Insights into my personal life.

This blog includes the personal details of my experiences as a recently diagnosed Type I diabetic and the impact of that diagnosis on my endurance athletic pursuits.

Please understand that I consider myself to be a work in progress. I am willing to share both my successes and failures, so please do not take my words to be professional dietary or medical advice. This is a blog, this is only a blog. I research my choices carefully, and take my health very seriously. The choices I make are my own, I am doing the best with the resources and support that I have. If you have questions or concerns feel free to comment, but please be constructive and understand that this is my life. I value it dearly.

My goal is to live a happy, healthy and active life where I can balance my internal drive to push my physical limits and the challenge of safely maintaining stability despite the challenges of Type I diabetes.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Race Report Follow-up: What about Bernice?

Seems like everyone enjoyed the cliff hanger to my race report.  So lets get back to Bernice.

When we parted ways I left Bernice with my bib number in hopes that we'd be able to connect in some way.  I assumed she wasn't on Facebook so with a bib number she'd be able to track down my full name.  I'm pretty easy to find in google due to the unique spelling of my first name (thanks parents!).

Bernice's story was a bit of a cliff hanger to me as well.  A large part of me hoped to stick around until midnight and catch her finish.  However, the reality was that asking Michael and Merri had a dog at home that needed to be let out and my Vancouver friends who had finished hours earlier than me needed to leave.  I learned that they had to be back to the race site early the next morning.  Victoria had placed 2nd in her age-group and could not miss the podium ceremony, nor did she want to miss her opportunity to sign up for Kona.

As I left the race site, I saw that she had actually sped up a bit - probably running a few sections.  This left her with a good cushion.  As I got home after a long drive I was able to confirm that she had indeed finished her race!  She finished in 16:35 with 25 minutes to spare.  Her marathon pace was a steady 15:45 per mile.  25 minutes to spare!  That's a difference of less than one minute per mile over the distance.

A couple of days following the race I was contact via email by Bernice's daughter, who eventually got my email address to Bernice.  On the Tuesday evening following the race I received one of the greatest emails I've ever read:

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Hello Kory!!!!
Thrilled I got your email. I have a debit of gratitude to give to you. I've been telling everyone that I had a guardian angel with me for 13 miles of the run. How you kept me focused on the positive when the pain kept clouding my focus. How kind and gentle you were with me... How we did a mile of quiet (well most of it I kept) in dedication to your friend. How you calculated my time of arrival to the finish line. On and on and on.
I am a FIRM believer that when the " student is ready the teacher arrives" I have many examples in my life of the "teacher". I'm not sure I would have crossed the line before midnight with our your help. I trained real hard to succeed and help me accomplish that personal goal. By the way I took your last bit of advise, drank the flat coke and my stomach nausea left!!!....

...One last thing my daughter Courtney is friends with one of your friends, Mike McLean....she said he's a great guy. Isn't it a small world?
How was your finish???

Bernice

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Too read this words made my heart swell.  The gratitude goes both ways between us.  I am grateful to have had someone to keep me company.  I was honored to have been able to do what I loved most during the race.  While I easily could have become frustrated that I wasn't 'racing', I was doing something that I enjoy even more.  I was coaching!  To be able to coach someone from within a race is an experience that I will never forget - especially a first timer.  I remember the joy of my first finish, there is nothing to compare it to.  I am honored to have been a part of her day.

I hadn't thought to ask if there was any chance Bernice knew Mike McLean, although I knew they both resided in St. Louis.  To bring this story full circle you can read back to my November 16th Diabetes Awareness Post.  When I was diagnosed with Type I, I was riding in a fundraiser for Mike's non-profit, L.I.F.E.  My emergency identification tag that I wore during the Ironman Arizona and nearly every day since diagnosis is an orange L.I.F.E. bracelet.

While I was doing my best to motivate Bernice during her race - I was silently remembering words spoken by Mike's brother Eric in his last interview posted before his passing.  Eric's courage and strength have been my inspiration for a while now, and he's bravery will continue to inspire.  www.givetolife.org
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