Tag Archives: Thankful

A New York State of Mind

30 Oct

I am currently sitting on my couch all cozy listening to the rain with the song “New York State of Mind” on repeat. I might be getting a little teary too.

I am so excited for the NYCM to be here, and I am so excited to be in New York on Friday. The trip could not come soon enough.

Today, my blog friend Doug sent me a list of questions and asked me to answer them for a blog project he is working on. The questions were about NYCM and my thoughts, feelings and goals towards the race.

As I sat there reading those questions and thinking about my answers, I reflected on how thankful I am to be running this race. This race has been nearly 2 years in the making, since I first received my acceptance January 2012. I have dreamt about this race, visualized this race, and planned this race. And on Sunday, the race will finally be here.

New York is not the only thing I have been thinking about though. I have been thinking about Boston too. A lot.

Boston will forever be a part of me. The experiences in Boston will always stay with me, and the memories of what happened will always live in the back (and sometimes front) of my mind. Boston changed me, but it changed me for the better.

The experiences there showed me what is important in life. And it showed me how precious life is.

I am not just lucky that I got into the New York City Marathon, I am lucky because I am able to run the New York City Marathon. I have my health. I have my strength. And I have my support system.

To me, this race on Sunday will be a celebration of what our communities (running, cities, nation, etc) have overcome this last year. We have stood strong together through hurricanes. We have been brave for each other through horrible attacks on our nation. We have stuck together through it all, and we will continue to do so.

I am not scared anymore to run on Sunday. I am excited. And I am ready.

On Sunday, I will run for the victims of Sandy that are still recovering from the aftermath of the storm.

On Sunday, I will run for those in Boston that continue to be affected – mentally and physically. Especially those that cannot run anymore.

And on Sunday, I will run for me. I will run to prove to myself what my body is capable of. I will run to see the pay out of the hard training. And hopefully, I will run to a big fat PR on the clock.

xo,

Ali

At the 2012 NYCM finish line.

At the 2012 NYCM finish line.

Lessons Learned Through 1,000 Miles

25 Sep

Today on my run, I hit 1,000 miles for the year 2013.

For me, this is a huge milestone. Up until last year, I had not ever thought I would be able to run this much in one year. I mean, 1,000 miles is A LOT when you think about it!!

As I ran this morning, I watched and waited for my Garmin to click 6 miles. At 6 miles into the run, I would hit my 1,000th mile for year. As soon as I saw it click over, I did a little dance and had a silent celebration (dancing was also due to finishing my tempo miles on my run!!)

I have been through a lot these 1,000 miles, and definitely learned some things during them as well.

Run for you.

With the sport of running, it is so easy to compare ourselves to other people. We constantly strike ourselves down with self doubt and negative comments.

“She is so much faster than me”
“I’ll never be as good as her”
“I wish I could as fast as other people”
“I am so freaking slow”

Those things above are just some of the negative self talk comments I have said to myself.

But why?

When we run, we are running to make ourselves healthier, happier and all around better people. It shouldn’t matter what other people are doing. What matters is ourselves. We should be proud of our accomplishments, not ashamed of them because they aren’t as fast as your best friend can run. Or your random instagram/twitter/facebook/daily mile freakishly fast fake friend can run.

Be proud of yourself. Whether you’re running 5 minute miles, or 12 minute miles, be proud of the fact that you are out there doing it. And that you are setting goals and achieving them.

Don’t take a mile for granted.

Probably the biggest lesson I have learned this year is to never take a single step for granted. Running is a gift, and we should all be thankful that we are capable of doing it.

You never know the day you could get a freak injury, like Kara Goucher recently encountered during her NYC Marathon training.

And you never know what tomorrow could bring.

Because of that, we should be thankful for every step, and especially every mile our body gives us.

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Have you hit any major milestones lately?

What are the biggest lessons you have learned this year?

xoxo,

Ali

Some of my favorite adventures. Conquering the hardest half marathon EVER, Running with my GOTR girls, Crossing the Boston Marathon Finish line, and deciding to take the plunge and dive into NYC training.

Some of my most memorable adventures this year: Conquering the hardest half marathon EVER, Running with my GOTR girls, Crossing the Boston Marathon Finish line, and deciding to take the plunge and dive into NYC training.

Aside for the blog I am terrible at updating, we can also chat at the following places:

 

Post-Boston Thoughts

15 Apr

I have so many thoughts going through my head right now, and so many feelings.

I would normally start my marathon recaps with the everything that led up to the race. But this post will have to be different. This post, I need to start when we crossed the finish line.

Diana, Stacy and I crossed the finish line in 3:54. We held hands as we crossed, and hugged as soon as we were past. We were so happy to be DONE with this race. It was hard. Our legs were sore, and we weren’t feeling so hot.

We kept walking towards the water, med tent area, medals, and family meet up. We got our medals, and continued to head on to the family meet up.

When we arrived at family meet up we had been walking for about 5 minutes. We were beyond tired and all we wanted to do was lay down in the room. We took a minute to get some post race photos, and then things changed.

at most, 30 seconds before things changed.

at most, 30 seconds before things changed.

Boom.

We all heard it, we all felt it.

Boom.

Another one. My heart started beating rapidly. I knew those booms were not ok. I looked around me, everyone had a look of panic on their face. Seeing a huge group of people with a panicked look on their face was so scary. When I am scared, I like to look around and see calm. When I looked around today, I saw terror. We were scared.

Some people said, “oh it was nothing! just scaffolding falling!”. Another said, “well it is patriots day, it was the cannons!”

I knew it was neither. What we heard was bad.

Then the sirens rang, and we saw police officers running. We immediately started walking. We didn’t know where, but we were moving. I then checked twitter and saw my biggest fear. Two bombs at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. My God, we were just there.

Before the bombs went off, my legs were on fire, I didn’t think I could go any longer. After the bombs went off I could’ve taken off in a sprint. Amazing what adrenaline will do for you.

We made it back to our hotel, which scared me. Our hotel was one block away from the explosions, but at least we would be inside. We got in, and within 15 minutes we were evacuated. We had nowhere to go, so we sat outside on a sidewalk across the street. Then they made us leave the sidewalk. We followed the masses and kept walking.

Nothing but emergency vehicles.

Nothing but emergency vehicles.

Finally we arrived in a little neighborhood nook. It was the cutest area and felt cozy. We found a spot on the ground and huddled together. There were so many runners wandering around, many that had not had the opportunity to change into warmer clothes. They looked like they were freezing.

Good samaritans in the neighborhood brought out blankets, coffee, orange juice and food. They offered their homes to anyone that needed to use the restroom. It was one of those moments when you say to yourself, “people are good.”

Doing good things.

Doing good things. He had such a happy heart and happy soul.

After over an hour of sitting on the street, we needed warmth. And a sweet woman named Marguerite saved us. She invited us into her home, fed us cheese and crackers and even gave us some beer. Another moment thinking, “people are good.”

Our spread at Margarets.

Our spread at Margarets.

After over an hour of invading Marguerite’s home, we decided to try to make the trek back to our hotel. We knew the lockdown was over, and had a route of streets we could take to get ourselves there.

We walked back and made it. We were so grateful to be back into our hotel with our possessions (and with a shower!!!). We settled into our rooms and just had some time to reflect. And I needed this time.

So many emotions.

So many emotions.

You look outside the windows here, and all you see are flashing lights and police. It is eery.

Around 9pm, we went to dinner in the hotel, as we were not able to leave. We sat at our table together, and decided we were going to put away our phones and talk about our race and our adventures that day. We had some fun stories to tell. However we were not able to focus on anything but the bombs. Every conversation went back to that.

So many people have said to me, “you should still be so proud, you ran Boston!”. But honestly, I could care less about that right now. I am not grateful for my medal right now, I am grateful for my safety and my families safety. That is what is important.

I keep thinking about the what ifs. What if we had not finished when we did? What if we were not with our families when the explosions went off? What if, what if, what if.

I thank everyone right now for their support. I am ok, but many are not. Please send that support to those who are still missing family members, were injured, or lost their lives.

xo,

Ali

Girls on the Run is SO Much FUN!

27 Nov

Last summer, I made the decision to be a Girls on the Run Coach. I’ve wanted to be involved with this program for years, and I finally took the plunge and applied. I was thrilled when I heard back that I would be a coach for the fall season of Girls on the Run!

From September through the beginning of November, I devoted every Tuesday and Thursday evening to 14 girls, ages 8 – 11. We learned about loving ourselves, discussed good decision making and ran our hearts out. We also had a TON of fun while doing it.

I cannot say enough about how amazing the Girls on the Run program is. The curriculum was great, the workout plans were effective, and the girls always had fun.

The St. Mary’s GOTR coaches

The girls were so great at encouraging their teammates.

The girls were so great at encouraging their teammates. And they loved their scrunchies I made them!

Not only did the Girls on the Run program benefit these girls, but it also benefited me.

If I had a hard day before practice, these girls were able to turn my frowns upside down. They made me smile, they made me laugh, and they just plain made me happy. Never did I not look forward to going to practice. In fact, I was really sad when the season ended.

These two were such sweeties!!!

The Girls on the Run season ends with a 5k in which all the Girls on the Run programs around the Kansas City area get together and run. There are so many girls there, and everyone is happy and excited.

I loved seeing all my girls at the 5k and witness the pride on their face as they crossed that finish line.

So proud to complete her 5k!

We had 3 Ali’s (4 including me) in our group! We all had a bond 🙂

One of my best helpers at practice.

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I already look forward to next season, and hope that I get to coach some of the same girls again.

If you have ever thought about coaching, I urge you to move forward and apply online to be a coach. I promise, you won’t regret the decision.

xo,

Ali

 

My NYC Trip – Through the Photos

8 Nov

Photos for you to enjoy from my NYC trip. As you can see, even though the race didn’t happen, we still had an AMAZING trip!!!

Began the trip by going to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral.

Sipped on Rose at La Grenouille (this is right before I found out the race was canceled).

Downed our race sorrows at the Lion King. Pretty great that they serve you vodka in sippy cups! And the show was fantastic!

Visited the infamous “Dangling Crane”.

Went to the race expo to pick up my race number, and 2012 NYC Marathon clothes on clearance.

Drank amazing drinks at The Plaza!

Indulged in macaroons!

Struck a pose!

Had dinner at Butter, a Lindsay Lohan and Blair Waldorf fave.

Adorably posed for pics in Central Park.

Admired the beauty hidden away in Central Park.

Explored the Met.

Educated ourselves on history.

Snuggled on the rooftop of the Met (it was COLD up there!)

Strolled along Democracy Plaza – It was pretty neat to be in NYC over the election!

Ate cheesecake for breakfast.

Walked the Highline, and spent lots of time with Ramsey’s sister Sarah (she’s a super cool NYC girl!)

Drank Bellini’s at Pastis! (I have wanted to go there for years – always saw it on Sex and the City!)

Went to our first official NBA game! AND got a behind the scenes tour of the Barclay Center!

Discussed who would win the election.

Stalked the news anchors in that little box.

And then…we went home!!!

xoxo,

Ali

The Unofficial NYC Marathon

7 Nov

As most everyone knows by now, the New York City Marathon did not happen last Sunday. This news was extremely disappointing for me when I heard on Friday night. In fact, I was pretty much in shock. My heart broke for myself along with all the other athletes that traveled to this race and spent many months training.

All week I understood why the race should be canceled. I knew there were people hurting and people who needed the assistance. But when Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the race should go as planned and it would be GOOD for the city, I went ahead with my trip – as did many other runners.

As I said earlier, I understood the cancellation and also began to agree with it. My only wish with the cancellation was that it had happened earlier in the week, before so many people spent so much money to get to the city and stay in the city. I know that I would’ve gone to NYC regardless of the race being canceled, but knowing sooner could’ve saved many others time and money who would have canceled their plans.

Although the race did not take place on Sunday, I still had the opportunity to be a part of something pretty amazing. I was invited by two of my Twitter friends (Beth and Kristine) to join them for a run through Central Park. They were so kind to include me in their running group, and it turned into the most amazing experience!!

Kristine, Beth and Stephen

Kristine, Beth and the very talented jewelry designer Erica Sara!

Central Park on Sunday morning was a sea of runners, mostly wearing their orange marathon shirts. Some people even pinned their race numbers to their shirts and wore costumes (I saw Buddy the Elf!).

I would say this is the most beautiful place in the city.

As soon as you entered the park, you could feel the enthusiasm of the runners. Everyone was smiling and doing what they love to do – run. People were there spectating as they would’ve on race day, and there were even faux water stations setup for us to get a drink. There was nothing negative in the air on Sunday. In fact, I am pretty sure you got a contact runners high if you looked at all of us.

Kristine and Beth made sure I was able to run the significant miles of the race (24 – 26.2) and also run to the finish line (seriously, you girls were AMAZING!). So many people were swarming the finish. They were taking photos, chanting and cheering. The experience nearly brought tears to my eyes.

Sporting some 2012 Marathon wear that was on clearance.

Look at all those happy people!!!

Simulating my finish line hands!

The thing I realized after this experience was that even though things don’t always go our way or as planned, it doesn’t mean that we can’t make the best of it. Every runner I saw on Sunday was negatively impacted by the race being canceled as well, but that didn’t mean that they sat around sulking all weekend. They got out there and celebrated their love of running with all the others that share that same passion.

Even though the “Official” 2012 NYC Marathon will not happen, the “Unofficial” 2012 NYC Marathon was still an amazing experience. And it is an experience that I will not ever forget.

xoxo,

Ali

And yes, I will be back in 2013!

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

Counting my blessings

3 Apr

Last Friday morning, we had the quite the scare on our run. As Stacy, Diana and I were running through a neighborhood, a big truck going way too fast in a residential area almost hit us.

It was terrifying. The driver of this truck was obviously not paying attention, and veered straight towards us into our running lane. We were forced to jump off the street into the grass, and stood there shocked and in disbelief at what almost happened.

Obviously, this startled all three of us. For the rest of the day, none of us could shake the feeling of fear that was hanging on from this awful moment. However since this scare happened, I have began to count my blessings again.

When I was a little girl, my Grandmother and I used to count our blessings together, and send blessings to those we love. “God bless Mommy, God bless Daddy, God bless brother”, etc. Somewhere through the years I lost sight of the many blessings in my life. But now I am beginning to realize again how important it is to count our blessings, and send them along to others.

Life gives us lemons often, but are these actually just blessings in disguise? I think back to our terrifying encounter last Friday morning. It shook me up, but it also prompted me to buy myself a running light to wear in the dark. I always thought they were silly and annoying, but now I realize that they could save my life.

Going forward, I will begin to count my blessings more often. I will also find the good in the “lemon” situations, and know that there is a reason for these things to happen.

I ask you to join with me. Count your blessings, and send them to the other people in your life that need them.

XO,

Ali

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