An exclamation point in the title.
Good things are happening.
Great things are happening.
I went running.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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…
…and Saturday was spent doing “Bridal Flywheel” (shockingly not my idea)…
…getting ready in the most amazing suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel overlooking Central Park…
…and, finally, wedding-ing.
Eating, dancing, photo boothing and generally enduring massive amounts of foot pain thanks to the highest heels I’ve ever worn.
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.
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.