Coming Together: NYC

In the running community, we come together to cope with tragedy.

Next Monday, all over the country, runners will be coming together for a few miles to run. We’ll run to remember. We’ll run to forget. We’ll run to mourn. We’ll run to celebrate. We’ll run TOGETHER.

NYC runners will meet Monday, April 22nd at 6:30pm at Tavern on the Green for as many or as few miles as you’d like. Wear a race shirt or the Boston Marathon colors: blue and yellow.

Questions? Email me: runstrongereveryday@gmail.com

This is as informal as it comes, so bring everyone.

If you would like to participate in your city, find out if someone is organizing for Monday via Pavement Runner’s blog.

Boston-strong-cityNow go out and run.

 

Kick Ass

There are about 486 things in the works in my world these days and blogging has been on the back burner as far as my work output but at the absolute forefront of my mind daily. I have dozens of blogging topics running around my brain but this one is closest to my heart.

So close to my heart, in fact, that I’m scared to write it. I’m kind of afraid to fail and this is a big undertaking for me.

If you have read my blog for any length of time, you know that I have Ulcerative Colitis. I mean, technically I guess I don’t have it anymore cuz I don’t have a colon. That’s right. I’m colon-free and kicking ass!

No colon, no cry. No co-lon, no cryyyyyy.

No colon, no cry. No co-lon, no cryyyyyy.

In the Spring of 2010 I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, an Inflammatory Bowel Disease (sexy!) that, along with Crohn’s Disease, develops as a result of a overreaction of the immune system. Basically, people with IBD have malfunctioning immune systems that attack the entire digestive system. It’s causes are unknown but it is likely hereditary and absolutely unpreventable and incurable (except for surgery for UC patients).

I don’t want to make this a graphic description about what happens to those of us who have IBD, but you gotta know it’s Hell on Earth.

Vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding ulcers, anemia, joint pain, severe abdominal pain, cramps, weight loss, loss of bowel control, fever, constipation, severe exhaustion, night sweats, and so many more specific to the individual patient. Hell. On. Earth.

Colonoscopies, steroids, chemotherapy, anti-immunity drugs, craaaazy diets, nutritional IVs, and everything in between.

Colonoscopies, steroids, chemotherapy, anti-immunity drugs, craaaazy diets, nutritional IVs, and everything in between. Told you. Hell.

There’s a reason that one of my favorite support groups is called My Doctor Knows Me Best From Behind. It’s a disease that people all over the country and world live with silently. Well, not me. I’ve been open about my disease, my colostomy bag, my stoma named Rosebud, and my fight.

I’ve shared with you my journey to surgery in 2012, then {unexpectedly} the second surgery, and finally clawing my way back after surgery. It’s not always been pretty but one thing I have vowed to never be is silent. Not that I’m ever silent about, well, anything…but I digress.

Colostomy bag or no colostomy bag, I'm proud to sport my tummy on the Internet!

Colostomy bag or no colostomy bag, I’m proud to sport my tummy on the Internet!

On June 8, 2013, I will be running 13.1 miles in my beautiful hometown of Sweet Home Chicago as a member of Team Challenge. We are the runners and walkers who raise money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America in the hopes that in ten years there will be a cure for IBD.

Team Challenge NYC (shamelessly stolen from Daphnie's FB page).

Team Challenge NYC (shamelessly stolen from Daphnie’s FB page).

I know people ask for donations for all sorts of diseases every day. But I also know that many of you asked me how you could help when I was diagnosed, in the hospital, and recovering. Well, here’s your chance!

I’m hosting the Kick Ass (or Kick Butt) Virtual 5K to benefit Team Challenge on Tuesday, April 9th, 2013. Why April 9th? That was the date last year when I scheduled the surgery that would remove my colon. It was a very big and scary day for me but it was also the day I took steps to get my health and my life back.

  • Date: April 9, 2013
  • Time: Any time of day your heart desires.
  • Location: Central Park, East River track, the treadmill at your gym, the bike in your basement, your neighborhood sidewalk, and anywhere else you can find.
  • Activity: Run, walk, bike, swim, or jump a 5K (3.1 miles)–your choice!
  • Cost: $15 donation to my team donation page.
  • Bonuses: $15 gets you one entry into the AWESOME raffle I’m putting together. Every $10 after that gets you another entry into the raffle. $50 gets you 5 entries.
  • Prizes: Still coming together, but I predict fancy workout clothes, great shoes, fun fitness accessories, and some more cool stuff. I’m working on it and it’s gonna be GREAT.

How you register:

  1. Donate to my page ($15 minimum).
  2. Email me (runstrongereveryday@gmail.com) that you did and how much so I can enter you into the raffle.
  3. Extra entry for blogging or tweeting about it (make sure you tag me or let me know!).
  4. Sport the race bib I email you and run/bike/swim/wheelbarrow a 5K on April 9th.
  5. Send me a picture of you sporting your bib, biking in the gym, running on your treadmill, or any other photo so I can include it in the blog recap of the race.

Time doesn’t matter, I don’t care if you do it one mile (or half-mile) at a time, and everyone is on the honor system. If you get sick, do it another day. No worries! My goal is 50 runners. I know, I know. Shooting for the moon. But I have a big family, $15 is roughly 3 latees a week, and you can literally walk your dog for 3.1 miles.

You can Kick Ass or Kick Butt, your choice. But together, we will find a cure for IBD!

You can Kick Ass or Kick Butt, your choice. But together, we will find a cure for IBD!

Please consider supporting me. This disease took my colon but I swore on April 9, 2012 that it wouldn’t take my life. And it didn’t. And it won’t. Yeah, my J-pouch is still kinda wonky but I will never look back on my choice with regret, rather I choose to stare this disease in the face and say, “I’m colon-free and kicking ass!!!”

Kick Ass (or Butt, if you prefer) with me, won’t you?

Now go out and run!

PS. If you or your organization would like to donate something for the raffle, please email me: runstrongereveryday@gmail.com

Perfection

Some workouts just don’t happened as planned. I switched up to an afternoon run the other day so that I could spin in the morning as well and ended up running on a snow-dusted track as a consequence.

This is obviously not the track, but Central Park. The track was similarly dusted but not nearly as beautiful as the Park.

This is obviously not the track, but Central Park. The track was similarly dusted but not nearly as beautiful as the Park.

It was a little slick around one of the corners and I had to slow down a little bit as I made my way around said curve 12 times during my 3 1-mile repeats. I had to slow down. And then run straight into a headwind that further slowed me down.

Perfect conditions for speed work? Nope. I think I’ll live.

Yesterday I had an eye doctor appointment (new specs!) and so I had to run after class instead. Late night running is not my favorite.

I'm more of a sunrise kinda runner. I like it getting brighter as the miles roll on, not darker.

I’m more of a sunrise kinda runner. I like it getting brighter as the miles roll on, not darker.

Again, the world will not end because I only got 4 dark miles instead of 6 sunny ones.

How often do we get perfect conditions, though? If I decided not to run every time it was below 50°F, above 80°F, raining, snowing, windy, or just crowded in the Park, I’d only be able to run about 30% of the year.

Runners! Runners! Everywhere runners!

Runners! Runners! Everywhere runners!

Does it reeeeally matter what the conditions are? Not really.

If I’m working hard and running at my maximum speed for the rest of that one mile, the 60 meters of slick-ish stuff isn’t going to matter. If I had bagged my workout entirely and waited for a perfect day, now THAT would make a HUUUUUUGE difference in my training.

Waiting for the perfect day, the perfect race, the perfect conditions will leave you doing one thing: waiting. I say, go out and run!

Run in the rain.

Run in the snow.

Run in the heat.

Do it all safely, please, but if you CAN run, RUN.

My plan exactly after class tonight.

My plan exactly after class tonight.

Endure the crappy runs, enjoy the amazing runs.

Now go out and run!

Workout Recovery

This past year I have recovered from two major surgeries and started running all over again TWICE. It was slow-going. I was frustrated A LOT. In the end, I respected my body’s need to rest and fought back, week after week, month after month, and was back to my usual running self relatively quickly.

Feeling better = running farther

Feeling better = running farther

The same should go for being sick, but we runners are an unforgiving people of ourselves. I am trying to be more Jedi-like and learn from 1. my mistakes & 2. the Obi-wans.

So I only ran 3 miles today.

I am still snotty and only a week from when I was experiencing symptoms. I’m not 100% yet but I felt pretty antsy so I went for a run.

Yes, it was on the treadmill. Avert your eyes, outdoor running purists.

Yes, it was on the treadmill. Avert your eyes, outdoor running purists.

Speaking of snotty, the weather in NYC today was misty and cold so I kept my run indoors. And even though 3 miles felt good and I could have done more, I want to also feel energetic tomorrow so I met my 3 mile goal and stopped.

Surgery or the flu, you gotta respect the rest.

You miss exactly no days of training when you’re sick. Training while sick actually makes your recovery take longer. You bank more days by staying home, taking care of yourself, and getting better faster than pushing your body to do what it can’t handle.

How do you know you’re ready to get going again?

  1. You have energy throughout your day.
  2. Walking with your backpack doesn’t make you winded.
  3. You do a short EASY trial run (2-3 miles) and feel good both during and after.

If you meet this criteria, welcome back! We missed you. If you don’t, go home and crawl under the covers til your yuckyness goes away. We will send soup.

This first week of school is brought to you by DayQuil.

This first week of school is brought to you by DayQuil.

Tell me: How do you know you’re ready to run again? 

Now go out and run!

IMG_4829

2012 Retrospect

Confession: I don’t really want to look back on this year. I mean, I DO because it’s over and I’m happy about that but I DON’T because whenever I think about it, I cry.

And not pretty cry. I ugly cry about it.

It seems like a far-off nightmare that I have only just recently woken from to realize that I have my life back and can do the things I like/want to do instead of planning my day around bathrooms and getting shot up with poison.

I much prefer to be out running that doing most any other thing. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

I much prefer to be out running that doing most any other thing. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

Instead, I prefer to say I learned a lot of stuff in 2012.

  • I learned that my husband is THE BEST.
  • I learned that sickness can bring people together & make relationships stronger.
  • I learned who my friends are, cliché but true.
  • I learned that father-daughter bonding happens over the strangest conversations.
  • I learned where every single bathroom in Central Park is located & which I prefer.
  • I learned that videos of my niece make me smile even while drugged up post-op.
  • I learned that I am smarter than I give myself credit for.
  • I learned that a mother’s instinct extends well beyond childhood.
  • I learned that flowers & cards make me happy when I’m blue.
  • I learned that I am only limited by myself.
  • I learned that scars don’t matter so much as the story behind them.
  • I learned that Twitter & Facebook can be places of great support.
  • I learned that there is life both in & after sickness.
  • I learned that my brothers & sisters are seriously awesome.
  • I learned that I love running more than I thought I did.

I learned that change is a part of life but it’s what I do with the opportunities I’m given that will define me.

Catch you on the road in 2013!

Catch you on the road in 2013! (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

I’m ready for 2013 and all the adventures it holds, including: no fewer than 2 new babies, 4 weddings (& counting…), my first clinical rotation, several half-marathons, a 200 mile relay, and maybe another 26.2 to round out my total to 10.

I’m ready.

Looking ahead, never behind. When I look back for too long, I tend to trip & fall. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

Looking ahead, never behind. When I look back for too long, I tend to trip & fall. (Image courtesy of MK Photography)

What did YOU learn in 2012? What are your goals for 2013? 

Happy New Year!

Now go out and run.