Sweet Things

I had such a nice birthday on Wednesday. Lovely cards, flowers, and phone calls and songs from friends, all my siblings, the Obi-wans, and my sweet baby niece. All she said was, “No” but it was fun to hear her little voice all the same.

I mean, who wouldn't want to hear from this sweet little baby girl? And her shoes are soooo snazzy!

I mean, who wouldn’t want to hear from this sweet little baby girl? And her shoes are soooo snazzy!

Peonies are the sweetest smelling flowers. If you haven’t ever been to New York in the Springtime, you need to get here immediately. All the corner stores and flowers shops are teeming with gorgeous peonies for about 4 weeks.

I not-so-subtlety hint that peonies are in season to JB every year.

I not-so-subtlety hint that peonies are in season to JB every year.

And then they disappear for the rest of the year. But it’s always so lovely to have them around for those 4 weeks.

Gotta stop and smell the peonies every now and again.

Gotta stop and smell the peonies every now and again.

Birthdays are so special to me. This year is especially awesome because it’s the start of a whole new year of healthy Abby. And I kicked it off the best way I know how–an 8 mile run in Central Park at dawn.

And I loved every step of it.

I didn’t have any special birthday dessert yesterday. Partly because I was so beat after work that I absolutely couldn’t imagine going out and party because I’m saving my cupcake celebration for this Saturday’s Cupcake Run.

Cupcake stickers instead of race bibs.

Cupcake stickers instead of race bibs.

Can’t wait to see all of you there! 8:30am at the 72nd St. Transverse at the top of the Bethesda Fountain stairs. $10 for the fun run and then meet us at the E. 66th St. lululemon for cupcakes!

All proceeds go to Team Challenge, which is a cause very close to my heart.

Oh, and non-runners who want to enjoy cupcakes are welcome, too. Meet us at the store around 9:15am for some sweet things. Don’t forget to bring cash for the raffle, including a villa in Mexico.

These are a few of my favorite things...to give away!

These are a few of my favorite things…to give away!

Anyway, hope you all have had a little bit of sweetness in your week, too. Two more weeks of crazy hospital…stuff and then I’m FREE AS A BIRD!!!

See y’all on Saturday.

Now go out and run!

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The Cupcake Run

I like cake.

My love of cake started very young with ice cream cakes from Carvel.

My love of cake started very young with ice cream cakes from Carvel.

I mean, what’s not to like?

As I honed my baking skills, I often made cakes for dessert. Lucky me, I have a big family and there was not usually too much left over for any one of use to indulge in for more than two days.

Not so now, as it’s only JB and me. Trouble in Bakery Land.

Always Mom's helper when it comes to Christmas cookies. Plus, I get first dibs on them straight out of the oven!

Always Mom’s helper when it comes to Christmas cookies. Plus, I get first dibs on them straight out of the oven! Note the cupcake pajama bottoms.

Thankfully, in New York City, there are plenty of places to get just one cupcake. And they are all different and hit the spot, depending on what I’m craving.

So why not pair two of my favorite things for one great cause?

Cupcakes + running + fundraising for Team Challenge = awesome way to spend a Saturday!

Hello, Cupcake Run!

Details:

  • What: The Cupcake Run
  • Where: Central Park 72nd Street Transverse at the top of the steps in front of Bethesda Fountain
  • When: Saturday, May 25th at 8:30am
  • Cost: $10 donation to the CCFA via my fundraising page OR $10 cash at the race 🙂
  • Bonus: After the race, enjoy cupcakes from different local bakeries AND buy raffle tickets ($5/each) for my amazing raffle (psssst…don’t forget about the villa for 10 in Mexico that’s up for grabs!)
  • Course: 4 mile 72nd St. Transverse to 102nd St. Transverse loop + 1 mile to the Lululemon store on 3rd Ave between 66th & 67th Sts. where the cupcakes will be!
What's that you say? You like winning prizes? I got you covered all over the place.

What’s that you say? You like winning prizes? I got you covered all over the place.

How do you register in advance? Make a $10 (or more!) donation here. How do you show up and register? Bring $10 on the morning of the run and give it to me to get your race “bib”. Don’t forget to bring cash for the raffle!

Questions?

  • Is this an official race? No.
  • Will there be time chips or a gun start? No.
  • Is this a fun run that anyone can do? Yes.
  • Do I have to run the whole 5 mile course? No.
  • Will there be cupcakes for the runners bringing up the rear? As long as you’re at the store before 9:30am.
  • Can I run it remotely? Sure. I just can’t ship you cupcakes!
If I can find them, there will be Bronx Bombers cupcakes. Go Yankees!

If I can find them, there will be Bronx Bombers cupcakes. Go Yankees!

Can’t wait to see you all out there next weekend. Don’t forget to tell your friends.

Admit it, you always want a cupcake after you run. Here’s your chance.

Now go out and run!

Pushing Limits

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!! to all of you who have already signed up for the Kick Ass Virtual 5K on Tuesday, April 9th. I reached over $1500 in donations as of today and am SUPER excited to share all the raffle prizes that have been rolling in.

Sneak peak and hoping to add more!!!

Sneak peak and hoping to add more!!!

If you or someone you know would like to donate a raffle item, contact me!!!! (runstrongereveryday@gmail.com) And don’t forget to sign up for the Kick Ass 5K! Or you can just donate to my page 🙂

This whole $20,000 goal is so far outside of my comfort zone, I can’t even tell you. I don’t really think I’m going to hit it. I know I should “believe” I will but I don’t. It’s a goal. It’s a very public goal. I’ll probably fail. It’s scary to fail so publicly to reach my goal.

On the track, in the gym, on the road, I’m pushing hard so that when I toe the half marathon line, I know I did my best to get there. Training is the easy part.

Running til I feel like this. I call it "Panting dog".

Running til I feel like this. I call it “Panting dog”.

It’s easy for me to push my body. It’s much more difficult for me to push my personal life goals. When my body gives out, there’s a reason I can trace back to fix and it’s not usually my fault. I like to push my body to the limit.

When I fail at a life goal, I feel like a total and complete FAILURE.

So I don’t push those limits. Well, I didn’t until the past few years. Putting together this Virtual 5K for (essentially) me makes me uncomfortable. I’d much rather just give them all of my money and not risk the failure.

I'd much rather run a 5K for something/someone else than for myself buuuuut, there are a lot of IBD-ers out there so I'll run for them!

I’d much rather run a 5K for something/someone else than for myself buuuuut, there are a lot of IBD-ers out there so I’ll run for them!

But there are kids with IBD. There are kids who will never know life as anything other than being the “sick”. There are people out there who live every day with pain and drugs and just the worst of the worst of it and I won’t be too chicken to set a $20,000 goal because I’m afraid I won’t meet it.

So here I am. Me and $18,500 more to raise. Watch me push that limit all the way til June 8th when I push my body in Chicago.

Gauntlet thrown.

Now 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

Don’t Freak Out

One of my not-so-favorite parts about this time of year is all the diet talk. It’s EVERYWHERE.

Twitter, Facebook, blogs, magazines, discount websites, and in every single conversation I overhear at the nail salon.

Image courtesy of Harper's Bazaar

Image courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar

A “Nine Day Wonder Diet”?!?! Do you know what you could do in 9 days that would do wonders? Get some sleep, drink some water, run some miles, and smile more often.

But NOOOOOOOOOOO. Harper’s Bazaar and every other magazine out there wants you to think they have a “Wonder Diet” that will miraculously make you look like Heidi Klum. Seriously, Heidi. Your body is sick. I know you work for it, so I don’t begrudge you, but my GOD you look fantastic!

Heidi runs on the river! Me, too! See you out there, girlfriend. (Image courtesy of Zimbio.com)

Heidi runs on the river! Me, too! See you out there, girlfriend.           (Image courtesy of Zimbio.com)

Here’s the thing. Holidays are festive. There are parties, finals, parties after finals, big dinners, late-night festivities, and COOKIES GALORE!!!! this time of year. It’s ok to enjoy the merriment of the season.

It is NOT, however, ok to…

  1. Stuff yourself and then complain you’re fat.
  2. Eat nothing and passive aggressively criticize everyone else who is.
  3. Get wasted every night, miss your morning run, and then whine about your slower 10K time.
  4. Run 100 miles this week because you had some delicious white chocolate fudge.
  5. Stress eat, abandon your workouts, pull all-nighters, and then starve yourself for a week.

Get a grip.

C is for Cookie and that's good enough for me. A life mantra, if you will.

C is for Cookie and that’s good enough for me. A life mantra, if you will.

This is not a healthy eating blog because, well, no one should model their eating off of me and my J-pouch diet (I’m still in need of a clever name for my pouch, by the way…). But runners are no less susceptible to the holiday food backlash than anyone else. We’re human after all.

Except Oscar. He is superhuman. (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

Except Oscar. He is superhuman.                             (Image courtesy of the Washington Post)

So, keep running. Keep training. Have a merry, happy, wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your family and friends and that weird co-worker whose much more fun that you originally thought. Don’t go bananas but don’t also be that Judgemental Judy in the corner with your carrot sticks, scowling at everyone eating a cupcake off the dessert tray. No one likes that party guest.

Ignore the magazines and do what you do. Just don’t overdo.

Maybe get involved with the Runner’s World Streak (albeit a few weeks late) or try the Refine Method Challenge or check out Cooking Light‘s delicious holiday cookies. I’m a raspberry stripper fan, myself.

Mmmmm...can't get enough of these! Good thing they're kind of a pain in the butt to make.

Mmmmm…can’t get enough of these! Good thing they’re kind of a pain in the butt to make.

And if eggnog is what gets you through dinner with your family, then so be it. My personal preference is prosecco or sauvignon blanc, but desperate times call for desperate measures and if there’s alcohol in it, I’m drinking it. Enjoy the holidays, friends.

And don’t forget to go out and run!

P.S. Today is the last day of Crohn’s and Colitis Awareness Week. I want to thank you all for your kind words and for spreading awareness about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. In case you ever want to know where you can learn more or donate to the cause, there is a great non-profit called The Great Bowel Movement whose founders are some very lovely ladies I have the pleasure to know.

And if you ever want to raise money for the CCFA, Team Challenge is national and they do seriously fun half-marathons in places like Napa and Vegas. Helllllllloooo, Vegas 2013 anyone?

Thank you again for your continuing support of my super-sexy journey with this disease. Now go out and run!

BOOM! Ask me!!

BOOM! Ask me!!