Imagine you were just a mum or a dad, living your life with your familly, not planning to take part in any Olympic games in foreseeable future when suddenly someone throws your child in the deep, deep diving pool.
Naturally, you jump after your child but realize neither of you can swim.
You keep running, the legs are moving, but your brain still can not understand what is going on. You keep thinking, how did I find myself in this situation, why, oh why is my child forced to run this marathon? I have not planned for this, I did not train for this. How am I going to do this? How am I going to coach my child when I have no clue myself?
Luckily, you are approaching the first refreshment point, your support team shouts, “you are doing a great job”, remember to watch the food intake, count carbs, balance it with insulin, keep checking BG, keep running…and do not forget, we are here, along the route. Just shout when you need us.
And you keep on running….
You start noticing other runners. What a relief, you do not feel alone anymore. You had no idea that there were others running in the same discipline as you, and so many too. You smile at each other and celebrate together little milestones you pass on the way. When you trip and lose your balance for a moment, you cry together. But you get up, dust off and continue running….. you have to, there is no other option.
You run through the day and night, sleeping with one eye open. You run through the seasons, through the years. You carry food in one hand, insulin in the other and you realise, for the best results you are required to run along the white line painted in the middle of the road. Swerving all over the road is not so good. Sprinting doesn’t help either. Trying your best to maintain the pace is what is required.
So, you load your stretched out left hand with food, carefully, then you add insulin to match in your right hand. Then a bit more food to the left and a bit more insulin to the right…keep on balancing…and running….Oh no ! There’s a HURDLE in front ! Your child in front of you is running a fever, the nose is running (hmmm “running” again ?) Anyway you run to it, you jump the hurdle under the watchful eyes of your support team and you make it ! You smile ! You know you can do it !
Along the way life goes on and you realise the marathon can not be the only thing occupying your life. You learn to keep a positive attitude, live your life as normally as possible, give your child the childhood they deserve, all while both of you keep on running the marathon.
There is one more element to this marathon – it is a kind of a relay race where you run with your child at first and you lead the way. Then slowly, over time you pass on the knowledge of the balancing act you managed so well for years, you pass on the batten, you keep running alongside your child for a while, until you see they are trying their best to keep on running along the white line by themselves. Then you slow down a bit and join the support team.
So, all of you who are, as us, taking part in this special “Olympic” discipline, without really wanting to, what could we call it? Dive-swim-tight rope balancing-relay marathon medley ? Or MADley ?
Or just plain old, boring: daily management of Type 1 Diabetes ?
Whatever we decide to call it, I think everybody running this marathon deserves a HUGE medal today. For all the hurdles you jumped so far, for all the months and years you ran so far and the ones that are in front of us too.
A Gold Medal, of course.