Spring is a great time to sign up for a run!

April 26th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I signed up for a road race today.  I haven’t run many this year since I was a bit over the concept after I finished my January marathon, but this one is kind of fun and my friend invited me (I need little more reason to run!).

So during the registration, there was a yes or no question:

Are you an athlete with special needs?

Well, yes.  Of course.  But do I need the race organizers to be involved in my running with diabetes?  (How would they even do that, with 35,000 runners?  Make me start first?  Run alongside someone with glucose?  How weird would that feel??)   

I honestly don’t think I am an athlete with special needs.  I always run with glucose, have a Road ID on my shoe and my Medic-Alert card in my pocket and always mark my bib number with my diabetes and pump information when I do an organized event like the one I registered for today. 

But none of that seems like a special need.  Just like tying my shoelaces, it seems like how I run.  I think each of those 35,000 runners all run with our own certain ticks and tricks and strategies for success and plans for potential failure.  It’s part of life!

I think I simply assume these questions about special needs don’t apply to me.  I’m not sure if that is some kind of denial, but I never think about special treatment first.  I think about how to reach my goal, and then factor in my diabetes along the way. 

It’s just like saying I am a person with diabetes instead of a diabetic person.  Some would say it’s just semantics, but others know how important it is for me to define myself on an individual level and separate from my disease in a basic and elemental way.

Because really, I am separate from my diabetes.  My identity isn’t tied into what I look like, either, or how tall I am or what clothes I wear.  It’s tied to what I think and what I do and how I treat others and how I treat myself—not my insulin pump or my blood glucose meter or the holes in my fingers or the numbers streaming through my head. 

So I will line up at that start line in July with 34,999 others beside me, and I will know we are all athletes with special needs.  I’ll just be the special one with extra sugar in my pocket and a great friend next to me.

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1 comment

  1. KG says:

    If one of us has special needs running 6 miles, I am not sure it’s you :) But I’m so happy we are going together!!

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