For the past six days, I couldn’t eat. I barely slept. I didn’t even think about running.
Oh sweet, beautiful yesterday.
Yesterday I ate. I slept. And yes, I ran.
Let’s talk about the running first, because that’s obviously — always — what I’m most excited about.
Coach Cane said I could run for 20–30 minutes. He said I had to go slow, and he said not to have a concern for my pace or distance. And truthfully, I didn’t. I wore my Garmin so I could keep an eye on the time, but for once I really didn’t give a single crap about how far I went or how fast I got there. I was just so happy to be back in my Brooks.
I worked for a while during the day, and then I was exhausted by 3 PM (pathetic, I know, but hey, I’m recovering and taking easy like everyone said!). I laid down and worked from my couch, and by early evening I was ready to get outside.
I got the perfect day to return to the road. It was something like 70 degrees in New York City. Though I’ll mourn the end of legwarmer season, it felt dang good to be out in just shorts and a tank top.
Honestly, I was a little nervous to run again. My most recent run was that disastrous 14-mile attempt last Saturday, which led to a week of bed rest. Part of me thought this run would be really difficult, and that things would hurt and I wouldn’t feel strong. Another much more optimistic and overwhelmingly enthusiastic part of me thought that those days of rest would do me good and I’d immediately throw down 7:30 miles like it was nothing.
The run measured up somewhere in between those two extremes.
I didn’t want to go all the way to Central Park, so I left my apartment and headed east toward the East River (fittingly named, don’t you think?). I started slow. Really, really slow. It felt sort of weird to be running again, which is odd because I really wasn’t out of the game for that long. But my legs were adjusting and I had the biggest, most absurd smile on my face as I hopped across 1st Avenue.
Once I got to the river path, life was perfect. There were puppies everywhere and thanks to the stunning weather, Carl Schurz Park was packed with happy people. I think my first mile probably clocked in somewhere around 10 minutes. I kept it comfortable and relaxed. I didn’t want to put forth much effort. I’m trying to be as smart as stinkin’ possible about this recovery since I really can’t afford another setback.
I ended up running for 32 minutes. I owe Coach Cane two minutes of my life for going over.
This run wasn’t easy. The few times I looked down at my watch (just to check, not to obsess), my pace hovered around 8:45–8:50. Truthfully, I didn’t feel amazing. It difficult, particularly around mile 2.5 when I started to feel a little fatigued. But I’m still not fully well, and I didn’t really expect to break any records yesterday. It was just so nice to break a sweat from something other than a fever.
Another groundbreaking development in my post-stomach flu life? When I got back from my run, I was hungry! I hadn’t actually been hungry in about a week!
I made myself a sandwich and definitely did not eat the entire box of Tagalongs. Exactly what the doctor ordered.
Then last night, I went to Brian’s apartment and I slept. I slept like a rock. I didn’t toss and turn, I wasn’t uncomfortable all night. I was just exhausted and I didn’t budge until my alarm got all pissy at 5:30 this morning.
Why 5:30? Especially on a Friday? Because I got to run again today! Coach Cane said I could do another 3–4 miles this morning, again taking it easy.
Today’s run was much slower than yesterday because I’m anticipating a potential long run tomorrow. It would have been amazing because Central Park was all spring-like and I got to wear my spring legwarmers (they’re pale pink and a nice, lightweight material), but my stomach was angry.
Maybe those Girl Scout Cookies weren’t what the doctor ordered? Oops.
So yeah, my stomach felt terrible, but I ran 4 miles in about 38 minutes, and for that I am grateful.
And while we’re on the topic of stomach-related things, you know I’m always excited to spread the word about Crohn’s Disease and the beautiful things it does, like cause urgent bathroom visits and mind-numbing abdominal pain. So when Karla, a lovely editor over at FITNESS magazine, said she wanted to write about me in an upcoming issue, I was all, “Yeah! More public talk about what I do behind closed doors! Let’s do it!”
The April issue is out now, and you should not be surprised to learn that the little writeup is accompanied by a Hamptons Marathon photo.
Have I truly “conquered” Crohn’s? No, of course not. I still very much have this disease and I’m reminded of that every day. It never goes away.
But it’s always interesting talking to people I don’t really know about having Crohn’s because it makes me reflect on the disease in a way I normally might not. When Karla was interviewing me (over the phone, while I was at my office — not at all awkward), I found myself talking about what a blessing Crohn’s has been because it’s introduced me to so many incredible people and made me step outside my comfort zone almost every day.
My comfort zone being the bathroom.
Sorry I’m so attractive, Brian. Try to be OK with it.
Crohn’s is also the reason I started running, which seems crazy, but it’s true. Three years ago, I saw an ad about running with Team Challenge. I thought it sounded cool, I bought sneakers, I signed up (at JackRabbit!) and here I am. Still running. Still Crohnsing. Still feeling very, very lucky.
I’m lucky I can run. I’m lucky I’m going to be totally healthy again soon.
Life’s not bad.
In fact, it’s kind of awesome.
And on that overly-perky note, have a wonderful day and a divine weekend!
SHARE YOUR SWEAT PLANS: Since I probably won’t be throwing down any magical PRs or ultra-hefty miles, tell me what you’re planning to accomplish this weekend in the workout zone. A long run? A taper? A spin class? A bar crawl?