I've always loved running. I ran in the after-school program at my elementary school, joined the high school track team, and benefited from running’s stress relief in college. I've run 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, Spartan races, and full marathons—I can't get enough.
There was a time in my life when I needed running on a daily basis, almost as much as I needed to breathe. Running was my lifeline; I loved the community aspect, the competitive nature, the sense of accomplishment after a race, and the feeling of pounding the pavement. I also have ulcerative colitis (UC)—a chronic inflammatory bowel disease—and it wasn’t until late into my marathon training and race day that I realized running and UC don’t always mix well. I stubbornly refused to listen to my body and pushed way past the point when I should have stopped and allowed my body to recover. More specifically, it was when I found myself racing toward the portable toilets at every mile marker instead of racing toward the finish line. Can you even imagine?! It was not healthy.