A Lighter Look At Life Lately

I started writing this post by laying into all the harshness, nastiness, and all-around terribleness of the internet lately. Beyond just the political climate — can I get an ugh? — the internet feels extra harsh lately. But then I realized, hey! It’s not just the internet! It’s everywhere!

I wish I could embrace a total digital detox for a few days, but with my job, that’s just not feasible. So I’m attempting to at least somewhat filter what I consume so I can breathe a little easier, if only for a little bit. Beyond watching the news and reading about the news and trying to keep up with the madness, here’s what I’ve been up to lately…

On Saturday afternoons, we take Ellie to different dog parks in the area! Sometimes our friends come, too! And then we go to Rockland Bakery for fresh bread and stuff! (Ellie was asleep on my lap so she missed the quality photo opp.)

FEELING: Better than a month ago, that’s for sure! The Stelara is working, I have no doubt. I’m still going strong on my dairy-free quest, which seems to be helping, but I’m definitely not totally in the clear. I’ve had some rough mornings lately, and I get frustrated when I eat something one day and feel fine, then eat the same exact thing the next day and it sends me straight for the bathroom. I am a constant science experiment. (More about the dairy-free month next week. It’s been way easier than I expected.)

I’m looking forward to the day I feel normal, though I’m also at the point where I’m like, “Is this my normal?” Do I, even when I’m at my best, still feel this crappy in the mornings? Mornings are always my toughest part of the day, but I don’t really remember just how trying they’re supposed to be. TBD!


WRITING: All the usual hard-hitting, life-changing stuff, like this piece for Allure on “what some women are really thinking about during sex.” I was happy with how this piece for Women’s Health turned out (these women are inspiring, and I love that their “transformations” weren’t just about losing weight, but also about getting stronger and being happier), and I liked writing this piece for Shape on how Crohn’s disease has made me appreciate running (and life in general).

The Allure piece was LOL-worthy enough to earn a hot take on The View yesterday. Such fame. Wow. (Right before they brought on former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power. Smooth transition. Very similar.)


RUNNING: I’ve been running! I’ve been getting out around three times per week, which feels so good. It’s nice to not have any pressure to run — no races! no training plans! no goals! — but last week, as I was finishing a run and rounding the final turn toward home, I felt like pushing it. I picked up the pace for just a few seconds, and it felt so good. I stopped and was gasping for air, and I felt so happy. I haven’t had much desire to push it with regards to mileage and am really just running for exercise and fun and my general wellbeing, but dang, it felt nice to try and go fast!

My outings aren’t all that special. I stick to the waterfront where I’m most familiar, and I still always make that first bathroom stop .4 miles away at the ferry terminal. I know it’ll take a while to regain the fitness I lost since I was running regularly back in August (which was when I stopped running), but I’m in no rush. I have noticed that I’ve been taking fewer walk breaks lately, so it’s coming!

When I am healthy, I will get to run with Ellie more! (Right now she doesn’t love the idea of being dragged into public restrooms mid-run…)

I also do 10 push-ups every night, so I’m pretty inspiring. Don’t be intimidated. I make Brian do them with me, and he always does more than 10 because he’s so hardcore, but then Ellie will start licking our faces and going nuts, so…that’s usually how that “workout session” ends.

TRYING: A new spin studio tomorrow! I was out for a run a few weeks ago and desperately needed a bathroom. I was darting around an apartment complex in “uptown” Hoboken when I spotted a barre studio and a spin studio! Who knew?! (Everyone in the area but me, probably.) I used the bathroom at the spin studio, hooray, and picked up a class schedule on my way out. I’m taking my first class there tomorrow! I’ve been saying I’ll explore the NJ fitness scene since we moved here almost a year ago and now, look, I’m finally doing it!

COOKING: Every damn day. I’m still going strong with my cooking! (More about this next week, too.) I generally do an oatmeal bake for breakfast (cook once, eat all week!), avocado toast with sunny-side-up eggs for lunch (if you follow me on Instagram, you knew that already…), and then something simple for dinner, like fish and veggies and usually some variation on a sweet potato. I love cooking, but holy shit, the dishes. And the grocery shopping. I feel like all I do is grocery shop and do dishes. Every single week.

This is chicken curry and I MADE IT!!!

SLEEPING: Terribly. I started relying pretty heavily on Ambien while I was flaring because otherwise I was up all night and was constantly exhausted. But you’re not really supposed to take it every night, so I’ve been trying to go some nights without. On the non-Ambien nights, I really struggle. I can fall asleep, but I toss and turn all night, I can’t get comfortable, I’m restless, and then I wake up exhausted in the morning. I don’t want to be addicted to a sleep aid, but I need to remedy this sleep situation ASAP. I have new sheets and a new blanket, and I’ve bought a bunch of different pillows to test out. What’s my problem? (Sad face emoji.)

It’s also worth noting that the reason I’ve been trying to do more nights without Ambien is because I had a little episode the other night. I went to bed before Brian, and when he came to bed, I “woke up” and started talking. Like weird talking, nonstop, for 20 minutes straight. I was telling crazy stories (and at one point yelled at Hillary Clinton to put her tray table up for takeoff?) and being super weird, and so…yeah. Should probably lay off the sleepytime drugs.


PLANNING: A trip to Utah with my friend Michael next month! I haven’t been to Utah since 2010, when I went on a work trip, so I’m excited to spend a few days with her and her family in a beautiful place.

And planning my podcast! Coming next month, unless I screw something up between now and then! I have a ton of guests in the pipeline — some runners, some non-runners, always people with something good to say — but if you have suggestions or someone you’re dying to hear from, let me know!


MISSING: Central Park. Yeah. I miss running in Central Park and walking Ellie in Central Park and generally being near Central Park. I love the waterfront out here, but once my stomach is a little more steady, I’m looking forward to popping over to the park for some runs.

WHAT’S NEW WITH YOU? What should I cook next?! How do I sleep better?! Do you want to see more pictures of Ellie?



27 Responses

  1. What if u try melatonin for sleep?
    And I have read wonderful things about the calming affects of weighted blankets. Going to try one for my son who has anxiety and ADD, which sometimes leads him to have issues with sleeping.

  2. I told my ex once that I was pooping cupcakes while sleep talking, zero sleep drugs involved. I used to make him record me so I could hear my wacky rants. Can’t wait to scare the shit out of my next suitor w that 🙂

  3. I’m happy that you’ve stifled your political views on the blog for as long as u have now. I’m am also tired of America being so nastily opinionated about politics. I’m really tired of seeing it and then seeing it blown out of proportion. So thank you for not talking about (or “arguing about”) your political opinion. I really love ur blog and ur posts that include New Hampshire always make me homesick for Vermont. Thanks Ali.

  4. I too, was “into” Ambien when I was flaring (for years)… so hard to get off the stuff! BUT, I did find that Valerian helped A LOT. Melatonin helps with the drifty/regulatory stuff, but Valerian knocks me out. I also count backwards from 100- so boring it works. Putting down my computer/iphone and setting the screen to the warmer nighttime color makes a huge difference too. Happy cooking, running and healing!!!

  5. I feel your crohnsing frustrations of being able to eat something one day and have no issue. The next day though, SURPRISE!

  6. Try Calms Forte by Hyland. Seriously changed my life, allows you to sleep without feeling groggy the next morning and is all natural. For your podcast interview Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell from Another Mother Runner!

  7. So jealous that you’re heading to Utah! The flights were too expensive so we’re going to Colorado for a ski trip soon. I do love any ski trip, but Utah is awesome!!
    Maybe you can get Kara Goucher on your podcast! You’ve got connections, right? 🙂

  8. Can’t wait for your podcast and yes, always more pics of Ellie! I’m slightly a fanatic for the podcast Can I Pet Your Dog if that shows ya anything 🙂
    There are tons of fitness spots in Hoboken and hope you get to try Prime Cycle. I love Dani and she is very understanding of the occasional mid-class run to the bathroom move (so me instructors aren’t, which can be tough). I also liked a place called WiO (work it out).
    So glad you are feeling a bit better overall!

  9. I had a chance to run with the run4allwomen relay last week from NYC to DC and would love to hear more from Alison Desir of Harlem Run!

  10. Hi, this is also kind of woo woo, but have you ever tried essential oils? I’ve been using Young Living for a year and make a sleep blend. I put it on my feet and I swear it works. Even if it’s placebo effect, I love it.

  11. THE DIRTY DISHES NEVER END. Especially when you bring a million containers to work so you can feed yourself all day. I have an embarrassing meltdown approximately once a week because I’m so sick of dishes. (I probably shouldn’t admit that in public…but seriously. They mess with my emotions.)

    Also, so pumped to hear your podcast!

  12. Hi Ali! Thanks for the fun update!

    I do follow you on Instagram and I KNOW I should know this already from your IG stories, but can you post your recipe for the egg avocado toast? I am so jealous of it every time you post a picture!

    Ambien addict here — I know many people who made the switch to Clonazapam (technically an anti-anxiety drug) to help them sleep at night. Not sure if you’ve tried that before.

    1. Clonazapam is what I use to sleep some nights- I think it works wonderfully- there’s still some rambling upon waking during the night, but apparently it’s milder. Also helping with general anxiety it can be a blessing with stressors – makes it a little easier to decide on what really matters since it blocks out the everyday “noise”. I’m so glad u mentioned it Beth.

  13. Hey Ali! Have you tried anything natural like melatonin? I found that it helps. I’ve also found that benedryl works wonders too, especially with the nausea I get laying down!
    I’m on a quest for new pillows, the back pain has been real!
    Glad to hear things are getting better!

    1. Yeah, unfortunately those leave me feeling super groggy in the morning, even if I sleep for eight hours. With Ambien, I never feel tired in the morning, which I like. (Though the trippy side effects…I don’t know.) And YES, the pillow struggle is very real! My issue is that I fall asleep on my back but wake up on my stomach. It’s hard to find a pillow that’s ideal for both positions!

  14. I am so excited for your podcast!! And so glad you’re feeling better. Your avocado toast/sunny side up eggs videos on IG crack me up cause it’s always to these awesome songs.. truly entertaining. And that’s sooo great they talked about your article on the View! Great stuff 🙂

  15. Ambien: twice in my life I have taken Ambien, years apart, both times I have what I call a ‘hallucination’. The first time I was with my boyfriend in his bedroom and I was convinced there were two men in the room with us watching us and talking about us. Then I tried to get up and go to the bathroom and I walked straight into a brick wall that I didn’t know was there. (I had been in this room nearly every night for the last year.) The second time, about five years later I was with my boyfriend and I was convinced the bed was spherical and I spent a good part of an hour trying to claw my way to the top of the sphere but I kept sliding down the sides (he thought it was hysterical). I also was aware that my hallucinations had to do with the drugs because I kept saying to him ‘I know it’s not real, but why is your skin so scales.’ I was convinced he had the skin of a dinosaur and I kept touching him and telling him how rough and scaly he was. He thought it was less funny at 3 AM when I still wouldn’t go to sleep because the light from his laptop charger was a spotlight the police were shining in us and he had to get up for work in two hours. Let’s just say we were both cranky the next day and I will never take Ambien again.

    Weighlost and fitness: for me it was absolutely about being fit and strong. I’m not getting any younger and I don’t want to be 50 and act like I’m knocking on deaths door. I know the fitness I build in my 30swill carry my through middle age. The weight loss is a fantastic side affect. It also has very much to do with taking control of my life, when I feel hopeless about work, finances, politics, etc. I can control how I treat my body.

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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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