Friday, July 16, 2010

Ragnar Essay

I created an essay for team Glucomotives Great River Ragnar Relay. If it's chosen we could win Suunto watches, get featured on the website, have it submitted to the media or a television interview. I wanted to share the essay with all of you, I hope you enjoy!

“I love running. I feel alive. My muscles ache. My lungs tire. And I feel good. It's as simple as that!”

We’re a 14-member team consisting of 2 drivers and 12 runners from across the country; most have never met each other face to face. We’ve come together to take a 24-hour racing road trip to cover 198 miles across Minnesota to spread the word about our cause and to prove to ourselves more than anything that we CAN. What is our vehicle of choice? The Great River Ragnar Relay. What makes us different from the 200+ other teams racing? Every single member of our team is diabetic. As a team we have lived over 150 years with diabetes. What makes us even cooler than every other team racing is that this is not the first Ragnar Relay Team Glucomotive has raced; last year we had an all diabetic team at the Ragnar Relay Del Sol-one of our runners has raced every Ragnar Del Sol relay. Next year we hope to race another location that Ragnar offers.

"Team Glucomotive is Insulindependence's running and walking club for people with diabetes, promoting successful diabetes management through casual training and serious racing.” Last year when I first heard of running in a relay with an all diabetic team I said "sign me up!”. Despite having never run a relay, not even liking the idea of running, it sounded like a great adventure, full of smiling, sweaty, stinky new friends with a wealth of knowledge about training, racing and managing diabetes. Plus, I had decided that in 2011 I'd be racing in my first Ironman, so really I had to start running since my first marathon would be at Ironman. My teammates have dubbed me "Jen Ironwoman in training", a fitting nickname I think. So with all that, how could I POSSIBLY say no to running this relay? Never a doubt. Being part of Glucomotive and Insulindependence has truly helped to change my life by surrounding me with other diabetics that inspire me by their personal and athletic endeavors.

Though we have yet to meet, my team has already earned a special place in my heart. We have all been getting to know each other via email, phone calls and reading each other’s blogs. Some of the team was able to share with me a few of their accomplishments and what this race means to them:

"I’m a lifelong runner and an official Marathon Maniac; having run 51 marathons and 5 ultra marathons in the past 11 years and 9 months. And I just love running.”–Jerry

“The Ragnar Relay Del Sol ‘08 was the first running event I had done EVER (since high school 16 years before). When I found out there was an all diabetic team, I wanted to be a part of that! Ragnar Relay was one of those events that LITERALLY changed my life, and if I could do that surrounded by people who weren't letting this disease stop them, I wanted in. Thanks, Ragnar!!”-Jenny

“This is my first relay run! I am running the Ragnar race because I want to start my own branch of Insulindependence on the East Coast” –Emily

“Since running the New York marathon I also ran the Barcelona marathon and the Berlin half marathon - I am definitely hooked. Running is such a 'sweet' treat for anyone, but as someone living with type 1 diabetes, I think that running is a much needed escape, a moment during our busy 24 hour days where we can forget about the glucose meter, forget about the number of carbs in our meal, forget about our rotating sites, or forget about grandma's recipe that undoubtedly will have too much sugar in it...and remember that our daily journeys, be it in a "I'm running a 24 hour relay race" format or a "there's no such thing as a normal routine when you have diabetes" 24 hour daily stretch, are just that - journeys.”-Anne

“Running is by far the most simple of the athletic activities to get the "exercise" fix and for sure the best ‘bang for the buck’, meaning it gets the job done to help the mental and physical wellbeing relative to diabetes management.” –Pratt

“When first diagnosed I was told I would never compete never run, cycle or train like I used to. I somewhat lost myself, had no direction, got all sorts of depressed. Until I discovered that I can do this. I can do everything that I enjoy and then some. Diabetes isn't an excuse it’s a way of life. I want to help others realize this and achieve their goals.”-Daniel

“I’ve never run in a relay event, but training for this is making running a little more focused and fun with an improvement in diabetes management a nice side-affect!” –Mike

“This is the first running event I have ever participated in!” –Corinne

“I was diagnosed with Type 1 almost 8 years ago and I starting running in the fall of 2008. Since then I have run 1 marathon, 2 half's, a hand full of 10 milers, 2 Olympic Distance Tri's, and an 8-hour Adventure Race.” –Gary

“This is my first time running in a relay, first time running in Minnesota. I came to running via triathlons and although it was my weakest after cycling and swimming, it's now my second favorite (still love to cycle).”-Carlene

“I have seen running serve two major purposes in my life. One, to help control diabetes and two, to prove to myself that I can physically perform as good and better than any other person without diabetes. I was very successful at both, keeping my A1C near normal and having some great running accomplishments. However, there was one thing that always made me stand out…as everyone else is hanging out at the start of the race and gearing up to go…I am looking for a place to check my blood sugar and see if I can safely compete. As everyone else is trying to figure out their mile pace and estimate their finish time while racing, I do the same but also do different kind of math wondering how high my sugars are and if I will make it to the finish at all. After the race, everyone is basking in their glory, talking about the race, eating snacks and drinking Gatorade. I am busy checking my sugars and trying to find a private place to administer insulin to treat post race highs. What running Ragnar means to me is providing me with the opportunity to take on something physically challenging, but more than that, it enables me to do it with the people just like myself and not feel different for the very first time in life.”-Igor

My team inspires me and makes me smile. I’m sure they will do the same for you. Thank you for reading.

“Ironwoman in training”


  1. Nice. Sounds like a great team. Sure you'll all have fun being the coolest out there! :)

  2. I absolutely love this post. I believe there are soo many physical, mental, and spiritual benefits to running. And your article just inspired me more. I will definitely add you to my favorites and good luck on your journey.

  3. Jen, I just got your tweet and realized I never wrote you about how much I enjoy reading what you write. I feel like I "know" a few more iD people than I did before reading your essay. Congratulations on winning the contest and earning some priceless publicity for iD. I hope to see you in a few days (eeeek!) Have a fantastic race. Woot!

  4. Jen - great post and congrats on winning the prize. Great job - see you on Phrendo (and look for my Triabetes blog - Type1s to St George). Good luck in your training...keep up the good work.