Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Run Eugene Run

For a bit of clarification for those who have asked about Run Eugene Run: many of you who know me well are aware that I have struggled with diabetes and its effects for a number of years. This new venture is in response to my victories and my struggles. 

About three years ago I was frustrated with the continued decline and failure to make positive progress in managing my diabetes. I had gained weight on the medications, felt terrible, lacked energy and more. The frustration finally reached a level that I refused to continue on the same path. So I made a change. 

I began a diet, lost nearly fifty pounds and then began running. In January of 2014 I completed one of my most important bucket items, running a full marathon. My wife and I joke about the first half marathon I did in 2008. Afterwards I was so pleased with myself I granted myself a week of vacation and no training. That vacation lasted over four years. Well I was bound and determined not to repeat that, so I ran five more marathons before the end of the year. A total of 600 miles with all the training. I recently went back to the doctor and she called me her hero. You don't know how good that made me feel. No only was the weight under control but my blood sugars were all in check and I was able to reduce some of my medication.

The last three marathons in 2014 were performed within six weeks of one another and required travel. New York, Colorado and back in Virginia. I finished it but boy was I tired. I wanted to see how my body held up to the running and travel before I made my 2015 goals. The first was to share my story with others. I wanted to encourage others with the same disease that they too can accomplish great things. There just doesn't seem to be as much awareness regarding diabetes as there are with other causes. I began sharing my story on Facebook and Twitter more recently. I write and repost blogs about food, diet, exercise and ways to help reduce some of the effects that diabetes does to your body.

Oh yeah, and the big 2015 goal? I'm pushing to complete 14 marathons this year and a 1000 miles. This last weekend I completed marathon number six and hope to get number seven this weekend in Michigan. That will get me half way to my goal and over 25% of the mileage. At each race I have been able to share my story and encourage others. Sometimes it's been on the jumbo tron at Disney, or talking to others at the expo before hand. I talked with others at the start line and even had a conversation while running down the road. That is the most important goal I can accomplish.

I have a website currently under construction and continue to write in my blog. I'm behind writing right now since I've done three marathons and one half marathon over the last four weeks. (That's if I'm able to finish the one on May 3rd - 1/2 marathons don't count) I appreciate all the encouragement and support everyone has provided. I started a fund to help support these goals that is posted below if you care to contribute. I hope to make this a national charitable cause and bring awareness and cures to all those seeking.

I'm not fast. I'm not spectacular. I'm just regular ol Eugene trying to make a little bit of difference in someone's life. Thanks again to all my friends. I appreciate everything.

Eugene Thompson

Monday, April 20, 2015

Oh HILLS! Raleigh Rick n Roll

Well I just completed my fifth marathon this year. And I must say that it was a little bit rough on the hills of Raleigh North Carolina. I mean there were a lot of hills. They started off immediately but I was prepared. I knew there would be SOME hills but didn't realize the entire course would be full of them. I guess this is the second year for the Rock n Roll here in Raleigh. They changed the course due to the complaints about all the hills. I wonder what last year was like?!

Any way it was a well attended run and of course I got the opportunity to chat with a few people regarding running and diabetes. More about that later. Lots of support along the race from locals. It was a lot of fun hearing all the cheering fans. I intended on pushing up each of the hills. I can usually make some pretty good time by doing that while others mostly walk up the hills. I think running up them is easier.

Unfortunately I began to feel some knee pain earlier on at mile three......yeah, I know mile three. Not good. I thought maybe it would go away after a while and I would run out of it. Not so much, it was there for most of the run. I just gritted my teeth and ran through it. I actually was able to keep up my pace pretty well for the first 20 miles which I somewhat expected I would be able to do. This was not planning on being a PR race. I just intimate on running and having a good time. My wife was running a half marathon at the same time. This was her second of the year.

Over all a decent run. After mile 20 they're just really wasn't a whole lot of energy left in my body to climb anymore hills. I did the best I could and then when I got to mile 23 I decided to push up one of the longer hills that was in front of me. I was determined to beat this particular hill on the race. As I'm chugging up the hill there was a patron sitting in his lawn chair along the side cheering us on. He clapped his hands and yelled out to me telling me that I was doing a great job and keep pushing on and off the top of the hill and leveled off for "a little while". I hollered back, "only a little while?" His response was deflating, "oh yeah dude, you have hills to climb all the way into the finish line."

Well that was just wonderful news. I kept on trucking away. A little running a little walking getting my self a little closer to the finish line with each step. Ultimately that's all that matters anyway. Sure enough I don't think it leveled out until about mile 25.75 maybe. I ran past the Flying Saucer Draft Emporium and as they cheered me on I told them I would be back for a beer, I had my UFO card. That is a whole other story in itself. I turn the last corner and tried to muster up a sprint but there just wasn't that much left inside me. I finished the race in 5 hours 35 minutes. Not my best of course but not bad considering the hills.

Did a little test on this race to check on a few things about how my diabetes was reacting to the running. First of all I checked to see how pasta would do on a pre-race. I don't usually eat pasta and I certainly don't "carb up". I don't react very well to that type of carbs. My blood sugar skyrockets. I was careful not to overdo it the night before but regardless my blood sugar was 147 in the morning before the race. So as soon as I cross the finish line I have my wife bring my glucometer, or to check on my blood sugar. I was 73 at that point. I definitely needed to eat something.

Afterwords I went to grab a quick shower. Took my medicine and then went downstairs to the Jimmy V lounge. It was a neat place and we had a nice late afternoon snack at the bar area. I had burned over 4100 calories during the marathon. I could afford a few bites to eat. However afterwards I really was craving ice cream so we decided to walk around to see if we could find any in downtown Raleigh. No luck but did make it all the way back to the Flying Saucer.

My wife and I were both pretty sore but managed to hobble up-and-down the few streets. We both fell asleep pretty early that evening as I have a morning meeting at a construction site the following day. All in all I was pretty pleased with myself. It wasn't an easy race at all.

Oh yeah, my story about diabetes. It was a couple of guys that I talk to you at the Jimmy V bar that we chatted with regarding diabetes and running. I was pleased that I had the opportunity to share my story and advice. Again that is the reason why I'm doing all of this anyway. To help others. Others so that they can understand the great risk of this disease.

Nothing wild and crazy on this adventure just a pretty decent run and a great success. To all my friends that are out there are you need to do is tell yourself that you can do it. Don't except failure, settle only for success. And in the words of Jimmy V: Don't give up… Don't ever give up!

Till next time my friends, Run Eugene Run.
Please help and support my cause allowing me to continue racing and sharing the word. Here's a link to my funding website. I'm working on a few things that will allow me to expand this past time into more of a foundation agenda. Your support helps this greatly. Thanks again for reading and sharing.