New York City Marathon Training: Week 13

I thought I was done with my training recaps since, let’s be honest, am I really “training” right now? But this week had some little victorious and big breakthroughs, and I wanted to document them! This week marked my return to running and, more excitingly, my return to outdoor running! I’ve spent so little time outside lately that I didn’t even realize it was fall! I love fall! (Look at all these exclamation points!)

Welcome to the PUPkin patch!
Welcome to the PUPkin patch!

My body still has a long way to go until I feel “normal,” but giving in to the mind over body mindset proved effective this week. Here’s a little look at how the week went…

Monday, October 10: Yoga (75 minutes)

I went to Lyons Den for a 75-minute class with Bethany. I hated having to take a cab from the ferry to the studio because I wasn’t confident in my ability to survive the walk without needing a bathroom run. But once I got to the studio, I was able to relax and enjoy class. I set up my mat right next to the door in case I needed to bolt at any point, but I never did, and I even had a few solid handstand attempts.

Tuesday, October 11: REST

This was an office day, so there was no way a workout was happening. I still can’t do morning workouts because my stomach is the worst in the morning, and by the time I got home, it was late and I was exhausted. BUT, I did pick up Ellie from daycare by myself and walked her all the way home! It was a beautiful night and it felt like a very big deal to be able to walk .7 miles with her (plus a stop at the dog park for a bit) without panicking and needing a bathroom. Little victories!

I want to be a part of it! New York, New York! (But like, from across the river.)
I want to be a part of it! New York, New York! (But like, from across the river.)

Wednesday, October 12: REST

I don’t remember this day at all. But I know I didn’t attempt any forms of fitness.

Thursday, October 13: TREADMILL RUN! (2 miles)

This day was a big day for me! After spending the day with my friend and talking about running most of the time, I was feeling kind of motivated. We talked a lot about how Ali On The Run has become such a big part of my identity over the years, and how it’s hard when I can’t actually be on the run.

These are the signs my friends made when I ran my first marathon. They're hanging in my office because they make me happy.
These are the signs my friends made when I ran my first marathon. They’re hanging in my office because they make me happy.

So I decided I’d go to the gym and do some strength-ish stuff and, from there, if I felt OK enough, I’d hop on the treadmill.

My reasoning: The absolute worst case scenario would be me pooping my pants, right? The gym is four feet from my apartment, and there’s a bathroom in the gym. So if I somehow couldn’t jump off and make it to the very close bathroom and something terrible happened, I could just walk the four feet back home. That’s the worst thing that could’ve happened. With that in mind, I went for it.


I ran for a full mile without having to stop, and then kept going for another half mile. After that, I needed to hop off and use the bathroom, but then I came back and hopped on for another half mile. Two miles that started slow and finished fast, and I felt like I was on top of the world! Very exciting stuff.

Friday, October 14: Treadmill Run (3 miles)

So naturally, after my victorious Thursday, I wanted to try again. This time, I only made it .4 miles before I had to hop off for the bathroom, but then I resumed and ended up with a total of three miles. They were slow and relaxed and I was very, very happy the whole time.


Saturday, October 15: OUTDOOR RUN! (6.5 miles)

OMG I RAN OUTSIDE! Best day ever? Best day in recent memory at least. The two treadmill runs gave me the confidence boost I needed to attempt my first outdoor run in more than a month. My plan was to run to the track 1.5 miles away. There are multiple bathrooms between home and the track, plus a bathroom at the track. I figured I’d just run loops of the track until I had to stop.

VICTORIOUS FACE #3! Track bathroom break!
VICTORIOUS FACE #3! Track bathroom break!

Once I left the house, I had to make a stop .4 miles in (thanks, ferry terminal bathrooms!), but then I made it all the way to the track before I needed another one. I was so, so happy to be running outside, and so happy to see the beautiful track again. I ran four loops and then I was feeling OK, so I decided to venture away from the track. Of course, as soon as I did that, my body was like, “bathroom plz!” (Thank you, Sheraton hotel bathroom.) So then I headed back home for a total of 6.5 miles (and a bunch of walk breaks). I wanted to run forever, but knew better.

I may have lost some fitness and I may have been sore the minute I stopped moving, but that runner’s high? That stuck around for hours.


This run reminded me of the importance of the mind-body connection when it comes to Crohn’s disease. For the past few weeks, I’ve let my physical health dictate the state of my mental health. So as my body worsened, my brain followed suit, and I settled into a sad, dark place. But on Saturday, I decided to let my mind lead the way. I was feeling happy and motivated, so I willed my body to run — and it obliged.

Part of me wishes I had tried running sooner, because I could’ve used that runner’s high a month ago. But I know that patience is a key factor with this disease, and that getting the mind and body to work together — and not against each other — is so important.


Sunday, October 16: REST

Three days of running left me feeling pretty exhausted. (Crohn’s flare = recovery is key.) So with the exception of a few walks with Ellie, Sunday was a total couch day. Six episodes of The People vs. O.J. Simpson later — and icing my knees while I watched — and the soreness has since subsided.

This is every morning. We need a bigger bed...
This is every morning. We need a bigger bed…

To recap…




TOTAL MILEAGE: 11.5 miles!

TOTAL ICE CREAM: None. I wasn’t craving it, and the extra sugar mid-flare doesn’t do me any favors. Not to mention the dairy. So no ice cream this week.

TOTAL ALCOHOL: Also none. See aforementioned comments about “extra sugar” and “doesn’t do me any favors.” I remember a few points during the week when I felt sad, stressed, or otherwise in the spirit of “I kind of want a glass of wine,” but then I considered how I’d feel the next day — and how I feel in general — and decided to opt out. I’M SO STRONG.

Saturday night watching Pitch Perfect 2. The usual.
Saturday night watching Pitch Perfect 2. The usual.

What went great: I ran! And then I ran again! And then I ran outside! Each of these outings felt hugely victorious.

Where I need to improve: In my intestines still. I felt like I made huge strides last week — possibly more so mentally than physically — and am eager for the upward trend to continue. It may have been fleeting, but it may also stick around. We’ll see. (And we will — I go to the doctor on Wednesday, finally, so stand by for updates.)

Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 13 of training: “Like when I close my eyes and don’t even care if anyone sees me dancing. Like I can fly, and don’t even think of touching the ground” —This song, which I’ve been blasting on repeat because it’s peppy and suits my post-run mood

Finally, this is Japser, the new pup in the building. He's 7 weeks old and is basically just a ball of fluff.
Finally, this is Japser, the new pup in the building. He’s 7 weeks old and is basically just a ball of fluff.

“Training” wasn’t always going so, well, non-training-like. If you’re just tuning in now, welcome, and also let’s reminisce about when I was starting to kick a little ass…




18 Responses

  1. I was so excited and happy to see that little glint of sweat on your forehead in that first picture of you at the gym. I have been thinking about you a lot, and when I don’t feel like running, you are my motivation to get out the door. I sure hope you feel better and can run like you want to!

  2. I too am a runner with Crohn’s and short bowel complications from the crohn’s surgery. Ugh. But I have been running and racing for the last 16 yrs. I do it on my meds, and an empty stomach. No food, after about an hour after I get up in the am. Once I go about 3-4 times and have emptied my stomach then I run. then I have conditioned myself to drink water as I run. It was tough at first but my routes consist of bathroom routes. I have done over 35 half marathons ..Keep Going Kiddo

  3. Yay for running and your bravery to run outside!
    When I was diagnosed 2 years ago and flared for ohhh a year I literally did not run outside from November until July. I cried my first run back outside. I did however keep running on the treadmill right next to the bathroom at the gym. The outside fear was real.
    I have been having some issues the past couple weeks…enough so that let’s just say I am thankful for the “wooded” area on my run/bike path.
    Keep on going after that runners high! and good luck at the doc’s

  4. Oh. A Bernese Mountain Pup. My favourite puppy. I have a 20mth old one called Yogi (Yogi Ber…geddit?) My husband has Crohns and I like running so therefore I feel it necessary to tell him all about you all the time. We both wish you a very very quick flare recovery. Especially him, because he knows just how dreadful those months are. And apparently I do not, because I am the worst nurse ever with a bedside manner like shit. His words, not mine. I’m just keeping it real for him. ?

  5. When I was out on my long run this Sunday I passed a group of runners obviously waiting from some type of event to start. I was about 15K in and overheard one of them say “He’s keeping good form”. That totally made my day. I didn’t even know I HAD form! It’s the little things that can keep you going. Keep your spirits up and appreciate the little things 🙂

  6. I am so happy to see this!!!
    It is easy to slip into a depression with illness, I almost liken it to mourning, especially with what you go through with a flare. One has to figure out how to accept what is going on then you can work with it rather than against it.
    I am so happy for you!

  7. So happy to hear that you were able to get out and run! It must have felt so good! I am sure that you have gotten very good at listening to what your body needs with Crohn’s. I am still in high miles for NYC. Not sure when my coach will have me start the taper.

  8. That’s awesome!! It can be hard enough trying to start back up running itself, but at least there were restrooms available! 🙂 Back when I used to run at home in a small town, there weren’t bathrooms for miles.. it was a nightmare. But it feels so good to run outside in the cooler weather!!

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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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