A humbling proposal

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It’s Team Challenge Tuesday again and if I am going to be completely honest, this was not my week for training. I had a hard time getting out of bed each morning and sticking to a decent length workout. I have a goal to workout 5 times a week for 45 minutes. I started at 35 minutes and have been raising it by 5 minutes each week.

Now that I have my cast off, I was able to go for an actual outdoor run this week. I also realized how much harder it is to run outdoors than it is to run indoors! Holy moly, I didn’t even make it for a half an hour! I was so exhausted and out of breath by that point. On top of that, my calf muscles have been really tight this week and I have no idea why. I didn’t do anything differently, but they’ve been very sore and have been making running a bit more difficult. I stopped early and spent some time stretching. They’re feeling better, but still sore.

Back to my point, now. For any of you who are training for a race: Get Outside! There is such a difference in your endurance and that’s where you really learn how to breathe through your workout. For me, breathing has been such an essential part of the whole equation. Once I figured out how to breathe correctly, I moved very quickly from having to stop every mile or so to making it through the full 13 miles.

Working out in the gym definitely has it’s place and perhaps the bulk of your workouts may still take place there, but try to get outside once a week. That’s probably more plausible at this point since it’s so cold and you can do the outside workout on the weekend.

On a different note, I received a very humbling request this week. Every year, each Team Challenge chapter has a team honoree whose life has been directly impacted by Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. Many people who get involved with Team Challenge may not have a direct connection to IBD. The basic role of the honoree is to be someone that the participants can connect with and to share their story for those who don’t have or don’t know someone who has IBD.

Well this year, I am very honored to have been asked to be the team honoree. I am excited to have the opportunity to share my story with those who will be training with us and raising money for Crohn’s and colitis research. I am looking forward to meeting everyone who will be involved and I am working on putting together a short video that can be shared at any group meetings that I won’t be able to attend. (Perhaps I’ll even post it on here once it’s done.) I am very proud to be a representative of the IBD community for this group. The hardest part is trying to fit my story into a 3 minute segment!

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Team Challenge Tuesday

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I have decided to use Tuesdays for the next few months to provide updates on how things are going with my half-marathon training and fundraising for CCFA’s Team Challenge.

We are now just under 19 weeks from race day. Training hasn’t officially started and won’t until the end of next month. So for now, everything I am doing is just to get myself ready for the start of training. As I’ve said in previous posts, I’ve been using the elliptical and stationary bike at the gym. Overall, that has been going well. If nothing else, I am working on my endurance and getting my muscles ready for some actual running soon. I have been trying to do around 4 or so miles at the moment. I’m hoping to start the running back up as soon as I get this cast off (and can actually wear my cold-weather running gear again!).

I haven’t officially begun fundraising yet, but my Fundraising Page is active already! This season I’m working to raise $2500 for Crohn’s and colitis research. I am currently trying to figure out how I can secure some sponsorships for the funds rather than collecting private donations. If you know of any businesses who may be interested in sponsoring a great cause, please let me know! I’d be glad to speak with them about it.

Finally, I’ve begun working to recruit runners. I have called some previous participants and talking to them about joining us again. I’m hoping to recruit some others in this area, too. Since the main NC location is in Charlotte, that’s where everything has been based in the past, so I’m hoping to bring in some participants from the Triangle. I would really love to have a great group of people right here to run with every week and work together to bring in the funds. (Again, if you’d like to run a half-marathon for a great cause, send me a message!!!)

I think this is going to be a great season. I’m looking forward to working with the other mentors and meeting all of the participants. I love the feeling of continually working towards a goal that will not only benefit me by exercising, but will help those living every day with IBD.

A new challenge

Getting involved in the fight to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis has been one of the most rewarding decisions I have every made. I realized that living with this disease would mean nothing, other than pain and frustration, if I didn’t use my experiences to help others.

I started small, by volunteering for a couple of local events and taking part in a support group, but I soon saw the enormous benefit of surrounding myself with people who can relate and who are dedicated the same cause. The most profound moment came while in Las Vegas for the Team Challenge half-marathon and sitting in a room surrounded by hundreds of people whose lives have been impacted by IBD. It was there that I truly understood the importance of being involved in something bigger than yourself. And I wanted to continue to be a part of it.

This year, I will be taking part in my second half-marathon with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, this time as a mentor. The role of the mentor is be involved with the participants in the race, encouraging them in both their training and fundraising. The mentors help bring in new runners and coordinate fundraising events.

Team Challenge is more than just signing up for a race. It’s a 16-week training program that includes the support and community of the whole group. There are two big events this season: half-marathons in Virginia wine country and Chicago.

I would be so honored to have some of you on my team. I’d love to get out and run and work together to raise the money to bring more research and awareness to these diseases. Plus, what a better time to check that exercising or race goal off your list? I cannot tell you what a great feeling it was to cross that finish line at the end of the race.

Please let me know if you’re interested in learning more. I guarantee, you will not regret it.

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The Dinner Winners!

First of all, let me start by saying how grateful and humbled I am by all of your generosity and support! I have reached (and surpassed a smidge) my goal of $3500 that will get me to Vegas to run a half-marathon in support of Crohn’s and colitis research.

All of you know how important this cause is to me and I feel so proud to be able to say that I am making a difference in the lives of people like me and in the future of treatment of these diseases. I am so excited to run knowing what amazing people I have standing right there with me and pushing me forward.

Ok, I know you’re interested in hearing the winners for the drawing!! This was a joint effort between myself and a friend who will be running with me, Reuben Gradsky.

AND THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER OF $50 TO SAINT JACQUES FRENCH CUISINE, A ONE-HOUR SESSION AT MASSAGE ENVY AND A COPY OF LOCALLY-MADE SHORT-FILM FOODIE IS…

BOB ANDRON

Congratulations, Bob! Thank you for your donation to IBD research!

And your second place winners of prizes of $50 or more…

BONNIE SESSUMS
DEBBIE HUGHES
HANNAH LINDSEY
STEVE CARONNA

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And the runners up…

ANGELA MURPHY
BRIAN HEREGHTY
CJ SCARLET
ED SCARBOROUGH
ELISA MURPHY
EMILY HENDERSON
FRED TOMS
JANE FELLOWS
JENNIFER WRAY

I will be contacting each of you to make sure I get you your prize. Thank you all again so much for making this possible for me and for supporting a great cause. I have the best friends and family in the world!!

Thank you again to all of our donors: bukuCasa CarboneBoltChuck’sBeasley’s Chicken + HoneyThe Market RestaurantRelish CafeFork & BarrelZest CafeSolas/HibernianSaint Jacques French CuisineVillage Draft HouseSawmill TaproomMilton’s Pizza, Hungry Howie’s, and Massage Envy.