Category Archives: CCFA

Half-marathon #2: Take that Crohn’s!

Where to even start on this race recap… I suppose I’ll start at 3:30 a.m. because that is when I got up this morning. It really wasn’t that bad. When it’s race day, it’s usually fairly easy to wake up team challenge group cheer carolinas stephanie hughes stolen colon crohn's ostomy blogbecause your adrenaline is already pumping. The morning was uneventful as we got ready, grabbed all of our stuff and got some quick oatmeal for breakfast. The team got together for a quick group picture and we were off! (Pardon the blurriosity.)

We took the bus over to the vineyard, and set up to wait for the start of the race. This was a great part of the day because I got the chance to meet someone who I’ve been looking forward to seeing for a while. Rebecca, who is the lovely lady behind Caring for Crohn’s, and I started chatting a few months rebecca kaplan caring for crohns team challenge race morning half marathon stephanie hughes stolen colon ostomy blogback. We discovered that we were both bloggers who would be heading to Virginia for this race, so we’ve been keeping in touch and looking forward to officially meeting. She is doing Team Challenge for her husband, Dan, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s six years ago. It was great to catch up with both of them before the race and a perfect way to start the morning.

The race was set to start at 7 a.m., but buses were still pulling up at that time bringing runners, so they delayed the start for a little bit. I think we got underway around 7:20 a.m. I started the race off with Bret, another one of the mentors with the Carolina team, but he had a shoe issue about a half-mile in, so I took off ahead of him.

The run started off great. My hips weren’t hurting and I was keeping a good pace. I ran the whole first mile and after that I tried to keep a 4-minute run and 1-minute walk. That worked really well for me. I also decided to walk through all of the water stops and that was definitely a good idea, especially since it got up to the low-80s by the time we finished.

Around the 4 mile marker, I started chatting with another lady from Team Challenge who was keeping a similar pace to me. We stayed together for probably 5 or so miles and I found out that she was running for her daughter who has Crohn’s and was diagnosed at age 8. Her daughter, who is now 14, just had surgery to get an ileostomy in February. I told her about my surgery and what a difference it has made in my life. It was such a great connection to make and to assure her that her daughter would still have a full, beautiful life.

We split up around mile 9 and I took off on my own. I started getting chills, which worried me a little, so I slowed up a bit and did a lot more walking on those final 4 miles, which was fine to me. I got a chance to take in some of the beautiful scenery around me. I finally made it to the final corner, which was about the final 0.1 of the race, and I had just enough energy left for a sprint to the finish!

run half marathon virginia wine country stephanie hughes stats stolen colon crohns ostomy blogMy official running time was 02:34:08, which is about an 11:41 pace. I am so excited about that! When I think back to how difficult things were for me in March and how just 3 weeks ago I could hardly walk across the room, and to be able to come within a few minutes of my Vegas time… I don’t even know how to express how amazing that feels. And I should never have expected to PR today with the heat and humidity that we were dealing with.

But I came across that finish line strong and proud of myself for making it there again. I’m still very sore sitting here writing this, but that’s OK. I consider being sore after a race a badge of honor and I don’t mind it one bit.

And a big shout out to everyone who participated today with Team Challenge! You all are awesome and it was an honor to run with all of you!

Hello, Team Challenge! (Day 1 in Virginia)

I survived the 4 1/2 hour drive up from Raleigh to Leesburg, VA, today! I think that’s the farthest I’ve ever driven by myself. And honestly, it wasn’t that bad. Jarrod and I got up early to get me over to the rental car company. (We realized it would actually be cheaper to rent a car with good gas mileage to drive than it would be to drive the Tahoe.) I set off at 7:20 a.m. and got here just before noon. It was an uneventful trip, which is always best.

leesburg virginia team challenge view scenic stephanie hughes stolen colon crohns ostomy blogI went immediately in search of food and stopped for a turkey sandwich and salad. I tried the hotel while over there and they told me that my room was already available even though check in wasn’t for another few hours. I went ahead and got settled into the room and made my way over to the race expo to get my race bib and sign in. I was pretty tired by this point and didn’t feel like doing much, so I watched a little TV and relaxed for a little bit. Then got up for a shower and made myself presentable right about the time everyone else was arriving.

We had a group meeting earlier and it was great to finally get to sit down with everyone who’s a part of this. A couple of people I had never even met. We went through all of the details we will need for the race tomorrow and made sure we all know where we’re supposed to be and when. The coach talked a lot about the weather for tomorrow and said that no one should be trying to PR tomorrow (race speak for setting your personal record.) This actually made me feel a little better. I was never going for my best time, but I still felt that I should be improving and not doing worse than my last race. Because of the heat, she said you should plan to add at least 10 or maybe 20 minutes onto your expected time. It could be a long day…

team challenge pasta party virginia spirit lineAnd I just got back from the day before the race pasta party. This part is, to me, the most important part of this whole thing. It’s where everyone comes together and cheers each other on and knows that we are all there for the same reason. The run is kind of secondary to that. It was a great night of hearing inspiring stories and learning that, as a group, the Virginia runners have raised over $950,000! That’s just amazing and I’m so proud to be a part of it.

But I need to sign off now. The race starts in less than 10 hours and I’ll be waking up in less than 7. I’ll be back after those 13.1 miles!

Final preparations

Stolen colon crohns ostomy blog ccfa team challenge half marathon colitis team challenge tuesdayMan, my final Team Challenge Tuesday and I’m late… Oh, well. Here we go anyways.

We are literally 3 days away from race day. I’m 72 hours, I will be huffing and puffing my way through Virginia Wine Country, probably wondering what could’ve possessed me to do this AGAIN. (I kid, I kid.) Right now I’m feeling… OK about everything. The pain I’ve been having is better, but definitely not gone. I went for a short half-hour run this morning and am still having some, but it didn’t slow me down as much as it has been recently. I really think the hot yoga classes are helping!

I only made it 4-miles this weekend, which means the last long run I had was 10.5 miles back on May 11! That’s what worries me most. It’s just been so long since I’ve felt up to getting in a 2 hour or more run. But I am trying one more thing. I actually have an appointment tomorrow with a sports massage therapist that I’m really hoping can help me work out some of the kinks and get me prepared. I’m really praying that’s going to be beneficial and not cause any excess pain. Again, for this race, I’m just hoping to finish, not break any records. (We’ll see how my competitive side handles that.)

So I’ve got one more hot yoga class tomorrow morning, a sports massage in the afternoon, and if I have time, a final swim class in the evening. Then early Friday morning, I’ll be making the 5 hour drive up to Leesburg, VA and meeting up with the rest of the Team Challenge crew. This is going to be an interesting weekend. I think it’ll be a little sad considering it’s the final season for Team Challenge in the Carolinas.

There is still so much to do between now and 7:00 Friday morning, when I plan to start heading that way. It’s a little overwhelming right now, but I’ll get it all done. But the next 2 days will be a little crazy!

Looking forward to updating everyone from Virginia!!


This one’s for North Carolina

Stolen colon crohns ostomy blog ccfa team challenge half marathon colitis team challenge tuesdayTwo weeks, people. TWO WEEKS! And it’s actually less than that now. In just 10 days I will be on my way to Leesburg, Virginia for the start of the Team Challenge Weekend festivities.

I had the wonderful opportunity this past weekend to meet up with the Carolina’s Team Challenge group in Charlotte. Jarrod and I drove out there Friday night in order to be able get up early for a run with the group and hang out with everyone at the send off party. Our Team Challenge coach was kind enough to let us stay at her home with her four (yes, four) dogs.

This was one of the first times this season that I got up early for a long run, since I’ve been doing them more of mid-day or even later on in the day. But we all took off about 8:30 a.m. for a 14 mile run. Now I wasn’t planning on doing 14 miles, since I’ve been a little behind, but I was hoping to do 12.

I mentioned last week how I started having a lot of pain in my back and legs. It got better throughout the week, but was still bothering me some on Saturday. I started off slow, trying to build up to a better pace… but I never got there. For about the first two miles I was able to keep up a job/walk pace, but was still moving slow. After those first two miles, I hardly could do more than a walk with a brief jog thrown in there. By the end, I was just walking. I ended up making it 7.7 miles, but it took over two hours and I was in a lot of pain. It was very frustrating.

But on some advice from my coach, I am taking it a little easy this week, focusing on cross training, stretching and strength training. In fact, last night I attended my first hot yoga class. Wow, I did not know what I was in for. I knew it was going to be intense, but I did not think it would be quite that intense. I think I sweated more in that hour that I ever have in my life… probably combined. But it felt really good. I was able to stretch some muscles that I’ve been having trouble with and I felt very… light (?). I’m not sure if that’s the right word, but I felt good.

I also just want to say what a great time I had getting to see everyone in Charlotte. The Carolina’s team is truly a great one and I’m saddened to think this is the last season. There were so many people out there I hadn’t even had a chance to meet before and many who I haven’t seen in a while and I’m looking forward to running with them even more. (Hopefully running, that is.)


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