Find Your Voice
When asked to share this story, I hoped to somehow make it relatable – after all, running 100 miles isn’t for everyone. Our Mayor, KT, sometimes shares a quote that says, “many people die with their music still inside.” I recall not being particularly moved and perhaps a bit saddened by this quote until I drew the parallel to my running adventures. This was a song I had to sing. Every one of us has an opportunity to achieve something, to accomplish something, to overcome something. Whether on a grand or small scale, we all have a song to sing. It is my sincere hope that in sharing this story, you will be encouraged to find your voice and sing your song.
In November of 2014, I underwent surgery to repair the anterior cruciate ligament in my right knee. In front of me was 12 months of physical therapy and rehabilitation, during which I needed to remain active without putting any lateral stress on my newly repaired ligament. This imposed some significant limitations on my activities, so I started running.
In July of 2015, I participated in my first half marathon (13.1 miles) and over the next twelve months would go on to participate in two half marathons, four full marathons and a 52.4-mile ultra-marathon. During this time I began running with two Facility Administrators in my area. We participated in several events together and shared countless hours of training. The pinnacle of our running adventures would culminate in a 100-mile trail running event in November of 2016.
There are many necessary components to complete a 100-mile trail running event, the first of which was to secure a crew and pacers. Typical finish times exceed 24 hours, which means participants run all day, through the night, and into the following day. Your crew provides you with food, water and other items you may need at strategic points along the course, and your pacers run some of the latter portions of the course with you to ensure your safety and forward progress. Lucky for me I had two fellow DaVita Facility Administrators who were up to the task.
Running 100 miles is certainly a daunting task but it pales in comparison to what our patients and teams experience on a daily basis, so I decided I wanted to run the event with a dialyzer strapped to my back. I wanted to pay tribute to our teams and patients who are the bravest and hardest working people I know. I also wanted to raise awareness about CKD and ESRD as I interacted with several hundred runners and their teams who would likely ask about this strange contraption attached to my back.
I am proud to report that along with my aching legs, there is a dialyzer in my office that travelled all 100 miles with me. With the support of my family who also crewed the event, my pacers and I finished in just under 29 hours.