Giving Into the Marathon Bug and Owning Your Crazy
My diagnosis + running
I was traveling to Germany to visit family when I became extremely ill. I had a constant headache which lasted for weeks, I felt sluggish and started to lose weight. When I returned to the United States, I was tested for meningitis. Finally, the diagnosis came. I had contracted an infection that had attacked my pancreas and stopped my body’s ability to create insulin. Initially, there was hope this was temporary, but soon it was decided this was permanent, and I was inducted into the kingdom of people with type 1 diabetes.
I started running cross country in high school. My sports of choice were dance and gymnastics. Neither were offered, so I started running. If I’m honest, my initial inspiration was the coach (he was dreamy, like the first Calvin Klein underwear model). Running was an easy way for me to get back into shape after putting on some weight while in the honeymoon phase of my marriage.
The marathon bug didn’t hit me until I watched my mom cross the finish line at the LA marathon when she was in her early 40s. I was in awe of her accomplishment and could see the euphoria in her eyes. That was when I decided I needed to try this. It seemed crazy, but I started training with her and her team, the LA Leggers. We would meet in Santa Monica and do training runs. One day, I wasn’t feeling so great. My Quaker Oatmeal made me nauseous. Guess who was pregnant? This girl! I was over the moon elated and decided to put my marathon dream aside for a few years, but the bug lingered.
After my second kiddo, I took up running again. I did a 5k, 10k, a half marathon, and then finally started running marathons. I’ve become addicted to the rush and just couldn’t say no to trying a new one. My diagnosis definitely threw a loop into my game. Between two young kids, and this new annoying ‘thing’ I needed to figure out, marathons just took a back seat.
Honestly, I was in denial for quite some time. I wasn’t depressed or angry, I just figured it worked its way into my life and it would sneak on out. I believe in homeopathic medicine and thought if I ate enough leafy greens added with a few ancient herbs and tinctures, I could make this go away. Well, that didn’t happen.
Diabetes and Technology
When I finally came to terms with my diabetes, I was all in learning about different types of insulin, continuous glucose monitors (CGMs), pumps, etc. If it’s out there, I’ve tried it… Afrezza, Omnipod, Eversense. I’ve literally tried everything.
My Dexcom CGM is my bestie. Knowing where my blood sugar is at any moment has changed my life. My Dexcom has made me feel confident that I can and will be successful at this NYC marathon. I know where my blood sugars are at a glance at my watch or phone. I can then decide if what I’m feeling is diabetes-related or ‘you’re a nut running 26.2 miles’ related. My Dexcom is like a security blanket that gives me the freedom to do as I please and not worry about carrying test strips, lancets, glucose meter, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. I love it.
I have the best job with the best coworkers. I’m a 911 dispatcher for multiple agencies in Orange County. I take pride in what I do and am proud of the women and men I work with every single day. We are open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Our shifts are 12 hours long, either day-shift or graveyard. Diabetes and night shift are definitely frenemies. It is very challenging to manage your sugars when your body thinks it should be sleeping. My sugars can skyrocket even though I haven’t eaten a thing. In addition, the adrenaline of being amidst a major incident can add numbers to your blood glucose. I haven’t quite mastered every aspect of my diabetes, but having my Dexcom giving the minute-by-minute play-by-play definitely makes management in 24/7 work shifts much easier than finger pricks.
As much as I love my job, I do have a life outside of work. I have a very small but mighty family consisting of my mom (who I still have difficulty keeping pace with), my ‘mini me’ daughter, and my rockstar (he really is, he’s a drummer) son. We love to walk, hike, shop, go to concerts, take day trips to obscure places, and more. All three of them will be in New York to support me.
Listen to your body. Don’t compare yourself to anyone else. I’m not following any specific training program or app. I’ve decided to do what feels good, and know my limits. Stay focused, but make sure to enjoy your run, as Dr. Seuss said, “You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So, get on your way!”
Why am I running?
Who knows? At 52, I’ve had quite an adventurous life. I’ve traveled excessively, volunteered for everything possible, bungeed off bridges, danced in clubs, jumped out of airplanes and eaten scorpions. This past year has been incredibly eye-opening. I’ve always lived my life with the glass half full and am the queen of positivity. I have friends that have lost family members, are battling cancer, and have little ones struggling with unimaginable diseases. And, here I am perfectly healthy (other than type 1 diabetes (T1D)) realizing life is short and precious. When I came across the opportunity to apply to run the NYC Marathon, it was a no-brainer. Who cares if I hadn’t run longer than a 10K in years. It sounded like another adventure to add to my story. So, here I am.
I want to show people anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Some people say I’m crazy ( I probably am). But, I think people that eat hot sauce are crazy. I think voluntarily stepping into a rink and getting a roundhouse to the face is crazy. I think putting your life on the line daily keeping others safe is crazy. I think being a foot doctor is crazy (touching others’ feet… ick).
My point is everyone has their own definition of crazy. I’m owning mine. I won’t be the first to cross the finish line, nor will I be the last. I will, however, finish with a smile and a grateful heart. I’m so excited for all of the sights New York has in store for me. This is going to be awesome.
Micki is raising money for Beyond Type 1 through Beyond Type Run—her fundraising will make a real difference in the lives of those living with T1D.