Running Red & What it means to me.
I like to think of myself as a red runner and no, it has nothing to do with the color of my hair. In December of 2011, I Was diagnosed with Type II diabetes. The level of sugar in my blood should have put me into a coma. I am so thankful that didn’t happen as I’ve seen what happens when you don’t take care of this debilitating disease first hand. My uncle lost his legs and eventually it took his life because he couldn’t control his condition. I was not about to let that happen to me. After all hearing that you’re a diabetic scared me.
My mom called me up that night hysterical crying. “David”? You don’t know what this disease can do to you. I said “Mom, I saw what happened to Uncle Marv” I know. Daddy always told me. Take the good from the bad. You need to learn from your mistakes. Think good things and good things will happen. You’ll see Mom, this will be the best thing that has ever happened to me.
Now? I am fortunate to say that Diabetes was a gift from up above. I had a chronic skin condition for well over 20+ years that started when I was 15 years old. It put me in the hospital 3 times for weeks at a time and it absolutely destroyed my quality of life. I used to pray for a cure all the time. I was starting to believe that there was no cure for my chronic cysts and infections. So, when I got diabetes. I said great… Here’s another chronic condition that nobody will be able to fix. I was scared.
Getting Diabetes taught me to look at other alternative treatments. I didn’t think my doctor was going to do anything more than put me on meds my entire life and I was driven to get off my meds and that’s exactly what I did.
The same day I was diagnosed with type II diabetes was the same day I started running. I called up my wife. I said can you please pack me a gym bag? I have diabetes and I signing up for a gym membership. I need to work out.
I’ll never forget my first run. There was this amazing fit person running.I was running at a 12 min mile and my heart rate was 165-170 beats a minute and here’s this guy running right next to me running at 9:00 min mile and his HR was 145. I was like “WOW” look at how much stronger his heart is than mine.
I went to the pharmacy, tested my blood sugar again. It dropped from 575 to 350. The next day my doctor called me up and says your a1c is 12.8% Triple what it should be and that I needed to get to the hospital asap. I told him I worked out twice since then and I was no longer pushing 575. He asked me to recheck my numbers while on the phone with him. It dropped to 325. He said okay continue taking your meds and doing what you’re doing.
My mom was a runner growing up. Which would explain why I gravitated towards running over any other sport. I felt running was the only thing controlling my blood sugar and I was fanatic about it. Over the years I grew to love running more and more, but it was always so hard for me being overweight, having flat feel, not being fit enough and I was always discouraged running slow. I wanted to be like my mom.
I continued exercising and eating right over the years. I learned how to eat right and control my condition without the need for meds. Everything I did was all about how I can run faster? My first half marathon I ever did I ran it in 2 hours and 47 minutes and it felt pathetic considering where all of my friends were at, but I kept telling myself. I’m faster than the guy on the couch and this is where I am at.
In 2012 I was averaging 13 min a mile, 2013 I was averaging 12 min a mile over all of my runs. Every year I progressively got faster and faster. I never stopped running as slow as I was. I never stopped eating right. I never stopped exercising, so I can be heathy. After all, this was my life now and it had to be done if I wanted to stay alive.
Why am I saying all this? Running isn’t just a run to me. It’s not just about proving something to anyone other than keeping my blood sugar low. Running means happiness, it means I took control of my life and my health, I figured out how to cure things that not even some of the best doctors in New York knew how to fix. Running means, I did it. I beat the odds. Running connects me to my childhood watching my mother run the NYC marathon 7 times and cheering her on. Now… here I am continuing that tradition and passing it on to my family.
My running continues to get faster and faster. I never gave up trying to get faster. I never gave up trying to take back control of my life. I had so many health issues and the young age of 35. I shouldn’t be depressed, have high blood pressure, constant skin infections, being on crazy drugs for years at a time. I hated it all.
On March 18th, 2018 I ran the NYC Half Marathon and I ran it in just over 2 hours which is 47-minute improvement 9 half marathons later. I started running in stability sneakers and now I run in minimal sneakers. I don’t need orthotics anymore. Someone told me I needed to strength my foot. I won’t have any more issues. So, we worked for a year on strength training my feet, core and other areas that were weak.
I may not be the fastest runner out there and I don’t care. I run red. I run for diabetes. I run for my family. Running helped me is so many ways I can’t list them all. Eating right and exercising brought me much more than happiness for the 30-45 minutes I was out there. It shaped my life to where I am today. It taught me I am capable of so much more. It gave me confidence. It gave me my life back.
It gave me the gratitude to walk up to my aunt and say. Hey... I want you to know that your husband did not die in vain. Yes, it is terrible what happened to him, but I want you to know that he saved my life. When I was diagnosed with type II diabetes. He was the person I thought of first. Not my wife, not my family and not my children. He has always been there with in my heart and he was the reason I was able to change. She broke into tears hearing that.
Today B’H’’ I am health, happy and in the best shape of my life but I couldn’t have done it without my wife. She is the most amazing person and best friend I could ever have. She has been there with me though all of this. She supported my every decision that I ever made. Every race I wanted to run, every time I came home late cause I was heading to the gym she did it with a smile.
My transition taught my wife to become an amazing plant-based chef. She’s also a certified health coach. When I told her, I wanted to eat a certain way to control my condition. She said let’s do it together. You can’t do this alone. Being vegan was not something I was prepared for her to tell me she would do. Having that support over all of these years has been the backbone to my life change.
Without her love and support. I would never be where I am today.