I am not a natural athlete. I grew up with a sense that I ‘couldn’t’ rather than that ‘I could’, a sentiment that was cultivated in grade school (when I discovered I couldn’t do a somersault) and continued through high school (when I was asked to leave the synchronized swimming team, after my months of 6 a.m. practices had failed to impress the coach). I didn’t learn how to ride a bike until I was around 14, a fact I am neither proud of nor embarrassed by.
Then, in the my 30s, I discovered that I actually COULD do an aerobics class; that I COULD attend a spinning class; that I COULD walk very quickly on a treadmill, scaling high hills with ease.
COULD running be the next step in my athletic development? One day, on the treadmill, many years ago, I decided to see what would happen if I turned the speed up. Hmmm. The result? My feet moved easily into a jog. I survived. And I seemed to derive some sense of enjoyment from this…
These days, nothing beats a run when I’m feeling stressed, antsy, or just want a break. I love my bike trainer, but running is different. And once I realized that 3 or 4 kilometres done slowly is still 3 or 4 kilometres that I wouldn’t have done if I’d stayed at my desk or on the couch, I also understood that while I’m a slow runner, I AM a runner.
It’s not always easy to get off the couch, of course. Or to step away from the desk. When I start to rationalize all the reasons why continuing to work will be good (“You’re on a roll! Keep going!”, my inner dialogue torments me. Same if we’re on a Netflix binge. “You’re on a roll! Keep going!”)
Then I start looking at the other reasons why today isn’t the best day for a run.
- My blood sugar is on the low side. I’ll have to eat an apple or have another snack to get to a good level before heading to the gym. (Valid. But what’s so bad about having an apple or a snack?)
- I walked yesterday. For half an hour. Don’t I need recovery? (Um, I walked. From the car to the office and back again.)
- It’s cold outside. (I’m running inside!)
Finally, after much debate, I eat the apple, turn down the basal delivery on my pump, check my dexcom again, put on my running gear, grab my coat, and head to the gym.
Somedays, it’s not my best day on the treadmill. And on other days, it is.
But either way, I leave with a small sense of accomplishment.
I can’t wait to get back to running outside, once the good weather returns.
(Please remember, I’m not a doctor or an educator. Just a person who has had type 1 diabetes for the past 26 years. Please follow me on instagram at @grownupdiabetes.)