Marathon 53

Strava Marathon (Bellingham, MA)


Finish Time: 3:41
Pace: 8:28
Temp: 61 degrees
Conditions: Indoors  
Run For: Kenzie


“You may see me struggle, but you will never see me quit.”

Running is hard.. Life is hard.. even more, life with IBD is extremely hard. No matter who you are, the world will continue to try and add more weight on your shoulders. Stress will come at you in numerous ways. There will be one obstacle after another, because life will never stop with its challenges. Pain and struggle are hard, they can pretty much suck at times. Discomfort is real and some people fear it along with the pain and the struggle. What they don’t realize is that there are always going to be things like this, but you can overcome them. You can use the struggle and discomfort as a tool to overcome hard things. Don’t fear these things, embrace them. With determination and perseverance, you can push through and overcome anything that stands in your way.

“You will want to stop.. Don’t!”

When I first started running, I never dreamed of running a marathon, let alone 100 of them. I just wanted to make it down the end of my street and back without dying. Was it hard? Yes! Did it suck? Yes! Did I stick with it? Yes. Why? I don’t know. I guess I felt like running was something I could control and I knew I wanted to continue to do it and get better. A few of the keys to being successful in anything is consistency, persistence and patience. You need to have the right mindset to keep pushing, continue making progress even if it’s slow and takes time. I didn’t run a marathon just because I did one long training run. It took days, months, and years of running to get to this point. Literally one foot in front of the other, just keep moving forward, don’t stop.

It wasn’t easy and there were many, many obstacles along the way (did I mention that there were many, because there were a lot). Even years later, there are still obstacles that creep up, there always will be. You will be tempted to throw your hands up and just quit, but you can choose to keep going.

Life with IBD is very much like running. There will be times where it’s really hard and there will be times when it’s a constant struggle. However, you can continue to fight and persevere and that is just what Kenzie has done.

The IBD hero for marathon #53, Kenzie, has been through so much, most of it at such a young age, but her determination and will to keep fighting lead her to the top of the mountain, as she put it. Most would say that she’s been through a lot with her IBD, and I hate even thinking about others who fall into the same category. Yes, Kenzie was up against some very tough challenges, what seemed like overwhelming obstacles, but she did overcome them and she has done some amazing things. She has literally seen the world despite all she’s been through. I know nothing is going to stop her from doing what she wants to do, definitely not her IBD.

We say, her story is inspirational and that it’s motivating, but in reality, her story was just her trying to live her life. She was just living and not trying to inspire anyone, it’s all she knew. She had a hard childhood because of IBD but she was only living day to day wanting to feel “normal” and she didn’t have a choice. What we can do now is look back on her story and draw inspiration from it. By telling her story, we can see the determination and perseverance she displayed at such a young age. She made the choice, not to let IBD define her or limit what she could do. This is motiving and what is so inspiring.  

Kenzie’s life changed when she attended Camp Oasis and the fact that she has been back to camp as a counselor is no surprise. She is playing a major role for others to have the experience of a life changing opportunity by attending camp, just like her. If you know Kenzie you know how involved she is and just how much she does give back. I’ve been lucky enough to know her for quite a few years, first meeting her when she joined the New England team running a half marathon in New Orleans. Shortly after that race, I ran into her again at a flag football event that was held by the Foundation, where she was talking about how she joined the TC Hike program, heading to the Grand Canyon that year. Then I saw her participating at a Spin4 event, which is an indoor cycling event the foundation holds each year, with her family. Are you seeing the pattern here? If there is something, anything, going on with Team Challenge or the Foundation, Kenzie is most likely involved.

Not only is her story, of what she’s been through and how she’s made it, inspiring; but her story now is equally inspiring of how involved she is with the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation on multiple levels. She not only motivates me to continue to push on and persevere while running but to help in other ways within the Foundation. Her story, all of the stories I hear motivate me along this journey. You can overcome any obstacle that is in front of you, with running or in life and you can reach that mountain top, just like Kenzie.

I did complete this marathon entirely on the treadmill again, which can be quite a mental challenge and a real struggle. We had a snow storm leading into the weekend and the streets around my house are not ideal for running in the winter, with no sidewalks and very narrow shoulders. To play it safe and to be smart, it just made sense to stay inside and run on the treadmill in one place for hours.

I wouldn’t say I love running on the treadmill, I honestly don’t know many runners who would, but I’ve learned to embrace it and take it for what it is. I guess you could even say I’ve trained myself to tolerate running 26.2 miles on the treadmill and it’s honestly not that bad. It’s only an obstacle that needs to be overcome and I’ve had far worse than this.

The slight injury I was feeling in my piriformis muscle from the last marathon at the end of December is completely gone and there are thankfully no lingering problems. I took my own coaching advice and was smart about listening to my body, doing only shorter runs and knowing when it was time to rest. Overall, I am sore but I feel 100% and I’m looking forward to the next marathon, sharing even more stories with 26.2 For You.This 26.2 For You was for you Kenzie. I was honored to share your story and run a marathon for you. You have been through a lot, but what you’ve done at such a young age is amazing. I admire what you continue to do for others and for the Foundation. It’s absolutely amazing and you are the true definition of an IBD hero.

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