I'm used to running 4-5 days a week, and the Crohn's infection I've had for the last six months has sidelined me. I've tried walking, and I've been doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) videos at home. But nothing replaces running. Nothing clears the cobwebs out of my head like a hard run. I haven't run more than 4 miles since the Detroit Half Marathon last October. It's my biggest running drought in a decade, and it's taking a mental toll.
I've been thinking maybe I should take an exercise class. Maybe signing up for yoga or something will motivate me. Maybe what I need is to play with others instead of trying to power through it on my own.
Last week I got back into the pool to swim laps for the first time (minus one time in Colorado last fall) since my son was born. My arms were on fire, and I was mostly able to get into a zone. It's not running, but it hurts pretty good. Here's my problem with the pool: people bug me. The only time I could go last week was late afternoon, and three lanes were taken up by an aqua aerobics class. One day I had to share a lane with a guy who was not really interested in sharing a lane. I was hugging the lane divider while he kicked me every time he passed me. I did not get in the zone. I got a good workout, but I hated having to be around other people.
I'm not antisocial; as a matter of fact I'm quite the opposite. But my socially ambitious calendar requires some time to myself. If I don't in a reflective workout, I'm a grouchy human.
That brings me to my love, running. I ran on the treadmill today for 20 minutes. It felt amazing while I was running. Then I got home, my runner's high wore off, and I took four Advil to numb the pain of my Crohn's infection. Crohn's is an asshole. Literally. Before I ran I knew it wasn't a good idea, and I'd planned to only walk. But then I simply couldn't help myself. I'm an addict.
My doctor still can't figure it out. I've been on antibiotics six times this past year. I've been hospitalized three times. I switched medication and give myself weekly injections of Humira. And yet the infection lingers like that stalker I dated in my mid-twenties (awkward). If I could change my phone number and move to get rid of this infection I'd do it.
Last summer I blogged that having a chronic illness is like having one's body invaded by aliens. I wrote that before this infection, and now I feel like there may be a colony of aliens inhabiting my body and it's not cool. I'm not patient. I don't play well with others, so group classes and relying solely on the pool for my workout fix isn't going to cut it. I need to run again. I long for the days when I can run for 2-3 hours on a Saturday morning. Does that sound crazy? You bet your ass it does.
In the scheme of life this time will be short. I understand that logically except that I don't. What if this is the new normal? What if this infection stays for six more months or years? What if I can't run anymore? I don't know who I am if part of me, a big part, isn't a runner. It scares me.
Okay here's the deal Crohn's: you don't get to win. You don't. You've had your fifteen minutes (ahem 19 years), and now I need you to get back into the background like a good autoimmune disease. I've got races to check off my bucket list, miles to run, and most importantly a precious small human and awesome husband who need me to be there. I'm taking it one day at a time, and I'm not always my cheerful self. I'll try to play well with others while this gets resolved. I can't make any promises.