Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)
Finish Time: 3:37
Temp: 75 degrees
Run For: Annie
Associated Virtual Marathon: The Meadows Virtual Marathon (Wickenburg, AZ)
It is officially the fall season which means it’s my favorite time of the year for running. I just love the cooler fall temperatures, the crispness in the air, it’s just a great time of the year. Running in New England in the fall is easily my favorite season for running outside. The heat and humidity from the summer are gone, the air quality and temperatures are just perfect for PR’s and marathons.
All that being said, today’s run was warm and humid and felt more like summer than it did fall! Go figure, but it is 2020 so I guess I probably shouldn’t have expected anything different.
Despite running in the warm humid conditions I felt good and really strong so I decided to add some hills and elevation to today’s marathon. Since March, the beginning of this whole quarantine and pandemic thing, I’ve been running a lot around my house, avoiding the more popular trails and main roads that have sidewalks, and people. My goal was to run and avoid others as much as I can and it’s been successful. I’ve also been searching for as many long and steep hills as I could find near me. Today’s plan was to run and if I saw a hill, tackle it head on and charge up!
The route I ended up running was great because I did some familiar hills as well as some I knew of but had yet to climb while running. I also did a little exploring and found a new road, Tower Hill Rd., that meanders through the woods. It had short rolling hills with lots of twists and turns which were fun to run and I’m already looking forward to being able to get back on it to run again.
One thing that wasn’t all that fun during this run was the number of snakes I saw/encountered on the shoulder of the road. I’m assuming they were on the side of the road to soak in some warmth from the asphalt that was warm and still holding some heat despite the cooler temps from overnight. Seeing one snake is one too many but I seeing about a dozen, that’s way too many for my enjoyment. Running on roads without a sidewalk and a narrow shoulder near the woods has its perks but also its slithery drawbacks. Soon they will go into hiding for the winter and I’ll be able to run without needing to keep an eagle eye the roads.
Today’s marathon was for Annie and I was happy to run for her as well as share her story. I had the pleasure of meeting Annie a few years ago, coaching the Team Challenge spring season that was for actually for a Boston event, the Run To Remember Half Marathon. I normally coach the winter sessions and Annie usually runs the spring/summer sessions so our paths never usually crossed, so this was a plus. During the group trainings, every Saturday, I had the pleasure of running with Annie and we would talk about a lot of things, including her story. She was so open and willing to share details about her struggles early on and even how she was currently feeling, at that time.
Everyone’s story with IBD is different, but they all seem to have a few things in common. There is always struggle, uncertainty, pain and fear, among many others. I am focusing on these four things because with every story I hear they seem to stand out the most, at least to me. The struggle never ends, whether it’s from symptoms to medication to health insurance. There always seems to be uncertainty before being diagnosed and the process of trying to figure out what’s wrong. Theres is also uncertainty about knowing if the medication that has been working will just stop one day. I can’t even begin to imagine the feelings when something that has worked no longer seems to be helping, and not knowing what, if anything, will work in its place. There is always pain, every single story I hear has it’s fair share of pain, both physically and emotionally. The suffering IBD patients go through breaks my heart. The number one reason for doing all this, running and sharing the stories, is to try to eliminate that pain. Lastly there is always fear, always. With uncertainty comes fear and Annie has fear just like everyone else dealing with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. They all have a fear from many things but the unknown seems to be the biggest reason to fear.
One thing we talked about, a lot, while running together was diet and how it has actually helped Annie quite a bit. Diet is not a cure, but Annie has made an effort to really do all she can to keep feeling well and diet is playing a key role. Annie is doing better now but she has tried and been on many medications throughout her life and the list of things to take for her has pretty much come to an end. She doesn’t really have many options left. If what’s she taking now, Stelara, doesn’t continue to work, there is fear of what will happen.
Another thing that all these stories have in common with the people they are coming from is fight! Every single one of these IBD heroes have this level of fight that is so inspiring. They refuse to just sit back and take it, they fight with everything they have and do all they can to not let these diseases control their lives. Annie is a perfect example of this and I’m honored to be in this fight alongside of her. She won’t quit or give up and has a ton of fight in her and that is just so inspiring.
There are too many people in situations like Annie and by sharing these stories and raising awareness I have no doubt that it will lead us to the cures we need soon! We can turn that fear into hope. There is hope!
This 26.2 was for you Annie! Thank you for fighting and for allowing me to run for you and share your story. You are always so positive and always wearing a smile every time I see you. Your attitude, the way you approach life with Crohn’s disease, is inspiring to so many, including me.