6. Completing a First Marathon with Colitis – Liz Russell

For many runners, that first 5K leads to a 10K, which leads to a half-marathon—and eventually to dreams of completing a marathon. This week, I enjoyed talking with Liz Russell, a Badass with ulcerative colitis and trigeminal neuralgia who just completed her first 26.2 at the Marine Corps Marathon.

Elizabeth: Outdoor Enthusiast | Marathoner | IBD and TN Warrior

As she shares in our conversation, Liz’s diagnostic journey took place while she was training for a half-marathon, with her diagnoses coming soon after she’d completed the race. She wonders whether she’d have taken up running at this point in her life, if she’d known what was going on in her body. But, as she says, “I’m glad I did. It’s been an important part of staying healthy for me.”

One of the points that Liz brings up that warrants highlighting here is that the need to manage her body because of her chronic illnesses, especially because of her colitis, has likely led to her being a better athlete, as she is more mindful of the state of her body and works to give herself some extra TLC. This is a thread other Badasses have also hinted at, and it’s an interesting part of being active with chronic illness.

Liz also explained that what might look like a lack of mental toughness on race day—an unwillingness to push through the uncomfortable feelings—might arise from the need to listen closely to our bodies every other day.

If you’re interested in working on your own mental toughness, I recommend The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion* and How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle.*

Links from our discussion:

To contact us about the podcast or your own Badassery, email podcast@chronicallybadass.org. And, for your daily dose of Badass athletes who are redefining what it means to be chronically ill, follow @chronicallybadassclub on Instagram and Facebook.

Podcast music by: Caleb Ritchie

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