Sunday, July 29, 2012

John's story..the first week..He's going to kill me haha

I never thought I'd see the day where my husband is asking me if I'm ready to go run....telling me, "Hunny, let's go do this!" or "How many burpees should I do to complete my work-out?" REALLY??

It's been 1 week...a whole week that John's gone without a cigarette. 1 week that we started running together. John downloaded the C25K program on his phone and is beyond motivated to push forward with it. It tells you to do the runs 3 times per week...he's going every other day.

Let me tell you a little about John. I know he won't like this, but I need to explain some things about him, so everyone can appreciate this as much as I have. John is a type 1 diabetic, which means he was diagnosed as a child, 10 years old to be exact. As a juvenile diabetic you automatically are placed on insulin- your body doesn't have any natural insulin stores to counteract sugar. That means at least 4 shots per day. John's always been a brittle diabetic, meaning his sugars have a tendency to run very high and drop very low without much warning. He's been to a dietitian and we've worked together in the past to bring his sugars under better control. I've been able to see first hand how incredibly stressful this process is. Counting carbs- meaning keeping track of EVERY carb you put in your body and then using a calculated process to figure out how much insulin to take. Sometimes he would take the correct insulin, we'd think it was down to a science, and then his sugars would drop and he'd go into a hypoglycemic episode, meaning that his body over-reacted to the insulin. These are scary to go through with someone. They can get slurred speech, extreme fatigue, pass out, convulsions and say and do things they don't remember later. I've been through a few of these with John.

John's other health concern is his breathing...which stems from his nicotine dependence. He realized that he has smoked for more than half his life! He started smoking at 16 and just turned 40. At one point he was almost up to 3 packs per day. Recently he was able to cut back to 1-1 1/2 packs per day. Mornings are rough. He wakes up hacking and coughing feeling like he can't catch his breath...but NEEDING a cigarette. He had a scare about 2 years ago now where he was diagnosed with emphysema in the ER. Later he saw a pulmonary Dr. who told him it wasn't emphysema, but he was just under the COPD "umbrella" of diagnoses.  Anyone that has dealt with addiction of any kind can relate. Addiction is defined as, "Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behaviour despite adverse dependency consequences." He knows it's bad for his health, he knows that it was costing us a couple hundred dollars a month, but when you're addicted...those things don't tend to matter.

 John has been coming to my races for almost a year now and after every race, has said, "wow I would love to start running and do that with you". 2-3 days later and the feeling has faded and he's back to being ok with his sedentary lifestyle. Something with Spartan was different. Maybe it was seeing me reach a goal that I've worked so incredibly hard for. Maybe it was seeing everyone else also reach that goal, and watching them cross the finish line. Maybe it was the undeniable camaraderie that is seen within the Spartan community. Maybe it just looked like a kick ass good time!! WHATEVER it was....John has decided he wants to run a Spartan race with me next year! I think the race itself will be the hardest thing he's ever done? NOPE!! The hardest thing that John will do, is GET himself to the race. The hardest thing he's had to do...he's doing right now.

John put down the cigarettes a week ago...a week and a day now to be exact! He started running and doing the Couch to 5K program. Yesterday was especially bad. This past week he's been sleeping in late and going to bed early. He figures if he's sleeping he won't be craving. Yesterday we got up early to go do something we enjoy together, yard saleing. Normally when we go yard saleing he smokes like crazy. He was GOING crazy yesterday. It was yesterday morning that he told me about another new app he downloaded on his phone called Quitrunchill. It's an app specifically for smokers trying to quit who are also starting to run. I went to the website and the numbers are pretty incredible.
"Running is a great way to get healthier; and if you decide to quit smoking, running can help you succeed at that. For example research shows:
  • about 4% of smokers who quit without help of any kind become long-term ex-smokers 1
  • about 15% of smokers who use nicotine meds (like patch or gum) become ex-smokers 1
  • about 18% of smokers who use the Smoke|Quit booklets quit smoking 2
  • about 25% of smokers who take up running in order to quit become ex-smokers 3, 4
  • about 30% of smokers using stop-smoking prescription drugs quit smoking 1"
Here's a link to the website

I have to say, I never thought I'd see the day where John would actually quit. I don't feel bad in saying that, because I don't think he did either. He's tried many times in the past and failed. The reason he thinks he failed before is that he wasn't doing it for HIMSELF! I understand that. I've been down the same road with my weight loss. I've tried before and failed. It was always for dumb reasons. This time it's not to fit in a little black dress, or look good in my bathing's to get healthy. It was waking up and realizing that I couldn't go on living the way I was. This time for John, it's not about saving money, or because the doctor told him to. It's to get healthy. It's to reach a goal...a physical goal, and revel in all the other things that go along with it!

I am so incredibly proud of all that he's accomplished in just this past week. For him to not have a cigarette in more than a week is a miracle in itself, let alone the fact that he's been running every other day on top of that...and each run/walk is approximately 1.65 miles. The other night we got home from our run and he actually asked me, "How many burpees should I do to complete my work-out?" REALLY?? Who ASKS to do burpees?? haha. Yesterday we went hiking and there was a flat rock and he starts doing box jumps!

I keep telling him that his story will inspire a LOT of people! What he doesn't realize is that even though I may have inspired him, right now he's inspiring me. I've been in a funk ever since my Spartan race and knew that I would be. Hard times financially are preventing me from making any big plans for future races (they're NOT cheap), but since he's made a goal I'm getting off my butt and helping him train. I honestly don't know that I'd be out there doing much of anything at the moment if it wasn't for him. I love going running with him!! Right now I'm not so focused on me, but I'm starting to be focused on getting others to reach their goals and to see how awesome the feeling is!

It's been rough...even though it's been over a week now he still has REALLY intense cravings for a cigarette. He talked about making his goal race the Yes I Can 5K at Gring's Mill to benefit the Special Olympics. This is the same day that the Super Spartan is scheduled for in NJ and also the same day as the half marathon that I wanted to do. I've given up on both of those and put them to the side for the moment. Right now I want to make his goals happen! We just looked at his training schedule and he would be more than ready to do that race...maybe not run the entire thing, but more than ready to do 3.1 miles!!! He joked about doing that race because of the title...but I fully believe in him to make this happen. Yes HE Can is more like it!!

Now I have to publicly apologize to John for this, because I'm sure he's not going to be real happy with me for sharing all this. I'm just so proud of you for taking this first step to better health, and I've really enjoyed our runs together and look really forward to so many more. I really look forward to running across the finish line with you....or after you, I know that competitive Warren side of you!! Love you with all my heart and just so excited to share your story, because I KNOW without a doubt it will inspire others!!


  1. i read this i can FEEL your pride in him and it honestly brought tears to my eyes...way to go John!!! you guys seem to make an amazing team!! keep at will never regret it!! :)

  2. YES. YES YES YES. You guys are great. Keep helping each other - take his enthusiasm and use it to fuel your fire to keep you going... so when he's having a tough day, you are ready to push him through it. You guys have this, no problem, because you've both made the decision to make it happen. John, you are officially relieved from CameraMan duty, and I expect to be getting muddy with you soon!!! If either of you need some encouragement, or just a kick in the ass, I'm happy to dole out either at a moments notice. I'm proud to know you. :-)