10 Reasons The Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival Was Wonderful (Plus A Giveaway!)

I’ve always been hesitant to attend blogger events. From runs and brunches to conferences and weekend-long events, my knee-jerk response is always a swift “no.” Those get-togethers just never seem like my thing.

But in the spirit of saying yes to everything that comes my way while I’m healthy, I quite eagerly accepted PR Guru Laura Beachy’s invitation to attend the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival weekend in Bethlehem, PA, as a blogger and event ambassador — and I’m so glad I did.

Almost all the bloggers! Staying toasty after the 5K.
Almost all the bloggers! Staying toasty after the 5K.

This weekend was one for the books. Or for the internets. Or the records. I don’t know. It was just super special to me, and it was so much better than I could have anticipated. Because you know how I do with lists, here are 10 Reasons the Runner’s World Half Marathon & Festival Was The Most Wonderful…

1. The Runner’s World staff made me feel like royalty. From the minute we rolled up (in a limo bus with champagne!) to dinner with the editors at the RW office on Thursday night, I felt lucky to be there and really special.

I felt a little pressure to take pictures of EVERYTHING. Everyone else was doing it.
I felt a little pressure to take pictures of EVERYTHING. Everyone else was doing it.

This event is part of their jobs — they were all technically working all weekend, and we were there playing — but they never acted like chatting with us was work. David Willey (RW editor in chief and a big big inspiration to this former EIC) and Bart Yasso (RW‘s Chief Running Officer and the weekend’s race director) are true class acts.

Bart Yasso in front of his door, which is basically blogger-famous at this point. "Everyone always wants to take a picture of my door," he told us. "I don't know why!"
Bart Yasso in front of his door, which is basically blogger-famous at this point. “Everyone always wants to take a picture of my door,” he told us. “I don’t know why!”

They spent so much time talking with us, answering our questions, asking about our running, and genuinely getting to know our blogger group.

He insisted on it being a selfie. He really is a cool, hilarious guy. The reputation holds.
He insisted on it being a selfie. He really is a cool, hilarious guy. The reputation holds.

We also spent a ton of time with the ALTRA team, since the races were sponsored by ALTRA. They all come from Utah, and people from Utah are my favorite. It’s like impossible for them to be mean. We learned the ALTRA story (zero-drop footwear, wicked comfortable, crazy light) and did a ton of events with the team, like a scavenger hunt/shakeout run to kick off the running weekend.

2. I got to know some really incredible people. (And they weren’t all just on their phones the whole time!) Blogger events can be weird. They can be intimidating. They can be off-putting. But I was introduced to this new group of people this weekend that I was downright heartbroken to say goodbye to. (Ouch, that grammar. Ignore it.)

Pushing Sarah and Lauren out of the way. Figured it was the only time I could be ahead of either of them. Speedy women.
Pushing Sarah and Lauren out of the way. I’M THE CAPTAIN NOW. Figured it was the only time I could be ahead of either of them. Speedy women.

I met Katie, who just ran an Olympic Trials qualifying time at the Hartford Marathon (a 2:41, in the rain). She’s fast as hell, super sassy, and a damn good parallel parker. I met Kristen, who was the best roommate and never yelled at me for occupying the bathroom for 95% of the time we were in the room together. I met Lauren, who is so lovely and poised and sweet and funny, and then goes and busts out a casual 18-minute 5K — and wins the race. I met Beth, who made me laugh so hard that I probably won’t bother doing crunches for at least a month because I got a solid ab workout all weekend. I met another Katie, too, who actually might be the nicest girl I’ve ever met. I want to hug her forever. (Check out her blog. She’s got a pretty amazing story.)

Katie and me and also Katie's awesome arms.
Olympic Trials Katie and me and also Katie’s awesome arms.

We had a really solid group. I loved learning peoples’ stories, both on the running level and far beyond, and think it’s bullshit they don’t all live in NYC. In my apartment. With me. And Brian.

Staying warm in the car before the half-marathon. We were cold.
Staying warm in the car before the half-marathon. We were cold.

3. The food was so good. (And people actually ate it!) Most of the food we were served came straight from the pages of the Runner’s World Cookbook. I freaked out over the mushroom tacos we had for lunch on Friday, they were so good, and was pumped I wasn’t the only one going back for seconds (er, thirds) of the white bean chili. The kale almond pesto during Saturday night’s dinner was also a stunner. Don’t hold me to this, but I might actually try to make the mushroom tacos myself at some point this week.

Someone asked Joanna Golub, editor of the RW Cookbook, for tips on taking pictures of food. She said "Hire a professional photographer." Which is what I obviously did for this snapshot.
Someone asked Joanna Golub, editor of the RW Cookbook, for tips on taking pictures of food. She said “Hire a professional photographer.” Which is what I obviously did for this snapshot.

4. I most definitely want like 100 children after watching the kids’ races on Friday night. (But I want to give them back after they cross the finish line.) Kids’ races are the cutest things in the world. I don’t really have anything else to say about this, except that when (not if) you go to the festival next year, you must make spectating the kids’ races a priority.


5. Bethlehem is a really cute town, and the famous and historic steel stacks are amazing. I developed an obsession with these steel stacks because you know how I have an affinity for very large structures and very tall people? The steel stacks fit firmly into category number one. They made for a great backdrop in all my photos.


6. One of the events on the schedule was basically “sit in a comfortable chair for an hour and laugh as hard as you can.” I love comedy shows because I love that the sole purpose of going to one is that you’re supposed to laugh and have the best time. What’s greater than that? I hadn’t previously heard of Liz Miele, the runner/comedienne on the lineup, but she was hysterical. And she’s Brooklyn-based, so I’ll get to go to her local shows probably every night now. She talked about running, racing, dating, and cats. So if you’re into those things, she’s your girl. Let’s go to her shows together. We can have a sleepover together after. Bring string cheese.

Funny girl. Check her out.
Funny girl. Check her out.

7. I logged some serious girl bonding time. I was so happy to have nestled myself into a group of girls early on in the weekend — something I had been a bit worried about in the early hours of the trip. I didn’t know anyone coming into the event, and man, it’s shocking how quickly you get transported back to grade school (grade school? WTF?) days and those feelings of “who am I going to sit with?” and “will they like me?”

5K + 10K = mojito time!
5K + 10K = mojito time!

Several of the bloggers seemed to know each other already, either from the internet or from previous Runner’s World events, and then there was me. But fortunately, I pretty quickly connected with girls who were as nice and kind and supportive as they were badass. Girls who won the 5K, and were consistently in the top 7 across the board for all the weekend’s races. Girls who love mojitos as much as I do. Girls who eat “first dinner” and “second dinner” and “snack” followed by “desserts plural.” Girls who believe in me and, after knowing me for just 3.5 days and three races, believe I can run a sub-23:00 5K.

8. The seminars were actually interesting. Sometimes they’re lame. I hear the word “seminar” and I’m like nope, going to eat a Snickers bar in the corner over here instead. But I attended several seminars throughout the weekend and they were all pretty kickass.

Mark Remy, one of my favorite writers!
Mark Remy, one of my favorite writers!

Golden Harper (co-founder of ALTRA, the race’s title sponsor) gave a running clinic, Mark Remy of Remy’s World fame talked about crafting his column, and Bart Yasso spoke about “My Life on the Run.” In each seminar, I learned something, I laughed, I engaged, I asked questions, and I felt my life (and my running) change just a little bit.

This is Bart Yasso talking about that time he ran a race tied to a burro. Hysterical. I realize you "had to be there," but the donkey's name was Taco Bell. Hearing Bart Yasso talk about "running with Taco Bell" just about killed me.
This is Bart Yasso talking about that time he ran a race tied to a burro. Hysterical. I realize you “had to be there,” but the donkey’s name was Taco Bell. Hearing Bart Yasso talk about “running with Taco Bell” just about killed me. I was all giggles.

9. The races were three of the funnest ones I’ve ever run. The races truly were the highlight of the weekend, and I actually loved each one equally.

Happy girls after the half! (From left to right: Kristen, Lauren, Katie, Beth, Legwarmers)
Happy girls after the half! (From left to right: Kristen, Lauren, Katie, Beth, Legwarmers)

My plan going into this weekend was very “we’ll see.” I could choose to run the 5K, the 10K, the half-marathon, or any combination of the three. Running all three is dubbed the “hat trick.” The 5K and 10K were both on Saturday (the 5K going off at 8 AM and the 10K at 9:30), and the half-marathon was Sunday.

Lauren, Legwarmers, Beth, and Katie at the start of the half-marathon.
Lauren, Legwarmers, Beth, and Katie at the start of the half-marathon.

Being fresh off Steamtown, I had no idea what to expect from my body. No expectations, and no pressure, and no plans. I was thinking maybe I’d run the 5K easy, skip the 10K, and then run the half-marathon as my long run for the weekend, since I’m running the New York City Marathon on November 2 and want to find the balance between recovering and tapering (um what?).

So I ran the 5K and my plan to take it easy didn’t quite happen. I took the first mile easy, but then I felt great and wanted to feel a little speed in my legs, so I ran “comfortably hard” for the next 2.1 miles. I ended up finishing just 20ish seconds off my PR! Go figure.

Negative splits. Like a boss. A boss of a negative splitting company.
Negative splits. Like a boss. A boss of a negative splitting company. (Official finish time was 23:28, which is a 7:32 pace.)

And then, because I had so much fun during the 5K, I lined right back up for the 10K. I took this one easy, for real-ish. I started easy, and then gradually picked it up somewhat unintentionally as I went, just running by feel and very rarely looking at my watch. I ended up with pretty solid negative splits for both races, which basically never happens, so I’m an expert at running now. Let me know if you have any questions.

Some 10K splits for you to look at and discuss with your cats.
Some 10K splits for you to look at and discuss with your cats. (52:56 official time, which is an 8:31 pace.)

I also wrapped up each race with a solid finish line kick. I like to think that despite whatever else happens on the course, I can finish strong, and I did that for each race this weekend — including the half!

Arms crossing over the body, as they do. This is "poor running form."
Arms crossing over the body, as they do. This is “poor running form.”

The half-marathon was also so so fun. Each course started and finished similarly, but the middle miles varied. For the half, we got to cruise through the Moravian College campus, down Main Street in Bethlehem, and through some really cute neighborhoods.

There's a Sands Casino in Bethlehem. That's where the half starts. IT'S NEAR THE STEEL STACKS.
There’s a Sands Casino in Bethlehem. That’s where the half starts. IT’S NEAR THE STEEL STACKS.

I was shocked by how much course support we got from the locals. The half-marathon course was fairly hilly in the first half, but I loved it. For each up, we got to go down, and I felt comfortable the whole time.

A little elevation, if you're into that.
A little elevation, if you’re into that.
I am an expert at inconsistency, apparently. But in my defense...it was hilly? And I wasn't trying to run a specific pace? What other excuses can I have for why these numbers are all over the place...?
I am an expert at inconsistency, apparently. But in my defense…it was hilly? And I wasn’t trying to run a specific pace? What other excuses can I have for why these numbers are all over the place…? (Official time 1:51:40.)

Perhaps most importantly, I ran happy from start to finish for each race, and never needed a bathroom along the way. (So seriously, body, WTF happened to you at Steamtown? You behaved so well this weekend! Are you OK?)

I also had the very best spectators at the half-marathon finish!

Parents + steel stacks + just ran a race = happiest Ali in all the land.
Parents + steel stacks + just ran a race = happiest Ali in all the land.

My parents were at a wedding in Pennsylvania this weekend, so they swung down just in time to catch me attempting a finish line kick at the end of the half. Lucky me.

Posing with a Nittany Lion! We're a Penn State family.
Posing with a Nittany Lion! We’re a Penn State family.

The races were so well organized, they weren’t too crowded, and the finish chute was awesome (there’s a big steel-or-some-metal arch and they lit it on fire!). There were tons of bathrooms — I can’t get over the fact that I didn’t wait to use a bathroom, indoors or outdoors, the entire weekend — and everything was as pro as it gets. It was hands down the most professional, well put together event I’ve ever attended. That’s saying a lot. Big cheers to the RW crew for making it all happen so seamlessly.

Hanging with David Willey after the comedy show. He's going to come to a November Project workout the week of the marathon. YESSSS.
Hanging with David Willey after the comedy show. He’s going to come to a November Project workout the week of the marathon. YESSSS.

Also a high five to my body for cooperating, surviving, and playing along. Good job, legs. Good job, stomach. Good job, jazz hands. You came to play, and I appreciate it.

10. They played the Celine Dion version of “God Bless America” at the start of the 10K. I lost my shit when I heard that first note of my favorite karaoke jam. So if you weren’t yet sold on attending next year’s events, I’m pretty sure this just did you in. Right? Right.

Hugest THANK YOUs to Beachy, David Tratner, Bart Yasso, David Willey, and the entire Runner’s World staff for making me feel so welcome and so happy in the most superstarish way for four days straight. These people are as good as it gets, and I’m really grateful to have had this opportunity.

Thanks for the sweet pic, mom.
Thanks for the sweet pic, mom.

I’m really glad I said yes. All this yes-ing is making for one hell of a 2014.

I’ve never done a sponsored post, and I’m not sure if this qualifies as one, but here’s the disclaimer! Runner’s World paid for parts of my travel and accommodations, as well as my race entry fees. Do I say that all opinions are my own? Isn’t that obvious, since this is my blog? If I had a bad time, I would tell you. But I had the best time ever.

And, if you made it this far, how about a giveaway! I loved all the food I ate this weekend so much, and I want you to get to experience it, too. So I’m giving away a copy of the Runner’s World Cookbook!

Everything is delicious. Everything is special.
Everything is delicious. Everything is special.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment on this post. Tell me one (or all, because I’m interested!) of the following:

  • Your favorite race you’ve ever run.
  • Your favorite post-long run food.
  • Your top highlight of 2014 so far.

The giveaway ends this Thursday, October 23, at 5 PM. Good luck!



205 Responses

  1. My favorite race was definitely the St. Louis half marathon I ran my senior year of college. It was my first big race and I had a blast!

  2. OMG this post SOOOO makes me wish I had done this race(s)! Maybe next year? And I want o do a race with you, because – don’t get creeped out – but I totally consider you a virtual friend. Which sounds super creepy now that I write that out and I really don’t even know how to make it sound less creeptastic. The internet/blogging is weird. Anyways….. my fav race EVER was my first half marathon — Santa Rosa up in wine country. It was magical and basically the best day of my life, and they served PANCAKES at the finish + wine.

  3. Jealous! I’m part of a geeky Facebook running group called the sub 30 club and so many of then were there. Totally jealous and totally hoping to go next year.
    You look happy- that makes me happy!

  4. Your weekend sounds amazing. I look at that weekend every year and say I want to run the races but PA is kind a hike from here; perhaps that can by my destination (run-weekend) next year… .hmmmmmmm…….

    Favorite race? By far the Shamrock Marathon; race is well organized, lined with hot Marines, run past lighthouses and the crowd support and after party are amazing.
    Post race food? This is a tough one because when I’m done running anything sounds good. I will have to say though a good ice cream sunday is fantastic; a close second is a burger
    Highlight from 2014? Starting my coaching company and watching new clients be so excited to be running/playing sports and succeeding with specific trainings and things I’ve shown them. It’s like Christmas!

  5. Favorite Race I have ever ran – has to be the Quad Cities Bix 7 this year. My hubby has taken up running and we ran side by side all along the way until I turned on my afterburners at the end! 🙂

    Favorite Post long run food – It’s not food, but CHOCOLATE MILK!!

    Top Highlight – Running many races with my good gal pal Luci. We have ran more this year than ever and each won the Grand Prix age level for our local running club! Woo Hoo!!

  6. Top highlight of 2014 was definitely getting married…and going on an awesome honeymoon to Greece.

    Favorite race I’ve ever run…is it weird that I’ve never thought of that?? I’d have to say Philly…either the Full or the Half. I just love that race….I always run strong there!

  7. Favorite race: Al Gordon 4-mile because it was my first ever! and it’s cold just like I like it. Hopefully though, the NYC marathon will overtake it in one week.

  8. My favorite part of 2014 so far was finding myself and my live for running. The running commu ity is so strong and fierce im so glad to be apart of it and i cant wait for my first race!

  9. Sounds like a fun weekend!
    1. My favorite race was the Boston’s Run to Remember.
    2. Favorite post run food is a gluten free pizza
    3. Highlight of 2014 was PRing the half earlier this month

  10. Post-race food… big freaking cheeseburger and /or gooey pizza. Though some could argue that is what my carbo-loading/random Tuesday looks like.

  11. I ran my first race ever on 4th of July (Hunter Vision Watermelon 5k. My favorite post-long run food is pancakes and bacon (such a carb treat). The best thing in 2014…getting married the day before your race. I was going to run RW 5k but had my farewell breakfast to attend.

  12. Okay – I am in! I love cooking so here are my answers:

    1. My fave race was in May of this year for Habitat for Humanity. It was my first race EVER. I ran the entire way and fought back the tears at the finish line. So proud of myself!

    2. Chocolate Milk….yes, it’s food.

    3. 2014 has been the best year of my life. I finished cancer treatments in January, and will be running my 10th race on 11/1. My first 10K. Running has been my little FU to cancer. Life is grand. Everyday is such a gift.

  13. It was great to meet you in person! Sorry that I was that weirdo who called you famous! Obviously I don’t need to enter the giveaway but I’ll still answer: favorite race run: The MDI Marathon in Maine which is my hometown marathon and my favorite moment of 2014 so far – becoming an Ironman! Hoping Philly will bring good things too 🙂

  14. I love your blog so much! You are so funny and positive!

    My top highlight of 2014 so far is getting married and becoming an aunt (I’ve had a busy year!)

  15. Your favorite race you’ve ever run. – 2010 Marine Corps Marathon, my first and still my best time. But my favorite because my family came down from NY to cheer me on and it was my 80 year old grandma’s first time to DC.
    Your favorite post-long run food. – Beer! Seriously, I run for beer. And gravy fries.
    Your top highlight of 2014 so far. – Getting out of my comfort zone and going to a few November Project meetups.

  16. Favorite race has to be the Eugene Marathon! Beautiful course, wonderful crowd support, and all-around fantastic experience!

  17. Ali, I’ve read this blog for many years and I am so happy to see your running and enjoying life. I actually started to read this post after a long day at work and was feeling awful, but then three paragraphs in I thought, “Nope, I am going running.” It was dark and I live in a city, but I was going to knife someone if I didn’t run so I ran fast in order not to get knifed myself. But, yeah, thanks for the encouragement.

    I am going to do these in descending order, but I am difficult.

    3. I’ve moved to three different states in 2014. It’s weird. But I think the best thing is that I’ve been able to find friends, running paths, and ice cream shops in all of them.

    2. Pancakes. No syrup. Sometimes bananas. Sometimes chocolate.

    1. I started reading this blog when I was training for an ultra marathon. I was living in Africa at the time and had plenty of time on my hands, so I said why not. I had never run more than a half before this and I was going to train for this thing in Africa, where kids sometimes threw rocks at me and I had to carry all of my water and fuel in a fanny pack. I trained for six months at a high elevation, running hill after hill. When the race came, in Cape Town, South Africa, it was amazing. I had everything I need to run and enjoy the race. The course runs by both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and through a forest. It was amazing.

  18. Ali, your post makes me want to go to Bethlehem next year. My favorite race was in my upstate hometown a few weeks ago. It was a 5k to benefit a local preschool. There were only about 60 people running it, and miraculously I was the first woman (I’m very middle of pack usually). And the adorable clay medals were made by the preschoolers! Fave post race meal: pizza. Highlight of 2014 (it’s been a rough one so it’s hard to think of one): so grateful my mom is getting better after being very ill. Love your blog.

  19. My fav race – the Chicago Marathon I ran 2 weeks ago! It was my first and the experience was awesome. It’s true what they say – the euphoria lasts for days (or even weeks!).

  20. My favorite post-run food? Home-made bread with butter. My best race was probably the Montreal rock’n roll marathon in 2013, PR, great location, great people

  21. My favorite race is the Nike Women’s race in San Francisco. I love it so much I’ve done it 3 times (one full and 2 halves, attempted 4, but a gimpy IT Band had me selling my bib)

    My favorite post-race meal is a burrito the size of my head, or In-n-Out.

    My 2014 highlight is kind of a combo – my boyfriend and I bought a house, I started a new job, we got a dog!!

  22. My favorite race was the Vegas Rock and Roll half marathon last November. It was a huge deal to me because it supported the Crohn’s and Colitis foundation and it was close to the five year mark since the surgery that put my Crohn’s into remission! I actually got hurt during training but I’d already signed up so I grabbed a girlfriend and we headed to Vegas anyway. I “speed walked” most of the race and ran the end (to heck with the bad ankle at that point!). I may have cried a little at the finish, but whatever–it meant SO MUCH to me to be healthy enough to do something like that for a cause that’s so near and dear.

  23. I’m a lurker and don’t usually comment, but I want to say I love reading your blog!

    Fave post-long run food: all of the food.
    Fave race: haven’t done many, but the Newport Half in Newport, RI was beautiful!
    Highlight of 2014: surviving this far into the year (I’m in my 3rd year of medical school, and it’s been a doozy!)

  24. Hi!! I recently found your blog and I’ve loved reading it so far! Thanks for the awesome recap of the RW races! It sounds like a blast.
    -My favorite post long run food varies but usually includes a banana
    – My favorite race so far is Disney Princess because it was my first half and just loads of fun
    – My top highlight of 2014 so far ….Flying out to Vegas to surprise my best friend after she finished chemo. We had an awesome girls week 🙂

  25. First of all…congrats on all the races! Your legs must be exhausted this week, mine always are after ONE race, let alone three.

    I’d flipping love that book! So

    – my favourite race ever was the Healdsburg Half Marathon in 2012 because I finally went sub-two (comfortably) after working towards that for so long. And the course was awesome.

    – my fave post race food used to be burgers but now I’m a veggie, it’s not quite the same. So I’d say French Toast with LOADS of cream

    – My top highlight of 2014 was my husband’s IronMan in July. It was pretty awesome, especially as I didn’t have to do it myself!

  26. It was SO great to meet you–after reading your blog for so long, I am so happy to see that you are just as kind and funny in real life as you are on your blog! It was such a great weekend, and I was sad to have to leave a little early. Great job on the races–and so soon after your marathon?!

  27. Woooohooo! Great job, Ali! I’m continually impressed and inspired by your fun energy and love for being happy and healthy! Just got back from my remicade infusion and read your blog to motivate to go for a *short* run 🙂
    My favorite race: Big Sur 10.6 miler. Beautiful run, great support, friendly and just the right distance to have fun.
    Best post-run food: Big turkey-avo sandwich with pickles, salt and vinegar chips & chocolate milk
    Top highlight: Staying healthy 🙂 It’s enabled me to enjoy everything infinitely more 🙂

  28. I swear, every recap I read of this weekend makes me want to run it! Definitely going on the “races I need to run!!” list!

    As for your questions – my favorite race ever was the Disney Wine & Dine half. It’s hard to beat eating and drinking “around the world” after running a half. My favorite post long-run food is a hot ham and turkey sub, preferably from firehouse, and with lots of cheese. My top highlight from 2014.. that’s hard. Probably watching my daughter start (and love) gymnastics. I have so many wonderful memories of it from my childhood and it makes me so happy that she loves it too.

    Enjoy the rest of your week!!

  29. Favorite post-run food? Does wine count? 🙂

    I got injured 4 weeks out from running the Chicago Marathon this year (would have been my first), so I still have hopes of loving a full marathon soon!

    And the best parts of 2014 have been two new nephews and travel to lots of new places!

  30. Boston!!! I loved Boston!!!! Do you know how hard it is to run while tearing up because you’re almost done with the Boston marathon!!! (I want to go back because i was there in 2013 and the after events halted any celebrating!)

    Food is a Latte- does that count?

    And my highlight of 2014 would probably be giving birth to my 3rd son approximately 2 minutes after arriving at the hospital- you really can run a baby out!

  31. My favourite race is last weekend’s Turkey Pump 10k. It combined trail running and rail trail running. I t was excellent. Including the killer 200 meters uphilll to the finish.
    My favourite post-run food is probably bananas and apples.
    The highlight of my season was running a 5k race in 27 minutes.

  32. Favorite race thus far: Possibly the Christopher Martin’s 5K in New Haven, because the after party is a huge celebration with pitchers of beer everywhere.

    Favorite post-long run food: Ultimate Green Smoothie with almond milk, chia seeds, kale, banana, apple, peanut butter, and avocado. Scott Jurek Minnesota Winter Chili is good too.

    Highlight of 2014: I’ve bought a house and begun a master’s program. Specific to running, I completed my first half marathon (Hartford), and went on some gorgeous long trail runs.

  33. My favorite race is probably the Superior Trail Races (spring and fall, various distances 25k to 100 miles). Beautiful trail, awesome people, super well organized.

    I’ve PR’d every distance from 10k to 50 mile this year. My whole running season has been a highlight. So much fun.

    Oh, and post-run meal? SECOND BREAKFAST. Eggs, black beans, rice, broccoli. YUM.

  34. My favorite running race was my first half – RNR Chicago – it was the farthest I had ever run and made me realize I could do just about anything!

  35. I definitely need to run this race next year (or the one in Boston!). My favorite race ever was the Falmouth Road race – so many spectators and so much fun. Nike women’s half in DC is a close second – very well run race.

  36. My favorite race ever…..
    Akron Half Marathon – September 2013.
    It was my 2nd half ever, and the crowds were amazing! Perfect weather, crowds, and my PR half as well.

    2014 has been a super tough running year for me. I have gone backwards…completely. I am slow anyway, but it is even worse. I will get it back and be better though! 2015 will be epic!

  37. My favorite race was the Hero Up Half Marathon in Portland, OR. My cousin lost her one of her four year old twins to brain cancer two years ago and she started this race to raise money for children’s cancer research. The inaugural race last year was held on the one year anniversary of burying her son. There was a great feeling at the race and it was so fun to be a part of it all. Because I knew the race director I was able to help with a few of the race preparations. It gave me a better appreciation for what goes into putting on a race and how important volunteers are.

  38. Fave race: Ironman Cozumel
    Fave post-race meal: turkey/stuffing/cranberry sandwich
    Top Highlight of 2014: being able to touch my toes for the first time in years – thanks yoga!

  39. Like someone up there ^^ said, I also read you and ShutUpandRun religiously. Maybe I will also now check out the other bloggers if they are good enough to hang with you two 😉
    Favorite race has to be the Nike Womens marathon (when they still had the marathon) in 2012 because it was my first marathon and it was just so FANCY, with the expotique and all.
    This coming Sunday is the Marine Corps marathon, which will be my third, and I hope it replaces NWM as my favorite :0
    Favorite post-long run food: the french toast my husband and older son make on Saturday mornings. I always have two slices and chocolate milk when I get back, then put my legs up a wall and take a cold bath.

  40. Favorite race? RnR half in las vegas last novemember with team challenge! no words to describe that experience!
    Favorite post-long run food? a giant cookie. or two…preferably a cookie with m&m’s in it
    Highlight of 2014 so far? my family reunion this summer. gotta love a good family vacation at the beach!

  41. Does beer count as a post race food? Otherwise after a race I just want carbs. I know I should eat protein but I want carbs and salt!

  42. My favorite race I’ve ever run was the Nike Women’s half in SF, but it sounds like I’ll definitely have to run this one next year!

  43. My favorite race (so far) was my first 25K in May, beer and pizza are my post run favorites, and running a race in Puerto Rico in February was a big highlight of 2014.

  44. My favorite race: disney princess half, it was my first and my only goal was to finish! (Which I did!)
    Favorite post run food: bagels & coffee
    Highlight of 2014: getting faster!

  45. Your favorite race you’ve ever run: my first half marathon (Best Damn Race- Safety Harbor, FL)
    Your favorite post-long run food: Cookies
    Your top highlight of 2014 so far: Getting married

  46. Well my favourite run i have ran was this year and it was the my first Marathon, the Great North Run. It was amazing, all the hard work and training was well worth it. The support was amazing and about half a mile from the end I actually started to cry as I was so happy and amazed that I had done it. I fear this is the start of something amazing.
    My fav post run food is scrambled eggs on a big field mushroom or a full on Sunday dinner mmmmmm
    My highlight this year was completing my first ever triathlon. I had wanted to do it for years but never believed in myself. This year I decided to train and see what happens. Well what happened was that LOVED it and want to do more. I still can’t believe that 2014 saw me do my first triathlon and my first half marathon.
    Your weekend looks like you had so much fun.

  47. This cookbook looks great! My top highlight of 2014 was finishing the San Francisco Marathon this summer – my first one!

  48. My favorite race was the Bozeman Half Marathon (my first half), but I love running the 5 mile of the Montana Women’s Run every year. There’s just something really cool about 8,000-10,000 women running/walking through the city streets and showing their support for each other.

    You’ve definitely caught my interest in the RW festival.

    Thanks for your posts. I’m new to your blog and I love your posts.

  49. Favorite race…hmmm…well, I’ve loved running a few trail half marathons this year. The Surly Loppet Trail race this fall (in Minneapolis) was a blast!

    As for my fav post-race food, chicken noodle soup (Panera, Noodles & Co, or homemade) always sounds amazing (followed up with a healthy serving of build-your-own-adventure frozen yogurt).

  50. I would say a highlight (not the top) of this year is integrating yoga into my life more and finally nailing crow pose!

  51. My favorite race of the year is our local thanksgiving day race. Super festive and you get to go eat All The Things after racing!

  52. Sounds like a fun weekend!!

    My favorite race to date was the Gasparilla Half in Florida. I ran my first 1/2 in under 2 hours!

    Doughnuts. Hands down.

    My highlight of 2014 is coming (hopefully) this week…my first little nephew!

  53. My list for you:
    1. I love and miss you, need a mojito, a comedian and a sweet spot to park my car…oh, and some lipgloss, always lipgloss
    2. This is EXACTLY the blog post I needed you to write for me – witty, descriptive, informational, you should be a professional, loved it
    3. WTF?!? 128 comments already!!! I have to step up my game
    4. Please let me know when you are going to rock that sub 23 min 5k. I’ll be there.
    5. Can we do this again next year? Even if we aren’t invited, lets just show up and pretend we were, they won’t be able to turn us away…especially with your eyes

  54. I ran the half marathon last year and LOVED it so I did the Hat Trick this year and I just love that little town. Best memory of this year is graduating from college and moving to DC…now to get my booty to a November Project workout here! And actually this weekend is at the top of the list too because it was my first race after an injury. Also, I am the girl who recognized you by your leg warmers hahaha! So nice to meet you and so glad you had an awesome time!

  55. My favorite race I’ve ever run was the 2012 NYC Half. It was my first half, I ran the whole thing with a friend I met training, and just had the best time!

  56. My favorite race so far is probably the Indy Monumental half marathon, it had great neighborhoods and support. My favorite post long run food is a stack of sourdough French toast smothered in syrup and some crunchy bacon! And my favorite part of 2014 so far was PRing at the Indy Mini but if this baby makes an appearance before the end of the year I suppose she might trump that 😉

  57. My favorite race so far was the Coach E 3/4 marathon in Brunswick, MO it is a very small race but was my longest distance to date.

    The best of 2014 is finally getting my anxiety and depression under control.

  58. Your favorite race you’ve ever run. – Melbourne Marathon (PR race so I had to pick that!)

    Your favorite post-long run food. Burger and chips

    Your top highlight of 2014 so far. nearly breaking 40 minutes in the 10km!

  59. My favorite race I’ve run was my first marathon this year in Chicago, just over a week ago! Came in at 4:34 for my first, which not as fast as I would have liked, but I like to think given proper training I have a sub-4 in me somewhere 🙂 Also happens to be my highlight of 2014.

    Favorite post-long run food is pizza. I know it’s bad. I know it’s so, so bad. But that and a good pumpkin beer? I can’t resist 🙂

    Glad you had such a great weekend! Cheering for you in NYC! (Also so jealous – going to try for NYC for my 2nd marathon next year, but I live in Boston so my odds are slim).


  60. Great post! Sounds like it was a fab weekend. I love looking at your splits, they are helpful.


    My favorite race: Goofy Race and a Half Challenge! However, I’m running NYC Marathon in 2 weeks… this may change 🙂

    Favorite post-long run food: Scrambled egg wrap with mushrooms, avocado, salsa and cheddar cheese!

    My top highlight of 2014 so far: Staying HEALTHY! Listening to my body more. No injuries and no flare ups! I’m ready to get my New York on!!!

    My favorite blog: Ali on the Run…Oh wait! You didn’t ask that question…

  61. My second full marathon is probably still my favorite race, up in south hero, vt, a small rural race by lake Champlain and through orchards! It was just so relaxing and fun! Highly recommend if your looking to do a fall race in VT!

  62. OOOOH! Fave race was definitely the Vancouver USA 1/2 marathon I ran in June. It was the first race where I smiled the entire time, where the miles flew by, and I felt like… like I was meant to be there. It wasn’t a PR, but it felt good none the less. Close second would be PDX full marathon in 2013 – Beer at mile 23!!!

    PIZZA is always my favorite post race food – I always say if I am not running or climbing, then you can probably find me eating pizza! 🙂

  63. Ali! Hi! Remember me? I post/email/tweet you every time I run a race to update you on the one million ways you’ve inspired me to be a runner… I also cried through your NY marathon post last year and you said you “screen shat” my comment for life… anywho…. time for a “My First Marathon” update. Yep, I did it! This past Sunday I became a real-live marathoner thanks to the Rock n Roll Denver. It was slow. So slow. Slower than I ever thought I would finish (4:40, oh gosh it hurts to type that, I can’t even believe it took me so long). You know how you said you ran 20 minutes slower at Steamtown than you thought you should/could/would.. that’s how I feel. But it’s just what I had to give on Sunday and I FINISHED, so let’s celebrate (I’ll bring the cheese)! So… favorite race: my first marathon! That also doubles as my 2014 highlight. Anddddd favorite post long run food: cinnamon chip bread from Great Harvest Bread Co. I’ll bring that to the celebration party, too.

  64. This week-end seemed so great! Yeah to your “yes-ing” attitude 😉 I was wondering if the seminars were only for the people invited (bloggers, journalists maybe) or it they were also open to the public. In this case, is it free to attend the seminars?

    Also, I would be glad to try the RW recipes 🙂

    My favorite race was a little local 10K I raced in April this year, in a little Californian town I now call home. It was my first race after moving to California. I was scared of the American runners (I mean, in my head, Americans are SO fast and SO competitive and SO strong in everything), didn’t know what to expect. I ended up first female finisher. I have to remind you it was a realllyyy small race. But, still, I would have NEVER thought I could win a race one day. It was so strange to run in the front, alone, knowing there was no woman in front of me, only men. It was really fun 🙂

    I also have to answer the 2nd question, because, breakfast is my favorite time of the day. I love breakfast. So, my favorite post-long run food is homemade bread (I would prefer baguette but my personal at-home baker is still trying to figure it out) and jam or Nutella or peanut butter and jam, a cup of tea and orange juice.

  65. I loved this post!

    Here goes for my giveaway entry:
    1. Country Music Half Marathon this year. I didn’t train well and by far was my hardest race- I felt sick the whole time and was grossly under prepared… but I finished! I was so proud of myself.
    2. Favorite post-race meal is pasta… of any kind… with cheese. Lots of cheese.
    3. Best moment of 2014- would be the 2014 CMM and not because I did well, but because I finished (see pt. 1). I haven’t had a mental challenge like that before, and to have pushed through it was such a high for me. I was so proud and happy when I was finished!

  66. Chief Running Officer??!! How do I get a job like that?! This sounds like such a fun weekend, so glad it was good running and good company!

    I would love another cookbook to add to my collection!

    1. Favorite is by far the Jamestown, RI half I ran with CCFA this July! Kerry ran with me and we talked the entire time, took pictures and videos to send to family members and I ran way faster than I ever have before.

    2. Anything! But really I usually crave breakfast food, eggs benedict, omelet, bacon, lots and lots of hashbrowns!

  67. SO sad, I had to cancel at the last minute — I was in the blogger group too and looking forward to meeting you! I’m glad you girls had fun…I went last year and yes, the RW staff is absolutely amazing. Bart is seriously the best and I did feel like royalty!

  68. My favorite race – so far – was the Nike Women’s Half in San Francisco (on Sunday!). I trained hard, ran strong, and have never felt so accomplished after a half. And it was incredibly well organized.

  69. Favorite race was Fox Cities Marathon – best course and spectators everywhere!

    Turkey sandwiches with hummus and spinach for me… If I am feeling bad I get a burger.

    Top highlight has been losing 22 lbs! And running a PR in my last half marathon. 🙂

  70. I am sooooo sad I didn’t see you there! I would say one of the best things from 2014 was this race weekend. I wish I had competed for the races, but I had a great time running with my husband and just going out at a leisurely pace. It was such a beautiful weekend, course, and weather! Runners World put on such a great race weekend that I’m considering Heartbreak Hill festival for next year! Glad you had so much fun!

  71. Favorite race was by far my first half marathon- The Buckeye Half Marathon. This was special because I got to run it with my sisters. It was our first run as a family.
    Favorite post run food- all the food ever. Seriously though I like a beer and french fries.
    Best run of 2014 was the one I ran after getting diagnosed with Crohn’s this July (whomp whomp). Running has not really happened since my hospital stay and diagnosis and this past weekend I participated in a short bridge run (1.7 miles) and felt so amazing I ran the whole thing! Crossing that finish line was really emotional. It really was the highlight of my 2014 runs.

  72. As a BRAND NEW MARATHONER I obviously have to say it was the Chicago Marathon of 2014. I’ve never known what it was like to smile from start to finish for 5 hours and I certainly didn’t know it was possible while running. I’ve never enjoyed an experience more or been more proud of something I’ve done!

    I can’t limit post-run food to one thing so I’ll list a few – PANCAKES because nothing brings so much joy as pancakes, pizza, more bread, and cupcakes (all of the cupcakes!)

    Top highlight was my marathon. I never thought I’d say I finished a marathon and ENJOYED it. I took a year that was tough for me and turned it into the year I ran a marathon. Pretty much the best thing i’ve ever done!

  73. Runners World is top notch! Sounds like a really fun weekend- I bet being with all those other runners is amazing motivation!

    1. Favorite race I’ve ever run: Cherry Blossom 10 miler in DC, an amazing, fairly flat loop through a beautiful city with awesome crowd support!
    2. Favorite post run meal: Chicken and waffles! Checking all major important health food groups.
    No running highlight of 2014 sadly- I have had some minor health issues this year (nothing as bad as Chrons though!) that has kept me from running, but luckily I can still go to Soul Cycle (look for me in the back row with the light resistance) so that’s a current highlight!

  74. My favorite race was my first-ever, a 5K, because I was so in awe of the feeling of camaraderie!

    My favorite post-long-run food would have to be some kind of tasty smoothie, because I feel like a super-healthy superwoman whenever I manage a long run.

    Highlight of the year was celebrating my one-year date-aversary with my first boyfriend, who made even the months of Crohn’s flare in early 2014 feel manageable.

  75. Sounds like an amazing experience and weekend! I’ve been following your blog for awhile but a giveaway finally sent me over the edge to comment!

    Favorite “race” was the Color Me Rad 5K I did in April, since it was also the first time my best friend and boyfriend got to meet. Favorite post-run food is anything from Bojangle’s. Top highlight of 2014 will hopefully come next Tuesday when I get my first dose of Entyvio and hopefully get my Crohn’s back under control! Hoping that your magic drug comes out sooner rather than later too!

  76. By far, my favorite race is a 5K in Marblehead, MA. It’s the first race I ever run and I run it every May. This year was my 4th year running it!

    I don’t have many “long runs” these days, but I never turn down pasta. (I mean, who can???)

    And finally, the highlight of 2014 has definitely been losing 15 pounds and getting myself back into a solid gym and workout routine. I feel great, think I look great and have been busting my butt. And it feels awesome!

    xox Marie


  77. Favorite race ever? Its so hard to choose, but based on my experience and the race itself, I would say the Haunted Hustle Half Marathon in October 2012. Its a local half in Madison, WI, and I ran/walked it at 20 weeks pregnant with my son and it was amazing!
    I have so many favorite post long-run foods, probably my favorite post long-run food is a big cheese burger.
    Highlight of 2014 was my beach vacation with my family, we drove to Panama CIty Beach, Fla, in July. It probably was what screwed up my training for my August half, but I don’t care. I love the beach and want to go back.

  78. Favorite race: crater lake marathon. Freakin’ gorgeous.
    Highlight of 2014 was the birth of baby boy #2. Downside was peeing my pants while running thanks to postpardum problems. :/
    I really don’t have a favorite post race food. Whatever sounds good at the moment.

  79. My favorite race was the Seven Bridges Marathon in Chattanooga. Not because I ran it particularly well but because my awesome friend and her family traveled to meet me there and she ran the last 7 miles with me because it was my first full marathon. I never could have done it without her.

  80. Favorite race: RnR DC half marathon–course was amazing

    Post long-run Food: this is too hard. But I usually like sweet soft things. Muffins–lately i’ve been hardcore craving fig newtons?

    Highlight of 2014: TRAINING FOR FIRST MARATHON!

    The RW festival looks so effin amazing! I am jealous beyond belief and I’m so glad things are amazing for you right now!

  81. favorite race of all time was the Mayor’s Marathon in Anchorage, AK IN 2006. Beautiful weather, beautiful course (there was a MOOSE on the course in the first mile!) and I just felt like I was flying, even though my iPod died around mile 17. Still stands as my marathon PR. It was a good day.

  82. 1) USATriathlon Nationals in Milwaukee
    2) A smoothie followed by pasta
    3) Running an 18min 5k and qualifying for Team USA in triathlon!

  83. OMG, I love that you met Beth. I don’t know either of you, but I read you both religiously and imagining you in the same actual, physical space just tickles me.

    Can I answer these for rowing? Because I only run to cross-train now. 😉

    * I have only done one regatta so far–a 5K on the Petaluma River–and it was THE BEST.
    * My favorite post-row food is ALL THE FOODS, but not until about an hour afterward. I know. It’s not optimal. But it helps to get past the nausea of a really hard row before I put food in there.
    * Highlight: Watching my toddler discover the world this year has resulted in a series of highlights. 🙂

  84. 1) Strip at Night Team Challenge 1/2 marathon in Vegas 2011.
    2) cheeeeeseburgers
    3) new job, new place, new meds (Humira). Weee!!

  85. 1) My favorite race ever was St. Patrick’s Day 5K in South Boston a few years ago. We ran along the parade route and there was a lot of great energy.

    2) My favorite post-run snack is either a chocolate/peanut butter/banana smoothie.

    3) Top highlight of the year is a combination of moving closer to Boston, running more without knee pain, and watching so many of my friends get married.

  86. Your favorite race you’ve ever run: Probably the Brooklyn Half Marathon in 2013 because I ran it for fun and with friends and not for time. That’s just good for the soul.

    Your favorite post-long run food: Whole wheat everything bagel with egg whites and cheese. Sorry, I hate yolk; what can I say!?!

    Your top highlight of 2014 so far: Honestly, 2014 hasn’t been such a stellar year for me but the highlight of this year so far was DEFINITELY watching my brother become a half marathoner for the first time. Almost better than when I did it myself.

    Also, I want to come over and eat tacos with you! But I don’t like mushrooms so can we just substitute string cheese or something!?! 😉

  87. Yippee! Bethlehem is my hometown! I’m so glad you liked it and enjoyed your time there 🙂
    I ran the RW Half last year and had a great time. But the Hat Trick?! I dk how you pulled that off! That’s amazing. And you’re so speedy too. I’m glad you were feeling better than Steamtown. Great pics, and yeah those Steel Stacks are pretty awesome. My grandfather used to work at Bethlehem Steel 🙂

  88. My favorite race that I have ever done is the Surftown Half Marathon in Westerly, RI. It was my first-ever half, and I ran it in just under 2 hours. It was the most emotional race I have ever run- to think back to where I came from to where I was at that point. It was amazing!

  89. Highlight of 2014 – finishing my first marathon!
    Then finishing my second marathon – the Chicago Marathon, which I signed up for before I had even run my first marathon.
    Great giveaway! Looks like it was a great time…..

  90. favorite run was my first half in flagstaff, AZ!! Favorite post run food is hamburger!!!! Favorite event in 2014 is my daughters first birthday!!

  91. Favorite race is definitely the NYC marathon! Or, let’s be honest, any race I’ve ever PRd in. I tried to think of my favorite post-run food but I love all food (especially after running!) so it would be cruel to make me choose just one. Beer is definitely involved though.

  92. I think my favorite post-race food will be those mushroom tacos. Read the recipe and will make them this week. Sound amazing!

  93. I love your blog and I love this post! Sounds like it was an incredible weekend. It’s so hard to pick a favorite race, but I will go with the Big Sur marathon. My 2014 highlight has been training for NYC with RUN Smart. And my favorite post-run food is dim sum.

  94. My favorite race was this year’s Chicago Marathon. Post-race food is first chocolate milk then mac and cheese. Highlight was shaving a full hour from my marathon time.

  95. Highlight of 2014 so far was finishing all my long run this summer and fall and making it to the marathon taper injury-free! Hooray for tapering!

  96. My favorite race ever was the second time I ran the City to the Sea Half-Marathon in San Luis Obispo- and the best post-long run food is burgers and beer!

  97. My favorite race was this years Ragnar ADK ( I was also runner 1). My favorite non relay race is the Mohawk Hudson half in Albany.

    My favorite post long run food is an egg sandwich, Ezekiel sesame, fried egg, avocado and cheese.

    My favorite part of 2014 was buying a house, well not the paying for it part, but the moving in part and calling it my own part rock.

  98. Favorite race – Madison Mini Marathon in Madison, WI.
    Favorite post-run food – Chipotle. Or a burger. Whatever it is, there must be a big beer involved.
    Highlight of 2014 – I did 4 Ragnars (FLK, Chicago, Appalachia Trail, and Wasatch) and I made a lot of new friends in doing so. Not running-related, but in July after 7 years of dating, my man and I got engaged.

  99. Sounds like an amazing experience all around!
    Favorite race: a half marathon in Quebec City – it was so cool to run in another country and they count DOWN instead of up (and km rather than miles, obvi) which was really refreshing.
    Favorite post-race food: after the chocolate milk, anything goes. Usually a burger and fries, but sometimes pizza or another equally fattening option.
    2014 highlight: finishing my first marathon (Boston). I ran in 2013 and was stopped less than a mile from the finish, so 2014 was even more special for me. Boylston Street was exhilarating and I had a REALLY great race – finished in 4:18, smoking my goal of 4:30!

  100. My favorite race was my first ever half marathon, the Cleveland Half. Seeing familiar faces along the course was AMAZING. For long runs I am obsessed with a large turkey sandwich, with lots of mayo and provolone of course.

  101. Favorite race I’ve ever run: Nike women’s half marathon in DC. There is something about an all (mostly) women’s race that I loved. I would never have thought that about myself–being more of a guy’s girl, but watching the support every girl had for each other, and watching people run (or walk) their first half marathon, was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve ever had. (The little blue box at the end didn’t hurt either).

  102. My favorite race is my first 1/2, the Andrew Jackson Half Marathon.

    My favorite post-long run food is anything with peanut butter.

    My highlight of 2014 so far is the 7 miler I just ran on Saturday. It was my first run over 6 miles in over 2 years!

  103. This sounds like such a fun weekend!
    1) My favorite race was definitely my first half marathon in Austin with my childhood best friend Ben. Running in my hometown with a million bands and local musicians on the course was incredible, and the course crosses over over town lake twice. Living in Brooklyn, I often run over the Brooklyn bridge and back home over the Manhattan. Bridge running is the best!
    2) Chicken and waffles. If you haven’t tried this, go find it right now. It’s fried chicken on waffles. With maple syrup. I’m salivating just thinking about it.
    3) I took a trip to New Mexico this fall with my boyfriend and did some incredible hiking all over the state. Road tripping from trail to trail is my favorite way to travel.

  104. Favorite Race – Harpoon Oktoberfest Race in VT
    Favorite Post Race Food – Honestly varies from race to race, but I love going out to breakfast/brunch after a morning race

  105. I’ve lived in Utah for almost 5(!) years and can confirm that everyone here is super nice. This seems like such a fun weekend!
    1. Twin Cities marathon – my first ever marathon this year and it was so awesome.
    2. Eggs + Avocado in any combination but especially in breakfast burrito form.
    3. I got married! And combined my marathon taper with the most wonderful honeymoon in Italy. Would 100% recommend.

  106. First, congratulations on the “Hat Trick” and so happy for you that you Yes-ing everything..I think I need to pick up that mentality!

    Favorite Runs- Turkey Trots every year in NJ or now in SFL

    Favorite post 5K run since those are the only lengths I currently do is Publix Sub!! (For those in FL they probably understand this)

    Top 2 highlights of 2014: Being asked to be a bridesmaid in my best friend from elementary school wedding next year!

    Being a spectator at the Chicago Marathon. After living in NYC and being a spectator at both NYC and Boston it was the next major city on my list to spectate at!!

  107. My favorite race I ever ran was my first marathon, the inaugural Louisiana Marathon in January 2012. Everyone should go do this race in Baton Rouge, it’s awesome!

  108. I am so jealous of your awesome weekend, and you have 100% convinced me I need to do this. And happy to hear your body was treating you well and let you enjoy your weekend!
    I need to drop back in on NP soon…perhaps next Friday right before the marathon. Because that seems smart, obviously!

  109. I absolutely love this post and especially that you are able to go out and live life again!!!
    I would love a copy of that cookbook so enter me in the contest!
    Also, I too am obsessed with tall people……

  110. Awesome job! Sounds like such a fun weekend! My favorite race is a tie between NYC Marathon and Ironman Lake Placid. Post race binge = BEER and my 2014 highlight was completing Challenge Atlantic City 140.6 miles!

  111. Hi Ali! I hate to say this, but after a long run (especially on a hot day outside) my favorite way to refuel is with an ice cold brew! Maybe it’s because Colorado has so many delicious craft breweries, but IMHO it’s the best way to refuel 🙂

  112. After any race, I don’t typically have an appetite. But the following day, I would like pancakes, bagels, a burrito, maybe some cupcakes (that is only after a marathon, not a 5k, silly!)

  113. My favorite race is Milwaukee Lakefront Marathon. It’s the only marathon I have run twice (my 1st & my 7th) along with getting a BQ this year! Yay!!!
    Favorite post run food is probably pizza and/or burger and wine 🙂
    My 2014 highlight was qualifying, can’t wait to go to Boston in 2016!
    Love your blog!

  114. So glad you’re back out there doing what you love! And happy to see a return of the more frequent blog posts 🙂

    Favorite Race: Saratoga Palio – Half marathon in Saratoga Springs, NY, my hometown. I definitely saw my city from a new perspective when I ran this in September!
    Favorite post-run food: Bagel (if it’s a “good” NYC-caliber bagel – none of those frozen things!) or a burger/fries or pizza or anything carb-licious.
    Highlight of 2014: Having our first baby. Didn’t know if it would happen post-cancer. And he’s a blast!

  115. Hi Ali-
    Loved this recap! If I ever fall into a running slump, all I need is a few lines of your blog to get me laughing and re-energized.

    Here are my responses:

    Favorite Race ever: Lululemon Seawheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver, BC. A MUST if you love lulu, running along the pacific, and general awesomeness. The whole course is like running through a weird, fantastic dream. Seriously awesome.

    Favorite post run food–a GIANT Chipotle burrito. Its completely normal to time your long run finish with Chipotle’s 11 a.m. opening right?

    Favorite 2014 memory–my best friend got married in London in August & we had the best time ever.

  116. Moravian is my alma mater….I ran cross-country and track there and loved running the streets of Bethlehem. I ran the 1/2 the first year they had it! I definitely need to get back and run it next year!

  117. My highlight of 2014 was running the Ohio State 4-mile race where we ended on the 50 yard line. What a fun race! My husband carried a football the whole way – he said it would be his only chance in his lifetime to get a carry on the field. 🙂

  118. My #1 and my #3 are the same thing, so I’ll go with that! I ran my first 10k this year and I had a blast! I really enjoyed pushing my distance (had never done more than a 5k in the past) and it was sort of an “aha!” moment that if I put in the training and the effort, but body actually will get more fit and will be capable of a distance increase. I’m sure that sounds really dumb, but I’ve never been the athletic girl and had always just assumed I was not capable of things like this. It inspired me to kick it up to a half marathon, which I am in the midst of training for now. Watching you coming back from your illness to conquer, like, a thousand races has been pretty inspiring too! Wish me luck!

  119. Thanks for the fun recap and the links to tons of other bloggers!

    I didn’t run any races this year — too busy to train at a competitive level and just wanted to enjoy running for running. Nevertheless, I have run 2,790 miles in 2014 to date. And my favorite run was back in my hometown Chicago — there’s just something about revisiting the place where you first began running. Nostalgia is a great running motivator.

    Post-long run food is and always has been blueberry pancakes.

    Highlight of 2014 is not running related, but meeting Neil deGrasse Tyson.

  120. Favorite race so far: Twin Cites 10k
    Favorite post-run food: chocolate milk
    2014 Highlight: Running my longest distance so far: 10k with my husband by my side the entire time!!

    I’m glad you’re having such a great 2014 Ali you deserve it!!

  121. My favorite race I have ever done would be the Diva’s Long Island Half Marathon – Not only did I PR but the course was primarily flat and the perks once you cross the finish line are awesome!

  122. My favorite race is a local one in Cape Cod, MA. Nice and easy 5.2 miles that starts and ends at an Irish Pub, which I think says it all 🙂

    And favorite post-long run food would probably be pizza. Or a turkey burger. Or pasta (I live in the North End in Boston so the pasta everywhere is AMAZING).

    My highlight of the year was my trip to St. Thomas. Running on the hills there is NO JOKE, but omgsopretty.

  123. Nike Women’s half was this past weekend, and so much fun!! I’ve been injured this year, so I’m just happy to be running!

  124. I think the best race I’ve ever run was the Seawheeze Half Marathon. It was well organized, crowd support was amazing, the course was nearly flat and the weather was perfect!

  125. Loving your blog!

    1. Favorite race so far – I haven’t done many yet, so I’d have to say that it’s a toss up between my first 5K – The Color Run – that my parents, sister, brother-in-law, niece, nephews and a friend all ran with me, or The Go!St. Louis Halloween 10k. That one was the first time I was able to just run the whole race, never walking. It was awesome and I felt great after.
    2. Favorite post-run food – I’m usually pretty careful about putting too much in there immediately, so usually it’s a protein bar or some sort of protein/recovery food.
    3. 2014 Highlight – another race. The Bolder Boulder in May. My brother and sister-in-law ran with me and there were other friends running and family and friends spectating and it was just a blast. It’s a fun race! And I think my favorite thing about it was realizing how far I’d come in a year and half. 85 lbs gone and from no running at all to running more than 6 miles at over 5,000 ft altitude. My body can do way more than I give it credit for.

  126. Good report. I think we stayed at the same hotel as you guys. By the way, that is my son with glasses and superman socks in the kids race picture.

  127. Hartford Marathon 2012! Beer and Pizza, of course! And cupcakes. NYC Half 3 months after my baby – felt like nothing had changed and finally felt totally normal, except with the best baby ever to go home too 🙂

  128. Congrats on your races, Ali!

    Favorite races are the Milwaukee Brewers Sausage Race 5Ks. The races aren’t the best, but I love them because my entire family does them and it’s a fun tradition.

    Favorite post run food is Jason’s Deli salad bar. A little bit pathetic how much of a motivator that food can be during a long run for me.

    Best of 2014 is finally (this week!) being able to slowwwwly and intervally start running again after a bad car accident in August.

  129. Favorite race: Baltimore 1/2 marathon – challenging, rewarding and really the best of Baltimore!

    Favorite post-run food: does beer count (of course it counts!) and nachos.

  130. 1. Favorite race so far – NYC Half 2014. This was my first half ever – loved every minute of it.
    2. Favorite food post run – french fries…and wine (that’s a food, no?)
    3. 2014 highlight – so far my highlight was shaving 9 minutes off my half time at the Staten Island half.
    Congrats on your races! Love the blog! You sold me on the RW hat trick!

  131. My favorite race so far has been the Hot Chocolate Run. Because really-anytime they give you chocolate at the end just has to make it a good day!

  132. favorite race – Naples Half Marathon – my first
    favorite post race foo – ice cream
    highlight of 2014 – 5k PR & 10K – resulting from y first injury-free year

  133. I loved running the Central PA Arts Festival race (held at Penn State)! It’s a fast course with variety and that’s where my PR is.

  134. favorite race was probably my first marathon, the Philly Marathon.. although the turkey trot/hobble that i did with my niece and nephew 3 days later was pretty fun too 🙂

  135. Favorite Race:it’s a 10k out here in Oregon called Pints to Pasta. I love loved loved the course. Downhill the first two miles then finishing at the waterfront. Heaven. And they feed you spaghetti and beer after!

    Favorite food post race: Pizza with lots of meat/red onions

    Highlight…finishing 2 10ks and a shiny new PR… I just now need to get to an hour….May never happen, but I can sure try!

  136. Oooh pick me! My answers are:
    Your favorite race you’ve ever run: Chicago Marathon, just over a week ago
    Your favorite post-long run food: deep dish pizza. Carbs! Cheese! Cheesy carbs!
    Your top highlight of 2014 so far: that would be running said Chicago Marathon. First, but definitely not the last.

  137. I actually just ran my first 10k, the Tufts 10k for Women, and it was awesome! Highlights included:

    – My brother skipping out of work to surprise me halfway through the course–lots of ridiculous/silly photos ensued.
    – A PR! I mean, it was my first 10k so it’s a PR regardless, but it was my fastest race ever and I was 🙂
    – I got to high five Joan Benoit Samuelson at the end. She’s the coolest Boston marathoning lady in all of the land.

  138. You are so awesome. I hope it’s contagious 😀

    1) My favourite race must be a 7k race I did in April. First year around. It was kinda small, had an awesome course and awesome prizes. And I placed in my age-group. Not that it matters. Because I’m not competetive. At all…

    2) Don’t know. I’ve just started dipping my toe into longer races this year. I’m undecided on the looove yet.

    3) 2014 has just been awesome. My best friend visited in the summer. I’ve had some great courses at uni. Got some new friends. Got a bunch of PRs (most of them unofficial). Feeling pretty happy, so yeah, it’s good.

    I have no clue if I can take part in this give-away since I basically live on the other side of the globe. But that’s ok.
    Good job on the race and being awesome and stuff.

    I’m on my 3rd glass of wine and had chocolate ice cream for lunch. I’m embracing adulthood, yo! 😀 (Goes as an additional point for “why 2014 is awesome”)


    My favorite race is Cowtown (I haven’t run a TON of races, and all have been local to Dallas area) but Cowtown is one I run every year, and was my first half marathon and it just gives me all of those warm fuzzy happy running feelings.

  140. My favorite post race food would be pizza… (but I think that is pretty much my favorite all the time food). I also really like pop chips..

  141. Favorite race: 2013 Pittsburgh half marathon – my first!

    Favorite post-long run food: chocolate milk, hands down. Followed by salty things like potato chips, pizza, cheese… mmm.

    Top highlight of 2014 so far: tie between going to Puerto Rico on our belated honeymoon and finding out I’m going to be an aunt in Feb. 2015!

  142. My favorite race I’ve ever run is the Thanksgiving Day Atlanta Half Marathon. Hands down best half. Ever. My fav post-long run food is anything with peanut butter. Or really just a jar of peanut butter.

  143. omggg… mushroom tacos! they sound perfect for fall. congrats on running 3 amazing races at this event.

    my favorite race ever is the seatuck owl prowl 5k – coming up soon! a highlight every october.

  144. glad your body cooperated this weekend!!! PR at NYC???

    1. Providence Rock ‘n Roll half marathon – which, sadly, no longer exists 🙁 🙁 – or any Ragnar with my favorite people!
    2. Chocolate peanut butter protein shake (necessary), followed up by french fries with extra salt and a big glass of orange juice.
    3. Being able to walk! Had major hip surgery in June and am just recently walking unassisted 🙂 Looking forward to running (across the room?) by the end of the year.

  145. Sounds like an amazing weekend and I’m loving the “say yes” attitude! The top highlight of 2014 for me so far has been buying my house. It’s my happy place!

  146. My favorite race so far has been the Tri for a Cure! It was a first for me, there were THOUSANDS of supporters/spectators – and I enjoy long events over short events!

    My favorite post-long run food is a greek yogurt parfait with granola and frozen fruit.

    And the best part of 2014 so far was my move into my new apartment. I love the new location (as a runner!) and my new kitchen!

  147. Ughhh I want to do this SO badly! Maybe next year, when I’m not fresh off another injury or can actually run a mile without having to walk and/or wanting to die. Questions — I loved running the DC Rock & Roll. I also really really love spectating races. 2014 is the year when I took my life and my health back. Can’t wait to have a new resolution in 2015 that doesn’t include losing weight!

  148. Gosh, my favorite race is such a tie between the Charlottesville, VA Marathon and the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Woodstock, VT. Both are great courses with wonderful volunteers! Favorite post-long run food is oatmeal with bananas, peanut butter company dark chocolate dreams peanut butter, and almond milk…yummmmmm! The highlight of 2014 – qualifying for the Boston Marathon and getting in for 2015! This has been a dream of mine for a long time now! Sounds like I should add RW Festival to my 2015 list as well!

  149. my favorite race that I’ve done is the F^3 half marathon – it’s in January in Chicago along the lakefront, and it’s so much fun!!!

  150. Wow! Loved this post! Loved that you met great fellow bloggers and hit it off. Love that your body behaved and that your first sponsored post is still unapologetically you. You are my hero.
    I’ll be spectating at 110th and 5th on 11/2 (mile 22.5 ish) look for me and my labradoodle Duncan! We will look for your leg warmers and cheer you loud as ever.

    My favorite race is most definitely the 2014 nj marathon I ran this past spring. Never hit a wall and finished in 4:38 a whopping 10 min faster than my prior pr 🙂

  151. 1. I’m going to say NYCM is still my favorite race. I’m into crowd support so that is all me!
    2. Anything salty after my post long run…I am not super picky. Just feed me………!!!
    3. No real highlight thus far in 2014…just happy to be healthy and training for NYCM…take 2!

  152. OH GIRL!!!!!! So many fun memories from the weekend. I’m just glad I got to gaze into your eyes (it helped me poop). I still don’t know who that guy was sitting with us at lunch that day who ran all of those ultras, but he sure was cute. Tell your mom and dad great to meet them too and that they produced an amazing daughter!! Best of luck in NYC! I am going to crash your apt when I come to run the marathon one of these years.

  153. Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. (The first one is a lie. I haven’t had a pizza race. But if one exists I would like to run it.)

  154. OOH I’ve been wanting this book! Ok so here you go, all three.

    1) My favorite race? It’s typical for me to say the Boston Marathon BUT my real favorite race was the Runners World Half Marathon in Boston! I PRd on easily the world’s hilliest course, and I had SO MUCH FUN and I saw someone on the course holding up a sign that said Tim Riggins loves me. Clearly, amazing.
    2) Garlic pizza. My husband gets me a small garlic pizza after all my races and I sit on the floor with a glass of wine and eat the whole thing. It’s great.
    3) I got married! And I ran Boston (and finished this year)! HOORAY!

  155. My favorite race I have ever run was hands down the NYC marathon – it was my hometown race and I felt like a rockstar for 26.2 miles!

  156. My favorite race ever was the Napa to Sonoma 1/2. My favorite post-long run food are bananas. And my top highlight of 2014 is getting MY life back 🙂

    Glad to hear you had such an amazing time!

  157. My favorite post long run food is Chipotle. I know it sounds weird to have Mexican after running, but that’s what I crave every time.

    I’m glad you had so much fun. Nice job on all your times. 1:51 half marathon so soon after your marathon is impressive!

  158. I was gonna say my favourite race was my marathon, but this would be a LIE, I only enjoyed the ground i covered between the finish line and the beer tent on that run-but lovvvvved the training. Annoying.
    So maybe it was my first trail race, 13k, which I ran in Squamish, British Columbia while on holiday there this summer. It was an amazing sunny day, the skies were blue, the Rockies were bitchin’, and I was suuuuuper slow-but the whole time I kept thinking-I’M RUNNING THROUGH A FOREST! ON TRAILS!IN THE ROCKIES!With, i dunno BEARS and stuff! whaaaaaaaaaaaaat!’
    And my top highlight of the year was that entire holiday-which was full of amazing runs all over the cities we visited, including my total favourite-the shoreline in Vancouver. sweet!

  159. I am so glad I got to meet you! I had such a great time getting to know you and everyone else and I’m really glad you decided to say yes to coming. Runner’s World really did pull out all the stops and it made for one incredible weekend. Now we all need to figure out a reunion!

    1. Come to NYC. I will make you so much plain pasta. Tim can come, too. I’ll make him meatballs. So so so glad I got to meet you and spend tons of time with you this weekend. It was the best. And I miss you.

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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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