On The Roads Again!

An exclamation point in the title.

Good things are happening.

Great things are happening.

I went running.

Oh Central Park. I missed you so much it hurt. It hurt my stomach, specifically.

Pause for more exclamation points: !!!!!!

Oh, you run every day? You’re healthy, uninjured and have just enough time to sweat outdoors daily? Congratulations for you.

But that wasn’t my life for the past month-plus.

No no.

I wasn’t healthy.

I was living in Crohn’s Town and it sucked. You knew that already because I’ve complained about it ever-so-minimally. Ish.

In case you’re new, what you missed is this: I took a self-mandated eight-day break from running back in December. I’d run a fantastic marathon in November and wanted to take some time away from Central Park in order to avoid burnout when the new year started (which is what happened to me last year).

Out for a run. A timed, long-ass run.

I came back from my break and had a good week or two of running in January. Nothing fast, nothing noteworthy, but I was running and feeling good.

Then I stopped feeling good.

It came on gradually, but soon my “weird stomach pain” exploded (ew) into a full-blown Crohn’s flare-up. I was sick and I was in a permanent state of exhaustion.

That seems like a good way to sleep, Ty. Really good for your breathing and also your limbs. You’re SQUISHING your limbs, Tyler! SPLAY YOURSELF OUT. GROW.

I could no longer leave the apartment, let alone lace up and run.

It was frustrating, as it always is, but I got in with my doctor as soon as things took a bad turn and, a few days before leaving for a ski trip to Colorado, started on a strong round of two kinds of antibiotics.

The antibiotics didn’t seem to work, though. I was sick the whole time we were in Colorado and as great as the trip was, it was continually frustrating and embarrassing having to run for the bathroom in the middle of every meal with our friends.

Probably the worst thing about Colorado was that the views sucked.

I got a Remicade infusion just nine hours after returning from Colorado. I hoped that by making my health a priority for once, I’d reap rewards. I’d feel better. It would all work.

That was last Wednesday.

By Thursday night — with the Remicade chillin’ in my body for 36 hours — I felt worse.

Usually, if the Remicade works, it works within six hours. It’s fast. I love that.

So when 36 hours went by and I felt no improvement, I was convinced both the antibiotics and the Remicade had failed. I started to freak out. I didn’t know what Dr. Delightful would want to do next.

SEE: Trying not to freak out! So many emotions. Mostly fear.

I tried not to get too upset. One thing I have focused on this-flare-around is the “this is temporary” mentality. The flare-ups may be frequent, but they never completely last forever. I always get at least a few weeks of health in between flares. So reminding myself that “this, too, shall pass” helped keep me moderately sane.

I went to bed Thursday night feeling overwhelmed and sick.

Thursday was Valentine’s Day. Per tradition, the Dance Spirit staff went all out.

I woke up Friday morning feeling more calm, but still sick.

I took the day off from work because my friend Lauren’s rehearsal dinner was that afternoon and I had lots to do beforehand.

HANGERS FOR EVERYONE! Mine is the one that says Feller.

I needed to be in the shower by 2:00 to start getting ready.

At noon I realized my stomach didn’t hurt.

And I realized it was almost 50 degrees outside. In February.

So I put my neglected little sneakers on. I put a pair of running shorts on, grabbed my headphones — left my watch — and nervously took the elevator downstairs.

I stepped outside my building, took a big breath…and started to put one foot in front of the other.

You know when you haven’t run in a while and then you get back out there and you feel like a baby giraffe discovering its legs for the first time? I felt clumsy and awkward, but I was running. Meh, let’s call it jogging.

It was a beautiful afternoon and my goal was to just make it to the park.

I almost did, too!

I had to stop to use the convenient church bathroom outside Engineers’ Gate, but after that it was smooth running.

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than Central Park? NO, YOU HAVE NOT.

I headed south and ended up — literally — running into Jocelyn, Gia and Meggie. I crashed their run and joined them for a bit, which helped divert my focus from potential stomach woes.

I ended up running around five miles. It was so nice. My stomach felt OK. My spirits were lifted. Everything in life was magical.

I know it’s not a big deal. It was one run. One short, probably slow, mid-day run.

But it felt huge to me that day.

And then I ran again.

I ran on Sunday (very windy — didn’t care), and I ran on Monday (very cold — didn’t care).

So cold, and I didn’t care. Because…RUNNING!!!!!!

I haven’t been tracking my mileage and I haven’t been wearing a watch. I feel slow, out of shape and not at all like a runner.

But my god, Central Park beats the spin studio any day. And it definitely beats being in the bathroom.

These few runs haven’t been perfect — I have to make a stop or two early on, but eventually the pain goes away and my body and mind relax. And then I can just run and smile and prance around my happy place. I’m not sure when I’ll be able to run this week since the mornings are the worst for my stomach and my nights are already filled with commitments, but I’m not concerned. Also, my legs are insanely sore today, which is fun.

This flare-up hasn’t gone away entirely, but there were some huge improvements over the weekend. I am thrilled and optimistic.

The rest of my weekend was happy and exhausting. On Friday night, we rehearsed…

Practicing “my walk.” Which was basically just “make it down the aisle without tripping over your dress, Feller.”

…and ate…

Just a quaint little dinner at the New York Historical Society. I like having classy friends.

…and Saturday was spent doing “Bridal Flywheel” (shockingly not my idea)…

Bike balloons for the bride! This class killed me, FYI. That Torqboard is no joke. And you can’t cheat because those numbers stare back at you like evil little demons saying, “Try harder. You are so lazy. Are you even trying???”

…getting ready in the most amazing suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel overlooking Central Park…

Satin robes and a suite at the Mandarin? Living the good life, my friends. You know, for a few hours…until I had to go home to my one-bedroom apartment with very thin walls and no room service. Except that time Brian gave me a “granola bar” in bed. That was a special treat.

…and, finally, wedding-ing.

“Don’t fall, don’t fall, don’t trip, don’t fall…don’t cry, either…”
Not tripping, falling or crying. Victory!

Eating, dancing, photo boothing and generally enduring massive amounts of foot pain thanks to the highest heels I’ve ever worn.

I gotta be honest: I don’t get the mustache thing. Why are people obsessed with mustaches?
The college girls. Keeping it formal.
It is worth noting that my dress barely zipped, and by the end of the night, those seams were ready to burst.

I also made granola bars from scratch. Did you know you can do that?

Not that I’m abandoning my beloved Mr. Entenmann and his nutritious morning products. But I’m pretty psyched about this hearty little thing I whipped up.

I thought about cutting them up into actual granola “bars.” But then I thought, “Nah, better not,” and just went to town on them by the handful. What’s that about portion control?

For “add-ins,” I included chopped dark chocolate (that I chopped up myself from scratch-ish!), chopped dried apricots (also self-chopped), peanuts, raisins and coconut flakes.

And did I mention I’m running again?

In my wave of excitement, I’ve committed to three races for 2013: the Brooklyn Half Marathon in May, the Wineglass Marathon in October and, finally, the New York City Marathon in November. We’ll see what happens.

Suck it, SoulCycle. I’m done with you for a while.




47 Responses

  1. You look smashing in all these wedding related photos! Sorry but that is all I’m going to address at this time. And I’m glad you had a good giraffe baby 5 miles

  2. Woohooooo that you’re running again! I hope to see your happy, smiley face in CP VERY SOON and get a high five, obviously! And YAY…I signed up for the Brooklyn Half too! Not sure who I think I am signing up for a half marathon 13 days after a half marathon, but I suppose if I ever intend to run a marathon I’ll have to run longer runs than that without 13 days in between, right? Here goes nothing!

  3. Glad you’re feeling better and are back to running! I haven’t run since thanksgiving and am nervous to get back out there. You/dress looked gorgeous – congrats to Lauren!

  4. Welcome back! You looked lovely in your dress and those pictures of NYC made me wistful for not only the place but running in that place.

    I’m so hoping that when I’m in town in March that I’ll be able to visit my favorite bridges – I miss them so much!

  5. LOVE the wedding photos.Running blogs need more wedding photos. Your friend looked beautiful and you looked fab too. My bridesmaids wore black too, it’s such a great look for grown-up bridesmaids!

  6. LOVE the wedding photo booth pics! Superrr adorable!

    So excited for you to be getting back into running. I feel like when we take those mandated (by injury or whatever) we have the opportunity to fall back in love with running. It can be such a great thing! SO happy for you!

  7. I’m really happy for you. Having suffered through some injuries that have derailed my running (and other fitness) plans, I can relate to the joy you feel at being able to do what you love. I sometimes think I get to enjoy running more because I CAN’T do it every day (unlike my jackrabbit husband).

    By the way, while the Elliptical Machine can be mind-numbingly boring, if you use it without holding onto the moving handles (just shift your weight forward and hold the ones in front), it works very similar muscles to running (while giving your backside a break from biking) – and in proximity to a bathroom. Crank up the resistance for some hills.

  8. Congratulations on getting back out there! I’m happy you are feeling better! I’m somewhat new to your blog and I’m loving it. The baby giraffe comment cracked me up.

    Also, I love the idea of bridal flywheel. It looks like the wedding weekend was a blast!

  9. Yay, Ali! I particularly like the baby giraffe analogy bc its so accurate. I am a very awkward runner (and human being for that matter), so I get it.. Oh and I signed up for the Brooklyn Half on Friday! Apparently I am obsessed with running races in NYC this year. 🙂

  10. So exciting! I’m glad you’re feeling better, and that you were able to have a fantastic weekend with your friend at her wedding. You look beautiful in those photos. Also, I think I’m going to go make myself some of those granola bars now. 🙂

  11. Congrats on getting back on the road Ali! That’s super exciting. I’m glad you’re feeling better! And you look great! Your bridesmaid’s dress is really pretty!

  12. WHEEEEE! Congratulations on your recovery and moving back into the Park.

    And you’re coming up for the Wineglass!! Yay! I’ve started running again too and am signed up for the Half.

  13. I`m happy that you were able to run and I don`t get the mustaches either but I think you look absolutely beautiful in that gown and I`m impressed that you made granola bars. Yourself! Congratulations and here`s to lots of healthy miles!

  14. So, SO great you’re back to running! …..!!!!!!! I hope you keep feeling great so you can keep enjoying the run rush. Another great post. I always love reading 😀

  15. This is just what I needed to read to get my ass out the door this morning!! 🙂 Thank you!! And I personally hate mustaches and I am really confused about all the hype.

  16. Ummm classiest wedding ever!! I love the personalized hangers and bridal spin class. Also, totally agree with you on the mustache thing. So you hate them when it’s no shave November, but you you love super hipster mustaches? Don’t get it…

  17. Glad you are back out and running! Hopefully you will be 100% again soon!

    1. Love that dress at the rehearsal!
    2. Love your choice of races, I really want to do Wineglass one day!
    3. Lets run together soon 🙂

  18. Woo hoo running! Can’t imagine your endorphins this weekend with running + wedding festivities! And jealous you got into the Brooklyn Half– I tried to register Sunday and it was full!

  19. Congrats on running again and especially on committing to races!!! I’m running the Brooklyn Half and I’m really excited for it. Hot dogs, beer, and amusement park rides at 9am after running for 2 hours is my idea of a good time.

  20. Hooray for feeling better! This post made me so happy to read. That last photo of you and Brian made me laugh so hard. Y’all are adorable together. 🙂

  21. Such a great post! Love the picture of baby Tyler! He’s all tucked in and apparently loving it. So great to hear that you’re getting back out there and on the mend, for now at least. The green dress you wore to the rehearsal dinner was gorgeous! (the bridesmaid dress was also awesome – very nice selection by your bride-friend and cool that she didn’t make you guys wear one of those hideous dresses that no one would ever in their right mind wear again!) Have fun on your runs and tell your stomach that he (she?) can chill for awhile – you’ve got things to do! 🙂

  22. Yay! I’m glad you’re back to running! I’m on a running high from this weekend (I did my first half marathon!!!!! ahh!) so I’m about to commit to some more races for this year, too!

  23. Yay for getting back to running. I agree, the views in Colorado suck-you should never go back. Just kidding, we will let you in, but only you. Haha. Glad you committed to races, despite how unexpecting your flare ups can be. I’ll commit to races as soon as I know where I am living in June.

  24. YAY sounds like a great weekend! i’m jealous of your recent commitment to races – i’ve been searching high and low for a spring half marathon, but haven’t been able to commit to anything yet….

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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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