Posted by: rundadrun | October 31, 2013

One year as a Type 2 Diabetic…and a challenge!

The month of October marks my one year anniversary as a Type 2 Diabetic. And what a year it has been! I am not kidding when I say that it has been one of the best years of my life. I truly believe that God blessed me to be where I am, Diabetes and all!

Last October was very sobering. I was told that I have a basically terminal illness. Untreated and ignored, Diabetes would eventually kill me. I have seen it in my own family. It was the wake up call that I needed to change my life. For years I had ignored my weight gain, rising blood pressure, rising cholesterol and general bad health. By ignore, I mean I treated them with medicines and went on living the way I always had. Now, I had an enemy to attack! And attack it was exactly what we did. I say we because my wife joined in the fight with me. She has been my strength and my partner in all this. And along the way, we both ended up getting more fit and feeling so much better!

At the beginning, I looked like this:
Fat Rob

This is what I look like today:
Finish pic Flying Pig 2013

I have never felt better in my life! I am off all Diabetic meds and BP meds. I have dropped my A1c from a starting point of 8.3 down to 5.3.

As we prepare to start November, which is Diabetes Awareness month, my challenge to you is to answer the question in the next paragraph

What are you doing in your life, Diabetic or not, to get and stay healthy? Please use the comment section to share your success stories or your challenges. If you haven’t done anything yet, the challenge is to “Do Something!”

I have been blessed by so many people in my life who have inspired me to get healthy and stay that way. Please share your story!

Happy running,
Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | October 22, 2013

The Race Before Us. A book review

The Race Before Us Photo
Little did I know when I was asked to review the book, “The Race Before Us” by Bruce Matson that I would share so much in common with the author. But as I read, I saw more and more of my story in his.

The book is the story of Bruce Matson addressing his questions of faith as he struggled with his physical health. Faced with turning 50, declining health, and struggling with a real crisis in his faith, he began a journey of running and faith that ultimately brought him closer to God. It is based on the Hebrews 12:1, “let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us”, and does a great job of showing the connection between faith and fitness.

This is a great book for anyone, but especially if you are a Christian runner like me. Bruce tells his story in a way that can best be described as Lee Strobel meets Marc Parent(The Newbie Chronicles in Runner’s World). I have always loved both of these writers for their approaches to totally different subjects. In “The Race Before Us”, Bruce alternates chapters between The Race (his struggle with his faith) and The Run(his ongoing quest for better health as he trains for several different marathons).

In the race chapters I am reminded of Lee Strobel’s similar faith quest in “The Case for Christ”. If anything, Bruce makes the science of apologetics seem more understandable. I plan on using some of his arguments when teaching Christian Evidences in my Jr. High Bible class. He describes how by listening to Christian Apologist Ravi Zacharias, he was able to better focus his questions about his own beliefs into a more full faith in Christ. I actually came to truly enjoy listening to Ravi Zacharias because of reading this book.

In the Run chapters, he chronicles his journey from an overweight, out of shape practicing lawyer who is on the verge of all out Diabetes(a subject very dear to my heart). Through training for several marathons, he discovers that he truly loves running and the time he can be alone to continue his search for God.

All in all, I would recommend this book to anyone, but especially to anyone who has ever struggled with questions of faith and the battles of health concerns. But even if you never run a step in your life, you can enjoy this book from a purely self-improvement standpoint. In reading it, I found myself looking forward to the transition from The Run to The Race. I couldn’t wait to see where each of these individual struggles was going to go.

Well done Bruce. I can’t wait to read your next book…

Happy running,
Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | August 31, 2013

Oh my aching heart!

Heart image
You always hear it said, “DON’T ignore chest pain!” I have heard it for years. And you would think, having Type 2 Diabetes, having a huge family history of heart disease and having had a brother recently go through an angio that left him with a stint in a blocked artery, I would know that I of all people, should have been on the phone at the first twinge of chest pain.

But a funny thing happens when you have any pain in your chest, at least it did for me. I honestly started giving myself a long list of other things it could be. And believe me, I had a pretty good list going. Maybe it was my hiatal hernia making a comeback. Maybe it was just the back pain I had been experiencing the week before. After all, it was just on the other side of my body! Maybe it was the result of my 46-year-old body trying to keep up with a bunch of high school cross-country runners as they did their core work and hard mileage. All of these things sounded like perfectly feasible reasons for the annoying pain I had been having for 2 or 3 days under the right side of my sternum.

Add to this mix, I was in the final days of getting ready to take my first child to college(no stress there!)

So, I had lots of reasons to keep from calling my doctor. But after finally telling my wife what I had been feeling, we decided it was time to see my doctor. So, the call was made. I even spent a short time telling the receptionist at my doctor all the reasons I really didn’t need to come in, something I am sure she had NEVER heard before!

Luckily, they have a very good protocol of questions for just such ignorant men as myself. I was bumped to the front of the line to see the Physicians Assistant, and after a wonderfully uneventful EKG, I was told it was probably nothing, but let’s get a stress test just to be sure, and also to have a baseline for the future. So, the next day found me on a treadmill with more wires coming off me than my home entertainment center! I was a bit nervous, which is funny, since I am usually quite at home running. But this was different, this was serious stuff. As we went through the stages of the stress test, not surprisingly, I had a little trouble getting my heart rate high enough to be “stressed”. The nurse and I had a good laugh about that. But finally, I reached the proper heart rate to finish the test. When the nurse told me that she had everything she needed and to run as long as I felt I could, I jokingly asked her if there was a record. :) Sorry, I am a runner, we think that way.
The great news is, I passed with flying colors. The better news is, I came away with a new respect for those little muscles in your chest that are so easily irritated by over-doing a good thing, like push ups, crunches and speedwork with teenagers!

But the real takeaway here was to NEVER ignore chest pain. Don’t be the guy whose last words were “I don’t have time for this”.
Here is a real good link to help know what NOT to ignore.

http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/features/12-possible-heart-symptoms-never-to-ignore

Posted by: rundadrun | August 8, 2013

Stop Pre! Prediabetes that is.

rundadrun:

Honored to be asked to guest post on War on Diabetes. Give the site a look, lots of great info!

Originally posted on War On Diabetes:

Stop-Pre-Image-SMALL-300x252

This post was graciously contributed by Rob Rice.

The above picture is known to almost all runners. It was the logo on the front of shirts worn by the fans of one of the opponents of Steve Prefontaine during the Olympic Trials in 1972.  Their hope was that their shirts would counter the multitude of hometown fans chanting “GO PRE”. It made for a great story when, after winning the race, Steve donned one of the shirts for his victory laps.  That night,  Steve Prefontaine was unstoppable.

 But, do you know what you can stop?  Prediabetes, or PreD.  Yes, you can reverse PreD, or at the very least postpone the onset of full-blown Diabetes.  If you can stop a disease, why wouldn’t you?  Why don’t you?

As of this writing, approximately 79 million Americans are Prediabetic!  That’s a conservative estimate.  I have seen numbers as high as 85 million. …

View original 470 more words

Posted by: rundadrun | July 15, 2013

It’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle.

It happened again this Sunday.  One of my more “seasoned ” friends asked me when I was going to end my diet.  He said I was looking too thin (I almost kissed him).  Please don’t read this as my endorsement of trying to lose weight at all cost.  I am in close contact with my physician and I know right where my weight needs to be.  That being said, it does seem like I run across a lot of people who look at me like I am wasting away and they are worried.  I am not upset with these people.  In fact, I understand it completely.  Especially coming from my older friends who are from the Depression Era.  A lot of them don’t see losing weight as a healthy thing. 

But even my younger friends sometimes have misconceptions about what living with diabetes means, at least in the Rundad home.  So, I thought I would explain some of the misconceptions I have heard.  Please understand, a lot of these apply only to me, and I am not saying they should be for everyone.

  1. “All things in moderation”-  This is one I hear a lot, and usually from people who are obviously living in denial.  For me, I say “most things in moderation”.  Not a big difference, but I have some things that just WON’T be in my life, moderation or not.  tobacco, alcohol and sugary drinks fall into this category.  These were all a part of my life at one time or another(although the first 2 have been gone for a long time). They will not be a part of my life any longer, they just can’t be if I plan to stay healthy. But can I have the occasional burger or milkshake?  Sure, as long as I control things and go as low fat and healthy with those indulgences as I can. You would be amazed at how good a milkshake made with low fat, no sugar added ice cream can be!
  2. “You are going to ruin your knees with all that running”.  There is LOTS of research out there that has shown that  running actually does not ruin your knees, but in fact, builds stronger bones and joints.  But I understand this one a little.  Running is not for everyone.  But for me, it is essential.  In fact, if given the choice of needing knee replacement later in life, or having the bypass surgery that seems to run in my family like baldness, I choose the knees every time. :)
  3. Do you miss eating meat?  This one comes up every once in a while.  But not from anyone who has every shared a meal with me! :)  I am a carnivore!  Now, I must say, I am a careful meat eater.  I try to stick to lean beef, chicken and fish.  I have lots of vegan friends and family, but I am not one of them.  This is one area where I do believe in moderation being the key. :)
  4. “When are you going to stop dieting?” Although at times, including right now, I have limited my calories, I am not on a diet.  Diets are temporary and by definition have an end point, at which time you generally go back to your “normal” diet.  I have chosen to monitor the foods I eat to help me control my body’s diminished ability to handle sugar.  This means I will not be going back to my normal diet…ever.  I can’t.  If you let your guard down when you are a diabetic, bad things happen.  I have chosen to not allow that to happen.  And I don’t feel deprived.  I LOVE my new lifestyle.

Again, I am not upset with my friends when they ask me these things.  They are not my “pet peeves”.  They don’t cause me to go postal and get all preachy.  But I do see it as a chance to share the gospel of better living.  And I promise not to become that guy that everyone wants to avoid for fear of a sermon. :)

Happy running,

Runad

Posted by: rundadrun | July 13, 2013

Running with Thunderhawks

Finish pic Flying Pig 2013

I never planned to be “that”  coach.  You know the one I am talking about.  The one who stands on the edge of the edge of the field yelling instructions to the kids.  I wanted to be the coach who was running with them, teaching them, encouraging them by showing them that you can live your life in such a way as to still be out there when you got “old like coach”.  But, as I looked at myself at the beginning of last cross country season, I most definitely was “that coach”.  I had all the right reasons.  I was just coming off 2 major surgeries.  One, to repair my badly damaged right ankle, and the other to finally repair damage to my cervical spine that was years in the making.  In the long downtime, I turned the corner from needing to watch my blood glucose to full-blown Type 2 diabetic.

So, once I was able to get back on my feet(literally), I decided to do something drastic.  It was no longer enough to coach from the sidelines, I would need to get out there and mix it up.  I would need to run with the Thunderhawks. So, at the end of this last cross country season, I started running with the kids every day.  No more running by myself and not being pushed.  I started at the back of the group and hit the trail with them.  I even started a fun game called, “catch the coach”.  I would start with a one mile head start and try to stay clear of team as long as I could.  This usually lasted till about mile 2.5 when my son and the front-runners would blow by.  But a funny thing happened as I was pushing myself.  I started getting stronger and faster and soon, I wasn’t getting caught…till nearly the end of my 4 or 5 miler.  The season ended with a nice slow jog with my son at the State Championship in November. But the work didn’t end. Next stop was winter training with my track athletes.  I was determined to keep building on my early successes.  I had wanted to see if I could break 25 minutes in my first 5K back and amazed myself with a 22:18 at the local Turkey Trot.  So by the time we entered track preseason, I was able to run the first half of the long runs with the “big dogs”.  At this point, I had lost almost 25 pounds and was on my way to getting off my diabetes meds. 

As we started the actual track season, I was feeling better than I ever had and found myself able to run most of a 5 miler with my boys.  Time to find another race!  I entered the local Shamrock Shuffle and again, had a goal.  I wanted to “beat my age”.  For me, that meant running a sub 46 minute 10K. My PR at the time was north of 50 minutes, so I knew it wasn’t a given.  But I was amazed to find myself not only beating 46 minutes, but running it in 44:24.  Of course, my son outdid me by WINNING the 5K that was run at the same time!  Proud day for old dad!  I was ready for my big comeback!

Our family has had a love affair with the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon for several years now.  It was where I ran my first 2 marathons and in the past couple of years, my kids had started running the 5K there.  But I had been forced to watch from the sidelines last year and this was going to be the big return.  I had big goals for this year’s running and I was blessed to have the Thunderhawks to push me through some tough workouts to help get me ready.  For the first time ever, I was actually running the speed work with our girls team.  I had always sat out the speed work, as I thought I was too old to run fast with these kids. :)  An added blessing was the fact that my daughter was now on the team, and we were perfectly matched to be training partners.  So I found myself running 200,400 and 800 meter repeats with my favorite young lady and getting faster every day.

So as I lined up early one May morning in downtown Cincinnati, I found myself nearly overcome by emotion.  I had gone from being unable to walk without crutches and a medicated diabetic to lining up just outside the “elite” coral.  I had set a couple of goals for the day.  My primary was to hopefully break 1:40.  My secondary was to break 1:45.  I had a fall back of just finishing feeling good.  It was just a blessing to be there!

The gun went off and I found myself actually racing!  I got to the 5 mile marker much faster than expected and my family almost missed me! :)  But then the famous hills of Cincinnati started.  Miles 5-9 go from roughly sea level to one of the highest points in Cinci, about 820 feet.  But I found myself actually enjoying the climb.  As we separated from the full marathoners at about mile 9, I turned on the gas and really started flying(for me).  I would love to tell you that everything slowed down and I had some amazing moment during the last 5K, but I think I lost my mind a little.  I am pretty sure I set a PR for the 10K and 5K during the race, and I know my last mile was sub-7.  But my next real memory was in the finish chute wondering why they were running strobe lights in the tunnel we were being ushered into.  It was then that I realized it was my eyes!  I was so spent that I was having flashing lights in my vision!  Time to eat something Mr. Diabetic! :)  I felt better very quickly, especially when I realized that I had obliterated my goal time.  I had run a 1:36:58! I finished 210th out of 12,129 runners!  My previous PR was 1:47 and change!  That was when I really had a moment of emotion.  And when I finally found my wife and daughter(son was working a water station at mile 19), I learned that she had been having the same moment.

I don’t tell this story to brag.  Believe me, I know how blessed I am and take none of it as being my own doing.  But I am so amazed by God’s Grace and love.  He not only allowed me to heal from my serious physical problems, but He also exceeded my highest expectations. Above all else, I got to “run with the Thunderhawks”!  Thanks team for running me back to health.  You guys are the best!

 Happy running,

Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | July 11, 2013

Tomorrow is another day…really

20130711-135605.jpg
While on vacation last week, I was blessed to get to run on this stretch of beach several times. What a beautiful way to finish a hot, humid run. But I was amazed by how quickly all evidence of my running was erased by the waves. I promise, I am not about to start quoting the old “Footprints” story. But as I came back by the same spot where my footprints had been minutes before, the waves had erased them.
That made me think about how much time and effort I put into things that are fleeting. And also, how much grief I give myself over my failures. I must admit, keeping on top of my eating has been a full time job since I found out I am a diabetic. I will further admit that I allowed myself to indulge a bit on vacation. As a rule, I generally try to avoid fried and fatty foods, especially since my diagnosis. But I am a firm believer in letting the horses out of the barn once in a while. And the fried clam strips and hush puppies at Big Daddy’s in Carolina Beach was my Waterloo!
This would have been the golden ticket to continue on my food binge in the not so distant future. But we all need to realize that one bad meal, bad day, or falling back into something we had thought was gone from our life is not the end of the road. Start again! Look back and realize that the past is just that, the PAST!
If you fall off the healthy wagon, own it and move on! One day of messing up doesn’t make you a failure.
And the great thing is, God does the same thing in our lives EVERY day! Ain’t Grace wonderful. So give yourself a break, God did. :) Look back and see for yourself. He already forgave you and wants you to step forward from here!
Happy running,
Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | July 11, 2013

And life goes on…

Sometimes life causes us to prioritize.  And for the last few months, posting to Rundad has taken a back seat to life, as it should.  But I have had so much going on that I want to share that it is time to start up again. 

When we last spoke, I was beginning my journey of getting my health back.  I had let myself go, and had become a full-blown type 2 diabetic.  The great news is, after losing close to 30 pounds and changing a lot of bad habits, I am now off all diabetes meds, blood pressure meds and I am happy to say that my glucose numbers are normal. God is good and so is my wonderful, supportive family. 

I have also been blessed to see my oldest child run in the Ohio State Track Championships in the 3200 Meters!  He did awesome and is now on his way to running in college!  Yes, that means my little boy also graduated high school.  Suddenly, I am the father of a college kid. We are so proud of the young man he has become, and are looking forward to seeing what the future holds.

As I write this, I am feeling so blessed to be where I am in life.  Is everything perfect?  NO!  But is God working with me where I am?  Most decidedly! 

One direction both my wife and I are being pulled is to help others who are struggling with their weight and their health.  We are NOT experts, far from it.  But as I have said before, I cannot count the number of people who have come to me since my diagnosis with type 2 and asked what I am doing.  My wife and I have talked and prayed about this for quite a while, and we have decided that it is time to allow God to use us to help others.  I hope to use my coaching skills and her nutritional knowledge to help encourage others in their pursuit of better health. So, prayers would be appreciated.

I hope you stick around and follow Rundad as I continue to attempt to share my journey as a husband,father, runner, coach and Christian. And I hope that if you are one of the millions that struggle to maintain your health, you will be an active participant with Rundad.  I promise not to be an extremist, scary diet pusher.  That is not what works for me, and I will not go there.

And as always, prayers for guidance are always appreciated.

Happy running,

Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | November 14, 2012

Lift your eyes!

If you were to come watch one of my team’s cross country races, you would likely hear me yelling, “lift your eyes, lift your eyes!” So many times during the race my runners lower their eyes and their whole head follows. The next thing you know they are running with slumped shoulders and slowing down. I try to tell them during training, where your eyes are is where you will run. It is so easy for them to get discouraged when they get tired. And that’s when they start looking down. But when they look up and realize that the finish line is within view,they pick up the pace and finish strong.
Our lives are just like that race. When we’re not looking up, we are slowing down, getting discouraged and preparing to give up.
If only I practiced what I preach! I make excuses like, “I need to look at the ground when I run since I have a bad ankle”. “Of course I’m bummed, I have diabetes!” But if I would just raise my eyes and see how close I am to HOME! Yes, I will have bad days, but I don’t need to look far to see how truly blessed I am. Where my eyes are is where I will run! I need to keep my eyes on where I am going, not let them drag me down over where I have been and how tired I am.
So next time the weariness of the race starts pulling down your gaze, remember Psalm 121:
“I lift my eyes to the hills-
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from The Lord,
The maker of Heaven and Earth!
He will not let your foot slip-
He who watches over you will not slumber.”
It evens mentions “not letting your foot slip! There goes my excuse for looking down! What a comfort to know that the One watching over us is no rookie! Keep your eyes up people! And I will see you at the finish line.
Happy running,
Rundad

Posted by: rundadrun | November 9, 2012

Well, that’s a load off my…ME!

For years I have used all the excuses for my ever-growing weight problem.  Part of my problem was I never looked all that big, but I was carrying a lot of extra weight.  And with my family history, that was NOT a good thing.  But the excuses were always there…”muscle weighs more than fat, I am stocky(or big-boned), BMI really isn’t all that accurate if you are athletic…I used them all.  It wasn’t until my Doctor told me that I was diabetic that I finally made the decision to stop lying to myself.  I was overweight and I needed to fix it!

It is amazing what I was overlooking all these years.  It is not normal to buy a movie size box of Hot Tamales and eat them all by yourself in 10 minutes!  But, I had convinced myself that somehow I was the exception since I am a runner.  Nevermind that all the sugar was slowly pushing me into diabetes. I was literally addicted to sugar.

But now that I have faced my reality, I am doing something about it.  As I have already mentioned, I am using some great technological tools, like My Fitness Pal and now, Healthy Dining(both free on iPhone) to keep an eye on my eating. And it is working! 

Yesterday I looked down at the scale to see 169.4!  I have not been in the 160’s in a LONG time! And today, it is lower still!  I am noticing so many changes in my life.  One of them is a big improvement in my running.  I have dropped more than 2 minutes per mile off my pace and I am looking at running a 5+ minute personal record next weekend in my first 5K as a Red Strider!  I am able to run further and with less stress than I have in years!  And no wonder, I have lost over 17 pounds in about 2 months! 

So, I wanted to encourage all of you who are struggling with losing weight, as I know most of us are.  It is possible!  But I found that I had to do a couple of things for my weight to start coming off.  Here they are:

  1. Own it!  I had to take personal responsibility for my weight and my diabetes.  I had to quit blaming my genes and the world and start looking in the mirror for the cause of my problems.
  2. Have a plan!  I researched and found some great tools that helped me plan my weight loss.  If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.
  3. Take your time.  I didn’t gain my weight overnight, and I knew that I couldn’t lose it overnight. 
  4. Move it!  For me, it is running.  For my wife, it is walking and WiiFit.  But get moving!  All the latest weight loss schemes tell you just sprinkle some of their magic dust on your food, or take this pill or avoid all of this certain food, and the truth of the matter is that we ALL need to move!  I have great reduced my food intake, but the exercise is the key!

So, please join me in taking a load off.  All the experts say that just a 10% drop in weight has a huge effect on your blood sugar and your overall health.  Set you goal and let’s hit it!

Happy running,

Rundad

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