To The Races

Summer is over. This is what I have to show for it:

If you're sexy and you know it and you really wanna show it, if you're sexy and you know it, WEAR SUNSCREEN.
If you’re sexy and you know it and you really wanna show it, if you’re sexy and you know it, WEAR SUNSCREEN.

I went to the beach zero times, I went in zero pools, and I didn’t take little weekend vacations beyond going to Brian’s bike races.

Cycling weekend getaways = me as the official bib pinner-onner. I'm awesome at it.
Cycling weekend getaways = me as the official bib pinner-onner. I’m awesome at it.
This is the true story of eight cyclist dudes and one Ali and god I'm bored already. We all shave our legs.
This is the true story of eight cyclist dudes and one Ali and god I’m bored already. We all shave our legs.
My "vacation" this summer. Dudes in a hot tub together, talking about watts and Strava and power meters and AGAIN I AM BORED. Girls, come with me next time. PLEASE.
My “vacation” this summer. Dudes in a hot tub together, talking about watts and Strava and power meters and AGAIN I AM BORED. Girls, come with me next time. PLEASE. (Really, I love and respect the hell out of these guys. I do. And I love cheering for them. I just want a cowbell companion on the sidelines sometimes.)
True life: My boyfriend stole my razor.
True life: My boyfriend stole my razor.

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I only have two hard weeks of training left before I start tapering for the Steamtown Marathon.

So…that’s a little scary.

My coworkers. Buncha overachievers, I tell ya.
My coworkers. Buncha overachievers, I tell ya.

I’ve just been sort of cruising along, following my plan, kicking my mileage into high gear, and rolling with things really well. The every-single-freaking-day 4:30 AM alarm is starting to kick me hard and wear me down, but generally I’m handling the training really well on the physical and mental spectrums.

OK maybe I am a little tired. This is me, mid-type type type, passed out one morning. Good job, Feller. Way to get yourself to work on time.
OK maybe I am a little tired. This is me, mid-type type type, passed out one morning. Good job, Feller. Way to get yourself to work on time.

I’ve racked up a few battle wounds…

This one hurt badly. If you're going to run with a backpack, wear BodyGlide. Or don't run with a backpack.
This one hurt badly. If you’re going to run with a backpack, wear BodyGlide. Or don’t run with a backpack.

…but generally my body is cooperating. [Pause to knock on all the woods. Can you do it too, please? We’re all in this together. High School Musical. Everyone loves a jazz square.]

I haven’t felt burnt out yet, which can happen to me sometimes, and I think that’s simply because I couldn’t run for so much of the past two years and now I’m audibly psyched every time I get to lace up. For real. Every time. Enthusiasm to the max.

I will wake up at 4 AM on a Saturday if it means I still get quality time with this kid.
I will wake up at 4 AM on a Saturday if it means I still get quality time with this kid.

Plus, my training plan is only a 12-week plan, not a 16-week or longer plan, and that keeps me working hard, focusing, and prioritizing every run as best I can.

I’m all in.

STOKED. Seriously.
STOKED. Seriously. This is the perma-grin these days.

This week is a bit of a stepback week, which I’m really appreciating. I’m coming off two weeks of big mileage, including a 21-miler to wrap up last week. So this week I’m taking it down a notch before kicking it back up for next week’s 23-miler.

One of my all-time favorite naps. We all earned it. Even Monkey.
One of my all-time favorite naps. We all earned it. Even Monkey.

And then I taper.

And then I run Steamtown.


We’ll talk “goals” another time. Because I’m not sure yet what they are. I don’t know that a PR is within reach. I wish I could say I feel super confident, but getting back into shape has been tough for me this time around in terms of building speed. I was able to get my mileage stacked relatively quickly, but my paces aren’t as speedy as I’d like right now, and my long run paces are generally a little slower than they’ve been since I started running marathons in 2011.

MY FIRST MARATHON! Remember this special day? I do. It was my very best day in my whole life. Also, I hadn't yet developed hips then. Those came later in life. VELVEETA!
MY FIRST MARATHON! Remember this special day? I do. It was my very best day in my whole life. Also, I hadn’t yet developed hips then. Those came later in life. VELVEETA!

All things considered, though, I’m OK with it. Again with the whole “grateful just to be out!” bit.

While Steamtown is my #1 bigtime A-goal this fall, it’s not the only bib I’ll be pinning on. Far from it, in fact. I’m living life in the “saying yes to everything because I said no to everything for two years” mindset. Full throttle, baby.

Here’s what I’ve got going on in the next two months. I’m bracing myself. And should probably get to foam rolling and compression gear-ing ’round the clock.

Ragnar Relay Adirondacks

The JackRabbit team! I'm first!
The JackRabbit team! I’m first! And angriest, apparently.

This will be my first relay! I’ve always resisted relays because the idea of driving through the night without my beloved bathroom access has been a major deterrent. But when you work for a running company, sometimes they say, “Hey, we’re fielding a Ragnar team. You in?” and you don’t remember saying yes, and in fact you remember saying “hell no,” but then you’re signed up and you’re runner #1 in van #1.

I’m nervous about running this relay two weeks before Steamtown, but Coach John has assured me that as long as I take it easy, I’ll be fine. I got to be the first person to choose legs, and I picked runner #1 because I’ll have the shortest total distance (14 miles over three legs) and the easiest terrain. So…I’m the slacker runner on the team. But in my defense, I agreed to make the weekend-long playlist, so you’re welcome, team. I hope you do Celine with gusto. (Meet the JackRabbit team here!)

Look! These are my best work friends!
Look! These are my best work friends!

Steamtown Marathon

We’ve discussed. We’re familiar. We’re nervous. I’m nervous. Really, I’m already getting nervous. It’s been a long time since I’ve trained and tried to do well at a race.

I’ve read every single recap I can find on the entire internet. If you’ve run the race, tell me every detail. I know I know I know to take it easy on the early downhills so I can save my legs for the uphill at the end. But what else? Where are the Porta Potties?

Runner’s World Half & Festival

I'm doing it. Will you do it?
I’m doing it. Will you do it?

I’ve been invited to RW events in the past and have had to turn them down every single time on account of that Crohn’s thing. So when I got the offer to trek to Bethlehem, PA, this fall to take part in the Festival — which includes a 5K, 10K, and half-marathon — I, again, was all in.

So now, the downfall here is that the races are one week after Steamtown. So I’ll likely still be hobbling in major recovery mode. I haven’t decided yet whether I’ll be running the 5K, the 10K, the half-marathon, or some combination of the three — it will depend on how recovered I feel. But regardless, these are fun races for me, not anything close to PR attempts.


I’m excited to make some new friends, see some new scenes, and hang out with my roommate, Kristen. We started an aggressive email chain as soon as we got our room assignments, and I felt an instant click. (Did you, Kristen? Is this one-sided? I’m OK with that. I love you. Love me back.) She’s hilarious, and she knows all about Crohn’s disease because her dad has it, too. How about that? Comfort zone = restored.

Hey, do you want to run one or any of these races with me? Do it. We’ll have so much fun. You can piggyback me to the finish line(s)! Isn’t that the best offer you’ve ever received? Here, let me make signing up easier for you. Click here, and then enter any or all of these discount codes to receive 10% off your race entry.

  • 5K: blogAliOnTheRun5K
  • 10K: blogAliOnTheRun10K
  • Half-Marathon: blogAliOnTheRunHalf
  • 5 & Dime: blogAliOnTheRun5&10
  • Hat Trick: blogAliOnTheRunHat

New York City Marathon

So yeah, there’s that.

<3 My one true love <3
<3 My one true love <3

I know.

I know.

I know.

“This race was so perfect that I’ll never run it again.”

"I'll never run it again" = Toooootally gonna do it again next year, guys!
“I’ll never run it again” = Toooootally gonna do it again next year, guys!

I’m sorry I lied to you. And to myself.

But again, when you work for a running store, opportunities present themselves in the form of race entries, and while I did pay my full [expensive] entry fee, I was guaranteed a spot in this highly coveted, and that’s sweet. My luck and good fortune here is not lost on me. So I couldn’t turn it down. I’m excited to be able to run this as a fun race, taking in as much as possible, and basically having the best day ever. Again. Hopefully.

Best day take two? We'll see. We'll try. We'll crawl if needed.
Best day take two? We’ll see. We’ll try. We’ll crawl if needed.

Whooooo wants to be my Staten Island Ferry buddy?

(Yes, the “two marathons in one month” thing is a little scary. That’s why NYCM is a no-pressure race. I will race Steamtown, recover as best I can in three weeks, and then run my city with so much pride. That’s the no-plan plan.)

I’m especially excited to have all my November Project friends manning the mile 14 water station. Guaranteed highlight before hauling myself over the Queensboro Bridge.

On Friday, we ran to Queens. It took 10 miles (and a few wrong turns, I think). I was tired.
On Friday, we ran to Queens. It took 10 miles (and a few wrong turns, I think). I was tired.

So now… More core. More yoga.

Quality corework.
Quality corework.

More healthy foods. More sleep. Maybe no drinking. Definitely more foam rolling. Maybe more ice baths.

Step 1: Smile in the tub!
Step 1: Smile in the tub!

So a bunch of races on top of a bunch of other things. I’m part overwhelmed, part psyched as hell. Mostly psyched as hell.

RAWR! Let's do this!
RAWR! Let’s do this!

Finally, here’s Abby, the newest love of my life…


WHO’S RUNNING ANY OF THESE WITH ME? Who’s running a different race? Can I come cheer for you? I’m so good with a cowbell. Let me prove it to you. Also also, if you’ve done the “two marathons in a month” deal, how’d that work out for you? Oh, you got injured? Shit. If you didn’t, though, talk it out. What worked? What didn’t? Oh and relay tips! Those would be helpful, too? Where do I sleep? How much do I Instagram?



43 Responses

  1. Hi Ali! I ran Big Sur and Pittsburgh Marathons in the same week this spring. While I’m nowhere as seasoned or speedy as you my trick was to take it easy, have fun and respect my physical (not emotional/mental) limitations. It was the best week of my life 🙂

  2. Is that tiger get up a onesie from Target?!? Clearly my priorities are straight and thats what I gleaned from this post and well I also spent a lot of time at Tarjay this weekend.

  3. Hi, Ali! I read your blog but usually don’t comment, but I am doing NYC and I don’t know anyone else running it, so if I spot you I’ll probably squawk a hello and try to befriend you! Your blog has inspired me for a couple of years, and I really appreciate you sharing your adventures and struggles with the World Wide Web. I’m looking forward to hearing how your two-marathon month goes, because I am contemplating (in a very half-assed way) running the Philadelphia marathon just two weeks after New York (even though I’ve never done more than one marathon in a year). Good luck with your racing!

  4. No running comments from me as running is not in my vocabulary..

    But, that napping pic is hilarious, especially since Brian is being kept safe by a bed rail!

    Keep running, and keep inspiring!

  5. I live upstate and my husband is a cyclist. I could use a cowbell buddy too! Have cowbell. Will travel. 🙂
    I ran Steamtown in 2012. It’s a great race. It’s small but feels big and has a lot of support. It’s great for spectators. My husband was able to drive and ride his bike and saw me 5-6 times. As long as you are conservative in the first 8 miles to save your legs, you’ll be fine! The hills at the end are still mean though.

  6. I’m running Steamtown and NYC also! First time doing back-to-backs and very nervous about it. Hope to see you at one of them!

  7. Instagram a LOT, because all of your races are way too east-coast-centric for me. But if you ever find yourself in Portland (Oregon), you have a race buddy!

  8. Good luck in your races. I’m not doing any of those, but I am doing the Atlantic City Triathlon, Westchester Triathlon, Hartford Half Marathon, and the Philadelphia Half Marathon. Yay for fall races!!

  9. That’s a great schedule! Totally normal to have this “YES to everything” attitude after everything you get through. You deserve to be back on your running shoes and enjoy it 🙂
    I would love to run NYC… one day, it will happen! But, for now, I will try to cross the finish line of my first ever marathon, the Santa Barbara Marathon, on November 8th. I am quite excited 🙂

  10. Wow, you are one ambitious girl! It’s amazing how much stuff you have planned 🙂

    I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to do all of that in such a short timespan.

  11. I’ve done the Runner’s World races for each of the past 2 years and LOVE THEM. This year I’m out because I’ll be about 38 weeks pregnant then and I’m already missing it. The courses are beautiful, it’s SO well put together and it’s a perfect time of year. The only downside…SO HILLY! Worth it though.

    1. I wake up at 4:30 AM and usually try to go to bed around 10. Nighttime varies. Sometimes I’m able to get in bed a little earlier, and sometimes it’s later. I definitely don’t quite get enough sleep, but I power through as best I can!

  12. You are so badass. Also, PLEASE wear sunscreen. I had basal cell carcinoma removed from my back earlier this year, and the spot where the stitches are still irritates me. Okay, annoying Debbie Downer moment over. You’re awesome. 🙂

  13. I’m signed up for the Chicago Marathon. 100% not trained, with a 100% chance that I’ll toe the start line. YOLO.

    Can’t wait to hear how you like the relay. I’ve always wanted to do the one that starts in Wisconsin and ends in Chicago… but never been able to pull the trigg.

  14. I’m running 2 marathons in a month and I’m so nervous! I have a marathon this weekend in Michigan (Last Chance to BQ) and then the Chicago Marathon on October 12, with 2 half marathons in between. So so excited, but so nervous! Good luck, can’t wait to hear how it all goes.

  15. I WAS RUNNER 1 at the Ragnar Adirondacks a few years ago….

    (Ignore the angry comments about the rain, let’s hope you have better weather)!!!

    This was my first relay and it is also where I became BFF with Kara (few comments up)!!!! Yay new intent friends becoming real life friends.

    It was absolutely beautiful and so fun!

    Also: I plan on driving out to the RW festival (it’s about 50 min directly west from my house) and doing one of the races and cheering some (JENNIE WILL BE THERE)!!!!We can cut logistics soon!

    1. That is definitely the A-goal! It always amazes me that there are so many people these days who can run marathons every weekend. I don’t think I’ll ever be one of them (or even want to be one of them…SO MANY RACE FEES, RIGHT?)…but I’m excited to see how this plays out! i.e. if I can walk by mid-November.

  16. OMG you’re running the Runners World Festival! I’m doing the hat trick! So excited to maybe see you. I’ll just hang out near all of the porta potties waiting for you….j/k! I don’t want to jinx ya! Good luck with all your races-can’t wait to hear about them all!

    1. I am so excited for you, Gabby! You’re going to love it so much and have such a great day. You at mile 22 last year = so clutch. Can’t wait for you to be on the other side of the action!

  17. My back looks like yours! And I even made it to the beach a few times – oh well.

    Does shaving legs REALLY make you faster on the bike? I’m not sure I get it…I suppose this could be solved by a google search.

    THE RUNNER’S WORLD HALF (slash hat trick) IS AMAZING. I had so much fun running there last year – jealous! Enjoy!

    1. Shaving legs is so that when you wipe out and the asphalt/gravel/dirt leaves a swath of road rash the hair doesn’t impede the healing or the bandaging. At least that’s what someone told me. The shaving for speed thing goes with swimming.

      1. It’s a bit of both. The road rash/potential crash situation is the main reason for most of them. But speed does actually play a factor, particularly for time trials. There’s some video about it that I’d show you but I’m too lazy to go find it. Something about a wind tunnel, and having no leg hair can shave like 50 seconds off your time. I don’t know. But TRUST ME, THOUGH, I ALWAYS KNOW WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT.

  18. You sounds very happy and excited, which is (and has been) great to read! Good luck with your packed race schedule. I have done marathons close together (once back to back weekends) and always kept the first one easy and PR’d the second. Then took TIME OFF. Got to recover after the sheer exhaustion of that!

  19. So happy you’re writing again. 4:30am wake ups. Oh my oh my you are my hero!! Do you really prefer it to running after work? So happy your training is going well. I was super stoked for the hamptons half but i got a stomach virus and lost my roll. Hopefully I’ll get it back. Also your backpack burn. OUCH

  20. I ran two marathons in one month (NYC and then Philly two or three weeks later). It was awesome! I ran both pretty hard in both although I didn’t put any pressure on myself and ended up with a 6 min PR in the second one. I think you have confidence for the second one because you know you just did it and can do it again! Also I love running marathons but don’t like training so it was nice to only have to train once. More bang for your buck. Good luck!

  21. Instagram hourly (of course) and there was the one time where I was going to run two marathons in a a YEAR and I was patting myself on the back like “I’m such a badass.” YOU LOOK AWESOME AND YOU’RE DOING AWESOME AND IN GENERAL IT’S ALL AWESOME. Lots of love and stuff.

  22. I’m insanely jealous! I was supposed to run a marathon in, ohhh, 3 weeks, until I had to move across the country. Lame. But I’m so excited for you and so thrilled you’re doing well. I did Ragnar Adirondacks a couple years ago – it’s so gorgeous. You’re going to have so much fun! Also, if I can do two marathons in one month, YOU CAN TOO! Definitely take the second one easy, which won’t be hard in NYC because you can just soak up all the cheers and general happiness 🙂

  23. Yay for lots of races! That was my calendar last fall:) Right now I only have one event…and I say event because it’s the Hat Trick in Bethlehem! I’ll die if I run into you! Good luck with your marathon coming up!!

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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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