to know when I step out the door what I’ve got in the ol’ pins. I tell myself as I disembark like a ship deprived of a broken champagne bottle on a journey into the depths of my lungs (!!) that it’s alright if I need to take it easy instead. Running slowly to warm up, after about a half mile I’m convinced I don’t have any fast stuff in me. A mile in, I’m ready to fly (say it with me: most of the time).

  2. I’m base building coming out of an injury and am enjoying junk miles. Hmmm…maybe it’s time to stop giving myself that excuse and sign up for a race?

  3. I love this post! The Newbie Chronicles is one of my favorite sections in RW even if sometimes it doesn’t pertain to me. He’s so funny. Can’t wait to hear what turns up in your Google searches 😉

  4. I’ve been slowly lacing up my sneakers for running again (or light jogging, whatever) and then, all of a sudden, I signed up for the Virginia Half with Team Challenge all willy-nilly. Eeep, time to get serious! I finally have that excitement back. I can completely relate to your feelings right now though. Might as well have fun with what you’re doing, whether or not it’s running-related!

  5. first off, i just wanted to say that i’m a new reader and am dropping in to say, “HI!!!” secondly, this post was exactly what i needed to read at exactly the right time to know that i’m not the only one going through that, so THANK YOU for that! i ran my first half marathon last october (and had some serious IT band issues going on the month leading up to it) and have just been dragging my feet about getting running again. this week it hit me that i need to get off my couch and start training again, so i signed up for not one, but TWO halfs this year already. and i can’t wait! i’m also incorporating hot yoga one day a week, to hopefully keep IT band issues at bay. fingers crossed!

  6. And now that song will be stuck in my head all day (the David Hasselhoff version, obviously, from his timeless album “David Hasselhoff Sings America”)… Thanks!

  7. Hi Ali! (First time commenting! woop woop!)
    Anyway, navigating a similar space now. I will get caught up between gungho-hear-me-roar-excitement and self-doubt. I just finished my first half-marathon in November and had a great experience. I simply trained to finish, and was happy with the results (2:21). I didn’t injure myself or turn out to hate running. So, I’m excited to go again, but I don’t want to burn out, and I’m not sure what the right next goal is for me. Take time to get speedy with some 10Ks? Spring half? The last thing I want is to run out of love with running…

  8. I am the same freakin way about baths. Jumt right in and shiver until the water actually covers my legs, and then I start sweating and have to shower because I’m gross. Yet I love baths. Go figure.
    By the way, your picture captions crack me up every time. Your blog is funny, but your captions are a whole ‘nother element of funny. I had no idea Soul Cycle had that many bikes in one room.

  9. Hooray for finding the registration excitement! I look forward to hearing about the next race you find. I’m feeling pretty anti-racing lately, so I’m going to live vicariously through you for a bit, if that’s ok.

  10. This is a happy place! I think I’m in my sweet spot for running right now… like im excited to train and I haven’t felt like that in a long, long time. Also: I’m a huge fan of the open mouth race pic. I do the same. We are like running super models.

  11. Oh Ali I enjoy your blog so much but REALLY wish you would stop with the “funny” body-hate. You have zero double chins, and even if there was a less-than-flattering picture taken of you, you KNOW you are thin. So cut it out with the self-deprecating picture captions!

    1. Everyone deals with their body hang-ups differently. I’ve never said I’m thin, fat or anywhere in between. No, I don’t have a double chin, and I know that. That just happens to be a photo where I’m so dang excited about life that it’s not the most flattering picture. I don’t hate my body — but I’m allowed to see flaws, and joke about them, just like anyone else. I’m fine with posting “good” photos of myself and “bad” ones — I’m sorry if my joking around offends you! That’s not my intention, obviously.

  12. Although I don’t consider myself a newbie to running, I read Marc Parent’s column every month for the reasons you describe in this post. Reading them remind me what it’s like to run for the pure excitement of it, without worrying about my yasso 800s, proper fuel recovery or what a fartlek means.

    Anyway, can’t wait to hear what race you set your sights on next!

  13. Everything in life cycles. If ‘that racing feeling’ is itching you…go for it!

    Or maybe, just maybe, deny it for a little longer. Make it wait another week or two. Then it’ll REALLY be rarin’ to go. Or it’ll be gone. Either way, you’ll know. Good luck! 🙂

  14. Ah Runner’s World, mine is sitting on the coffee table right now… Tend to read it cover to cover. Not ashamed. As for races, I took a year and a half break and just registered for the Cupid’s Chase 5k Feb. 9th… An amazing feeling. So I understand the feeling.

  15. I love the Newbie Chronicles. For some reason, I find them laugh out loud funny. I hope you find great races. I am planning to do the 9+1 this year!

  16. We definitely had the same kind of day yesterday… I had great plans for a 4 mile run after work yesterday. But after a bad night of sleep and working an hour and a half longer than I planned, I just wasn’t up for it. So on went the jammies and my butt to the couch. And now today I’m feeling guilty, which sucks too. I got sidelined back in October with a random hip injury (after overtraining excessively for my first triathlon – i do not recommend a 3 week training plan!). Since then, I just haven’t had the desire to get back out there. I’m more intersted in going to hot yoga than putting on my Newtons or Brooks! Hoping to find the spark again, soon, though… Thanks for sharing about the article. It’s been awhile since I let my RW subscription go – maybe I need to pick up a copy and get reinspired again!!!

  17. holllaaaaa. i feel the same… i’ve been browsing races… but haven’t committed to one yet. I’m having too much fun dipping my toes in other kinds of workouts, like piloxing last night. crazy stuff!

  18. I’m so excited for a new race season, I’m currently in that mood where I want to sign up for 10 races a month… Don’t worry I haven’t actually done that (I’m not that crazy) something about a new year and remembering that feeling of crossing the finish line I just can’t wait for it!

  19. Thanks for this post. It’s a great reminder to just enjoy where you are and stick to your own “pace” when it comes to deciding what’s best for you. Happy weekend!

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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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