I'm quitting marathon running and am thinking about taking up recreational walking instead.

Here It Is!

Date: June 24, 2013 at 12:29 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 136

You see the exclamation point.

You know what that means.

It’s happy post time!

Exclamation point!

I’ve had an active couple days — “active” by my sad, low new standards — but active and happy and certainly worth celebrating.

A bit of pre-excitement clarification: My stomach isn’t better. I’m still up a lot at night, I’m still in the bathroom all morning and I’m still dealing with the never-fun urgency that defines this disease. Digestively (apparently not a word), things haven’t much improved. But thanks to the iron and albumin IV infusions I’ve been getting weekly — at least that’s where I think credit is due — I’ve been able to get my saggy booty off the couch to actually leave the apartment.

This is an exciting photo.

This is an exciting photo.

Let me take you back to Wednesday. Magical, wonderful Wednesday.

It actually started out as a terrible, no good, very bad, whatever that book was called-type of day. I was angry, pissed off and all kinds of worked up, and I was desperate to get outside.

I put on a non-supportive sports bra, some crappy cotton socks and an old pair of Brooks. I popped a few Imodium, cued up my new customized SoulCycle playlist and ventured outside.

I walked to Central Park.

No stops needed.

As I began walking around the Reservoir with my music playing way too loud (no such thing), I found myself getting exponentially worked up with each step. Like I said, I’d had a frustrating morning. I started to walk a little faster and then I realized, “I feel good right now.”

I'm quitting marathon running and am thinking about taking up recreational walking instead.

I’m quitting marathon running and am thinking about taking up recreational walking instead.

I finished my Reservoir loop but I wasn’t ready to head home, so I detoured south and walked toward the Great Lawn.

The loop around the Great Lawn is a half-mile long. I approached it — and then I decided I was going to run around it. I would run one loop. If I couldn’t make it the whole way, that was fine. And if I could, I would stop and celebrate at the end. But regardless of my positioning, I knew I’d never be more than a quarter-mile away from the closest bathroom.

So I stepped into the crowded loop and my walk turned into a shuffle-jog of sorts. Everything immediately felt weird. My ankles hurt right away and I wasn’t sure if they would loosen up or get worse (they did neither — the dull ache just stayed put).

I kept “running” past the Shakespeare in the Park bathrooms, not needing to stop, and nearly seven minutes or so later, I had run half a mile.

I had run half a mile!!!

Look! I wasn't even dressed appropriately! Those are not my running shoes and those are thick cotton socks! Wild!

Look! I wasn’t even dressed appropriately! Those are not my running shoes and those are thick cotton socks! Wild!

I half expected there to be a makeshift finish line for me to run through or a stranger waiting with a medal to drape victoriously around my neck. But instead it was just me, beaming and grinning and then, unsurprisingly, weeping. I cried happy tears as I walked back toward Engineers’ Gate and then back home.

Happy tears.

Not sad ones. Not frustrated ones. Tears of sheer joy.

Then, when I got back to my apartment building, guess what was standing outside the entrance?

A three-legged dog.

When I was training for my first marathon, three-legged dogs were my little inspiration. When I was at mile 22 of the marathon, Brian yelled to me, “You’re the three-legged pug!” So this seemed symbolic.

Of course, I woke up Thursday and my ankles were killing me, but I didn’t care. I had gone for a run and I had loved every slow step of it.

Isn't this the most beautiful thing you've ever seen? YES. It is. Any other answers are wrong.

Isn’t this the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen? YES. It is. Any other answers are wrong.

I couldn’t let the fun stop there. I didn’t want to run again because I know my joints need some more healing before they can take more pavement pounding.

But on Saturday, I returned to another one of my happy places: Matt P.’s spin class at Crunch. And it was every bit as incredible as I remembered.

I couldn’t even sleep Friday night because I was so excited to give this class a shot.

I took the subway downtown — my first trip back on the subway! — and when I arrived at Crunch everything was the same. The same guy was at the front desk, the same “regulars” were on their usual machines and all the groupies were there for Matt’s class.

Gym selfie! I'm BACK! Really I took this to send to my mom to show her where I was. See how I'm jazz hand waving? HI, MOM!

Gym selfie! I’m BACK! Really I took this to send to my mom to show her where I was. See how I’m jazz hand waving? HI, MOM!

As my life came to a complete halt these past few months, everyone else’s kept going as normal. It’s a humbling realization.

Before class, I attempted to lift some weights.

Not my weights. Just some ones that were on the floor. And that I took a picture of.

Not my weights. Just some ones that were on the floor. And that I took a picture of.

Where I used to use 15-pound weights, I dropped down to 8-pounders. And then, when I stretched, I couldn’t touch my toes or get my legs into a straddle stretch. My attempts at butt lifts nearly killed me and I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry at my attempts. I still can’t do core work, which kills me because it’s my favorite, but I’ll get there.

Another gym selfie! This one is to show the sadness of my stretching. Yes, I used to be a dancer.

Another gym selfie! This one is to show the sadness of my stretching. Yes, I used to be a dancer.

When it was time to set up my bike in class, I couldn’t remember what any of my settings were.

Then Matt walked in and he was so excited to see me and I was so excited to see him and things just felt almost right again.

I took the class super easy. Low-to-no resistance, easy easy easy. But I worked up a sweat, I didn’t have to run out to use the bathroom and, when Matt yelled “That’s my girl, Ali. You’re so tough!” I burst into tears on my bike. Again, not surprising. I think I’m too emotionally unstable to exercise. I also cried during the stretch — both because I couldn’t get my leg up onto the bar and because Matt played my Crohn’s power anthem (“Carry On” by Fun., because it just makes sense) — and I cried again saying bye to Matt.

I almost cried trying to walk up the subway stairs getting home, but instead I just stood to the side for a while hoping someone would carry me. Which no one did. New Yorkers are so f-ing rude.

I spent the rest of the day horizontal. It’s amazing how I used to be able to run 20 miles and then function, and on this day I did one spin class and was down for the count.

But that only encouraged me to keep trying.

So on Sunday, I spun again.

I couldn’t sleep on Saturday night, not because I was excited but because my arms were so dang sore from those six bicep curls I did at the gym. Yowza.

Supermoon! It doesn't look so super in this photo, but it was. It was super awesome.

Supermoon! It doesn’t look so super in this photo, but it was. It was super awesome.

On Sunday, I made my way to SoulCycle to take class with my beloved Bethany. I was on a back row bike near the door, just in case, but I never needed to make a panicked exit. I took it easy again, but I survived.

And when Bethany screamed “This is a victory for you, Ali!” during the final sprint, I cried.

All I do is cry.

But I’ll gladly cry a million happy tears.

After a shower and some rest, I wrapped up my Sunday with a trip to Central Park. I brought magazines and a towel, set up camp under my favorite tree and alternated between napping, reading, getting pooped on by bugs and listening to the jazz band that was playing right next to my spot.

Those are my legs juxtaposed in front of Central Park. I hope I used the word "juxtaposed" correctly.

Those are my legs juxtaposed in front of Central Park. I hope I used the word “juxtaposed” correctly.

At one point, a sunbather next to me looked over and said, “Isn’t this awesome?”

I looked around, listened to the music and thought about the fact that, for the first time since February, I’d had an active weekend.

I flashed her the biggest smile of all-time and just said, “Yeah. It really is.”

It’s awesome.

Comments (136)
 
Even the puddles are pretty.

Not The Happy Post...Yet

Date: June 18, 2013 at 11:01 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 48

After last weekend (as in June 8 — I know it’s been a while here, but you’re smart, you follow along), I was all set to jump in here and write that “I feel signs of improvement!” post we’ve all […]

 
Whenever I'm flying and I see big puffy clouds like these, I look for Care Bears in them. Anyone else? No? Damn.

Used To

Date: June 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 152

“I mean, I’m no stranger to pain,” I told the note-taking physician’s assistant with the sympathetic eyes. “I used to run marathons.” I used to run marathons. When you don’t think before you speak, you say things like that. And […]

Posted in Crohn's disease and tagged , -
 
The sunset as I left NYC. I didn't even think it was pretty. I was just like "get me the hell out of here."

"Who's Taking Care Of You?"

Date: May 27, 2013 at 11:28 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 68

You know how when you learn a new word, suddenly it pops up everywhere? It’s in the book you’re reading, it comes up in daily conversation with your bodega guy and it’s the answer to a “Jeopardy!” question. You’re newly […]

 
The herbal pills are pretty and they smell good. Now I just need them to do something.

Change In Plans

Date: May 17, 2013 at 8:06 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 75

Two years ago, on a Friday night, I ate a piece of fish and a big bowl of corn. The next morning, I woke up brutally early and made the trip out to Brooklyn to run the Brooklyn Half Marathon. […]

 
Brian brought home my favorite Molly's Cupcakes for my birthday. One bite, one trip to the bathroom...repeat, repeat, repeat.

No.

Date: May 13, 2013 at 7:37 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 63

No. I’m not better. Everyone keeps asking, “Do you feel any better?” Nope. Not really. I had fleeting moments this weekend on the couch where I’d think, “Hey hey hey now, I think I’m OK! I think I can go […]

 
Sara comes equipped with a puppy, but that's NOT the only reason we are friends.

My Birthday Wishes

Date: May 6, 2013 at 7:33 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 90

I’ve never really been on board with the whole “adult birthday” concept. It’s always felt weird to me to celebrate being, say, 28. I’m too old for my mom to bring cupcakes into my office, so what’s the point? This […]

Posted in Crohn's disease and tagged , -
 
Park Avenue tulips. I went for a teeny tiny walk on Saturday and got to see the flowers everyone has been Instagramming and #nofiltering. I'm not even on Instagram, but I know these things happen. I know everything.

I Still Believe In The Rabbits

Date: May 3, 2013 at 7:24 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 47

Wednesday was “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit” day. I have woken up on the first day of every month since kindergarten and, while still laying in bed, I have whispered, “Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit.” It’s supposed to bring you good luck for the […]

 
A puppy (his name is Bokchoy), some flowers and painkillers. Thanks, LBC, for providing two of these crucial things.

Short-Lived Happy Tears

Date: April 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 73

Last week — like so many of the ones that came before it — was something of a disaster for me. But between the rage-filled phone calls with angry nurses, the sleepless nights and the increasingly-high fevers, there were a […]

 
Lincoln Center, usually my happy place. I was supposed to go to two galas there last week for work. I made it to the first one...and lasted an hour before I spiked a fever, had to run for the bathroom mid-performance and eventually took a panic-ridden cab ride home to comfort.

I Didn't Want To Write About Boston

Date: April 22, 2013 at 7:39 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 99

It felt strange not to acknowledge what happened on the day of the Boston Marathon here. I kept feeling like, “I blog about running…I should have an opinion. I should have feelings. And I should share them…right?” But every time […]