Thankful Things Thursday: Love

I’m here.

I’m here!

Home sweet cigarette-smoke-smelling city. It’s good-ish to be back.

Maybe you thought I’d fled for a while and ditched this whole blogging thing. I thought about it, honestly. I took a few days off because I was busy before I left for Colorado. Then I was in Colorado and I refused to turn on my computer for the duration of the trip. Then I got back and I was busy again, and the thought of writing just seemed too daunting. Where to even begin?

And I’m sick.

I was sick before I left for my trip, I was sick while I was there and, somehow, I returned to New York even sicker than I was when I left. Crohn’s is the coolest.

My first stop upon returning to NYC: Mount Sinai’s infusion center for a hefty dose of Remicade. I wore sequins because I’m festive lady. I’m wearing sequins again today, FYI.

I have many thoughts swirling in my brain, but today let’s return to the tried-and-true: It’s a multi-holiday-day and I came to celebrate.

It’s Thankful Things Thursday, and we all know what to do with that. We’ll proceed as normal along that happy brick road.

And, as the world keeps reminding us all — the NYC streets, in particular, are absolutely packed with delivery men hauling massive bouquets to lucky ladies around the borough — it’s also Valentine’s Day.

I’ve made it fairly clear before that I’m no huge fan of Valentine’s Day. The sentiment is nice, but social media has turned a day of love into a day of “post pictures of your flowers from your hubby because he’s totally the best!”

But I’m not against a day to celebrate and acknowledge love. I love love.

I’m thankful for love. In all its forms.

I’m thankful for my littlest Valentine.

Oh tiny Cupid, you’re killing me.

Tyler has changed my world. He makes me want to be a more decent person. He makes me want to set a good example. And my god, he makes me smile.

HIS FEET ARE SMALL BUT HIS HEAD IS BIG. Baby proportions make no sense but it doesn’t matter.
Snow bunny with Nike kicks!

I’m thankful for my most supportive Valentine. No one sets a bar higher than my dad, and no one makes me want to leap over that bar with aplomb and power quite like he does. Also, dad, will you do my taxes this year? We can talk about it. I’m very organized with my paperwork.

No one gets Tyler time when my dad is around. Remember when we were going to call him Big Papi when he became a grandfather? I’m somewhat surprised that didn’t stick. Sorry, mom. It was a REALLY clever idea, though.

I’m thankful for my Momentine. That’s probably not a word. But my mom is always a good Valentine. Last year she sent me an entire shoebox filled with “granola bars.” I’ll take a box of Entenmann’s over Reese’s any day.

I’m thankful for my Galentines. (“Parks and Recreation” reference…I really wanted to use it and there’s really only one day a year when I can.) This weekend, I get to reunite with all my best college girls at my dear friend Lauren’s wedding. This wedding is going to be off-the-charts incredible because Lauren has fancy taste. I don’t even remember the last time we were all together and we’ll be all dressed up and there will be dancing. I’m also in the wedding, and even though Lauren has not explicitly given me permission to jazz hand walk my way down the aisle, I know that in her mind she will be OK with it.

I’m thankful for my work Valentines. I spend more time with these women than I do with Brian. We’ve all become quite close over the past year and they are remarkable people. They make me laugh, we’ve seen each other cry and they know not to ask too many questions when I’m flaring and they can’t find me at my desk. They are also the best dressers.

The Dance Spirit squad on Valentine’s Day last year. I’m wearing that same skirt again this year. I guess I should really stock up on more red and pink items. BRIAN, CAN WE GO TO THE OUTLETS NEXT WEEKEND?

I’m thankful for my Valentine Valentine. Hi, Brian. How you doin’?

Apparently we have dinner reservations tonight. I told Brian I had other plans and he said “cancel them.” So I did. I canceled my plans to go to a spin class with my other love of my life, Matt P. at Crunch.

I’m thankful I survived the Colorado getaway.

Over the moguls and through the woods, down to the ski lodge we go…

There were several times throughout the trip when I thought I may not make it out alive. The plane ride out, for example, was a rough go. The poor aisle seat girl finally asked if I wanted to switch with her, granting me easier access to the bathroom. She was nice. I felt badly.

The view as we left Laguardia Airport last Thursday morning. It was OK.

Then there was that time during day three of the trip when Brian convinced me it would be “fun” to do some extreme adventuring. “Fun” by his definition meant taking off my skis and hiking up Aspen’s Highland Bowl. Apparently this is a thing people do. For “fun.”

And yet…yeah…I’m not an expert skier. I think that’s fairly obvious. But I’m an adventurer, dang it! So I skied past that sign, removed my skis and began to hike. And then proceeded to whine my way up the mountain…and then back down it.

I didn’t think it was very fun.


I thought hiking — while wearing ski boots and 400 layers of Dry Fit and carrying my skis and poles — was a dumb idea.

I whimpered and Brian took photos. Because, you know, hiking isn’t difficult for him. I blame it on the fact that he was wearing comfortable snowboard boots and I was in those god-awful ski boot feet murderers.

An even dumber idea was “dropping in” to the “bowl” and skiing down the side of the mountain. Into trees. And through moguls. And basically just doing really dumb shit.

You hike up this thing. And then just “drop in” wherever seems “safe” and not in an “avalanche warning zone.” Excellent.
Cue slight panic attack. Brian said to me at this point, “If you’re scared, we can hike back out.” The word “hike” gave me the little push I needed to just plow downhill and hope I came out alive.

I’m thankful for my ski helmet. Best purchase of the trip. I skied directly into two trees on my way down the Highland Bowl. Oops. (Breathe, Momentine. You know this all turned out OK…I’m here typing, aren’t I?)

Even experts wear helmets.

I’m thankful for hot things, like chocolate and tubs. I can’t think of a better way to end a day on the slopes than with whipped-cream-topped hot chocolate and a long soak in a hot tub. I took advantage of both things every day while in Colorado.

Molly, Rob and me before Hot Tub Night 1. The house had robes in every room. It felt very luxurious to me, a commoner.

I’m thankful for SoulCycle. I hate that I love it. But I do. I love the loud music. I love being packed tightly into the room surrounded by sweaty people. I love the wacky choreographing and the arm sections.

There are plenty of things I disagree with when it comes to SoulCycle (like, uh, the price and the politics). But it’s the only place I’ve found that even remotely makes me forget I’m not running.

And somehow, even after a messy 45-minute class, the room never smells like sweaty people. It always smells amazing.

Because yeah. I’m not running. I don’t even remember the last time I ran. And I’m sad about it. I really miss it. I don’t feel my best without it. No amount of spinning can completely supplement my running void. SoulCycle comes closest, but it’s no Reservoir. It’s no Bridle Path. It’s not even a treadmill.

Normally when I experience a flare-up, I try to power through. I try to run. I have to make a ton of stops and it’s never comfortable, convenient or particularly fun. In fact it’s really, really hard. But I always did it because I felt like I could. Because I felt like I should.

This time, I don’t feel that way.

I am just not up for the defeat of stopping at every Starbucks from here to Central Park. I can’t handle the mental anxiety trying to run will inevitably cause, and I’m not training for anything so I don’t feel the need to attempt to get out there.

It sucks, though. I used to feel strong enough to run during flare-ups. This time I don’t.

But I’ll come full circle. I’ll run again eventually.

And until then, I’ll spin when I can, I’ll rest when I should and I’ll do my best not to wallow. Promise.


I’m thankful for everything I can still do when I’m sick. I had a little meltdown the night before the trip because I felt so sick and the antibiotics Dr. Hotness gave me weren’t working at all. I called my mom and told her I didn’t even want to go.

The four-hour road trip from the airport to the house was the worst part for me. There are not many rest stops in the middles of nowhere.

I didn’t feel great while I was away. The mornings were bad, the night sweats came back and there were times on the mountain when I got slightly panicky. Overall, though, I got in plenty of ski time and that fresh Colorado air was good for my body, mind, soul and lungs.

The first day was 46 degrees. The fourth day was 9 degrees.

I’ll stop being gushy now.

Remember Gushers? That snack that exploded when you chewed it? I never tried them. Cool story.

I hope you’re loving love today. Give many hugs and kisses to your friends, family members, pets and maybe even some total strangers.

Maybe not total strangers.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you.

NOW BE THANKFUL AND LOVEY: What are you thankful for today? Your Valentine? Your Galentine? Your puppy? Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate? Cadbury Mini Eggs?



43 Responses

  1. I’m very glad that you had a good trip. I’m so sorry that you are not feeling great, but continue to have faith that you will run again. I know how tough it is to be forced to take a long time off, but it makes the return to running all the more sweeter. Hang in there!

  2. Bummed for you that you’re feeling badly. Hope it calms soon. I understand that chronic place 🙁

    Looks like a good trip and that you have some pretty awesome stuff in your life. Your ski-hike story reminded me of a similar experience I had years ago! Glad you made it down 🙂

  3. Jeez girl. It seems like you can never win. Regardless, just keep swimming. I think it’s pretty cool that even though all this bad stuff is happening, you still take the time to remember what you are thankful for.

  4. I’m sad about your flare up…. I suffer from an equally anxiety inducing bowel disorder and had to laugh at your comment about stopping at Starbucks… I would like to thank Starbucks for being there… On every corner… for people like us…never requiring me to buy something to use the bathroom. Their logo could very much be like a bat signal of sorts to the digestivly challenged.

    I truly hope you are back to normal soon 🙂

  5. You were missed, BTW.

    Hoping you are better soon! Those mountains scared me just looking at them. You are a brave girl!

    I’m also not running because I’m injured and today was told that I need to step back in PT (due to recurring back pain) and stop spinning so I’m at a crossroads. Pilates (which they are recommending) is not endorphin-full so I’m a bit sad.

    Happy Valentine’s Day to you from your ValentineRD friend. BTW, I do like Valentine’s Day since it’s my birthday 😉

  6. First off I love your blog. I read it all the time and you are awesome.
    Second, I loved your post Thursday because you were skiing in my backyard literally! I live in Aspen and my husband is a patroller at Highlands so it was super fun to see your pics and hear your account of your Bowl hike. It’s an epic journey huh? And yes you are right, we do this for fun but it is never easy for me no matter how many times i do it. So whine away, I do the exact same thing every single time! Hope you had fun while you were here. It’s a pretty cool place! And, I like your helmet!

  7. Welcome back Ali and Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s Friday now over here…a bit late but I’m going with Thankful Friday: going to a potluck Chinese New Year dinner where I’ll catch up with a lot of friends. It’s been some time since I last saw some of them.

  8. Bummer about still Crohn’sing….I am so impressed with you skiing etc whilst Crohnsing. Even I freak about getting to a loo in ski boots and I have normal bowels!!! I also took my skis off and stomped down a mountain crying once…it’s often discussed in our family.

  9. I walked by Walgreens on my way home, spotted some Easter stuff and went in to check if the Cadbury Mini Eggs were out, yet. No such luck. there was only a limited amount of Easter candy on display (the rest of it was stored way up in an unreachable areas) amongst the sad leftover Valentine’s candy.
    Tomorrow, I’m going to check the Rite-Aid near my office. I had lots of luck there last year finding the Cadbury Mini Eggs.
    Dr. Hotness prescribed Cadbury Mini Eggs for your Crohn’s, right? 🙂

    Feel better, soon. Good luck to Lauren this weekend.

    1. We were at Snowmass, Aspen Highlands and Buttermilk and I swear we were the only people there! It was completely empty Thursday through Monday! No lift lines, empty slopes…amazing!

  10. I’m obsessed with your term “momentine” because I always get awesome goodies from my mom, too! Today I am thankful for the free pool close to my apartment so I can pretend I can run even though my knee is still too messed up to legit run.

  11. Happy Valentine’s Day. I’m grateful for a job that allows me to travel and see the world. I’m grateful that I have a bf at home waiting for me so we can not celebrate this day together.

    Glad you feel better.

  12. I’m thankful that you write your blog. I did a huge blog overhaul and as soon as I stopped reading many I began reading yours.
    Your perspective is inspiring and it doesn’t hurt that you are living out my childhood dream of working at Dance Spirit and my following my big girl love of running 🙂
    Hope you feel better soon!

  13. Hi, pretty lady!
    I’m sorry you feel like sh*t and are missing running. You know I know how that feels. I’ve actually been going to Flywheel a lot lately– let me know if you ever want to come with!
    You look so pretty in that pic of you and Brian.
    And I hope you have a BLAST at Lauren and Ted’s wedding! Awwww…

  14. Your blog makes me want to reach through the laptop and give you a hug. Hope you start feeling better soon. Virtual hugs from Texas to you.

  15. Glad to see that you’re back and had a nice vacation! My mom just called me and let me know that she is having surgery for her Crohns’ on Tuesday. She is really nervous-hasn’t been able to eat in 2 weeks 🙁

    Today I’m thankful for my friends, family, amazing boyfriend, and my health!

    I hope that your flare up goes away. Thinking of you! and Happy Valentines Day! 🙂

  16. I’m thankful that you’re back safe and sound, though I wish you were feeling better! The pictures from your trip are gorgeous. Skiing out west puts VT mountains to shame…

  17. If you haven’t left Colorado yet, check out CorePower Yoga. They’re located mostly in Denver. I think you might love it. It’s like the yoga version of SoulCycle.

    If you can .. check out the YogaSculpt classes of MorganJo, HeatherL, JessDe or Tabitha.

  18. I am thankful for a job interview today (shhh, don’t tell my boss!). And I am aaalways thankful for Cadbury Mini Eggs. Those things are flippin’ addicting. I hope you feel better very soon, and am so glad you still had a great time in Colorado 🙂

  19. Just so you know, 8 days without Ali blogs is 8 too many!!! So glad you’re back!!!
    I’m thankful for my husband, my boys, my puppy, my family, my students, my job, my health… so many things… Happy Valentines Day!

  20. I’m thankful that Southwest dropped the price so much on my flight to NYC next month that the credit I received is allowing me to fly to Michigan to see my parents for a measly $45 🙂 PS I love Tyler. Such a photogenic lil guy! I sent Elliot a valentine’s rubber ducky 🙂

  21. I’m thankful for this post!! While I love hearing about NYC and the all the awesome stuff it has (like SoulCycle), it is awesome to hear about my hometown state. I think my Valentine should be CO since I have so much state pride. Glad you had fun in Aspen!

  22. aw man, I’m sorry you’re sick, friend. I hope you rest up and feel better soon. Non-running date sometime soon if you’re up for it? Have a good dinner!

    Also, Tyler never takes a bad picture. Adorable 🙂

  23. I’m so sorry about your flare up and I hope things start picking up soon. I’m glad you were able to enjoy most of your vacation, though!

    Today I’m too tired to think about all the things I’m thankful for, yet I am very, VERY thankful for everything I’m lucky enough to have in my life… so I guess I’m just thankful for my life.

  24. I am thankful that my husband and I decided a long time ago just to let Valentine’s Day pass us by. No muss, no fuss, no nothing.

    I’m not pushing my choice on anyone else – but I am thankful we chose this path. Less money, less stress, better food (I always figure that going out to eat on V-day means overpriced food and stressed wait staff, although I could be wrong there). =)

  25. I’m thankful for my mom because it is her birthday, and my dad for always making me laugh. And I’m thankful for coworkers who enjoy sweets as much as I do so there’s always something delicious in the office kitchen.

  26. I hope you start feeling better soon, Ali!

    I’m thankful for my students today. I got some cute little valentines and chocolates, etc. And usually, my 8th graders are too cool for school. It’s nice that they still have it in them to give a valentine to their teacher!

  27. Happy Valentine’s Day!
    I’m thankful that I’m still friends with my former coworkers. I’m thankful that my grandmas still send me valentines even though I’m old… I’m thankful that there is likely no one that will judge me more than I will judge myself. I’m thankful that everyone else having valentines plans tonight means that I got into what will be an awesome Soul Cycle class at what is typically a peak time.

  28. glad you’re back! also jealous you got some fresh colorado mountain air. sorry you aren’t feeling so hot… head down, push forward.

    i’m thankful for my lovely coworker who just surprised my with a starbucks coffee! it’s the little things 🙂

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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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