I just spent a little time on a couple of blogs reading up on the Team Type 1 Run Across America (Here and here). These guys are just amazing! I found out about them from IronDiva's blog (her husband Tom is one of the runners). They are trying to average 8:15 min miles for over 3000 miles to get from CA to NY in time for World Diabetes Day on November 14th. Two vans with five guys each are doing this incredible relay with a RV for additional support. They aren't just dealing with the usual blisters, inflamed achilles tendons and so on - they are juggling blood sugar levels through adjustments to basal insulin rates (or not), testing frequently (the joke is that the test strips will fill the van like confetti by the time they are in NY), and eating/fueling their bodies to handle the challenges of running so far for so long.
I lost my dad to Type 1 Diabetes in June 2010. I had watched as he battled this awful disease for almost 37 years at that point - which doesn't touch the 19 years before I was born. At 66, he was considered "very old" for a Type 1 diabetic. He was in renal failure for the last 3 years of his life attending dialysis three times a week in order to survive. He went blind about 13 months before his death. Towards the end, the poison his kidneys weren't able to remove left him foggy headed and unable to hold a coherant conversation most of the time. It was truly awful to watch.
When he lost his wife in December 2009 (to lung cancer and heart disease), I think he just gave up. We should have let him go then, but we had hope that he would remain strong enough to get something out of his life for a little longer. But he just didn't want to and his nephrologist finally confronted us with his thought that he gives people dialysis so that they can live - not the other way around. We made a decision together - as a family - to discontinue treatment. By the next morning he was in a coma and two mornings later - he was gone. I still have bad dreams.
My dad was told at an early age he'd never live long. In his early years, he embraced that and told me once it made him a great cop because he wasn't afraid to die. Later, he said he went to law school because he knew his body would fail him eventually and he figured he could practice law from a wheel chair if necessary. He hated the idea of dying with no dignity. He was angry that the disease took this from him. Actually, he was pretty angry at his disease for a lot of reasons. I'm sad that he was never able to put that anger away and focus on what all he could do. This is why these guys inspire me so much. They don't let it limit them - they don't let it define them (other than naming their team). They overcome it as just another obstacle in this thing we call life.
I found one approximate map of their route and it appears to go through central Missouri. I have no idea what time of day they might be coming through, but I am going to follow the reports and see if I can find out as they get closer. I want to go out and cheer them on. I want them to know how truly INCREDIBLE this feat they are doing is. God bless and keep them safe on their journey.