It’s been a while….

So, I realized that it’s been a year since my last post.  Looking back, I see several instances where I stated that I wanted to be more consistent with my blog, but I obviously failed.  Well, life tends to get in the way of some things, but it really is time for me to either commit or give it up altogether.  A lot has happened over the past year, so it will be challenging to keep this brief.  I’ll do my best!

The biggest highlight of 2017 was putting our house of over 10 years on the market for sale.  This was one of the most stressful things that I have ever done.  We’ll talk a little more about some of the possible results of that stress a little later.  The hope was to sell our home and find a nice smaller place somewhere in the woods.  It was a long process!  The house was on the market for almost six months.  We were actually only two days from taking it off the market when we got an offer.  By that time, we had pretty much accepted the fact that it wasn’t going to sell and we would need to try at another time.  Well, after some negotiation, we accepted and were faced with a thirty day settlement.  We hadn’t actually looked at any homes since we knew selling ours might be difficult due to the location (next to the PA turnpike).  Since we didn’t want to jump into something quickly, we decided the best solution was to rent for a year.  We found a small townhouse in a nice neighborhood and that’s where we have been for the past two months.  We’re looking forward to beginning the search for our dream home (more like location) later this year.

When it comes to running, 2017 was not a great year.  I had some big plans, with one of those being to complete my first 50k.  Unfortunately, a calf strain in the middle of the year derailed those plans.  I was not able to race much, and my mileage was much lower than I wanted.  Towards the end of the year, I entered some new territory with my UC which also hampered my ability to run.  Recently, I have been able to get back out more consistently and have begun the process of training for the Hyner View 25K in April.  This is a brutal race, but has become one of my favorites.  I decided this year not to reapply for an ambassadorship with Topo Athletic.  Topo makes some great shoes, but unfortunately their newest models are zero drop.  Due to my history of calf issues, I’m not able to run in zero drop shoes.  I’ve tried in the past and was never able to transition.  I felt that it would be very difficult to continue representing a company when several of their shoes wouldn’t work for me.  Lately, I have really been enjoying Salomon trail shoes.  Their shoes have a more traditional drop and I love the way that they wrap my foot and keep it in place on the technical trails here in PA.  My calves have certainly been happier with the higher drop.  I’m hoping to get healthy and have a much better year running in 2018.

I mentioned earlier about the stress of selling a home and entering some new territory with my UC.  I’m not sure how much the stress contributed, but sometime towards the end of November, I began the worst flare up I’ve ever had.  I started out feeling pretty awful and losing about eight pounds, which if you know me you know I don’t have that weight to lose.  Initially, I tried some additional natural remedies and increases of my current meds to get things under control without success.  For the first time since being diagnosed almost 16 years ago, I had to take steroids.  The steroid I was prescribed is called Uceris.  This is a drug that was specifically designed for UC and supposedly doesn’t have the same side effects as Prednisone, which is also a common steroid used for treating UC.  I was on Uceris for eight weeks and it seemed to help with some of the symptoms except the bleeding.  That has continued for the past two months.  Two weeks ago, I had a colonoscopy and it was determined that my issue is with the last 18 cm of my colon.  At this point, I need to make some decisions to get the inflammation under control.  My doc is suggesting a biologic called Entyvio.  This would require an initial loading dose, followed by infusions every eight weeks.  The side effect profile is not quite as bad as some of the other biologics.  Specifically, there have been no cases yet of brain infections that have been seen with others.  One of my concerns is that joint pain is a common occurrence with these drugs.  I’m not sure how something like that might affect my ability to run.  Regardless, it’s scary and a difficult decision as to what I should do next.  Part of me wonders if I’m really sick enough to take that next step right now.  I do know that I need to take care of the inflammation somehow since the concern is that untreated it increases the chance of cancer.  It will be interesting to see what happens now that I am off the Uceris.  If anyone reading this has used biologic medications, I would love to here about your experience.

There have been a lot of challenges over the past year, but there are a lot of positives in my life as well.  I’ve got a wonderful wife and two healthy boys that love the outdoors.  We were able to sell our house and now look forward to our new home search.  We adopted a stray kitten and he has been a great addition to our family.  I’m blessed to have a very stable job with great benefits that will allow me to make whatever decision is necessary for the treatment of my disease.

I look forward to many blog posts this year about getting healthy and successful running!