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The Daily Battle: Running with Auto Immune Disease

Crossing another finish line means Angela’s winning the battle

Angela Clark wasn’t supposed to run long distances, much less marathons and half marathons. Every morning she wakes up, preparing to battle her autoimmune diseases. In her edition of My Running Story, Angela provides a glimpse of what she’s up against on a daily basis. She also explains how she’s winning the battle with every step she takes and every finish line she crosses.

Angela Clark after crossing another marathon finish line, winning the battle against her autoimmune diseases.

Angela Clark poses with her family after crossing another marathon finish line!

The daily battle

I was a track and cross country runner in high school, but slacked off in college and veterinary school. In my third year of veterinary school, I was suddenly diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, an autoimmune disease. It got so bad that, two years later, when I was an intern veterinarian working 60-80 hours a week, I had two intestinal surgeries. They wiped me out. I weighed 98 pounds, was so weak that I could barely walk around the house, and slept 20 hours a day. Nothing gave me joy. 

My mother gave me a book written by a nurse who had ulcerative colitis. That book said that we should exercise, but let’s face it, we’re not going to ever run marathons. I was not going to have her tell me what I can’t do. Four years after my surgeries I ran my first marathon. Since then, I have been diagnosed with eight autoimmune diseases with the overarching, umbrella diagnosis being “mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD)”, similar to Lupus. Every day I take inventory of how I feel. There’s always some kind of combination of bone-crushing fatigue, joint pain, and swelling. The list goes on – coughing, brain fog, white fingertips due to Raynaud’s, weight gain due to hypothyroidism, opportunistic infections like pneumonia, and painful eye inflammation. I consider MCTD almost like a different person and an opponent. 

What running means to me

To me, running means that MCTD and I are going toe-to-toe into battle. Every day I’m fighting to win. Every day that I can put one foot in front of the other I’m winning the battle. This past October I ran my 20th Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and celebrated the win (even though I finished two minutes before the course was closing). Even though I only run the Austin Half Marathon, I’m still winning the battle against MCTD (and just a cool and fun run in a cool and fun city!). Everybody has their own “why”, especially in the back of the pack. Thank you for asking what our “whys” are.

My Running Story is a series of blog submissions from runners just like yourself. They submitted their inspirational running stories as part of a contest to win an entry of their choice to the 2020 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon. Their stories range from crossing their first finish line to drastic lifestyle change due to running. Everyone’s story is different and unique, impacting them in a specific way. While each story is specific to the author, everyone can resonate in some form or fashion because of the power of running. Other My Running Story submissions include Kayleigh Williamson, Kirsten Pasha, Michael Coffey, Samantha Santos, Tom Hamann, and Erica Richart.

Marathon Grows to $48.5 Million in Economic Impact

Austin Marathon’s contributions to Austin’s economy in 2019 experienced major jump 

Runners traveled from all 50 states ad 38 countries to participate in the 2019 Austin Marathon, which contributed $48.5 million to the Austin economy.

Runners traveled from all 50 states and 38 countries to participate in the 2019 Austin Marathon.

High Five Events proudly announces that the 2019 Ascension Seton Austin Marathon presented by Under Armour pumped $48.5 million into the Austin economy during race weekend. The Austin Marathon was able to better calculate its economic impact by providing more detailed data and continuing its partnership with Dr. Ali Dadpay, Associate Professor of Finance at the Gupta College of Business at the University of Dallas. This year’s economic impact on the City of Austin is an $11 million (23 percent) increase from the 2018 event. The growth of Austin’s flagship running event continues to benefit Austin and the Austin economy.

“The Austin Marathon’s economic impact is growing because of the increasing participation rate and more spectators supporting the event,” said Dr. Dadpay. “High Five Events collecting a wider array of quality data has improved the accuracy of our estimations.”

Analyzing the data

For the third year in a row, Dr. Ali Dadpay conducted the research for the Austin Marathon economic impact report. Dr. Dadpay reviewed participants’ survey data, tax revenue, High Five Events’ localized spending, and jobs created. Additional data points were reviewed, including money raised for Austin Gives Miles, participants’ spending, and hotel room nights. This data allowed him to measure direct, indirect and induced effects. Dr. Dadpay expects the Austin Marathon’s economic impact to continue to grow with the increase of out-of-state and overseas participants. 

“The 2019 economic impact report highlights the ever-increasing, annual financial impact the Austin Marathon has on the Austin economy,” said Stacy Keese, co-owner of High Five Events. “The continued growth of Austin’s flagship running event furthers the belief that Austin is a destination for runners from around the world.”

2020 will mark the Austin Marathon’s 29th year running in the capital of Texas. Austin’s flagship running event annually attracts runners from all 50 states and 30+ countries around the world. The start and finish locations are just a few blocks apart and within walking distance of many downtown hotels and restaurants. Participants finish in front of the picturesque Texas State Capitol, making the Austin Marathon the perfect running weekend destination. Registration is still open on the Austin Marathon website.

6 Places to Visit Along Miles 6-13 of the Austin Marathon Course

Experience Austin when you visit these 6 locations along miles 6-13

Austin is growing, but that doesn’t mean it’s losing some of its more well-known locations. Whether you’re a bookworm, trying to play a round of golf, or looking for some new shoes, we cover six must-visit locations along miles 6-13 of the Austin Marathon course. If you’re an Austinite, just moved here, or planning to visit during Austin Marathon weekend, put these places along miles 6-13 on your to-visit list!

View from the top floor of the Austin Central Library, located near Miles 6-13 of the Austin Marathon course.

View from the top Austin Central Library’s top floor.

Auditorium Shores

This slice of heaven in downtown Austin is home to the Stevie Ray Vaughan Memorial Statue and the Zero Mile Marker, a common meeting place for runners. You can start here and run an uninterrupted, 10-mile loop around Town Lake. Auditorium Shores (900 W. Riverside Dr.) is home to a leash-free dog park and numerous concerts and festivals. Auditorium Shores will be on your left at Mile 6.

Austin Central Library 

The Austin Central Library (710 W. Cesar Chavez St.) is one of the city’s newest jewels. In addition to its books, it features sweeping views of Town Lake. It’s also home to gallery space, a rooftop garden, downtown Austin’s largest solar installation, and a bar and cafe. In 2018, it was named one of the greatest places in the world by TIME. A Seaholm District staple, you’ll pass this beautiful 6-floor book hotel at Mile 6.5.

Runners test their speed on the Austin High Track, located near Miles 6-13 of the Austin Marathon course.

Runners test their speed on the Austin High Track.

Fleet Feet Austin

They opened their doors in July 2018 and have been so busy you’d swear they haven’t closed them since. Fleet Feet Austin (211 Walter Seaholm Dr.) is a great place to get fitted for the shoes that are perfect for you. They’re also the Official Running Store of High Five Events, supporting athletes of all abilities. Visit Ari and his team and let them know the Austin Marathon sent you!

Austin High Track

Athletes of all levels have completed a speed workout or two at the Austin High track (2100 Stephen F. Austin Dr.). This includes Olympic athletes and runners training for their first marathon. It’s downtown location and proximity to the 10-mile hike-and-bike-trail makes it one of the most-used public tracks in the country. You’ll pass Austin’s fitness hub at Mile 7.5.

View of Deep Eddy Pool, located near Miles 6-13 of the Austin Marathon course.

Deep Eddy Pool is the oldest pool in Texas.

Deep Eddy Pool

This man-made swimming pool is the oldest in Texas and features a bathhouse built during the Depression era. Today, Deep Eddy Pool (401 Deep Eddy Dr.) is popular with swimmers for its lap swimming pool and families for its large wading pool. Clear, cold, non-chlorinated water from two different wells fills the pool. The water temperature varies from 66-75 degrees, making it usable year-round. Runners can find this watering hole near Mile 8.5 of the course.

Lions Municipal Golf Course

This is one of Austin’s most popular courses. Lions Municipal Golf Course (2901 Enfield Rd.) opened in 1924, making it the city’s first public golf course. This 18-hole course is listed on the Registration of National Historical Places by the National Park Service. Miles 8.5-10.5 wrap around the course as it reaches its furthest point west before participants turn easy, heading back downtown.

Miles 6-13 of the Austin Marathon course showcase some of Austin’s oldest and newest locations you need to visit. Whether you’re getting new shoes, checking out a book, or going for a swim, pay these places a visit! Reach out on Facebook or Twitter and let us know your favorite.