Saying Goodbye

Tomorrow I go in for my take-down surgery. It was not supposed to be tomorrow but other complications are mandating I go under the knife sooner rather than later and do everything all at once.

2 ER visits = surgery tomorrow.

Well, ok.

The general consensus from people in my world is that this is a good thing. No more bag! So great, right?! I get to be “normal” again!

You wanna know a secret? Promise you won’t tell?

I love my bag. I love Rosebud.

To me, Rosebud has been a symbol of freedom and health in my life. Rosebud has given me confidence in my body that was dwindling in the past two years. Rosebud has allowed me to get on with my life.

Love, love, love my bag.

My J-pouch is a variable. My J-pouch might not work. It will for sure be a HUGE adjustment for the next few months, maybe a year, for my body and for me. I won’t have the freedom I have now with my bag. I won’t know what to expect day to day, run to run, class to class.

Saying goodbye to Rosebud is scary. It’s emotional. I don’t wanna.

Back to the bathroom. Back to starting over again with running after training for a marathon all summer. Back to figuring out what I can and cannot eat. Back to panicking.

But I know I have to try and I know I can go back if it doesn’t work for me. And I know that no matter what happens, JB is there, loving me with or without my bag.

So, here I go. “Starting Over”-type blogs to come. Sorry for being light on the running part of the blog. I hope to be back in business asap.

Wishing everyone great races this weekend, especially my friends at the Portland, Chicago, and Twin Cities Marathons, or last long runs for my New York and Marine Corps marathoners.

Thank you all for your supportive, moving comments. I’m looking forward to coming back and running stronger every day!

Now go out and run.

Endurance Without the Mileage

The Marine Corps Marathon is a little more than 7 weeks away.


Ready to rock my Team Fisher House gear & get my medal!

But I’ve only been back running for 3 months now. That whole surgery thing in May set me back a ways in my marathon training. Soooooooo, what’s a gal to do when she’s committed to running a marathon, for a charity no less, in 7 very short weeks? Suck it up and train smart.

Starting back, I started slow and short. My friend took me for my first jog around the block when I felt ready. I broke exactly zero records on that and just about every run to follow for the past 2 months or so. Only in the last few weeks have I started feeling like myself.

Slow. Heavy. But more like Abby Who Runs instead of Abby Who Just Had Surgery. Progress!

Run, run, run as fast as you can! Can’t catch me, I’m the cupcake woman! Admittedly, I don’t really have cupcakes all that often, which is sad but true.

My first concern was Rosebud. After that, it’s hydration. Then it’s my legs. And finally, my endurance.

My mental game is there. I struggled mentally with my first marathon back in 2003 but kinda got the hang of it after that. My game is primarily about endurance. And since I haven’t had much time to build endurance, I’m doing it in a rather unconventional way.

I’m running, yes, but I’m spinning. Like, twice a week and on days that I’m running and the day after a long run. And I’m lifting twice a week in addition to the 4-5 days a week of running.

Lord help me, it’s been a beastly hot summer! Check the “glow” (= massive sweat).

I’m doing this for several reasons:

  1. One of my favorite Flywheel instructors is finally back from the Hamptons. Finally.
  2. I need to train for the time, but not necessarily the mileage, to increase my endurance without getting injured.
  3. I want to get stronger but I really can’t afford to add more run workouts.
  4. I feel safe to push hard on the bike and in a gym.

A typical week looks like this:

Sometimes I decide not to run and I take a nap. It happens.

The spinning and the track workouts have definitely made a HUGE difference in my ability to add mileage in short period of time.

The other thing I do is mandatory take-down weeks once a month. I add mileage to my long run every week and then, after the third week of adding, I drop down. For example, the past 4 weeks have gone like this:

  • 8/19: Battle of Brooklyn 10-miler
  • 8/27: 14 miles
  • 8/3: 16 miles
  • This weekend: 13 miles
  • Next weekend: 18 miles

This allows my body to take a break from all the adding on and have an easier, shorter long run every few weeks. We’re all about finishing here! No records being broken.

Well, maybe the shortest time from colectomy/ileostomy to marathon? Nah. Probably not.Anyway, if you’re in a hurry to go from nada to marathon (and have done a marathon before), this is a good way to add the mileage without breaking your legs. Works for me!

Now go out and run!

My “1st” Race

When I first moved to the city, I made it my mission to find a running shoe store that actually knew what they were doing when fitting a runner for shoes. I went to a popular one near a popular running club and it wasn’t great. The shoes were the wrong size for my foot (I would find out later) and I do not, as they insisted, pronate.

I’m not actually sure their salespeople knew what the word “pronate” meant, but they for sure didn’t know it when they saw it.

Thank God I found JackRabbit Sports.

Holla at my homies.

I go to JackRabbit whenever I need new shoes because they know what they’re doing. Really. They spend A LOT of time fitting my Princess and the Pea feet for new (HOT PINK) shoes. I love them. The shoes AND the people.

My feet are on TV!

The best part about being a part of the I ♥ JackRabbit fan club is being in the know on the races going on in the city that they support, sponsor, or host. That other club has a total monopoly but for my money, I’d prefer to be cheered for at road races, not yelled at. Last year was my first Battle of Brooklyn with JackRabbit. The weather was beastly and there were only 7 POJs (my year-long flare had kicked into gear) but the race was a lot of fun.

So I came back for more.


So. Much. Fun.

I wanted my 1st race back to be fun, a little challenging, and low-maintenance.

Two school friends committed to running the race and both kicked butt! I mean, one of them CAME IN THIRD PLACE. The other, who had never run farther than something like 8 miles, ran all 10 miles without stopping at 8 minutes per mile pace. JB was out with his cowbell, cheering us on, and I was wearing hot pink. Fun? Check.

Hot. Pink. Saucony + lululemon. Can’t miss me 🙂

Prospect Park, though only 3 and change miles around, has some pretty annoying inclines. They are met with nice, rolling declines, but three loops around the park really makes for an interesting progression of times on one hill in particular. That’s why JackRabbit has the Time Your Climb. Whoever has the most consistent 3 climbs on this hill, man and woman, gets a prize. I never win. My third is consistently markedly slower than my first two. A little challenging? Check!

This map is going in the opposite direction from our race. Think of going from mile 2.75 to mile 2.25 (right to left). That was our hill. We climbed it three times.

I signed up online between classes and even used a $5 off coupon that made registration a grand total of $25. JackRabbit package pickup is always a breeze. The four of us shared a cab to the race. The bathroom line only took 5 minutes thanks to many more than 7 POJs this year. There were signs (and Redcoats!) everywhere. The start of the race was with a gun (maybe it was a musket?) with drums and flutes sending us off and on our way to fight the Brits. There were even British troops spraying us with water cannons on the climb. Fun. Fun. Fun. Low maintenance? Check!

Last of our group to finish, but I had the biggest smile, I think.

I may not have run my best race (1:22, 8:14 avg pace) or won any prizes like soooooome people, but I had a ball. I felt better on my third lap than the previous two and finished strong. I didn’t even notice Rosebud was there, which is the best part of it all and totally the point of having surgery in the first place.

I’d be lying if I told you I wasn’t bummed to be the last of our team to finish or that I didn’t match last year’s time. Yeah, I was bummed. For approximately 10 seconds and then I realized how far I’d come and how happy I was to be there and how awesome it felt to run with friends and be smiling afterwards. Not that I don’t have my moments, but this was just too much fun to get down on myself about finishing 30th in my age group. A friend told me to “run happy” and so I did.


Ready for the Marine Corps? You bet.

Now go out and run!

Go the Distance

First off, thank you all for your kind words of encouragement yesterday. It’s overwhelming to receive such an outpouring of support from so many and I’m grateful for each and every one of you who read, commented, and “liked” my “coming out of the bathroom” post. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me–it has! Five pounds of colon, to be exact 🙂

Colon-free and kicking ass!

Now when I go to wipe my face with my shirt in Central Park, I won’t be so shy about Rosebud showing because all of you will be like, “What? It’s just an ostomy. NBD.” (No Big Deal for the short-hand illiterate like myself)

This past weekend, I ran NYC’s Summer Streets with several of my lululemon friends and family. We ran about 13 miles down and over the Brooklyn Bridge. It was glorious!

This is actually from last year, but you get the idea. Awesome views from the bridge!

As we trekked down Park Avenue with several hundred other runners, we chatted about life, running, training, and what-not. The miles ticked on by and before we knew it, we were turning around, barely winded and ready to head back uptown.

Grand Central Station, where did you come from? Only one mile left!

I haven’t felt so relaxed on a long run in ages! No bathroom break panics, no oh-my-God-it’s-so-hot-I-gotta-stop-before-I-die moments, no “are we there yet?!” moaning and groaning. Just 13 chatty, easy miles.

In order to go the distance of a marathon (or any other race), you gotta go the distance in your weekly workouts. Long runs aren’t meant to be speedy, they are meant to be long. I have a strict rule that I must feel good at the end of a long run, not dead dog tired.

Save the speed for your Yasso 800s and tempo runs. Save the marathon goal pace workouts for the middle of the week. Save the sprinting for the finish. Use your long runs to go long, go easy, and finish feeling like you could have gone longer.

That’s how Kara Goucher trains. And we all wanna run like Kara, don’t we? (again, I have to credit Erica for this awesome photo)

Matt Fitzgerald over at Competitor Magazine found that most elite athletes do more than 2/3 of their workouts at significantly slower than race pace. The goal is to run and keep running.

“Studies on the training intensity distribution of elite runners have found that most elite runners run at low intensities most of the time. For example, a survey of male and female runners who competed in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Men’s and Women’s Marathons revealed that the men did almost three-quarters of their training slower than their marathon race pace, while women did more than two-thirds of their training at slower paces.”

Sum it up: No burn out.

Promise you, this is the way to train for your marathon and enjoy training for your marathon. After all, it is the journey, isn’t it? What are you waiting for, grab a friend and hit the road!

One handed! Peanut will be my running buddy very soon. And from the looks of it, my shopping buddy, too!

Now go out and run.