Introducing #OstomyRider

#OstomyRider, Anna Rennie, introduces her new cycling blog for IA. Anna shares life on two wheels with an ileostomy.

‘The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it’ – Moliere

I have an ileostomy, we’ve been together about 15 years and met via a mutual dislike of Crohn’s disease. My story, like so many, is a long and painful one and one I can talk for hours on but rest assured I won’t. But it has led me here via many new things I would not otherwise have experienced and for that I am so grateful. Three years ago I went the whole hog and had my large bowel removed, it was irreparably broken so off it went. I did ask the surgeon to remove anything else in there I may not need but he only took my bowel…

When he asked post operatively if I had any questions I said I did, he looked interested. “When can I get back on my bike again?”

Cycling is not only a great way for me to keep fit, eat as much as I like but also a release from stress and a great leveller mentally. I have cycled for many, many years and have competed in a few triathlons but have always wanted to enter a mountain bike race so 2017 is the year…

One of my best friends (we regularly cycle together) text me a while ago and said she wanted to enter a sportive or something similar and would I help her train? Silly question, spend more time on the bike?! So, this is also perfect for my training for mountain bike races.

A few clicks and we were entered in the Dartmoor classic for July 2017. That’s official then, we’ve paid and told people so we have got to do it. I wanted to find a training plan I knew I would stick to, there were many out there talking about VO2 max, thresholds and so on, I just wanted something to refer to that simply told me when to exercise and how long, plus something I could alter if I needed to. This is very important as there are days when training is not an option when either work demands mean I cannot train or physically I know I can’t.

Listening to one’s body is key. I am guilty, along with probably many of you, of ignoring those tired or niggly signs, and paying for it later. The “I can’t be bothered” excuse can also be tough to differentiate from the aforementioned but does need close attention, pushing yourself during these moments (of which there are a few!) is key, it helps me with motivation and is a guaranteed mood lifter. You don’t need me to tell you that you should pick an exercise or sport you love, and know you will stick to it. Deciding to get others involved too is a great way to stick to any training plan. So for me it is clearly cycling.

Having discovered a great training plan that is geared towards our 35 mile goal I began.

Deciding to write this blog with the help and support of IA (Ileostomy Association) is an exciting new prospect. I’ve never written a blog so let’s see how it goes, I hope you enjoy my training diary as much as I am and if it helps even one person with (or without) a stoma who is unsure about exercising, inspires someone or just gives you a few minutes respite from a busy day then I am happy.

See you from the saddle…