Getting Muddy, Stair Climbs and 5K’s : A Guest Post from Liz C

Today I am very excited to have one of my good friends tell her tale of how she found her love of running again and the accomplishments she has only started to rack up!Hey Everyone, I’m Liz, a friend of Julie’s. I’ve known her since way back in our high school working at McDonald’s days and we both attended college together and have managed to stay in touch over the years. She truly is one of those friends that if we lose touch we just pick right back up and chat each others ears off like no time has gone by at all!

I wanted to do a guest blog post for you guys about my experience with running and an active lifestyle and trying to keep a balance of this while also living with Crohn’s disease. What is Crohn’s you may ask? Well it is a digestive health disease that can affect your large or small intestine or colon. Mine is in my small intestine. I will get into some symptoms and how this affects my running and newly found active lifestyle later but I wanted to give you some more background on me first.

Basically I started running back in high school. I was always interested in running but not really in distances and my best friend at the time, well her dad coached cross country so they convinced me to try it and I loved it. I ran on my own through college and then life caught up to me. Trying to balance work, school and a social life, I kind of fell out of the habit for many years. I always meant to get back into it, buying running shoes, promising I would but never did.

It dawned on me this year, what is stopping me except me? I wanted to get in better shape, I wanted the stress relief and honestly I just missed running. My friends had been doing warrior dash and there was one closer to us in September so I was dying to do it! I talked some friends into it and started training last July. I have been running and swimming since then. After the warrior dash I made a promise to myself to sign up for one event a month to stay motivated. I did the Jack-o-lantern Jog 5k in october. My first real 5k (not counting warrior dash since there were the obstacles so didn’t get to see my real time.) I have to say I was very frustrated with the time. No where near what I used to do back in the day but at least I was doing it! So I signed up for a turkey day trot in kent and then the nye 5k in stow. I counted that one for Dec and Jan since it was hard to find ones to do during winter and the date fell perfectly to count it as either.

With Julie before the Jack-o-lantern Jog 5K

Recently I completed Tackle the Tower for Ronald McDonald House in Cleveland. I have to say that was quite a challenge, 38 flights of stairs! You definitely work a whole different set of muscles and experience a whole different kind of fatigue. It is challenging both physically and mentally for this reason but because it was outside of my comfort zone there was a certain level of pride that accompanied its completion. I had friends do the fun walk but I opted for the run because it would keep me more motivated to workout and keep up with my fitness. It was nice meeting up with my friends on top of the tower and talking, laughing and enjoying the view as well as the fact that we completed it.

All three of us girls from work at the top of the tower!
This is a coworker and I enjoying the view from the top of the tower after finally completing it!
This pic was kind of a must since it was for Ronald McDonald house and I used to work there as a teen

I will say that one advantage to me doing Tackle the Tower was it forced me to switch up my routine a bit while getting ready for it. This was most helpful to me as running is a struggle with Crohn’s disease. I was diagnosed back in 09. This is a challenge I did not have to deal with in high school. I will get extreme abdominal/stomach pain, nausea and fatigue for no good reason and be down and out for 3 days straight about once a month. When I am like this I can’t run, I can hardly move and I can barley even eat. I usually sleep for 3 days straight trying to deal with the extreme pain and fatigue. This can really mess with your training. That said while training for the tower I found that while running would sometimes irritate my stomach if it was already slightly upset, swimming and stairs did not. So I found that swimming on those days and then doing a stair climb followed by a mile walk was a good way to still keep up endurance but not over do it. I have to pay special attention to my body more so than most other runners because of the crohns and the added fatigue so now knowing that I have options of other workouts to do on days where it is mildly acting up was a wonderful discovery. I also found that hitting the sauna after my workout was therapeutic for my crohns and would help the workout not to affect me as much. I very much want to maintain the active lifestyle that I started last year. It just takes great dedication and extra care to do so. I am signed up for some future 5ks in March and april and am currently looking forward to another warrior dash in august.Maybe I will see you guys all there! Here are some pics from the warrior dash last September and from the stair climb last sat. I highly suggest doing both events! It is fun to shake things up and gain new experiences and accomplishments!

In closing, here are a couple pics from the warrior dash! Again I can’t stress enough that is definitely an experience that you should try!

Group shot after we completed it and had to crawl through the mud under the barbed wire at the end
Me basically being a goof and showing off my viking helmet and the I survived the warrior dash metal

More pics from Tackle the Tower. I was glad to be inside with how ugly out it was that day. Perfect day for an indoor event

Thank you for taking the time to read my guest post. I hope to see you all at future events! -Liz C.

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