Over the next week, almost five months of training will become taper. In a week, the packing (and repacking) will commence, we will visit Boston for the first time, we will celebrate Easter and then I will earn the honor of being a Boston Marathon finisher.
What a week.
If I was doing it alone, it would be good. But my family – husband, kids and parents – will be there with me. And that will make it great. This truly is a group effort. Many times, its been their support and consistent encouragement that have helped to put one foot in front of the other when the miles piled up or to get me out of bed in the darkest part of the morning when all I really wanted to do was sleep.
I’m trying to give back a little, and hope you’ll join me. Read on.
Funny how more than 20 years can seem like yesterday.
I was a college student on break, visiting my (then) boyfriend. The phone rang in his kitchen…for me.
Dad was in the hospital. Whether it was a surgery a few months before, or some kind of viral incident that triggered the autoimmune response, we don’t know.
He had not been diabetic however, no familial history, yet there he was. No longer able to produce insulin, now an insulin dependent adult onset type 1 diabetic. And in bad shape.
Seemed hardly possible.
My dad, known by most as Ada (“Ah-da”) is hearty German Minnesota farmboy stock. Thick, strong and powerful. Not always perfect in his diet, but not bad either because Mom is a careful, healthy, enticing cook. He is a high ranking black belt in a particularly physical form of martial arts. He works hard. He golfs. Travels.
This is not someone who ends up contracting adult onset diabetes. And yet, he did.
Since that day, he has been hospitalized again (and again), learned to live with a pump, deals with the pain, mood swings, disappointing readings and other ugly compromises that have come with the condition. Our family has watched, shared and prayed too often that this shadow didn’t hover over our guy.
Even though dad’s diabetes has indefinable roots, he’s now not alone among his siblings, so there are undeniable genetic propensities we can’t fight. And yet, I have spent my adult life cooking carefully, exercising faithfully and watching for signs.
Which brings us to now.
For the past few years, I’ve engaged in the greatest of hobbies as a competitive runner. I train faithfully, enjoy racing and sometimes do it decently enough that on April 21, I’ll be among the thousands fortunate to be racing the Boston Marathon.
I’m running on behalf of Ada, who is coming all the way to Boston to be on the sidelines (with my mom, husband and kiddos), cheering on my efforts. How’s that for dedicated? I’ll be occupied for hours, while they’re straining to see me for a matter of seconds.
So it seems only fair that I run it with purpose. After all, I may not have decided to be a runner if I wasn’t trying to escape the disease that is always trying to hold my dad back.
I’m doing this for him, and inviting you to race alongside me.
The timing seems fortuitous. There are some promising strides being made with diabetes research funding. This is our chance to help that effort move toward the finish line.
It’s quite possible that you know someone impacted by diabetes. Your generosity will help improve the lives of the a small percentage of diabetics who are type 1, as well as the more than 20 million Americans who suffer from type 2 diabetes and another 79 million people with pre-diabetes.
Each dollar raised will be put toward the fight to see future generations who can live in a world without this disease. Join the effort by clicking HERE.