How I Crossed the Finish Line

Words by Heather Gomez | Photos by Hank DeVos

On Saturday and Sunday, a stellar group of Type 1s joined CIM at the 2017 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend to run and cheer each other on to the finish. Team CIM was represented in every distance — from the kids 1K, to the full marathon! 

As a newbie to the TORW, and to the sport of running, I thought I would share a few important lessons I learned over the last 10 weeks that helped me get across the finish line on Saturday afternoon.

Lesson #1: Find a Buddy

Whether your buddy is a fellow human, a canine, or an online app that keeps you accountable, find someone (or something) to be with you every step of the way. I found that following a regular training plan was so much easier when I didn’t have to rely on my own motivation. I was fortunate enough to have a partner who enjoyed running with me, but I also used the Couch to 5K app to track my progress and audibly coach me on the odd run that I did alone.

This principle got me across the finish line on race day, too. My goal was to run the whole race (no walk breaks!), but there were a few moments I would have given up, were it not for encouragement from Jen and Amy who stuck with me the whole 5K and would NOT let me walk. A little positive peer pressure can go a long way! I should also mention that putting my goal out on social media (via CIM and my own accounts) made everything a little more real. How could I bear to disappoint my 5 Instagram followers?! But seriously, knowing that others were following along gave me an extra boost of accountability.

Lesson #2: Plan for Success

I have never been good at planning in advance, but it’s amazing what you can accomplish when you do take the time to make a plan. In my case, the Couch to 5K app made it really easy for me, since it laid out the workouts for 10 weeks. The “WHAT” was already planned, I just needed to plan the details of “WHEN” to do the training and “HOW” to deal with everything diabetes. When I planned ahead, everything just went better. Usually that meant fewer lows during my run, because I had reduced my basal in anticipation of the extra activity. I also made sure I was drinking water throughout the day.

Another key to this was not beating myself up when things didn’t follow the plan, I just hopped back on schedule as soon as possible!

Lesson #3: Yes. You. Can.

Here’s the truth — when I signed up for the 5K race and the Couch to 5K training program, I never actually thought I would be able to run it. I remembered all the times I had tried and failed at running, and assumed it would be the same story this time, “I’m just not a runner”.

As I slowly chipped away at my training each week, one minute of running became three, then three became five, and before I knew it I was into double digits! On race day, I topped out at 41 minutes straight, from start to finish line. So, it’s not a stellar 5K time by any stretch, but it’s a huge personal victory that I’m really proud of!

This is the most important lesson I have taken away from my 10 weeks of learning to run: Yes. I. Can. Achieving a goal might take longer than I want, or have more roadblocks than I anticipate, but I CAN do it. As silly as it sounds, conquering a simple 5K has drastically changed my perspective about what I’m capable of.

What’s Next?

Will I be signing up for a marathon anytime soon? Absolutely not. But after this 5K experience, it seems much more possible than ever before!

I surprise myself when I say that I actually did enjoy running regularly, and so I plan on following a program through the summer with a couple training runs per week. Who knows — maybe I’ll end up running a 10K in the fall for a new challenge!