As my kidney donation date neared in spring of 2017 I began to feverishly search on-line for examples of endurance athletes that donated and went on to still compete. I could find some people that ran half marathons or even marathons, and some cyclists popped up in my search, but that was about it. I longed for more proof. Specifically, I wanted to see an ultra marathoner that was also a living donor.
I didn’t find it.
I was reminded of this last night when I looked at my DM’s in Instagram. I had a message request from a nice woman that was considering donating but was fearful of the pain associated with recovery, and also was afraid of losing her athleticism.
It feels so good to get these messages. I can quickly step back in time to my own anxiety about the possibility of not being able to run long distances after surgery. She wanted proof that someone else was a donor and an avid athlete, and I was happy I could be that for her.
It was during my search for other athlete donors in spring of 2017 that I decided to start sharing my own journey as a #kidneydonorathlete. If I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, then I’d become what I was looking for in hopes of helping other people.
Because of this, I’m happy to share that I am training for my first ultra marathon as a living kidney donor! I am signed up for the 50 mile Bear Chase Trail Race on September 29th, here in Colorado. I searched on-line and through the National Kidney Foundation to see if there was any other public record of a kidney donor running an ultra – and we couldn’t find one! So it looks like I’m likely the first donor to do it! (And if you or anyone you know has run a 50 miler or longer, I’d love to connect with them – please let me know!)
The National Kidney Foundation is helping me along my journey and I’ll be sporting the NKF logo come race day, as well as in my training to help raise awareness.
My medical staff at the UW-Transplant Center knows about this race and are fully supportive of this endeavor. When I asked them if there was anything special I needed to take into consideration, all they said was to hydrate well, and if my body felt off, to stop at medical. So that’s the plan.
If you’d like to follow along on my journey to my 50 miler check back to my blog regularly, or search the hashtags #kidnedonorathlete or #1kidney50 on Instagram!