Colfax Marathon Relay Team

Last year when Brian raced a leg for the Colfax Marathon relay, I knew I had to run this year. At our company Christmas party I found 2 poor drunk suckers and convinced them that running a leg of a marathon in five months would be brilliant. I’m sure those folks were hoping I would forget but I was dead set on running this year. Lucky for me, those folks were awesome and kept their drunken agreements.

Colfax MarathonSo on Sunday, bright and early, Nick kicked us off for what would be an awesome event. It started, however, with me at City Park in Denver at 6am to cheer for Brian at the start of his third half marathon.  As I saw him off, I realized how proud I was of him to stick through and start this race. He hates running so this is a huge feat for him. I then made the trek across the golf course back to my car to head to my transition area.

The morning started with HORRIBLE stomach pain. I had incredibly painful stomach cramps that seared through my gut about every five minutes. I decided to try a banana and ended up eating about half before I couldn’t stomach anymore. I was terrified that I wasn’t going to be able to make the full six miles without having an accident. After all, I barely made it to the port-o-pottie at the transition area. Before I stepped into my transition gate, I had already pooped four times. It wasn’t going to be a fun event after all.

I sat at my transition area and waited for the text messages to come through. Handoff number one went off without a hitch. So did the next three. I had made estimates based on our times and each text message came in right on queue. Every member of this team killed it!

And then, right on queue, I see Alyson making her way to me in her bright summer gear. I grabbed the baton and was off. The first part of my leg was through Sports Authority Field. I got to run through the tunnel and pop out on the field where the Broncos play. First, I hate the Broncos. Second, despite my hatred of that team, this was really awesome. The view from the field is such a different perspective. The only thing that could have made it better was the Rocky theme song blaring through the stadium speakers. (Hint hint race coordinators)

Colfax FinishersI emerged through the other end of the stadium to run along Platte River trail before making my way onto Lawrence and 17th street. By this time, the heat index and sun were creeping a little high. Half of the water went in and half went down my neck and back to cool off. The run up 17th wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be considering the hill. I did walk up the big hill on 17th and used that opportunity to eat Shock Bloks and grab a drink. I’ve been running for a few years now and I still haven’t mastered the ability to drink and run at the same time…without choking.

Down 17th was completely open to the elements. People holding signs and cheering us on helped me to forget that there was no shade and the temps were nearing 80. I thanked all the officers handling traffic control and made sure to smile. That smile helps to trick the body into thinking you’re doing something fun! I made the final few turns into City Park and felt the excitement building as I neared the finish. My goal was to run 12:00 miles (I’m a turtle, I know!) and have the team finish around 11:15. I was so happy to see Brian cheering for me at the finish and then hear my friend’s chanting my name. It gave me the burst at the end that I needed.

I finished just under 12:00 mile pace and the final team time was 5:06:28 and we averaged an 11:41 per mile pace. I beat my goal and we exceeded our team goal. Good thing the Crohnie poops weren’t an omen! It turned out to be a beautiful day and a great race.

We finished with a few beers and great conversation before getting a ride back to our car. A nice cold shower. Some foam rolling. A huge juicy burger with sweet potato fries. And then yard work…because the joys of home ownership never cease.

Airlife Memorial 5K Race Recap

Finish Line of the Airlife Memorial 5K raceSaturday morning was our practice race for the Team Challenge Denver crew. A chance for all the racing newbies to practice eating, drinking, and standing in the port-a-pottie line. First rule of racing: nothing new on race day. Second rule of racing: immediately get in the line for the potties and then when you’re finished, get in line again.

Sitting in the helicopter at the Airlife Memorial 5K raceIt was the Airlife Memorial 5K and 10K held in Hudson Gardens in Littleton in honor of local police, fire and EMS responders that have lost their lives in the line of duty. It is coordinated by Airlife Colorado and Friends of Airlife, a Colorado nonprofit organization grown out of the grassroots effort to build the AIRLIFE Memorial Park. The AIRLIFE Memorial Park was built in 1998 in honor of those who lost their lives in the December 1997 car accident and related AIRLIFE helicopter crash in Littleton. 

After we picked up our bibs we made our way to the start. I was shocked to see all the vendors, old response vehicles and the multitude of first responders all there to cheer us on. I made a quick pitstop at the port-a-potties and then met up with the team before heading to the start. Most of the team was doing the 10K but because I have the Colfax relay next week, I opted for the 5K. There were doves released in the pre-race festivities in memory of the four first responders who lost their lives in the helicopter crash. Each wave of runners and walkers were sent off to a light and siren salute. A dozen or more police cruisers, fire trucks and ambulances turned on their lights and siren as we ran by. It was possibly the coolest start to a race that I have ever experienced. All along the course, men and women in uniform were there to cheer us on and push us to the finish.

Old Fire TruckThe finish line had a feast fit for any marathon. Boxes of fruit, bars, granola, bagels, candy, muffins, and brownies. Every participant received a long sleeve tech shirt, which I was completely impressed by considering it’s a smaller race in size and the entry fee was just $30. There were vendors along the finish line expo offering everything from more food to foam rollers and yoga matts. We cruised around looking at all the old response vehicles and got to sit in one of the AirLife helicopters. We didn’t stay for the volleyball tournaments but it was turning into a beautiful morning for a little tournament.

Old Police CarThe race went well for me. I started off way to fast and slowed myself down from the sub-10:00 pace I started at. The field took off like a rocket and I quickly realized most of these runners were very fit first responders. This trail is beautiful and a favorite of mine in the Denver metro area. I wore tights that morning because it was below 40 at the start but by the end of the race I was burning up. I walked a couple of times quickly for a drink, since I can’t drink and run without choking. My final time was just over 35 minutes. I cruised through the finish line feeling pretty good.

If you’re having a hard time imaging what it would be like to run by a dozen response vehicles, you’re in luck. The kids fun run started after all the 5K and 10K runners and walkers so I got to video the start of their run. Note the officer on the bike that completely takes out the small child at the beginning of the video. I panned in front of a lady so it’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention. There were SO many kids which means a lot of smiles, a lot of laughter, and a lot of spills on the run.

Flatirons Vista Trail

This weekend was absolutely beautiful! Sunshine all day long and temps reaching above 80. Definitely my kind of weather!

This week’s training run was a trail run, not exactly something I’m new to but this one was a doozy! The weather was perfect to start the day. We met at the trailhead for the Flatirons Vista trail just south of Boulder and nabbed a group photo before starting out on our five mile run (for those of us training for Napa).

Team Challenge Denver in front of the Flatirons

The views only got better from there! The trail starts out on a slow incline before giving your legs a pretty decent workout at about the half mile point. The hill killed me! I didn’t think I was supposed to work that hard during a warmup. After the hill, the trail flattens out (thank goodness!) and follows a gravel jeep road for about another mile. The flat was a welcome relief so I had time to slow my heart rate down.

20140503_085650 The flat jeep road then makes a slight left and we hit the first part of the trail. It was a gradual decline for about half a mile and was pretty rocky. I have a horrible habit of gazing into the distance which means I almost rolled my ankles no fewer than seven times. There was a bend in the trail and then the trail followed a much steeper decline before coming to the creek at the bottom. Of course the bridge is washed out so we had to quick step it across the rocks.

At this point I realized that I had to back UP the beast that I just came down. I trudged forward and the remainder of the trail was gradual rolling hills. I came to the turn around point and I was so mesmerized and feeling pretty darn good that I decided to keep going. I made it across a couple of bridges before hitting the three mile mark and turning around. Going back was brutal! It was basically up hill all the way back until I made it back to the jeep road. I’m not ashamed to say that I walked a LOT on the way back, including most of the steepest part of the mountain.

20140503_094341 This was one of those runs that was indescribable. I finished at the bottom of that first hill and my team mates cheered me in and I felt like I had truly accomplished something that morning. That feeling that I can conquer the world because I just conquered that mountain. It was only a six mile run and it took me an hour and a half. In my defense I did stop for a lot of photos so my actual moving time was just a few minutes faster and the elevation gain was almost 600 feet. But to get these views, it was totally worth all the salty sweat rings I went home with that day.

My only concern with this trail is specific to people with IBD. Be sure to use the port-a-potties at the trail head. There isn’t another facility until around mile three and this is not the kind of “the world is your bathroom” trail.

 

20140503_094434 20140503_09491720140503_091532 20140503_085824 20140503_094437 20140503_091205

I hope you had an equally enjoyable run this weekend!

 

Remicade Update

Remicade InfusionToday was another Remicade appointment. I was expecting to hear some good or bad news about my antibody testing but instead I received just…news.

The good news is that my antibody testing came back negative so I am not developing antibodies to my meds. The other good news is that the blood work showed the Remicade actively working so it’s doing it’s job.

The weird news is now we don’t really know why I have the ulcers or inflammation. Our next steps are just to wait. My symptoms aren’t terrible so I have to start documenting all of my symptoms and we’ll revisit on the next Remicade appointment.

Or sooner if necessary. Let’s all hope it’s not necessary.

I have to have another colonoscopy in about six months to see if we can use a balloon to expand the stricture in my transverse colon and take a peek into the other half of my bowel.

Here’s to tracking symptoms. Now is as good a time as any to make use of the GI Buddy app developed by the CCFA. If you are a patient, what methods do you use to track your symptoms and food you eat. 

Graffiti Fun Run

This past weekend was beautiful, until Sunday rolled through. I woke up early Saturday morning and headed to practice at the Highline Canal for Team Challenge. It was a five mile run which should have been easy but for some reason, Mr. C (Crohn’s Disease) had other plans. I made it through a mile and a half before having to walk from sheer exhaustion. I made it to the turn around point and I had nothing left to give. At this point I’m tired, my stomach is cramping and the nearest bathroom is over two miles away. You would think this would make me run faster but I just. couldn’t. do. it.

Kona and Napa Team Challenge DenverWe had a potluck breakfast for the team and I did my best to negate everyone’s early morning efforts by bringing donuts. People couldn’t resist. It was “Tyler Day” in recognition of one of our amazing honored heroes who also has Crohn’s Disease. I made a cape and had a T on my shirt and everyone dressed in purple and black, because Tyler is a true super hero (and he loves the Rockies!). It was Kona recommitment to celebrate the team mates that have made half way through the program. That called for a group photo on a very shaky picnic table. I’m so proud of this Denver team!

20140427_100429Sunday I woke up to not sunshine, but cloudy skies and rain. I was very tempted to keep my lazy butt in bed and not head to Sloan’s Lake for the Graffiti Run. The Graffiti Run is one of those fun color runs that are sweeping the country. We grabbed our whitest whites and made out way to the park. Thankfully the rain stopped just in time to start the first wave at 9 am.

Graffiti Run DenverI was amazed at the number of people at this run! Sloan’s Lake was packed and it was so exciting to see so many families. I love to see parent’s teaching their kids that activities like this can be fun, rewarding and very healthy. We started around 9:10 and made our way through the crowds. My husband directed me to the left or right depending on how the wind was blowing to make sure I got the maximum amount of color. He was peppered right in the face with a handful of blue and a guy tried to knock the wind from me by pelting me in the stomach with a fistful of green. There were four color stations around the lake and the total run was about 2.5 miles. We waited at the finish and listened to the DJ which was good…if you like that thing.

We were introduced to this new-fangled dance called the Wobble. Apparently it’s been around for a while according to my hip friends but I have to say that I prefer good ole fashioned country line dancing. The dance wasn’t that bad but I can do without the music. In case you’re like me and have never heard of this, here’s an instruction video. Enjoy…

The rest of the day was cold, windy and rainy so we finished the weekend just hanging out at home. I took a nap. It was fantastic. Then Monday came…and it’s been so cold! I’m ready for spring to make it’s way to Colorado so I can go back to enjoying outdoor activities.