Sunday, April 26, 2015

Need for Speed!

I am finally getting pretty consistent in my running. As I was trying to get out of the Crohn's flare I finally broke up with forcing myself to run. I was being stubborn until January or so when I finally abandoned it. Every run was miserable and I think it was stressing me out even more which was definitely not needed. So I turned to stair climbing, elliptical and spin for a while. 

The same week I started Remicade I began to feel better and eased back in. 

The past couple of weeks I have finally been able to hit 20+ miles! 

But, these runs are all easy and pitifully slow. 10 - 12 minute miles. I will do some surges and add some speed but not much. I still feel awfully out of shape and just slow as heck. I can't remember the last time that 10 minute miles was not my easy pace. It makes me sad but I am also trying to respect that my body is healing and just be happy that I can run.

That being said I decided that it is time to get down to business and integrate speed work back in if I have any hope of returning to the paces that I once was at. So this week I threw down some 400's! 

I have no idea WHAT my goal paces should be - and I did this on the treadmill so I just started sub 9 and worked my way down:

8:57, 8:52, 8:49, 8:41, 8:37, 8:34, 8:32, 8:20

I am not going to lie towards the end I was feeling it, but that feeling of pushing and more importantly being able to push, oh how I missed it. So the goal is to continue to keep the mileage at least at 20 per week and also have one speed session. I am not training for anything. I am just building a base at this point. I might go do some races just for kicks but there aren't any goals at this point, I have a lot of work to do. 

Before I really got "sick" my half marathon pace on a weekly basis was in the 8:30's one day I will get back there. Just kind of sad to see how hard the speed work was at those paces (indoors) and to know I used to bang out 13.1 miles at that. Sigh. 

Next up...working up the courage to run outside. It scares the shit out of me (haha see what I did there?!) and I need to get over relying on the treadmill if I do ever want to regain the speed in general. I have my eye on it happening this week. Wish me luck! 

Friday, April 24, 2015

Final Weight Watchers Weigh In

Today was my final weigh in for weight watchers. I decided not to renew because, money, and after 3 months I think I have got my healthy habits on a roll.

I decided to rejoin after seeing a number on the scale that was leading to a frightening trend of getting back to a size I vowed to never see again.

The final result was in the 3 months I lost 12 pounds total.

I have reigned myself back in to practicing balance and sensibility. I am not nor will not eliminate food groups. I like wine, beer, burgers and fries way too much and ate all these (plus anything else I wanted) during my time on weight watchers. I still think it is a great program to help learn or in my case relearn moderation and balance.

I still struggle with binge eating boredom. I counter this for the most part by just not keeping snacky foods in the house. If I am dying for something it usually means going out to the store. And lately I have instead just gone for a long walk instead and by the time I am done I know that I don’t really want it.

I also still struggle with labeling food good/bad and having guilt feelings towards certain foods. While I do eat what I want, some times it takes days before I will indulge (current case froyo which loaded with toppings yes is a calorie bomb and I have trouble "justifying" it). 

Coming from being obese at one point, losing weight in the beginning unhealthily and disordered eating still haunts me on the daily. But, I try. 

So goals for now? In conjunction with shedding some weight the Crohn’s seems to be heading into remission which means it is a perfect time to begin building a base for fall racing.

I want to build muscle (which in turn will help shed fat) so for now am not necessarily focused on a number on the scale (although I think I probably could gain muscle shed fat and probably be 5 – 10 pounds less the stomach still has plenty to shed).

My goals are more fitness related vs. a goal weight. I want to be able to do things like pushups with ease. I want to at some point in my life be able to haul my body up in a pullup! I want 9 minute miles to be comfortable again. I am being patient with all those because the Crohn’s killed my body the past couple years but in due time.

Losing some weight was absolutely necessary and just a jump start to getting back to where I want physically.

The fact that skinny jeans are now comfortable again and I am looking better closer to summer (yes, vanity and Miami trip I am looking at you) is just a plus.  

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weight Watchers Week 12

So I don't have much to say because:

Weeks weight loss = +5.0 lbs

Total loss to date = 9.4 lbs 

And no, I am not naive enough to believe that I managed to gain 5 pounds in a span of 7 days (that would be quite impressive). I don't even think I gained a single pound. 

This is a couple things. 

Last week I thought the loss was a fluke (but that was about a pound). 

This week I have been bloated and retaining water. Visually noticeable. My calves were in serious pain all week and they were definitely bigger (as the lovely BF told me as he squeezed them and I grimaced in pain).

Plus it is that time of month. So water weight on top of water weight. The calves are both feeling better, I still don't know what created that but basically I was going to not even report this week but would rather be truthful. 

I was within my points all week and didn't really use activity or weekly (which can also have a negative effect I have learned), had some of my best runs (yay 7 miles last night!) and workouts but knew the bloat was happening so stepped on the scale and took the number with a grain of salt. 

Now lets hope I depuff soon because right now I feel like the Marshmallow Man.

Off for a fab dinner date of wine and pasta - that is how I feel about "weight gain" !

Happy weekend! 

Friday, April 10, 2015

Weight Watchers Week 11

So truth time, I definitely did not track on Easter (although hosted and literally only ate one meal which was deeeelicious), and tracked quite a few days through dinner then didn't input my evenings. I also think dehydration is the reason why I had a weight loss this week. I had wine last night and my stomach is definitely not feeling it's best today. 

Weeks weight loss = 1.0 lbs

Total loss to date = 14.4 lbs 

The good news is this was the week I decided to return to the morning workout club! 

Holy crap I forgot how good it felt to not have your workout hanging over your head all day long! 

Minus today because #wine

As mentioned in my post earlier this week, this time around the Remicade didn't knock me out and I actually felt an energy boost, which has been nice. But let's also mention how of course this week the mornings were all freezing and rainy. What the hell spring? 30's in April, I think Mother Nature is a wee bit confused. 

Anyways. Trucking along. I need to get better this week. I have bikinis to wear in June in South Beach. (vanity can always motivate ;)

AND I am finally over jelly beans. I thought it would never happen. I had 4 the other day and was just like, eww, no. The unthinkable has happened! Yay! 

...but has been replaced by donut cravings. 

Just can't win. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Me vs. Crohn’s: I think I am Finally Winning

Monday was my second Remicade infusion. In the past 2 ½ weeks it is mind boggling just how much BETTER life has gotten.

Let me back up a little with a little time line though, and brace yourself this is lengthy:

Symptoms began as far as I can recollect back in 2012. That also coincides with when I got more “serious” with distance running. I was racing a lot (at one point I think I ran about 6 half marathons over 8 weeks). And when I went to the doctor concerned I was told it was running induced and dismissed. I figured fair enough I have a “sensitive” stomach and running was intensifying things - everyone talks about that it seemed logical. 

I tweaked food choices. I got pretty thin the summer of 2012 because I was basically scared of food. 

Continued to struggle though marathon training cycles. I would have a few months of nothing more than “urges” on runs then followed by a few months of really really shitty can’t even attempt to run outside type training. I think I trained the majority of my cycle leading up to my goal marathon fall 2013 on the treadmill (which would probably prove my demise and DNF in that marathon).

I tapered back the running going into 2014 totally burned out before signing up for Chicago and NYCM again. I had a pretty stellar summer of running. I would have to stop MOST long runs but it wasn’t awful. I specifically remember having a date night at Dos Caminos the day before a 20 miler getting drunk eating cheesy, bean goodness and being totally fine the next day for the long run. It was as if I was daring my “sensitive stomach” to react and it didn’t. I thought yay I don’t have to be so careful.

Then the week before Chicago shit got real. As I was tapering I started to feel like crap. I tried to stay positive but all of a sudden everything that had gone right for the past few months disappeared and I was miserable. And then Chicago happened and I was in every portapotty at every stop on the course. I cried. I was miserable. I threw my Garmin at my friend around mile 16. But still chalking it up to my stomach being sensitive.

I tried to ignore just how not normal it was (blood like a lot of blood all the time) and spending up to 20 trips a day in the bathroom.

Then NYCM happened and I think I literally only ate Kaiser rolls and grilled chicken for a week preceding hoping to be okay and I miraculously wasn’t quite as miserable.

But then a downward spiral continued. I finally went to my doctor and she immediately was like – You know absolutely nothing about this is even borderline normal and you need a specialist immediately. She also made me go gluten and dairy free.

Things got even worse. I finally make it to the GI and he seems awesome! He listens and schedules a colonoscopy for 2 days later.

Colonoscopy happens. He immediately puts me on Canasa as he awaits biopsy results but says it looks like Crohn’s. I wait. It’s the holidays.

He tells me the results are inconclusive yet puts me on Asacol. I cry. I am frustrated. He is putting me on medications but saying he doesn’t know. I am perplexed. I reach out to social media to use it for its powers of good and get a doctor recommendation.

I go to my new doctor who takes one look at my colonoscopy results and tells me, yes he is 90% sure this is Crohn’s. At the time I am feeling a bit better on the Asacol and we continue on that path. (side note he is awesome – he spent 2 hours with me that first day).

About a week later everything falls apart and I start getting sicker than I have been yet. He schedules me for a flex sigmoidoscopy. I get to be awake during this, yay! Immediately he diagnoses me as severe and puts me on Prednisone and Rowasa. I get a little sad but happy we are stepping up our game.

A week later, I am not improving and seriously getting worse. He goes through some options but decide that Remicade is the best course of action given the severity and non-responsiveness of steroids. We begin the approval process with my insurance and a week later it is being shipped to my doctor.

That Monday for the first infusion I said some prayers that this would be the answer. I honestly wasn’t even that concerned or sad that it had gotten to this I was just hoping this would help. The infusion went fine. No reactions and I left in a Benadryl daze (take Benadryl for the infusion) and went home.

That night and the day after I felt like a bus had hit me and was a little sad to feel so crappy BUT within 48 hours I was getting better symptom wise. I wasn’t running to the bathroom throughout the night, bleeding was slowing down, and I could make it through a meeting at work not desperate to leave for the bathroom.

About 10 days after that initial infusion as I got on the train I realized I didn’t seek out the train car with the bathroom. I WASN’T WORRIED. After 6 months of plotting my life out around bathrooms and avoiding things because I wasn’t sure of having access, I finally felt I was going to regain my life.

I had my 2nd infusion on Monday and this time I felt fine after and the following day. In fact I had more energy! I even ran Tuesday and this morning BEFORE work. I haven’t worked out before work in months.

I have so much hope now. I got to a very dark place for a while. My non-existent iron levels had me doing nothing but work, gym and sleep. I was stubborn in that I more or less kept up a gym routine but good lord I was fucking tired as shit for months. Every class I took yoga, spin, running, boot camp I gave a disclaimer to the instructor that if I ran out there was a reason.

For some reason my symptoms would get the worst the second I went to bed. I would be up the majority of the night running back and forth bed to bathroom. I occasionally brought my pillow to the hallway and laid down outside the bathroom because it would get exhausting. Then trying to actually get to work and being afraid to leave my house for the train…it was awful. Running to the bathroom constantly at work was taxing. Especially when the bathrooms closest to you are off the kitchenette. Hi that is fun.

But now, it is amazing how a couple of good weeks can erase months (and quite frankly years) of feeling awful. I am hopeful that the positive reaction I am having to the Remicade continues and won’t stop. I know many have had success for years and am hoping for that same success rate.

But basically, it feels good to have my life back. I finally feel like I can reclaim normalcy as we get to remission.

And if you are still with me, thank you! I have had so many messages that have picked up my spirit and lifted me even when I was at my lowest. It helped oh so much when you feel so alone. It has truly been appreciated!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Weight Watchers Weeks 8, 9 & 10 (oops!)

Umm my bad it has been a few weeks. 

But, it was admittedly intentional. I am one of those people who weighs themselves multiple times a week - and my weight was fluctuating on the daily by up to 7 pounds. I started new medication. I had some reactions and decided to give myself some time to adjust and not officially record because I knew none of the numbers were realistic. Things seemed to have leveled out so back on that bandwagon again. Although I have another Remicade infusion on Monday so the same thing could happen again but we will see. 

Weeks weight loss = .8 lbs

Total loss to date = 13.4 lbs 

So there is that. My weight has mostly stayed the same. To be honest I am tracking BUT I have been having some really snacky episodes that I need to stop. Boredom eating at night has come back with a vengeance so I am going to be very conscious of that this coming week. 

I will update another time but so far, the Remicade has been a wonder drug for me. Things got SO much better pretty quick. It is almost 2 weeks and today has been a little rough but Monday I go again so hope that it gets back on track with me healing. 

Anyways that is all for now, and I seriously cannot wait for Easter to be over and done. I have eaten #allthejellybeans and hoping that the novelty wears off once they are out of the store from the holiday! 

Someone remind me to give them up for Lent next year!

Happy Easter, and Passover!