Ever since I was little, I have always loved to run. My parents have told me countless stories about me running around the house like a crazed child when I was younger, and running for hours outside with the dogs chasing them. I have just always been super excited by the concept of running fast and far, I believe it is something that I was born with. I started running competitively in middle school when I was on the track and cross country teams. I excelled well in both of these sports and was way faster than most of the other kids. Instead of running cross country in high school, I decided to play soccer instead because I enjoyed the foot work and was also really fast in sprinting. I could be most of the other players to the ball nine times out of ten. I attend college at the University of Michigan where I ran the 100 meter and 200 meter dash; I wasn’t the best runner at the school but I was definitely fast enough to stay competitive.
Now that I’m well into my adult life, running is still a huge part of my daily routine. Before going to work every morning, I enjoy going for runs in the cool and still air of the morning. I run around my neighborhood and town usually if there is good weather; otherwise, I may go to the gym and run for a bit on the treadmill. Running is a good way for me to start the day because it helps me to wake up a bit and clear my head, leaving my mind more calm and collected to begin the work day. I usually run about 6 or 7 miles in the morning Monday through Friday, leaving a longer 10 mile run for Saturdays. My wife enjoys running too, but not quite as much as me. She will usually join me 2 or 3 days out of the week on my morning runs, but never on Saturdays!
A couple months ago, after a few unfortunate medical emergencies, I underwent an ostomy and had a stoma put in my lower intestine. For those of you who don’t know, this means that I wear an ostomy bag connected to a whole in my lower abdomen that allows for food and other waste to collect in it, since it cannot be passed through my bladder or colon. This was originally a very depressing time for me because I had to change a lot about my life. I was worried that I would no longer be able to run like I used to and that would severely affect my mental health.
Fortunately, running is completely possible with an ostomy bag after a few altercations to how I would originally go about my run. The first thing I needed to do was find some gear that worked well for me and kept my ostomy bag in a comfortable position while I ran. I had to ensure that my pouch would not be jostling around while I was running, because this is extremely uncomfortable and dangerous. It is also super important to stay hydrated. Most runners don’t bring water on shorter runs, but people with an ostomy do not have this luxury. Hydration is key for making sure to stay safe with your stoma while running, so I always wear a runner’s backpack that allows me to carry a lot of water and stay hydrated on my longer and short runs.