This weekend there are two events happening that are both close to my heart: Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis and the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour.
Way back in 2009 I was deep into riding my bike and training very hard. I had never heard of the Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis and I thought that riding 177 km on both Saturday and Sunday was a bit crazy. Neither event registered on my radar. Flash forward about a month or so later and I had just received my diagnosis of ulcerative colitis.
This news changed my focus – while still racing and training, all of my free time was spent researching ulcerative colitis and IBD. In June 2010 – as luck would have it the Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis and the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour were not on the same weekends. I participated in both events – I was quite sick but determined that ulcerative colitis would not stop me from getting out and being active.
Thanks to the generosity of friends and family, I raised a good amount of money for the Gutsy Walk and I enjoyed seeing so many people come together for the event. Rideau Lakes that year was one that many people are still talking about – beauty of a day on Saturday and downright miserable on Sunday with horrible cold rain. I loved every second of it. I did the ride with some great friends who knew of my health status and I had a blast. (I did have to take six Imodium tablets each day to get through it – not recommended and in fact quite dangerous for folks with IBD.) That weekend is still one of my cycling highlights.
Since 2010, I’ve registered for Rideau Lakes every year. Each subsequent year, I’ve been too sick to participate. I registered again this year. While this year, my health is much better, I’m not participating. Now I’ve learned after close to five years of living with ulcerative colitis that I can’t push myself super hard anymore and I really have to pay attention to my energy levels.
I also haven’t participated in the Gutsy Walk since 2010 – being too sick in past years to participate. This year, I didn’t do any fundraising but three amazing women who are tremendous role models of how to live a well-rounded and balanced life while battling Crohn’s Disease and ulcerative colitis have been working hard this year to raise funds. If you feel like contributing to the Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis and helping us to find the causes and cures for these diseases – please follow this link: Gutsy Walk for Crohn’s and Colitis and search for Marie-Josée Lafleur, Laurie Ann Crawford-Renwick or Alex Beaudoin.
So this first weekend in June 2014 is an anniversary of sorts. I’m finally getting my health on track. Two big events are happening this weekend that have impacted me in many ways. People are coming together to raise awareness of IBD. People will be out riding their bikes to Kingston and back – hitting new personal milestones.