This weekend I ran the Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon (recap coming soon!) with the Fairfield/Westchester chapter of Team Challenge and it was a truly inspirational and life changing experience. If you don’t know what Team Challenge is, you should! It is the endurance training and fundraising program for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, which is dedicated to finding a cure to these horrible diseases that affect over 1.4 million Americans. The program provides fundraising support, weekly training sessions with experienced running coaches, a cheering squad on the race course, and everything you could possibly need leading up to and at the race you are signed up for. The support is unparalleled!
I’ve been suffering with ulcerative colitis (UC) for almost 10 years now and until recently have remained relatively silent about it. Yes, my family and close friends knew that I suffered, but openly talking about my bowels was not something I was all too comfortable with. That was until I joined Team Challenge. It was like everyone started coming out of the woodwork with stories of how either Crohn’s or colitis has affected their lives in some way. People who I have know for years revealed that they themselves were suffering from this…why have we never talked about this before?!
But it was mainly my Endurance Manager Dan who helped me break out of my UC shell. He also suffers with UC and tells everyone about it! As he says, it’s the second thing he tells people he first meets after his name. I realized that it’s healthy to talk about and and that I’m not alone in this battle. It’s nice to find someone who can relate to what I’m going through. Don’t get me wrong, my family is incredibly supportive, but they don’t know what a flare is like and how sick you feel because there aren’t many visual symptoms. Dan is also an inspiration to those of us trying to stay active and healthy with UC. Not only has he run numerous half marathons with Team Challenge before becoming an Endurance Manager, he takes part in other grueling competitions like Tough Mudder. Crazy! So big thanks to Dan for your support and endless cheering throughout the race this past weekend.
Besides the support from Dan and my coaches, it was great to have such a wonderful team to race with. The night before the race we all sat around and said why we were doing this. Many people have no ties to Crohn’s and Colitis, but needed a way to get healthy. I can think of no better way to start. In the process of changing their lives for the better, they are helping to find a cure.
Check out this great video on what it’s like to run for Team Challenge:[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wagn-IxAlD8&w=560&h=315]
Doesn’t that look like fun?! So why not attend an information session? This summer local chapters will be hosting informational sessions about the program and how you can sign up to run the Las Vegas Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon. Vegas baby!
Together our chapter raised over $74,000 for CCFA and $1.6 million was raised overall for this race alone. A lot can be done with that! I’m going to keep running for Team Challenge and sporting my blue and orange. I believe that one day there will be a cure and I’m proud to be part of making that happen. I hope to see you at a race one day so we can “run our assses off” together! Get it 😉