13 Questions with Beyond Type Run Marathoner Torrey McKnight
Editor’s Note: Torrey was a member of Beyond Type Run‘s 2018 TCS New York City Marathon Team sponsored by Dexcom and Insulet, makers of the tubeless Omnipod Insulin Management System. Learn more about the 2019 Beyond Type Run team here.
Meet Torrey—pediatric oncology nurse, car karaoke queen, coffee addict and travel hacker.
What inspired you to join the team?
To be completely honest, I never thought I’d run a marathon. I have done three half-marathons and I distinctly remember getting to the end and thinking ” there is NO way I want to run that again!” But each of those races was all pre-T1D diagnosis. I remember following the inaugural Beyond Type Run team last year (2017) on Instagram and feeling like I had to be part of it the next time if I could. I am constantly being inspired by all the amazing people with type 1 diabetes (T1Ds) out there and I wanted to be able to do something to give back to my community.
What’s in your diabetes management toolkit?
I have been using the OmniPod pump for a couple of years and love the freedom and flexibility it gives me. I also use the Dexcom G6 paired with my phone and Apple Watch. The G6 is seriously a game changer and I couldn’t even imagine T1D life without it. Managing diabetes though is really all about lifestyle for me. It’s important to me to keep my blood sugars as stable as possible so I tend to eat on the lower carb side about 85 percent of the time, making sure the majority of my calories are coming from veggies, proteins and healthy fats or more complex carbohydrates that won’t spike me immediately. I include exercise in my life daily—even if that means only going for a 30-minute walk. Lastly, I write a lot to reflect on trying to find purpose in a life with diabetes and that helps me mentally come back to what’s important in life—family, friends and making the most of each moment we’re given.
I never go on a run without …
I will NEVER run without some kind of fast-acting carb in the event that I go low. I also cannot run on my own (this does not include races!) without music so if I forgot my headphones at home, I have to make a detour to go get them before I run!
What is your favorite low snack on a run?
My go-to low snack on a run are the Clif Shot Bloks in either salted watermelon or strawberry. I will typically use these throughout my runs for energy and to maintain blood sugar levels, but they’re helpful in a low situation too! I’ve also really gotten into taking coconut water with me on runs these last couple weeks.
What is your pump it up running song?
How in the world do you choose just one?! My current top three pump it up songs are The Champion by Carrie Underwood & Ludacris, This Is Me from The Greatest Showman soundtrack and White Flag by Bishop Briggs.
What has been your most helpful tool as you’ve trained?
There are so many training programs out there to help prepare you for a marathon but I felt like I needed something a little more personal so I hired a running coach. My coach Josh is based out of NYC and has run the NYC Marathon EIGHT times! Each week we would connect via text or on the phone about the upcoming training schedule, what my work schedule looked like, and we talked about what challenges I was facing either mentally or physically. He would then put together a week’s worth of training for me and I just had to follow it. Having him plan my program took a lot of mental energy off my plate so that I could really focus on the physical tasks at hand and I will never run another race without him!
What has been the biggest training hurdle?
As I started to get into the longer runs of the training (10+ miles), I was really dreading doing them alone—after all, how many people want to just get out there and run 10 miles with you on a Saturday morning?! That was really a struggle for me because I found myself making excuses or pushing the run until later in the day even though I knew it would be even harder to get it done. But I slowly started to realize that this marathon was never about race day for me (race day is like popping that champagne bottle to celebrate a big accomplishment!). It was always about finding out just how far I could push my body and my mind. Once I changed my mindset, I actually looked forward to the long runs.
What is your most embarrassing running moment?
Haven’t had one running yet, knock on wood! It’s probably going to happen on race day!
The injury I’m currently nursing is . . .
The last couple weeks I’ve had issues with my left knee locking up while running so I’m trying to give a little extra TLC to my extremely tight quads and IT bands.
If you could go on a run with any T1D hero who would it be?
I’ve been obsessed with The Amazing Race since the very first season so needless to say, I’m totally fangirling over Nat Strand and would love to go on a run with her! Not only did she compete as a person with type 1 diabetes and on an all-woman team, but she also WON! Girl is fearless and I love that.
How do you treat yourself / recover after a long run?
After long runs I immediately put on my OOFOS recovery sandals and treat myself to some kind of $5 coffee! The recovery shoes have been my saving grace and have prevented me having the little aches and pains that I thought I would. I also like to curl up on the couch to take a nap, and eat. Can’t forget to eat. Lots of eating goes down after a long run.
What are you most nervous about the day of the marathon?
I’m actually most nervous about the weather! I live in Los Angeles so I’m lucky enough to be able to train with perfect weather every single day of the year. I have no idea how to run in the rain, or wind, or temperatures colder than 65 degrees, nor do I own any ” cold weather clothes”…
How are you going to celebrate at the end of the race?
Remember when I said race day was like popping a champagne bottle to celebrate a big accomplishment?! Well, my sister will be with me in NYC and after the race, we will most definitely be celebrating with some champagne 🙂
To learn more about the 2019 TCS New York City Marathon Beyond Type Run team click here.