Tag Archives: Loving Life

If I knew then…

7 Oct

This morning as I was driving to work, an old song came on the radio.

You know those songs that take you back to a time of your life and make you feel like it was yesterday? This song is one of those.

So what is it? Low by Flo Rida. (what can I say…I like my rap…shorty had them applebottom jeans….)

As I was listening, I thought about how much life has changed the last few years and especially how I have changed as a person. I couldn’t help but look back to that time of my life and think “If I knew then, what I know now”….

  • I would’ve spent more time thinking about others, and less time thinking about myself
  • I would’ve appreciated what I had, instead of obsessing over what I didn’t
  • I would’ve been more thankful for my parents and everything they did for me
  • I wouldn’t have put up with a boss that talked down to me
  • I would’ve spent less money on materialistic items, and donated it instead
  • I wouldn’t have dated that a-hole
  • I would’ve drank more water, and less wine
  • I would’ve taken more cabs
  • I would’ve stood up for myself more
  • I would’ve been happier with my appearance
  • I would’ve payed better attention in my MBA classes
  • I would’ve spent more time with my friends that deserved my time, and less with those that didn’t
  • I wouldn’t have tolerated a boyfriend that didn’t take me seriously (different dude than the one above)
  • I wouldn’t have been such a slacker with my running
  • I would’ve tried to meet more people and branch out
  • I would’ve volunteered more
  • I would’ve been more accepting of people
  • I would’ve been healthier
  • I wouldn’t have wasted tears over things and people that didn’t deserve my tears
  • I would’ve said yes to a date with my now husband two and a half years sooner

And those are just a few of things I would do differently now.

But I will tell you this – I regret none of these decisions. Because without these decisions, I would not be the person I am today. I am a firm believer that our mistakes teach us lessons and make us better people. I know mine certainly have.

Today I am thankful for all that I have and the person I have become.

And while my early 20’s were awesome – please do not make me go back 🙂

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xo,

Ali

P.S. I am impressed that Flo Rida could make me think so deep.

 

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I’m Back!

13 Jun

Since Boston, I have taken a little blog hiatus. Partially because I have been really busy, and partially because I didn’t know what to talk about.

Life has been really busy lately, but busy in great ways. Family, friends, work and a new home have been occupying most of my time. And after my 7 week hiatus, I am ready to add the blog back to my list of items filling my time. And in a few weeks, I will also have running back on my list of priorities.

After each of my half or full marathons, I have taken a break from running. I have a tendency to get burnt out with the sport, especially with the time training consumes. If I don’t give myself a break, I fear that I will lose my love for the sport and not enjoy it as much.

In a month, I will start training again. But until then, I will most likely be writing blog posts that aren’t as much about running, but more about life!

Here are some highlights of my life in the last few weeks:

Celebrated my friend Laura getting married!

Celebrated my friend Laura getting married!

Experience what a professional photo shoot is like!!

Experience what a professional photo shoot is like!! (This was for the July issue of Runner’s World. While this photo did not make the paper version, some of my other photos and quotes did! It was a really cool experience to be involved with)

Partied with friends for Stacy's 40th birthday!

Partied with friends for Stacy’s 40th birthday!

Celebrated my Girls on the Run group running their 5k!

Celebrated my Girls on the Run group running their 5k!

Met baby Charlotte :)

Met baby Charlotte 🙂

Spent time with my family in Kentucky

Spent time with my family in Kentucky

BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!!

BOUGHT A HOUSE!!!!!

Accidentally got beat by Ramsey at the Hospital Hill half marathon!

Accidentally got beat by Ramsey at the Hospital Hill half marathon!

Celebrated Ramsey's 30th birthday with friends.

Celebrated Ramsey’s 30th birthday with friends.

Took professional photos with my Grandma Clark, all her grandchildren, and all the quilts she handmade for each of us.

Took professional photos with my Grandma Clark, all her grandchildren, and all the quilts she handmade for each of us.

Talked about my underwear in the July Issue of Runner's World!

Talked about my underwear in the July Issue of Runner’s World! Be careful what you say in an interview! hehe!

 

I hope your last few weeks have been wonderful as well!

Thank you for all the continued support and love. You guys are the best!!!

xo,

Ali

Loving Love

14 Feb

Happy Valentines Day!

I love this day. I always have.

When I was in school I would look forward to making my Valentines Day box and delivering my valentines to all my classmates. What can I say, I love love.

The past few months I have thought a lot about relationships. What makes them good, what makes them bad, what makes them life long, and what makes them short lived.

Rarely do I really talk about “love” on this blog, and never have I offered up advice on this topic. But since it is Valentines Day, I feel like I can share my opinion on the subject.

So here we go.

When you are in a relationship with the right person, you know it. I remember hearing this many years ago and thinking, “surely it is not that easy!”, well I think it is.

I have also discovered that when you are in a relationship with the right person, you will both end up being better people because of it.

I have flaws, we all do. My biggest flaw (in my opinion, so let’s not offer up other suggestions!) is anxiety. I have known a life of worrying and feeling anxious for so many years that I didn’t ever know I could live without it. This anxiety has caused me to experience horrible heartburn, stomach aches and hair loss over the years. I never imagined I could go one day without having some kind of anxious feeling or worry. But now, I do.

In my previous relationships I would be happy, but still have my nagging anxiety present in the background. It was like a cloud over everything. Constant worry and stress about what could be coming, and things that had previously happened occurring again.

Nowadays, I no longer struggle with the constant anxiety and stress that I once thought would always be a part of my life. It was like one day I woke up and POOF! the lingering cloud had moved on. The cloud that I thought I would always live under was gone.

Living “cloud free” has been amazing. And I know exactly what I can attribute this to. The best decision I have ever made was saying “yes” to a dinner invitation from someone I had known for awhile but never took that next step with. Since saying “yes”, my life has been happy and complete and I am a better person because of him.

I foresee bright sunshiny days ahead with him.

I foresee bright sunshiny days ahead with him.

If you are unsure of your relationship, or where your love life is taking you, I ask you to consider if this current situation is making you a better person. I also ask you to think about your biggest flaw, and whether or not the person you are with fixes the flaw, or makes it even worse.

Had someone offered up this advice many years ago – and I actually listened to it – I could’ve saved a lot of money on nexium and hair loss shampoo.

Happy Valentines Day friends, I hope your day is as full of love as mine has been 🙂

xoxoxo,

Ali

 

 

Thankful Thursday – Feeling the Love

18 Oct

Today I am feeling very thankful for some the amazing people I have in my life.

I always feel blessed by my friends and my family, and I talk about it a lot on this blog. But one group I don’t give enough credit to are my coworkers at DEG.

The entire DEG group.

A few of the super special ones 🙂

We have a lot of fun together too 🙂

My coworkers have had the pleasure of listening to me talk about running (A LOT), listen to my ups of training, and my downs of training. Many of them are kind of enough to reach out and ask me each day how it’s going and how my inevitable early morning run went that day. Not only do these amazing people inquire about my running, but they actually care about it too.

So what prompted this sappy blog? Well, let me tell you…

Last week I was having one of these mornings where you forget things at home and have to turn around to go back (twice). It was also one of those mornings where you are flustered and not feeling 100%. When I finally made it to work grouchy and annoyed, I noticed a card sitting on my desk.

Kinda looks like me??

“Who is writing me cards?!” I thought, as I ripped it open. Then as I read the card, my frown turned upside down, and I got the biggest smile on my face.

Inside the card were encouraging words from 8 of my amazing coworkers. These words of encouragement were good luck wishes for my upcoming marathon, hand written and signed by each of them. As I read these warm wishes, I was overwhelmed with their kindness and love. Each wrote something from the heart, and something they knew would make me smile.

See if you can read any of those sweet comments. They are the BEST!

Inside this card was also a little Lululemon pouch, which I discovered had a gift card inside. They got me a gift card to my most FAVORITE running store so I could be properly outfitted for the marathon. Is that not the sweetest thing??

You know me so well!!!

To my dear friends – Lauren, Sarah, Jenn, Cara, Chandra, Whitney, Jenny, and Bethany,

I hope you understand how much your gesture meant to me. The fact that you all listen to me everyday means the world, and knowing that I have your support on race day means even more.

You are all amazing, and I cannot thank you enough. Because of you, I know I will have all the support I need to run my best race on November 4th, and I also know I will have the cutest outfit out on the dang course while doing so.

Thank you again, and I look forward to returning the favor someday soon!

XOXO,

Ali

A Chicago Weekend

22 Aug

A few weeks ago, I had one of the best weekends of the summer in Chicago. Although this post is a tad delayed, I still wanted to tell everyone about my weekend – and most importantly show you the photos!

Thursday

We arrived Thursday morning, and immediately headed out to shop. Following a big day shopping, we got ready for dinner and our evening out.

Cheers!!!

We were so lucky to have our friend Brad as tour guide and Director of Fun. Brad runs a travel website called AbsoluteVisit. I urge you to check it out, the places he has been and things he has done are truly amazing!

Thursday evening we had dinner and Mia Francesca (amazing!!!) and then went to Second City Comedy Club. I can’t remember the last time I had laughed that hard!

Laughing at Second City

Thanks for the perfect weekend, Brad!!!

Friday

Friday was “active day”, and Brad basically planned for us to do a triathlon (yay! My first one!)

First we walked through Lincoln Park,

Seriously, I cannot get enough of this city.

Ahhhhh’ing at the Botanical Garden

RAWR!

Then we biked along lake Michigan,

Biking is not a strong skill for me.

“Love and marriage, love and marriage”

Admiring the bean.

And lastly we kayaked down the Chicago River!

This was an incredible experience.

The day was perfect, followed by a night out on the town!

The best $22 cocktail I have ever had.

Drinks at the Trump Tower (check out that view!)

Rose at Pops for Champagne!

Saturday

Saturday morning we got up and had breakfast at Toast. I tried a very interesting dish, called the “Pancake Orgy”. Although the name was weird, the meal was incredible. Just thinking about the photo makes me hungry.

This breakfast did not disappoint.

The best surprise a girl could get on vacation 😉

Poppin’ Bottles

After a day out in the city, we went to dinner at MK. MK has become one of my favorite restaurants in the city. I urge you to go there – it is SO yummy!

Striking a pose!

Sunday

Sunday morning we got up and had Brunch at our friend Eric and Melissa’s home. They were so kind to host our group, and nothing hit the spot more than homemade Eggs Benedict (can you tell I really like to eat??).

Twinkies!

Before heading out of the city Sunday evening, we had a little pizza party on Brad’s rooftop. The view was amazing, and so peaceful. I love the way you can escape the city in Chicago, without having to travel far.

My favorite pizza in one of my favorite cities.

Overall, our weekend in Chicago was fantastic. We ate, we drank, we shopped, we exercised, and most importantly – we laughed. A lot.

xoxo,

Ali

Running is My Therapy

15 Aug

So, we all have our own “issues” we deal with each and every day. Some big, some small, but they are always there (unless you are living a life of denial).

Many people see a therapist to deal with their issues. Others talk to their family and friends. For me, I handle them with a pair of Brooks running shoes, and a Garmin – out on the road, pounding on that pavement. Sometimes with friends, sometimes all alone.

People often ask me, “How do you run that much?” or “WHY do you run that much?”.

And my answer to that question is always simple and clear: “It’s my therapy. I need it to keep me sane”.

An example of how Ali feels when she does not run.

I know that I live a very wonderful life filled with joy and happiness, but sometimes I get pretty freaking overwhelmed. And my anxiety level can go through the roof.

To cope with these issues, I have learned that running is key. Running balances my life in a way that nothing else can. It brings me back down to a place that I can handle, and one that I can manage.

Running also makes me happy – just like Elle Woods stated in Legally Blonde, “Endorphins make you happy, and happy people just don’t kill their husbands” (girlfriend was majorly correct).

I bet I ran the day this photo was taken.

I need to run, I have to run. And if I am so blessed with this amazing ability to be able to run, why wouldn’t I go out and do it as much as possible??

So I must ask, are you like me and use exercise as your “therapy”? Or do you have other methods to share?

Hope your week is going well!

xoxo

Ali

A Santa Fe Getaway

22 Feb

Good evening! I had to take a little hiatus from the blog, but it was for a really good reason. I was on vacation!

I had been looking forward to this little Santa Fe getaway for the past month. I was going with my boyfriend Zack, and we had not seen each other since Christmas (long distance relationships…wahh wahh).

So are you ready to hear about the trip? Good. Here we go!!

Thursday

On Thursday, I arrived in Texas to Zack’s lovely city he currently calls home.

We ran some errands, and packed up for our trip!

Friday

Around 10am, we hit the road and headed West.

It was about a 5 hour drive to Santa Fe, and a boring one at that. We decided to get an audio book to listen to, hoping it would help pass the time. Well, we got “Assholes Finish First”, by Tucker Max. I was actually the person to vote for this book, thinking it would be funny. It was funny…but also the most vulgar and inappropriate thing I have ever listened to!

At 3pm, we arrived in Santa Fe!

Cute little hotel.

After getting checked in the hotel, we headed out to walk around and get a little bite to eat.

Following our late lunch, we walked around the plaza so I could find some turquoise earrings (I wanted authemtic ones that Indians were selling off rugs in the plaza).

Success!

After our shopping trip, we headed back to the hotel and relaxed a bit.

Then it was time to hit the hotel bar. They had the most amazing cocktails at the bar, and I enjoyed this apple, lime, fruity vodka thing. Whoa.

Now this is vacation.

Dinner followed dinner at a New Meixcan style restaurant, then it was time to rest up for our big day on the slopes!

Saturday

The alarm went off early Saturday, and we started prepping for the day ahead. After getting bundled up, it was time to brave the snow.

A lot of people are surprised by the fact that you can ski in Santa Fe. For some reason they think it would be really warm there. Well, it is not. It is actually pretty chilly!

A lovely drive up the mountain.

We have arrived!

I had not skied in 12 years. I was terrified that I would forget how to do it.

The moment of truth happened coming off our first lift. Would I remember? Would I fall? Would I cry?

well…..

Terrified but ready!

….I picked it right back up! I was actually shocked at how easily it all came back to me!

Zack boards, so we would go our separate ways at the top of the mountain and meet back up when he reached the bottom.

Beautiful!

ahhhhhhh!

We had the best day skiing, and the mountain was so pretty and relaxing. We were exhausted after skiing all day, and it was time to head back to the hotel.

Back at the hotel, we rested and then prepared for dinner. Twitter friend Emily (@EmilyRatcliff) suggested an Italian restaurant, Il Piatto. Dinner was delicious, and such a cute and quaint little setting.

🙂

Sunday

Sunday morning, we ate at a cute little cafe and decided it was time to go to Church.

We headed up to St. Francis Cathedral. It was really lovely!

Very historic

I made an Indian friend.

This photo does not do justice!

After we wrapped up at St. Francis, we went to the Loretto Chapel to look at the famous staircase.

This staircase is a “Miracle” because it was made by an unknown little carpenter man, and doesn’t have a nail anywhere in it. It is such a cool story…google it!

So much character.

Incredible!

One last stop was required before we headed home. I wanted an authentic turquoise ring to go with my new earrings. Zack was quite the sport as I drug him up and down the street looking for the perfect ring.

This time was well spent, because I found a ring that was right at home on my finger.

I HATE the way my hand looks in this photo. Have I heard of lotion?

After I found my new ring, we headed back to Texas.

The trip home was more of Tucker Max, and that obscene book. But it actually got pretty funny during the second half.

Now I am back home in Missouri. The weekend was great, and I plan to visit Santa Fe again.

Chat soon!

xoxo,

Ali

 

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The Power of Positive Thinking

18 Jan

Recently, I have been thinking a lot about the role positive thinking can play in ones life.

Everyday I come in contact with negative people, and I always want to ask them what they think their negative attitude is going to accomplish for them. Do they think that complaining about something is going to make it change? Do they think that if they try to bring other people down with them, their bad situation will somehow get better (the misery loves company idea)? Or do they not think about these things at all?

I am a positive person, and I always have been. I try to see the good in everyone and in every situation I am placed in. Am I always able to overcome every obstacle with a big smile on my face? No. But you can bet I will try my hardest to do so.

Positive thinking has not only played a huge role in my life, but also in my running successes. Since I began my running career at the age of 13 (middle school cross country), I have realized how important it is to stay positive during races and hard workouts.The minute that I let my mind go in a race, I might as well quit.

I have encountered many “mental” runners over the years. I have run with them on my cross country/track teams, and next to them in half marathons. And I always feel sorry for them that they deal with those negative thoughts. I am so thankful to stay away from joining the crowd of “mental” runners, and that I can keep myself going by saying affirmations in my head.

As I said earlier, I don’t make it out of every situation with a big fat smile on my face. But I do really try to make that the case. The experts say that running is very much a mental sport, and I couldn’t agree more.

To all my friends out there facing something hard in life, or getting prepared to, please keep in mind that you can overcome so much by keeping your head up and your mind free of negativity. And if that isn’t enough to think of, try my favorite quote by Robert H. Schuller – “Tough times never last, but tough people do!”.

How do you keep negativity from creeping into your life? Or do you struggle like so many do to keep these thoughts away? Do you have advice for dealing with other negative people we encounter daily? I would love to hear your views on this!

xo,

Ali

A Year in Review: 2011

4 Jan
One of my Twitter friends recently asked a question. It was: “If you could use one word to describe your 2011, what would it be?”. I quickly replied with: Happiness.

2011 was a wonderful year filled with many memories worth noting. Below is a month by month snapshot of my favorite memories of 2011. Please excuse the delay in writing this blog post.

January

January was a cold and snowy month in Kansas City. January brought me to St. Louis for my dear friends Lindsey and Joe’s engagement party.

All of Lindsey's Ladies, minus Kara

February

The month of LOVE! In February, Zack and I took a trip to Louisville, KY. This was Zack’s first meeting with my family that lives there. What a wonderful weekend we had!

At the Jim Beam Distillery

March

March was a crazy busy month for me! In March I ventured to Texas to visit Zack, then hit up Louisville to see my family and topped off the month with a fantastic trip to NYC!

My first time riding a horse in Louisville!!!

Aunt Holly and I outside of 'Catch me if You Can'

April

April is my birthday month! In April I celebrated a few other birthdays with friends, and then celebrated my own. Easter was also a highlight of the month, and I was happy to spend that weekend with my family and Zack!

Yes, sometimes I wear extensions.

Bridget looks right at home...

May

In May I got to see my parents new getaway home they had been working so hard on. The home is amazing and the view is even better!! I also took a trip to Texas in May to visit Zachary!

This is what you see from their front porch

June

What a month June was!! It started with a trip to Boston for work, that also included quite a lot of fun! Then I went to Key West with Zack’s family to celebrate his parents 30th Wedding Anniversary.

Boston Harbor in the morning, so peaceful!

Sunset Cruise in Key West, FL

I swam with the sweetest Dolphin, Santini!

July

July brought me to California for my first ever visit to the state! My best friend Nicole lives there now, so a trip was in order. I went over the 4th of July weekend and we had the best time in Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach!!

In July I also ventured to the Lake of the Ozarks with Eileen, Louisville to see my Cousins and St. Louis for Lindsey and Joe’s wedding shower.

We climbed a mountain, in skirts!!!

We LOVE wine!

I had the most relaxing Friday of my life in Louisville with a Skinny Girl Marg and To Kill a Mockingbird

We were oh so tan!

August

August took me to Chicago for Lindsey’s Bachelorette party. Such a fun weekend. I also took a trip to Lawrence, KS in August to celebrate Zack’s BFF’s birthday.

Lindsey's Ladies!

And OH SO CLASSY

Fun Friends

September

September was another busy month in my life. It began with me running my frist 10K race, and getting 2nd place right behind Stacy!!

Next up for September was a trip to Indianapolis for #ET11. We saw Katy Perry and partied our butts off.

To round out the month Lindsey and Joe got married! It was the most beautiful wedding. Remember the bouquet toss?

We made a podium.

DEG after Katy Perry

Some BM's

Party Central

October

In October, I started this blog!! I also co-hosted a “sprinkle” for Brianna and Baby Girl Bruening #2, met Reese Bruening, ran a half marathon- Rock ‘n Roll STL, and celebrated Halloween as a devil-angel!

Ready to Pop!

A little princess whom I love so much!

How cute are these shirts that Stacy made??

ohhhh scary! Espcially scary is that pleather dress I'm wearing....

November

In November I signed up and committed to run my very first marathon!!! November was full of training, hard. November also took me to Chicago for a girls weekend with Mom and Aunt Holly and Louisville for Thanksgiving.

So much fun!

The best family ever.
 

I am TERRIFIED of mascots!!!! (At Churchill Downs)

December

2011 ended with the best month of all for me. In December, I experienced one of my greatest life accomplishments – I ran a marathon. I also qualified for Boston at that marathon!!!

Christmas came in December, as did time with family and friends.

We ran 26.2 in the pouring down rain.

My biggest cheerleader!

BFF Nicole came home for Christmas!

Bridget turned two and celebrated another Christmas!

My Mom had this made for me - amazing!

Ringing in the New Year with perfect company!

 

2012 – Here We Come!

2011 was such an amazing year. It is hard to believe that 2012 could top it, however I have a feeling it will. I have many plans ahead for the new year, and can’t wait to share them all with you on future posts.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to my fabulous year, and to everyone that will make 2012 just as special.

xoxo,

Ali 

A Thankful Thanksgiving

24 Nov

*Sappy post alert*

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you are all having a fabulous morning while preparing for the Holiday. Over the past few weeks I have done a lot of reflecting of all the things in life I am thankful for. And there are quite a few things to be thankful for this year. So let’s get started.

Running
Seeing that this is a running focused blog, I will start with the obvious. I am thankful for being able to run. Running has brought a lot of joy to my life, and has also been a w0nderful stress outlet for me. Running has brought me closer to friends, and given me pride in myself. For those reasons and many more, I am thankful that I have the ability to run.

Fashion
Next stop on my thankful list: fashion. I am thankful to have fashion in my life. I love to shop, and it brings joy to my life. This might seem silly to some, but I am very thankful for this.

Job
I am very thankful for my job. I love the company I work for, and I am constantly reminded why it is a great place to work. Everyday isn’t always the happiest, but the majority for them are and I think that is pretty darn great.

now lets get deep

Friendships
I have the best friends in the entire world, and I am very thankful for this. If ever I am having a crisis (which is often) I can call a number of people for support. My friends are the best, and there is no arguing that or convincing me otherwise. I love them all.

Relationship
I have the best boyfriend, and I love him very much. He supports me, and loves me. He is there for me when I need him and is always willing to offer up advice when I ask. Although he is far away from me right now, I know this will not last forever. Everyday I think about how lucky I am, and realize that most people go their whole lives without ever experiencing what I have.

and saving the best for last..

Family
I have the best family EVER. They are funny, loving and always supportive. I couldn’t be luckier for the people I get to call my family. My parents are always there for me, my brother is a great friend, my grandparents are so very loving, my aunts/uncles/cousins are wonderful, and my dogs make me laugh and provide unconditional love. Without these people in my life, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.

Thank you to everyone in my life that has made me so happy, and made my life so beautiful. Although I don’t say it outloud everyday, I do think about it constantly.

Wishing you, your family, and your friends a very happy holiday.

xoxo,

Ali

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