Running and Ulcerative Colitis
Last time I blogged, I wrote about having ulcerative colitis and it screwing up my runs. I was originally diagnosed with colitis when I was 17, during my senior year of high school. At that stage in my life I was not a runner- at all- which I suppose is good because it may have completely turned me off from running. It was took until sophomore or junior year of college until I really got my colitis back under control, but even then it was something I struggled with during every rugby and track practice, match, and meet.
Before my first 5K, my stomach was in knots. I wanted to run the whole race, with my longest race prior being a 200 meter sprint. But I also wanted to make it without stopping for a bathroom issue. And finish the race in under 30 minutes. I put a lot of pressure on myself.
I did all those things. Ran without walking or stopping and finished in 29 minutes and change.
That gave me more confidence and I began running longer. A month and a half later I ran my first 10K, no bathroom stops. 6 months after my first 5K, I ran my first half marathon then 6 months after that my first marathon. They were all huge accomplishments and stepping stones for me, and I felt like after each race, I was kicking colitis in the butt. It felt great! It wasn’t easy and there were runs that still made me feel awful and a few times I’d come home and cry to my mom that How could I ever run a marathon if I can’t run XX miles without an issue? But I always pushed through.
Since I’ve moved to Pittsburgh, my stomach has been taking a life of its own. Some days it’s fine, others it feels like my colitis is out of remission. Worse, sometimes I will start a run feeling great and fantastic, only to be suddenly searching for a bathroom a few miles in. It makes me worry before every run and wears on my mind. It makes some runs worse than others.
Two weekends ago, I ran the 14 miles I had planned after failing to do it the weekend before. WOOT! And it was glorious! I did the first 8 on my own, circled back to pick up Dave and out we went again for the last 6 miles. Afterward I was ecstatic.
Last Wednesday, while on my 6 mile interval run my ankle started killing me 1/2 mile in. I finished the run, but found my ankle started to swell/grew a lump under my ankle bone, so I skipped the Thursday easy run and moved Friday’s lifting to Thursday.
Friday Dave and I drove back to Reading for his cousin’s baptism on Sunday. He’s the godfather. He’ll be a good one!
That Saturday, I had an early 16 miles on the schedule.
Less than 2 miles in my stomach started giving me issues. Moreover, the sidewalks were icy from all the snow that got dumped the week before, some of the sidewalks weren’t even shoveled. Then it started snowing and laying. A lot. So after I made my 3rd stop in 4 miles, frustration got the better of me and I decided to head home. I stopped at mile 6 1/2 and said hello to my grandmom and had a nice chat with her, then finished the last half mile and called it a day at a mere 7 miles. But not without large loads of guilt and making my little sister, dad and Dave convince me that it was okay.
Yesterday I FINALLY got my (hilly) 16 miler in! The weather was unusually gorgeous. After weeks being in the negatives, single digits or teens, a 50 degree and sunny day made me feel like Superman. I started off accidentally at an 8:33 pace, then averaged a 9:15-9:20 pace for the first 10-12 miles. Then I got so hungry and my legs started getting tired and my pace started falling. BUT, I finished my run with under a 10-minute mile pace so all’s well that ends well.