My {2nd} First Run Post-Op

Central Park, I have missed you.


I have missed you, old friend.

There really is nothing like New York in the Fall. If you have any doubts, watch You’ve Got Mail. It’s basically a love letter to NYC throughout the seasons, which I just love.

Where was I? Oh, yeah. I went running!

I’m sure that was what was on your mind when you woke up this morning. Not that silly little storm bearing down on the Eastern seaboard as I type.

Hurricane? What hurricane? All I see are whitecaps on my normally calm East River and sideways rain and trees about to get pulled out of the grou…OOOOOH! You mean THAT hurricane.

In my world, two successful post-op runs in a row is far more newsworthy than Sandy the Monster. Ok, that’s probably not true for anyone else but me but I’m gonna write about it anyway.

I ran my very first run back on my beloved Bridal Path in Central Park. I was greeted with cool temperatures, a quiet path, and the most beautiful scenery NYC has to offer.

Sheep Meadow looking very fine this Fall day!

Hello, gorgeous. Not the Bridal Path but I was too happy to stop and take a picture. You understand.

Sadly, Sandy is currently blowing away all of my beautiful leaves and trees.


I’m really glad I got two full runs in before this nonsense took over because several happy things happened on my run:

  1. I didn’t have to stop once, not for anything.
  2. I ran 1.75 on Saturday and 2.5 on Sunday.
  3. I feel great.
  4. My body doesn’t feel beat to hell like it did last time.
  5. No one ran into me.


I also saw one of my best friends on the side of a bus while running. Rockettes are preeeetty.

I spent the past two years figuring out how to run with this disease. When I was able to run, it was always interrupted by having to make a mad dash for the bathroom. Multiple times. Every run. No exceptions. It was not a way to live and it beat my spirit.

In a bathroom during an 11 mile workout, where else?

No more.

It started with a bag and Rosebud.

Me & Rosebud were a good team, though she often thought naked running was the way to go.

And now, it’s me and my pouch. 1.75 miles and no panic. 2.5 miles and no fear. For the first time since all this started a month ago, I am hopeful that I will be able to get my life back.

One run at a time. One mile at a time. One step at a time.

I’m off and running! How about you? Who knows–you might just spot me at a half-marathon sometime this Spring. You never know! In the mean time, you can find me at the medical tent of the New York City Marathon with my fellow NYU DPT students. I don’t want to see any of you there, ok?

Catch me at the Finish Line Medical Tent for a massage 🙂

Now go out and run!

(Unless you are on the East Coast, in which case ARE YOU CRAZY?!?! GET INSIDE!!!!)

13 thoughts on “My {2nd} First Run Post-Op

  1. So happy to read this Abby! Sounds like your spirit is really picked up as well. I remember that feeling. Stay safe!!!! Megan Starshak Ask Me About My Colitis Get Your Guts In Gear, The Ride for Crohn’s and Colitis Social Awareness Movement >________________________________ > From: run stronger every day >To: >Sent: Monday, October 29, 2012 6:19 PM >Subject: [New post] My {2nd} First Run Post-Op > > > >abbynyc posted: “Central Park, I have missed you. I have missed you, old friend. There really is nothing like New York in the Fall. If you have any doubts, watch You’ve Got Mail. It’s” >

  2. Hey I too am a runner with a pouch, I’ve completed two Comrades Marathons (89km/56miles) ,a std. olympic distance triathlon, over 10 std marathons and atleast 5 other ultramarathons. I would do anything to run the New York Marathon and just amazed that people are stronger than we can ever imagine.

  3. Wow what an amazing read Abby. Thank-you so much for sharing and providing some much needed inspiration and guidance.

    I am in the middle of a severe UC flare – the worst I’ve ever had and also doesn’t seem to be responding to meds yet. I am considering the surgery also.

    I am wondering how you are doing now a couple of years down the track? Would you still recommend the surgery and do you have any more advice on it?

    Similar to you, I am very active and had qualified for this years NYC marathon… but have had to pull out…maybe next year

    Thanks again for a great site

    All the best


    • Daniel-I absolutely recommend the surgery as a last resort to medications. Actually, I’d take the surgery over pumping poison into my body, even if it meant the colostomy bag. Life is so much better not being sick every single day. Good luck!

  4. Hi Abbie, I stumbled across your blog while looking up J-Pouch marathoners… and am wondering just how far you’ve gotten with four running since you wrote this piece. I’m a J-Poucher since just after 9/11 when I had my rectum removed at Mount Sinai Medical Center on the Upper East Side. 16 months later, I moved to Mexico and am living here almost 12 years now. I’ve run off and on since college in the early to mid 90s… I probably would have been a much more serious runner had I not injured my ileal-tibial band in college in 1993. My uncle Henry (Dr. Carl Henry Nacht) was a top NYC Marathon runner until he was killed on the Hudson River bike path or the Riverside Park bike path (I don’t know what it is actually called) by an drunken NYPD tow truck driver riding home with his wife after dinner in Chelsea… His death appeared in all of the NYC papers. You can look him up as “The Bicycle Doctor”… My younger sister Beth Rosenberg (also a marathoner) was invited to run with his # in his memory in the following addition of the Marathon that same year (2006). Beth, an incredible marathoner and mother of 2 girls, was diagnosed with rectal cancer this past March and had immediate J-Pouch surgery that same month… She’s planning upon running marathons again. But, there are significant question marks surrounding the endeavor. That said, I miss Central Park and especially Prospect Park. Mexico’s cities lack parks of their magnitude, especially for running. Although I’ve made due… I live in Guadalajara and began running seriously again this passed May. During the process, I’ve encountered issues of “rectal” bleeding after surpassing the 30 minute mark. Inquiring into the possible causes, I’ve come to believe somewhat greatly that it has something to do with ischemic “bowel”… although it could have something to do with pouchitis… I belong to the and most of the J-pouch runners who experience the same bleeding and visit with their doctors, have mentioned that there is no visible change in their J-Pouch for explaining the bleeding… no pouchitis. I stumbled across Ischemic Colitis on the Runners World website. All this said, with all of my research on diet not directly related to running or the J-Pouch or my sister and my F.A.P./Gardners Syndrome I stumbled across Prickly Pear Cactus (Nopal) and mucilage as a cure for colitis or ulcers or chronic inflamation and started cooking with the Nopal Cactus. Low and behold, the bleeding during the runs stopped. Since May, I’ve changed from the cactus “Nopales” to ground flax seeds (to increase my HDL cholesterol etc) and they and their mucilage have worked even better than the cactus leaves… (During a hiatus from the Nopales, I started bleeding again after 30 minutes and that bleeding stopped with the ground flax seeds)… For the first time since increasing my runs in one week from 5.2 miles per day to 7.3 miles when I injured my ileal-tibial band in 1993 I found myself running 6 miles, 5-6 days per week (a slow 63 minutes) without pain or injuries and without bleeding. I just read “Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen” by Christopher McDougall that takes place just north Guadalajara in Copper Canyon, Chihuahua and found myself incredibly inspired, moved… I’m 45-years-old and in a very personal movement to finally encounter true health (against all odds with my FAP/Gardners that seems like a horrible ticking bomb) through a lot of research and reading and wishing I had had better conversations with my uncle long before he died to truly know how he experience his running… At the age of 27 while in medical school, he decided to run marathons, going from running his first mile to running his first marathon in 13 months to finishing his NYC Marathons and Boston Marathons in the top 100 (when the New York Marathon had 16,000 starters). His best time was 2:38… We would wait for him to pass (around the 22 mile marker) behind the Metropolitan Museum of Art… 20 + minutes after Bill Rodgers had passed… He would appear so relaxed, as if he was out on a 5 mile Central Park Loop warm-up; My aunt Mary Beth (also a Marathon Runner before she started having problems with a pinched nerve) would greet him with a hug and a kiss and run with him for a stint and then we would wait for him to appear at their apartment on West 83rd Street and then West 103rd/Riverside for the wonderful Marathon Party Mary Beth would organize for this incredible man… When I run, questions appear in my mind directed towards Henry… or Uncle Henry or Dr. Demento (great sense of humor for entertaining his little neices and nephews we once were) or Dr. Carl Henry Nacht… or now known as “the Bicycle Doctor”… I wish I could ask him, now that maybe we share two distinct interests that didn’t really interest me when he was alive: extreme running (he regularly ran the 50 mile Central Park Ultramarathon: 10 times around) and health. Its kind of a one-sided serious of questions… a silent and slightly sad conversation not really worth having with just anyone, since he wasn’t just anyone, but someone who incredibly appreciated how his body worked and moved… For him, it seems that running was beyond personal, but spiritual. The only way you can truly understand how it works for you is by connecting at a very deep spiritual level where somehow you should find the best answers. If you don’t have that friend or that family member or if you aren’t that journalist like Christopher McDougall, you have only yourself for truly understanding how and where you are running. And, I’m not sure if that always is enough… and why I’m curious how your running experience with the J-Pouch has evolved over the past 2 years, since now you’ve been given a challenge that I imagine no marathon runner has before they become a marathon runner. In ways, it was a miracle for me to reach the 10km mark with absolutely no stress… seemingly no effort. And now I’m thinking o f reaching 21 kms or the un-thought-of half marathon. But, reading “Born to Run…” more interesting than a marathon (that never interested me in my life), are the ultramarathons. Why? Because ultramarathons do not have an actual limit on distance or time-frame. It’s not so much about winning or about finishing a certain distance, but about being able to run seemingly forever. To be able to cross states on foot (not as slow as walking) instead of on wheels; being closer to the country you are crossing… more connected… In a very strange way, the closest we can appear to flying… Riding a bike is not you flying, but the bike moving you, although you are peddling… The plain motor is flying you from JFK to LAX, not you. But, running an ultramarathon would be the equivalent of getting you there on the wings of your feet… Sounds crazy coming from someone who has never run more than 7.2 miles, let alone a half marathon or a marathon… especially a 45-year-old J-Poucher… J-Pouching does not bode well for running over 4 hours straight with all the digestive and bathroom issues etc… let alone running over 1 hour… But, running well over 4 hours? And what would happen to the J-Pouch if there was an issue of Ischemia? What if you needed a bathroom urgently at any given moment of the run? How would a J-Poucher eat for the run? How would you plan your bathrooms and diet and sleep the night before? What would you carry with you for eating during the run? What about the hightened risk of dehydration for J-Pouchers? And, I say in a strange and probably not understandable way at the point in my running, “who cares?” Why “who cares?” Because in order to barrel past all of the extreme obstacles that make us so extremely different than all the rest of the people and these dreams seemingly unobtainable, in order to begin, you’ve really gotta say, “who eff’n cares?” Because, truthfully, you are the only one who truly care and truly understands what it all signifies for you… And, there must be a point where you must stop caring and you’ve just gotta give a shot… Like living in Mexico without a colon and without a rectum and with a J-Pouch that makes such difficult living just that much more difficult. And, truthfully, “who cares? Let’s just do it and see where we end up..:” and that’s why I’m intrigued by your experience…


    • Ross-

      Sounds like you have some interesting people in your life and are on quite an adventure yourself. Bravo!

      As far as the J-pouch questions go, I will say I have also experienced some bleeding after runs. There is no rhyme or reason to it and it wasn’t due to pouchitis. My doctor told me not to worry as long as it isn’t consistent or happening after hard/long workouts, which it doesn’t. It just randomly happens sometimes.

      I eat PB&J before I run, drink Citrucil, wait for it to settle & use the bathroom before I run. I eat Clif Shot Bloks while I run and hydrate with Nuun tablets. I haven’t noticed I need anything special as far as my regular diet goes, even during marathon training. In fact, I added Eggo waffles to my pre-long run regiment because they seemed to stick around and settle quite nicely. Whatever works.

      If you want more information, feel free to email me directly:

      Happy running!

      • Hi Abbie,

        I guess that means you are running marathons?…

        I noticed after writing you yesterday, reading the comment by Trad Cruikshank that there are J-Pouch marathoners or ultramarathoners or that there is Trad…, which is very uncouraging. As for eating P, B & J… lovely memories with Chunky Peanut Butter and heaps of Welches Strawberry Jam on Branola bread (with the exception of Branola, since Wonder and Weston Foods were bought up by the Mexican baker and now #1 in the world BIMBO, I can’t obtain those products here), since Sams Club and Costco and Walmart dump the worst products in Mexico (makes me wonder and worry everytime a product is removed from the shelves by the FDA or the USDA due to salmonella etc)… and since I’ve removed refined carbs from my diet, especially wheat products, which I would say helps greatly with energy levels, increased endurance and recovery times, inflamation… along with better sleep. Granted, it seems to go against what Christopher McDougall writes in “born to run” since it seems that all of the runners he mentions are basically vegetarian. I was vegetarian when I was running in college and believe that being vegetarian was related to my injury… A lot of reading. A lot of information. Many people would disagree and say that they are perfectly fine with their diets. My uncle swore by a breakfast of Coke and a Chocolate Brownie (although my mother would say that he was obsessed with his weight–probably being the little brother of two older sisters who were obese and who knows how were the crazy daughters of my grandfather’s crazy girlfriends who tended to live with them during childhood; it seems that my grandfather was attracted to women with psychiatric health issues–my maternal grandmother died from gangrene in a mental hospital in Brooklyn when my uncle was 10-years-old)… Then again, my uncle was a superman and probably defied laws of human biology that all the “normal” humans must respect. He ran one NYC marathon with a couple of slipped discs in his back incurred playing soccer in Central Park and ran another NYC marathon with a broken bone in his foot after not seeing “that hole” when pulled by his very enthusiastic german shepherd pursuing another dog in Riverside Park… A shot of cortisone and he was running and finishing the Marathons as if nothing abnormal had occurred a few weeks earlier. My uncle had also told me that rage fueled his runs, since he was a helpless witness of repeated visits by the Mafia and my grandfather crying infront of them and my uncle, since he had a trucking business in Brooklyn…

        Thinking about the super runners mentioned by Christopher McDougall, he’s not writing about all the rest of the unknowns, but about the incredibles. He even mentions in the end of the book that much has to do with who are your parents (be it genetics or training)… Maybe the 9-year-old boy with the prosthetic leg after having bone cancer wouldn’t have started running again if his father and mother and uncles weren’t marathoners… Maybe for some of us it doesn’t really matter what we eat… we’ll still manage to do things that are beyond incredible. Maybe it doesn’t matter if you are vegetarian or Paleo… if you are an exception. But, what I noticed is that for both my wife and I, no matter how much exercise we did and how healthy our diet seemed, we couldn’t drop the weight and increase greatly our distance without removing the simple carbs… I had always believed in carb loading before the runs… In fact, 2 years ago, I developed increased fatigue and muscle cramping instead of increased distance until I was forced to walk-run 8 minutes into the runs… This led to a 1.5 year hiatus and a ton of investigation into my health and diet… Removing the simple carbs removed the excess weight (over 30 pounds for both of us since March) and the problems, believe it or not. No limits on fat or animal protein… No Paleo diets either, since I believe much of Paleo is based upon myth and fantasy and mixed with a whole ton of confusion and in-fighting about what we truly should eat… I do believe that we may eat too much animal fat and animal protein… and will continue “monitoring” that question… Removing the simple carbs effectively removes the excess eating caused by reoccurring hunger… Many people (“experts”) who advocate weight loss through low-carb diets mention that exercise increases appetite and the subsequent risk of over-eating. I don’t see it that way. And reading “Born to Run” makes me think that the ultramarathonist’s body becomes a much more efficient energy burning machine, leading to their needing less food… I also believe that “teaching” your body to stop relying upon simple carbs makes it a much more efficient energy burning-conserving machine… However, I do believe that animal protein has a function in preventing your body from burning muscle for energy…

        Thanks for responding to my comment.


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