Thanks to a prompt from Colostomy UK, I discovered that today is National Fitness Day – “the most active day of the year” – and with a run already planned on my training schedule, I was all geared up to take part.

The Benefits of Fitness

It’s well known that fitness has a whole host of benefits and we all have our reasons for keeping fit. It wasn’t until around 2015 that I started to exercise and since then I’ve enjoyed keeping fit and running has become my exercise of choice when keeping fit.

The reason why I enjoying keeping fit, and running, are many including the sense of achievement, exploring new places be they areas of a town or new trails, meeting people (both virtually and in person) and the general feel good factor of completing a run. There’s no better feeling than the feeling of a runner’s high after completing a long run, a fast run or just a jog around the park.

Ensuring I Stay Active With a Colostomy

Since having a colostomy I’ve been keen to get back to running and keeping fit and whilst I had an opportunity to run last year, that was delayed with some extra surgery. But since May this year I’ve been pushing on with getting back into running and making great progress. I think it’s so important to be keeping fit with a colostomy in order to maintain a healthy weight, a healthy heart, a strong core which helps prevent parastomal hernias (although I missed the bus with that one!) and to remain mentally strong.

The last point is not always easy, particularly in the current climate, but when feeling a bit down heading out for a run, and the high you get afterwards, does help, even if it’s only temporary.

It’s also great being part of a community of people that are helping promote that with a stoma, there’s no reason why you can’t do all the things that someone without a stoma can do.

What I’m Doing To Take Part

I’m currently following a training plan with the aim of being able to participate in the longer ultra distance races that I started to enjoy before Crohn’s took over my life and I got a new bum installed.

The training plan called for a 4 mile run today and I usually have three options when doing the run depending on what I’ve got on, whether I’m irrigating, the weather and how I’m feeling. I can either get up early and run before heading out to catch the train to work (difficult but I have managed some early runs lately), run during my lunch hour (only suitable for short distances) or run after work.

Ticking off the streets in Cardiff with

Running during my lunch break is a great way to break up my day and refocus for the afternoon. I’m sat at a desk all day so getting outside is important and working in a town I don’t live in means there are plenty of areas to explore and I get to fill in streets on the CityStrides website.

For today’s run, rather than running around random streets, I took advantage of a break in the weather and the return of the sun after a spell of rain and headed through Bute Park and along the Cardiff parkrun route and then back through Pontcanna.

Bute Park has a long established arboretum with the largest number of champion trees (40+) in a public park in the UK. If you’re in the area it’s well worthwhile following one of the guided trails through the park.

The training plan called for a run at ‘your pace’ and I should have taken a gentle run along the route but things were feeling good so ‘ran with it’. Sometimes the thrill of pushing yourself and testing your limits is too much to resist.

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Diagnosed with IBD in 2002, I have experienced the usual ups and downs of having a chronic disease and tried numerous medications but the time finally came in 2018 to elect to have surgery to improve my life. I had the surgery in 2019 and this is my journey having a 'New Bum'.

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