I. Love. To. Run. Whatever it is, find your jam, and do it! Like all other diseases, stress is a contributing factor to exacerbating symptoms. When I feel my stress levels creeping up, I check all areas of my life to see if they're in balance. Exercise is a biggy for me. It's a wonderful and natural way to get those lovely endorphins a movin.' Plus, you can literally do it wherever. I don't absorb all of the nutrients from food, so my energy levels are often in the gutter, but on good days you can find me out hitting the pavement in the wee hours. At 35 weeks pregnant though, I think it's time to shelve my runnings shoes until post baby. My feet are so swollen I can barely get them on anyway! I feel lucky that I found running way back in the day in my high school years. I think I had Crohn's even as a teenager because I frequented the porta potty in excess of 10 times before each race in track. I mean once or twice is completely normal, but 10 times? Come on! Lets just say I got over my fear of using public restrooms (porta potties no less) pretty quickly. Anyways, my love of running continued throughout college, 20's, 30's........and still going strong at 40 years young. I've run four marathons, countless half marathons and several races in between. The above picture was taken just before the D.C. Marathon. I ended up with a time of 3:57. I did reach my goal of under four hours, but my ultimate goal is to get a sub 3:45 someday. Maybe once the kiddos are grown and they can run with me! Anyways, I digress. Running is a key component in helping me manage my Crohn's, and keeping my stress levels at bay. Even when I'm amidst a flare, that is the one time I have to myself to clear my head, and be alone with my thoughts. Remember, nothing is easy. If it were, life would be pretty boring don't you think? Find whatever it is you love to do, and go get it! It doesn't have to be physical, but I strongly encourage you to try something that makes you sweat. You might surprise yourself. Always consult with your doctor before any strenuous activity, or if trying something new. Pay attention to your body as well. Obviously, you don't want to head out for a 5 mile run if you're having blood out the back end.....although, I've been known to do that once or twice. Trust your instincts, and do what makes you feel good. I want to hear from you out there. What makes you tick? How do you release stress?