Running was always something other people did. Not me...to me it was an impossible feat. I am now here to tell you not only am I a runner, I also managed to complete several races last year, including my first half marathon in November. It is all because of hard work, determination, and the help of Team Challenge, a training program through the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America.
Team Challenge Portland has transformed my life so much. I was first introduced to Team Challenge 5 years ago when a friend from New York who also has Crohns Disease ran the Zappos Las Vegas 1/2 marathon for the first time through them and I went to support her. I wasn’t able to even think about trying at that point…How could someone with mild cerebral palsy, on crutches, and with Crohns run any distance, much less a half marathon? 5 years later….I did what I thought was impossible. I ran the Las Vegas Half this last season for myself and all those with these diseases and while it was one of the hardest things I have ever done, it was also the best! Running the Strip at night was amazing! My time wasn’t the greatest, but I didn’t care…I’d finished it!
I have had IBD for over 20 years. I was diagnosed originally with Ulcerative Colitis when I was 11. This diagnosis changed to Crohns when I was 18 and needed to have my colon removed, and continued to have problems. Since then I have had multiple hospitalizations and several additional surgeries due to blockages and scarring. At this time, thanks in part to medication I am in remission. I recently had the umpteenth hospital stay for an obstruction. Thankfully no surgery was needed and I’ve bounced back. I am getting back into the groove of work, running, and hanging with friends.I have good and bad days and do a pretty good job of keeping a positive attitude and sense of humor….it’s the only thing that helps to puts it all in perspective. I’m very thankful for my family, my friends, my teammates and coworkers who have loved and supported me through the years.
Participating in Team Challenge has opened a whole new world for me. I am honored to be the 2014 spring Team Challenge honoree. I am so excited to help cheer on this year’s Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon team and the Kona Half Marathon teams to continue the fight for a cure for these diseases. In addition, I am going to be continuing my running journey. I will be training with a women’s running group for a couple of upcoming races this spring and summer.
My running journey is not finished….it has only just begun. I find that I feel better when I put on the running shoes and head out with the wind in my face and enjoying the scenery. I’m proving to the world that I may have Crohns and other challenges, but they do not have me!
To learn more about Team Challenge and how you can be part of our team to cure Crohn’s and Colitis you can call the local Endurance Manager Erin Wissig at 541-606-8735 or check out their website.