From the Nike Women’s Make Yourself Facebook Page:
Erin Ali: A mile. A marathon. They both start with the same first step. In 2008, when Erin faced a breakup, a low-paying job, a destructive friend, and some weight gain, she took up running. She could barely run a mile without getting winded and needing to walk, but it was something she could do for herself to feel better about life. That led to many positive changes and a hot new job. Step by step, things were looking up.
But what do we sacrifice when we get busy? Time. And workouts always seem to be the first to go. Erin’s new gig demanded so much that she dropped exercise and found herself back at square one. Not willing to go through that again, she owned up to overworking and neglecting personal downtime. That’s when she vowed to never give up exercise again. From then on, she’d always make time.
“I see the athlete, the woman I want to be,” said Erin. “I’ve battled the past two years, striving to become that person. And I’ll fight anyone who tries to take that away from me.”
To get back into it, she got a trainer who helped her establish a base and get over the fear and intimidation that kept her from hitting the gym. She now locks in time to swim, bike, run, and strength-train six days a week. “I do a lot of core work and free weights, and mix cardio into my sets to keep myself working hard,” she said. One day a week is devoted to recovery. She doesn’t eat much before a workout, but post-workout she’ll have a protein shake and a banana.
What motivates her? Being happy. She told us, “Exercising makes me a happier person. It’s my ‘me’ time. It’s the ‘Go and figure out the crap that’s bothering you,’ in-your-head kind of time. Recently, it’s become my ‘What does it all mean?’ kind of time. I get to work through a lot. From issues at work to dealing with the emotions of finding out a friend has cancer. It’s really helped me get through a lot.”
Her mantra is: “Pain is temporary. No one said this would be easy.” And she’s put those words to good use across two marathons and a 12-person, 24-hour relay called the Ragnar Relay—all while going through surgery and multiple large projects at work. Next up is a triathlon. She’s already training for it.
“I know what it’s like to quit and regret that quitting,” Erin admitted. “Hell, I think almost everyone knows what that’s like. But when I’m pushing hard on the bike or feeling frustrated with swim drills, I tell myself that I knew this wasn’t going to be an easy task. I like when things are tough and challenging. I always want to keep fighting hard and strong to achieve what I used to think was unachievable.”
We have no doubt that you’ll kill it in your triathlon, Erin. Your determination and time commitment to fitness are completely inspiring. We’re definitely going to follow your example!
Since that time, I’ve now done multiple triathlons and am looking to do my first Half-Ironman on March 31st, this year! I’ve fallen in love with my best friend, gotten the world’s most adorable German Shepherd with him and we are making the most of our life together. Hectic schedule and all. <3