Marathon #40 – 26.2 for Jackie
I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis at age 8. I went in and out of remission for 9 years and at 17 years old had a full colectomy. At the age of 24, I lost the ability to go to the bathroom and spent 2 years in and out of the hospital to figure out what was going on. Doctors told me I had a weak pelvic floor and it was rare to see a case like this. I am 1% of the population to have this has happened and although I am still unable to go on my own without the use of a device, I am hopeful that someday I will.
In 2019 I joined Team Challenge and ran my first half marathon. It was the beginning of my running journey and I wanted to make a difference to the foundation and was looking for a new way to challenge myself. (I literally just woke up one morning and was like I’m doing this, since I had talked myself out of it the year before) I started exercising at an early age (9) because I was battling body image issues after being on prednisone for so long. I would do “Sweatin’ to the Oldies” videos with my Mom and realized early on how much I loved exercise. I became an aerobics instructor as soon as I was old enough.
Jackie’s thoughts leading into her very first half marathon with Team Challenge here in Boston in May 2019:
Three years ago I had such severe bathroom anxiety, scratch that, I had severe anxiety in general and it was ruining my life. I was scared to go do things in fear of needing to use the bathroom and not having access to a single stalled bathroom. I lived in a state of anxiousness and was miserable. What changed? I did. I decided enough was enough. It’s time to live my life and practice being fearless.
It was a scary, emotional, and messy experience. People, who I thought would stand by me, didn’t. The truth is my anxiety got worse before it got better. I had to hit the spiritual gym hard. I read every personal development book I could get my hands on, listened to inspirational podcasts and went to therapy. I was essentially working on changing my mind on everything I viewed about myself for years. I started to change the way I looked at things and didn’t go to my auto pilot dark place. This is a daily practice.
On the Saturday night before the race, I had the privilege of sharing my journey as a motivational speaker at our team dinner and I focused on bathroom anxiety. For a woman who felt ashamed and angry for years, this was a big deal.
This week I’ve felt my anxiety creep back in. My inner mean girl told me I was a fraud and who the hell am I to be a motivational speaker? I was doing my best to ignore her. Public speaking is scary and not really in my comfort zone. But I want to get good at it, so it’s time to start. You’re inner mean girl has one job: to keep you in your comfort zone. You’re job: shut her down.
You have the power to manage your inner mean girl. If I can do it, so can you.
Jackie is now 39 years old and is an advocate for the cause in both raising money and awareness. “I hope that if I share my journey that the topic of pooping will become less taboo.” She share’s her journey openly and authentically and she is currently writing a prescriptive memoir about her journey. Pretty fearless and really inspiring!
Running 26.2 for Jackie!
Marathon 40 – Recap