Ali On The ‘Roids

On any given day, I have a bit of energy, a lot of enthusiasm and an appetite for both life and chocolate.

That’s “any given day.”

On “any given day,” I am not on steroids.

For the past eight days, however, I have been on the ‘roids, and they’re starting to kick in. Big time.

CRAZY. I was on Steroids then, too, I believe. And yet I still don't look as wacky as Lauren.

People complain about going on steroids because the side effects tend to suck. I’m on Prednisone, specifically, and I’m choking back a fairly high dose of it daily (80 milligrams). The great thing about the pills is that they’re doing their anti-inflammatory duties by making the Crohn’s flare-up chill out a bit.

But they’re also making me crazy.

Oh you think I was crazy to begin with?

You haven’t seen crazy.

I’ll elaborate. I always do.

Here are a few of the ways the steroids are making me feel certifiably insane and a little bit awesome:

I can’t shut up. You might think this is something I already “suffer from,” but this is far more serious. I start talking, and then I cannot stop. Sometimes I also spontaneously burst into a fit of giggles, often about nothing, sometimes about a Panera sandwich, because nothing is funnier than a Bacon Turkey Bravo, right?! No. There’s nothing funny about a delicious sandwich. And yet, I talk and talk and talk and talk, and laugh and laugh and laugh. During yesterday’s commute, Brian finally looked at me in a state of bewilderment and said, “Wow, you really don’t shut up.” I imagine he meant it out of love. It was hard to tell because I wasn’t actually listening to him.

I can’t stop eating. Apparently my appetite is back. I know you were concerned.

The ice cream scooper man asked if I wanted a small and I practically cried. How rude. GIVE ME A LARGE.

I can’t sleep. This is actually a legitimate side effect that I hate and that almost always happens when I’m on the drugs. I’m incredibly restless, it takes me forever to fall asleep, and then once I do eventually drift off, it’s never a deep sleep. I actually dread going to bed at night because I know it’s going to be frustrating, and I get excited when my alarm goes off because I’m wide awake and ready for it. I tend to not need much sleep during ‘roid time. I can run pretty efficiently on four hours.

If I do have dreams, they are wildly vivid and terrifying. I can’t stop thinking about a dream I had Monday night, in which Brian and I went to check out our new apartment, and there were “finance dudes” there with their “girlfriends” and they were having a sex party. A sex party in our apartment. We didn’t even have a couch yet. The dude bros were all, “You guys are here! We’ve been wanting to meet you! Welcome!” and the girls were like, “Ali, will you start a running club in the apartment building! It’d be totally awesome motivation and our ‘boyfriends’ want us to be in shape for them!” Seriously, it was awful. We were there to do measurements. Not join a sex party.

I’m pack ratty. I want to organize everything in sight and make it cleaner and prettier.

Oh look, organized shoes, just as they should be. Very lovely.

I think I can do anything. This does not bode well for someone who is potentially injured and actively trying not to run a marathon. Case in point: I ran this morning and I know that I shouldn’t have. Yesterday’s run was amazing and perfect and wonderful and the things run dreams are made of. Today I was a complete moron, and I’m aware of that. My shin was a little sore and my knee hurt when I got up. And yet, I got dressed, compression socked and hit up Central Park for six leisurely miles. They didn’t feel good. The weather? Yeah that was amazing. The billions of bikers circling the park? They were cool. And my head? Completely in the game.

A lovely thing to wake up to, don't you think?

But my body? Not on board. I need to realize that running through pain isn’t smart, and I know that running this morning probably set me back more than it propelled me into a PR-filled immediate future. This morning I watched the healthy runners, I wanted to throw rocks at them, and I have hot dates coming up this week with some ART and hopefully a sports massage therapist. (Is masseuse the wrong word? Is that like calling an administrative assistant a secretary, or a flight attendant a stewardess, or a classy call girl a whore?)

So yeah, I think I’m superhuman because I have steroids running through my veins, but really, I’m not, and I need to be smarter. Body and mind, let’s start working together and cooperating, OK? Great.

I am piling endless crap onto my To-Do list, simply because the mere act of doing so makes me feel slightly more productive. There are things on the list I have no intention of ever doing. But putting things on the list alone feels productive, so I keep doing it. I’m smart that way.

I drop everything. I’m not normally a clumsy human. Sure I walk into stuff regularly, like traffic (Brian has to Mom-arm me no fewer than three times a day when I wander into the street) and my coffee table that I swear moves itself in the night to prevent me from smoothly making my way to the bathroom in the dark. But lately I drop every single thing I pick up, whether it’s a pen or a hair brush. This is why I should probably not take a kettlebell class at the gym anytime soon.

Kindergarten Ali stayed up late...
...and Kindergarten Ali was clumsy.

I’ve been all jittery and off-balanced since starting the drugs. This morning, for example, while blow drying my hair in the bathroom, I actually tipped over. Yup. Just tipped, like a sleeping cow. Or something. I kind of swayed to the side for a second, realized I was losing my balance, attempted to put one hand up on the door frame to steady myself, missed, and was on the floor, in all my naked blow-drying glory. The hair dryer came unplugged and everything.

Needless to say I didn’t even attempt to go near the hair straightener.

I have so much ‘roid rage. You hear about this on the news and stuff, right? Like athletes get all doped up and then they get angry and they go crazy. That’s basically my life story. Yesterday, I got so unbelievably infuriated by Ann Curry calling Carnie Wilson “brave” on the Today Show when talking about her two weight loss surgeries. I actually Googled “Today Show Call In Number” because I so badly wanted to get on the air and tell Carnie that she should lay off the surgeries and maybe try going for a walk or changing up her diet a bit. I know, I’m no expert on the topic, so spare me the lecture. But I was furious and I wanted the world to know about my important emotions! A similar thing happened today when, again, those dang Today hosts talked about how weight loss surgeries are good options for teens.

I know, this is weird, because normally I’m super chill and in control of my emotions! But these past few days I’m feeling the rage. It’s so fun.

I think everything is hilarious. OK so when I’m not flipping out at Savannah Guthrie and her cohosts, I’m mostly just laughing. I get the giggles about nothing at all. I do not mind this side effect. Laughter is the best medicine. Laughter and also Prednisone, I guess.

I can’t sit still. My feet are constantly tapping. I fidget a lot. I play with clicky pens all day. You’re welcome, coworkers.

On Wednesdays, we wear cheerleading uniforms.

I am so puffy and I feel disgusting. Yeah, this is another of those unappreciated side effects that seems unavoidable. I’m not one to weigh myself, but I do care about how I feel, and with the steroids, I’m retaining everything. It’s not bad, of course, because after a week of the stomach flu and a two-week flare-up, I hadn’t retained anything and was feeling a little sickly. So it’s good that I’m hanging onto these nutrients or whatever. But man do I feel bloated, and I think bloated is the least attractive word ever.

I feel flabby and gross, and when I sit down on my chair at work, I feel like I’m not sitting on my butt, but rather on a pile of fresh-from-the-oven Red Lobster cheesy biscuits, which are delicious, yes, but not what I want my rear to resemble.

I know that in a few days, my face will start to be moon-like, and the timing is great, what with my best friend’s wedding being right around the corner. I’m sure I won’t have to be in any photos or anything, though.

So yes, I am grateful to be on drugs that are slowly making me feel better. My stomach isn’t totally where I’d like it to be, but I’ll take the aforementioned side effects over a flare-up any day.

Now if only I could shut up…

LET’S TALK ABOUT DRUGS: Best side effects. GO!

Oh and how do you feel about I Heart Sweat tank tops? Just saying, that might be something in the works…



81 Responses

  1. Prednisone is the WORST. I used to have to take it as a kid to control my awful asthma. Hope you’re feeling like yourself again soon!

    Oh, and best drug side effect? The drowsiness from codeine. That crap is fantastic.

  2. Ummm, I don’t think it’s ‘riods rage that you wanted to yell at the today show for their ridiculous advocacy of weight loss surgeries…especially for teens! It’s crazy stuff and I’m not on ‘roids and I feel the same way as you. (However, since I live in NY, I also feel the same way about the baseball bat and subway trains so not sure what that means for you or me!)

  3. I just took some crazy sleeping pill/sedative combo for dental surgery two weeks ago and then Lortab for the pain after and oh my gosh sleep glorious sleep. Best side effect ever. Sleep through all the pain. The Lortab gave me some freaky violent dreams though. I also got really strong hiccups from anesthesia. Which I wouldn’t consider a good side effect, just making note of it.

  4. Yes – to tank tops.

    Side effects? Crazy ass vivid dreams

    Another side effect? Sore throat if I don’t take it with enough water

    I once took a course of steroids when I was 8 and I ate everything in site, according to my mother.

    Carnie Wilson — brave?!

  5. 1. Sweet cheerleading uniform.
    2. I am a total klutz – no drugs required.
    3. But I am still a master kettlebell-er! You have to (HAVE TO) try it!
    4. I need an I Heart Sweat tank to rock while being a master kettlebell-er. Kthxbi.

  6. How in the world do you manage not to gain weight on the ‘roids? I am tapering off my 2nd round of Prednisone for my Crohn’s, and I gained 20 pounds, even though I’ve been working out. Any advice??

    1. I do gain weight on the steroids. I try to keep exercising like usual, and despite the ridiculous urges to eat everything in sight, I try to keep my food intake to “normal” as well. But everything I eat sticks to my bones. I honestly just accept that I’ll gain weight (face weight, too!) while I’m on the medicine and it’ll drop back off eventually. It sucks, but I’d rather deal with that than the flare-up. Not a fun trade-off, and I’m sorry I don’t have better advice!

  7. oh man, i was on steroids back in 2006 for a lovely case of mono/ruptured ear drum. in addition to the sleepless-ness and moon face, i also became super sun-sensitive and developed a HAWT rash on my chest after spending a few hours outside. sorry about the side effects 🙁 never fun, but at least your closet is organized! want to come do mine? just kidding.

    except not really kidding.

    1. Um, I know you were probably maybe SEMI joking, but I honestly think that re-organizing your closet would be therapeutic for me right now. I will come to Brooklyn. You know I will, even in the rain. You have to cook for me, though. Pouring wine counts as cooking. Think about it.

    1. Oh I’ve been pumping tons of iron. My leg may be breaking, but my biceps have never been more ripped. Or something.

  8. OMG I almost just peed my pants about the hairdryer situation. Seriously needed that laugh today.

    I love the idea of I Heart Sweat tanks!! Sign me up! And if you need help organizing, addressing and mailing (since i know it’s a nightmare)….it’s pretty much a big part of my job (event planning) so I’m happy to help! The offer is as non-creepy as possible haha

    An now I want your ice cream cone. kthanks.

  9. I like the new layout.

    First: I imagined you tipping over like a sleeping cow and it was kind of hilarious (bc I feel like I know you through your awesome posts).
    Second: that LARGE ice cream look amazing. I want some right now.
    Third: Best of luck to your coworkers and I hope the ‘roid rage ends soon. 😉

  10. I made the grave error of taking a large sip (gulp?) of water right before reading about your naked-blow-dryer-tipping accident. That didn’t end up so well for my keyboard, but hey, at least it seems to still be working! Also, that is something I would totally do and I’m not even on ‘roids. Just clumsy.

    And a resounding YES to the I Heart Sweat tanks…I rock my t-shirts at the gym at least once a week and everyone always asks about them. Woo woo!! 🙂

  11. YES! to t-shirts!! And beautiful picture this morning. I wanted to go run outside this morning but was a little apprehensive about running through the park before the sun really gets out. Does that ever bother you? Or are enough people out by 6am?

    1. Oh by 6 AM the park is packed! Especially the main road and the Reservoir. Totally safe, and it’s light out by like 6:20 these days. In the winter it can be a bit dicier but now it’s filled with humans in reflective happy gear.

  12. This post made me think that someone might be slipping ‘roids into my food secretly. All my friends have caught on to the mom arm move after walking to class with me. And also, I can’t sit still.

  13. I definitely need some prednisone if it’ll make me laugh – i don’t do a lot of that now. I also wouldn’t mind a morphine drip for the next several months if possible. =/ And I still need an I Heart Sweat shirt but I will also take a tank top please and thank you!

    xo Marie
    Chocolate & Wine

  14. Hahahaha-wow sorry about the bad dreams… 😉
    Sounds like other than that though you are pretty slap-happy which I will take over depressed any day!! 🙂
    I <3 your I <3 sweat shirts but I'm pretty sure that I qualify as too young for pretty much every single freakin' giveaway that bloggers have!! 😉 grrrr

    1. See you tonight was the highlight of my life. I’m not even joking. Thanks for planking with me.

  15. you are hilarious. I want an I heart sweat tank top!! Where do I get one of those!!!! I was just going to post that I want a t- shirt too! Let’s make this happen.

    I’m not gonna lie, laughing gas at the dentist is pretty awesome. I always tell them it’s not working and to turn it up. LOL. It’s like getting drunk w/o the hangover!

  16. YES to I <3 sweat tanks! But only if you can ship them to Canada. Or at least Toronto, it's not even that far from NYC 🙂

  17. When I was in my first trimester of pregnancy, I was on progesterone and would feel drunk about an hour after I took it. Like, fun, tipsy, sort of hilariously loopy drunk, not sad, angry, pukey drunk.
    Also, I would totally be in for I <3 Sweat tanks. My CrossFit box loves mine!

  18. anything with an I <3 sweat would be AMAZING. Since i missed it the first time around (as in i found your blog when you sold out. #fail). Count me in for like…ten.

  19. Definitely yes on the tank tops – I missed out on the t-shirts and long sleeves, and definitely want to hop on the I <3 Sweat bandwagon.

    Best drug side effects? My experience with steroids was after having jaw surgery a few summers ago. I was getting them intravenously for the first 48 hours I was in the hospital, but to prepare me for home, they woke me up in the middle of the night to administer a shot with 7 days worth of steroids into my thigh. Unlike you, I was not giggly, or chatty, or even angry. I just cried, uncontrollably, whenever anyone so much as looked at me. Including the sugary-sweet student nurses who I had a hard time stomaching when I wasn't on the 'roids. So yea, that was a fun experience…..

  20. 1. Those blue suede shoes look adorable
    2. Do you guys really wear cheerleader costumes on Wednesdays? Cause that’s awesome!
    3. I’m picturing you all ‘roided up trying to pick up a parked car. If that happens, will you be sure to post a photo?

    1. Haha. We wear cheerleading uniforms whenever the opportunity strikes, which is always.

      And yes, next time I kick over a SmartCar I’ll send you a photo ASAP!

  21. Love the idea of the tank tops!

    Totally with you on the Today show anger! What does it mean that I don’t have an excuse but I can also get really (irrationally) angry at silly things like that also? I get really mad at Tums commercials, and always want to scream how about just don’t eat the hamburger, fries, bacon, milkshake, etc.!!!!

    Most unattractive word? I think its chunky (though bloated is pretty horrible)

  22. Well, this is going to sound very self-important but hear/read me out. Since July of 2010 I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers and I’ve lost 170+ pounds so I kind of think I am very knowledgeable (maybe not an expert) in the subject of weight loss. I am totally on board with you on the Carnie Wilson thing. When I saw a commercial for their new show where she said she was going to have surgery I literally screamed at the TV (though I do that with news shows and political shows too so maybe that’s not extreme) because surgery isn’t the answer. If you never change the behavior then nothing will change long term. *stepping off my soapbox*

    Best side effect of medication was when I was in the hospital for a Crohn’s flare and on high dose steroids and antibiotics and basically anything you could shove in my IV… the nurse came in and asked me how I was and I said my leg hurt. She pulled up my sexy hospital gown and practically shrieked. I had literally scratched my leg until it bled and didn’t even realize I was doing it. They gave me some benadryl for that which promptly put me to sleep.

  23. I was diagnosed with “reactive airway disease,” or temporary asthma after letting an upper respiratory infection go untreated (I figured it was just a cold…yeah.). The doc prescribed a temp inhaler and cough medicine as well as prednisone as a backup in case the first two things didn’t help. I’m really glad I didn’t have to fill the prednisone RX– the losing sleep part freaked me out the most out of all the side effects! I probably otherwise would have ran a half-marathon PR the following weekend, though, ha! 🙂

    I vote yes to tank tops. 🙂

  24. I want an I heart sweat anything. I missed out on all the chances (sad and lame me). I heart sweat nail polish? I heart sweat car cover? I heart sweat back scratcher? Bring it!

    And I am so evil/wrong but I couldn’t help but laugh when picturing you tipping over “like a cow”. It’s totally something I would do…and I’m not even on that kind of medication.

  25. Also on prednisone now for UC flare up. Along with my lovely night sweats, I cant sleep more than about 5 hours (I am use to 8-10!!), have a lil roid rage, and am ravenous all the time. I guess after about 3 weeks of very little eating b/c of flare-up, my body is making up for lost time! Oh yeah, and everything makes me cry. Especially my new moon face. And yes, I also have a family wedding coming up where I will want to burn all pics. Exciting stuff.

  26. Not going to lie, I kind of want to hang out with this Ali 😉 Hope things get better STAT!

    P.S. I’m glad that you are pro-Today show. Even more proof why we should be BFFs.

    Feel better.

  27. The Carnie Wilson thing totally pisses me off and I am NOT on ‘roids! Some people make excuses for their weight, others make excuses for why they’re not as successful as they would like to be. And it really just comes down to shutting up and REALLY trying to make changes, surgery not being one of those changes. ARGH!
    As for drugs, I can’t even take birth control pills as I suffer from every side effect, except for the blood clot one. I’m the side effect queen of prescription drugs!

  28. I am on steroids right now for a Crohn’s flare and I TOTALLY can relate to all of these!! I am so happy you said something about “dropping things all of the time.” I feel like I do that so much more right now and I could not figure out why!

  29. Oh yes. I can relate to the ‘roids and their side effects. I think I’m the only human alive who sleeps MORE on prednisone. It’s nightmare-filled sleep, but I am always, always sleepy and just want to sleep all the time.

    I am also a crazy, irrational person. My emotions are all over the place and I get incredibly sad/angry at the drop of a hat. Like you, I also find myself chattering even MORE than usual, so that must be a legit side effect, too.

    Now I’m on tramadol as-needed for my Crohn’s/colitis/whatever the hell it is and that stuff gives me the most vivid, intense nightmares I’ve ever had. And they are always ones that could almost be real, so they are that much more terrifying. I try super hard not to take it at bedtime. Yikes.

  30. oh dude, i’m sorry you have sucky side effects but as you said, they’re only temporary and better than a flare up. If it makes you feel better, I bump into EVERYTHING all the time. I have no spacial awareness and my legs are perpetually covered in bruises that I can’t even identify.
    As for side effects, last year for 6 months I took accutane for my really bad skin and man it was rough: it made me have super dry skin and I had to smother myself in greasy vaseline every night (YUCK), my lips were always chapped and bleeding, i was an emotional wreck, and I was training for a marathon and the drugs made my bones hurrrrt constantly. It wasn’t cool, but i figured the end result would be worth it. And you know what? IT SO WASN’T!! i STILL have a pizza face. RAAAAAAGE!!!!!!

  31. i’m on the roids and i dreamed about i heart sweat tshirts last night, and i started getting creative, like ‘ i heart sweat more’ which doesn’t sound as clever now that i’m awake. . . i think go with the tank tops

  32. In middle school health class did they make you watch that movie “Benny and the ‘Roids” about a high schooler who tries steroids and realizes that drugs are wrong? No?? Okay. That’s what this title made me think of.

    And I want an I Heart Sweat something! Tanks sound cute.

  33. I get the joy of taking 1000mg/day of steroids when I have a flare up… The only way I can get the 10 pills down is will chocolate milk and great amounts of concentration….. I have yet to feel the rewards of the steroids in my running given my MS Flare up affected my left side including my legs…

  34. This post was hilarious!!!!! Laughed out loud several times. I want an I heart sweat tee! How do I get one?! Also, need advice…experiencing hip pain when I run now and then for days after 🙁 making me really sad and not sure what to do. It’s only in my right hip and in a wry specific spot….anyone out there have ideas? Help!!

    1. Well as someone who continued running through hip pain and is now in even more pain, I say rest, ice, stretch, foam roll, take it super easy and cross train (elliptical, swim, spin, bike). And of course, see a doctor! Don’t push it, especially with a race on the horizon!

  35. I’ve been on Retin-A for a while now and on a monthly basis my skin will peel and flake. It’s so attractive. I’ve had friends tell me I have something on my face and I’ll let them know, “actually that’s just dead skin cells hanging on.” 🙂 I Heart Sweat sounds amazing for summer time work outs!

  36. Ah, the sunrise picture would be awesome to run in! I usually run around 7:30/8ish, so I miss the sunrise. YES X a million to the I heart sweat tank tops! I’m envisioning making my cheer team for my first marathon buy them and wear them.

  37. I laughed out loud no less than five times while reading this (and I read it super fast because I imagined you talking that way). I sympathize, but the way you describe these side effects is awesome. And YES to the tank tops.

  38. Ok, so the Carnie Wilson thing? I’m TOTALLY with you and I’m not on steroids. It’s taken me a year and a few months to lose 76 pounds and I’ve done it by moving my butt, running and eating healthy foods. So many people I know have told me that they are either “jealous of me” or “wish [they] could do it.” And I just want to shake them and yell, “YOU CAN!”

    1. THANK YOU. It’s infuriating. And dang girl, good for you for getting up and taking action! That’s amazing! Congratulations!

  39. To be honest, my I heart Sweat tee is already a I Heart Sweat tank…as my friend took the sleeves off for me during her alterations! (I got a guys’ shirt 1. because the girls had sold out and 2. I don’t trust girls’ sizing…turns out the guys’ small is massive)

    Also, I was looking at the course map for the NYRR 4-Miler at the end of the month and upon spying the reservoir I thought “Oh! That’s Ali’s reservoir!” Jackie O? Meh…. 😉

  40. Ugh that doesn’t sound too fun! How long do the side effects stick around? I begged the doctor to give me prednisone for my itb but he refused so I’ve never had the joy if being on roids (yet).

    1. The side effects are usually the worst during the first three weeks, then they should subside a bit. I’ll ride the energy high until then!

  41. I don’t think taking steroids or any other drug is fun, but you made it sound very funny. And it’s great not having to sleep 8 hours to feel fully rested. Also, I think I Heart Sweat tank tops are fantastic, but as long as you won’t sent them to Europe, no one shoul have it! hehe… (sorry, I am mean and selfish like this 😉 )

  42. LOL @ the sex party! Sorry you are going crazy right now. But I have to say I am pumped by the prospect of more I Heart Sweat shirts. I missed them last time around and would really love one!

    1. I do everything naked. If I wear clothes during blow-dry-mania, they end up sweaty or covered in hair. So nudity wins.

  43. Oh man Ali! Bloated really is the worst feeling but try and remember this is temporary and not really you. I’ve never actually found any positive side effects from prescription drugs — even when I’ve been put on some off-label specifically FOR those side effects. What the hell!

  44. I feel AWESOME about I <3 Sweat tank tops! Also – I died laughing when you said Brian "mom arms" you. My boyfriend does that on a regular basis. Apparently, I can't walk and talk to him at the same time and not run into other people/light polls/ various things. So funny.

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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