Body, We Need To Talk

I was so optimistic after this weekend.

No, I didn’t feel completely over this latest Crohn’s flare-up, but I was certain I was flying full-speed on the road to recovery.

But then yesterday happened, and now I’m all, “WTF, body? What’s your deal, you piece of crap?”

I know, I should speak more kindly to my body and I should appreciate it for all it does and its strength and blah blah blah.


I’m annoyed and I’m frustrated.

So today we’re going to talk about that! Woo!

This photo is to remind you of how beautiful I am when I'm unhappy. See the glow in those eyes? The sheer love in that smile? The really really good posture?

Yes, I am currently convinced my body is out to get me.

You see, I’m trying to treat it right. I’m giving it exercise without pushing it too hard, and I’m resting often. I’m trying to give my body more of the sleep it seems to want, and I’m pumping it with nutrients, both in easily-digestible juice form and sorry-but-you-have-to-chew-this form.

Most importantly, I’ve given up on all forms of stress. They’re just gone. I’m spending quality time with people I love and who make me happy, and I’m ditching the things that irritate me. Bubbly people only.

Simon makes me happy, so I will hang out with him. He does not stress me out. He does, however, drool a lot. But that's OK. Not stressful.

I’m trying to do everything “right,” and I’ve got a nice little list of new doctors to call today so I can start seeing someone new and nice.

But until then, I’m on my own, and I’m doing my best — but yesterday my body seemed to want to tell me that “my best” is simply not good enough. Because it revolted. And it has continued to revolt.

I don’t know what’s going on right now. I still think the Crohn’s is on its way out — I can pretty much tell based on where the pain in my stomach is located and what’s happening in the bathroom — but I’m still experiencing a decent amount of discomfort.

I felt sort of weird yesterday morning, but figured it was nothing. My stomach hurt, but I expected it to pass, honestly, after a trip or two to the bathroom.

That didn’t happen, though.

I didn’t eat anything crazy during the day and kept my meals pretty basic and nutrient-dense.

Still, by 5 PM I was practically keeling over in pain at my desk, and not the Crohn’s pain I’m used to, but a different kind of pain.

Hmmmm how to describe this for you?

OK, pretend you have a little bit of Crohn’s left in you, and then you eat a really really really really huge meal, so you’re all bloated, and then your stomach starts to hang over your pants, and then you sort of feel like you’re going to throw up, and you feel really full, and then you get awful cramps, and then someone kicks you in the stomach.

That’s kind of how it feels.

Last night I thought about going for a little bike ride.

I thought about doing at-home yoga.

I thought about cleaning, doing laundry, putting the dishes away or doing anything remotely productive.

Instead, I was chained to the couch, watching a cool thunderstorm roll in while basking in a state of pathetic little misery.

I love living up high. The lightning is brighter and the rain sounds cooler.

The extent of my nighttime physical activity was getting off the couch and walking over to the window to see if it was, in fact, raining, or if the loud sounds I heard meant something in my apartment was about to blow up.

Verdict: rain.

All I wanted to do this morning was run. I rested yesterday so I could run hard today. I’ve been dying to do speedwork — it’s been months since I’ve pushed my pace — and this morning was going to be my glorious return to the Reservoir, which is my favorite place to attempt speedy laps.

But I was up all night, doing the “tossing, turning and waking up Brian with frequent trips to the bathroom” thing, and at 5 AM I knew a run was not going to happen. There was no way my stomach would have been able to handle it.

Little bitch.

The upside?

I have a bike!

And even when my stomach is unsettled and bratty (oh good joke, my stomach matches my personality today, ha ha ha be nice), I can still seem to straddle a bike just fine.

Look! There’s the positivity I know and love!

I woke Brian up, and I think he’s probably more in love with me today than ever before, and we went to Central Park for a ride. It wasn’t long, it wasn’t fast and it certainly wasn’t the same kind of workout I get (and crave) from running, but it was still something and I still got to be outside for an hour.


Each time I hit a little bump, my stomach felt gross, and at one point I actually thought I might vomit. That would’ve been cool — puking from a bike while going full-speed ahead. I would have made a ton of friends in the park I bet. I kept it in, though. I’m fine.

Toward the end of the ride, I was cruising up Cat Hill, feeling pretty good, when this cute girl rode up next to me. She had the fancy bike outfit on, and she had a hot little body.

I made it my goal not to see her again.

I wanted — OK, I needed — a win this morning. So I pushed.

I pushed up the hill, and instead of recovering at the top and letting myself slow down, I kept pushing. I could hear her gears clicking right behind me, so I pushed harder.

And then I was at Engineers’ Gate, where I finish my ride.

Eat my dust, hot girl.

So that felt good. I was happy about it.

Back to my buried point: My body does not seem to want to get better, and that is kind of irritating. I’m not stupid and I don’t expect to be magically cured in a matter of days. I’m just a little frustrated that I seemed to be getting better over the weekend, and now I’m a few steps back, and the pain is one I’m not used to. I was so annoyed getting dressed this morning because I felt like my stomach was sticking out 12 feet in front of me and the thought of wearing anything but sweatpants was discouraging.

Maybe I’m just bloated.

Maybe I’m lactose intolerant.

Maybe I’m very dramatic.

Becky: "Alison, I'm allergic to dairy." Alison: "I'M ALLERGIC TO ALL THE THINGS. I HAVE CROHN'S. I AM DYING. P.S. You look really pretty in that wedding dress."

So now I’m ready to work, I’m wearing a big wide belt on a very loose notch and I’m hoping that with some hydration and some big deep breaths, I will cure all the ailments.

Yes, I’m planning to get a medical degree. It’s clear that’s what I was meant to do in life.

And hey, body, I know I’ve put you through Hell and I’ve worked you hard and in the past I haven’t given you many breaks. I know I don’t foam roll you enough, and I know I let you get really really really really inflexible after all those years of dancing and doing splits and actually being able to touch your toes. I know I expect a lot from you, and I know I put pressure on you every day. But listen, I’ll ease up if you promise to cooperate. Let’s work as a team. Best friends? Awesome!

THIS IS A FUN GAME: Anything you’d like to tell your body today?



37 Responses

  1. ha – what’s really going on in that last photo? becky looks like she’s telling you to get your shit together.

  2. What I’d like to tell my body… Dear Left Foot,
    the (all uphill) Half marathon was 4 weeks ago. You’re not broken; I have x-ray proof. So get over it & stop hurting already.

    Being sick/hurt sucks.

  3. Have you ever considered seeing a naturopathic doctor? I’m not talking ‘quacks’, ‘witch doctors’, etc. (My best friend is an N.D. and sent to a real school for 4 years and is now in her residency so it reallyisn’t just a Sally Struther’s degree or someone who went to Whole Foods a bunch of times and declared herself a dr of homeoapthy).
    Good luck. Feel better soon.

  4. Love your apartment view, even though thunder is the worst thing on earth. Also loving your ‘eat my dust’ mentality to bike riding. I wish I could have that while running, but I’m entirely too slow.

  5. So sorry to hear your body is not being nice 🙁 Random side note – in your first picture, you were right near where I used to take my dog to doggy-daycare. They have huge windows, great dog watching area! Tell New York Hello and I miss you from me !

  6. Sad faces for you…I remember days like this all too well. My only advice would be to eliminate all sugar, fat, fiber, and lactose. Get probiotics and aloe vera juice (email me if you want a link to the miracle stuff I use). And DEF. DEF DEF find a new doctor and get a bunch of tests run. who knwos? Maybe it’s celiacs or food allergies or colitis or…who knows?

  7. I’m so sorry that you are feeling bad still. I really hope that you get a great doctor. My guess is that you are definitely doing all the things right; but perhaps just a really tough flare right now. The roller coaster is so tough.

  8. Your symptoms sound EXACTLY like my UC symptoms. It’s the worst when I’m having a bad flare, but I am definitely familiar with that horrible bloated, crampy, nausea feeling on a regular basis. My best advice is not getting too hungry and hydrating well. Water normally makes the worst of it lessen for me, and although food sounds like the worst thing when those bad stomach pains come on, I’ve found that maintaining scheduled, regular meals helps. I’m sorry, feel better!

  9. To the crunched whatever around my ribcage from lifting too much last night: I apologize. It won’t happen again, but I need to move without crying out in pain, so Stop it now, kthx.

    Well wishes to you and your guts.

  10. Hang in there, Ali! I hope this passes quickly – as in now, pronto. I am constantly amazed and inspired by your ability to push yourself to stay active through these bouts. My note to my body today is to heal this fistula quickly so that I can be a “normal” Crohn’s patient again (ha whatever that means!). Crohn’s flare + fistula surgery = not a fun me. I will be fun again!

  11. I think that the only thing worse than feeling bad is the surprise attack after thinking you’re ok. I’m so sorry 🙁 The cliffs note version of my letter to my body is: Dear body, if you ruin any more vacations or send me to any more ERs this year (even IF the doctors are attractive….), it will be war.
    Feel better!!!

  12. I’ve been having chats with my body too. As in efff you body. I have yucky legs and I am exhausted. I have diagnosed myself with everything (Lupus? Brain tumor) but can’t go to the doc bc I have crap insurance and unless I get hit by a car they won’t cover anything. So, yes, I hear ya girl. All I can say is hang in there and consider all the things your body has done.

  13. Ugh, I’m so sorry you feel worse! Perhaps an elimination diet might help you identify certain food triggers for Crohn’s attacks.

    And as for what to tell my body: stop using your crazy work hours as an excuse not to exercise. Learn to wake up in the morning!

  14. Chin up Ali! I hate that you’re going through all this. I’m going to be the asshole and say that this too shall pass because it will and everything will by sunshine and rainbows again!

    And screw you, hot girl.

    I do the same thing. I try to beat all the little cute people. Because I look like a linebacker. True story.

  15. What she said…
    It sounds like your last night was my Monday. Not fun and super frustrating. Hope you feel better!
    Oh and when you start your medical practice, I’ll be one of your 1st patients!

  16. If the pain’s on the right(ish) side, it might not be a TERRIBLE idea to rule out other stuff….like appendicitis, which I’ve heard is also super fun. Except not at all.

  17. I would like to tell my body (aka the fetus inside me) to stop kicking me in the ribs. I know I’m kinda short so there isn’t a ton of room for said fetus to stretch out, but seriously, can I just make the ribs off limits?

    I hope you find a new doctor asap!

  18. So sorry to hear you are unwell still. I have IBS and am having a horrible flare up right now so would like to tell my body to get it together also! Last night I was crippled in pain. Like couldn’t even stand up and today I had the same problem as you getting dressed. My stomach is extended, and I look approx. 6 mths pregnant.

  19. Sorry you aren’t feeling well. Hoping you feel better soon. My body is pretty good to me, just wish my lower extremities/hips/low back didn’t feel 70 years old sometimes!

    Fingers crossed you feel better soon!

  20. Fingers crossed for your stomach behaving itself and finding a new and awesome doctor. I’d like to tell my body that getting up at 6am to run is a GOOD THING, so rolling over and falling asleep again is so not cool.

  21. Yes, get some bike shorts! You’ll feel SO much better… but they won’t cure your Crohns, sorry. I hope you find the right doctor for you, one that isn’t an asshole who wants to pump you full of drugs.

  22. Sorry you are frustrated again, Ali. I hope you are able to find a new Dr who can actually help you. As for me, I would like to tell my hip and ass to stop being little bitches so that I can get back to running.

  23. That is a beautiful picture of the storm. I’m so sorry your body is not cooperating. I would like to tell my IT band to get over it, I’m ready to run and I’m tired of resting/stretching/graston/rolling with no results

  24. I wonder if your excitement to get back into your workouts as soon as you start to feel OK is pushing you back more. I know you felt better over the weekend and ran 10 miles, but maybe those times you are starting to feel better mean you should rest a little more before jumping back in with such a long run? Maybe start with 3 easy miles and keep it light for a longer amount of time to give your body time to recover?

  25. I’m so sorry you’re still feeling like crap. I read your blog on the reg and have been sending positive vibes your way! Hoping your flare ends soon!

    I would like to tell my body that balance is not a virtue, it’s a necessity, so it should definitely stop falling over and busting up my right knee. Because that happens a lot. Maybe I have an inner ear problem.

  26. I AM SO SORRY YOUR STOMACH IS BEING A LITTLE BITCH! BUT, I am getting a pedicure after work and then going home to do laundry…might be a really good time for you and Boots to come hang out with Parker…plus, puppies cure everything, right? RIGHT?! Jugamos.

  27. Yuck! I feel for you. Crohn’s is such a tricky disease. I have a friend who has it. Sorry you are going through this right now. I know it must totally suck when you really just want to workout.

    I’d like to tell my hamstring to suck it. It’s taking for-ev-er to heal and I too just want to run.

  28. So sorry to hear your body isn’t cooperating with you! Try and keep your positive hat on (as hard as that can be) and get better soon! I wonder if a nutritionist would have any helpful tips? I’d like to tell my body to stop making grumbling digestive noises – I’m not a concert hall.

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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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