What Fall Feels Like For Me

I felt it so strongly this weekend.

There was a chill in the air.

Everything felt crisp.

I could have worn shorts and a tank top or zebra-tiger sweatpants and a zip-up, and either way I would have been comfortable.

Yesterday, someone said to me, "Every time I see you you're wearing those pants!" YUP. That's absolutely correct.
On Sunday, someone said to me, “Every time I see you, you’re wearing those pants!” YUP. That’s absolutely correct.

It may not technically be fall yet, but I can feel it.

The rich, unmistakable colors of autumn. Isn't that poetic?
The rich, unmistakable colors of autumn. Isn’t that poetic?

While the rest of the world is fawning over finally getting to wear scarves and boots, fall means something more for me than a pumpkin spice latte (not a coffee drinker — never had one).

It means apple picking, my favorite activity.

It means extra blankets.


It definitely means cuddling. Preferably with a side of hot cider.

It means foliage!!!

Early signs of festive leaves in Vermont.
Early signs of festive leaves in Vermont.

But best of all, it means feeling healthy.

Finally feeling good again. That's me, in the middle, with "So You Think You Can Dance" Season 10 winners Amy and Fik-Shun at our shoot in L.A. this past week.
Finally feeling good again. That’s me, in the middle, with “So You Think You Can Dance” Season 10 winners Amy and Fik-Shun at our shoot in L.A. this past week. Photo courtesy of fan girl Sarah OUaL.

I realized this weekend that I now associate this time of year with bouncing back and feeling mighty fine. Nothing in the world compares to this incredible feeling I’m basking in right now.

Two falls ago, I ran my first marathon — the best day of my life.

The best day of my life.
The best day of my life.

Last fall, I was released from the hospital, came back to life and then ran my second marathon, PRing by 22 minutes.

The second-best day of my life.
The second-best day of my life.

I can’t say for sure what this fall brings, but one thing is for certain: I may have been forced to sit out the early winter, spring and summer of 2013, but I’m back in time for fall and that’s what matters. Fall has always been my favorite season. I live for stepping on crunchy leaves, even if it means splaying my running stride into the oncoming lane to land on a freshly-fallen crispy leaf.

I’m still hovering at that 92% health-wise. My stomach has good days, hours and minutes and it still has terrible ones. But I’m happy with my A- for now. I’m happy that this time of year, I’m able to leave my apartment. I sleep with the windows open, I don’t sweat quite as much walking to the subway and my hair is less frizzy.

More importantly, I feel like I’m getting a fresh start.

I felt so happy this weekend. For the first time perhaps all year, I thought optimistically about what lies ahead of me instead of harping on all the things that have gone by and that I’ve had to miss out on. It was a huge, unexpected and seemingly natural change in perspective.

It may only last a few minutes or weeks, but I’m appreciating every second of this perfect season.

Fall means a new beginning.

Fall means faster running.

A post-hike victory lap at a place I'm inclined to call Griffith Observatory. OUaL, that sound about right? Note the kick-ass Hollywood sign in the background.
A post-hike victory lap at a place I’m inclined to call Griffith Observatory. OUaL, that sound about right? Note the kick-ass Hollywood sign in the background.

Fall means dark-morning-running.

Central Park, 4:30 AM. Safe enough... (Sorry, Mom.)
Central Park, 4:30 AM. Safe enough… (Sorry, Mom.)

Fall means running, period!

Fall means the bleachers going up in Central Park for the New York City Marathon.

And, if I’m very lucky, fall means finally crossing the finish line at that marathon.

Game on, fall. Let’s see what you’ve got for me.

This concludes an entirely happy post! I can hardly believe it, either. Daaaaamn it feels good!

NOW LET’S CATCH UP AND YOU TELL ME… What are you looking forward to this fall?



36 Responses

  1. I am hoping that fall brings you all the wonderful things it has in the past! I am hoping the same for us on this end. Life has been up in the air – now we may know this fall where we are moving, if we have jobs, where we will be running, the works! Either way fall is my favorite as well!

  2. Happy to hear that you’re feeling better! My fall is looking like new treatments to try, but more importantly running my first races since being diagnosed! Reading your blog has really inspired me and I look forward for new posts from you.

  3. Fall is bittersweet for me. I love fall clothes (is that shallow that I list that first, I look scary in shorts) and I love pumpkin in anything especially pumpkin bisque from a bistro nearby that ONLY makes it in the fall. But fall means winter is close and winter means creaky knees and stiff hands and tired, tired days. Last year was better and (yes, I am rambling on on a comment for blog of someone I don’t know, but it is that kind of day so I am going with it) I am hopeful that this winter will be better as well. Your hopeful fall post put me in a hopeful fall mood. Thanks for that.

  4. I’m looking forward to CHEERING for the NYCM! Be on the lookout for a sign for YOU in LIC and inspiration on the Queensboro Bridge! (I’ll be the one with a megaphone and cowbell at the foot of the Qboro!!!!)

  5. Well, I was looking forward to apple picking, but I did that this past weekend sooo…NOW WHAT?! I need to find something new.

    Actually, I’m looking forward to reading your post after you cross the NYCM finish line!

  6. I love Autumn in NY (not that horrible Winona Ryder-Richard Gere movie, but actually the time and place). I’m glad you’re back to running again. I feel like the roads are a happier place when there’s a possibility of an Ali sighting. 🙂

    See you in CP.

  7. Mostly, I’m looking forward to living vicariously through everyone else’s fall. Fall is my favorite season, but I currently live in the tropics, where our two seasons are: Monsoon and Not Monsoon (Just Regular Rain). So, please, please, PLEASE blog on about cool weather, crispy leaves, woolly sweaters, pumpkin spice, and dark mornings. Thanks! 🙂

    SOOOO glad you are feeling healthy enough to enjoy fall in all its glory. I’m biased, but if there’s one season not to miss…it’s definitely fall! 🙂

  8. Can we go apple picking? Since that is my favorite fall activity as well. If you aren’t eating at least 3 apples per day, you aren’t doing Fall right.

  9. I LOVE FALL!!! I also cannot believe you met Fik-shun and Amy from SYTYCD!!! I love that show and that must have been ridiculously cool!! I also recognize ‘Sweat Once A Day’ blogger in your marathon pics. Too cool!!!!
    Let’s hear it for cool FALL temps and fairs and everything it brings!!

  10. You’re happy post made me very happy! I was out with my CCFA co-workers and I shared it I was that happy! When we were younger we would always go apple picking; however we haven’t done it in years. I moved to South Florida= NO SNOW!!!!!!

  11. An entirely happy post from you is a wonderful thing and so is hearing about the joys of fall without the mention of pumpkin. The latte you never had doesn’t count. It hasn’t even fully arrived, and I’m already over pumpkin. Apples I can get down with though, Welcome back and happy trails…running trails that is.

  12. You’re happy post made me happy!!! I too love fall and all it has to offer! So glad you’re feeling better and can’t wait to hear about all your fall adventures!
    I’m looking forward to apple picking, leaves changing, sweatshirts, Thanksgiving (it’s in October here in Canada), running in cooler temperatures, crunching leaves as I walk/run, and just enjoying life!

  13. Fall is my favorite season. I am looking forward to sweatshirts, cool running, scenic bike rides and gorgeous foliage. Glad you are feeling so much better!

  14. Fall means running my first half marathon! And delicious apple cinnamon muffins, which I already made. And…my favorite holiday…HALLOWEEN! Already working on my costume.

  15. I flipping love Autumn and am getting very excited about it. I’m excited about:
    – a probable trip to Colorado which (having never been there) I am convinced is my true heart’s home.
    – pumpkin patches. I’m a sucker for them.
    – infinity scarves!

  16. I’m so happy you are feeling better!

    Not only for you, but completely selfishly, for me also – your posts were dearly missed. 🙂

    I am so jealous of all the crisp air/crispier leaves references. I am in Socal and it is HOT – probably more fire season ahead for us.

    I am so looking forward to feeling the chill in the air and my trip soon – where I will really hopefully be experiencing a legit fall.

  17. So happy you’re feeling good & happy. Fall has similar sentiments for me. It’s when I recovered from an eating disorder many years ago, and when I chose to start over in valuing myself. I also have always just loved fall in general, all those typical things — cooler weather, sweatshirts (but no snow) and apples.

    “Life starts over when it gets crisp in the fall.”

  18. Yay for Ali! Fall running is so much better than summer running anyway 🙂 I have never had a PSL (pumpkin spice latte, obv). and I get annoyed when people talk about them. Not sure why I’m so bitter?!

    Oh and I am looking forward to returning to NYC in November to crush the marathon!!!!

  19. I am recovering from a short illness and am most looking forward to getting back to running/walking… which I had JUST started before I got sick. I know it will be hard, but I am so excited for the challenge!

    I hope your recovery continues to go well and your meds keep working better and better.

    Bring on FALL!

  20. I’m excited about three things…
    1. You’re feeling better!
    2. Pumpkin Spice Lattes (I know, I’m a yuppie.)
    3. Running some new half-marathons. I’m doing one in Gettysburg in October and one in Rehobeth Beach in December. Branching out and trying new (and hilly) things!

  21. Attempt #2 at comment, my computer ate the first one. UGH.

    OK so “finally getting to wear scarves and boots” – I hate this. It’s more like HAVING to wear scarves and boots that are binding and uncomfortable and annoying and wearing pants that touch my stomach when all I want to do is throw on a light summer dress and be done with it and also not be in pain from the cold. OK, rant over.

    Despite not liking anything about the weather, there are some things I am looking forward to this fall: seeing my family (and baby nephew, you know how that is), continuing to train for my marathon, and getting to run my second marathon! All good things, though once they are over I will hibernate.

    I hope you keep feeling good and can run your marathon! Also, where are those pants from?

    1. Dori, I’m with you on the summer-dresses-one-and-done thought, but I can’t resist fall and layers. But I really did laugh aloud at the “pants that touch my stomach” part. I love it!

      Ali, so very happy to read a 100% happy post. It’s been a long time coming! 🙂

  22. YAY this post makes me so happy for you! Excited to see what the fall brings! This fall I’m looking forward towards lazy days of football following long runs, all things pumpkin, and sweat pants. cliche, I know, not sorry.

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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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