LOOK AT ME! I'M A REAL CYCLIST! I'M CLIPPED IN!

Beat Up

Date: August 13, 2012 at 9:38 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 73

I’m hurting today in just about every way possible.

This weekend was not the “I feel so much better and I’m back up and running!” weekend I’d had in mind on Friday.

Instead, I spent Saturday and Sunday taking a pretty major ass-kicking…over and over and over. For some reason I’m smiling today. I guess it was good for me.

Taking you back to Friday…

By Friday, I had been on Prednisone (my usually-trusty steroids) for four days without any positive, light-at-the-end-of-this-crap-tunnel results. Everything was the same. My stomach pain hadn’t improved, my urgent bathroom visits weren’t any less frequent, and the only effects I felt from the ‘roids were the negative (sleepless nights) and delusional (I’m not really sick, I’m Superwoman in disguise) ones.

I chatted with my doctor Friday morning and let him know the steroids weren’t kicking in as quickly as they normally do.

So we upped the dosage. I’m now up to 60 mg/day (up from 40 mg/day) without an immediate taper plan until things progress.

Dr. Shah gave me the results from Tuesday’s bloodwork, none of which were surprising: my red blood cell counts are “very low” (11.7 is deemed “very low,” and I’m at a 10.7, and that means very little to me), I’m anemic and I have low iron. Also I’m beautiful. He didn’t specifically say that one, but it was implied by the words “elevated inflammatory markers.”

We talked briefly about exercise, and I told him I’d been taking it really easy. No heavy workouts, certainly no running, lots of rest. He said that if I think I can exercise, then I should. It’s good for me mentally, but I have to be smart about it.

Naturally this meant I spent my Friday night making a “New York City Marathon Training Playlist.” I was really, really optimistic that I’d wake up Saturday morning feeling at least slightly better and OK enough to attempt the 14-miler Coach Cane wanted from me “if I was sure I felt up to it.”

My alarm went off at 6 AM Saturday and I was ready. I put on my running clothes immediately. I wanted to run 14 miles down Summer Streets and I wanted to feel awesome.

But turns out, I didn’t feel awesome.

I wasn’t ready.

I went back to bed for 30 minutes — still in my sports bra and short shorts — thinking I just needed to hit the reset button.

Then I spent a good hour going back and forth to the bathroom, not just doing the usual Crohn’s stuff, but also feeling extremely nauseous and more dehydrated than normal. I knew not to push it. A 14-mile run was absolutely not going to happen.

I was devastated. And I refused to change out of my Brooks.

Yes, I was upset about missing the run, because it sucks to be not running when I should be, um, training. But it was more that at that point, I didn’t feel any better. The nausea was new, likely brought on by the increased steroid dose, and scrolling through the usual Saturday morning Twitter feed about long runs and “epic workouts” just rubbed in the fact that everyone else seems to be doing what I can’t.

Yeah.

Can’t.

I stewed in my sadness for a while and lounged around the apartment until Brian must have heard my whimpering and came to comfort me in the living room.

What’s the cure for when you are very ill and you can’t run like you want to but you don’t want to just sit around and feel sorry for yourself?

You blow your hard-earned savings account on a sweet new ride:

This is my new friend. She is a Trek. A Lexa, specifically. I love her already.

I’ve been wanting to purchase a bike for a while, and with this whole century ride coming up in two weeks, I managed to put it off for as long as possible.

I found a brochure for the bike ride we're doing. I freaked out I was so excited. It doesn't take much to get me worked up.

So Coach Cane called “his guys” at BrickWell Cycling in Long Island (go there, they are the best, really), pre-selected a few bikes for me to check out, and off I went to The Land of Expensive Hobbies.

My first time on a bike trainer. Salesman Casey promised me I wouldn't tip it over, but I wasn't convinced.

The salesman, Casey, was the best ever. He was friendly and helpful with a gentle hint of sarcasm. He asked me a lot of questions, which Brian answered, and I walked around looking at all the pretty shiny things in the store, like bright blue water bottle cages.

I bought them to match the bike. Casey threw in the two water bottles for free. Stand-up guy.

The whole bike-purchasing process was slightly overwhelming, and we were at the store for a long time. Casey was very thorough and he hooked me up with just about everything I needed to get started, including fancy clip-in death shoes.

They stayed clean for one day. Not even. More like 12 hours.

The best part about the bike fit experience was that Casey forced me to practice clipping in and out while on the bike trainer for a good 15 minutes. He taught me important skills, like how to pedal with one foot until you get the other one clipped in, and he kept saying “when you fall, blah blah blah” and “when you fall, this will happen.”

Look at me, riding so fast. I want a bike trainer. BRIAN, CAN WE GET ONE???

When I fall, Casey? Don’t you know I’m bound to be a pro at this?

He assured me, though, that a fall or 12 would be inevitable, and that if I didn’t fall right away, I’d get cocky and I’d still fall eventually.

Casey, dear, you should be a psychic, not a Bike Fitter Man.

So I bought a bike. I was excited, and spending time exploring this new hobby made me temporarily forget about the 1,200 people I know who were out doing long training runs at the time. You all suck. I hate you so much. But I have a bike now, and a new best friend, Casey.

HE EVEN POSED FOR A PICTURE WITH ME AND GAVE THE DOUBLE THUMBS UP. I miss him.

I swiped my sad credit card, Casey put a bow on my bike…

He snuck the bow on while I was paying. I couldn't stop smiling.

…and it was time to head back to the city with my new accessory.

Yup. Still in my running clothes.

I was on Cloud 9,000 at this point. I was really excited to finally own a bike, I was distracted from my stomach woes and it was a beautiful day. Brian and I stopped for lunch on the way home and I went with what seemed like a safe option: grilled fish.

We got on the highway after eating, and it didn’t take long before I was keeling over in the front seat in pain.

I demanded that Brian stop at a Starbucks so I could run in and use the bathroom.

We got back on the road and I thought the feeling had passed.

Then, as we were halfway over the Queensboro Bridge, I thought something very terrible was going to happen in Brian’s mom’s car.

I seriously freaked out. It was terrifying and my stomach wouldn’t settle and I couldn’t get home fast enough. I completely panicked.

I did make it home, at which point I not only Crohnsed quite a bit, I also did a whole lot of vomiting.

Simultaneously.

It was the worst.

I wrote Goodbye Haikus in my head as it was all happening, convinced this was how it all was going to end for me.

It was just…rough. And disgusting.

I laid on the couch for a very long time after that, looking at the row of bikes in our apartment and really wanting to ride just one of them.

Too many bikes. We do not need this many.

Finally, around 6 PM, I felt more alive and like I could leave the apartment.

I wanted to ride so badly. I wanted to clip in and out and try not to fall.

So Brian and I suited up and went to Central Park for a slow, gentle cruise.

LOOK AT ME! I'M A REAL CYCLIST! I'M CLIPPED IN!

It was amazing.

The new bike felt so good, I clipped in smoothly and effortlessly, and after 11.7 miles I wanted to keep going, but Brian says “riding in dark without a light is unsafe,” and so he made me go home.

I went to bed Saturday night with a smaller bank account but a hugely improved spirit.

I still thought I would wake up Sunday feeling better and ready to tackle that 14-miler.

Again, I was wrong.

Too much stomach pain.

I wasn’t throwing up anymore, but I knew running would be too tough on my body. Also, the whole joint pain symptom that comes with this disease? It’s out in full-force and is manifesting itself in my jaw. On Sunday morning (and still now), I couldn’t even open my mouth. Solid foods? Not happening. It’s very painful and I tried icing my face which was humorous for Brian.

Nice.

Anyway, guess what isn’t the worst thing ever on my stomach?

BIKE RIDING.

I rode 75 miles yesterday.

Check out that sweet elevation.

Brian and I rode out to Nyack, which is somewhere beyond NYC, and I’d love to say it was a smooth, uneventful ride, but that’s hardly the case. Remember how I said I’m “beat up” today?

I fell twice, as everyone predicted I would.

My first fall came before I even started riding. I was standing outside my apartment building with one foot clipped in, just hanging out, waiting for Brian to get satellite on his fancy monitor. I leaned a bit to the right and in slow-motion seemed to just topple over. My bike was on top of me and Brian was laughing hysterically. Smooth, Feller.

A nicely bloody knee after Fall #1.

The second fall came as I rode up a hill approaching a busy 4-way intersection in Harlem. There were cars going every direction and cyclists all around. I didn’t clip out quickly enough and BOOM, I went down again. I was a little shocked, a lot embarrassed and popped up quickly with a bloody left elbow.

Great start to the ride.

Then it actually was uneventful for a while.

I wanted to go really slowly so as not to over-exert my increasingly-wounded body, and I was more concerned with covering the mileage than setting a record-breaking pace.

Then, at mile 43, something tragic happened.

My stomach started to hurt.

We were in the middle of nowhere on Route 9W in New York. Or maybe New Jersey. I don’t really know where we were.

I slowed down big-time and then told Brian I had to stop.

And then, the worst thing happened: I told my ever-kind, very patient boyfriend to “watch my bike” and I ran into the woods.

Embarrassing?

Yes.

Humiliating, even.

This happened more than once.

By the end of the ride, I had completed 75 miles, I had come crashing down twice and I had gone to the bathroom in the woods while Brian waited on the side of the highway.

Ouch. But smiling.

I also learned the very valuable lesson about where you should apply Body Glide during long rides. It hurts to sit down today, and my showers have been more painful than pleasant. And my jaw still feels broken.

Beat up?

Yes. That’s how I feel today.

This has gotten long enough, and I have no profound thoughts in me at the time. I bought a bike. I rode it. I fell off it. I crapped in the woods. I vomited while sitting on the toilet. I am disgusting and I haven’t run in more than a week. That sums it up nicely, I think.

To wrap this up, how about a giveaway winner?

We All Heart Sweat.

It’s hilarious what you people are willing to divulge in order to score a free shirt. The entries coming in all weekend made me temporarily forget about my broken-down body.

And the winner is…

Poor dog…

Congratulations, Kristen! Email me at aliontherunblog@gmail.com with your preferred shirt size (women’s small, medium or large) and we’ll get chatting about colors and shipping addresses and all that fancy stuff. I hope you love your shirt and get it nice and filthy. Also, your daughter seems fantastic and like she has good ideas. I like her.

SOOOO, DID YOU HAVE A GOOD WEEKEND? If you have an embarrassing story, I’d love to hear it. If you had an awesome long run, I don’t care.

Posted in Biking and tagged -

73 Responses to "Beat Up"

Oh Ali…I am so sorry that you haven’t been able to run. I feel your pain. I ran for the first time on Sat in 5 weeks. Ran 1.5 miles. And woke up Sunday with more back pain =( It’s extremely disheartening to see all the happy twitter updates with awesome long runs. I try not to be jealous but it’s hard.
I actually told my hubby this AM that I need to get my bike tuned up b/c I wanted to start riding it on the trainer again (35 wks pregnant on a bike outside is not the smartest)…
Yay for buying a new bike though!!! And holy awesome for riding 75 miles!! I have rode along 9W before – definitely NOT an easy course! The century ride is going to be a piece of cake for you!
PS. We’ve all done things like peeing/etc in the woods…don’t be too embarrassed =)

I’m sorry you’re feeling so bad still… I’m glad you got to go buy your bike (but still in your running clothes? I get out of my sports bra as fast as possible!). Please take it easy though, you need rest! Where do you ride your bike to get to all the far away places? Or do you drive to those places and ride there?

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 12:31 pm

Taking off the sports bra seemed like a lot of work. Those dang racer-backs are so tricky sometimes…staying in it seemed to be the easier option. Riding to the “far away places” is easy — you just ride up through Harlem and over the GWB. Then you have lots of open road. You can easily ride there and back without having to drive, which is cool.

Your potty break in the woods resonates all so well with me, except mine was in a ditch on the side of a road in my private community. Definitely not family-friendly. In your ice picture you remind me of Bane (from Batman)!

Coincidentally, I was running around in the same private community that day!

A couple of weeks ago I had a mid run emergency and ended up in a sketchy bathroom with no stall doors, 1 toilet and a complete stranger. First I walked in on her doing her thing since I was unaware that there were no doors, and then I sat there while she washed her hands, listened to me pooping, and then walked by in the middle of it. I have lots of great embarrassing poop stories :)

Ali, I’ve been following your blog and I simply adore you so I thought I’d come out of the woodwork to share my embarrassing poop story :)

I deal with the garden variety IBS and during my wedding planning 2 years ago, I was flaring all over the place. On one unfortunate night, I woke up in the middle of the night with terrible stomach pain, so I go to the bathroom, trying not to wake up my fiance, praying that whatever was killing me would pass. But instead, I too had a case of the poop + dry heaves = most unattractive scenario ever… add to that the fact that I took off all my clothes because i had broken into a sweat and dumped out the contents of my bathroom trash bin on the floor and THEN, in a fit of desperation, i called out for my fiance. I don’t know how I thought he could help me, but essentially, i tried to stand up and i ended up passing out on the bathroom floor, naked, and my fiance had to find me splayed out in our own personal worst case bathroom scenario.

He still married me anyway :)

Hope you feel better soon!!!

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 12:33 pm

I’m sorry that this made me smile, but it did. Everyone has a story. Makes me feel better about life. And he still married you!

I really hope that you sing that Queen bicycle song when you wake up in the morning. And I also hope that you start to feel better soon.

That sucks monkey balls. I’m sorry I just don’t know what else to say. Welcome to cycling (75 miles damn!) and hoping you can run again soon.

I hope you feel better soon! Here is the awesome-slash-embarrassing story of why I skipped my long run this weekend:

The plan was to play on Saturday and do the long run Sunday. Saturday morning I put on my Sweat shirt and rode my bike to Summer Streets. I stopped for some yoga in midtown and then went to the Crunch station at Astor Place, where they were leading back-to-back 30 minute fitness classes and Starbucks was providing restrooms. I stayed for five classes (all awesome) and then rode my bike home. I felt a bit tired Saturday night.

Sunday morning, I could not get out of bed without help. I could not reach my feet to put on my shoes. I could barely walk the half block to Starbucks. I ran zero miles. My legs and back inform me that there is not going to be any running today, either.

Ali, I love your blog! Sorry to hear about your difficulties with running! It makes me really appreciate my own body. I hope it improves with this new doctor. Congrats on the new bike -i’m glad there is some way for you to be active!

Ali, I’ve had the jaw pain/can’t open mouth thing several times and it truly is WORST THING EVER. So sorry.

I am happy to see you have a new bike and a new bestest friend (Casey!). New is awesome.

Sorry to hear about your ongoing health troubles/running drought but excited for your new bike!

I just got a Trek Lexa three or so weeks ago and am really loving it! And don’t feel bad about the falling, I have had 3ish pretty good falls in as many weeks. Those clip pedals are really totally a trap when trying to stop suddenly! And I also had one of those falls while stopped in my driveway so you are really not alone in that falling while not riding even either :) It is finally getting better for me and I avoided a fall this past weekend so that’s a start!

But 75 miles, yikes! I have not gone much more than 20!

I have the same bike but in white and tiffany blue. Love her, hated her price!

Stephanie says: August 13, 2012 at 11:25 am

75 miles! We are doing 20 Labor Day weekend, so we did 13 on Wednesday to practice. My butt hurt but I think I can do 20. I’d better do a 15 or 16 before then, though. I can’t imagine 75! Hooray for your new bike and staying active until you can run again. I missed Tyler today.

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Tyler will be back in full force tomorrow. We Skyped over the weekend. I have many new screen shots ;)

You are just legit my hero. I don’t have Chrons but i have suffered from IBS my entire life so I 1/2 or maybe even an 1/8th understand emergency bathroom situations, but damn girl. You keep on rocking no matter what your body is doing to you! SO inspirational. I know we love running more than biking but you look BAD ASS on that bike!

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Oh gosh, please don’t let me be your hero! Then we’re all in trouble! Being sick sucks — I’m just trying to not feel sorry for myself and do my best. Whatever that entails each day (which is a 75-mile ride one day and laying in bed for the next three, who knows).

Well, shit. Here’s hoping the ‘roids kick in sometime soon and the upped Remicade does the trick. I’m really sorry you’re feeling so crappy. Stupid Crohns.

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Expect a very long email from me soon, Ms. Bales.

If you’d rather pour it out to me in person, I can come to you. I know how leaving the comfort of one’s home can induce panic during these, ummm…crappy times. Email, I’ll pop on by, or call. Whatever. F-ing sucks (I hope neither your nephew nor my niece is reading all my swear words).

75 miles?!?! The most I’ve went was 24 and I felt pretty bad ass! LOL Go Ali!

So I bought my husband a brand new road bike as a wedding gift (we both have been getting more and more into biking and we have been using hybrids to bike commute for work but his chain kept falling off and I decided it was finally time for him to upgrade). The very first time he took it out, he fell in the middle of traffic in Georgetown during rush hour. So many people were watching and he described it as feeling like they were all standing there with popcorn waiting for the fall to happen. About two weeks later, when his wounds finally started healing, the same thing happened. I would like to get a road bike of my own, but my bank account and the fear of experiencing the same humiliation have really held me back. I’m not ready for it yet! I hope your wounds patch up quickly and the incident doesn’t repeat itself any time soon!

Congratulations on your beautiful new bike! I’m sending lots of healthy juju your way. <3

Congrats on the bike! I love reading stories about first clip experiences. My friend did the slow-motion fall several times and I have to admit, I cracked up just like Brian. :) I’ve only fallen once and it wasnt even from clips. I tried to do a super slow u-turn and fell right off my bike in front of a house full of people who screamed ARE YOU OKAY at me for 10 minutes while I pulled myself together. Not my finest moment.

And if it makes you feel any better, my friends mom fell into a a huge ditch full of water with her bike when she came to a stop during a ride. Talk about being mortified!

Feel better soon!

Hi Ali,

My long run turned into 3 terrible miles after which I started crying about the sad state of my life. I’m really sorry you’re going through such a rough time, but I have to say I really think you need to give social media a break. If that means your blog, so be it, but twitter and facebook might be enough. We compare ourselves to people already, and these things make it worse. I got laid off last summer, and after a year, I’m still unemployed, living with my parents, and obviously not very happy. A running injury on top of everything else has made this the worse year ever. I deactivated (haven’t deleted yet, but probably will) my facebook account in November and immediately felt better. I’ve never been on twitter, but it sounds like the same kind of incessant comparison trap. Don’t read other people’s tweets about their OMG SO GOOD runs. Focus on yourself for a while. Maybe it will help. I don’t mean to be rude by saying any of this, but I think we all (perhaps bloggers especially) fall into the comparison trap too often. I know you want to run ( so do I, believe me), but making yourself feel bad by focusing on what others are doing is not going to help.

Cheers:-)

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 12:50 pm

You’re absolutely right, Tara. Social media can be so beneficial but it can also be really detrimental. As soon as I logged off Twitter and got out into the real world, I felt so much better. On great days, it’s totally fun, interactive and motivating. But when I’m a little sad, it’s not doing me any favors. Spot on analysis. I like you.

Lauren W. says: August 13, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Hang in there Ali!!!

I’m so jealous of your amazing new bike. I’ve been on the fence about investing into a nice one and now I want one even more.

Ugh Ali I’m so sorry for the terrible parts of your weekend!!! I’m having my own personal circus with Prednisone and facing the fact that I probably won’t be able to run either of the marathons I’ve registered for in October. And I have no new bike. But I do have scars in the exact same places where you got your bike scrapes from…except my scars are from running. I could make you laugh with those stories!

Ali, I love your new bike. I bought a Giant this summer and I can’t get enough. Have fun on your new ride, spills and all! You deserve a break, I hope you feel better soon.

Oh Ali. All I can say is I love your attitude and I my heart goes out to you! I can’t imagine the frustration!!

The best stories start with horribly embarrassing experiences! I am so sorry you feel awful and really admire your attitude! I’ll be thinking about you and hoping you start getting those running shoes smokin!

Ali,

SO WEIRD. I am home with severe jaw pain today (my job requires a ton of talking…) Still super new to the disease but never thought the jaw would be impacted by Crohn’s. This may come off as a strange thing to say, but so glad I’m not the only one because my dentist thought I was crazy and I’m sure my GI will think the same when I go in for a routine follow up Wednesday! Have you ever experienced the jaw pain before? If so, what did you do/take besides ice? Insanely trying to avoid Pred

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Ugh, it sucks, right? And it seems so random. I first experienced jaw pain back in May during a flare, which is why I think they might be related, but I’m honestly not sure. I am also a rabid tooth-grinder in my sleep, so I’m sure that doesn’t help. The ice didn’t do anything, and I took Tylenol but that didn’t help the jaw either. I’m just trying to keep it relaxed and stick to soft foods for now. So long, apples and baby carrots! Hope your pain eases up soon!

that bike is a beauty! love it..and no worries..i had the same words said to me by my cyclist boyfriend.. “you will fall when you clip in. It will happen.” so yes..that’s happened 4 times so far. Only one really bad road rash incident..it’s just way too hard to be able to clip out fast sometimes! good luck with the bike and great 75 mile ride :) hope you feel better soon!

You are such a champion it’s not even funny.

Ali, ‘alionthebikeblog’ would be just as good you know?! ( I’m sure I’m not the only one that’s typed that.)

My embarrasing story? I’m typing this from the bathroom whilst I deal with my UC issues….

Awww! That SUCKS!!! Sadly (and grossly) been there w/ the on-the-toliet-but-the-puke’s-a-comin’-NOW sitaution. SUCKS.

Thanks for sharing your story and that even though life can blow, you can usually still find a fun thing or two or a silver lining. You’re amazing!

Ahh, I’m sorry that you fell and that your Crohn’s is not behaving, but so glad you were able to run 75 miles (!!). You’re going to rock the century ride. I’ve fallen many times while running…once I thought I knocked out a tooth. Oops.

and by “run 75 miles”, i mean “ride 75 miles”. unless you’ve become an ultra marathoner recently.

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Yes. I totally ran 75 miles. I’m the awesomest.

AliOnTheRun says: August 13, 2012 at 4:29 pm

No, you were right the first time. 75-mile run, NBD.

Your blog is my very favorite. Also, going to the bathroom in the woods does not make you “gross” – it makes you “a real athlete.” Mid-exercise shits in the woods are hardcore, yo. I am sorry about the unfortunate timing, the puking, and the Crohns-ing though. I hope that the steroids punch all the bitch symptoms in the facehole.

Ali, thank you for this post and for every other honest post you write. I am struggling with nagging injuries and feeling absolutely despondent about my inability to run right now, and feel like I’m watching all my training go right down the drain. (In addition to just feeling terrible, and sorry for myself, and boo hoo boo hoo.)

Anyway, you always manage to overcome, one day at a time, and you inspire me. I’m going to hang in there, because you’re hanging in there. We can do this.

75 miles on a bike is awesome! When I had PF two years ago I started cycling and totally fell in love. May the same thing happen to you! You never know. You just MAY end up doing a tri!

Ok..I know nothing..I am not a doctor, but have you tried to up your fiber? I am convinced (through WebMD, because we all know that we can all self-diagnose ourselves), that my Mom has some of the same issues. She started eating more solid fiber, it helps “hold things together” not push things through. I am sure it sounds iffy..but just an idea..and remember I am not a doctor, I just play one on tv ;)

I am so flipping sorry you had such a rough weekend. SO flipping sorry. So I’m going to focus on the bike because that is so flipping exciting!!! Congrats on buying a lovely bike. I fell so many times when I started clipping in that I got pregnant just so I had a good excuse to give them up and go back to flat pedals!!! And 75 miles is utterly incredible. Cycling is MUCH gentler on the stomach….it’s going to be great!!!!

Sorry to hear that your health is not too good at the moment. Like so many above i too have had emergancy toliet breaks in the woods as have many of my running friends. I love that you have bought your own bike and totally understand your love for it. i too have bought a road bike and love it. I miss it when i don’t get out. i also bought those scary clip shoes and am really scared of them. i have almost fallen but just got out in time. One tip i found was to ensure they are screwed tightly in. Have fun and happy cycling. Hope you feel better soon. i think you do amazingly.

I really don’t know what to say. Prayers and thoughts go o ut to you. Glad that you finally got the bike! Have an awesome journey.

Sweet Wheels! And a Sweet Ride!

No no nooooo anemia nooo!!!! If you need an expert opinion on which iron supplements will and will not make you feel like you have swallowed poison, let me know. I’ve tried them all. Twice. I’m something of an iron supplement connoisseur.

In happier news congrats on the bike purchase!!! I hope you and your new friend have many long and happy rides together :)

Can you share your iron supplement wisdom for all of us to see? I’m in the process of trying to find one that doesn’t make me feel like poo!

Sure! Basically food is the best way to get iron, obviously, but if you are anemic or have trouble absorbing it I recommend having your doctor give you some prescription supplement samples to try out. The prescription ones are as a group WAY better than the OTC kind – when I first started with the supplements I took Feosol OTC and it actually made me feel like I was dying.

After trying some Rx ones I am currently on Bifera Rx which is a fairly new pill that’s designed to be easy on your stomach. I take 3-4 per day, 2 at a time, and as long as I take them with food (just not calcium containing food) they really don’t bother my stomach, even taking that many. Bifera Rx are designed to be taken with or w/o food but they are much better with it. I’ve had GI side effects rarely if at all since I started with them.

I also take a prenatal (which invites awkward questions when I have it sitting in my room) at night right before bed but I try to take it with a snack – they have a lot of iron and they tend to be easier on the stomach than iron pills. They also have some other good stuff in them, I take the Nature’s Bounty kind. They don’t bother my stomach without food, and I definitely notice a difference in my energy level and an increase in my anemia symptoms when I forget to take the prenatal at bedtime.

Bifera also makes a second version of its supplement. The Bifera regular (I still need a prescription to get it but it’s technically the OTC strength version) are also good, but the Rx ones have some extra ingredients (folic acid I think?) so while my stomach feels the same with either I feel better overall with the Rx than the regular.

I have also tried Vitron-C, another prescription supplement, but I didn’t love it. It was better than the Feosol, but that’s not saying a lot since I also prefer my anemia symptoms to the Feosol side effects.

Finally, there is Easy Iron, which is an OTC one that I keep as a special emergency stash. I can’t actually attest to whether they hurt my stomach, because when I took them it was at the same time as others that WERE upsetting my stomach so I can’t speak for the Easy Iron itself. However, it might be a good place to start if you want to experiment with some OTCs before going to a doctor, especially because the Bifera, despite being magical, is hard to get through insurance since it’s new. I fought with BCBS for weeks before they let me have it, but it was worth it.

Anyway that was a long-winded way of saying that the best thing to do is experiment until you find one you like, and your best bet is probably Bifera or another Rx brand. And take them with a non-dairy meal and a glass of orange juice (regular, with no calcium – vitamin C helps absorption but Calcium inhibits).

Hope this helps!

Holy crap that was the longest comment in history. Whoops?

Thanks for all the info! I have tried a lot of what you mentioned, but may have to talk to my Dr. about Bifera if my current supplement doesn’t work. It sounds like you’ve been through a lot and I hope you are feeling better now that you’ve found a good supplement because I definitely feel your pain!
Ali – sorry for taking over your comments section :)

So sorry your feeling so crappy, but a 75 mile bike ride is amazing!
I have Crohn’s too (boooo!)…I bought some cake batter ice cream this weekend and wanted it soo badly last night, despite my horrible stomachache. My brilliant idea — eat the ice cream as fast as possible to get the suffering over with as possible. The logic sounded good at the time… I’m sure you can guess what happened next!

Hopefully this will make you feel better. My boyfriend & I rented bikes in Central Park yesterday (so i could feel super-awesome and actually know what you’re talking about on your runs). As i was riding up a small gravel hill to see the resivior, i fell off my bike…no clips necessary. Brusied my hand and busted my shin up. The boyfriend just laughed and rolled his eyes and the lady who saw me said “you fell gracefully.” That part made me feel better.

Anyways, I hope YOU feel better and don’t fall off your bike anymore. :)

hard core bike girl!!! Will we see you with one of those hardcore chains on your waist soon?

Your new bike is sweet! I’m glad I’m not the only one that has falls on the bike while it’s not moving (probably because it’s not moving). :)
I hope you have smooth rides and runs and less Crohns-ing soon.

WAHOO!!! You got a BIKE! I love it!!!

First off, I love your blog and hope you’re feeling better!! I’m trying to make my blog as funny as yours, but it’s not.
My boyfriend has 4 bikes and I have 3 bikes…in one apartment. It’s pretty crazy! I love bikes and riding (and running!). You’re brave for getting clip in shoes, that really freaks me out!

There is always a first time, right? Well, I had my first very-last-minute emergency toilet brake during my long run this weekend. I intended 10 miles and started feeling cramping after around 6. Well, unlucky me was in an area without any public restrooms, restaurants or stores you could crash. But since I was not far from the hotel I am staying at I thought that I could make it home without any major issues.
As the hotel came into sight the cramps became almost unbearable and I had to stop and breath. By that time my run had become more of a very slow walk. I`m really glad I didn`t have any major emergency but I did sprint through that hotel lobby and into the lobby-bathrooms. Not very nice all in all and I`m sorry if this is something (or similar to) that you have to go through regularly.
Hope the crohnsing is going to get better soon!

Aww, Ali. I’m so sorry :(
I really, really hope you are feeling back to 100% soon!!!!!

My emergency potty break was on the side of the highway in the Utah desert. At a wedding in the middle of NOWHERE…the situation got urgent and I had no choice. We’ve all been there :(

I have never tried Body Glide but what I’ve used for years for saddle sores is Bag Balm. I never ride without it. In CA we get it at Walgreens. Hope you start feeling better real soon.

Don’t worry, you are not the only one I know that has pooed in the woods, at least you didnt then slip over in it like someone else i know. TRUE STORY!!

You sound to have had an epic weekend with highs and lows. I wish I had your determination, when I’m ill I want to curl up on the sofa. you’ve given me the itch to buy a bike now though, don’t know what the hubby will think about that :)

Ha, I know how it feels when you go online and everyone is happy and doing cool stuff and you’re not. It’s even worse when you’re on prednisone. I get so much roid rage it’s not even funny.

Hope you feel better soon.

Hi, very cool blog! I’m also on 60mg prednisone, and trying to figure out how to tackle workouts with joint pain. So far, walks, bike rides, and dance classes (low-impact) seem to be doing the trick. Stopping short of the competitive (marathon, hiking, etc) persona I had before.. or trying to! Congrats on your awesome bike ride, and I hope you are feeling better!

Nice bike!!! I pooped in a sunflower field this weekend during my long run. I don’t have IBS or Crohns or anything. It was my very first nature poop. I guess it’s true, “shit happens”!

Hi, very cool blog! I’m also on 60mg prednisone, and trying to figure out how to tackle workouts … I did a walk in the morning yesterday, a dance class last night, and a walk today..none were long but I felt really weak and couldn’t think all day long. I don’t know whats up, but I’m hoping I figure this out and mange to be somewhat active. Congrats on your awesome bike ride, and I hope you are feeling better!