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!

On the Way to Las Vegas Half-Marathon for Crohn’s Disease

December 3, 2009 at 10:23 am | Posted in training | 2 Comments
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So here I am, in the final throes of marathon training. To be honest, I’m feeling very nervous and anxious. It’s tapering week (the period just before the marathon when you stop training and let your body heal and prepare) and I can’t help but feel the irrational fear that I’m going to somehow slip out of shape from inactivity and be unable to complete the marathon on Sunday.

Like I said, it’s irrational. I expect to kick butt on Sunday!

What’s more, I’m going to Vegas baby!

Now, the run may be over after Sunday but the fundraising is still on until mid-January. As of yet I’m currently $2500 from my goal- if you haven’t jumped in yet now is the time!

Consider this my final pre-marathon pitch: December is coming up. And as we approach this season of giving please keep in mind the millions of Americans with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis in need of your help. Inflamatory Bowel Diseases are extremely devastating and as of yet there is no cure.

Help change that fact. Please donate today.

The Scariest Thing of All

October 31, 2009 at 2:29 am | Posted in IBD Medical Facts | 3 Comments
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Halloween is a holiday of strange appeal. On this day we celebrate the things that we secretly dread and the fantastical terrors that haunt our dreams- the macabre dance of shadows from whistling wind-swept tree limbs, black-clad witches with crooked noses and masked men with shrill laughs and serrated fingernails. For many of us it’s a time to dress in mysterious costumes, impersonate the dead and embrace the night. For others, Halloween is a night to let loose and have fun behind a mask.

In all its many inceptions, Halloween remains a chance to be someone you aren’t. To do things you wouldn’t normally do.
Why are these pumpkins so smiley?

This idea got me thinking, what would people do if they could step outside of themselves and really be another person? What if you had the chance to really face your fears, and it wasn’t all part of some elaborate night of facades, or a scripted ploy built into the walls of a smoky haunted house with strobe lights and bowls of cherry-flavored blood punch?

Would you come out of it with a different outlook?

As you know from this blog, or if we’ve run into each other somewhere in Manhattan, I am running in December for children with Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis. This is a painful, debilitating disease. And for children it is terrifying. If you don’t know much about Inflammatory Bowel Diseases and the effects they have on people, please take a moment and watch the video below from LiveStrong.com.

In this video, Dr. Susan L. McGladdery, the Regional Director from First Med Centers in Hungary, describes the symptoms and effects of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases (IBD).

Here are some key points to take away from this video, quoted from Dr. McGladdery-

Inflammatory bowel diseases, either Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, occur when “the linking of the digestive tract becomes inflamed… they’re very painful and debilitating and sometimes even life-threatening conditions.”

Both Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis can cause symptoms in the range of “pain, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, bleeding, weight loss, and anemia.”

One last point that was even shocking to myself was the likelihood of IBD sufferers to develop cancer. This is an important thing to consider- we spend a lot time and resources fighting cancer, and it weighs a great deal on our nation’s healthcare system. So why not spend more time fighting conditions that likely cause cancers to form? Isn’t that the kind of preventative action should be taking in this country?

According to Dr. McGladdery, “both ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease also increase your risk of colon cancer. Approximately 10% of patients with inflammatory bowel disease go on to develop a cancer, and the risk is greatest after inflammatory bowel disease has been present and active for 10 years.”

Do you want to do the math on 10% of the 1.2 million people with IBD?

Donate today, so a child doesn’t have to worry about those numbers.

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.

The Facts on Crohn’s and TeamChallenge New York

September 1, 2009 at 3:42 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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teamchallengeCrohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful illnesses that attack the digestive system. Approximately 1.4 million American adults and children suffer from these conditions.

But there is hope from people like you. A full 80% of all money raised through TeamChallenge, in conjunction with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), goes to direct research, education, and support services for those with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.

The CCFA has so far invested in over 1,100 grants with the help of its generous donors. In 2007 the CCFA was able to allocate $16 million to the cause; a 250% increase from just two years prior!

Now we need your help more than ever as TeamChallenge New York hits the asphalt to help beat that record!

Do it for someone you love, or do it for nobody at all. For whatever reason, donate today and give someone the gift of a brighter future.

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