Category Archives: Team Challenge

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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Long runs and pulled muscles

Stolen colon crohns ostomy blog ccfa team challenge half marathon colitis team challenge tuesdayRace day is frighteningly close. We have just one long run left this weekend, then a shorter run next week and then it’s time for another half-marathon. I’m more nervous about this race now than I have been this whole time.

It all started with a long run this past Saturday. As you know, I’ve been trying to catch up on my training. My couch recommended that I cut back on some of the running, since I’ve been having a few issues, and to focus more on some strength training. (Let me just say how much more difficult that is than I thought it would be. You’re training for a half-marathon, so you think you’re in shape… then you do strength training and sadly realize you are not.) I’ve been doing that several times a week, in between running and trying to get in some cross-training, as well.

I can honestly say that I haven’t kept in as good overall shape in this one than I did for the Vegas race. I just haven’t been as motivated. I think it’s due in large part to not really having someone to train with here in Raleigh. Keeping in contact with the group has been great; I’ve had some wonderful friends who have joined me on some runs; preparing for this with my GI doc has been a great experience, too. But in it all, I haven’t had anyone who’s right there with me, cheering me on and working to do this together. I’m realizing how hard this is to do on your own, and my training has shown that.

umstead park raleigh trail run path woods stephanie hughes half marathon training run stolen colon crohns ostomy blogStill, I made up my mind to get in a 10.5 mile run on Saturday, no matter what pace I kept. I had a friend who joined me for the first half and we out for another run at Umstead Park. Since I didn’t know what I was doing in planning my route, I chose what’s really meant to be a bike track and has  some of the steepest hills I’ve ever tried to climb. About a mile and a half in, we realized what a bad idea that was and turned back. It still was a good run, as I was able to do the rest of in on a much better path. And I made it: 10.6 miles and I kept up a 12:24 pace.

I actually was feeling great afterwards. Tired, for sure, but it was a good run and had a good stretch afterwards. Even the next day I felt good. Then yesterday morning, I woke up with a big pain in my leg and hip. I started having these same type of issue that I had come up just before my Vegas race. I’m not even sure if it’s a pulled muscle or what, but it’s been bothering me non-stop for the past two days and hurts when I walk or when I sit or when I stand or when I basically move by any degree in any direction. It has me worried. I feel like I’ve come too far to be sidelined by a stupid issue like this.

I’ve been doing my best to stretch it out over the past two days and to try not to baby it too much. I’m not sure that it’s made much of a difference so far, but I’m hopeful that it will work itself out. I’m planning on heading to the gym in the morning and doing what I can. I’d love to be able to get in a run on the treadmill, but I may have to settle for the elliptical or stationary bike.

There are less than three training weeks left, so I know I can’t lose focus now, but I also have to be careful not to make things worse but pushing myself too hard.

Hard run and hard news

Stolen colon crohns ostomy blog ccfa team challenge half marathon colitis team challengeI know it’s not Tuesday (even though I’m sure many of you may be reading this on Tuesday), but I think it’s time for a Team Challenge update. It’s actually been a really big week.

So a quick update on training… I got up with the team coach this week to talk about my training. She gave me some good tips for getting a little caught up without overdoing it. I made a big jump up to 9 miles this week. And it was a BIG jump. I went out first thing Sunday to run through Umstead Park and it was just not happening for me. It took me about a half-an-hour to find any sort of rhythm and keep up a decent pace. By the time I got back on track, I was already struggling just to get through it.

I ended up getting in 8.87 miles in 2 hours, and that was really just because I was doing an out-and-back run and misjudged the distance and didn’t have the energy to finish off the rest of the .13 of a mile. Granted, running through the woods is going to slow you down a bit, but I have been able to keep up a much better pace recently, so it was disappointing to have such a difficult run. The last 2 miles, my legs felt like blocks of concrete and I had moments of feeling that I wouldn’t make it back to my car. It felt the same way as the last 2 miles in Vegas, except I had no motivation to pull out a sprint near the end. But I’m glad I’m passed it and now it’s time to move on to the final 2 weeks of long runs and get myself prepared for the big day, which is now just over 3 weeks away.

On top of a hard run, we received some difficult news here in North Carolina this week. We found out that this will be the last season for Team Challenge in the Carolinas. Basically this means that we no longer have a full-time staff person and will not have a local group to train with before the race. If one of us wants to be a part of Team Challenge again, you become part of the National team, so you’ll still have the accountability that comes along with the program, but you won’t be surrounded by the people like we are now.

Even though I haven’t had quite the community that others have had, it was really hard to learn this last week. The program has meant a lot to me over the past 7 months and I’ve enjoyed being a part of it, even from a bit of a distance. It’s not easy to understand why things like this have to happen, but I also realize that all of this is about promoting research for a cure and resources for patients, so if a program is not being able to do that, then it’s time to rethink things. I just hate that it came down to this.

I’m not sure what this means for me in the future. I had already decided to take the fall season off because I have discovered this time that doing back-to-back seasons is a very big commitment and more than I was prepared to handle coming into this. And I don’t know if they’ll restructure and bring it back in the future, but I’m not counting on that for the time being. I guess we’ll see what the future seasons bring.