Thursday, December 31, 2015

And Just Like That 2015 is OVER - TOL

It's like it was meant to be, the final day of 2015 falling on a Thursday just in time for one final Thinking Out Loud post! 

I feel like this year flew by. Is it just me or the older you get, the quicker time goes by? 

This year has been filled with some tremendous highs and some serious lows. 

The first half of 2015 was pretty damn shitty. I was in the depths of a Crohn's flare and if I am honest was pretty depressed. I tried to put on a happy face because that is what you do, fake it til you make it, right? But in all honesty looking back, I was teetering on the edge of depression. 

LUCKILY remicade has been a lifesaver. Knock on wood but I haven't felt this good in years and think that I am due some time feeling healthy. 

On the running front things were quite dismal for the better part of 7 or 8 months. I was running 12 minute miles in the spring and then bam fall came and all of a sudden as I got healthier I got fast. 

I PR'd the crap out of the 5K, 10K and 5 Mile totally unexpected but 100% thrilled that it started to click again. 

I ended the year on an awesome vacation, the first one that was totally selfish. I have had a couple years of commitments based on bachelorette parties and weddings and this was all about getting away for no reason at all; and it was one hell of a time. 

Work was a roller coaster per usual but I am happy with how I continue to grow within the company. I have set some new goals for myself and am excited to further develop. 

I am not one for resolutions and really only have a couple of goals that I have set thus far. 

Of course a running goal. Last year I was sick and was just happy with the ability TO run, be it slow and riddled with bathroom stops. 

This year, I am planning on taking down my half marathon PR. I will first attempt that at the NOLA Rock N Roll Half at the end of February. This means sub 1:53 - based on how I was racing in fall I think I have a solid shot as long as training progresses well. I don't plan on running a full again until I get that HM PR so hopefully it comes this spring so I can chase my 26.2 marathon goals ;) 

Next up is to work on debt and savings. I had to move at the end of last year unexpectedly so was not financially prepared - plus more than doubled my monthly expenses which has taken a toll.  I also had quite the expensive year with weddings and all that jazz so my finances are not where I want them. So the goal is to dig myself out of it by the end of 2016. Because to not have debt looming would be amazing. 

So basically run, and save money. 

Here's wishing everyone a happy and healthy new year! I usually do not go out but this year will be enjoying a lovely dinner and then dancing my booty off! Catch you in 2016!! 

Monday, December 28, 2015

Vacation Helped Me Relearn Healthy Habits

Over the holidays I was away for just about two weeks. 

First up was a 7 day cruise and then followed by time with my parents in Florida. 

This was to be my first time cruising but all I kept hearing was how I would come back "10 pounds heavier!". 

Happy to report, that did NOT happen. 

I actually wound up coming back home almost 5 pounds lighter! 

I was happy to see this, and I can actually thank the cruise for helping me reset some better habits (but trust me I thoroughly enjoyed myself - please see evidence of prosecco all day, every day below).

I am a definite boredom eater, and this is mainly at night after dinner. I know in theory I am not hungry but want to eat something. I also have a bad habit of not portioning it out and eating right out of a bag/container. 

On the cruise, yes, you have unlimited buffets. At dinner as we soon learned you can order multiple of each course (try all the things!) but it was a more formal sit down. But I also did not overdo it. I kept saying I wanted soft serve ice cream from the buffet but in theory I never really wanted it and never had it. Also being in a bikini basically 12 hours a day who wants to overeat? The portion sizes served at dinner were correct. Not our American sizes. An appetizer was just that, a bite before the main course. I have a very bad habit of thinking I am hungrier than I am and portioning out massive amounts; what I was served was just right.  

And let's not forget every night we were dancing for several hours. 

I did work out most days - I only took two days off in the two weeks like I normally do - but intensity was less. I will say time and time again the less I work out, the easier it is for me to lose weight. 

Once leaving the ship I made the resolution to stop the mindless eating and get back to portioning. It is an awful habit and I don't like it. I don't necessarily care about what I weigh but I do care about how I look. Today I am wearing a pair of pants I bought massively on sale prior to the holidays but had a little muffin top in prior; now I am wearing them with a shirt tucked in!

Vanity is a big motivator and I am hoping to see if I can lean out some more - which should only help with my racing goals. 

It is kind of ironic though that not only have I made it through the holidays but a long vacation and lost weight without trying. Vacation was awesome but the fact that it helped me reset my eating habits is a welcome bonus.

Now to go book another cruise asap! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Crohn's Remission

I have waited a long time to write this post. 

A year to be exact. 

There were some dark times as I went through my flare but it started years before even being diagnosed. 

I had been cautiously optimistic after my last remicade appointment. My wonderful GI doc had doubled my usual dose to the highest maximum allowed to try and kick me into remission. Within a couple of days, my lingering symptoms were gone. 

At the same time I received two more iron infusions as my levels had plummeted once again. Then it turned to a waiting game. 

I kept waiting for the return of symptoms but after a month or so started to think about it less. 

I raced when feeling less than ideal (usually my own fault, because, wine) - and was setting PRs. 

Three to be exact in the 5K, 10K and 5 mile and started to gain confidence. 

I went to my hematologist for blood work last week and when we got the lab results we were equally floored.

I started at an iron level of 2, peaked at 14 before it slumped again and just came back at a 181 - off the charts. 

I spent this morning hooked up to my favorite IV and based on symptoms (aka basically NONE) for all intent and purposes I am in remission (we have to do a colonoscopy to check how the ulcers are still). 

Living that Remicade life.
This is as good as it gets folks. There is no cure but hopefully I remain flare free for a very long time. 

Even as I started feeling better in the latter part of this year I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and the flare to return (case and point I refused to use my vacation due to wanting to have a bank in case I got real sick again. I now have a month accrued...and am taking two weeks of starting next weekend thank you very much). 

But now, my mentality has done a total 180. Most days I feel amazing, or you know, normal.  But to feel normal and healthy IS amazing. I still get some issues every now and again but I can push through more as an "inconvenience" versus before being knocked out and sidelined. 

I am thankful. I am so so so very thankful. For those who have supported me through the darkest time, as well as for modern medicine. There may not be a cure but the advances made thus far have gotten me to this point and allowed me to regain my life.

I am thankful for a team of doctors that would not let me accept that feeling 75% as okay. I am thankful that they never once tried to deter me from leading an active lifestyle. I am thankful for the blogging community that has connected me with others in the same position and helped me see that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. 

I've never felt so blessed.