Wednesday, April 29, 2009

My Story

(Updated 3/24/19)
Below is an edited and updated version of my first post, written about 10 years ago, when I was an excited 26 year old, just discovering the excitement of trail and ultra-running. A lot of life has happened since, but my love for adventure hasn't waned in the slightest.

Since this is my first post I should tell you a little bit about what makes me tick:

My name is Brooks Williams and I was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when I was hospitalized at 5 1/2 months old. Due to the digestive problems associated with the disease I weighed 9lbs at the time, which meant I had only gained 2lbs since birth. Once released from this initial hospitalization, I had relatively good health through my teen years. Unfortunately, CF (which is primarily a respiratory disease) typically causes a severe irreparable downturn in your pulmonary health by your late teens or early 20's. Personally, I had one serious bout with pneumonia when I was 21; my lung function was down to 40% and I was coughing up lots of blood before I finally made it to the hospital. After I was released, I was on oxygen all the time when not at work, and was told that due to the scarring which likely occurred in my lungs, that I might never make a full recovery.

I had way too much living to do still, so that concept didn't work for me!
This was the reality check I needed to start taking my disease more seriously. I became aware of how quickly my health could take an irreparable turn, and this fear is what made me start running regularly. I acredit running and exercise for my full respiratory recovery, and since 2006 I have been able to competed in dozens of races including numerous marathons and ultra marathons.

As I've become stronger, and healthier, my mindset and goals have also evolved: I've transitioned from just wanting to be a finisher at these long distance races, to feeling like there's no reason I can't actually be competitive at them and potentially even begin winning events! Recently, I've been blessed to see the results of that determination.

Some people 'Live to Run', but I truly 'Run to Live'!
Some of my racing accomplishments:
  • I have completed 20 marathons and 36 ultra marathons (including 9 100-milers) since September, 2007.
  • My marathon PR is 2:49.37 (2011 Boston Marathon).
  • My 50 mile ultra marathon PR is 6:58.55 (2011 Bear Chase, Lakewood, CO) 
  • My 100 mile ultra marathon PR is 14:58.37 (2012 Rocky Raccoon 100, Huntsville, TX)
  • Race victories:
    • 2010 Blue Canyon Trail Race (50 Miles)
    • 2011 Brew to Brew (44 Miles)
Starting in late 2012, my health took an unexpected turn downward, surprisingly not due to CF, but rather, Crohn's Disease. The disease had progressed in severity prior to being diagnosed, and thus I required a partial colectomy in November 2013 to remove the damaged sections of my colon and small intestine. Since then, the rebuilding has begun, and the adventures have continued, albeit at a slower pace!

When I'm not running or working, I enjoy spending time with my wife and son, Holly and Indy, sharing my love for adventure and the mountains with them, and traveling as much as possible. I'm passionate about music as well, but don't play any instruments of my own. In the future I look forward to ongoing overseas travel and racing.

Brooks W.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your determination and motivating spitit. carol

Anonymous said...

My grandson Trevor was diagnosed with CF at 4 months old and he(now 12) will be there watching the Boston race tomorrow, cheering for the Epic men,a doctor from MassGen. that is running for CF,and all the beautiful lungs going by.Perhaps because of your journey, he will take up running. He's a fine athlete, plays soccer,baseball,and is a fish in salt water.

Your journey may inspire a younger generation of sure inspire me. The pipeline of drugs (vertex in particular) may turn this around at the cellular level.Meanwhile,awareness and fund raising,and be well Brooks.Hope you have your best Boston time tomorrow!! Laurie

Anonymous said...

Brooks...2:49:37...6:28 minute daughter and grandson Trevor cheered as you ran so glad that Trevor got to see you since he has CF and maybe will remember all your grit and power "running for life" as he decides how to live with CF on his own terms as he gets older. Bravo to you !! I am so proud of you because you are lighting the way for so many people.And it was fun to follow you is pretty cool(this from an oldster trying to climb out of the Ice Age). YEAHHHHHHH,Brooks and to Reuben as well!!!

Brett said...