Thankful Things Thursday: On Forgetting What It Feels Like

Nothing kicks you out of a running slump quite like not being able to run. Especially when it’s 60 degrees in New York City — in January.

For the past few weeks, I’ve been able to run, but I haven’t much felt like it.

Now, naturally, I can’t run, and so I’m dying to. I miss my Central Park mornings, my Brooks and that fantastic post-run glow I hang onto all throughout the day.

No, just kidding. We all know that’s not a “glow.” It’s lingering sweat and face redness that just never goes away.

So yeah, the stomach stuff is still happening. Four days into this flare-up and I’m already over it. But I haven’t lost my spirit and enthusiasm for life. Hooray! And that brings us to this week’s edition of Thankful Things Thursday.

AN IRRELEVANT PHOTO OF A BRIDGE. Because we are bridging the gap between the introduction to this post and the post itself. Onward…

I’m thankful for my doctor. I know my 2012 New Year’s Resolutions included many lofty tasks like doing a handstand and cooking once a month, but without a doubt, the greatest thing I accomplished on that list of goals was getting a new gastroenterologist. My last guy was crap and my new dude is amazing. When I called saying I thought I was flaring, he squeezed me in at his earliest convenience, which was last night.

Whenever I get blood drawn, which is all the time, I refuse to look at the needle. Yesterday the lab technician was like, “You’re not going to faint are you?” and I was like, “Lab bro, I do this ALL the time. Please just let me play Bejeweled Blitz while you get to work.” But then, he drew my blood so quickly that I didn’t even get through a full game of Bejeweled! I was a little pissed and asked if I could stay in the chair to finish. I think I caught an eye roll with that one, but he obliged. It was not my highest score.

And then he took the time to listen to me. He asks so many questions and he’s incredibly thorough. When I see my doctor, I don’t feel like I’m there bothering him or taking up his time. I feel like he genuinely wants to fix me and make me feel happy and healthy. It does not hurt, as I’ve mentioned, that he happens to be really cute.

So the deal with this flare-up: The doc says all signs point to a flare, but neither of us are super concerned because I haven’t been experiencing a lot of the really awful side effects I usually get, like the night sweats, the fevers and the joint pain. I’ve had a bit of pain in my upper back, but it’s not too bad. The worst is, of course, the stomach pain and the bathroom runs, which are too frequent for my liking.

My doctor is very anti-steroids, and I love that, since they didn’t work so well for me in, oh, all of 2012. He put me on two kinds of antibiotics, which is what he did when I was in the hospital last summer — they worked then, so hopefully they’ll work now. He also has me taking iron, which I really should have been doing all along considering the whole anemia thing, but…oops?

Now we wait and see what happens. He was really understanding when I said I need to get better before my trip to Colorado and then we talked about the new bar on Third Avenue that serves cheese-filled soft pretzels. I told him I was going to get one as soon as I feel better and he said that sounds like a good idea. Then I wondered if we should hug, but apparently we should not.

I’m thankful for Netflix and “my” iPad. I do not really own an iPad. But Brian does, and when we moved in together we signed a roommate agreement that says “What’s his is mine and what’s mine is also mine.” It works out so well because then he has to let me use whatever I want and I don’t have to share my Oreos.

Brian comes equipped with an iPad and even though I thought these devices seemed “really dumb and unnecessary because they’re big like a laptop but you can’t make phone calls on them,” it turns out I love this iPad. Mostly because I can watch stuff on it in bed.

You see, we don’t have a TV in our bedroom. I’m against it or whatever.

But since I’m not running right now and I have a little more free time, I need something amazing to do to fill those run-less hours. I thought about taking up knitting or cleaning or scrapbooking, but what really appealed to me was the idea of committing to watching a new TV show. I dream big and aim high.

I pondered three options based on what clogs my Twitter feed: “Downton Abbey,” “Girls” or “Parenthood.” Then I decided I really had no interest in the first two, and so I went with “Parenthood.”

I am two episodes in, starting from Season 1, and so far I have cried during each episode. This may not be a viable way to spend my time because it seems to be emotionally damaging. But I like the show so far.

I’m thankful for this little guy:

He’s the cutest. And he can balance on one foot.

I walk by him most mornings on my way to work and he makes me happy. I was always a big Elmo fan. I still would not be entirely mad if someone bought me a Tickle Me Elmo.

I’m thankful every time we get the new issue of Dance Spirit in the office and there isn’t a typo on the cover. That is my greatest fear.

A little sneak peek at the March issue! Bright, bubbly, bendy — everything teen dancers are made of.

I’m thankful for my new toothbrush. There are few things in life I love more than good dental hygiene. I love brushing and flossing. I used to have to lie to my dentist and be like, “Yeah, I totally floss every day.” He usually figured out I was lying when he’d floss my teeth in that scary chair and my gums would bleed incessantly. But now this is my favorite daily activity. I also love brushing. I brush my teeth for no fewer than five minutes per round. I start brushing, and then I make the bed, turn on the TV, check my email, scroll through Twitter, iron some shirts, take out the trash…it’s multitaskable and fun.

Brian and I both used to put our toothbrushes in the middle two slots of the toothbrush holder. Lately, he’s been putting his toothbrush in the far left spot. I am psychoanalyzing this to death. Does he hate me? Is he trying to subconsciously get away from me? Does his toothbrush not like my new toothbrush? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN???

And yeah, I just bought a new toothbrush and it’s all tough and bristle-y. I love it.

I’m thankful for all my new spices. When I posted about how I don’t know how to cook or whether to use my crock pot for food-making or sock storage, people were really nice to me. My new BFF Emily, for example, was like, “Hey, I work for McCormick spices, and you don’t have to review this or blog about it, I just genuinely want you to have flavor in your food, so I’m going to send you a few things.”

And then this showed up at my door:

I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT MOST OF THESE THINGS ARE. But Brian was especially excited about this delivery. I hope he’s home right now, whipping up something flavorful. And moving our toothbrushes back next to each other…

As soon as I’m feeling better, I’m spending time in the kitchen. Smelling spices. And maybe cooking with them, too.

I’m thankful I forgot what Crohn’s disease feels like. You never really completely forget, but for five months, this disease was pretty far in the back of my mind. I never worried about it, never concerned myself with it…I just went about my happy daily life.

When the stomach pain started up again this weekend, I immediately recognized the old familiar feelings. And that’s fine. I’m so truly, madly, deeply (remember that song?) grateful that for a while, my body felt strong and wonderful. And I can’t wait to forget again.

I’m thankful I’m surrounded by good people doing great things in this world. Some of my friends are simply the types of people who want to make others feel good. On Monday, I spent the night volunteering with the women behind Erica Sara Designs at God’s Love We Deliver downtown. We were put on the “baking shift,” which fortunately didn’t require me to actually cook anything.

Rockin’ the hair nets.

There are people who volunteer so they can tell the world they volunteered. Then there are people, like Erica, who volunteer because it helps people. I just think that’s awesome. I volunteered so I could hang out with Erica. And help people. Though now here I am, telling the world…dang it.

It really was an awesome evening, though. We packaged hundreds of desserts that will be sent to GLWD’s patients — the organization delivers meals to people who have terminal illnesses and/or are too sick to cook for themselves — and it was nice getting to know a really wonderful group of young women.

Erica being pretty and Lora standing by. And also being pretty. I felt mega-creepy because I had just written a blog post about how I think Lora is awesome…but we had never actually met in person.

And, you know, volunteering makes you feel good. For the duration of the two-hour shift, my stomach felt fine. Go figure.

I think it’s time to wrap this up.

No. One final thought:

I’m thankful for Thankful Things Thursday. A few weeks ago I pondered whether to keep this tradition alive. During those months when I felt so great, I didn’t need this “holiday.” So I got a little tired of it. But now I remember why I love it so much. Because when things get even slightly tough, I’m forced to recall all the great things I still have in this pretty world.

My pretty city. Here is a makeshift heart for NYC: <3


GET GRATEFUL WITH ME: What are you feeling thankful for today? Your health? Your friends? Your family? Your puppy? Your puppy that you plan to give to me?



56 Responses

  1. I have the beloved Crohns, too. And I chanced onto your site somehow. I love the shirts because I sweat like I’m doing a work out but just on prednisone. So I need one.

    In fact, I wish there was a dry erase part on the back that could tell family members what dosage of prednisone you are on- for a “heads up”. And to help you endure. I have gone nearly a year and half on prednisone this last time. Failed all the meds and have finally hit trial.MS meds.

    I used to be an athlete and am looking forward to it. But my bones have been trashed after 17 years of being on the dreaded pred on and off. So Im not as athletic anymore.. Which sucks. But I am turning a corner on this new infusion drug- I can feel it. Positive thinking, eh! And Dr. who is going to run the distance with me. He’s new and we’ve set up a game plan. He spent an hour with me and for the first time I felt like I will be able to endure this disabling disease but have the qality of life that I would like. I blog too!

    Drop by if you’d like at:


    Amanda Hobbs Dierenfeldt

  2. I love Parenthood! I just started watching it on Netflix and I’m addicted! The acting is really good. Btw, I just found your blog and really enjoy it 🙂

  3. I hope you’re loving Parenthood! That show is so good and it’s impossible to not cry (and also feel like your family is a little less crazy :)).

    Today I’m thankful I tried a new restaurant (called Wicked Waffle – how have I never been before??) and ate a sandwich made out of a waffle. That seems like a very good thing to do on a Saturday.

  4. Today, I am thankful for:

    -New running friends.
    -A little bit of green in a huge urban city/state/island.
    -Electrolyte drinks
    -Well-behaved IT bands!!

    I am NOT thankful for your tempting me with soft pretzels that are more than 8,000 miles away from me right now. 🙂

  5. This week I feel like there is so much to be thankful for. 1) Even for just 24 hours, a 60-degree day. 2) My nephews and niece, and cute Zara booties for > 1 yr olds. 3) Being able to trust my gut to make the right life decisions.

    Congrats on another flawless mag cover! I have typo nightmares too.

  6. No pictures of Tyler?!??? What the heck?!?! It’s the only reason I read your blog…KIDDING!! But he is damn cute.

    I am thankful for Oreo stuffed chocolate chip cookies. And hot yoga. Not at the same time though.

  7. I am grateful for my poodle!
    I am grateful for my gym!
    I am grateful for my yoga practice
    I am grateful for friends who do awesome things like send me balloons so I can “mail a letter” to mom on the anniversary of her going to heaven

  8. Ali, if you’re crying during episode 1-2 of Parenthood, what are you going to do when you reach season 3??? I love that show!

  9. Ali, you’re absolutely right; there are so many things to be grateful for. I’m grateful that I could run everyday and despite being tired because of work, I’m grateful that I have a job! =)

  10. I’m just going to mention something about you borrowing Brian’s iPad to watch TV in bed. I think that is probably a much safer thing to do in your run-less hours than scrapbooking because do you know how much room you need to store scrapbooking things? It’s a lot and I think you’re probably running out of corners to store stuff.

    I’m just sayin.

  11. Just found your blog yesterday and loved it! I too have Crohn’s (9 times out of 10 I spell it correctly – although I can’t say the same for every other word).

    I am stuck on the couch for the next several days, keeping a flare at bay. Hopefully. I am switching from Pentasa to Slippery Elm Powder and I am scared as hell, but so hopeful. Pentasa has begun to work against me, the joys of leaky gut… Anyway, I have ran out of meds that I can tolerate so I am trying the natural side, hence the fear.

    Today I am thankful I looked up your blog, thank you so much. And I am so thankful that I don’t feel that bad, I might actually like the Slippery Elm stuff.

  12. I’m thankful for finding this blog! Thanks so much Ali for being open about your crohn’s and all that comes along with IBD. I’m also thankful that tomorrow is Friday and that I convinced myself to go for a run in the rain this afternoon (it was just what I needed)

  13. I’m thankful for sweaters and all things warm! (It’s quite chilly in Chicago today). And the grilled cheese and tomato soup combo I ate for lunch. And the fact that I wore yellow today and pretty much matched my lunch. It was awesome.

  14. I have watched Parenthood since day 1…cry at EVERY episode and keep coming back. I think it’s because it’s so relatable.
    I’m (trying to be) thankful for the job I got to come back to after 10 days in Hawaii and the Maui Oceanfront half marathon!!

  15. Give Downton a whirl – up to episode 3 at least!!! I know I’m a Brit and thus biased but it’s fabulous!

    Today, i am grateful for:
    * Being in the UK with my parents.
    * My new Marks & Spencer running bra which gives me a chest and looks amazing.
    * Bangers and mash.

    Yep, it’s the British edition 🙂

  16. I’m thankful tomorrow is Friday and I get to see some of my favorite people for drinks and dinner. I’m also thankful for my cousin asking if I want to see NKOTB, 98 degrees, and Boyz II Men on tour together this summer. Yes please.

  17. I just started watching “Parenthood” too and I’m glad I’m not the only one who cries at every episode. It’s so heartwarming and wonderful

  18. Today I am thankful for my bright orange, polka-dot rainboots – it was pretty much monsooning this morning in Boston. Apparently I am also thankful for hyperbole. And don’t worry, I never take my iron pills either! I kind of have an anemia-shnemia attitude. Oops.

  19. A cheese filled pretzel sounds like the perfect food, I could probably only eat that for the rest of my life.

    Today, I’m grateful for spending time with good friends who make me laugh.

  20. Your posts never fail to make me smile! and laugh out loud a little at my desk.

    I am thankful that it is not frigid in NYC after returning from a week in Miami yesterday…able to ease back in to this winter thing.

    And also for finishing my first marathon Sunday and enjoying every aspect of it even when things were not going the way I wanted. Best day ever!

  21. I really appreciate you sharing so much about your disease. My baby brother has Crohns and he never, ever talks about it. It is helpful to get the reminders of how tough this disease can be, because I honestly forget how rough he has it sometimes.
    I’m thankful for the good people in my life, especially my husband!

  22. I’m thankful for your blog and for my 17 pound rescue kitty. He has had a bit of a rough time adjusting but today after I returned from my run, he let out a scratchy meow and came to throw his robust body at my legs with purring like a buzz saw. Melted my heart!

    1. I also love my iPad, it’s a Crohn’s patient’s best friend. My GI doc is in a teaching hospital and appointments are always really long, Plus it makes the time at the Remicade clinic go so much faster.

  23. I was reading your blog during my morning meeting. I had to catch myself when I nearly laughed out loud. Note to self: stop slacking off in meetings. I’m sorry your toothbrushes have grown apart. Maybe his toothbrush is afraid.of catching the flu. 🙂

  24. is it weird that i got semi jealous of your iron pills? i used to have to take them and despite some weird side effects, i kinda miss them…. enjoy some energy boost for me, please?

    i am thankful that i got to spend some time with my grandparents, my dad, then sun and spf 50 this week.

  25. Those spices look amazing! I also love Lora, and tweeted about it yesterday. I’m grateful for a weekend out of the city – upstate NY here I come!!

  26. I just started watching Parenthood as well and have cried during every episode. I had no idea the show was so heart wrenching. Two episodes have caused me to have to pause the TV because I can’t see through my tears and need time to catch my breathe.

    1. Third Avenue Ale House! It’s on 93rd & 3rd. It’s by the same owners as Amsterdam Ale House on the west side. There’s also a new spin studio opening right next to it! I hope it’s good (and cheap!).

      1. I saw that place when we ate at Fetch last weekend! I told Andy that looked like something we would have liked to have when he lived there. And wow about spin studio, that is AWESOME.

        1. I was just going to ask what bar that was!!! I need to go there asap. Also, I used to live literally a block away on 92nd and 3rd, and go figure as soon as I move uptown cheese-filled pretzels show up.

          Also, Dori – my husband and I had our first date at Fetch!

  27. Hi Ali,

    A friend of mine has crohn’s disease and was on all sorts of medication. He started doing acupuncture on somebody’s recommendation and is currently not taking any medications. I am trying to push any advice on you! Just wondering if anyone ever suggested that to you, or if you’ve ever given it a try!

  28. TAKE YOUR IRON PILLS, ALI! Also I want to know where that Elmo is so I can walk by him 🙂

    I hope you feel better soon! And I will volunteer to accompany you to the cheesy pretzel bar once you do…

    1. I took my first two last night! He has me starting out at two pills per day and then we might go up to three. Something about “testing for constipation,” which I assured him is not at all my problem right now.

      Elmo is on 87th and 3rd, in the window of the Stride Rite shoe store! Pretty cute.

      Pretzel date ASAP. We can even do a little Bridle Path-ing and then end at the pretzel spot? The bar is probably still open when you’re finishing your run at 4 AM… 😉

  29. I also love new toothbrushes. However… I work for Colgate so I CRINGE when I see all the non-Colgate stuff going on in that holder and on that counter-top! Brian is a smart man, as I see he has chosen our wonderful Colgate 360 Toothbrush wisely 😉

    On a serious note…great post. Thankful Thursdays are very inspiring. I am thankful that I am wearing heels for the first time in months today after successfully completing my first marathon on Sunday!!

    1. HAHAHA. This actually made me laugh. I’m sorry to let you down! Would it help to know that my travel-sized toothpaste is Colgate?!

      More importantly, CONGRATULATIONS on your first marathon!!! How exciting!

  30. I am thankful for Thankful Things Thursday! I think Thursday is the best day to be thankful for, and I really enjoy reading your posts on that day. P.S.: New toothbrush are the BEST!

  31. Hahaha, as a former newspaper front page designer I can soooo relate to the fear of typos. ESPECIALLY if one slips through and gets published – then it’s crippling shame, self-flagellation, AND that fear multiplied by 100 for a while. (Or maybe I’m just a spaz.)

    Hoping the Crohn’s clears up soon.

  32. i’m grateful for a beautiful sunrise this morning, and for the recent warm weather.

    i’m also thankful for your thankful things thursdays – and your ability to roll with the punches. it’s super encouraging to me.

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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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