Viva Las Vegas

December 12, 2009 at 5:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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What a great experience I had in Vegas. Wasn’t quite sure how the race would turn out since I didn’t sleep very well for most of the week and had all but stopped training for the two weeks prior due to some pesky foot injuries. Those foot injuries….

At any rate I did pretty well; finished the half-marathon strong in about 2:08. Officially the time was 2:19 but I’m deducting 11 minutes for the time spent in line for the restroom at the 8-mile mark. I tried to make it without stopping but it just wasn’t meant to be, though I did run in place and practice high-knees while waiting.

2:08 and I’m sticking to it!

The race was really fun, the atmosphere was awesome, though the weather conditions could have been better. I started out of coral 16, which meant 55 minutes of waiting before we actually took off running. 120 minutes altogether, in the freezing desert cold (36 degrees), wearing shorts and 2 t-shirts… waiting as my muscles and eyeballs froze, hoping this year would be the one they found a cure thanks entirely to the frigid conditions I had to wait around in.

We were slowly ushered to the starting line just as the sun was peaking out of the desert terrain between the mountains and the airport. We looked at each other with cold and angst in our eyes (the waffles-to-come, with extra blueberries and whipped cream keeping my thoughts warm) and suddenly with a loud burst and crackle in the morning sky, fireworks exploded as a Blues Brothers Tribute band started playing high above us on a raised platform. “You Make me Want to Shout!” they sang, and we threw our hands up and shouted…. and threw our hands up and shouted… and threw our hands up…. ok I’ll stop. It was the perfect way to get everyone jazzed up and ready to run.

All was great, starting a run with a massive dance party is an indescribable experience. A former coworker of mine used to say on a boring Monday that he would give anything for the streets to suddenly erupt into dancing… well Parsa, they did. And it was awesome.

Not too many other highlights to recall after that, it was really a lot of killing time after that point. I was stoked to find out there was a Santa 5K the previous morning with free Santa costumes provided, and a little bummed that I missed it. It also would have been awesome if I picked up an Elvis costume and joined the Tour de Graceland runners.

The finish line was my favorite, not least of which because it was finally over. There is something to be said though about the feeling you get from an artificial sugar goo high at the 12-mile mark when you’re just about to collapse into a pile of concrete with two lead pipes that used to be legs. Suddenly I found myself sprinting, for almost a mile straight into the finish line while the crowd cheered me on. It was amazing.

At the finish line was my mom and two of my brothers, Michael and Brian. I was so happy to see them there in support of everything I had worked so hard for over the last 3 months. Thank you guys, it meant the world to me.

So to keep to my promise to Jason Leitman, and all the great people at CDSN and the CCFA, and all those others I met along the way, I will continue to maintain the blog to some extent so as to never abandon the most important part of all of this. The cause. It makes me feel good to know that I raised $3700.00 to help children suffering from IBD. My team, the New York Chapter of Team Challenge raised the most money of any team in the country, over $200,000!

My website will stay up, with stories and anecdotes about life with Crohn’s Disease and IBD, and I will continue to do my best to maintain this blog as a source of information and a connection point for those with IBD and those who can help them get through the pain and anxiety of having it.

I have a few ideas in mind that will hopefully pan out, but it’s still early and I don’t want to spill them just yet for fear of looking like a lazy slacker if they don’t actually come to fruition. I work full-time, can’t always be running marathons! I know you’ll understand.

Merry Christmas to you all, and thank you so much for your support!

Poopser: New Blogger, No Sugar Coat Needed

November 19, 2009 at 3:54 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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A new name emerged in the blogosphere last week, and she’s hit the keyboard typing. Mary, aka “poopser” put her first entry down on digital paper, and already the comments are rolling in.

Her blog, Crohn’s Disease: The Combat Within, talks about the life and struggle of a woman growing up with IBD. Mary describes herself as a Residential Nurse who loves her job but is unable to work right now because of complications from Crohn’s. She is currently 51 years old and was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when she was just eight.

I enjoy hanging with my family and friends and consider myself to be blessed, and a positive, optimistic person despite years of battling Crohn’s. I also like to quilt, read (I loved The Lord of the Rings Series and the Twilight Series, and even Harry Potter books) and I think that Robert Pattenson is “hot” despite the fact that he is just a baby compared to me.

Though she’s new to blogging, I’m sure we’ll see a lot of great content from this bold and straight-forward lady.

Everyone is encouraged to read Mary’s blog and give her feedback and suggestions on what to write about next. She is a very positive thinker, and very generous too (Mary donated to my Crohns TeamChallenger campaign to raise money for children with Crohn’s Disease). She deserves all the support she can get! Help Mary feel at home in the Crohn’s community and among bloggers. Over time I’m sure Poopser will grow to something amazing.

Once more, you can find her blog by clicking here, or clicking the Crohn’s Disease: The Combat Within on my blogroll.

Tips for Staying Strong on the Long Run

November 6, 2009 at 8:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Courtesy of Picapp.comSo you’re thinking about running a marathon? Cheers to you mate, that’s a big commitment. Running that kind of event is a lot of work! Here’s a short article with some tips to keep you going on the long run, written by me, a guy who never saw more than 3 miles pass under his jogging shoe until I started training for the Rock n’ Roll half to benefit children with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. It’s my first long distance run of any kind, but the information I pass on comes from both my own experience and that of others.

With time, refinement, and intelligent training, I know that soon I’ll be crossing the finish line of my first marathon. And who knows, maybe one day even an ultra-marathon or two.

After stammering and nearly talking myself out of the whole thing, I decided it was time to bunker down and get serious. Who can blame me for hesitating, I mean long-distance running is a lot of work!

Once I got serious about it though, I took the time to read up on some best practices and applied that to things learned first-hand from previous training sessions- and the results were great!

Don’t Wait Until You’re Thirsty- Have a Plan!

Staying properly hydrated is extremely important on long runs, in researching I read that having a hydration plan prior to undergoing an endurance workout will yield significantly better results than just drinking when the “need” arises. If you’re thirsty, you’re probably already dehydrated. At this point you’re likely more exhausted than you would have been had you been drinking water in regimented amounts along the way.
Courtesy of Picapp.com
I purchased the Helium four-bottle hydration belt from Fuel Belt and tried that out. It comes with four small plastic bottles that strap in place firmly along the waist. First I drank a decent amount of water about 20 minutes prior to running (enough to feel hydrated but not too weighed down with liquid) then filled up each bottle half way (roughly 3-4oz each), and drank one down every 15 minutes after the 45 minute mark.

Don’t Dilute Yourself
Water is essential as anyone will tell you, but it’s not all your body needs for the long haul. It’s equally important to keep yourself fueled with the necessary amount of electrolytes. As our Team Challenge New York trainer Jay Hachadoorian explained, our body’s muscles have natural storage capacity for about 1 hour’s continuous activity. After that point you must replenish yourself with the necessary fuel to keep going.

If you’re considering running a long distance, experiment with various on-the-go electrolyte supplements like gels, tabs, or goos. See how they react with your stomach (a good reason not to wait for race day to start trying them!), and which ones gives you the best sustainable lift. My favorite is the Clif Energy Shot Block Chews. They taste great, are convenient to carry around, and don’t seem to cause any stomach issues.

You can support me too if you like- good time for a tax deduction!
* A quick note, I’m not sponsored by either Clif Bar & Co. or Fuel Belt. They’re just great brands that I trust and love.

Training Update: Closing in on 10 Miles!

October 27, 2009 at 4:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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This week has been phenomenal in every way. Firstly, I am proud to say that my running ability is now far beyond what it ever was before. The training is working- the hills, the incremental increases in distance, speed intervals, and best of all the guiltless mass consumption of carbs- it’s all working! I am thinner, faster, and can now run further than ever before.

9 miles! I used to struggle with 3, now I just need to push it 4 more and I’ll have this half-marathon in the bag. Best of all, I physically feel great about the whole thing. My body isn’t breaking down like I thought it would, it’s actually becoming stronger and more efficient.

I’ll be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever trained for something like this and it made me more nervous than an ant in the shadow of a shoe sole when I started. But thanks to the support from my team, the guidance of my trainer Jay Hachadoorian, and the people following the Crohn’s TeamChallenger cause and telling me their stories, I am motivated and pumped to continue on!

Let’s get together and make some change in this world! Donate today and help better the life of a child with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis!

The Benevolence of Strangers

October 23, 2009 at 8:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The internet is an interesting place, especially this latest rendition of it. It’s gone from a large ocean fed by tributaries of voices washing across the phone lines to a series of focused and highly vocal communities. This great ocean has been desalinized and drained into small glasses- easy to drink from. Easier still to fill again.

The most beautiful thing to come out of the internet’s second coming, is the focused communities it so desperately needed in the first. The noise has been tuned into, to the point where I can take up a cause and 2 months later have close friends that I help and who help me in return.

Today a fellow advocate for Crohn’s awareness wrote this about me on his website.

I want to give a special note for Nicholas Collard. He is someone who does not have Crohn’s Disease, and didn’t know anyone with it. He took it upon himself to start doing marathon fundraisers for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). He has also right now switched focus to Camp Oasis, and helping kids. This is a wonderful camp for kids with Irritable Bowel Diseases.

Nicholas was also incredibly kind to feature CDSN in his blog:
https://teamchallenger.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/meet-the-crohns-community/

More information can be found about Nicholas under the Crohn’s Fund-raising tab; def worth the read!

Thanks Nicholas for all your support and awareness for IBD.

-Jason

This really means a lot, and as I keep saying, it serves as further motivation to keep up the cause. Thank you.

Also, don’t forget, I am raising money for children with Crohn’s Disease. I say this for those who just stumbled onto here from Google. If you would like to contribute to this charity fundraiser, click here to be redirected to my CCFA page. We’ve raised $850 so far, and are steadily on the way to making the $4000 goal by December. All money goes to the CCFA, which funds Camp Oasis for children suffering from Irritable Bowel Diseases.

Meet the Crohn’s Community

October 20, 2009 at 11:38 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

One of the most rewarding parts of this whole fundraising endeavor has been meeting and conversing with people with Crohn’s Disease. There are whole communities out there, helping and supporting each other through this illness. It’s been a pleasure finding those people and getting to know them individually. Two things they all have in common: everyone I’ve spoken to has been very friendly, and they have all been so grateful for the work being done to raise money and awareness for their disease. And while I’m not doing this for recognition, I can’t say I don’t appreciate being appreciated.

Here are some of the people I’ve met and groups I’ve followed since starting Crohn’s TeamChallenger. Please, take a look at these sites and let them know you appreciate their work as well.

CDSN Firstly there is the Crohn’s Disease Support Network created by Jason Leitman. This site is built using ning.com and provides users with a forum to chat with each other and provide support and useful information on a variety of topics surrounding IBD. The site also contains a link to Jason’s blog, along with several others. You can log on directly, or find it on Twitter via the hashtag #CDSN and of course by adding Jason at @Jason31480. Odds are if you go there, he’ll be in the chat room- so send him a holla and let him know I sent you!

Another great resource is the blog My Journey with Crohn’s Disease by Inna Lukyanovsky. This blog is another all-encompassing one-stop shop for information on living with Crohn’s Disease. The layout of the page is very simple to navigate, making the multitude of information more easily accessable. Find the blog directly, or link to it from its parent site Journey with Crohn’s Disease, which contains still more information on Crohn’s Disease. You can also tweet Inna with your comments and questions at @CrohnsSolutions. Be sure to be friendly and follow her while you’re there, the support is always appreciated.

And if you’re wondering what’s being done for people outside of America, take a look at the Rubber Side Down project by Greg Mailloux, Vin Heney, John Scott, and Andy Peterson. These guys set out to ride “from the Rockies to the Rock” in support of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada. A large part of their project’s mission, like my own, is to raise awareness on its own for Crohn’s and colitis.

Canada has one of the highest prevalences of Crohn’s and Colitis in the world, yet many Canadians are still unaware the causes and effects of these debilitating diseases. Along with spreading the word about the prevalence of these diseases, by the very nature of biking across Canada we will promote physical activity and sound ecological practices.

Camp Oasis

October 12, 2009 at 1:53 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

camp oasis I was giving some thought to my reasons for fundraising for a cure for Crohn’s disease and decided to further focus my efforts. Going forward I will be training, running, and fundraising specifically for the children who have Crohn’s disease.

Most forms of Crohn’s set in between the ages of 15 and 20 years old, but flare ups can occur at a younger age as well. These symptoms can be devastating, especially to a young child who does not understand what is happening.

Look at children in the parks, look how they play. Now imagine the children that cannot be there along with the ones you see. They have severe stomach aches that keep them in bed, or diarrhea and bleeding throughout the day that prevents them from having a normal, fun, enjoyable childhood.

I thought about this today and decided I can’t live complacently in a world where that is a reality. Children are tomorrow’s leaders, but today they should at least be allowed to be children- without reservation or restriction. Without pain.

With the generous donations of people just like you, the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) is able to provide millions of dollars a year in grants to funding research on groundbreaking treatments for Crohn’s disease; bringing us one step closer to finding a cure.

In addition to that, the CCFA also uses money collected to fund Camp Oasis, a summer camp designed to enrich the lives of children suffering from Crohn’s disease. Children and teens attending Camp Oasis develop friendships and support, and learn that they are not alone. The activities support them while providing them with a fun and adventurous camp getaway experience.

Their words speak for themselves: one camp member, Sarah, describes Camp Oasis as “a place where I could have a caring and understanding environment and I could have fun without worrying about others judging me.”

Be a part of this great endeavor, won’t you?

Click here and make your donation to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America, through Team Challenge New York, so that camp will stay open and a cure will be found.

“The Test of leadership is not to put greatness into humanity, but to elicit it, for the greatness is already there.” ~James Buchanan

Two Sources of Inspiration in the Fight Against Crohn’s Disease

October 5, 2009 at 6:25 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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I want to share today two names of great people. Dr. Stacy Spaulding and Jennifer Robinson.

Dr. Spaulding is a former professor of mine at Towson University in Maryland. She has been a source of constant source of knowledge and inspiration for me as I’ve traversed the continent trying to leave a footprint on this life. when I announced my fundraising effort, she so readily took up the cause and has helped get the word out about the Crohn’s TeamChallenger project. This week she took it a step further and made a very generous contribution to my fundraiser.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you so much for everything you’ve done.

The second person is Jennifer Robinson, a woman I have never met who reached out to me yesterday and told me her story. She told me about her battle against Crohn’s disease that has been going on for over two years now. She told me about the pain and discomfort, and the constant illness that at one point caused her weight to drop rapidly to just 90 lbs. Jennifer is doing much better now thanks to innovative new treatments and lifestyle changes she’s made. I look forward to speaking with her again soon.

Thank you Jennifer for sharing your story. You are a renewed source of motivation for me.

Folks, please donate to this cause so the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America can continue developing new treatments and one day a cure for the hundreds of thousands of people living in this country with Crohn’s disease.

Training and Fundraiser update

September 30, 2009 at 4:21 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Yesterday the word went out about the TeamChallenger Boozin’ for a Cure party at Stumble Inn on Monday, Oct. 5 from 9-10pm. I’m so happy to see people signing up already. Who knew doing something for a good cause could be so much fun!

I want you all to be assured that I am pouring all that I have into this effort. But despite that it is YOU the readers, supporters, and contributors who are making this opportunity possible. It is because of YOU that I am now running 5 to 6 miles at a time, 4 days a week and will continue striving to do even better.

It is because of YOU that we have raised hundreds of dollars already and will raise thousands more before December comes to give a better life to the the hundreds of thousands of men, women, and children living with Crohn’s disease in this country.

Thank you all.

“You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Boozin’ for a Cure- Monday Oct. 5, 9-10 PM

September 29, 2009 at 8:51 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Stumble Inn Bar on 76th and 2nd Ave (UES)

Stumble Inn Bar on 76th and 2nd Ave (UES)

Come join us at the Stumble Inn on the corner of 76th st. and 2nd Ave. (UES) and let’s drink to a cure! That’s right, the generous managers at Stumble  Inn are letting Crohns TeamChallenger host the first ever Boozin’ For a Cure.

Beer, wine, well drinks, it’s going to be swell! Just $10 at the door and you needn’t pay more for an hour of unlimited drinking. Tell your friends, tell your coworkers! Come one come all- the more the merrier, it’s going to be a regular hootenanny – and all money collected at the door goes to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. So you can drink with the satisfaction of knowing that your inebriated ways are helping to find a cure for hundreds of thousands of people nationwide suffering from this debilitating and life-altering illness.

Please RSVP by leaving a comment here or going to the Boozin’ for a Cure event page on Facebook and signing up. Of course nobody will be turned away, so if you don’t get a chance to sign up feel free to join us anyway!

Remember to tell your friends, your parents, your grandparents, your friends’ grandparents, and anyone else that might be interested!

And what’s more… all drafts are $1 for the rest of the night! Sweet!

Philanthropy rocks! See you there!

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