Tag Archives: cancer

#121 – Undy Run/Walk 5k

5kmIt’s that time of year.  It’s time for the undies to fly.

Yesterday was my fifth Undy race.  I’ve been running these every since I was diagnosed with colon cancer in December 2011.  Only three months after successful surgery to cure me, I ran my first Undy, still sporting bandages from my surgeries.  And I’ve run and fundraised every year since.

This year, the event felt a little smaller to me.  The MC announced that there were 1500 runners and walkers, 250 of which were fundraisers.  Our event in Da Lou has historically been one of the largest in the country, and this year, it raised over $130,000 for the Colon Cancer Alliance.  I’m always thrilled to be a part of those numbers, and I couldn’t do it without the generosity of family and friends that support my Undy races.  This year, y’all helped me raise $750 for the cause, which put me just outside the top ten individual fundraisers in Da Lou.  THANKS!

The other thing I noticed this year was a much larger number of kids, strollers and dogs.  Pre-race, I petted every dog I could (that’s one of my race rules!), and tried not to get tripped up by kids underfoot, or run over by strollers.  Once we got on course, this wasn’t too bad, but in the expo area, this was a bit challenging.

We all took a moment of silence for those that’ve been taken by this disease, and I said a quick prayer of thanksgiving for my situation, and the fact that I could be out there, helping others.  We were quickly routed to the staging area, and after a little crush just before the starting gun, we were off.

Anyone who’s read my rambling about my rambling knows my feelings about running in Forest Park.  It’s just not my cup of tea.  The park is beautiful, and early on a Saturday morning, it’s quiet and peaceful, even with 1500 runners traipsing through it.  However, it’s a tough surface, with lots of breaks in the pavement, places where the crosswalks are made pretty by use of uneven bricks (which I *hate* to run atop), and the occasional pothole where the surface material changes.  It’s just hard for me to enjoy the run when I’m having to watch my footing so closely.  However, the new shoes did really well, so that’s a plus!

One nice thing the race organizers have done is starting and finishing the race at the lower Muny lot, rather than the upper lot.  Using the upper lot means the last half kilometer of the race is a big, big uphill climb.  Construction in the upper lot last year drove the race to the lower lot, and I was glad to see that course used again this year.  It’s a huge difference, and keeps the last part of the race from being so draining.

While watching my footing, I ran a reasonable race, tackling the rolling hills when needed, and enjoying the folks around me.  That’s probably the nicest thing about this race.  Most of us are out there for the same cause.  Everyone you bump into is either a survivor, patient, family memory, or care provider, and they’ve each got their story to tell.

I finished up, and hung around for the survivors’ ceremony.  There were 71 of us running in the race, and after a medal ceremony for each of us, we gathered for a group photo.  I’m always so uncomfortable with this part of day.  I know my story is inspiring, and may help someone someday, but having so many people focus, photographing and cheering… well, it’s a little overwhelming.  Good thing I was wearing sunglasses.  🙂

This race benefitted the Colon Cancer Alliance.

Race Course

Colin – 4, Colon Cancer – 0

Lately, much of my writing has been focused on running.  And more running.  And the occasional technology write-up.  (I need to do more of those!)

Today, the real world encroached on my fun world, and I had my scheduled colonoscopy on my fourth anniversary of a colon cancer diagnosis.

I know folks don’t wanna talk about this kind of cancer.  I mean, it’s icky.  And pretty invisible — outta sight, outta mind.  And the process for finding it is really icky.  But this cancer can be preventable.  Do the colonoscopies, and you’ve got the best chance to find and beat this awful thing.

Today’s results were great.  Nothing of any concern found, and with that news, I am now on a regular schedule for every five years.  Best birthday present ever!

If you want to join me in the fight against colorectal cancer (CRC), I’ll be running in the Undy Run/Walk 5K in St. Louis on March 19th.  Please, join me if you’re inclined toward running or walking.  You can also donate to my fundraising for the race on my Undy page.

Regardless of whether you join me in my race, pay attention to what’s happening with you.  If you have a symptom, say something to someone.  If you need to get your colonoscopy, do it.  Yeah, it’s icky, it really is.  But it could just save your life.  It saved mine.


Race #27 – Undy Run/Walk 5K

Three years ago this weekend, I ran my first race — the 2012 Undy 5000.  I did this as a symbol of fighting back from only three months earlier having fought colon cancer… and won.

Three years downstream, and twenty-six races later, I returned to the Undy this morning, running my fourth race in this series.  The Undy is special to me, as it benefits the Colon Cancer Alliance, whose sole focus is to aid patients, survivors, caregivers and anyone affected by colon cancer.  Of all the races I run, this is the only “fundraising” race in which I participate.  That’s how important this is to me.

Me and Louie
Me and Louie

The weather was cold, and I knew it would be.  However, the sun peeked out from the clouds, and helped bring a little warmth to the park.  But, I was still glad to have all the cold-weather running gear I’d been investing in this winter.

In the opening remarks, the MC indicated that there were 2000 folks registered, with about $150,000 raised.  If you’re reading this, you may have helped either support me, or donated your money.  Either way, I thank you for that.  It was also announced that St. Louis is the biggest Undy event for CCA.  I’m a little surprised at that, as this is run in eighteen cities, some of which are much larger than Da Lou:  Denver, Atlanta, Philly…  We were the largest Komen race for a while, so maybe we just like to run and fundraise out here!

The course, while still at Forest Park, was different this year due to some parking lot construction at the site of the Muny.  Because of that change, the course was much flatter this year, and much easier to deal with.  With the new path through Forest Park, terrific traffic control, and a well placed water stop that you could pass twice, this was an ideal course.

On the Road Again
On the Road Again

I did have a surprise about a kilometer into the race.  There was some crazy redhead yelling at me from the sidelines, and I went over to her.  A hug, a kiss, and I was on my way.  I’ve never had that happen during a race!  She looked an awful lot like Darla, but that could’ve just been the sun in my eyes.  🙂

And as I approached the finish line, Darla was waiting for me, cheering me on.  There’s no better sight than that.

I got my post-race snacks, and waited for the closing ceremonies.  We all listened to a survivor and her story, and then the cool thing about this event took place.

All 71 colon cancer survivors and patients were invited to the front to receive a medal honoring their fight.  This is an amazing feeling, having almost two thousand people cheering their support for your fight.

And that’s what this race is about — supporting everyone who’s been impacted by this terrible disease.  I was supported during my battle; why wouldn’t I return the favor?

(Tomorrow is Race #28, and the last of this series of races for me until later in the Spring.)

Race Course:
Undy Run/Walk
Undy Run/Walk

Three Years of Semicolon Goodness

Three years ago — almost to the hour — I was exiting surgery, cured of colon cancer, and starting a new phase of my life.

It’s hard to believe it’s only been three years… that time in my life was really dark and scary as we led up to the resection that eliminated the evil intruder in my bowels.  It seems like a lifetime ago.

And as scary as it was, it was, in the end (no pun intended!), pretty straightforward.  Had it not been for the massive infection that followed, it would’ve been almost a non-event.  I spent more time recovering from the infection than I did from the removal of a third of my colon.

Now, three years downstream, I think I’m a little healthier — I’ve squandered that opportunity somewhat, although adding running to my life has certainly been a step in the right direction.  I think I’ve got a long way to go to fully “get healthy,” but it’s doable, and I know I’ve been given a second chance to position myself for healthier days for the rest of my life.  That second chance is a gift, and one I need to take more advantage of.

For the family and friends that made up my support team over the last three years — THANK YOU!  You have no idea what it meant to have your support at the time, or what you’ve meant to me since.

Later today, Becky and I go off to lunch to celebrate my NED (No Evidence of Disease) anniversary, and I can’t wait.  It’s so wonderful to celebrate my “rebirth” at this time of year when we’re also celebrating the birth of Christ.

Looking for Answers

I’d been mentally queuing up a post to talk about my cancer survivorship. It’s a tough road sometimes to have an “easy” cancer story: going from diagnosis to surgery to cured in just about a month. That’s just not the typical story, and while I feel like the luckiest guy on the planet, and that there’re lessons for folks in my message, there are times when I’m just smacked in the face with how unfair stupid cancer is.

Yesterday, a friend lost his just-turned fifteen year old daughter to a really nasty adolescent cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. She went from diagnosis to passing in about fifteen pain-filled months.

Think of the future lost… school, career, husband, children, grandchildren. And all at fifteen.

And that’s why there are folks like me that question why they were dealt a relatively easy hand, while others are dealt the toughest fates there are. I mean, I’m an old guy who’s been around the bases a time or two, but she had a whole future ahead of her. Where’s the fairness in my still being here, and her being gone?

I’ll get past this question of “why me?” — I always do. After all, I know that God’s got a plan, and won’t put more in our hands than we can handle, even if we don’t understand it all. I can’t help but think about our friend and his family, though, knowing that I don’t have any frame of reference to understand their pain. I do have broad, strong shoulders though, and they’re welcome to them.

I ran my undies off!!!

Undy 5000 runner!
Your intrepid author!

The Undy 5000 has come and gone, and I ran my race.

OK, so I didn’t set any land speed records, and I didn’t run faster than last year — slower by about two minutes, in fact — but I ran a better race this year.  I was crazy nervous about this race.  You see, this was my first race since Race for the Stars last summer, and while I knew I could run the distance from my treadmill work over the winter, it’s a whole different thing when pounding the pavement.

Add to that the cold, cold weather — about 35 degrees at racetime — and I was a nervous wreck.

Becky brought Bailey, which helped ease my nerves, and while we were standing there waiting to get going, a good friend of ours from work, Scott, showed up to run with me.  Now, I’d tell you that I’m probably taking great liberties with the phrase run with me.  I ran my 5km in just over 51 minutes; Scotty blazed the trail in under 30 minutes!

Like they say, even slow miles are better than no miles.  I’ll take my slow miles, any day of the week.

And my slow miles actually went pretty well.  The course is configured with the finish line sitting atop a rise.  Last year, it’s all I could do to sorta jog (and mostly walk) up that rise.  This year, I zoomed right up it.  Part of that’s probably that I’m in a little better shape this year than last year, but it might also be that I paced myself better this year.  Last year, I zoomed through the first half-mile or more in a big ol’ pack.  This year, I didn’t start in the big pack, and I kept a little more consistent pace throughout the whole course.

Once the race was over, I got a little post-race sustenance, and waited for the Survivor’s Ceremony.  This is a special time for me.  All the survivors gather at the stage, and are honored for their successful fights.  And once they’re honored, folks who’ve lost someone to CRC are brought up, and are honored.  It’s a moving, moving ceremony.  This year, though, the folks from the CCA added a little extra touch.

Each of the survivors got a finishers medal to honor us for running our race, and raising our funds.

I’m not one to toot my own horn, and I’m generally a little uncomfortable when someone does that for me.  This was no exception, and I had a tough time holding myself together when the gal put the medal around my neck.

So I’d call it a success, both personally and for the CCA.  I ran well and strong, I raised some money, and I got a medal.  There’s just not a much better way to start a Saturday morning!

The Undy 5000

Last year, I ran in the Undy 5000 just a few months after having been diagnosed and cured of colon cancer.  The Undy is a fund raiser for the Colon Cancer Alliance, who do a terrific job of awareness, advocacy, and support for colon cancer patients and caregivers.  I’ve been associated with them since shortly after I was diagnosed in 2011.

This year on March 23rd, I’ll be running in the Undy 5000 again.  And of course, I procrastinated getting my donation page out there, but it’s out there now, and you can find it here.  If you’ve got a spare shekel or two, and wanna put ’em to a good cause, please donate them on my participant page, and know that my feet will be pounding 5K of pavement come March 23rd in appreciation of your donations!


Today is the anniversary of one of the biggest changes in my life. A year ago yesterday, I had colon cancer. A year ago today, I didn’t. I was NED… “No Evidence of Disease.”

It’s really hard to believe that it’s been a year. I had really intended to use the gift of what I consider to be “bonus time” to do some big things. And I have done some big things, but I’ve still got plenty of road to travel.

So what were those big things for me this year?

I ran. For the first time in two decades, I ran. Now, I haven’t been very regular about it since the heat came during the summer, but now that the cold weather is here, I’m really driven to get back on the path.

I biked. I returned to the Katy Trail after a four year absence, exploring the new trailhead in Research Park. I thoroughly enjoyed this return, although I shoulda put more miles under my butt.

I started a new job. During my recovery from surgery, I accepted a new position within my company, returning to a team and technology that I left nearly a decade ago. It’s been a blast, and I have found a new joy in going to the office every day.

I returned to Florida. When I was a kid, I spent a ton of time on Pine Island in SW Florida. Becky and I returned there in September, marking at least 30 years since I was last there. And it was amazing! I desperately want to return to the island soon, and put some more “relax” in my soul.

Those are pretty big steps. This year, I have a few new things in mind, and I definitely want to expand on some the things I’ve learned through this last year. The thing that I learned through this is that I have more strength — with God’s help! — to tackle much higher obstacles than I ever knew I could. Remembering that and applying that to my running and cycling, as well as other parts of my life, is the biggest goal for this year.

Oh yeah… I’ll also try to write more here, and I’m thinking about taking up a “Project 365” effort again this year.

Seven Months

Today marks seven months since the cancer was removed from my colon. Seven months a survivor. Seven months cured.

It’s still hard for me to believe that I’ve had cancer and beaten it (so far). I just have a tough time wrapping my head around that time in my life… almost like watching TV of someone else’s struggle.

And here in July, with no symptoms, and no reason to be concerned, I find myself a little scared. I get emails from the CCA, talking about new medicines and treatments, public policy decision of note and other things that concern cancer survivors and fighters. They also mention those who’ve been lost recently to the disease. And that’s the part that’s scary to me.

My cancer was found early — I mean, who ever hears of a Stage I colon cancer event? To me, it always seemed that colon cancer had an awful end, and that’s what I steeled myself for when it started to become apparent that I was headed down that diseased road. And yet, it hasn’t. I have a great prognosis, a clean bill of health, and yet somehow, I’m still nervous.

I think part of it is reading the blogs of those folks that are fighting the disease. There’s so much optimism and strength as they fight their Stage III and Stage IV diseases, and then sometimes, the realization one day comes that theirs is not operable, not treatable, and it becomes a clock watching event. And I can’t get past that, wondering if this time right now is the lull between the storms for me.

Why was I only grazed by this disease? Why did I have a symptom, which prompted us to do a colonoscopy two years before I would’ve been slated? Why was I given the right signs, guidance and doctors to save my life? I really don’t know.

But I know God has a purpose for all of us, and I know my purpose with Him isn’t just to play Taylor guitars and keep Apple’s profits up. Admittedly, those are good side benefits of finding myself alive and reasonably healthy at the end of seven months since my colectomy! I don’t know why He’s given me this second chance at life, and I just keep waiting to hear the voice that lets me know somehow what I’m supposed to do with this overtime period in my game of life.

I’m grateful, though, to be at the end of my seventh month of my second chance. And I’m praying for another seven, and another seven, and seven more sevens.

The Undy 5000!

Yesterday, I ran in the Undy 5000. I’ve gotta tell ya, it was a blast.

I got up early, and ate a breakfast suggested by the folks at Fleet Feet — English muffin, some peanut butter, a banana and water. Becky, Sio and I headed to Forest Park right after breakfast, and started walking around the site once we got there… and then I got an incredible surprise.

Jay showed up.

Jay and Me
Jay and Me

Jay’s been very supportive during my fight with colon cancer, so having him show up to run with me blew me away. And even though we didn’t run together — he was quite a bit faster than me! — it was great to know there was someone in the throng of over a thousand folks that was running for me. Way cool!

And I did finish the 5k run, walking at least as much as I ran. I had been targeting a finish under 50 minutes, and I was just able to do that, with my chip time coming in at 49:22.

More importantly, I helped. I helped the cause of fighting colon cancer. And I’ll be back next year, running again, and running faster!