Listen to the Ali on the Run Show!
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Since leaving the hospital three weeks ago, life has been good. Really good.
Work is total madness. I spent the past three days in L.A. attending the finale taping for “So You Think You Can Dance” and doing a photo shoot with the show’s two winners.
It was a blast — but “a blast” basically translates to “I didn’t sleep enough, I ate crap and I had to log some miles on the treadmill instead of the beach. Also the quick trip/time change combination continues to confuse me and I can’t wake up.”
Worth it? Totally.
So work is good. We’ve established that. And it’s about to get real crazy in the next few weeks. I have some big projects going on so I’ll be doing the whole “long hours at the office” thing.
Running? Also going pretty well.
My mileage is fine. I was actually telling my wicked cool friend Kristan last night that I never actually get around to adding up my weekly mileage — I’m more of a “daily mileage matters more” girl — but upon close analysis/some calculator math, it appears as though my last few weeks have been mileagely decent. I’m hitting around 40 miles per week, which seems on point.
I still got an OK number of miles in this week, though I wouldn’t call them “quality” ones. In fact, I think the term fancy people use is “junk miles.” While I was in L.A., I started each run on the treadmill, but then I got hot and bored, and so I took my run to the roads.
Too bad I was staying at an airport hotel and may as well have been running on the tarmac. The route was ugly and un-shaded and boring, but it was better than the mini gym and smelly people who were in town attending the Mediocrity Conference. Or something. I don’t know, I saw signs for it all over the hotel. I didn’t get a chance to pop in and learn stuff, though.
How mediocre of me.
So my runs were OK, but they were intentionally plan-less, since I didn’t know what the running conditions would be like. Yesterday morning I managed to knock out nine miles, six (I think) of which were at marathon goal pace. But I really just ran and looked around and hoped to see something cool and scenic in the mess of rental car locations.
I’m planning to run 20 miles Saturday. It’ll be my longest run since the Hamptons Marathon, which was almost exactly one year ago. Best day ever of my whole life. Just in case you forgot.
I’ve also significantly lowered my running expectations, which has been helpful lately. I realize I’m not in the shape I was at this time last year, and that’s fine. Running for fun and pleasure — instead of running with pressure and goals and lofty ambitions — is more my style these days, and I’m digging it.
Let’s recap so far:
Work = good.
Running = pretty good.
Friends, family and a social life?
I haven’t had much time for social activities lately, but I do have a fun little girl’s trip coming up which will make up for that. Plus, I got to spend a killer weekend with my family and I’m still riding pretty high from that.
So we can assess that friends, family and social life = moderate to good.
Why the “mixed emotions” then?
Oh did you forget that’s what this post was called because I’ve been nonsense-ing for so long? Well it is called “Mixed Emotions,” and that’s because I have them.
I am so unabashedly happy to be feeling healthy again. When I run, I pass Porta Potties and restrooms and I’m positively giddy because I don’t have to stop and use them. I kind of can’t believe the total 180 my body made after leaving the hospital. I feel pretty much like a normal human again. I can go for a run, I can take the subway to work and I can function throughout the workday without tragically urgent “OMG cancel this meeting because I’m mad dashing for Stall #2” situations.
But I’m also terrified.
Whenever I think about how quickly I started to feel better, I think about how quickly this can all be reversed.
I think about how fast a flare-up can arrive, and how I can go from great to fetal-position-in-pain in just a few days.
I think about the New York City Marathon, which I refused to think about for a long time. It’s quickly approaching, and I finally feel like I can run it. For a long time I had abandoned hope, and while I never truly considered deferring, I did accept the possibility that I might be bathroom-stopping my way through the five boroughs.
Now, I know this won’t be the A-Race I had hoped for in 2012. I may not go sub-4:00, and that’s perfectly OK. The last thing I need right now is the added pressure of trying to nail a time goal. My body has been through a hell of a lot this year. But I’m still planning to take that early ferry out to Staten Island, and I’m planning to run the race on November 4, just doing my best and trying to smile.
I’m afraid of the possibility that won’t happen though.
I’m afraid of getting sick again.
In fact, I’m terrified I’m going to get sick again. I’m scared I won’t know when it will happen, or why it will happen. I’m afraid the medicine I’m taking won’t keep working, and I’m afraid my next Remicade infusion — scheduled for the week before NYCM — may not do the trick.
I’m scared I’m going to put in this work, and I’m going to try really hard to take good care of myself and do all the run days and the rest days, only to find myself in flare-up mode days before Race Day.
So as happy as I am about my current state of health, there’s this looming terror hanging over it like a sad, dark, bitchy, unpredictable cloud.
And then, on top of those feelings, there’s the uncertainty and the feeling that I have no control.
I can do my best to take care of myself. I can try to get more sleep. I can try to avoid certain foods (die corn, die, and stay so far away from me, please). I can run when I feel good and I can back off when I know I need rest.
I can seemingly do “all the right things.”
But part of having this chronic disease means rolling with the punches. The painful, crampy gut punches.
I’m slowly learning to realize that, as much as I’d like to, I can’t control everything in my life. I’m learning it’s OK to be ambitious and to set lofty personal goals — but only if I can accept ahead of time that other factors may come into play, and those goals may need slight adjustments.
Here is a basket of puppies:
I know, right?
Now you know what’s been on my mind, and you have seen puppies. Carry on with your day. Make it a great one!