As part of the 2015 Alive to Strive Race that took place on April 26, a team of ten individuals donned 3 kilogram vests as part of the 5km team challenge. This enthusiastic and committed team shared with us a little bit of their race experience and what it was like to run with an extra 3 kilograms. Below are some of their reflections in their own words. We were so pleased that each of them agreed to take up our 3KG challenge.
What’s the 3KG challenge?
The 3KG team challenge is an important way to raise awareness of the challenges surrounding kidney disease. This weight, 3 kilograms or 6.6 pounds, is the average water weight that individuals with chronic kidney failure accumulate between each dialysis treatment. That’s a lot of extra water!
How did the race go for the team?
Carrying an extra 3KG was certainly an eye opener for the team members. Several team members found their breathing constricted and their joints ached from the sudden extra weight. Below are some of the team’s reflections on their race experience.
Melanie Adams, Reporter 1310 News:
“The thing that I couldn’t stop thinking about in the days following the run was how much 3 kilograms affected how I felt overall. My shoulders ached, my neck hurt. And then I realized that for someone doing dialysis, that feeling wouldn’t be in just their neck and shoulders. They feel it everywhere. And unlike me, they don’t get to look forward to not having to feel it again. It’s going to happen in between dialysis appointments, over and over. It really gave me a bit of perspective, and helped me understand what some people have to go through just to get through a day. I’ll never be able to fully understand it, but at least now my eyes are opened a little more to what some of my fellow humans face.”
Natalie Kahalé, Television Host, Nat en Parle!:
“What a day it was! To see such amazing people come together for an important cause. I felt honoured to participate and happy I was able to get through the 3KG challenge. With this experience I can only imagine what life must be like on a daily basis for those dealing with kidney issues. I am humbled by this and have only admiration for kidney dialysis patients.”
Delaney Holley (Miss Intercontinental Canada):
“Running with the weight of the vest made each step of the run that much more of a challenge. The extra pressure could be felt in my joints as I ran. A few hours later I began to feel the exhaustion…my muscles can feel the repercussions of [the] weighted run. With this feeling, I have had a chance to reflect and appreciate what those living with chronic kidney disease live with every day.”
John Armit, Provincial Constable, Ontario Provincial Police:
“I was humbled by the stories told by people affected by kidney disease prior to the race. I was amazed to hear of the challenges these people have faced and continue to face every day. The recipients and the donors in my mind are true heroes and I was honored to be in their presence.Not long after I began the race, I felt the weight of the vest starting to take a toll. As my heart rate increased, I felt constrictions on my breathing due to the straps of the vest. Towards the end of the race, I had to use all of my energy to continue at a normal pace.
My running partner and I commented on how people living with kidney disease strive to forge ahead even though they’re faced with immense obstacles daily throughout their lives.”
Dr. Christopher R.J. Kennedy, PhD:
“Thanks again for allowing me the privilege of participating in the 3KG challenge. It was a real eye-opener to experience how a sudden weight gain can impact your day to day activities – in this case running. Racing up Hog’s Back hill was certainly more challenging than usual; the legs felt like they had a lot less bounce in them – something I definitely felt 2 days later.”
David Witiluk, Registered Kinesiologist, Strength and Conditioning Specialist
(Alive to Strive’s Let’s Get Moving Instructor):
“I had a great time running the event this year and the 3KG challenge was great as well. I noticed the vest more this year for the heat on my chest and even some restriction with my ribs. The last 1500m I could start to feel my running form suffer and my lower back get a little sore as well. I probably could have pushed to the finish a little harder but didn’t want to overdo it.”
Susan Leslie, Home Dialysis Nurse, Ottawa Hospital:
“I felt very honoured and excited to have been chosen to run the 3KG team challenge. I have been a dialysis nurse for 15 years and always wondered what a patient felt after a weekend of no dialysis and a 3kg weight gain. I managed to run the first 4km without too much difficulty but really felt it in the last 1km. I felt heavy and could not speed up like I usually do at the end of races. I cannot image what patients must feel after a weight gain of 3kg.”
Lionel Bedard, Teacher, South Carleton High School:
“The vest felt heavier in my hand as I held it, just prior to placing it on my upper body. Once I had the vest on, the weight seemed to be dispersed over my shoulders and quit manageable. I did my best to snug it up and be tight. I felt this would give a more uncomfortable feeling and simulate any possible restriction in breathing that a kidney dialysis patient would experience. My experience with the weighted vest went for about 50 minutes, kidney patients may have this sensation at a much greater and more consistent rate then my solo event.
I cannot pretend to know exactly how a person with a kidney disease lives day in and day out. I am reminded [that] life is precious and take gratitude for what one has.”