Hi Pacific Northwest Marathon!
My name is Victoria and all three of my siblings are diabetic. In 2010 I was in New Orleans building houses with the youth group I lead. My older brother, Andrew, called me in the middle of our trip and informed me he had just been diagnosed with a case of diabetes that had gone un-diagnosed for 10-15 years. I knew in that moment that everything about my lifestyle had to change. I had gone my whole life watching my other siblings struggle with chronic diabetes and I thought that I was the lucky one. When I went to the doctor and tested pre-diabetic, I found out I was not the lucky one after all. It was a confirmation that my entire life style was completely out of tune. I am a youth worker and I spend a great deal of my time hanging out with teenagers and eating like them too.
A month after my brother’s phone call I was out to ice cream with one of my freshmen. She challenged me to what seemed like an impossible dare: I dare you to not eat sugar for 30 days. She said she would tackle this challenge with me. 30 days, a healthier diet, and a lot of exercise later, I had lost 14 pounds. I knew I couldn’t just stop there. I continued to give up sugar in 30 day increments with a few “rest” days in between where I allowed myself a cupcake or a sugary coffee. Each month, I saw myself getting leaner, stronger, and healthier in body and spirit. Each month I adopted better eating habits like giving up high fructose corn syrup, eating whole grains, organic foods, and 5 small meals a day instead of my old 2-3 large meals a day. I started taking my time in the gym seriously. I had been an all-state basketball player and a ballet dancer my whole life and I had lost a part of that and a part of myself in my weight gain. It was time to get back to basics.
I started running daily, lifting weights, and taking zumba classes 3X a week. I ran my first 15K in March of 2011 and that began a racing journey. Nine months later, my oldest brother, Peter, passed away from complications with diabetes. He was only 32. His death was devastating, but it empowered me all the more to keep running and get healthy. I set my sights on the biggest running goal I could think of: A marathon. I have now completed over a dozen races, five half marathons, and am ready to run the Pacific Northwest Marathon this May!
The long runs while training for a marathon are essential and impossible to skip. But in order to stay focused during the work week and not skip the mid-week runs, I have begun running side by side at practice with the girls I coach for Girls on the Run at Pringle Elementary in Salem. It’s so fun to inspire them to run, be confident, and share the journey of getting in shape and leading a healthy lifestyle. I hope that my story will encourage them to stay active for the rest of their lives.
It’s been a long road to this point, but I know my body is a temple and I have learned just how important it is to treat it beautifully. All I have is this one life, and I will run from diabetes as long as these little legs will move this healthy and happy heart.
Thanks for listening.