Today, the Ali on the Run Show turns ONE!
I so distinctly remember February 11, 2017. It was one of the best days of my entire year. It was a chilly-but-not-too-chilly Saturday, and I was up early to officially get the show launched and to publish a blog post announcing the show’s debut. Then, I made my way into Manhattan to join a bunch of friends for a run in Central Park.
I ran 12 miles with them, and it wasn’t until the run was over that I realized I hadn’t made any bathroom stops along the way — a major victory coming out of that most recent Crohn’s flare.
Then, on the way home, the ferry boat captain let me steer the boat. I felt very cool.
Finally, that night, Brian and I went out to dinner to celebrate our 6-year meetiversary.
It was an awesome day, and I was giddy the entire time as people reached out about listening to the show. Now, it’s been a full year of that excitement, and as the Ali on the Run Show has grown, I’ve grown with it.
So first and most importantly, THANK YOU for a year of support and bringing me with you on the run, in the kitchen, on your commute, on your dog walk, and maybe even into your bathroom with you. I love that the Ali on the Run Show has become a part of so many peoples’ lives, runs, and daily routines.
When I put out a listener survey a few weeks ago, the results were pretty incredible. There were some things that didn’t surprise me, like that everyone loved Kara Goucher, Andrea Barber, and Janae Baron. I was surprised how many people noted CAli on the Run as their favorite episode, though. And I was thrilled at the overwhelming praise for the episodes with Abby Bales and Dr. Meggie. (I’m recording another episode with Dr. Meggie this afternoon, so stay tuned for a kickass Q&A episode in a few weeks!)
Through the survey, I learned that you love the pros, but also love hearing from everyday runners. And just about everyone who said “more everyday runners” also said “but please have Meb and Shalane on the show!” (And to that I say, don’t worry. I got you.)
Since I love putting a pretty little bow on anniversaries, here’s a look back at some of my highs, lows, and takeaways after one year of podcasting…
Favorite episodes: This is never fair, because I shouldn’t play favorites and have genuinely loved and adored and learned from every single guest on the show. But the two that stand out most to me are the episodes with Chris Heuisler and Andrea Barber. I had the best time talking to Chris, and really loved how that conversation turned out. And Andrea Barber — I mean, she’s Kimmy Gibbler, so of course that was awesome, but the conversation took a turn I didn’t totally expect, which was into a very honest and profound discussion about mental health, depression, anxiety, and the role running can play in helping navigate life with those feelings.
Funniest episodes: Chris Heuisler’s poop story. (Sorry, dude!) Emily Halnon, which was my very first episode so I definitely wasn’t as smooth behind the mic, but everything Emily says makes me laugh. And Brian’s Turkey Trot story, because I’ve heard it 300 times and it always makes me LOL. (The Turkey Trot episode may actually have been the most favorited episode, according to the hundreds of you who responded to the listener survey.)
Easiest episode: Janae Baron. I’ve known Janae for years, so there was very little prep needed for our conversation. Plus, talking to her is just talking to a BFF. Easy, comfortable, fun. I loved that conversation.
Most important episode: Chris Mosier. Please make sure you listen to this episode. Chris is my badass friend who let me ask all the questions I’ve always wanted answered about being transgender. I’m so grateful for the way Chris has educated me and taught me so much, and I loved the response from that episode.
Most inspiring episode: Dan Nevins. He is a war veteran turned double amputee turned mega-inspiring yoga instructor. Listen to the episode, then go take his yoga class. He’s a game-changer.
Biggest struggle: Getting sick. I definitely did not anticipate the Crohn’s flare that derailed my podcast and my life for a while in 2017. When I’m sick, I can barely leave the bathroom, let alone sit behind a microphone and focus on a conversation for an hour. I recorded one episode where I had to pause and run for the bathroom three times. It was so distracting and I felt so bad for the [very patient] guest, but that’s when I had to call it and take a several-weeks-long break from the show. That was a bummer, because it was really gaining momentum at the time, but it was what I had to do.
Worst technical glitches: A podcaster’s worst nightmare! Let’s see, there was the time I realized half an hour into my conversation with Page Williams that our conversation wasn’t recording, so I had to embarrassingly ask her to start over. (And she did! What a saint.) Then there was the time I recorded using a new-to-me system with Mia Michaels, and I didn’t realize the mic was rubbing up against her chest for the first 10 minutes of the recording, and the sound came out pretty muffled.
Greatest lesson I’ve learned: My gut instincts are always right. I know this is true, and I still sometimes question myself. But this year has solidified that even though I may have a leaky one, my gut is always right.
Favorite “Sprint to the Finish” question: “Where was your first kiss?” It makes everyone giggle! Even the dudes!
Favorite thing: The conversations. That’s easy. I love each hour I spend talking to friends, strangers-turned-friends, professional athletes, and more.
Least favorite thing: Writing the show notes and editing the episodes. Ugh. I cannot wait for the day I get to hire someone to do this part for me…
Best surprise: The response from the latest personal episode. I almost didn’t release it. It was the only episode I ever questioned releasing. But it felt too honest, too personal, too raw, too revealing, and I was worried it made me look weak and sad and a little pathetic. I re-listened to it twice before decided to put it out there, and the only reason I did was because it scared me a little, and I’m trying to do more things that scare me.
The response was overwhelming. I still haven’t gone through the messages I’ve received from that episode. It shows that, no matter what’s up, you are never, ever, ever alone. Someone can always relate. Someone has always been there. Someone can probably help.
And a quick story: Yesterday I got finally got to meet my internet friend Elaine in real life. Elaine has been reading my blog since the very beginning — since long before “my handsome friend” came around — and quickly became my pen-pal. Elaine’s daughter also has Crohn’s (and is my age), so we would bond over that, and Elaine’s support has been unwavering. So yesterday, it was the best day ever because her daughter, Maureen, coordinated to have Brian and I surprise her at brunch! It was so fun and so special to finally meet. But the best part was when Elaine told me that my trip to California inspired her to book her first ever solo trip — at the age of 65. She told me it’s something she’s terrified to do, and that’s why she’s doing it, so she’s going on a five-day hiking trip later this year. ELAINE IS SO BADASS.
I never set out with the intention to inspire or to change lives. My intentions with both my blog and the podcast have always been purely selfish: to get to write about and talk to people I think are cool, and to hopefully better my own life as a result of those interactions. It’s pretty cool that, along the way, I get to have some kind of impact on other people, too. GIVE IT UP FOR ELAINE.
What’s next for the Ali on the Run Show: A live show. I am absolutely dying to share the details of this, and I promise they’re coming soon, and I promise you’re going to want to be there. I also have Ali on the Run Show merchandise in the works, and am going to start doing Facebook Live chats on Sunday evenings. More info coming soon about what those will entail, so make sure you LIKE and FOLLOW the Ali on the Run Facebook page.
It has been an awesome year. Thank you for listening, supporting, following, liking, commenting, and generally being the best community ever. Here’s to YEAR TWO!