I met my running coach for coffee this morning to go over my running plan for the upcoming Tel Aviv Marathon (this Friday).
I wasn’t planning on running another marathon six weeks after the Tiberias marathon, but the desire to erase the bad experience with a positive one (especially before I set out to train for the New York Marathon), and the fact the Tel Aviv marathon is right outside my door (I will actually pass by my window at the 21st mile) made me decide to register for the full marathon.
When I arrived at the café, my coach was there siting with his laptop and a summary of my training, including the ten or so 20+ milers from before Tiberias, the Tiberias marathon splits, and the two long runs I completed in the last few weeks. We both looked at the numbers, and agreed that it would be best to start relatively slow and hope for a strong finish.
Although my coach knows my first concern is not having a repeat of the Tiberias, or even Milan marathon, and that I really want or need a positive experience, he told me he believes that I should be able to improve my PR by at least half a minute or so. The funny thing is that originally, when I suggested running in the Tel Aviv marathon, he thought running another marathon so soon after Tiberias was a very bad idea.
After he typed the paces for each part of the marathon into the spreadsheet, he looked at his notes, turned to me and said: “you know we really need to figure this diabetes thing out. It’s holding you back.”
“You need to figure out what you can eat the day before the marathon, try it out during training (the day before you run long runs), so you can really perform in the marathon.”
That was all I could think to myself. I know he meant well and really wants me to be able to run as if I don’t have diabetes. But that’s the thing about diabetes: even when you have good control, it’s still there, and always unpredictable.
I tried to explain. “It changes all the time…. I don’t know why and I don’t know what affects it, besides the food, that is. Hormones, weather, sleep, stress, coffee, you name it, it all effects blood sugar.”
“I can try hard but I can’t figure it out, get over it and move on to the next challenge. There is no formula, and just when you think you’ve figured it out, you’ve finally learned to deal (or gotten over it), something – a cold, gaining 2 pounds, the weather changing – happens and you find you’re self starting from scratch again.”
My coach stared at me blankly. I could tell that on some level he was blaming me. He didn’t really believe I couldn’t do diabetes better. This kind of thing used to piss me off, but I’m kind of used to it now and I try to let it go.
I don’t like people feeling bad for me because of my diabetes. It’s true that in the case of a marathon, it’s a handicap. But that’s my life and that’s my challenge. Okay, my coach doesn’t get it. No one outside of the D-world really does. And that’s what I reminded myself as I kept myself from saying, “If I could figure this fucking diabetes thing out, don’t you think I would?”