I’m Only Half Crazy! - Uncover Ostomy
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kaitlyn-uncover ostomy toronto marathon

I’m Only Half Crazy!

When the doctors tell your parents that you may have mobility issues when you grow up, you never imagine yourself playing soccer, dancing, biking, and definitely not running a HALF MARATHON.

Growing up, I did soccer and took dance lessons, but my passion was really in running. From the trails to the track, it always made me realize how lucky I was to be alivethanks to my ostomies. 

My love for running started in grade 4 when I joined my elementary school cross country team. My brother also took up running, and started to compete in triathlons when I was around 11 years old. When he started doing that, I began to take running more seriously and went on training runs with him to boost my skills. Thanks to him and our training together, I entered high school and was able to join the varsity cross country and track and field team!

After a few years of watching my brother compete in triathlons, I decided that I, too, wanted to give it a tri (see what I did there?), but because of the age limit I wasn’t allowed to do the whole thing. Instead, I started off on a relay team with my dad and brother, where I was the runner. I also did a few 5km and 10km races. It was all challenging and a lot of fun, but it wasn’t quite a full triathlon.

So, obviously, as soon as I turned 16, I completed my first triathlon! I trained really hard and was so happy to see my work pay off. I was also so happy that I was healthy enough to do that.

But then it dawned on me – if I could do a triathlon, why couldn’t I do more? 

It was from then on that I set my sights on something bigger and I began to do intense training runs every morning. Despite having to wake up early and dealing with constant leg cramps (the struggle was real), I never lost sight of my goal.

The closer it got to the big day, the more nervous I became and starting thinking how crazy this all was. How did I get to this point in my life where I am able to push my body to the limits, to go way past what doctors ever imagined for me, and even beyond my own expectations? 

The night before, I loaded up on carbs and was sure to get a good nights rest ( a ritual for every race.) I woke up feeling pumped and ready to run!

As I approached the start line, I started asking myself stupid questions: Did I remember to go pee? What if my tube starts to leak? What if my stomach starts to hurt? All questions I ask myself so often, suddenly seemed more important than ever before.

The horn went off and as I begin to run and I felt the raindrops on my face (Toronto’s horrible fall weather for ya.). Not the greatest start, but less than a kilometer into the race, we ran by 555 University Rd, my second home – Sick Kids Hospital! Just seeing the place that I had spent 18 years at, gave me motivation to push myself. It reminded me that the pain of running was nothing compared to the pain I felt from the many surgeries I had undergone. I kept going.

With every mile, the pain I felt increased, but I fought it and grew stronger because I knew I had it in me. I had been training for this day.

As I hit the 16km mark, I realized that I had just 5km left! I figured that this was the time that I could push myself a little harder to make it to the end. That was until a shot of pain went up the back of my leg – a pain I had never felt before. I’m used to stomach pains and bladder spasms, but not to these leg cramps! I tired to redirect my thoughts and stay positive, and I started to walk. Sure enough, the pain slowly become tolerable until, with a bit of a struggle, I was able to start running again…17km…18km…19km… I was almost at the home stretch. With just 500m to the finish line FIGHT SONG by Rachel Platten came on, ”I don’t care if no body else believes, cause I still got a lot of fight left in me.”

On October 16th, 2016 I completed a half marathon!

My ostomies don’t limit me, but allow me to do what I love – to run! Although I had to make a pit stop to catheterize my Monte during the race, I didn’t let that affect my overall performance.

As I stepped across the finish line, I was in shock. I couldn’t believe that after all I had been through. I was still able to achieve something that I once thought was impossible. I became so overwhelmed with the sense of accomplishment that, as I received my medal, I started to cry. The emotion was beyond any explanation. I took a moment to look back on the struggles and obstacles I had overcome, I look up to see my mom standing there cheering me on, she’s always believed in me and supported me in everything in do. It was amazing.

My next goal? Run a full marathon!

 

 

 

Kaitlyn O'Brien
kaitlyn@uncoverostomy.org
4 Comments
  • Tiffany Louie
    Posted at 00:10h, 04 November Reply

    This post is so inspirational Kaitlyn!!! Keep it up!

  • Tiffany Louie
    Posted at 00:14h, 04 November Reply

    So inspiration Kaitlyn!! Keep it up!

  • Joao Luiz Pippi Salle
    Posted at 04:44h, 04 November Reply

    Fantastic Kaitlyn!!!
    It is so good to see you running and happy…you did day here …so far in Doha!!!
    Dr. Pippi Salle

  • Paul Wales
    Posted at 20:25h, 04 November Reply

    Kaitlyn,

    I am so happy for you and immensely proud of your accomplishment! You have been through so much, but your determination and spirit have demonstrated you have no limits. It was an honour to be involved in your care while you were at SickKids. You have truly grown into an inspirational woman.
    All the best!!

    Dr. Wales 🙂

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