Health care is a basic human right, not a privilege. For some reason, we’ve allowed ourselves as Americans to be fooled into accepting that one must be blessed with “means” to actuate appropriate health care. As a nation we have failed to realize that our health care system is a barometer of our society’s value for human life.

-Me

Sunday, September 03, 2006

How Running Changed the Rain...

I always used to think of the rain as a pretty dreary thing....I mean, it just sucks to be stuck in the house in general. The combination of myself, my energetic six year old son, and my precocious three year old daughter stuck indoors for the duration of the day just makes things, well, hard.
I started running last August, so I guess Ive been running regularly for about a year. I was 5'7, 178 lbs, busy, and I felt fat. I decided to start running because in my mind, when I thought of the most physically painful cardio I could possibly do, I thought of running. I figured that if I did something that sucked THAT bad, I HAD to get results. So I hit the road for the first time, in the heat of Minnesota August, draped in my 178 lbs of well, mostly jiggly fat. I made it about .4 miles before I had to stop, feeling like my ears were going to explode and that my heart was permanantly housed OUTSIDE of my chest.
I kept at it though. After about 3 months I was able to run 3-1/2 miles and feel like shit afterwards. After about six months I was able to run 5 miles and feel kind of okay, not totally like shit. The thing about running was, I felt like I was doing something. Over the course of the past year, I HAVE lost, as of today, 14 lbs. Fourteen IMPOSSIBLE pounds.....I started running to lose weight, but after it become readily apparent that the weight was not melting off of me, I had to find OTHER reasons to keep running.
My blood sugars really suffered with the first few months of running. I went from an a1c of 6.9 to an a1c of 8.2 (at least initially, it has since varied from6.2 to 7.2). YOUCH! What all those tv commercials about diabetes DON'T tell you when they tell you to exercise, is that if you are a type 1 diabetic and you start a new exercise program, you will more than likely see MORE variability rather than less as you iron out all the difficulties associated with exercising. You know, difficulties like trying to run with 8 cups of hawaiin punch fresh in your belly. Trying to run with a 35 blood sugar and not understanding why suddenly the road feels so much closer to your face.....
I ran into SO many difficulties with running, especially as distances increased, and I learned some fabulous tricks about how to manage my blood sugars while running. I PROMISE I will post some of these tricks in the future, but for now, that is NOT the pont of this post.
At some point into my running, as I started getting up into higher mileage, and I was really learning the truth about runner's high (It is fabulous and lasts for about 20 seconds between miles 8 and 9, as long as it isn't too hot outside and you've had plenty of water and your blood sugar doesn't suck), I also discovered something about the rain.
I had always avoided running in the rain, thinking, ahhh the weather sucks today, I'll run inside at my indoor track. One day though, anxious to get outside after a long winter of running a track that I have to run around nine times to reach a mile, I braved the great wet outdoors. And it was fabulous. I praised the lord at 6 miles, I felt like kissing the pavement at 8! I ran ten miles after 8 hours of work and I felt remarkable the entire run! I didn't even have to refill my water bottle. The rain dripped off my brow, I couldn't wear my glasses, but by god, I was not too hot, I was not too thirsty, and I felt great.
The rain washed away my faulty spirit. The rain gave me a jump in my step that you just won't get on a weekday afternoon as you trudge out an impossibly long run and ingest ridiculous amounts of GU. The rain rinsed my sweat and hydrated my longing mind, anxious to push yet another long run out of my system so I could find solace in the four remaining short runs of the week.
After my first run in the rain, rain became my REASON to run. Rain became the one reason I could never be too tired to go out. And you know what? Today it rained! Im at low mileage right now as far as running is concerned as I have a right medial meniscal tear and Im trying to avoid surgery. But today it was fabulous. Two miles, hills and all, two nine minute miles (fast for me!), where I held my hands up in the air and praised Jesus for the opportunity to rejoice in his glory as he washed my spirit with his rain. Fabulous.
Running gave me the rain. It gave me the appreciation for it that I would never have had if I did not know that rain means a fabulous run, EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

3 comments:

Scott K. Johnson said...

Great post!

I laughed out loud more than once as I read your war stories on becoming a runner!

And it is so true that the exercise introduces so many new variables that it can make you dizzy. The part about trying to run with all that juice in your tummy!

I have, a couple times, fought lows while playing basketball - and in a rush to treat and get back in the action, downed an entire 32 ounces of gatorade AND some glucose tabs & water. I step back on the court and my stomach is bloated like never before! Each move I make I can hear this giant "slosh slosh slosh"! Ug - very uncomfortable.

I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be convinced to start running or convinced it wasn't worth it when you talk about the runners high - 20 frickin seconds?! 8 to 9 miles?! All those "conditions" (not too hot, well hydrated, BG on target)?! That's a heck of a price to pay for such a brief reward isn't it? I'm hoping you were being a bit comical with all of that... :-)

Kudos for continuing to work through it with your injury - and being smart enough to take it slow!

I can totally picture how running in the rain would be a blast. Not saying I'll try it right away or anything - but I can see the joy of it.

Later!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Oh! I forgot to ask!

You mention being in Minnesota - but also many other places in other posts (KC, and the east coast, etc).

Are you guys in the MN area currently? Have I asked you that before (something about the Duluth area?)?

There's a few of us popping up on the blogosphere lately, and I think it would be super cool to get together someday!

Of course, with the blogosphere and the whole internet thing - I am very respectful of peoples privacy - so don't feel like you have to divulge if you don't feel comfortable.

Take care!

MileMasterSarah said...

Scott,
Im planning on eventually getting a post up that kind of dialogues some lessons I learned about myself and some tricks I learned to get through endurance training for my half marathons. I really struggled initially but with the help of a sports therapist (not even diabetes specialized!) I was finally able to conquer the distance and blood sugars. I still ran into some problems, but not so much the lows.
I live in Saint Cloud right now, and Bob lives in Saint Paul. We are all actually in Saint Paul this weekend, and we are planning on checking out the Hampden Coop and check out what they have. Im pretty excited cuz I am so used to my little city coop (which ROCKS by the way!).
I also got to run down Summit Avenue this morning, FABULOUS! Along with being so many other runners, it is just a great run with all the trees and gorgeous houses. I love the weekends in the cities and I find a reason to run down this road!
It would be definitely fun to meet some other diabetics. I am usually in my diabetic "bubble". Talking a lot about it but not finding many (actually ANY) who GET IT!