New York City Marathon Training: Week 9


Things aren’t going so great around here.

I’m still sick. This was the first week that I really couldn’t run and that my mileage really fell apart. And on top of the stomach stuff, which has gotten progressively worse, plus the fact that I’m so tired I can barely see what I’m typing right now, I’ve also developed a new, very painful symptom, which is a broken face.

OK, not really a broken face. But I woke up in the middle of the night Saturday with very intense jaw, neck, and throat pain on my right side. (Way to stay strong, left side!) It hasn’t let up, and I can barely swallow or open my mouth. Last night, Brian made this nice, very healthy-looking dinner, and I didn’t even eat it. Because I couldn’t. It’s so painful, and so strange, because I’ve never experienced this before. I don’t know if it’s some kind of joint pain and inflammation as a result of the flare, if it’s TMJ (I grind my teeth…badly), or my wisdom teeth decided to grow in (doubtful).

Last night, the pain was so bad that I just cried. Normally if I cry when I’m sick, it’s because I’m sad and emotional, but these tears were strictly pain-induced. I’m a mess.


And with that, here’s how the past week of “training” looked! (Spoiler: terrible.)

Monday, September 12: SoulCycle

This day got off to a rough start. My stomach was a mess all night, and kept me close to the bathroom all morning. Finally, around 10 AM, I was able to get moving, so my friend and I (the one I was staying with in L.A. — remember I was in L.A. last week?) went to a SoulCycle class near her apartment. The class was fine, nothing special, and definitely not as satisfying as the run I was supposed to do, but it was nice to at least move and break a sweat somehow.

Then we went to the So You Think You Can Dance finale, so overall it was a fun day. But pro tip to fellow Crohn’s kids: If you’re flaring, don’t wear a jumpsuit. It’s not fun to fully strip down every single time you make a run for the bathroom.

Step. Repeat. Step. Repeat.
Step. Repeat. Step. Repeat.

Tuesday, September 13: SoulCycle

Another day in L.A., another SoulCycle class. My flight back home wasn’t until 12:50 PM, so I took a class with Roarke and then showered and headed straight to the airport. Again, the class was nothing special, though Roarke is a total babe. So if you’re into sweaty eye candy, check him out. Like literally.

Non-NYC SoulCycles are so spacious!
Non-NYC SoulCycles are so spacious!


Wednesday, September 14: REST

The notes in my handwritten training journal for this day just say, “REST. Fuck everything.” (My mom says I’m allowed to swear when I’m sick, so I don’t have to apologize.) I was sick, tired, unable to leave home, etc. But it was Ellie’s birthday, so it’s fine. I still had a good day.

The underbiting birthday girl!
The underbiting birthday girl!

Thursday, September 15: Yoga (60 minutes) + Run Attempt (2 miles)

I ventured into the city to take a 60-minute class at Lyons Den — and guess who was there? You’re not going to guess. Kate Winslet was there! She was so lovely and sweet and she’s very good at yoga (she was directly behind me, so yeah, I did set my drishti on her during Downward Dog). It was nice to be back at Lyons Den, and fun to have Rose Dawson in class.

And then I met Pablo!
And then I met Pablo!

I was so encouraged by successfully getting through a yoga class that I decided I would try and go for a run at night! I hadn’t run in a week, and I wanted to give it a go. I had taken Ellie for a little walk and been fine, so I could run, right?

Wrong! I made it a mile from home (with a bathroom stop .4 miles in) and then entered “worse case scenario” mode. So…yeah. I’ll spare you the details. But I spent the rest of the night frustrated, upset, and crying. The crying probably doesn’t help the dehydration.

Friday, September 16: SoulCycle

I was actually supposed to do yoga, but on my way to Lyons Den I urgently needed a bathroom, and SoulCycle was right there. So I ran in to use the bathroom, realized I wasn’t going to make it to yoga in time, and figured hey, I’m here, may as well take a class. So I took Rique’s 5 PM class with all the moms of TriBeCa talking frantically about the weekend’s Bar Mitzvahs. One woman was very upset (like, hysterical on her phone in the lobby) because her Chanel was on backorder or some shit. I don’t know. I want those to be my problems.

Brush up brush up brush up.
Brush up brush up brush up.

Saturday, September 17: Yoga (90 minutes)

Class was fine. I spent the whole time wishing I were out running because the weather was so amazing. I know that’s a bad outlook, and I’m usually pretty good at being able to be grateful for what I can do. But weekends are hard, because weekends are for long runs.

During half-pigeon pose, Bethany read something about watering your garden, and TBH it didn’t really resonate with me because my head was all over the place. But I remember one part that talked about how sometimes flowers wilt — but if you give them time and water, they can come back to life and be beautiful again. I cried, because I’m a wilted flower.

Same same.
Same same.

Guess what happened after class? You’re not going to guess. (Unless you’re on Snapchat.)

I was walking back to the CitiBike station, and I saw this cute little doodle puppy walking around. No owner. No leash. Just walking on the sidewalk, by himself. A few people are looking at him, like, “Aw, he’s so cute!” And so I asked the people, “Is this your dog?” Because he was dangerously close to a very busy intersection. So I was slightly concerned about the off-leash situation. The people were like, “No, he just walked into the restaurant — he’s not ours.” So why are you just standing there? Ugh. People.

So I slowly walked over to the little guy (I didn’t want to scare him and send him running), held onto his collar, and, WTF, there was no tag on it. No name, no phone number, no indication if he was chipped or not. So I picked him up and gave him kisses and made sure he felt safe, and then walked around with him asking if anyone knew whose dog he was. No one did. So I looked up the closest vet and figured I’d carry him to the vet and see if they recognized him or could tell if he was chipped.

Fortunately, as I was walking him to the vet, a man and his son came out of their building and were clearly relieved to see their pup in my arms. They were his owners! (I kindly suggested they get him a tag for his collar, to which the owner snapped that “it fell off.”) It was a very strange interaction (please be better dog owners than I judged you to be…), but I’m happy the pup got home safe. I was hoping that earned me some good karma for a while. TBD.

Then I went home and snuggled MY puppy!
Then I went home and snuggled MY puppy!

Sunday, September 18: Not the Newport Liberty Half (6.2 miles, though)

I was supposed to run the Newport Liberty Half on Sunday, and I was determined to do it. So I planned everything: I ate dinner early on Saturday, I woke up crazy early to try and “empty my system” before heading to the race, I did my race braid, and I was going to run to Newport before the race so I’d get in my scheduled 18 miles.

Well…that didn’t happen.

It was a really rough night, and my body wasn’t showing any signs of letting up all morning. Finally, around 6:30 AM, I called it. There was no way I was going to be able to run the race. So I crawled back in bed with Brian and Ellie, let myself cry for a few minutes, and then got a few more hours of sleep.

Still, I was determined to run 18 miles. “I’ll wait until I’m ready, and then I’ll run the 1.5 miles to the track,” I told myself. From there, I could just run loops of the track. Would 60 loops be boring? Yup. But I’d always be near a bathroom, so I’d at least have mental reassurance.

Well…that didn’t happen, either.

No pretty running photos = puppy photos instead.
No pretty running photos = puppy photos instead.

But I did force myself out the door in the afternoon to at least try. Because I may fail, but at least I’d have tried, right? I was able to cover 6.2 miles, which I was part thrilled with and part frustrated with. No, it wasn’t the 18 miles I wanted, or the half I’d at one point hoped to PR. But it wasn’t zero miles, either. I made a ton of breaks to go to the bathroom and walk, and I was so tired the whole time. But I ran a little, and I broke a sweat, and for a few seconds in there, I felt like I was flying. Those are the fleeting moments I’m living for right now, and the ones that are keeping me going.

In a chocolate-covered nutshell…

RUN DAYS: 2 (kind of)



TOTAL MILEAGE: 8.2 miles. Crushed it.

TOTAL ICE CREAM: One [half carton] of ice cream. I got back from L.A. late on Tuesday, and I was exhausted and cranky on Wednesday and didn’t have any food in the house. So I ate ice cream for lunch. Once I realized I’d eaten, oh, half the carton (and we’re talking the big cartons, not one of the little Ben & Jerry’s ones), I threw it in the trash, Miranda-style.


What went great: Nothing! (Ew, so negative.) What went great is that I kept trying. When I couldn’t run, I tried to at least do something. And I’m back home. After lots of travel, it’s good to have a few days at home before jetting off to Paris (which I’m kind of dreading unless my health takes a serious turn, but we can talk about that another time).

Where I need to improve: In the spirit of focusing only on what I can control, let’s just say I could improve my hydration. I should drink more water. That’s something I can control!

Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 9 of training: “All we can do is keep breathing.” —Ingrid Michaelson

New around here? Here’s how training has gone so far. (The short version: It was going great!)

NORMALLY THIS IS WHEN I ASK YOU TO TELL ME ABOUT YOUR TRAINING THIS WEEK! But hearing about other peoples’ amazing runs is, frankly, bumming me out right now. Sorry. So while I truly hope your training is going wonderfully and that you’re running smart and staying healthy, tell me about something else instead. Like your ice cream or alcohol consumption, or about how many puppies you saw while on the run this week.



31 Responses

  1. Ali, great blog, I feel for your pain, I remember my first day of running (some of it walking) I live by the ocean and beach running along the boardwalk is great. I started running only for the healthy reasons. But found out quickly the pain in running if you are not on some type a training program. Again great blog and keep them coming.

  2. OMG jumpsuits are my nightmare. Also, the thought of being freezing in the bathroom also freaks me out. The only jumpsuits I can get on board with are onesie pajamas… the ones WITH the buttflap, so there’s not cold naked bathroom trips.

  3. My heart hurts for you when you are flaring- I know that feeling well and follow you closely in sickness and health. You have such an amazingly positive attitude. Hope your tummy calms down. And you get a great doctor who has lots of great ideas. Way to go on the puppy save- what a DB getting mad about the tag. Just embarrassed, I would guess. My pup happily ran through the (dead, dry) grass on our beautiful bay walk this morning. The air is getting crisp and I’m burning an autumn candle at the moment. I too have been eating a lot of ice cream… tends to help my belly to eat avos, bananas, coconut rice and rotisserie chicken. Hugs and fingers and toes crossed.

  4. Ali, I often read your blog but have never commented before. I just wanted to say that your attitude is AWESOME. I read your recent posts about your latest flare and I wanted to weep, but you work so hard at that smile and that positive attitude, and yet you don’t pretend it is anything other than it is. I don’t have Crohns — I am 45 years old and I have IBS and some other nagging things, but they are nothing like Crohns, and I am in awe of the way you carry on. But I also wanted to say: take care of yourself. Know when it’s time to give up and rest for a few days/weeks/months, and try again later, you know? PS Ellie is GORGEOUS 🙂

  5. I ate a carton (also not the tiny one) of ice cream in about 3 days last week. Seriously considering *not* buying ice cream the next time I’m at the grocery store, but pretty much only because I plan on making cookies at some point this week….

  6. Oh Ali, I’m sorry to hear this is all happening. I saw on Twitter that you are going in for surgery? Is this to correct the jaw issue? I hope it all goes well and corrects whatever is going on. I had gum surgery twice now, so I can totally relate to mouth pain. Hang in there.

  7. Wishing you lots of healthy vibes and a beautitful and safe trip to Paris. I work across from a Pet School/Doggy Daycare so whenever I’m having a rough day I walk across the street and stare at the dogs, so fun.

  8. Just fyi, if it is your wisdom teeth, my ‘recovery’ was almost nonexistent. it went great. You never know where you might actually get lucky in life (relatively speaking,right?) I got mine out in the morning and I went out that evening and was fine the next day . Also, i have bad jaw pain from time to time. You can try one of those oh-so-sexy mouth guards at night.

  9. Long time reader (years!) but usually on my phone so harder to comment.

    so sorry to hear that things are rough right now…I really hope to hear that things turn around on your recap next week!

    We have a vizsla named Matilda; this weekend we dog sat our friends golden and another friend’s muppet looking dog named Piper. It was such a fun weekend of DOGS, DOGS, DOGS 🙂 You would have loved it!

  10. Wisdom teeth? Did I miss out on something due to my snapchat aversion? I’m so sorry you’re having such a rough time.

    Stuff to tell you from the Best Coast? It’s boiling hot and we have no AC so we’re all basically melting. I made muffins yesterday but forgot a cup of oats so they sank and were crap. I saw a little red fox on my Saturday run and I would like one as a pet. I thought Tatiana Mas-thingy looked wonderful at the Emmys. I bought some nearly-new running shoes at the RRS tent sale for $50 each and I’m kind of in love, even though I haven’t run in them yet. And I’m coaching my husband to run a marathon but he doesn’t like me telling him what to do 🙂

  11. Oh no! I saw your Snapchat about the wisdom teeth – when it rains, it pours, apparently! (And really because it was pouring earlier today…) Best of luck with the wisdom teeth. I had mine out in 2008 and it was totally fine. No narcotics or anything! Went to work as a waitress the next day and everyone asked why I was so quiet, ha. But you’ll be great!!

    If you need someone to complain about not running to, just let me know – I’ve just a little over two months until I’m allowed to even consider it. 🙂 (I wish you had a clear cut timeline too, although I know that’s definitely not the case.)

  12. That skyline is beautiful! I can’t lie–one of the reasons I keep running every morning or evening is to see the beautiful colors over the ocean. It never gets old!

  13. I’ve never been what you’d call a consistent runner, more like an occasional jogger, but I decided to run my first half marathon earlier this year. I committed to training and was finally starting to feel like a runner, but 5 days before I was set to run the race I got hit with some pretty terrible health news. I ran the race anyway because I wasn’t going down without a fight, but for the last 6 months I’ve maybe run a grand total of 10 miles. I know we’re not going through the same health issues, but I definitely know how it feels to have your ability to just go out and run stripped away from you and it sucks. Although DQ blizzards and chipwhichs sometimes help to soften the blow, nothing can replace the feeling of a great long run, so I empathize with your terrible, horrible, no good, very bad feelings. I wish I had some great advice, but sadly I do not; having a life-interfering-with illness is frustrating at best and maddening at worst. So just know that you have a whole lot of people supporting you from the sidelines, ringing our cowbells as loud as we can!

  14. Funny story that might cheer you up: I was on a bike ride this weekend and my tradition is to always stop halfway through to get some cold brew coffee for a little quick energy. When I walked out of the coffee shop, a couple was sitting outside with their dog. The dog was friendly and adorable but sounded like it was meowing. I couldn’t figure out what the heck I was hearing. I was about to turn around when I saw a CAT sitting on the lady’s lap meowing. It had a leash. I laughed and HAD to ask why the heck they brought their cat to the coffee shop. Apparently their house was getting sprayed for fleas and they had to vacate for a few hours. Cats on leashes….SMH. Hilarious.

  15. I love th Ingrid michaelson quote!
    Right now my worry is not having income. I’m a freelancer with a dry spell and I’m freaking out.

    You even leaving the apartment to venture into the city for yoga or soul cycle is inspirational and courageous. I will pray so hard for you that your flare (and jaw pain) dissapear asap.

  16. I have a 5 month old puppy who has greatly reduced my mileage (puppy walks trump solo miles these days), and we just found out she has a pretty severe heart murmur which is a huge bummer! Feels like a bad dream that I can’t seem to wake up from. Crossing our fingers she remains asymptomatic and happy but for the time being just trying to keep breathing! Hope everything works out for all of us battling things out of our control. In the meantime, more Ingrid, more puppy snuggles and more ice cream!

  17. Being out of the game is so tough. I’ve been there myself and always feel so bad getting angry at other runners who can do what I can’t do right now. I mean I want to be happy for them, but it’s so hard! I try to stay off social media because it just makes things worse, especially on the weekends.

    Not sure what is going on with your jaw, but I grind my teeth and wake up multiple times during the night with my jaw clenched. I notice I do this a lot when I am feeling particularly stressed.

    I just wanted to say that you are in my thoughts and I hope you feel better soon! Hugs.

    P.S. I love your jumpsuit!

  18. I have a pulled calf (or cow, in my case) and got in 12 painful slow miles-9 with my German Shorthaired Pointer, Rosemary, and 3 with my Vizsla, Sage. We saw a variety of other dogs, several squirrels, 3 deer and 2 bunnies. Like you, when I cannot run, I rely on the gym to keep me sane. Wish you felt better…

  19. Wishing you could be out there with us! You would have loved my mile 2 jokes. Ok maybe they weren’t that funny. The ice cream event? Happens to me too many times that I can admit…

  20. Hi Ali!!! I follow you on allthethings social media because you inspire me daily (corny but true) and we share a ridiculous love for musicals. Anyway, I rarely comment, but I hope you see a dentist ASAP! I had a very similar experience where I woke up one day and had crazy jaw pain and stiffness, and it turned out to be that I needed an emergency wisdom tooth extraction (this was when I was 27, so the wisdom tooth thing is definitely possible later in life). Anyway – sending positive vibes to you everyday!! Keep your head up 🙂

      1. my colleague just had this and it was like 2-3 days depending on your immune system and overall health. he smokes and isn’t that healthy so i am not sure how that compares! when i had my wisdom teeth out (and they were considered bad extractions) it was like a week only bc they became infected 🙁 it wasn’t until i was on very strong antibiotics that i responded and felt like myself within 24 hrs.

  21. Ali – have you ever had a throat scope to see if you have acid reflux? I was having that horrible neck/jaw/throat pain and went to an ENT and turns out I have acid reflux and vocal nodules
    (Which sucks because I just started singing in a band when I got that diagnosis!) anyway – sorry things are sucking right now, I’m a longtime reader. Go to Paris and just do the best you can. If you have to spend all day in the bathroom and can only get out and walk around for a little while, so be it. Good luck to you!

    1. I haven’t — so thank you for the tip! This is the first time I’ve ever had this type of pain and I’ve been assuming it’s TMJ/from grinding my teeth, so my first stop is to a dentist. Good to have another thing to try if that’s not the fix — thank you!

      1. If it’s from grinding your teeth, and if/when your dentist suggests a $700 grind guard (I swear I don’t even grind my teeth, and they’ve been suggesting it for years! But then again, who am I?), you should look into It’s like 80 bucks or something, and my grind guard is nearly identical to my husband’s way, way more expensive one! It does take a few weeks, so there’s that, but just wanted to let you know!

  22. Ali, we’ve met before at November Project (you inspired me to start going).

    I hope you feel better!

    This weekend I saw a teacup poodle that was the size of a small teddy bear. It stopped to be pet by a passersby about every 20 seconds or so, and her owner says she (the pup) loves attention and knows how cute she is. I hope this week allows you some time to feel as happy as that pup did walking down the street!

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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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