All Stories Have a Beginning

Posted: April 17, 2017 in CCFA, Fundraising, My story

A moment. A thought. A word.  All stories start somewhere. Mine has many roots, from my love of running developing in middle school, and my IBD diagnosis in college, to my decision to start sharing my story and “spilling my guts” just over 19 months ago.

When I selected “Publish” on my first post, I began to share my story and to place a focus on using my life experiences to educate, to encourage fellow IBDers, and to stress the message that anybody can make big accomplishments by setting goals, following a plan, and being consistent.  I thought that it was fun to look back at that first post and think about the benefits, the good things that’ve happened, how much I’ve persevered through tough times, and how I’ve been able to help fellow IBDers.

Many great things have happened since I pressed that button, and here’s a list of the big milestones:

  1. September 13, 2015: I completed my first Ironman in Madison, WI!
  2. September 28, 2015: I went through my first in a series of surgeries to remove my large intestine (learn more here) and create a temporary ileostomy.
  3. December 7, 2015: I completed my second surgery, which included the removal of the remainder of my colon and the creation of a “j-pouch (see link immediately above for more info).
  4. February 29, 2016: I completed my final surgery! This was the quickest of the three as it was the “take-down” of the ostomy so my plumbing was fully connected.
  5. September 25, 2016: I completed my second Ironman in Chattanooga, TN, which was as an athlete part of Team Challenge.  It was no easy feat to recover from surgeries and then get back to my Ironman-capable state.
  6. October 2016: I began coaching the running team for Team Challenge Denver.
  7. February 2017: I took part in the New Orleans Rock ‘n Roll Half/Full Marathon as a coach for Team Challenge.  Team Denver sent 11 athletes as part of the 290, and I was one of 28 coaches on the course running with the athletes. It was a wonderful experience.
  8. April 2017: With a new season upon us, I’m  coaching a new group of Team Challenge Denver participants in prep for July events at the Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon and the Saratoga Springs Half Marathon (New York).

Great things are in store for 2017.  I’m feeling strong, I’m proud of the past 19 months,  I’m excited to be racing back at a high fitness level and to race/fundraise with Team Challenge triathlon team, and I’m honored at the chance to continue to coach new athletes toward completing half marathons through Team Challenge Denver.  Here are some of the key events I’m excited about:

  1. May 7, 2017: I will take on the Colorado Marathon.  This is the first stand-alone marathon I’m doing since June 2014. I fell in love with running at a young ago, so it’s been rewarding to again focus on training for 26.2 miles. My goal is to also quality for the Boston Marathon in 2018, and I’m on track to achieve this.
  2. July 2017: We’re a few weeks into the summer season for Team Challenge Denver. We have ~30 participants training and fundraising for half marathon events in Napa, CA and Saratoga, NY in July. I will be traveling to Napa, and I’m even more excited since I’ve not yet visited that area.
  3. August 5, 2017: I’ll be taking on the Ironman 70.3 Boulder (half Ironman). Along with my training, I’ll be fundraising for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation.

I will be sharing more through blog posts, Facebook page updates, and in conversation. I’m excited to continue to share my story and to have a positive impact against Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis. I am seeking support as I fundraise for my Ironman event with Team Challenge.  You can find my personal website to make an online donation at

It’s impossible for me to say Thank You enough and express my appreciation for following my story and offering your support. My challenges have become about more than just me, and this gives me endless motivation and drive to keep fundraising, encouraging, and setting the next goal. It’s been fun to look back at the beginning, and I’m so excited for all that lies ahead.


Support Luke with a donation to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation here.

Follow Luke’s Facebook page ‘Luke vs Triathlon‘.


A happy coach (and Petey Poo / Smelvin) at the Team Challenge Denver #NapaToga kick-off on April 1st.

  1. […] Source: All Stories Have a Beginning […]


  2. Anne F Hughes says:

    I enjoyed the summary of how far you’ve come, where you are now and what’s ahead. I have no doubt you will achieve your goals!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lukeyGtri says:

      Thank you, Annie! Though I’ve been away from Madison, I’m so happy to have gotten the chance to train with you and to know that you’re always rooting for me.


    • Kristine Buchholtz says:

      So grateful to have made your acquaintance all those years ago. Your stories of perseverance against great adversity–smiling all the way–have been a beacon during my own fight with a life-altering illness. Happy trails Luke!

      Liked by 1 person

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