As I related in Part 1, I have set the personal goal of running a half marathon as participant in the CCFA (Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America*) Team Challenge. Team Challenge trains volunteers to run or walk a half marathon while helping the Foundation raise funds to find a cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. So by participating in Team Challenge I will be able to accomplish my long-delayed goal of running in a major event, while also being able to raise awareness and funds for Crohn’s disease research.
And almost immediately after I committed to Team Challenge, the rational part of my brain began a low level, continuous nagging that this goal was unrealistic — or even impossible — given my health.
Due to the nearly dozen bowel surgeries I’ve had over the past 30 years, my body now struggles to absorb some of the most basic nutrients, including (unfortunately) electrolytes such as magnesium. And as any dedicated athlete will tell you, it’s not safe to run any substantial distance when your body is low on electrolytes. The low magnesium looked about as close to a deal-breaker as my Crohn’s could throw at me.
Now I could claim that I immediately assembled a crack team of the best doctors to solve my magnesium problem. But the truth is that I already had a team of top docs who were focused on the problem. They have a working theory about what is happening and how to potentially resolve it. The challenge is whether the problem can be resolved in time for me to complete enough training and then participate in the half marathon.
Our CCFA Team Challenge team will participate in the ING Miami Half Marathon on January 27, 2008, so that is the ultimate deadline that I’m working backwards from. Today is only October 11, 2007. This is still very doable.
In the meantime, I’m receiving magnesium infusions via IV on average about once a week, and have my blood checked regularly to ensure that my magnesium level doesn’t drop too low. That gives me a little bit of cushion so that I don’t have to worry about going into cardiac arrest (at least, not due to low magnesium!).
Team Challenge provides two training sessions every Saturday morning — one for runners and one for walkers. To be safe, given my magnesium level currently is being maintained through infusions, I will train with the walkers this week.
I knew going into this event that it represented one of the toughest challenges of my life. And since I signed up, it has become an even greater challenge. But I’m intent on giving my all to achieve this goal. And with your support, I will succeed.
Would you like to receive periodic email updates about Kevin’s quest to participate in CCFA’s Team Challenge? Send an email to: email@example.com
You also can visit Kevin’s Team Challenge web page at: www.active.com/donate/MI08WISC/kevinabarnes
*The best source for information about Crohn’s disease is the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America, also known as CCFA. CCFA is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization dedicated to finding the cure for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. CCFA recently opened an Information Resource Center that provides accurate, current, disease-related information to the public, health care professionals, and patients and their families. The CCFA Information Resource Center can be reached at: 888.694.8872. The CCFA website is www.ccfa.org.