Running with CKD
I am Tom O'Keefe - founder of Stride for Stride, Heart to Cart, BostonTweet and I'm Running with CKD.
I've completed five consecutive Boston Marathons and my next race is the NYC Half-Marathon in March (2023), followed by the Boston Run to Remember Half in May.
I want to show that you can continue Running with CKD.
CKD doesn't mean "can't."
Weekly Miles: 25-30
In July 2020 I was diagnosed with CKD. It was a shocking diagnosis - I don't have diabetes, I run 30 miles/week, I don't have high blood pressure, I eat healthy and I no longer drink.
The reason for my CKD is still a mystery, but what we originally assumed would take years to degrade took less than two. In 2020 my GFR was around 65 - less than two years later it was in the 20s, and now it's 17.3.
In the spring of 2022 my GFR plummeted and suddenly my doctors and I were making plans for a kidney transplant. At that time I was shocked and automatically assumed; "well, I guess I have to stop running." That assumption was incorrect. After a couple weeks of inactivity I put the running shoes on and ran 10 miles. It was then that I realized that I can still do this. My goal ever since has been to show others (and myself) that you can run with CKD. Staying healthy and staying active is extremely important. You have no idea how long it's going to take to receive a kidney transplant so you must stay active and stay healthy!
Since my diagnosis I've been focused on finishing the race rather than worrying about pace. You can still do everything you love, even with end-stage CKD - for me that means running. In November 2022 I ran three back-to-back half-marathons in Cambridge, Boston, and Philadelphia. These three races were an incredible emotional and physical accomplishment for me - it proved that I can. I'm about 20 minutes slower in the half than I was pre-CKD, but that's okay - I'm happier than ever to cross the finish line.
My next finish line will be in March (2023) when I run the New York City Half-Marathon - my first race in NYC - followed by Boston's Run to Remember Half-Marathon on May 28th.
For a list of my upcoming races please visit my Stride for Stride profile page; Tom O'Keefe Race Calendar.
90% of people with CKD don't even know it (source). For many the biggest symptom is fatigue - something we all have. For me the tell-tale sign was foamy urine (proteinuria). If you have foamy urine please request a blood and urine test from your PCP immediately - check your creatinine and proteinuria levels. And, if you do have CKD start taking steps towards a healthy diet and an active lifestyle immediately.
For those interested in becoming a living kidney donor (for me or anyone on the transplant list) you can learn more at BIDMC in Boston or The National Kidney Foundation.
Stay healthy. Stay informed. Keep Running with CKD!