Name: Rebecca Zamolo
Hometown: Martinez, Calfornia
My name is Rebecca Zamolo and I am an actress/YouTuber in Los Angeles. I am a former UCSB Track & Field/ Cross Country Runner who was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis after I graduated. This past September I had my colon removed and wore an ostomy bag for 9 months. Now I rock an internal JPOUCH and use my story to help spread IBD Awareness. I love awkward moments and making people laugh.
How long ago did you start running? My last year in High School
What inspired you to start running? I quit gymnastics and my mom told me I had to do something. I had always enjoyed running so I decided to run Track. I started out doing the 200m which is hilarious because they thought since I was a gymnast I would be fast, but it wasn’t the case at all. I begged them to let me run the mile (I had never run a mile since I never had to do P.E.due to my gymnastics training) and so my first mile time was 6:10. After that he let me train distance.
What has been your biggest recent challenge in running? When I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis- that became my biggest challenge as I would have to stop at least 4 times in my hour run to use a bathroom. I had constant pain and even bleeding. Running in places that weren’t near a bathroom gave me anxiety. It was the most frustrating thing to go from running at an elite level, to hardly being able to run for more then 10 min at a time.
Who are the top 3 most inspiring women in your life?
Lisa Becker- Has had an Ostomy Bag for over 10yrs and started a company called Ostomy Secrets which is underwear for people with Ostomies. She has used her disease to help others and is one of the most positive women I know.
Nastia Luikin- She has transitioned her work ethic in sports into a successful career. I love how she presents herself.
Amy Paffrath- My friend and host of VH1’S Dating Naked ran a half marathon with me after never running more than a couple miles in her life just to support me. I was truly honored and impressed with her determination.
What’s your favorite piece of running gear?
My asics shoes. They go everywhere with me.
How has your relationship with running changed over the years? Before I was diagnosed with IBD, I took running for granted. I complained about the days I had to run more then I wanted to, or if I had a hard workout. After being diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis, then having my colon removed and wearing an ostomy- I am so grateful to be able to run. Running is a gift. When I was competing in college I never realized how lucky I was to be able to do it. Today, I am so thankful to be able to run without pain.
In one word, how does running make you feel?
What’s your next goal in running?
Since I have had 3 surgeries in the last 9 months, I’m trying to just enjoy being able to run without pain and adjust to life with my JPOUCH. I’d love to run another half marathon like I did when I had an Ostomy Bag.
Learn more about her journey: