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Holly

Going for a Run with Ali Feller

Hey, hey, friends! Today I am super excited to share this fun interview with Alison Feller of The Ali on the Run Show podcast and blog Ali on the Run. She is a fellow runner, blogger, podcaster, and dog mom, and I can’t wait for you guys to get to know her today. We chat about running (of course), her health journey with Crohn’s disease, and her sweet Ellie girl. I hope you guys enjoy!

1. Thank you for coming on the blog, Ali! I’m going to take a tip from your podcast, The Ali on the Run Show, and start with a warm up. Tell us about who you are and what it is that you do!

Oh I’m a pro at this! My name is Ali Feller, and I’m a freelance writer and editor and host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I live in West New York, NJ, with my husband, Brian, and our puppy, Ellie (OK, she’s 2.5, but she’ll always be my puppy), and I’m a runner, yogi, outdoor enthusiast, Orangetheory fanatic, and generally very happy person.

2.  When did your running journey begin, and did running come naturally to you?

Naturally? LOL! Not at all! I was a dancer growing up, and running wasn’t a thing. It was a punishment during gym class, and I avoided running the timed mile in fifth grade. It wasn’t until I graduated college and moved to NYC that I started attempting running. My roommate (a Craigslist success story!) was a runner, and she taught me everything I needed to know. I went all-out for my first run, so unsurprisingly it only lasted four blocks before I was gassed and had to stop and dry heave. The next day, I set out to run six blocks. Eventually, I ran a full mile, then two miles, and then signed up for my first four-mile race. Seven marathons and many, many half marathons later, and running has officially changed my life. It didn’t come naturally to me — it still doesn’t, most days! — but it’s been the greatest gift, and I am so thankful for everything running and the running community have done for me. The relationship may be rocky sometimes, but I’ll always keep coming back to it.


3. I feel like runners are a bit shy about calling themselves runners at first (or we brush it off). I know when people say to me, “Oh, so you’re a runner?” I kind of shrug and act like it’s nothing. Was there an “Ah-ha!” moment that made you feel like you made it as a runner, or did you identify yourself as a runner right away?
Oh totally! I had run a handful of half marathons and was training for my first marathon — I even had a blog called Ali on the Run — before I really started calling myself a runner and feeling like one. The moment for me was one morning in Central Park. I would always see this group of women my age out running together, and in my opinion they were all so fast, so badass, so out of my league. (Not my opinion, actually. That’s a fact.) On this one morning, I was finishing up my run as they were getting started, and they invited me to join them. I couldn’t believe that they saw me as worthy of their company, as being able to keep up, as someone out doing the same thing they were doing. It totally affirmed everything I wanted to feel. From that day on, I was a runner — and they became my very first group of running buddies!

4. What has been your most memorable race? What did you love about it?
Oh, this is a tough question! The National Half (which is now the Rock N Roll DC Half) was my half marathon PR in 2011, and that was a monumental race for me. I had just gone through a bad breakup, and the race was everything I needed to get back on my feet and feel strong and independent again. I also loved the Dash to the Finish Line 5K last year. I ran it as my first post-Crohn’s flare race, and ended up running a 5K PR! It was totally unexpected and totally magical. But my all-time favorite race is the TCS New York City Marathon, always and forever. It’s my hometown race, and it’s the greatest race in the world. Run it, volunteer at it, spectate — just find a way to be a part of it. It will change your life.

5. I am loving your podcast, The Ali on the Run Show. What made you want to venture into the podcasting world?
Thank you! I’m loving it, too! The podcast is so fun because all I really want in life is to talk to people. I’ve always been that girl who meets someone and immediately wants to know who they are, where they’re from, what their dreams are, what failures they’ve experienced over the years, and every decision they’ve made to get where they are today. The podcast lets me do that constantly, and it’s so rewarding. I have a journalism background — I went to journalism school and have worked in the magazine publishing industry for more than a decade — so between my natural curiosity and my professional experience, this is all very natural for me. I started blogging in 2010, and it’s been great, but there’s no doubt podcasting is the next wave, and I’m psyched to be a part of it.

6. Switching gears here, you document yourself living with Crohn’s Disease and the struggles you’ve faced. How has this changed your approach to health and fitness?
I work out now because I care about my body, not because I’m trying to change it or punish it. I used to work out to look a certain way. I got to the point of over-exercising and really beating myself up. But when my Crohn’s flares, it makes me really take a step back and reassess how I’m taking care of myself. When I feel healthy, it’s easy to go all-out in every aspect of life. When I’m sick, it sometimes — hard as it is to accept — feels like my body’s way of telling me to slow down and take better care of myself. I used to love marathon training and doing long-distance races, and while I hate the thought that I may have to retire from that, at least for a while, it’s just not what’s best for my body right now. So I’ve very quickly learned to love 5Ks, Orangetheory classes, and gasp, rest days!

7. Okay, so everyone loves Ellie. When I watch her on Insta-stories my dogs go crazy and think I’m cheating on them with another dog. What would you say is the BEST thing about having a dog?
ELLIE IS THE BEST. I’m so glad you asked this question, because all I want in life is to be with and talk about Ellie. She’s my best friend. Getting Ellie has changed my life so profoundly. I can’t really remember what life was like before having her around. First, bringing Ellie into my life has taught me to be slightly less selfish. Her needs come first, and I’m happy to accommodate them. (OK, maybe not the occasional 2 AM potty walk, but otherwise, happy to accommodate!) Ellie has taught me that life is pretty awesome — even days where she sleeps all day, goes on a few walks, and doesn’t do much else seem like the best days of her life. And she never gives up. Even if I throw her the ball 30 times and she drops it every time, she’ll keep getting it and bringing it back to me. Her persistence and determination are admirable.

8. Finally, brag about yourself a little! What is one of your favourite accomplishments, running or non-running related?​​​​
I’m super proud of the community I’ve built through my blog and podcast. I love my internet friends as much as I love my IRL friends! I really mean that. During some of my darkest, scariest times, this online community has helped bring me back to life, and for that I am eternally grateful. I’m proud of becoming editor in chief of my favorite childhood magazine by the time I was 25, I’m proud of making a decent living as a freelance writer, and I’m proud that even when things seem scary or confusing or overwhelming, I always act with kindness and integrity. Oh, and my 1:44:48 half marathon PR. I’m pretty proud of that. It feels like a lifetime ago (I ran it in 2011), but PRs are for life, right?
Huge thank you to Ali for joining me on the blog today. You can follow Ali on Instagram (featuring lots of Ellie cameos!), FacebookTwitter, and Strava.

My Return to Running + Athletic Therapy Follow Up

 

Good evening, from your favourite blogging puppies!

 

This post is coming to you later in the evening because I wanted to include what my athletic therapist and I chatted about this afternoon. I made my grand return to running on Saturday, and during my appointment on Wednesday we talked about keeping things slow and easy. Well, thanks to strength training after work on Thursday (which I am bad about doing consistently — working on it!), my legs were still sore on Saturday, so running slow and easy was all I could really do. Cue awkward, embarrassed laughing. I have to say, I felt so out of shape running for those thirty slow minutes. Perhaps it was partly because my legs were sore, but nonetheless, it was a bit difficult but I felt SO good to get out there in the wind. And rain. And cold. I mean, who cares? I was running!

 

 

Fortunately I made it out before the rest of the ugly weather hit. Sideways rain, TONS of wind, and overnight on Saturday we received snow. GOODIE! For the rest of the day on Saturday I took it pretty easy on my ankle. It didn’t hurt when I was running, and luckily it didn’t hurt after. If anything my calves were sore from all the stretching that my athletic therapist prescribed. Maybe I’m stretching too hard, now that I think of it. Anyway, I digress. Sunday came around and my calves were a bit sore, but nothing too much, although I did notice some soreness on the outside of my ankle instead of the back. For a minute I started freaking out thinking it was something completely different, but then I thought maybe it is a phantom pain and I imagining everything. Ugh, it is annoying, for sure, but I figured I should just BE PATIENT and wait until my appointment on Monday. So, I did not run yesterday (plus I didn’t want to risk running in the snow), but I did 40 minutes of strength training (mostly upper body and abs, a little bit of legs), and had a longggg soak in the tub with Epsom salts so that was amazing and much needed!

 

Now, during my appointment this afternoon I knew that I would be getting the shockwave therapy treatment again. She also massaged knots out of my calf muscles and helped break up some of the fascia in my foot that was getting tight due to the tightness in my ankle. It’s crazy how our body works and how everything is so deeply connected! I don’t know about you guys, but that is so interesting to me. Shockwave therapy helps reduce inflammation, increases circulation, and also helps break up scar tissue. Check out this article if you want to know more about how it works, as I am learning myself! Anyway, she also applied KT tape to the back of my ankle, which I have seen people use but I had never used it myself, and immediately I felt like my circulation increased to my feet. Well, there is some science behind this tape because apparently it helps draw your skin away from your muscle to increase blood flow. It lasts through workouts and showering for 2-3 days. It is quite fashionable as well, I must say.

 

 

I booked another appointment with her in March when she is back from holidays, but until then I am to continue to stretch my calves, keep the running comfortable and flat (hills won’t kill me but they aren’t great right now), and foam roll and do ALL the self care to keep my muscles healthy. That includes strength training! I also asked if I would be able to run that evening after work, and I was very happy to hear that the answer is YES. So, run I did!

 

 

It was so nice to get outside in the fresh air. Although Ryan fixed the treadmill plug-in yesterday, it is folded up in our laundry room and I decided that instead of waiting for him to come home and help me move it back to the shed, I would go outside for my run. I drove to the track and ran close by there, as it is flatter than my neighbourhood, and felt SO good. I probably should’ve kept it easier, but I felt fit, light on my feet, and as if I could go on forever. That’s a far cry from feeling out of shape and sore on Saturday. Funny what some good self care and a positive mind can do, hey? It was definitely cold, but it was worth it. Plus, watching the sunset and being able to run in DAYLIGHT was fantastic!

 

 

Now it’s time for me to get ready for dinner! I hope you all had a great Monday & I will catch ya on Wednesday with a fun interview with one of my favourite running bloggers, podcasters & puppy mamas. Stay tuned ; )

Plant Babies & Ab Workouts

 

Good morning!

It’s Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Do you have that stuck in your head yet?

 

I wanted to kick off the morning with an ab workout that I did last night that left me sore right after I finished. It is from a fellow blogger, Madeline, of Madeline Moves. She always has amazing workouts that are quick and effective, and I find myself using her moves in my home workout routine. Not only that, but she is a runner as well, and posted a great article last month about balancing strength training with running. I believe that is something all runners should do, and I am definitely trying to make a better effort!

After my full body workout yesterday I completed this ab circuit. You can also do it after other workouts, before strength training, etc. Whatever works best for you! Note: I apologize for the poor photo quality! I did a screenshot from her website & when I increased the size it threw everything off. You get the idea though ; )

 

Speaking of training, I haven’t ran since Saturday. Saturday was a BIG running day for me. 16km of lots and lots of HILLS. I think the hills aggravated my ankle, because come Sunday morning it hurt to walk on it. There has been a pinching feeling in the back of my ankle for a couple weeks now, but it only came about when I was laying down and first stepping on the ground or after doing hilly runs. As much as it pained me to take some time away from running, I thought it would be SMART to rest. What’s smartest usually isn’t what I WANT to do when it comes to running, but I do not want any injuries! I had a visit with my athletic therapist on Valentine’s Day (#romance) and she gave me the clear to run, but to do so on flat terrain and keep things EASY. Ah, easy. I love easy, but I love getting faster, too! So, I will return to running this weekend and continue to do the stretches she prescribed for me. Oh, and I will be strength training, too!

 

Now, rewind to Family Day on Monday. In British Columbia we have a holiday called Family Day, and it is a statutory holiday, so Ryan and I did not have to go to work. We spent the day repotting some plants in the beautiful sunshine! It was awesome. The dogs loved being outside all day, I loved the Vitamin D and plants, and Ryan loved being outside together. It was a win, win, win, for everyone.

 

 

We had the tunes going, coffee in our travel mugs, and we were layered up because despite the bright sun, it was still chilly outside. I found this adorable pot that I couldn’t NOT buy, and I planted a few mini succulents (oh, so cute!) and had to add some crystals in there for high vibes. Ryan laughed when he saw me walk outside with my handful of crystals, but it was a very Holly thing to do, if I do say so myself.

 

Ryan found this super cool tall planter which we put our snake plant in. Well, separated the snake plant since it’s offshoots were outgrowing the previous pot. So, he was in charge of that one and I did the rest. Then I sat on our cedar bench, drank my coffee, and connected with some bad ass women that will be featured on the blog (first one next Wednesday).

 

 

It was such a fulfilling afternoon that left my soul feeling happy. You know those days where you have nothing planned, and yet they end up being so full of great things? That’s what Monday was. Actually, this whole week has been pretty darn good! Last week I found myself going through a quarter-life crisis kind of thing. I mean, I didn’t shave my head and skip town and max out my credit card or anything, but I think it’s pretty normal to feel that way when you’re 25. While I may not have my whole entire life figured out (I know where I’m heading but it’s a matter of being patient), I am kind of loving where I am right now and I think it all comes to being grateful. Gratitude is the best attitude, after all! Sometimes all you need to do is get outside, get your hands dirty & sit in the sun in order to feel how much light you are truly surrounded by.

 

I hope you all have a fantastic weekend! : )

Race Recap: Diamond Dash 5km – Part Two

 

Well, folks. Here is part two of the Diamond Dash 5km race recap. I haven’t done a video format like this before, so I hope you guys enjoy! All in all, it was a great race and one that definitely takes some hill training. The best part though? Spending the day with my mom & doing something active together! Oh, and the post-race brunch afterwards and shopping was nice too.

Have a good week! Let me know if you like to see more of these chatty style videos. They are fun to make! : )