This weekend I plan to run my first ever half-marathon. I've been training for the past ten weeks with a running group here in Davis. Grad school started this week, as did my new job, and somehow this race has crept up on me. I will be running on the same day as the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, which is no small coincidence. In these last few days before the event, I can't help thinking what a tremendous symbol this has all become.
Running has always been my catharsis, my time to zone out and turn off my brain, to challenge my body while nobody else is looking. There's no way to be "good" at running; the most successful runners I've met are the ones with a keen understanding of how to push themselves, and when it is appropriate to. I'm still working on that second part.
When I run in a group, I sense gears shifting in my body, and suddenly there is something to prove. The person just in front of me becomes the person I most desperately want to beat, and once I beat them, there is always someone else. I run with a little fanny pack with my blood sugar monitor, insulin pump, and three or four packs of GU. The part of the run I relish the most happens after we're all done, after the other runners have stopped to chat or refill their water bottles, when I sit down and whip out my glucose monitor to test my sugar. I take great pride -- probably (definitely) more pride than I truly deserve -- in watching the recognition register on someone else's face that, holy shit, she beat me, AND she's diabetic?
I might be feeling differently on Sunday afternoon, after 13.1 miles in this late summer heat. But no matter what, I can't wait for that feeling of satisfaction that I will have done something I've never done before, and done it on a day when my team and I are committed to finding a cure.