Posted in Crohn's Disease, Crohns, IBD, Writing

Running to Outrun the Runs with Team Challenge

On June 1st, I crossed the finish line of the Deadwood Michelson Trail Marathon in Deadwood, SD completing my second half-marathon. For those of you that know me personally or have followed my blog the past year, you’ll know that this is a huge accomplishment for this girl. It’s particularly a big deal because unlike many of the others on the course, I live with Crohn’s Disease.

Based on the statistics (and if I did my math correctly) out of the 3500 participants in the marathon, there likely were at least another 17 people on that course with this disease. That means there were 17 other people wondering if they’d make it to the next rest stop, and perhaps a few that  were likely eyeing the woody areas along the way for a possible pit stop.

This year, in spite of our VERY long winter and lack of training, my friend and running-partner Trudy and I managed to jog quite a bit along the course, shaving off 22 minutes from last year. Not too shabby without appropriate preparation! After it was over, I realized I was hooked. “When can I do this again?” was my first thought! OK…maybe not my first…but it was definitely in the top five.

2014  Marathon

A few weeks after the marathon, I picked up a copy of Runners World. The inner front cover advertisement was for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Team Challenge in Las Vegas. For some reason, right then and there, I decided I would join Team Challenge and not look back. The timing for the marathon in Vegas wouldn’t work with my schedule. I found Dallas in December – Perfect!! I signed myself up…and not once did I wonder….what did I just sign up for???!!  For this event I recruited a new running partner – my other bestie, Chip.  Chip has already begun training at his home in California and will be there to be sure I cross the finish line where our spouses will be waiting for us! I can feel the excitement as I write this!

I also realized that if I’m ever going to finish my book about living with bowel disease (aptly named “Coming Out of the Water Closet”) then I better get back to writing and gathering up my experiences. What better way to gather up something new then by participating in Team Challenge?!

I’m ready to recruit support and spread the word about this disease that so many live with…usually silently. As I’ve said before, talking about a pooping disease isn’t exactly water cooler conversation. Except that it should be! We need to find each other and help each other. There shouldn’t be a stigma for having a disease that keeps you chained to the bathroom, living in pain and never-ending misery. We need to find a cure!

I’ve been lucky the last few years. After 20+ years of surgeries, medications, fistulas, more surgeries and a couple near-death calls….I’m pretty healthy now. Lately though I’ve been noticing some symptoms again. No matter what I eat I feel crampy, bloated and sometimes have pain. I’ve also noticed some sores on the inside of my mouth. Yep, these are the tell-tale signs that something is brewing. It’s been going on long enough that it’s time to pull out the prednisone for a short while….just to kick this crap to the curb (bad pun?).

In the meantime, I’ll keep training and running. I’ll keep talking about Crohn’s, and I’ll be hitting you up for your support. Every day I think about crossing the finish line in Dallas on December 14th with my orange Team Challenge shirt on, just a couple weeks before my 45th birthday.  I plan to cross the finish line for those people that can’t.  If you can help me, I really appreciate any support you can provide. For those of you that donated already, THANK YOU!! Your support means more to me than I can ever express.

team-challenge-logo

I’m Running to Outrun the Runs – Can you help? My site for Team Challenge is here: http://www.active.com/donate/dallasNATIONAL14/KatieBreenAllen.

If you are one of the many suffering silently, please don’t!! Reach out to me, I’d love to help you.

 

Posted in Blogging, Feelings, Hope & Inspiration, Writing

Music and Grief unite to create Joy

Last week my husband Dwayne and I were on a road trip from Sundance, WY to Albuquerque, NM for our Amateur Radio convention for our area of the country. It’s a long trip, but we don’t mind road trips periodically, especially when we have our SiriusXM to listen to Radio Margaritaville. Singing along in the car is a great way to pass the time and miles. 

My turn to drive usually arrives after lunch in order to provide a rest break for Dwayne, who always loses his steam mid-afternoon. As I listened to his light snores, I decided I needed something new so I hit channel 8 for the “80’s on 8” station. As I drove through Colorado, I sang along to many of my favorites from the “good ole’ days” until one particular song came on and I suddenly felt as though I was in a sci-Fi movie where I was sucked through a whirlpool and immediately transported back in time. I was suddenly in the back seat of my sister’s car, on our way to the hospital the night my dad died. I was driving while simultaneously  I was again that scared teenager, numb with grief in the dark of the evening hours, in the back seat of my brother-in-law’s Crown Vic. I could see the road ahead of me that I was driving on, all while being in that car in 1988 again…all at the same time.

The experience was surreal as hot tears trickled down my face.  I didn’t understand what was happening until my ears recognized the music. It was then I realized….I was hearing the song on the radio that was playing as we drove to the emergency room that night, nearly 26 years ago.

The grief of that night returned like a shock of thunder, racketing my body and soul. I was short of breath, I felt numb and confused. I was that 18 year old once again. I reached over and gently hit button 1 to return to Radio Margaritaville. When Dwayne asked why I changed the music, I caught my breathe and told him simply, “that song was playing on the radio the night my dad died.” 

After all this time, I find it hard to believe I’ve not come across this song. I don’t believe it showed up in order for me to relive the grief, that doesn’t make sense. The sting of the grief was temporary and my composure returned in about an hour. However, what I believe the song did do, was light the proverbial fire in my belly to write again. I’ve been craving time to write, I’ve missed it. For some reason I’ve let life get in the way which is stupid, because in effect I’ve been denying a part of me.  My brain immediately began crafting up what to write about this experience. I knew this was just the whomp on the head from the Universe I’d been waiting for. 

 I guess the periodic moments of pain are okay, as long as they are periodic. Memories are there, they don’t go away. The secret is not to dwell in them or live in them. You can’t change the past by living in it, which is why I know this reminder from the Universe wasn’t about going backwards. It was about moving forward. For that, I thank you Universe and I thank you Dad. Thank you for the reminder to get back to doing what I love in the present and doing what brings me joy.