150kms done and dusted....I want to start by saying thank you to everyone that has supported me through not only this past month, but also those that have helped me personally over the last 10 years.
All the money raised will be extremely beneficial towards helping people manage their conditions and hopefully one day lead to a cure or even prevention.
In truth, this challenge was harder than I had first anticipated. All notions of simply doing 5kms a day quickly went out the window and I was playing catch up from the start. My 13 hrs of running made me reflect on some of the key moments of my experience with UC (both good and bad) and some of the changes of the last decade and how have shaped my outlook on life. I am actively more conscious of all facets of my health and it's working out pretty well so far.
I am certainly glad to have undertaken the challenge and look forward to doing more for people living with IBD and other autoimmune disease.
Thank you all
Be Selfish With Your Health
It's ok to be selfish.
I guarantee that you will be more helpful and people around you will benefit more when you're feeling your best.
My worst experience with UC was through 2014-2015. Health-wise, I don't think I've ever been in a worse place. After finishing rugby I dived in to tackle the physical challenge of an Ironman Triathlon. 3.8km swim, 180km bike & 42km run. A few months in to training I had naturally shed nearly 20kg due to the endurance style training. My body hated it.
Since being diagnosed I'd never had a flair up like it. I even dipped to 79kg (which i havent weighed since I was 15) at one point. I got so sick that I never competed in the Triathlon and had to turn my attention to getting my health back on track.
Back to the doctors, back to the specialists, back on the meds.... only this time they never worked. Stronger and stronger pills were prescribed but nothing worked. It's never a good idea to google some of the medications you take.. never. I remember being angry, firstly at myself for putting my body through a routine it didnt like and caused this reaction. Then I remember being angry with others. Anyone that in my eyes was abusing and taking advantage of their good health. It was a terribly toxic point of view, and one that played on my mind for quite a while.
It's seems such a cliche, but there really are some things you can't change. This took a while to drum in, but once I stopped obsessing on elements I couldnt control I finally started looking towards what I could.
My full attention went towards fixing this unfixable problem. I became obsessed with trying anything and everything. I started researching every possible potion or cure to try help. I changed my diet, took supplements, was drinking slimy concoctions of slippery elm and all sorts, just out of desperation for any improvement. As a result, things started to fall through the cracks. There were aspects of my personal and professional life that I began to neglect, and for some I do apologise, but I definitely don't regret it.
A family friend got me on to a naturopath. I'd tried everything and had nothing to lose. He never in fact encouraged continuing with my meds and supplement them with remedies to give my body every change to heal. I fortunately found great improvement in some herbal tinctures to help reduce the inflammation and support my body nutritionally.
I soon found I was back on track and made the choice to never do endurance training again. As I put size back on I naturally became healthier and healthier. By Dec 2015 I was feeling so good I started training to get back in to rugby, and I've played the past 4 seasons.
But I needed to focus on myself and sort myself out. To work out the best way for me to manage my UC. To this day, I still take my original meds and have my herbal tincture every (most) day.
People often ask why I spend so much time training and on my health, and the truth is, because I really can't afford not to.
Don't be afraid to look after yourself
My Intro to Ulcerative Colitis
Ulcerative Colitis (UC) is an autoimmune disease that I mostly kept under wraps. People know, but it's not something I would necessarily ever bring up in conversation. Doing this challenge has made me reflex on my journey with UC and the highs and lows I've experienced along the way.
Any autoimmune disease can be taxing, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease is no exception. In fact, it can be truly debilitating. There are broader impacts on a person's emotional, physical and social wellbeing.
Now I've been in remission for the past few years (though it was a tricky road getting here) and consider myself extremely lucky to be in great health and am aware how quickly things can change.
Aug 29, 2009 I played in an OT semifinal loss, 6 days later I was in hospital. Through a few weeks (and -18kgs) I was eventually diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis. While growing up I had asthma, suffered broken bones, tore muscles, but I wasn't prepared for something so permanent or lasting as this.
I never really told many people about my diagnosis. It was embarassing and uncomfortable. Social environments were something I avoided and I never strayed too far from a toilet. My family and close friends were amazing, as was my girlfriend at the time who put up with so much and was so patient. Now although the diagnosis was a shock, for me it also meant the next steps were actionable and there was a way forward.
Taking 20+ tablets a day became the norm and in truth, it worked. As quickly as I had got sick, I was back on the mend. Eventually I was reduced down to 2 tablets a day which I've had pretty much every day for the last decade, and continue to take. UC was pushed to the back of my mind and I moved on. I played 3 more years of rugby before stepping away due to work and uni.
Everything was going well until 2013, which (in my mind) was when I fully started experienced UC
I'm undertaking the Live Fearless Challenge this September
As many would know, I was first diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in September 2009 after a fast deterioration in weight and health. After years of medications, diets, and tailored exercise, I’m fortunately in a period of remission and in a position to do more for others in worse situations than myself.
To mark the 10 anniversary of my diagnosis, I'm putting on my sneakers to achieve 150kms and raise awareness and much needed funds for people living in Australia with IBD.
All proceeds go towards Crohn's & Colitis Australia who provide research, education and advocacy programs for people living with IBD.
As I tackle this physical challenge, it will help to know that you have supported me with even a small donation.
All donations over $2 are tax deductible.
Thank you to my Sponsors
Lyndal & Eduardo Godinho
Magic Agency Pty Ltd
Pablo The First
Sione And Rua
Nicholas Beaumont Family
Jane & Tete Lukaitis