Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Fast Friends

Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s a short week for most of you because of the holiday so the weekend is almost here for most of you. Woohoo!

Tuesdays are normally such a ho-hum day of the week except for when they are Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays here at Run Stronger Every Day! BTAT were born out of the necessity to kick myself every once in a while and be reminded why it’s better to be here versus the alternative.

Amen, sister.

Amen, sister.

I was long running last Friday and had the pleasure of meeting up with a fellow runner whom I’d met over Twitter. GB is a native New Yorker, newbie runner, and all-around fitness connoisseur.

Basically, he’s the Kevin Bacon of the NYC fitness scene. He knows someone at almost every studio and is the lynchpin in the web of boutique fitness. Oh, and he’s one of the most genuinely generous, sweet guys I’ve ever met.

GB, gettin his 5K on. Whatta guy.

GB, gettin his 5K on. Whatta guy.

We trekked about 5 miles down the West Side Highway together in the ridiculous humidity and chatted the whole way. GB is a phenomenal guy with a big heart. We were Fast Friends right away. He also hand-delivered a very special accessory for me.

My new workout jewelry.

My new workout jewelry.

This little band is for another Fast Friend of mine, Ali. I crashed Ali’s date and fan-girled her at 16 Handles two years ago. We continued to run into each other out and about town doing fitness stuff and in the park running. We were Fast Friends who bonded over our love of all things sweaty and sweet AND having a super-sexy disease.

Yo, buddy. #SweatingForAli

Yo, buddy. #SweatingForAli

And of course there’s Birdie who was a Fast Friend and is a very FAST Friend. She’s my School Wife. And smart. And generous. And seriously an awesome runner. And inspired me to lose the shirt on a blistering hot run the other day.

Gotta wear the shades whilst running nekkid. I feel less awkward that way...don't know why.

Gotta wear the shades whilst running nekkid. I feel less awkward that way…don’t know why.

These Fast Friends, and so many more,make it easy to join groups, open up, and feel at home in this big “bad” city.

They make walking into a fitness class or group run feel like walking into my version of Cheers. No one thinks I’m a freak or gross because of what I have or what I’ve been through or how very, very much I sweat (my apologies to everyone at Refine Method for that one).

That tiny spot is the color my shirt was pre-13 miles. No, it wasn't raining.

That tiny spot is the color my shirt was pre-13 miles. No, it wasn’t raining.

There is no such thing as TMI with Fast Friends cuz they get you right away.

Here’s to the people who are your friends right off the bat, the Fast Friends. You guys are so awesome and so supportive and so welcoming right off the bat. Thanks for being your badass selves. You guys make today way Better Than the Alternative.

Who makes your Tuesday BTAT?

Now go out and run.

Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays: Forward

This year hasn’t flown for me where school is concerned. The opposite, in fact. It has CRAWLED.

Whatever is slower than a snail, that's what this year has been like.

Whatever is slower than a snail, that’s what this year has been like.

But when I look back at exactly one year ago today, it seems like it was only a few months ago and not twelve. One year ago today, I spent most of the day under anesthesia, in the OR and recovery room, having my colon removed to cure my Ulcerative Colitis.

Sent this the day after so Obi-wan didn't worry so much. See Dad? I'm smiling = I'm ok!

Sent this the day after so Obi-wan didn’t worry so much. See Dad? I’m smiling = I’m ok!

What a difference a year makes.

Last year, I couldn’t run 2 minutes on the treadmill before I had to jump off and race for the bathroom. Last week, I ran a PR in the half marathon. 1:40, thankyouverymuch. Oh, and I’m gonna kick ass in Chicago running for Team Challenge in three weeks!

Jersey, baby!

Jersey, baby!

Last year, I was so sick I was getting chemo pumped into my veins, iron IVs, and hydration solution every week. As of right now, I’m only on one drug, soon to be DRUG-FREE!(This probably means very little to anyone but Mrs. Obi-wan. Look, ma! No drugs!)

No more blogging with one hand and getting Remicade in the other!

No more blogging with one hand and getting Remicade in the other!

Last year, I missed just about every single running/walking/sporting event with my friends. This Thursday, I’m walking in lower Manhattan with my lululemon family and friends in the Taking Steps walk to spread IBD awareness. (Join me!)

Go ahead, ASK ME!

Go ahead, ASK ME!

Last year, I was terrified I wouldn’t make it through my first year of DPT school because of the two surgeries, the colostomy bag, or some other unforeseen disaster. Not only did I conquer my first year of school, this Friday I will be exactly halfway through my first rotation. And I’m feeling great about it!

Abby Bales, Student Physical Therapist and wheelchair driver extraordinaire.

Abby Bales, Student Physical Therapist and wheelchair driver extraordinaire.

What a difference a year makes. I cannot thank my friends, family, classmates, running community, lululemon family, and all of you enough for all of your support and encouragement over this past year.

I guess today’s post embodies all of what Better Than the Alternative Tuesdays are really all about: forward motion in the hopes of a better tomorrow.

I was scared to go forward with surgery but I did it and I don’t regret it one little bit.

I was scared to go forward with school, not knowing if my body would hold up, but I did and I made it through (with a little LOT of help from Birdie).

I was scared to come forward about my disease and surgery and all that but I did and managed to not only make new friends, but reach out into the IBD community to help other people struggling with the same decisions I had to make.

And no matter what happens, it is always better to be here than not to be here. I know that now more than ever.

Happy colon-free-iversary to me! I am totally colon-free and kicking ass!

Now go out and run!

A Little Extra Something

Yesterday’s track workout with Birdie kicked my butt. She was doing ladders, I was doing stair-step repeats. We were both sprinting at breakneck pace all over the track. And man, oh man!, was it COLD out there.

It seems that I can’t do a track workout without it being #1. FREEZING and #2. WINDY. What is the deal? I know it’s on the East River but it’s not like it’s on the Atlantic Ocean. Gimme a break.

Deceivingly beautiful view. Don't be fooled. It's cold as hell and windy to boot.

Deceivingly beautiful view. Don’t be fooled. It’s cold as hell and windy to boot.

But we still gave our workouts our all and powered through, dry heaves and all. That workout is exactly why I was a lousy track runner: distances less than 15K are not for me.

The one thing I do like about running on a track is the home stretch. Finishing on a 100 meter straightaway is one of my favorite places to give that little extra something. I run a little harder (or not, maybe I’m just maintaing pace at that point–who knows?), I push a little more. I love that finish line.

Cookie Monster knows what I'm talking about.

Cookie Monster knows what I’m talking about.

I have a harder time giving a little extra something in the gym. All I can think about is doing too much and hurting myself. It happened in spin class once and I ended up with a really angry TFL.

So I tend to steadily increase my weight and difficulty of exercises. In my professional opinion, this is a much safer way to go for more difficult, strenuous actions.

Me and my 20s are BFFs. Outside of leg and back work, these bad boys are all I really need.

Me and my 20s are BFFs. Outside of leg and back work, these bad boys are all I really need.

I’m SO EXCITED to share with you a very special person and family friend who gave a little extra something to add to the already awesome raffle prize pool. Are you ready? Hold onto your hats!!!

**7 night stay for 10 people in a beautiful villa in Acapulco, Mexico**

You could be here. You and NINE OF YOUR FRIENDS!

You could be here. You and NINE OF YOUR FRIENDS!

Your own 5-bedroom villa in Acapulco for a week, including:

  • 20,000 sq. ft. of luxury overlooking Acapulco Bay
  • 5 air-conditioned bedrooms, each with en suite bathroom
  • 2 swimming pools
  • Breathtaking gardens with waterfall
  • A full-time staff of 4

(Flights and transportation are not included)

I’m totally serious. This is something you can win and here’s how you can get more raffle opportunities:

  1. $15 donation gets you one entry and a race bib for the Kick Ass 5K, every additional $10 gets you another entry (don’t forget to email me that you donated!).
  2. If you’re already registered, each additional $10 gets you another entry.
  3. Sharing the Kick Ass 5K on your blog or Twitter gets you another entry (don’t forget to send me the link so I can credit you!)
  4. Sending me a picture of you wearing your race bib on race day (April 9th) gets you another race entry.
  5. Donate to my fundraising page, no need to participate in the 5K.

A couple of things:

  • The raffle will close on Friday, June 7th at noon. Only donations up to that point will be considered to be entered into the raffle.
  • The raffle winners will be announced the week of June 9th (when I get back from the race).
  • Winers will be contacted via the email you give to Active.com when you donated.
  • Winners will have ONE WEEK to respond to me to claim their prize. After that, another winner will be chosen.

Phew. Things just got real, y’all. Help me meet my $20,000 goal. Viva la Mexico!

Now go out and run!

Be Your {Running} Self

Birdie and I were chatting a few weeks ago. Have I mentioned she’s wicked fast and WINS races? Yeah, she does.

Remember how I ran the 10K? She ran the 5K. Ahem, she WON the 5K.

Remember how I ran the 10K? She ran the 5K.

I was proud of my 10K, just 10 weeks after surgery. 47:19:00, 65th place, 6th place in my Division (Women 30-39 in the 10K), and 20th of the women overall. She won. She WON the race. And ran 19:58. I mean, really. She’s a rock star.

Anyway, she’s fast and I’m…respectable. She said I should go run at Thursday Night at the Races, an indoor track meet held on Thursday nights in NYC. Fast people run there. I’m a fast people groupie. And a running nerd.

I buy my 16 month old niece matching running shoes. Cuz that's how I roll.

I buy my 16 month old niece matching running shoes. Cuz that’s how I roll.

I was flattered, but declined to hold up the events by making people wait til I finish my 7:30 miles for 3 miles. Sounds fast, and I’m proud of my time!, but I know those girls are running 5 minute (or less!!!) miles.

Yikes!

This would be me always.

This would be me always.

I’m not the target runner for that venue. Nor am I anywhere near elite, sub-elite, whatever comes after sub-elite status. I’m a middle-of-the-road gal.

I don’t pretend to know how to be or be a lead-pack runner. I also don’t pretend to be a cool runner. I fully burst out into song when I see someone I know at a race. I cheer like a wild banshee for my runner friends when they truck on by. I probably embarrass some people, but I don’t care.

Oh yeah. I bring the cowbell & drums to cheer.

Oh yeah. Me and my friends bring the cowbell & drums to cheer.

And so I feel good about my races and times. I don’t compare myself to people I have no business comparing myself to. I don’t get mad that Birdie runs 3:10 marathons and my best is a 3:46. I don’t covet other runners’ 40 marathon medals in 4 years cuz my body would never tolerate that.

And let’s be real. No matter how many blowouts I get at The Dry Bar (why aren’t you making an appointment with them right now??), I am a curly girl.

Straight hair, sleek and pretty though it may be, is massively time-consuming. Wild child curls it is!

Straight hair, sleek and pretty though it may be, is massively time-consuming. Wild child curls it is!

When you know who you are, what your strengths are, all the amazing things you have to offer the {running} world and all your fabulous {running} friends, you can be happy for them instead of pining after their medals and times and brand ambassador opportunities.

It’s so much more fun to be happy for friends, isn’t it? Ugh. Jealousy is soooo time-consuming and lame. Be proud of your achievements, whatever they may be!

Now go out and run!