Ever since I was a kid I enjoyed running mainly the sprints and as I got older and before I got far too sick with pouchitis I started to enjoy distance running. I have dabbled a few times with running since my ileostomy but I’m not sure my heart was in it and with having two small kids I’m not sure I had the get up and go either. Something however has changed my mind set and that something was pretty tragic.
My best friend and her husband sadly lost their little boy Phoenix; her big love in life prior to her little family was running and I remember watching the London Marathon in 2016 whilst I was recovering from my ileostomy surgery just days before desperately hoping to catch a glimpse of her running it. Her husband has managed to encourage her to run again and that show of love and support through their own grief kick started the spark for me to run again.
So of course I downloaded a couch25K app, dug out my trainers and my support wear my personal favourite is the t shirt and made a plan to go out for my first run. I decided to run when Sarah, Hannah and Ollie of Team #RunForPhoenix did their first half marathon of the year. Sarah only started running again on the 23rd of December. Ra-Ra came with me and we set off at the same time and did 1.8 miles which I think was a pretty good go if I do say so myself!
We went out for our second run in the dark and did 2.1 miles so that was a pretty amazing improvement! Ra-Ra and I are hoping to go out again together tomorrow to finish off the first week of couch to 5K as it was far too icy this morning. I don’t want to risk Ra-Ra hurting herself and losing interest because I do enjoy doing this with her. I did however go out for a run tonight and managed (via week one run three) 2.3 miles but I will do the third run again with Ra-Ra so we are still doing it together.
Running with my ileostomy hasn’t been so much of an issue for me but my hypermobile Ehlers Danlos syndrome likes to make itself known. However with regards to my ileostomy I like to make sure I am properly hydrated and often I pop an electrolyte sachet in my drink to just to be on the safe side. With regards to food I try to eat something I know my body takes awhile to digest so that I might have gotten home before I need to empty it – that is something that concerns me about running longer distances again. I personally like wearing support wear for my own peace of mind and I try and enjoy myself – yeah honestly you can enjoy yourself running although I don’t suggest doing it Phoebe style as that uses up a lot of energy!! Take it slow like with anything practice makes perfect.
As someone with an ostomy I really enjoyed reading “Loo Rolls to Lycra” by Caroline Bramwell where she talks about having Ulcerative Colitis and having her ostomy and running marathons and doing triathlons plus the ironman race! She is a personal heroine of mine that I was lucky enough to meet at ASCN 2018. Then the other book I highly suggest you read is “The Bowel Cancer Recovery Toolkit” by Sarah Russell she has had many surgeries on her bowel and has an ileostomy too. She is an exercise clinicical specialist and has ran marathons too. Her book is more based around getting those core muscles and general fitness back after abdominal surgery and I personally think this is a bible and should be recommended to everyone having abdominal surgery.
To begin with I just wanted to get back running in memory of a sweet little boy but now I have become determined, no not London Marathon determined! But 00Steve has paid for my entry to my hometowns 10K in May which I would really appreciate if people would like to donate towards me running that or Sarah’s sheer determination. All money raised is going to the South Tees Hospitals Charity fund but more specifically the neonatal unit. If you would like to donate to the just giving page please click here.
Do you run with your ostomy? I would love to hear about how you find it and your tips and tricks!