Wrote this to women's running magazine....
Pam- For some obscure reason, I was inspired to send them an email.
I love your magazine! It's the only one I subscribe to and I look forward to its arrival each month. One of my favorite sections is Life Changers. I'm so in awe of these women!
After reading this month's selections, I was inspired to write down my own story. Thought you might enjoy it.
I sat stunned in a strange doctor's office more than a hundred miles from home, listening to her tell me this was a life-changing day. The peripheral neuropathy that kept me up night after night with nerve pain in my feet was caused by a blood glucose issue. Permanent nerve damage happens when levels reach 140. Mine was 176! I was in shock. She said new studies were encouraging that losing weight, adhering to a sugar free diet, and exercise could begin to repair the nerves; but, it required consistency and dedication. I listened intently to all she had to say, then drove to the nearest mall for two scoops of chocolate ice cream and an afternoon pouring over books at Barnes and Noble This health issue was impacting my ability to work as an elementary school teacher and I was desperate to find answers.
At the same time this was happening to me, my niece Teri was reaching the age her dad had died of a heart attack. She was determined to stop smoking and become a healthier person.
Teri was 43 and I was 61. Neither one of us had ever done anything remotely close to an athletic event. We were about to enter a world of the unknown.
On doctor's orders, I started the South Beach Diet and lost thirty pounds. My blood sugar numbers began to level off. Teri threw away her cigarettes; and, though she didn't even own a bike, set a goal of riding the famous 200 mile Seattle to Portland bicycle ride the next year. We joined forces and became each other's cheerleader even though we live two hundred miles apart. We put together a support team, had matching shirts made, and cried when we crossed that finish line.
In order to work out in all sorts of weather and continue our exercise routine, we took up running. We started with 5ks, then 10ks and finally signed up for a half marathon! Last year we each completed five! We have even done two triathlons. Are we fast? No! Are we out there? Yes!
In November we began a six month training schedule through Chi Running for our first full marathon on April 20, 2013 in Wenatchee, Washington. We have been encouraging each other every week and sometimes travel clear across the state just so we can share a training run. Our hot pink shirts, visors, and hair ribbons are ready, and so are we! At 64, I well may be the oldest female runner and the last across the finish line, but cross it I will!
The impact of all this? We've learned it's never too late to start. The joy is being out there, no matter your age. We have both maintained a healthy life style. Neither of us belongs to a gym, but our amazing husbands have built in-home exercise rooms for us. We formed The Jean Team, named after my mom, because so many of our family members have joined us as athletes...yes, we now consider ourselves athletes. We have daughters, daughters-in-law, grandchildren, sons, sons-in-law, and cousins who now proudly wear the team logo and compete in events. For me, one of the greatest benefits? My blood sugar levels are completely normal and tests prove my damaged nerves are regenerating!
Love you tons Pam...
Thanks for taking this journey with me..