Tag Archives: Love to Run

A Letter to My Skinny Friend

2 Feb

Dear Skinny Friend,

We have lived in the same neighborhood for about 2 and a half years. I don’t know your name. I don’t know your story. I don’t know anything about your life. But I really like you. And you inspire me.

Our faux friendship started shortly after I moved into my house. I would see you running in the morning, and see the determination within you. Every time we run by each other, we share a polite “hello” and “good morning!”. You also give me a very kind smile that tells me you are a nice person.

So why do you inspire me? You inspire me because no matter what weather – rain, snow, cold, heat, etc. you are out hitting the pavement in our neighborhood. Every single day you run. And every day you look so determined to get to the next step.

You also inspire me because over the two and a half years we’ve been living in the same neighborhood, you have lost at least 50 pounds. Anyone who can take control of their life and do that for themselves inspires me. I don’t what else you are doing aside from running, but skinny friend – you’re lookin’ good.

Maybe someday we will stop and have a conversation during our run. However based on your focus and my tendency to start my morning runs late, I don’t know if that will ever happen.

Thank you for being an example to others in our neighborhood, and proving that being active can make a big difference in ones life.

Also, thanks for all the smiles, hello’s and good mornings these last two years. Keep up the running, and keep up that level of determination.

-Ali

Fashion Fridays – Keepin’ Warm

27 Jan

Good morning, and Happy Friday to you!

As (I hope) you read yesterday, I featured my first guest blogger to speak about winter running essentials. Stacy is very educated when it comes to running clothes, and I knew she would be the perfect subject matter expert to write that post.

For this Fashion Friday, I would like to share two winter running essentials that I cannot live without.

Croquet Headband

I LOVE my red, yellow and green croquet headband. My boyfriend’s Grandmother got me this super cute headband for Christmas this year, and I cannot get enough of it. It is so warm, and also layers great on super cold days with other headbands underneath.

Self Portrait in the back yard.

It is the perfect head flair for a freezing cold winter run, and gets a ton of compliments when you break it out.

I apologize for not having a direct link so you can get one of these too..however I think you can get similar headbands on Etsy.com.

The North Face Gaiter, aka “Turtle”

The next winter running essential that I cannot live without is my North Face neck protector. I know they are called Gaiters (according to the website, it is ‘Gaiter’ not ‘Gator’), but I like to call mine a turtle (I can sneak my head in and out, just like a turtle!).

This turtle is freaking amazing. It is SO warm and soft – I could easily sleep in it (which would actually save me a few minutes getting dressed in the morning). Anyone who will be running in the harsh cold winter winds needs this thing. I got it at Dick’s Sporting Goods. Go there right now, and buy one.

And when in doubt...throw on a boa.

I hope that after yesterdays post and this post today, you are all geared up for winter running. You have no excuses not to be out there pounding the payment.

I hope you have the best Friday ever, and a fantastic weekend ahead.

xoxo,

Ali

Marvelous Mondays – January 23rd

23 Jan

Wow, I cannot believe that it is Monday again, and time for another weekly post.

I will admit that I have been mighty grouchy today…so I am hoping that this post boosts my mood. Nothing serious going on, just letting things annoy me that I can usually brush off. I also think my ugly nail polish is bringing me down – it looked so pretty in the bottle!

So here we go…let’s see how I well I can write a marvelous post while feeling quite un-marvelous.

The Killer 1,000

This week at boot camp, we will be doing something called the Killer 1,000. I have NO clue what this workout entails, but apparently it is quite the killer. I am hydrating like a mo-fo to prepare for this thing, because the last thing I want is to crash due to inadequate hydration.

Pinterest


I created a board on my Pinterest that is titled “Things I’ve Tried”.

The point of this board is to give reviews on the Pinterst projects that I have actually tried. There are so many great ideas and recipes on Pinterst, but I wanted to share my views and opinions on them so others know if it’s worth doing as well! I think everyone should do this…

*You should follow me, then I can follow you!

Running Groove


My running groove is back, and that is making me happy!

My accountability partners and I are back on a schedule of meeting 3 times a week for a morning run. Our mileage has been averaging 5-6 miles per run, and pace hasn’t been discussed (which makes it relaxing!)

Being back with the girls starts my day off the right way. And also serves as a 3/week therapy session.

Guest Blog Post

This week I will be featuring my first guest blogger! I love the idea of doing guest blogs, and I think this one will interest and help a lot of people.

Just a hint, the content goes perfectly with my blog name!

Girls Night


To finish off the week, my Mom will be hosting a girls night at her house.

Wine and appetizers will be served, and I am quite excited to try out another Pinterest recipe.If you have one I should try, please send it my way!

Have you caught on to my obsession with Pinterest?

 

What does your week have in store? Exciting workouts or time with friends/family? Please share!!

(and I totally feel better already after writing this 🙂 )

xo,

Ali

I Had the Time of My Life! Race Recap – Dallas Marathon

6 Dec

This weekend was one of the best weekends of my life, and I cannot wait to share it with you. This blog post will be a little long, but I hope you enjoy!

Let’s get started.

Friday

Friday evening Stacy, Diana, my Mom and I arrived in Dallas. We got settled in our hotel and then headed down to the bar to enjoy a beer (consider it last minute carbo-loading).

VIP in our Suite!

After the drink, we went through our many clothing options for the race. We knew it might rain, but we wanted to be prepared for everything. Next up was sleep, which we knew was very important! After I scolded the girls for chatting too much, we went to bed and had sweet dreams about the days to come.

We could have opened a running store.

Saturday

Saturday morning we got up and went for an early morning jog around downtown. Our goal was to run for 20 minutes, and enjoy the new scenery. The weather was pretty annoying – warm, humid and WINDY. My hat actually blew off my head a couple times, which I knew was a bad sign for the next day! We were able to enjoy downtown Dallas though, and see part of the Christmas parade!

Following the run, it was Expo time! We got to the Expo and I was like a little kid in a candy shop. It was just so much fun! I cannot even explain how exciting it was to pick up my packet from the “Marathon” line. I felt pretty cool! And I felt even cooler when the workers all screamed out and cheered that it was going to be my first marathon (first timers wore a different bib color)!

My first marathon expo in my cute new running top!

The best investment from the Expo was some KT tape. I hadn’t ever tried it, but my Mom thought it would be a great idea seeing that I had been having some major leg pain the last couple weeks. They got me taped up and sent me on my way. I felt better immediatley!

Very colorful KT tape.

After the expo, Diana, my Mom and I headed to the Northpark Mall for last minute shopping. I needed a new hat and Diana was looking for a jacket. We found a hat, but no jacket. Then we headed back to the hotel.

Saturday night was intended for carbo-loading. We had dinner at an Italian place, then walked back to the hotel. Of course it started pouring down rain on the walk back, but we all toughed it out.

Dallas, you are pretty.

We made it back to the hotel and the obsessing really began. What the heck were we going to wear?! At this time, the rain chances had gone up to 100%. I would be running my first marathon in the rain, and there was no way around it. I was trying on every potential outfit and throwing water on them. I needed to see how things reacted. The running skirt was out, it stuck to my legs as soon as it got wet. A couple other shirts were out because they held in the water. I then decided what my outfit would be: Lulu capri pants and my purple Lulu long sleeve top.

Ta-Da!! By the way that purple top was never in the running to wear, but I am glad I packed it!

One thing had still not been figured out, and that was how the heck we were going to stay semi-dry for the first few miles. Then Stacy had probably one of the top 5 best ideas of her life…she said, “Do you think we could make our expo bags into vests?”. We all looked at the bag and collectively said, “I think we need to give it a try”. I then cut holes for arms and a hole for the neck. Next thing to do was try it on for size. It was a tight bit, but we got it on. Then Diana and Stacy got theirs on as well.

We got them on!!!

Lifesaver.

We colored them up, added our race numbers and our names, and the saying, “It’s in the bag”.

It's in the bag baby!

It was then time for bed. We needed to rest up for our big day. Little did I know that it would end up being one of the best days of my life.

Sunday – Morning

5:30 am and the alarm woke us up. The big day was here, and of course it was pouring down rain outside. Looks like mother nature wouldn’t be on our side today, but we knew that the last 5 1/2 months of training would be. We got dressed, put on our rain gear and headed down to the lobby.

My Mom snapped a few photos and gave us last minute hugs and words of encouragement. We put on our ponchos, and headed out to face the rainy day.

Pre-Race, Pre-Rain

Now check out those vests! Thank you, Stacy!!!

Rain, we are ready for you!

Totally was not my idea of the perfect marathon outift.

We arrived at the race around 7am, an hour prior to the start. One last bathroom break was in order, as well as some stretching. Around 7:45am we headed to the start. Stacy and I got in our coral and saw Diana off to hers. We said our goodbyes and wished each other luck. The biggest race of my life was about to begin. Bring it on.

Sunday – Race Time

At 8:05am, Stacy and I crossed the starting line. We hit our watches and got in the zone.

The first 3 miles were miles of dodging. I have decided that I am an expert dodger though, and can work my way through any crowd. We ran our first two miles slow: 8:49 and 8:37. The third mile was fast, right at 8:02. Our pace goal was about an 8:15, but we did not want to get too greedy in the beginning. I was insistent that we take advantage of the downhills, and it seemed that we kept hitting them.

Miles 4 and 5 were miles made of rain. It started raining hard. So hard that the only option was to laugh. I kept saying to Stacy, “Are you freaking kidding me?”. Although it was raining we still ran a good pace. 8:11 and 7:49. We were feeling great.

Miles 6 and 7 were the miles of mansions. We ran through some of the most amazing houses, and I couldn’t stop looking! Maybe that is why mile 6 was an 8:16. Mile 7 I was starting to get over the awe of the homes and hit a nice 8:01 mile.

Mile 8 was the mile of the river. Why? Because we ran through a freaking RIVER. Dallas had been in a drought, and you could tell. There was standing water everywhere, including in the streets. We were dodging water puddles left and right. I really put my good jumping skills to test! Mile 8 was a solid 8:04.

Mile 9 was mile of the tummy. My tummy hurt, but I was not going to admit it. I still don’t want to talk about it, because the race really was perfect. Mile 9 was an 8:25.

Miles 10 and 11 were miles of the “groove”. It was still raining, but Stacy and were trucking along at a solid pace. We were happy and enjoying ourselves and we got in a 7 minute groove. We ran 7:54 and 7:48.

Mile 12 was the mile of the lake. This is when we really started to get to know White Rock Lake. This is also when Stacy and I started to part ways and seperate. Mile 12 was an 8:01.

Miles 13 and 14 were the miles of seperation anxiety. I started to get sad that Stacy and I were no longer running together, and that we most likely wouldn’t finish this race together. I started thinking, “Who am I going to talk to for the rest of the race? Who will encourage me?”. Miles 13 and 14 were 7:54 and 8:02.

Mile 15 was the mile of the GLOVES! I gave my mom an extra pair of gloves just in case I needed them. We actually practiced signals where I would point to my hands if I needed the new pair. Well, I needed the new pair! My hands were wet and FREEZING. I spotted my Mom in her big yellow rain jacket (aka the Crab Catcher/Deadliest Catch) and started waving my hands. Well, she didn’t see me. She actually didn’t see me until I was standing right in front of her screaming, “GLOVES!!!”. I ended up pulling the gloves right off her hands and threw my wet soggy gloves back. Thanks Mom! Mile 15 was a 7:54.

Miles 16, 17, 18 and 19 were miles of new friends. I ran these miles with three other girls that were all about my age. We chatted, and everyone had the same goal: a 3:35. 3:35 would qualify us for Boston. Which was always my super top secret goal. These girls were great, and got my through my seperation anxiety. These miles clocked in at an 8:02, 7:58, 7:49 and 7:54.

Mile 20 was the mile of “All by myself” (sing that…). I felt alone, but great. We were out of the lake and on to the city streets. Everyone says that the race starts to hit you at mile 20…well I was not willing to experience that “hit” today. Mile 20 was 8:00.

Miles 21, 22 and 23 were the miles of hills. Now let’s get this straight, I thought this course was SO easy. There wasn’t a hill I couldn’t handle and hadn’t run on in almost every training run. These were the biggest hills I would encounter though, and they were approrpriatley named the “Dolly Parton Hills” by the race. These miles were 7:58, 8:31 and 8:24.

Mile 24 was the mile of the bag. Remember the bag we made into a homemade vest? Yep, I was still wearing that thing at mile 24. I kept pushing off my time to take it off. I just couldn’t part ways with it. I decided that mile 24 would be my time to lose the bag. I ripped it off like the incredible Hulk and kept on running. Funny thing is that Stacy saw my bag laying on the ground a few minutes later. This was her que to remove her bag as well, and she ripped hers off. Mile 24 was a 7:59.

Mile 25 was the mile of rain. Ok, so technically they were all miles of rain, but this was hard rain. I kept thinking, “why did I take my bag off?!”. I got through the mile though and ran a 7:57.

Mile 26 was the mile of finishing. I kept thinking, “Ali, you are almost done. You can do this, and you will do this race fast. You are so tough and you will finish. You are almost there”. Mile 26 was a 7:48. Not too shabby.

Mile 26.2 was where I hit the finish, and accomplished something amazing. Mile 26.2 I crossed the finish line. And I crossed that finish line in 3:32:12 according to my watch. Holy crap. I just ran my first marathon, and I qualified for the Boston Marathon.

Here is my proof.

Sunday – Post Race

As soon as I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with emotions. Yes, I cried. I couldn’t believe it. Then I pulled myself together. I would not be celebrating until I saw Stacy cross that finish line. Then I saw her! I hobbled over to her and we hugged and screamed! We shared our times and together yelled, “Oh my God!!!!!” while jumping for joy! Stacy ran a 3:37. She beat her PR by 7 minutes, and also qualified for Boston (again). We both couldn’t believe what we had accomplished!

After we celebrated for a minute, it was time to get warm. Those foil blanket things were not doing the trick. We headed in a building and took a post-race photo. Then got our finisher shirt and hit the snack line. After that we went to the family meeting area where my Mom and Stacy’s family were waiting. We found them and before we could really cheer for ourselves we had to get dry. My Mom had dry clothes and we headed behind a curtain to change.

At this point, my Mom thought that Stacy and I ran a 3:36 and finished together. When she said this I was quick to correct her. “Mom, I ran a 3:32! I qualified for Boston!!!!!!”. She jumped up and down and we all cheered! Stacy shared her amazing time as well and said, “Nana, we are going to BOSTON!!!!”. It was so exciting and such a priceless moment. I am so glad she didn’t know my real time and that I got to share that with her. Then I got to call my Dad and tell him too. He was just as excited and surprised as my Mom was. That news was the best I had ever shared, and I felt so accomplished and happy.

Sharing my news with Zack, and oh so cold!

We knew Diana would be finishing soon and we would all be reunited. I am not sure if you recall, but Diana just ran her first marathon 5 weeks prior (RnRSTL). This marathon would be for fun, and she wasn’t focused on her time so much. We were all reunited and she told us she ran a 4:09. She was happy and upbeat, as she always is. She also had a good race and felt great, aside from being so cold and wet.

We had to rush back to the hotel and get ready for a flight home. We couldn’t stop talking about the race and how excited we were. We are all on a runners high and nothing was going to bring us down. I was amazed at all the support waiting for me on my phone when I checked it back in the room. I had numerous messages of good luck and well wishes for the race. I couldn’t wait to read them all and respond, after we got out of room!

We had a few moments of downtime and took time for pictures in the hotel lobby before the flight home.

26.2, we go all the way!!!

Accountability Partner. Wouldn't have gotten out of bed all those mornings without you!

BFF's

Love you "sister"!

The best Mom in the world. Thank you for being my biggest cheerleader all these years.

We got to the airport, had dinner and a beer, and headed home. What a great day.

Post Race Thoughts

Yesterday was probably one of the best days of my life. At this time, I am having trouble coming up with any day that was better than yesterday was. I don’t think I have ever felt so happy or proud. I enjoyed every moment of that race, and never had a thought of doubt go through my head. I get emotional thinking about this and still can’t believe that I conquered a marathon. I did something that so many people dream about, and I did it pretty fast. I also achieved another dream and goal, which was qualifying for Boston.

I had the time of my life yesterday, and will forever cherish the memories I made during the race.

Thank you so much to everyone who supported me and encouraged me. Your words meant so much more than you realize, and I cannot wait to return the favor someday.

xoxo,

Ali

What did you do this weekend?

13 Nov

Hi there, and happy Sunday to you!

How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun and exciting worth sharing?

My weekend was great, and let me tell you – I am still on a total runners high. Why? Because I ran 22 freaking miles on Saturday!!! Now I will tell you ALL about it!

This run included my running buddies (and amazing friends) Stacy and Dianna. Stacy and I started with 4 miles on our own since Diana only needed to run 18 (did I just say “only” when referencing 18 miles?). After the 4 miles start, we all began our running adventure! We decided to make the run fun (Nicole- remember our HS “fun runs”?) and go from Stacy’s house to my parents house. It was a little over 17 miles round trip, so it worked out perfect.

The run started off slow, and gradually picked up. My legs were a little sore from the insane running throughout the week, but felt much better the second half of the run. And then out of nowhere I really just got a little burst of energy. Our last few miles we were booking it. And the run wrapped up with an 8 minute mile on #22. I was pretty proud of that. I hope I have this same energy at the marathon!

Look, proof that I did it!

I loved how happy I felt all day following the run. As I said earlier, I am still on my runners high. It is crazy to think just how far 22 miles is, and that I ran it. This 22 mile run really helped me to be confident for the marathon. I know I can add on that extra 4.2 with no problem, and I cannot wait to do it. In 21 days, I get to call myself a marathon runner 🙂

One other great thing from the weekend, these new tory burch flats I received. Aren’t they just FAB?

Hello, lovely!

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

xoxo,

Ali

I’m Runnin’ in the Rain!

8 Nov

Tonight was insane. I ran 8.32 miles in the cold, dark rain. To top it off these 8.32 miles included HUGE hills and surges the entire time.

Normally, I would never save an 8 mile run for the end of the day, however this time I had no choice. All of the weather reports stated that there was an 80% chance of rain at 5am, but that it would be clear by the end of the day. Well, it turns out they were wrong. I slept in, and slept through the best running weather of the day.

Originally I had planned to do track work today, but the thought of being on the track in the rain and dark scared me. I decided that today would be hills and tempo, so I could do it my safe neighborhood! I got dressed like a crazy person, and hit the road!

I was shocked at how great I felt throughout the run! This was my hardest run since the Rock ‘n Roll half and I didn’t know what to expect. I ran some huge hills (I would include an elevation chart but I dont know how to get the data off my Garmin…), and had some solid sprints. Overall I finished at an 8:20 pace, and I am pretty dang pleased by that.

Soaked but happy!

As a reward for my hardwork, I made pasta, had a Boulevard beer, and now I am watching Glee.

mmmmmmm

Thank you for continuing to listen to my running rambles.

Ali

But I am not a “runner”…

7 Nov

Quite often, when I tell people about my love for running, they respond by saying, “good for you! But I am just not a runner”. I feel like this is a common misconception people have about themselves. True, some people might not be a natural runner, and running might not be as easy for them as it is for others…but that doesn’t mean you can’t ever call yourself a runner too!

I have always believed that if you can walk, you can run. You just gotta try it! It might not be easy at first, and you may not enjoy it in the beginning, but if you stick with it I will guarantee that someday you will be happy with yourself that you did.

Now I have a little story to share with you.

When I was college, I had a very close friend. We spent a lot of time together and shared many common interests. However running was not one of these mutual interests. Every time I would say, “why don’t you go for a run with me?” I would quickly hear “NO! I am not a runner, my knees are too weak to run on”.  So with that being said, I went on many runs solo throughout college.

After college, this friend and I quickly drifted apart and lost touch. But can you guess where I re-connected with them (I bet you $5 you can’t)? Well, it was at mile 11 of the Kansas City Half Marathon. I looked over as I was nearing the end of a very long, hard and fast race and saw the person that constantly told me “I am NOT a runner!”. There he was, running a 7:30 mile pace, and he had been doing it for 11 miles already. I was stunned, and so proud at the same time. It was so crazy to think that out of all the years we knew each other, the first time we ever ran next to each other was at mile 11 of a half marathon.

Moral of my little story: I think anyone can be a runner if you just put your mind, body and soul into it. It might not be easy at the start, but you will get it down and start to enjoy it.

 Put your excuses on the shelf and get some cute running clothes. You can do it, I know you can!

“In running, it doesn’t matter whether you come in first, in the middle of the pack, or last. You can say, ‘I have finished.’ There is a lot of satisfaction in that.”
-Fred Lebow, New York City Marathon co-founder

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”
-John Bingham

And if you need more motivation, just remember…

 Xoxo,

Ali

A busy week ahead….

6 Nov

This week will be the most intense week of running that I have probably ever encountered. We are just a few weeks out from the marathon, and according to Stacy this is our week to really bust out some running.

What’s in Store

Monday – 7 miles easy

Tuesday – 8 miles speed, most likely 800’s

Wednesday – 7 miles easy

Thursday – 8 miles hills/tempo

Saturday – 22 miles, including race pace miles

If all goes as planned I will be running 52 miles this week – WOW! Just the thought of getting in that kind of mileage in one week makes me excited!

I am open to all training suggestions you can pass my way, so please send ’em along 🙂

Wishing everyone a relaxing Sunday and a happy Monday!

Ali

 

Welcome to my Blog!

13 Oct

Welcome!

I am Ali. I am 25 years old, living in the wonderful midwest (Kansas City area). I love my life, and I love sharing my life with other people. I have many favorite things, one of which is running. I decided to write this blog to keep people posted on my running progress as I train for upcoming races. I will also share other important life updates, since I have many other interests in addition to running!

So why do I run? There are numerous reasons why I run, aside from the obvious that I have always had a passion for it and I love it. Many people don’t really understand why I run, and how I can actually enjoy it! For my first blog post I would like to explain my reasoning for why and how I could enjoy running miles and miles, and also give you a little taste as to who I am. So here we go!

I run because…

My running buddies are the best
I love my running buddies and our morning chats. Sometimes when I don’t get my morning started with my running girlfriends, my entire day is out of whack. I need them in my life to keep my sane.

The shoes are so dang comfy
No explanation needed on this one, I love my Brooks running shoes.

Running skirts are fabulous
Running skirts are the best thing that was ever introduced to running. I love skirts in general, and the fact that I can now incorporate them into my running attire makes me smile. Running skirts actually motivate me to run just so I can put those cute things on!

It makes you feel like a bad ass
It is impossible to run 16 miles on a Saturday morning and not feel like a total bad ass. When your friends are sleeping, you are running. The high I get after running is similar to that high I get after shopping, and it is much better for my bank account.

Food is too good not to enjoy
I am a sugar-holic, most notably when it comes to chocolate. I am also a carb-a-holic. Pasta, bread, donuts – bring it on!

I often indulge in wine
Nothing is better after a stressful day (or just a regular Tuesday evening) than a glass of chilled white wine. But then in college I learned the hard way that alcohol actually does make you gain weight (darn it!). I have to cancel it out somehow – because I refuse to give up my wine.

I like music
Few things relax me more than an evening run with Justin Beiber, Britney or MJ blaring in my ears.

My boyfriend lives far away
Zack lives in Texas. Running helps to take my mind off how much I miss him every day and gives me something else to focus on.

I love to shop
I am a certified shopaholic. I love it. I am one of those people you hear about that gets the incredible high after making an exciting purchase. Shopping would be my life if I didn’t make an effort to prevent that from happening (and didn’t have the financial constraints). But how does my obsession with shopping become one of the reasons why I run? Distraction. Running helps to distract me from thinking about shopping all day and to keep me from using all my spare time to shop!

You can always count on me to have a perfectly matching running outfit, and to repeat those outfits very rarely. You can also always count on me to share my feelings on the latest fashion trends and trending topics during my morning runs.

I love running. I love shopping. I love life!  I run miles and miles, and you bet I do it in my “Ali Style” for each and every one of ‘em!

See you next time!

Ali

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