Life and Living with Crohn's Disease

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Lyfe Swirlgear The Long Run Tough Talk

Kelly Clarkson is a Wise, Wise Woman #TheLongRun

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My first half, VA Wine Country half, 2012

This weekend I am headed home to ATL to pace my mom as she walks the Publix Georgia Half Marathon! And you know that I will be wearing my Brooks and Swirlgear! Details of the preview party to come!–


Represent. #SwirlON

Okay, guys, I hope that you have fueled properly, this is a long one. But it is full of things that I have to get out. Plus, if you stick it out, I will send you virtual cookies. (nerd joke)

This weekend I was supposed to be running my first half marathon of the year. Yeah, well we all know what happened with that: Four weeks ago this weekend, I parted ways with the restaurant. The next day, I pulled my hamstring, just two weeks after coming back from a calf strain that kept me from running for 2 weeks in January. So, if you do the math, though I wasn’t hurt November or December, I have since enjoyed a whopping total of about 4 weeks of running since the start of 2014. Le SSSssiiiiigghhhhh.

The January Suz was none-too-happy about that forced respite. But then again, I must also stress that there was little about the January Suz that was happy: discontent with the lack of forward movement and waiting to hear about “opportunities” (snort), temperatures both outdoors as well as indoors that taught me new meanings to “freezing all the time,” and barely seeing Alex after having enjoyed so much time with him mid-December through our trip to Mexico all served to break me down mentally and physically. I complained of spinning my wheelsneeding a reboot, and then feeling like I had finally gotten one. But it wasn’t until I simultaneously got what I wanted (a clean break from the restaurant) with what I didn’t want (unemployment and an injury) that I was forced to sit down and really figure out how I was going to regroup, not just reboot. My next steps haven’t been about starting over, but moving forward.

since youve been gone

Since running has been gone, I have worked hard as h-e-double hockey sticks. I am KILLING it in PT. I do my exercises nearly everyday (and you better believe I took my bands to PGH as well as to the WITSummit!), and I am following Missy’s instructions to a T. A big part of my dedication to this is the fact that these sessions are absolutely precious to me–I have a very limited number of opportunities to get worked on, and also, these people have become dear friends.

How Caitlin and I roll before/after we foam roll


Cross training in the gym and the kitchen. Yoga (now that I trust that it is beneficial for my injury), swimming, spinning, PT, etc. I like having a plan. I like knowing that I have spent the time to work towards something. Food-wise, it is obvious that I like the things that I like (thus my various pantry staples, sauce staples). I like clean flavors, I like to eat things that I know are satisfying, and let’s be honest, sometimes I’m just lazy.

blueberry pastaeditedBut I also need to mix it up–thus why I am not big on major food prep extravaganzas that you see EVERYWHERE. If I do make a lot of something, you better believe that half of it is going into the freezer. And now that I am no longer relying on the same things day in and day out–it is MY CHOICE to do so, if I do (also, I have not had string cheese since I left the resto, haha). And sometimes you just need to get your a$$ handed to you (by this, I simply mean forced to step out and try new things).

I am healthier, physically and emotionally. Look at the posts that I wrote in January, early February, and now–you will notice how cold I am–my body was breaking down. I am someone whose mental and physical well being are closely linked. This is as much a Crohn’s thing (stress and hormones are often triggers for Crohnies–thus why the disease is very common in type A, white, upper-middle class females. THERE”SYOURSIGN) as well as a Susie-thing–I carry my mental pain in a physical way. I was seeing Alex for about 8 waking hours A WEEK, and I have few to no friends physically located in Chicago. Furthermore, my closest friends largely have real jobs, so our time-tables rarely matched up. The stress of the job itself, the demands of fueling (my fueling helped me survive, but my body was burning too many calories just simply trying to stay warm)–I was making it work, but in an “I’m surviving” way. Return to the living.


I am working harder at more effortlessly pursuing and maintaining new and old friendships. My trip to see Caitlin, who I don’t go a day without talking to via text; pursing the Ramblen ambassadorship and starting a real friendship with Danielle; growing
with Swirlgear; catching up with my oldest girlfriends this week via phone; going home and seeing my mom this weekend; trying to network and develop new relationships through the blog (HI FRIENDS) as well as trying to start some relationships here in Chicago (a work in progress, considering the current travel schedule).

I am accepting truths that I have known for a long time to be true: preservation, as in, professional preservation advocacy via non-profits is not for me (at least not now). And honestly, it never has been what I wanted. I got the wrong graduate degree–and I knew I was heading there 2 weeks into the 2nd semester. Should an opportunity arise in the architectural history side of things (or architecture, if I am so lucky), I will consider it. It’s been a long 5 YEARS OF LOOKING FOR A JOB–I haven’t been looking for a job for just the past 9 months. Try 5+ years.  But preservation? It just isn’t me, at least not me right now–I would feel like I was doing the organizations I would be working for a massive disservice, not to mention myself.

stronger kelly

I am stronger. Yesterday (Friday), I went to a yoga class (C1 at CorePower–unheated, Vinyasa-style flow), and it was one of the best practices I have had yet. I have been back at PT for 3-4 weeks, and even though I haven’t run farther than across the street (until Friday), I am stronger in my running muscles than I have been maybe ever. I can see the change in my body in the mirrors, and I can, above all, feel it in my poses–strong, rooted, controlled. I had gone to a C1 class earlier this week but felt like I was still pushing my luck with the stretching a bit too much. But yesterday? This was the first day that my hamstring felt whole as it stretched–that the stretch was not a strain but that it actually released and relaxed. I have felt so many interesting changes in it this week as the muscle has continued to remodel itself. This was what I originally was going to talk about for the Long Run today, but, you all know how it is when you need to talk.

And then I got the ultimate confirmation that changes I have made are benefiting me physically: I ran. Not far–only about .5 mile to and .5 mile from my car (I had left something in there the night before that I had to retrieve). But it was amazing the change in my body and its mechanics: No pain at all in the hammy, and instant firing in my glutes. I felt like I covered more ground with every stride compared to before; each step was more effortless. My body was finally using itself in the way that I remembered it being able to back when I ran hills and rode everyday.


And then I got the ultimate confirmation that changes I have made are benefiting me mentally: I am ok with waiting until next week to run more. Who the crap am I? Someone who knows that they have waited a long time to be a peace with who they are working to be. Someone who trusts in the process.

For the first time in a long, long time, I feel like I am moving towards something. I feel free, to a great extent, even though my days seem overfilled now more than in the previous 9 months.  I need to apply my energies to doing that which moves me and makes me whole.

Running, since you’ve been gone, I have missed you terribly. But I have also had an amazing 4 weeks without you. I needed to grow up a little bit. And I hope that you have, too. Let’s stop this abusive cycle and have a proper, mature relationship. Just don’t tell my husband.


What has taught you maturity and patience? What has been a blessing in disguise to lose?

Have you ever walked a half marathon?

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  • Reply pickyrunner

    This is amazing. I don’t have time for a long and heartfelt comment, but you do seem so much happier and more relaxed since you made the decision to leave the restaurant. I’ve noticed my body responds well when I’m not as stressed. My injuries seem to see the most improvement when I just let go and accept that they will heal when they are ready- something I’m working on learning right now since it gets worse every time it gets better. It’s all about patience which it seems like you’re giving it! So happy for you girl, have a blast this weekend at home with your mom- I bet it will be your most memorable half yet!

    March 22, 2014 at 9:19 am
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      Awwww thanks girl–I can’t wait to hear about your week home with YOUR mommy!! HOW MUCH CAKE AND ICE CREAM DID YOU EAT?? I had NO ICE CREAM this weekend. I am going into withdrawals…. and I know how you feel about wanting to respond with a long comment but being pressed for time–I’m in the same boat right now. So just know that I accept and return your feelings with a giant hug and squeeze, and we will chat later. MWAH

      March 24, 2014 at 7:58 am
  • Reply The T-Rex Runner (@thetrexrunner)

    GIRL. This is awesome and I am so proud of you and happy that you are in a better place. I can fully attest to you sticking to your PT since you did it at our expo booth at WITS! I’m so glad we met and have become friends – it has been so nice to be able to talk to someone who understand chronic illness/injury and will mail me bretzels as required. Reading this post gives me hope that I will get to this point too!

    I actually have walked a half marathon. I had a stress fracture in my hip but didn’t know it yet since I hadn’t gotten my MRI results back, so I decided to go anyway. My friend and I were supposed to run together, but when I got up there, I found out she hadn’t trained AT ALL. So we walk/ran the first 3/4 of a mile and then walked the entire rest of the way. It took 4 hours. I was more sore after that than I was after my first marathon, which was 2 weeks before! Oh, and we came in last and they gave us consolation gifts including flowers and a gift certificate for a Road ID.

    March 22, 2014 at 12:54 pm
    • Reply SuzLyfe

      So we made it thrrrrrrooouuugh! I basically dragged her along, haha. Sadly/fortunately we did not come in last as they started the marathon at the same time. It wasn’t too bad, except for getting really cold in the second half of it. And yeah, it took 4 hours. But I loved the course (my city!) but you were SO RIGHT about the hills. I would have loved to have run them though–you know my glutes would’ve been firing 😀
      And ditto, I am so glad that we have become friends. Mostly because of the mascot outfit 😉

      March 24, 2014 at 7:51 am
  • Reply your mommy, Clare

    What has taught me patience? You and your brother, Chris, have been the best teachers!

    We’ve had to give you the chance to mature in your own time and in your own way.

    If we pushed you too hard, you could fail. We’ve needed to encourage and support you, but we’ve had to let you make your own mistakes (unless you were in serious danger) so the decisions you’ve made were your own.

    Sometimes, you’ve made the wrong choices (we did our own share of those, too) but if we hadn’t let you make them, you wouldn’t have learned as much about yourself as you have.

    Being a parent is much harder than you might think. We thought we knew everything about life, and we were going to teach you whatever you would need to know.

    Wrong! We’ve learned so much from you two! You aren’t miniatures of us, you are each your own person and we’ve had to learn to let you become the adult that you are meant to be–not repeats of us. You are both precious (what a mom comment!) and you continue to surprise and amaze us!

    March 22, 2014 at 9:13 pm
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