3 Lessons Running 5Ks Has Taught Me About Living With Diabetes
In 2013, three years after I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I was awarded a Fulbright grant that allowed me to live in the United Arab Emirates for that academic year. In addition to teaching and conducting research, my goal was to explore the country and break from my comfort zone.
By the time I signed up for the Dubai Women’s Run, I had already completed a variety of firsts. I rode a camel for the first time, drank camel’s milk, sandboarded in the desert, and visited the top of the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa. I thought that a 5K race would fit well on this list.
When I finished my first 5K, I immediately developed a love for running. But surprisingly, this new interest wasn’t the result of a natural talent for racing. In fact, the only positive result from my first 5K was that I completed it within my goal time of 45 minutes. Aside from that, it was a classic example of what not to do in a 5K race: I hadn’t trained properly, I got caught up in the crowd’s excitement and lost my pace, I paid more attention to other runners than to myself, I exerted all my energy by the second kilometer, and, when I crossed the finish line, I fell to the ground in agony. I felt whipped, and every muscle in my body wept in unison with me.
Even as I lay in the grass in anguish, I knew that I had to do it again. I perceived the race as a living metaphor because I saw so many life lessons in that first race, especially as a person living with type 2 diabetes. I promised myself that I would train better, have the perfect music playlist, remember my earphones, p Continue reading