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 Ankylosing Spondylitis, Crohn's Disease, Crohns, Hope & Inspiration, IBD, Living with Pain, Meditation, Reiki

The lesson in Freezing your Fanny off

A year ago for the first time, I participated in a local fundraiser for our ambulance service called “Freeze Your Fanny.” It’s a four mile route that can be walked, or you can join the runners racing each other. I seriously thought my friend Trudy was crazy when she suggested we do it. Seriously – 4 miles?? When it’s 20 degrees out there? What did we do? We signed up and we walked it!

This time last year I hadn’t really begun my exercise program yet, and didn’t believe I had it in me to accomplish something like this.  However, encouraging each other, we decided to give it a go. Not only did we live to tell the tale – we then signed up for our first half marathon – the Mickelson Trail Marathon in Deadwood, SD. It was 13.1 miles (at least it was warmer because it was in June) and you can read my experience about it in my post Putting One Foot In Front of the Other.

Well, it’s one year later and today was our second time in the “Freeze Your Fanny” event. Last year we got a purple sweatshirt. When I wear this year’s sweatshirt, I have no fear of being lost anywhere….IMG_6468

When we had the opportunity, we ran. Yes….”She who has Ankylosing Spondylitis” ran!! It was six below zero, my legs were cold and I definitely froze my fanny off somewhere in the first mile (I really should go back and look for it but I’m happy to have lost a little of that junk in my trunk!)

What really surprised me about this experience? It was fun! I had fun – walking, running….it was all fun! Seriously, in my entire life, I never would have thought running out in -6 weather would qualify in my category of “Fun stuff to do in my life”….now I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Last year, getting through those four miles was a struggle – simply because walking four miles was so new to me…and everything hurt while I did it, and when I was done! I was exhausted at the end of it, and pretty useless for the rest of the day….but I did it, and that was enough to give me courage to keep going.

I began an exercise regime, changed my diet a bit by paying better attention to what I ate. I added supplements to help with staying healthy which can be a challenge with Crohn’s Disease and only one kidney.  I continued with my daily meditation practice and resumed my Reiki treatments; for myself and others as much as possible.

In one year, my life has changed radically. Changes like what I’ve experienced don’t happen overnight, it doesn’t seem like it’s been a year already in fact!

Patience, dedication, and a belief deep down in your core – that’s what can help you achieve what you think is impossible. What is particularly exciting for me about accomplishing the walk/run today is that we got out there in spite of it being -6F….yes, that’s SIX BELOW ZERO…it was so cold my ponytails got frost on them from my breath!!  Rather than being upset about it – we laughed!

FYFO

Go ahead and choose to go out there for a walk or run and Freeze Your Fanny off!! Have fun with it and try to do just one thing you always thought impossible – you might just surprise yourself!

If I did it….you can too!

Posted in Crohn's Disease, Crohns, IBD, Living with Pain

When eating healthy becomes painful

Like most others, I’d overeaten a bit this holiday season. No shortage of cookies and candy to be found, and not being one to say “no” to sugar, I finally felt I hit my brick wall around Christmas Eve.

The Christmas day entree for everyone else was prime rib, for me (the vegetarian in the group) Quinoa. I warmed up vegetable stock with half an onion and a few cloves of garlic and a nice bunch of fresh parsley. The quinoa along with mashed potatoes, baked butternut squash and cauliflower made a great meal. Pumpkin pie made a great dessert. YUM. Continue reading “When eating healthy becomes painful”