Born to Run: Will’s Story


 

Editor’s Note: Will is a member of the 2021 team of Beyond Type 1 runners that will participate in the TCS New York City Marathon. Beyond Type Run is sponsored by Dexcom and Tandem Diabetes Care.


 

When I heard there was a team of T1Ds running the NYC Marathon in 2019 I immediately thought that I had found my people and wanted to get involved. When I saw the application open for 2021, I couldn’t wait to apply.

I first started running many years ago with the help of a friend. I ran a 5K, that evolved to 10, then 21.1, but I swore I would never do a marathon. Well, here I am, and I’ve now run 5 marathons. My goal is to run 1 a year while in my 40s, 2020 & 2021 made that difficult so I’m behind by 1, but that’s ok, I’ll make it up.

Born to run

I love to run, it’s how I control my sugars, my mood, and stress. I don’t know any other people my age with Type 1 or, for that matter, any that run. It’s nothing new for anyone with Type 1, but boy do I struggle sometimes. My performance sucks when I’m low or high; trying to race is a game, if I’m successful with my sugars I can find success. I watch my friends and see how freely they run, without a care in the world. For me, it’s 2 watches (one for sugars and one to track my run), a belt with all my low supplies, a phone for the CGM readings, and of course my pump – hoping every day my site doesn’t fall off from sweat.

My Tandem pump and Dexcom CGM are what allow me to do this, they are essential, I wouldn’t run if it wasn’t for the security and knowledge they provide me.

Going for a run takes planning, you can’t run with insulin on board or a low is guaranteed. I can’t always pick up and go when a friend calls, I need at least 6 hours’ notice. I find success running first thing in the morning when I’ve fasted, even though my body struggles to get moving that early.

My story

I am so thankful that this disease came to me later in life and I was able to enjoy my teens and twenties.

Initially, I was treated as Type 2. It started with one medication, which led to another, and another, and another, I was eating no carbs at all and losing weight extremely fast. I had lost the ability to run, play sports or even function as a parent. I would sleep excessively and felt miserable all the time.

It wasn’t until a close family friend suggested I make a call to an endocrinologist that he worked with. After extensive testing and a long meeting discussing my history, I was diagnosed with Type 1. I really didn’t understand how bad it was until he asked how many times I’d been to the emergency room. I was in full-blown DKA, close to having major complications, and I was told to start insulin immediately.

That started a long journey learning how to live my life differently.

I was so fortunate to have a nurse that took the time to work with me, she was amazing. But the best part was she is a runner, so we started on the journey to get me healthy again and eventually back to running.

 


 

Will is raising money for Beyond Type 1 through Beyond Type Run – his fundraising will make a real difference in the lives of those living with T1D.

WRITTEN BY William Greenwood, POSTED 10/28/21, UPDATED 11/02/21

William is a member of the 2021 Beyond Type Run Team and lives with Type 1 diabetes.