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.

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! : )

Healthy Hacks: Making the Time

The number one thing I hear people say when it comes to why they don’t exercise is because they “don’t have the time.”

Here’s the thing. We all have the same 24 hours in a day. It’s how we spend it that makes the difference.

Think about it. Beyonce has 24 hours in her day. Barack Obama has 24 hours in his day. The person who you see out running and working out all the time has the same 24 hours. So why can they do it all and you can’t?

The difference between someone who does it all and someone who wants to do it all is that the person who is taking actionable steps to changing their life is MAKING THE TIME to make it happen.

 

I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there’s no secret formula or trick. Healthy living is not a one time thing. There’s no pill, no shake, no cleanse or diet you can go on for one week and suddenly be a different person forever. Instead of FIGHTING the new and fighting the change, think about BUILDING the new and building those healthy habits. Maybe this means waking up early in the morning to get a workout in before the work day begins, or perhaps it’s a matter of fitting in a quick workout or a bit of meal prep when you have half an hour of downtime. “Oh, but I could sit on the couch and watch my favourite show.” Yes, you could, and that’s great if you want to do that. However, if you are going to kick yourself for sitting there watching TV when you could’ve snuck in a run or a workout, then that’s up to you to decide which is more important.

One thing that’s for certain is that there is a level of sacrifice when it comes to making a positive lifestyle change. Aside from the obvious sacrifices, like cutting back on processed food and sugar (which, I believe everyone should do), you may have to sacrifice staying out for another couple drinks with friends if it means having a good sleep before your busy day the next day, or your early workout class that you’ve signed up for. When I was marathon training, long runs were a huge part of my weekly routine. Instead of being upset that I had to wake up early to get it done on a Monday morning, it simply became part of my life. Eventually all of these little changes compile on one another and soon enough you have formed new habits and these positive changes are all second nature. Every little bit counts.


I will leave you with this: I can assure you that it IS possible to make the time. It may not be easy, but it certainly is worth it!

Let’s Chat Motivation

 

We have all been there. New work out clothes, new work out plan, ready to crush our fitness goals, and then the motivation disappears.

I know I have experienced my fair share of motivation crashes. I think for anyone on a fitness or lifestyle-change journey it’s bound to happen. However, what is most important is recognizing that it happens to all of us. Yep! You aren’t going to motivated 24/7, and that’s okay. For me, acknowledging that motivation comes and goes was instrumental in flipping that thought in my head that I always had to be motivated. The trick is to pull yourself out of that slump before you get too far in and start to lose all of your hard work (and even if you do, guess what? You dust yourself off and start again).

In order to stay motivated you have to have a fire lit within. What DRIVES you to get up and workout every day? What drives you to do anything? Sure, you have to go to work because life ain’t free, but when it comes to living a healthier lifestyle, it really is easier to eat garbage and sit on the couch. Sitting is an easy activity that is hurting us every single day for the simple fact that we sit TOO MUCH! This is when we have to make a choice: take the easy way out or keep moving forward. It is up to YOU (not your trainer or coach, significant other, friend, etc) to make that choice day in and day out.

When it comes to being motivated, getting started is often the hardest part. Then once you get moving things feel a bit easier. Sure, the fire will dim and seem like it’s burning out, but then it’ll catch a spark and ignite again. What it comes down to is our choices. Isn’t that what everything in life is about? Seems like it, anyway. We can either choose to stay in our comfort zone or we can choose better ourselves and grow. If we don’t grow, we stay stagnant, and we are made to move! After all, we are not trees rooted in one spot : )

A few things I like to do to boost my motivation:

  • Change of scenery. Head to the track if you want to get your cardio in instead of using the elliptical, bike, or running your same route. Getting outside will also boost your mood!
  • Review your training journal (if you don’t keep one, it is a great idea to keep yourself accountable & on track!) to see how far you’ve come.
  • Have a cup of coffee & get yourself out the door.
  • Tell a friend. Chances are they will tell you to just do it.
  • ENLIST a friend. This will help you stay accountable!
  • Suck it up. It might be a pain to get the workout done, but I will feel 1000x better when it’s done and my motivation to keep that going will continue. Sometimes all it takes is ONE workout to light the fire again!
  • Remember: You are one workout away from a good mood!

What do you do to keep the motivation train rolling!? Share a tip in the comments.

 

Find all my previous posts on motivation here!