Getting Back in the Groove

21 Jul

The last couple weeks, I have been getting back into my running groove.

My hip is feeling much better, as is my weird foot pain I was experiencing. According to my PT, I have an issue with my SI joint. It has probably been that way my whole life but recently started bothering me due to a couple factors…

  1. Sitting too much. Apparently when I sit down, my pelvis tilts incorrectly. This is why I have nerve pain and the deep aches mainly while I am at my desk or driving my car.
  2. Not stretching and strengthening. When I up my mileage, I get lazy with everything else. I do less ab work, I stretch less, and I stop caring about the other important areas to train.

My awesome PT told me I can start running again. He isn’t concerned I am going to injure myself, or cause damage we cannot fix. But he has told me many times that healing and fixing this issue is going to take a lot of time and effort.

I have been very careful with my ease back into running. After taking 2.5 weeks completely off, and another 1.5 weeks super easy, I knew I had to go easy on myself. All of my runs have been a conservative pace – about 8:45-9:30 pace. Whatever feels good that day, I go with.

My mileage has been relatively slow to pick up as well. First week back was only 7 miles. The following went up to 15, and last week peaked at 29. All easy paced.

This week I hope to reach between 25-30 miles with a hard work out thrown in. Since I am not officially training right now, my focus is building back my base so I am comfortable when it is time to start. I have learned my lesson in the past of starting a training program without a base. Doing that has caused injuries, and will cause an injury (at least it does in my case…)

I am trying SO hard to continue my strength training and stretching. I dread this every day, but when I do it in front of trashy TV it goes by so much faster! I am also trying not to sit down as much. This can be really hard during the day at work, but luckily drinking water like a maniac leads to lots of potty breaks, which means I get up all the time. Another thing the PT suggested is sleeping on my back to keep my pelvis aligned. That part isn’t so fun :)

I am confident if I keep doing what I am doing I can come back to my training stronger than ever! And possibly, reach new running goals this fall (those are TBD!)

Other than all this fun stuff above, things have been pretty calm over here!

Drinks at the pool!

Drinks at the pool!

Have you read this book??? SO DARK.

Have you read this book??? SO DARK.

Fiery Stick event in KC.

Fiery Stick event in KC.

Sweet Winnie the Pooch all swaddled. Love our baby!

Sweet Winnie the Pooch all swaddled. Love our baby!

That is all for now!

xo,

Ali

A week of Blissful snacks

17 Jul

A couple weeks ago, a fellow blogger Nicole (and girl I love to follow on Instagram) sent me some of her granola and boost bites to try.

Love the packaging!

Love the packaging!

At first, I was skeptical. These products are completely natural in every way. Gluten free, dairy free, gmo free, kosher, etc. With all that healthiness, there is no way that they taste good…right?

WRONG.

Everything I tried, I loved. The granola was awesome and I especially loved the bites. The granola was a daily snack in my greek yogurt. One small packet equaled 3 servings for me, so I could really stretch a bag if I measured it out in advance. And the bites made for a perfect 10am or 3pm snack (those are my daily snacking times).

maple nut crunched mixed in plain Fage Greek yogurt.

maple nut crunched mixed in plain Fage Greek yogurt.

As I said above, these snacks are super healthy. I usually avoid buying granola and pre-made granola bars because of all the extra stuff you get in them. But with Blissful eats, I was snacking guilt free. The bites pack 1/4c fruit, 4g protein and 2g fiber per serving. And the granola is full of nuts, seeds, and good fats.

My favorite flavor in the bites was the chocolate flavor. And my favorite granola was the maple nut crunch.

Want to try some too? Thought so.

Check out Blissful Eats on Amazon and on Nicole’s website.

And if you want a great discount, go to blissful-eats.com and enter “miles15” at checkout.

What is your go-to snack during the day? Have you every tried Blissful Eats?

xo,

Ali

 

 

Back on the Road! + 4th of July Weekend

7 Jul

This morning, I did my first run outside in 2.5 weeks! I think that is the longest outdoor break I have taken in at least a year. And it felt great to be back outside on the road.

As I said in my last post, I am currently treating some foot and hip pain. I ran 3 times on the treadmill last week, at 2 miles each time. I have been making sure to run at an easy pace and not push myself too hard. Seeing that I am not in training mode right now, pushing myself hard is just asking for further injury.

Just like my treadmill runs, I took today’s run very slow and conservative (in terms of my running pace). Instead of panicking when I saw a 10:21 mile pop up on my Garmin, I embraced it. It was so awesome to just run an easy pace and relax. A couple miles in, I could feel some foot and hip pain, but it was nothing significant. I hope to continue to do these types of runs over the next couple weeks before I have to pick it up for training mode.

I am trying to not get too discouraged about my current state, but I will admit that it can be hard to see friends running some awesome miles when I know that I shouldn’t be doing that right now. Even my husband has been making me jealous with this great runs lately! But I just have to remind myself that I am doing what is best for me and it will pay off soon when I am stronger than ever!

Moving on.

The 4th of July weekend was amazing! We were supposed to venture up to Iowa this weekend, however a last minute work project for Ramsey and a flood in the area canceled our plans. It was sad to miss out on the fun up there, but we decided it would be best to make the most out of our time at home.

I decorated.

I decorated.

Thursday evening we went to a winery and watched some amazing fireworks! And even better – we got to drink wine while watching them. Not much better than that!!

My patriotic outfit.

My patriotic outfit.

Wining at the winery.

Wining at the winery.

Friday we went to the pool, had some yummy drinks and food, then headed out to my favorite spot on the 4th – Lake Tapawingo. It was so fun as usual. It is crazy to think I have been going there my entire life!

Grapefruit margs.

Grapefruit margs.

Cousins!

Cousins!

Saturday and Sunday were spent cleaning, reading (Dark Places by Gillian Flynn), hanging out with friends, and spending time out in the city. I won’t bore you with every detail…however one thing that has been bothering me is the fact that for the THIRD time in just a few months I had a teacher no-show for my fitness class. To me, that is unacceptable. How would you handle that? Complain? Or get over it (until it inevitably happens again)?

Sporting KC game.

Sporting KC game.

SO hot but at least we had drumsticks.

SO hot but at least we had drumsticks.

He wants to be on the team.

He wants to be on the team.

How was your 4th?

Any tips for keeping myself in check while coming back from this injury?

Xo!
Ali

PTs, BBQs and Weddings

1 Jul

On Monday I started an adventure with my new Physical Therapist!

The mission: Get better by August, or at least feel better by August.

I’ve told everyone (that is willing to listen) about my hip/booty problems before. And finally I am doing something about it!!! I have been going to a Chiropractor for the pain the past 6 weeks, but decided I needed something more. My foot started hurting in a way I haven’t ever experienced, and that made me scared.

First step to recovery was to stop running and take it easy. I thought I would be miserable during my first week off, but it was actually pretty awesome. I loved having the time to do other fun workouts. And I loved just sleeping in if I wanted to. I always tell people, “listen to your body”, and I knew it was time for me to do that too!

After a week off, I felt better already. Which proved to me even more, I needed a BREAK!!!

Monday morning, I met with my new PT. The best part about the PT is that he came to my office to meet with me! One of the 1,000 perks about working at Hallmark is that we have a full clinic and I can do these kind of things at work. I love it.

We will be focusing on my hip pain this month and strengthening my muscles more. I have lots of exercises to do, but I am going to try my hardest to stay focused an on track with them.

Fingers crossed that I am feeling better by August so I can hit is hard for my next big racing adventure!! More to come there :)

ANYWAY….

We had another wedding last weekend, and it was a blast. It was one of those weddings where you wake up the next day sore from dancing so much. Brady and Molly – thank you for all the fun you gave us!

Love him!

Love him!

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End of the night selfie….GO TO BED.

On Saturday I hosted all of my cousins at my house for a little family BBQ. Ramsey was a pro at the grill and I got to try a new burger recipe. I also made some amazing Key Lime pie.

King of the grill!

King of the grill!

And queen of the pie.

And queen of the pie.

And on Sunday I experimented and made black bean sliders. They were SO GOOD. I just heated up the Morningstar Farms black bean patties, added a slice of cheese, guacamole and put them on a roll. Ramsey got 3 rolls, I got 1. But even without the roll, these little guys were delicious.

Ramsey's plate.

Ramsey’s plate.

I am looking forward to a day off work on Friday to hang out with my family and celebrate the 4th.

Have you gone to a PT before? And what are you up to on the 4th??

xo,

Ali

 

 

 

Case of the Mondays + An Awesome Weekend

24 Jun

Yesterday, I had one of “those days”.

You know that kinda day. The day when you actually consider crawling in your bed and crying….or maybe you just go right ahead and do it (no comment).

Well that was my life yesterday from 6:30am to 10:30pm.

And I still can’t really figure out why. Maybe it was sleepiness, or maybe it is because my foot is randomly hurting and I had to take a few days off running. Whatever it was, it needed to stop. And luckily when I woke up this AM, my case of the Mondays was over (poor baby, right???).

We had such an awesome weekend. Our dear friends Adam and Amber got married, and we were busy with wedding fun all weekend. The rehearsal and wedding were both absolutely gorgeous. It was also located at one of our favorite places in KC – Westside Local. Ramsey and I had our first date there 2 years ago last week, and it was fun to reminisce a bit.

Celebrating 2 years together!

Celebrating 2 years together!

With some of girls and the lovely bride!

With some of girls and the lovely bride!

My favorite part of the wedding was the ceremony. Adam and Amber’s Dads officiated the ceremony and married them!! It was so special and something I have never seen. Talk about not leaving a dry eye in the house!

So sweet!

So sweet!

Lauren and I were twinsies.

Lauren and I were twinsies.

LOVED Amber's dress!!!

LOVED Amber’s dress!!!

Another major perk of the weekend was spending time with my sister in law Sarah! She was visiting from NYC for a wedding and stayed with us a couple nights. I love it when Sarah comes to visit because we just get to hang out and be girlfriends. I lucked out with such an awesome sister in law.

Pool time with Sarah.

Pool time with Sarah.

We also tried the new Champagne bar in KC - Ca va. So good!!

We also tried the new Champagne bar in KC – Ca va. So good!!

Sunday night we had a little World Cup party and cheered the US to a big…TIE!!! UGH that was a heartbreaker. All eyes on the Thursday game though – USA!

Ramsey and I also ventured on a bike ride!! And I didn't wreck the thing.

Ramsey and I also ventured on a bike ride!! And I didn’t wreck the thing.

Do you ever have “those days” where you are out of it and don’t know why? How do you handle it (if you can’t go for a run..ha!)?

Hope your weekend was as fun as mine was!!

xo,

Ali

 

My Journey to Cleaner Eating

21 Jun

Over the last 6 months I have been making a conscious effort to eat well and think about what I am putting in my body. Basically, I’ve been trying to “get clean”.

It all started in January when I decided to do a 28 day detox program created by Arbonne. I love Arbonne products, and trusted the program. I had some work to do in regards to my eating habits and was excited to see what improvements I saw with my body and my health.

I love good food. And I could easily eat out every meal. I love to try new things and enjoy different foods. While this has been a great way to compile a list of ‘Best Food in Kansas City’, it has not been good for my body. I started to think about how often I had been getting sick, and how often I felt tired and sluggish. While lack of sleep could play a role, I didn’t think it was the main culprit.

Cutting back on all the pizza was a little hard!

Cutting back on all the pizza was a little hard!

My 28 day cleanse lasted about 21 days. And I cheated on the weekends. I mean, I have to live my life and if my friends invite me to happy hour I refuse to sit there and drink water and not eat. So making it through the week days “clean” seemed like a great goal for me. It also seemed like a great way for me to focus on what I was putting into my body and how it made me feel.

Yes, month one of the new “cleaner-eating-Ali” was a bit rough. I was cranky and just wanted my sweets and restaurant food. But each day seemed to get better than the one before. And I was noticing that while mentally I was a little bitchy, physically I felt awesome. And the stomach aches I often had subsided. I knew my mind would catch up to my body. And it did.

Before I make my food decisions now, I run through a list of questions in my head.

Do I really need to eat this? Usually, the answer is no. I used to snack ALL day. Now, I plan my snacks and bring them to work with me. Instead of eating pretzels, granola bars, or candy, I stick with a yogurt, nuts or a homemade energy bar or bite. And instead of drinking high calorie coffee drinks as an afternoon boost, I have tea or put some fruit in my water.

I make a breakfast item every week now as my pre-workout snack.

I make a breakfast item every week now as my pre-workout snack.

Obsessed with energy bites!!

Obsessed with energy bites!!

Can I make it healthier? When cooking a recipe, I always look at the ingredient list to see what I can sub. Sometimes the results are good, others are not so great. But at least I tried. I also apply this to every day when I make my lunch. I used to put things on my sandwiches without even thinking about it. Now I use only ingredients that are beneficial to me and providing some sort of healthy benefit.

Instead of ground beef, I use ground turkey. This was an awesome Turkey Meatball recipe from my Runner's World cookbook.

Instead of ground beef, I use ground turkey. This was an awesome Turkey Meatball recipe from my Runner’s World cookbook.

How will I feel after? Is eating this ____ (insert donut, cookie, etc) going to make me feel good afterwards (mentally and physically)? Is it really worth it? Sometimes, the answer is ABSOLUTELY YES. And sometimes it takes the greatest willpower on earth not to shove the bag of doritos my husband brings home into my mouth.

Never knew how much I loved stuffed peppers until the detox!

Never knew how much I loved stuffed peppers until the detox!

I do feel that the smarter-eating-Ali is a much healthier Ali. I am absolutely not a “clean eater” by the standards of some people, but I do believe I am much better than the average person. I have seen improvements in my body physically, and also mentally. I don’t know about weight loss, since I try not to use weight as a measurement, but my clothes still fit and I am feeling happier about my body. I have also been warding off illnesses and feeling more energized during the day.

I practice "Eat This, Not That" a lot at home. Ramsey always wants the pasta, so I am able to make myself a low carb version on lettuce.

I practice “Eat This, Not That” a lot at home. Ramsey always wants the pasta, so I am able to make myself a low carb version on lettuce.

Sure, I still have PLENTY of cheat meals. But I have far less of them than I did before. And to me, that is a victory (progress, not perfection). I am sure a lot of people would cringe with some of the junk I still put into my body. I’m not perfect.

I do not believe in depriving yourself, but I do believe in making smart decisions about what you’re putting in your body. If there is a day where my co workers bring cupcakes for a birthday, naturally I will eat one. Or two (ughhhhh). But then I go back to the clean eating ways and it all seems to even out.

I will never turn this down. I will just try not to eat the entire box of them :)

I will never turn this down. I will just try not to eat the entire box of them :)

 

How do you balance your eating? Do you have any tips for someone who wants to make “cleaner and smarter” eating a part of their life?

Xo,
Ali

Race Recap: Hospital Hill Half Marathon

18 Jun

I have said it many times, and it still remains true. The Hospital Hill Half Marathon in Kansas City is one of my favorite races.

A couple weeks ago, I ran this race for the 3rd year in a row. I had no idea what my time would be, but I really wanted to push it and see what my body could do. A goal of breaking 1:40 was in my mind, and I thought it could be attainable. I also had a running buddy with me that had the same goal, and for a me a buddy always helps.

The morning started off a bit of a disaster. It was thunderstorming like crazy and the rain was coming down hard. I can run in rain, but knew if the storming did not stop, we wouldn’t get to run the race at all. The idea of not running made me sad. One because I love this race, and two because I paid for the thing!

We ended up having a 45 minute delay, where Stacy, Ramsey and I sat in a nearby hotel and chatted. It was actually a great time and I loved catching up with Stacy. The rain delay ended up paying off.

Waiting it out in a dry cleaning bag.

Waiting it out in a dry cleaning bag.

My husband in a trash bag.

My husband in a trash bag.

After waiting it out through the rain delay, we finally lined up to start. I met my friend Nicole at the 1:40 pace group and we were off!

The first few miles flew by. There are some huge hills those miles, but we really just chatted the whole way and kept our minds off of them. Around mile 3, the rain picked up, which also picked up our pace a bit.

As Nicole and I hit more hills, we continued to run really steady and strong. At first I was worried we were running too fast, but after a few miles we were both comfortable with the pace.

Nicole and I a few miles in.

Nicole and I a few miles in.

Not raining too hard here.

Not raining too hard here.

The thing that makes Hospital Hill such a great race is that for every insane up hill you have, you get a rockin’ downhill too. There is no better course for downhills in the KC area. And since this is a half marathon, the downhills don’t tear up my legs like they did in Boston.

Around mile 9, Nicole and I started to part ways. I realized I was still feeling really good and decided that I would stretch my legs and see what I could do. As I approached mile 10, I prepared myself for the mile long climb ahead. This hill SUCKS, but it is also a huge confidence booster. Many people are not prepared for it, and they have to stop and walk. I am used to running big hills, so I was able to maintain pace and make it up the hills.

Passing so many people definitely helps. Especially when everyone you pass is a man :) Side note – I don’t know how many men I ran past started sprinting when they saw me next to them….don’t worry though, it only took a few more steps to pass them for good. Girl power.

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Pouring!!

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Enjoying the amazing downhill.

When I hit mile 12, I knew I only had one steep hill left, then the most amazing downhill finish you will ever find. I gave myself quite the pep talk running up the last hill. And when I reached the top, I cruised to the finish.

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Finish time: 1:37:30(ish)

I forgot to pull my splits from my watch, so I don’t have them anymore :( But I had an awesome negative-split race.

I was in shock when I saw my finish time. I know I can run a fast half marathon, but was not expecting to run that fast given my training and how my body felt. Having such a great race was a huge confidence boost for me, especially after struggling through the end of Boston so much. I felt like my speed was back. And also got excited to see what I can do with my half marathon time come fall.

Despite the rain, mostly every one else I knew running also had a fantastic race. Ramsey PR’ed!!!!! And my other friends all met their goals.

All in all, it was a great morning on the hills of KC! And I can’t wait to run for the 4th year in a row in 2015!!

Did you run Hospital Hill? Or do you have a race like this that people think you are CRAZY for loving so much?

A few more pics from the day..

So proud of Ramsey!!!!!

So proud of Ramsey!!!!!

Kathleen and Nicole.

Kathleen and Nicole.

With our cheerleader Diana!!!

With our cheerleader Diana!!!

Boom.

Boom.

Recipe: Favorite Guacamole

9 Jun

I love guac. A lot. I used to hate it, but now I can’t get enough of the stuff.

Over the past few months, I have perfected my guacamole recipe, and it is ready to share.

This recipe is totally clean and can be used at every meal. For breakfast I throw it on eggs, lunch I put it on sandwiches and salads, and dinner I will put it on anything that can be used as a vehicle to get the stuff in my mouth. Like I said, I love guac.

  • 3 avocados, halved, seeded and peeled
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced (I like red onion)
  • 1 tomato
  • 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro (or 1tsp of cilantro you get in the spice aisle)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic

Mash the avocados with a potato masher. Mix in the rest of the ingredients. Enjoy in all the ways mentioned above, or throw it on some whole grain tortilla chips. These are my fav.

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Enjoy!!

How do you make your guac? Any tips for my recipe?

xo,

Ali

What’s Next?!?

6 Jun

Since Boston, I have been thinking a lot about what’s next for me.

As everyone that knows me could attest – I love to run! So obviously running would is still a major part of my life. But how much running in my life is still TBD.

For the last couple years, I have been dealing with some hip/butt pain. The longer it is has gone on, the more it has affected other parts of my body. My hamstring has been hurting, and recently my foot has been hurting. It is crazy how everything is connected. After Boston, I decided it was time to do something about it. So I bit the bullet and went to therapy.

Therapy sucks. A lot. But it is making a difference. Each week, I feel stronger and less pain. The biggest obstacle for me is actually doing the exercises they give me. As I crawl in bed every night I remember, “crap! I didn’t do those dumb exercises”. So I pull my body back out of bed and get to work. My therapist told me I can still run and workout – which is awesome! But I need to be careful and not run as much or as hard.

I love that little electronic thing. Might have to go on my Christmas list!!!

I love that little electronic thing. Might have to go on my Christmas list!!!

Roll and drink. Roll and drink. You get the picture.

Roll and drink. Roll and drink. You get the picture.

Another big thing I have been dealing with is my asthma. It has always been there, but the last year it just seems to get worse. When I was talking to my Dr. about the issue I realized that in NYC I used my inhaler 4 times…at 4 hits each time. TOO MUCH. Then in Boston I added up that I used the darn thing 6 times…4 hits each time. WAY TOO MUCH. I hate admitting that asthma is a problem. But I recently realized that I must treat it like an injury. And if I don’t take care of it, it will also never get better. My Dr. put me back on every day meds for it, and it forcing me to take my inhaler every day, and every time I run, to see how much it makes a difference. I hate the idea of this, but like PT – it is something that needs to be done.

When I started thinking about my fall marathon, I realized after looking at a calendar I would have to start training in a month. I just didn’t feel like a month was enough time for me to heal my body, get stronger, and get healthier.

I decided that an early fall marathon would be out of the picture this year, and instead I will run a half. The half I will be racing is the KC Half Marathon. And I will finally be running as a Girls on the Run Soulmate! I am so excited for this adventure and to raise money for a cause I believe in so much. I also love the KC half, and couldn’t imagine not running it. Depending on how I feel this summer, I might try to break my 1:34 PR (finally!!).

As for a Fall full marathon…right now it is looking like a December race. As soon as my friends pull the trigger on the St. Judes Memphis marathon, I am in too! A race in December allows me to hold off on hard training until late summer, and really take care of my body.

This summer, I still plan to run 20-30 miles a week. But I will mainly be focusing on strengthening my body and getting healthy. I need this booty pain to subside and the breathing crap to heal. And the only way for that to happen is for me to focus on my therapy and my health. I will be doing tons of stretching and strength this summer, and a little cross training too! I will also follow Doctor’s orders and take all the medicine she tells me to…whether I like it or not.

Biking will be part of my cross training! Thanks for the awesome book Runners World!

Biking will be part of my cross training! Thanks for the awesome book Runners World!

I am excited to see how these things will impact my running performance and where my marathon time could possibly go if I decide the December race is for me!

Like I said – I will still run. And my next race is tomorrow at Hospital Hill – my other favorite KC race!! I will be running for fun, but still hope to push it a bit. After Hospital Hill my running schedule is pretty darn free. Which makes me happy…because I know it’s what’s best.

Are you prepping for any races this summer or fall? Have you dealt with an injury before that forced you to tone down the training?

Xo,
Ali

The 2014 Boston Marathon

29 Apr

When I signed up for Boston this year, I knew it would be an amazing day. And amazing it was.

From the walk to Boston Commons, to the ride to Hopkinton, and the 26.2 mile journey back to Boston, it was amazing. And there is no better way to describe my experiences from April 21, 2014.

I thought about April 15, 2013 every day for the last year because it was terrible. Now I can’t stop thinking about April 21, 2014 because it was so much FUN.

Before the Race
When I woke up on Monday morning, I was instantly excited. The nerves were there, but not too crazy. I knew the day would be fun, and I could not wait. As I got dressed in all my gear and layered on all my throwaway clothes, I got more and more antsy to be at the start.

Love these socks!

Love these socks!

Thanks for the ugly shirt, Mom!

Thanks for the ugly shirt, Mom!

Ready to go.

Ready to go.

After saying ‘Bye’ to Ramsey, I flew out the door and started my walk to Boston Commons. Along the way, I started chatting with a few other runners that were as anxious and excited as I was. Once we got the Commons, we parted our ways. Last year when I got there, I had to wait in line FOREVER to board the bus. This year I sat outside gate and hopped right on a bus when they called my wave. It was pretty awesome not to waste an hour of energy standing in a line like we did last year.

On the bus I sat next to the awesome guy named Mark. I told him he was a good sign, as my Dad’s name is Mark. Then he informed me he had a sister named Ali! After that, we knew we were going to have a good day. The bus ride was long, made longer by the fact that we were all 100% certain that our bus driver was falling asleep on the drive. Not even kidding. It was terrifying. We had to keep whistling at him to keep him awake. That scare took some of the anxiety away from the 26 miles ahead…..

When we arrived to the start village, Mark and I parted ways. Then I immediately got in line for a potty and settled myself down on the ground. It was great that the weather wasn’t freezing so we were’t miserable before we started. I was able to see my friend Kerri in the village and sit with her for quite awhile before the race. That was nice to chat and catch up.

My friend Mark was fast...like, really really fast.

My friend Mark was fast…like, really really fast.

We were all best friends in there.

We were all best friends in there.

So many potties but still not enough.

So many potties but still not enough.

Hanging with Kerri.

Hanging with Kerri.

Start village.

Start village.

Trying to chill out.

Trying to chill out.

Then I saw Kathleen!!! Another running friend from KC.

Then I saw Kathleen!!! Another running friend from KC. Her throwaway clothes were much cuter than mine.

The process for getting to the starting line this year was much different than last, and felt very rushed. I liked that last year I could hang out at the start and watch the first wave go by. This year we were not allowed down there until they called our wave. When they finally called us down, I felt like I was in a HUGE rush to get myself in line and ready. Luckily – I made it in my spot with a minute to spare. I also got to see a couple more friends on the the way down – Jeff and Crystal!

It’s Go Time
When the gun went off, the enthusiasm of the runners and crowd was something I had not ever experienced. Everyone was celebrating, smiling and happy. We all wanted to have a great day, and the fans wanted us to as well.

Here we go!

Here we go!

I decided to run with my GoPro camera so I could capture moments and remember exactly how it was. Ramsey will be helping me make a video, but for this post I just added some of the photos.

My goal for this race was to have fun. My second goal for this race was to run under a 3:40. I had no idea what my body would be able to do, seeing that my training was a little different (ahem…slacking) than usual. I had some really good runs, but I also took two weeks off in the middle of training. I felt that 3:40 would be doable for me on that day.

Ashland - GoPro got a little sweaty.

Ashland – GoPro got a little sweaty.

I knew starting too fast was going to be an issue. I was corralled with people that ran 3:20 marathons….so I was not surprised when my first mile clocked in under 7:40. But I did say to myself, “you are running too fast….slow down”.

The first few miles blew by. I even got to run with Summer Sanders for awhile!!! That was pretty awesome and she seemed like a really nice girl. She even laughed at me when I made a joke (insert crazy happy face).

Summer is in the pink. And I am a creep for taking this photo.

Summer is in the pink. And I am a creep for taking this photo.

The towns promised that this year would be a Boston like none other, and they did not disappoint. Running by the Framingham train station was indescribable. The fans were screaming for strangers and thanking us for being there. Thinking about it now gets me all choked up, it was that incredible.

Framingham

Framingham. Can you see the “Run on Boston Strong” sign?

I continued a consistent pace of 7:50-8. I also continued to tell myself, “You are going too fast….” but I just couldn’t slow down. The crowd had me all jacked  (in the words of Greg Hall) and there was no slowing down while my legs felt good. I decided my new tactic would be to keep it going for as long as possible. Then I started thinking….”is a 3:30 in my future today?!?!!?!” (spoiler: it was not)

I was straight up giddy when we arrived in Wellesley. I heard the screaming before we saw the girls. Wellesley is the best part of this race, hands down. And this year, it went one FOREVER. I ran along the fence and high fived every girl I could. I watched the men getting kisses and some women too, and just laughed. It was insane and SO MUCH FUN!!!!

The best part!

The best part!

Please read these signs

please read these signs.

and these.

she’s a ginger.

and these

hippie girls.

Pure joy!!!

Pure joy!!!

When I hit Newton I knew the hills were coming. This would be my moment of truth and tell me just how long I could continue to run my 8 minute pace.

Newton Hills are upon us...

Newton Hills are upon us…

Then at mile 18 I made the huge mistake of stopping to walk through a water station and take my GU. I knew my legs were getting tired, but had no idea how tired they were until I started running again. Ouch ouch ouch. I remember thinking, “my legs didn’t feel like this at mile 18 in NYC….”

From that point on, I knew the rest of the race would be pure survival. My legs were burning bad, my asthma was horrible (I had to take my inhaler multiple times), and I was getting hot. We had super cold training runs all winter in KC, so running in 60 degrees and sun was not ideal.

I knew I was slowing down a lot on the hills, so I decided to stop looking at the Garmin. I didn’t want this race to go south mentally. The day was not about my time, it was about the experience. I made a rule that it didn’t matter how slow I was running, I could not walk. Walking is bad and only makes you want to walk more.

As I started heartbreak hill, I braced for what was to come. Then I saw a sign – “MEB WON!!!” As the runners went past this sign, we all cheered and celebrated. At that moment, it felt like WE WON this race. We were so proud and excited (I am crying right now writing this…that is how emotional it was). That sign was encouragement enough to get up that hill.

Heartbreak Hill!

Heartbreak Hill!

From that point on, I had my eye on the prize – finishing. I continued to soak it all in and enjoy every moment. I also continued to ignore the Garmin on my wrist because I did not want to ruin my moment.

With every hill I hit, I received cheers and encouragement. Wearing your name on your shirt is amazing in this race. A group of college guys started chanting “ALI ALI ALI ALI” around mile 23 and all I could do was laugh. That is why I was there. To have fun.

Every step was hurting. But every step was closer to the finish. In no time, I would be there.

Back in Boston

Back in Boston

I pocket face-timed Ramsey! See my yellow skirt?

I pocket face-timed Ramsey! See my yellow skirt?

Mile 25 I saw my amazing husband, as well as some of my blogger friends (Leticia and Michele!). This was one of the first times I looked down at my watch to calculate my pace. I realized if I kept going at the same pace, I would meet my goal of 3:40!!!!

This is what 25 miles of running looks like. I had to rub vaseline all over my shoulder, my inhaler is shoved in my bra and I am trying not to fall over.

This is what 25 miles of running looks like. I had to rub vaseline all over my shoulder because it was chafing, my inhaler is shoved in my bra and I am trying not to fall over. At this point of the GoPro video I am saying “This is the ugly”

GET ME TO 26!!!

GET ME TO 26!!!

See the Citgo sign???

See the Citgo sign???

As I turned right onto Hereford, I grabbed the GoPro to capture the moment. It was nothing I have ever experienced and something I never want to forget. So many people, all cheering for ME. And even better – yelling my name. I had nothing left in the tank, but this crowd got me through. (crying again right now!!).

So glad I got this photo. Ahhhhmazing.

So glad I got this photo. Ahhhhmazing.

Almost to the finish.

Almost to the finish.

And then I was on Boylston running to the finish.

Wow.

So much enthusiasm and encouragement there to support the runners, the victims, and the city of Boston.

26

26

As I ran by each bomb site, I blew a kiss to the victims and their families. Those victims were there on April 15, 2013 to cheer for the runners. And I could not pass by those sites without acknowledging them with some love.

When I crossed the finish I was flooded with so many feelings. The main one being happiness. I was sore, I was tired, I was struggling to breath, but it was still one of the happiest moments of my life.

Finishing the race. And healing at the same time.

Finishing the race. And healing at the same time.

Nothing like this finish.

Nothing like this finish.

And I crossed just fast enough to reach my goal – 3:39:14

Even in those painful miles at the end, the race went by so fast. I wanted the pain to end, but I never wanted the experience to end. I wish I could re-live that joy every single day.

Post Race
After crossing the finish line, I hobbled along for what felt like an eternity. I got to see Natalie Morales being interviewed by Extra and I thought, “damn that would suck to have to do an interview like that right after crossing the finish”. I also talked to a few other runners and we celebrated our races together.

Smiling right after I crossed the finish.

Smiling right after I crossed the finish.

When I saw Ramsey at the family meeting area, I couldn’t help but start to cry. So many emotions from the day all flooding out of me. I was so happy, and so thankful it had gone so perfectly. Even through the pain, the day could not have been any better.

We took photos and began the walk back to the hotel. I told him all about the race and how happy I was. I think he was expecting me to be disappointed, since he could see my splits significantly slowed down the last 8 miles, but I told him I had no feelings but joy. How could I complain or be unhappy about anything? I just completed my 6th marathon, which happened to be the best marathon in the world. And it was also my birthday – you can’t be mad on your birthday!

So happy!!!!

So happy!!!!

And so lucky!

And so lucky!

I still can’t stop thinking about this race and how awesome it was. I love the marathon, and I LOVE Boston. And I promise to be at that race as long as my legs will carry me there.

Thank you for the all the love, well wishes and support. I felt every last bit of them on this journey.

Wearing my Boston medal and jacket proud.

Wearing my Boston medal and jacket proud.

Splits:

  1. 7:37
  2. 7:50
  3. 7:59
  4. 7:39
  5. 8:08
  6. 7:41
  7. 7:52
  8. 8:01
  9. 7:55
  10. 7:47
  11. 8:04
  12. 7:45
  13. 8:04
  14. 7:54
  15. 8:02
  16. 7:44
  17. 8:26
  18. 8:33
  19. 8:39
  20. 8:40
  21. 9:31
  22. 8:47
  23. 8:51
  24. 9:04
  25. 9:19
  26. 9:30 + .45 @ 3:40

3:39:14

Xo,
Ali

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