People, we have a problem.
It’s called Crohn’s disease and it won’t go away.
Let me apologize in advance for the nasty turn this post may take. I’m semi-angry.
In the weeks leading up to the marathon, I felt great. I was stressed out about fundraising and, you know, the plan to run 26.2 miles, but overall life was so freakin’ good. (It still is. Life is a good time. I’m just super pissed at the moment, so please bear with me.)
The Hamptons Marathon happened, and I had the best weekend of my life, without a doubt. I was surrounded by my friends and family and I really did feel like I was dreaming that whole weekend.
As the marathon excitement wore off (it still hasn’t totally worn off), I realized just how much I had put off when I made training and fundraising my priorities (which I do not regret at all). My To Do list was growing rapidly, and for every email I got around to sending, six more came in, all, naturally, needing immediate attention. Work has been more stressful over the past two weeks than at any other point in my career, and I have felt completely overwhelmed.
So when my stomach started to hurt — badly — a little more than a week ago, I didn’t think much of it. “I’m stressed, whatever, these are not life-or-death situations and I’ll get everything done as best I can.”
In an effort to de-stress, Brian and I took a weekend getaway to a nice little (actually, huge) hotel in New Jersey. I unplugged, got away from everything, and was more relaxed than ever.
Then I came back to the city, and all the stupid stresses came right back. And then some.
Last Thursday is when I knew something could actually be wrong. The stomach pain hadn’t subsided, and during my way-too-dramatic run with Coach Cane, during which I had to sprint for two bathrooms, I finally gave in to the fact that this might not just be a kind of long stomachache. It might be another F-ing Crohn’s flare-up.
I didn’t have the race of my dreams during Sunday’s Army 10-Miler.
I had to stop to use the bathroom, and I shouldn’t have had to do that during a 10-mile race.
I took a rest day yesterday. I didn’t grocery shop. I barely left the couch. I definitely didn’t work out. And when I freaked out about having “too much to do,” Brian gave me a swift kick in the butt and talked some sense into me.
“If you spend your life constantly making lists and trying to please everyone, you’re going to fail.”
Ouch. But probably true. We talked about how lists are never-ending. I like making them, but I never actually get through them. Something gets crossed off, multiple things get added. Brian told me I should try prioritizing the items on my To Do list, and for each thing on the list I should focus on the reason I want or need to get that thing done.
I had a hard time choking down dinner last night, and this morning I was hoping that my new appreciation for prioritizing would mean my stomach would instantly chill out and I’d be able to make my grand return to running!
Did I run this morning?
Yes. I ran 5.25 miles to be exact.
Was it fun?
Nope. Not even a little bit.
It took me a full hour to get out the door. I set my alarm early because I knew this might happen, but I spent the majority of my pre-run time in the bathroom. Lovely. Then, once I started running, I knew I needed to take a bathroom-centric route.
I ended up making two bathroom stops over the course of my run. I felt dehydrated and empty — which makes complete sense, since that’s pretty much exactly what I am right now.
During the second one, I gave myself a serious pep talk. It went something like this: “Stop feeling sorry for yourself, Alison. You have Crohn’s disease, wah wah wah. You’re still out running, even if it’s not under the ideal circumstances. You have two legs. You have nine toenails. You ran a marathon. You have a job. Quit. Your. Bitching.”
Before I left the bathroom, I forced myself to smile.
I have proof:
My pace while I was running was actually OK — I stuck with an 8:40ish pace. Fine by me. I’m not back into heavy training yet.
As much as I pumped myself up in that delightful Central Park restroom, I struggled with maintaining that attitude during my commute to work.
When I don’t feel well, I’m especially sensitive to smells and personal space. So when I was crushed in the middle of the downtown 4 train, in between too-much-cologne guy and lady-who-may-have-slept-with-trash, I started to freak out.
Aaaaand then everything went black. Just for a second. I grabbed onto the subway pole and through my sudden sweat, I begged for the nice 17-year-old-looking boy all cozied up in his seat to let me sit down.
He wasn’t having it. He just kind of stared at me and then stared back down at his feet. Excellent.
I got a seat when the subway eventually stopped, and I was that weird girl with her head down between her legs.
I’d say today is off to a really good start.
All jokes aside, I’m pretty sure what I’m experiencing right now is, in fact, a flare-up. All of my flare-ups have been stress-induced lately, so this actually makes total sense, and as much as I’d like to say, “This disease just sucks and doctors don’t have answers,” the truth is that my doctors have told me that high stress levels will get the disease all excited, and yet I haven’t done much to avoid that.
My flare-ups have come at very convenient times, like when I studied abroad in Australia and had to be hospitalized…
…and then during the first month of my job. I like to make a strong first impression.
I’m hoping to get in with the doctor this afternoon to get some bloodwork done. And I will ask to be put on delicious Steroids. The ‘roids battle with the Crohn’s, and usually the drugs come out on top.
Now that I have complained all morning, here are five things that are great:
- I’m going away this weekend. The goal: relax. I’m spending a long weekend in Cape Cod with my parents, my brother and sister-in-law and Brian.
- There is a show that exists on Animal Planet called “Too Cute!” The premise? Adorable puppies, hopping around and being cute. It’s probably my new favorite show.
- The latest batch of Sweat shirts have finally arrived. Tonight I’ll be making a little home for myself on the floor of JackRabbit’s Upper East Side store. I’ll be addressing and stuffing envelopes and then shipping all the shirts out. Yay!
- I was nominated as one of SHAPE magazine’s Top 20 Sports Blogs. I know. Sports blogs? What? Considering I’ve been “afraid of the ball” since I was born and I don’t consider myself any sort of sports enthusiast, I, too, was confused by the nomination in this particular category. But, it’d still be cool to win, right? So if you’d be so inclined to log on daily and cast your vote for Ali On The Run, that would be nice.
- I’m going to get better. This flare-up will not last forever, and I still think I’m much stronger than some stupid disease. Just wait. I’m going to get healthy again, and I’m going to get back to serious running and training, and then I’ll post about non-bathroom things, and I’ll start PRing and all that jazz. [Jazz hands go here.]
And with that, may you all have a wonderful day!