See You In Brooklyn

Tomorrow, I’ll run the Airbnb Brooklyn Half for the third time.

And in a weird turn of events, I’m feeling great about this race.

With two of my favorite guys at the Brooklyn Half Pre-Party!
With two of my favorite guys at the Brooklyn Half Pre-Party!

I have a very meh history with the Brooklyn Half. I ran it in 2011 after eating a lot of now-off-limits corn for dinner the night before. I had a great first half, and spent the second half dashing from one porta-potty to the next. It was rough. No more corn for Ali.

In 2013, I was supposed to run, but was in the midst of a brutal Crohn’s flare-up, so I had to DNS.

Last year, I followed a calculated and precise training plan — and then some. I ran more miles than my plan called for, and I didn’t rest enough. I hadn’t recovered smartly after my two fall marathons, and it wasn’t until I was three miles into the race and my legs stopped working that I realized I was totally over-trained and under-rested. It wasn’t a fun lesson to learn, but it was an important one, and it completely changed the way I run and train now.

All smiles and jazz hands at the start. All misery by mile four.
All smiles and jazz hands at the start. All misery by mile four.

This year, I didn’t follow a training plan. I started upping my mileage a few months ago, doing long runs (usually 10–12 miles) on the weekends. I ran four or five days a week, and plenty of rest days. I did short interval workouts on Tuesdays (usually three miles of 400m or 800m repeats), but otherwise most of my miles were easy ones.

With the OG NJ Track Queens, Sam and Em. I chase them in circles every Tuesday at 6 AM. It's awesome.
With the OG NJ Track Queens, Sam and Em. I chase them in circles every Tuesday at 6 AM. It’s awesome.

I didn’t wear my Garmin for a single run. I tracked my runs using the Strava app on my phone, but I was never aware of my pace while I was running. I trotted based on effort. There were times I would review my runs afterward on Strava and I can tell you that as much as I adore the app, I’m about 90% sure it tells me I’m running way faster than I actually am. So I take the data with a grain of dark chocolate with sea salt. But it’s helpful in terms of keeping a rough track of mileage.

I definitely could’ve trained harder. I could’ve pushed myself more, could’ve done long tempo workouts (but avoided them because they intimidate me), and could’ve done more strength training and cross-training. I definitely could’ve cleaned up my diet. But this was the training “plan” that worked for my lifestyle right now. Between the move, a new puppy, and a fairly unpredictable work schedule, this kept things fun without feeling stressful or like a chore.

Cleaned up diet = ham and cheese omelet, home fries, and a "side" of chocolate chip pancakes... #eatclean
Cleaned up diet = ham and cheese omelet, home fries, and a “side” of chocolate chip pancakes… #eatclean

I’m not necessarily feeling super confident about my fitness going into this race, but I’m also not worried about it. I’m not at my fittest and I’m definitely packing a few more pounds than I usually do. I’m not trying to PR tomorrow (my very outdated half PR is 1:44:48, and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to beat that), but I do want to race well and run hard.

Taking running VERY SERIOUSLY at November Project.
Taking running VERY SERIOUSLY at November Project.

I have one big goal for tomorrow: I want to have a good day.

I want a day where things click and feel good. I want to enjoy running and racing, and I want to finish feeling proud and exhausted. I want to represent my team well. I don’t have a specific time goal, but I would be thrilled to run sub-1:50.

Is this the only shirt I own?
Is this the only shirt I own?

I’ll be racing without a watch, which has worked well during my last few races. I find I’m better able to check in with myself and enjoy the race rather than constantly checking in with where I’m at pace-wise. I’m able to dictate my own race instead of letting a GPS device do it for me.

So that’s the plan-less plan. Run hard. Run happy. Stay out of my head. Don’t be afraid to let it hurt. As long as my stomach cooperates, I feel ready to rock.


Good luck to all the other 27,000 runners out there tomorrow. Don’t throw away your shot. Run hard, run happy, finish fast — and look for Ellie at the finish!

See you at Coney Island!



10 Responses

  1. Cheering you on from Chicago! I hope tomorrow’s race will be everything you hoped for and more.

    I am going to try to get into this race next year. I’ve never run it before & it looks so fun 🙂

  2. I hope you have fun and have a great race and all that stuff, BUT I’m mostly here to complain that this Friday post contained no photos of Ellie. Her fans have certain expectations.

  3. I’ll be out there too!! Running with my daughter that didn’t train AT ALL!! So if you see a semi-crazed mom yelling at her crying daughter….look away. ?
    I’ll be looking for Ellie! Good luck!

  4. I think you are going to surprise yourself tomorrow Ali! I think no pressure training is fantastic. I ran very similar to you the past several months post flare and I PR’d every distance…minus the half. I will try to hunt that down this fall but still not willing to be slave to splits and a structured training schedule.
    I run a LOT of slow miles 10 – 11:30 and raced in the low 8’s so slow = great rewards.
    Good luck, hope you have a truly enjoyable race! Go get it!

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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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