Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Disease Envy

It's all how you look at it really.  




Insert whatever topic you want here.  

On Sunday, ten of us were sitting in Tim Hortons after our bike ride.  Five mini conversations were happening.  I was talking to Carl and we were laughing about my sister and I.  My sister has celiac disease (aka a gluten allergy).  I have Type 1 diabetes.  Both are intimately related to food. She and I talked once about our respective diseases.  She said that she'd much prefer to have celiac because it doesn't have the danger attached to it that diabetes does and all she has to do to stay healthy is avoid gluten.  I told her that I preferred to have Type 1 because I could eat anything I wanted - as long as I counted the carbs.  

Carl's response - well, at least you two are happy with what what you have. Much better than having disease envy. 

True enough Carl, true enough. 

Then Klari asked me how long our run was on Saturday.  She was expecting me to say something crazy like 35k and laughed when I say 'only 10'.  Two months ago, it was never 'only 10'.  Even though I could run 20k, 10k still felt long.  In fact, every run felt long.  My body used to have an annoying habit of not quite being able to run the distance of the day.  If we had to run 20k, I could pull off 18 before I was done.  If we had to run 7k, I could do 5 before I felt exhausted. Not anymore.  These days, distance doesn't even begin to feel like distance until we pass 15k.  And I don't begin to worry about the distance until past 25k.  Amazing what two months of marathon training will do to a person. 

Finally, we talked about swimming.  I'm still thinking that I may give it a try once the bikes are put away for the winter months.  I love being in the water and am quite comfortable bobbing far out in a lake or ocean but I have never swum lengths for fitness.  How far is a length?  Twenty-five metres?  And how many lengths for a decent workout? 


I joined the swim team in high school (on a whim) and signed up for the breast stroke.  We had one practice and then a race.  I don't do well when there are too many things to coordinate (arms, legs, breathing etc).  Halfway across the pool, I lost the rhythm. I popped up from an underwater stroke, held my breath, put my head under water again and inhaled.  Lungsfull of water do not a champion swimmer make.  I choked and sputtered my way to the other side and had to be hauled out of the pool.  I collapsed in a heap on the deck and that pretty much ended my swimming career. 

I was told that learning how to swim for fitness is like learning how to run.  Our bodies already know what they need to do.  The challenge is building up the strength to do it.  I'm quite sure that I will once again be both humbled and pleasantly surprised by what my body can and cannot do.  

  • I'd rather have diabetes than a food allergy. 
  • If you do something long enough it becomes easier.  It really does. 
  • Just because you're not good at something doesn't mean that you can't be.
  • Something that was humiliating 20 years ago is now cause for a good laugh. 
  • I can pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time.  I can also move my arms and legs in the water at the same time. Add another variable - like breathing - into the mix and you'll find me sputtering on the side of the pool. 
I'm ok with that. 

1 comment:

  1. Heh, reading this I'm reminded of training for my first 1/2 marathon. A long 20k run by myself and I zoned out and had a brain fart or something because in the midst of running along the pier in Port I did some hop, skip, jump thing. Whoa, what happened? Guess I forgot how to run or something...must have been really funny to all the other folks walking along the pier.