LAST WEEK WAS AWESOME.
Warning: This post contains an excess of exclamation points.
I’ll have an update tomorrow about all-things-Crohn’s and where they stand, but I am going to insist that getting out for a run last weekend is what put me on the road to recovery. At that point, I hadn’t started on any medication and hadn’t even seen my doctor. And yet, my body felt the good vibes and the endorphins and the runner’s high, and this week marked a major, major upswing. Physically and mentally, my body took a turn for the better this week.
I’ve been waiting so long to be able to say that! Yay!
I’m not completely out of the woods (er, bathroom) yet. My stomach is still far from “normal,” whatever that is, but I’m going to go ahead and call it like I see it: The comeback has arrived.
With that, here’s how the week shook out.
Monday, October 17: REST
I was still a little sore from my run (!!!) on Saturday, so I gave myself another day to be lazy. I wanted to run, but I also know the importance of recovery, especially right now.
Tuesday, October 18: Run! (7 miles outside!)
A longish run! (Ah, perspective…) I ran in the evening, which is when I generally feel best, and it was a beautiful night. I ran to the track, did a few loops (AKA stayed near the bathroom at all times), and then ventured a bit further south before turning around and heading back home. I loved this run.
Wednesday, October 19: Yoga (60 minutes)
I spent the morning at the doctor (yay!), and then hit up a yoga class at Lyons Den. I actually went up into Wheel for the first time in a while, so I gave myself a pat on the back for that. I also fell into such a deep sleep during Savasana that I had a dream!
Thursday, October 20: Run (5 miles outside!)
Another evening run, and another happy Ali! I only needed to make one bathroom stop on this run, which is very exciting. Progress, people, progress!
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WHO WANTS TO COME TO MY PANCAKE PARTY?! I just ran five miles outside and only needed one bathroom stop. The little victories are starting to feel bigger and more monumental every day, and I'm not taking a single step for granted. I may have to take breaks from running when my Crohn's is flaring, but knowing it will always be there waiting on the other side makes the tough days a little easier. There will always be another run — and another finish line — in my future. (Thank you to the man behind the lens, @themattpowers, for making me laugh AND cry.) @psyougotthis #PSYouGotThis @womensrunningmagazine @candicehuffine @ccfa_ @teamchallengenj
Friday, October 21: Run (3.1 miles)
Just a quick trot before picking Ellie up from school. I made it .4 miles before needing a bathroom stop, but then I was good to go the rest of the time. Yay!
Saturday, October 22: Well+Good Fitness Biathlon
Every year, Well+Good hosts a “Fitness Biathlon,” where you take back-to-back classes at two boutique fitness studios. This year, I was invited to participate and was given my choice of class pairings. I opted for 305 Fitness — a dance cardio class I’ve been wanting to try — and Tone House, which is repeatedly voted the hardest class in NYC. I’ve taken it once before, and it is killer. Try it. (But not if you’re tapering.)
Clearly when I signed up, I was feeling all fit and fierce and ready to rock. But as the day grew closer, I was like, “No no, I should bail, I cannot do this, I can’t survive, my stomach is not ready.” I knew 305 would involve lots of jumping (not kind on the stomach), and that Tone House would include sprints and all kinds of crazy shit. Despite my reservations, though, I decided to go for it. And not only did I survive both classes (jumping and “crazy shit” included), I loved them both and never needed to excuse myself to run for the bathroom. It was awesome.
Sunday, October 23: Run (11 miles in Central Park!!!)
I mentioned last week that I’ve really been missing my buddy Central Park. This is the longest we’ve gone without seeing each other! So all week, I told myself that if I felt up for it by the weekend, I’d try to go for a run in the park. Even though we’ve been apart for a bit, I still know every inch of that park, including every bathroom and bush along the way. So while it’s out of my comfort zone in that it’s not my usual route anymore, I still feel very much at home in Central Park.
I woke up extra early on Sunday to give my body lots of time to get out the door. I took an 8:20 ferry into the city and then took a cab up to the park. (I considered running to the park, but there aren’t many bathrooms along the way, so I cabbed it in favor of playing it safe. I didn’t want the run to start on a panicky note.)
I started at Columbus Circle, and as soon as I got out of the cab, I was so happy. I was back!!!
I ran north along the West Side and immediately started seeing familiar faces — both people I know and love, and people I used to see running in the park every day. (Juggling guy! Kinda old lady with the gorgeous long gray hair! Really really skinny lady! Hot guy!) Before I knew it, I had run a full mile without even thinking about making a bathroom stop! I ran into Michele (literally), and we stopped to chat for a while (and hugged at least four times), then saw some November Project friends, high-fived my birthday buddy, Jen, and saw Abby and her [OMG so cute] new baby!
I never had a mileage plan in mind, so I just ran. I cut across the park at 102nd Street, then ran down the east side (my favorite!) to Engineers’ Gate. I said hi to Bernie, then ran my favorite loops: first around the Reservoir, then around the Bridle Path.
By that point, I started to feel tired (no surprise there), so I headed down the east side, gave a nod to the cat on Cat Hill, and looped around the bottom of the park before heading over to the West Side Highway and back to the ferry.
I ended up running 11 miles, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time. It was awesome. The park was so pretty and welcomed me back with all my favorite sights. (And to all the people I don’t know who yelled my name and said hi and cheered for me along the way, holy shit, I love you.)
Did I feel awesome the whole time? Of course not. I hadn’t run in months and then I ran 11 miles. It felt so hard! The first handful of miles felt incredible, but then my legs were all, “LOL, what is this, why are we still moving?” I don’t have the endurance I’d spent months building, and my hamstrings are nice and sore today. But nothing hurt in a concerning way, which is great. I would classify my current state as “happily sore,” from the run and from the killer classes on Saturday. (Seriously, Tone House, WTF. My forearms are sore. Everything is sore. I love it.)
After I got back from my run, we went to Ellie’s school Halloween party. We dressed up as a lion, a tiger, and a bear (oh my!), not quite realizing that the dress-up part was specific to the pups. We were the only humans in costume. Whatever.
I felt a lot like my old self this weekend. We were walking back from Ellie’s party and were a few feet from home when I realized — and said aloud to Brian, Ellie, and anyone in earshot — “I never even thought about my stomach that whole time.” That, my dear friends, is progress. Physical progress, mental progress, all of it. YAY!
RUN DAYS: 4
CROSS-TRAINING DAYS: 2
REST DAYS: 1
TOTAL MILEAGE: 26.1 miles!
TOTAL ICE CREAM: None. Still feeling weary about dairy. I wish that rhymed better.
TOTAL ALCOHOL: None. And I don’t plan on having any until after November 6. Whether I run the marathon or not, pumping booze into my body right now probably isn’t going to do me any long-term favors.
What went great: All those outdoor runs! I’m on top of the world!
Where I need to improve: I need to stretch. My body was feeling sore and tight by the end of the week, so getting on a foam roller (no no no ouch ouch ouch) and doing my stretchy diligence will be of the utmost importance this week! Otherwise I’m very pleased with how things are going right now.
Motivational quote that best summarizes Week 14 of training: “My power’s turned on, starting right now I’ll be strong. I’ll play my fight song. And I don’t really care if nobody else believes, ’cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me.” —Rachel Platten, Fight Song (These “motivational quotes” were originally sarcastic and silly and unrelated to anything, but I couldn’t resist using this one today. I’ll stop being cheesy eventually. Maybe.)
Want to read about when I wasn’t sick and telling the world about my mid-run bathroom breaks? Go back in time!
THE NEW YORK CITY MARATHON IS JUST TWO WEEKS AWAY. Are you running it? Are you so excited you can’t focus on anything? Are you spending all your time watching NYCM-related videos on YouTube instead of doing your work? It’s fine. I’m not going to tell your boss.