1972: “Diabetes? No gym class. Too dangerous.”
Fast forward to 2003: I’m 42, 50 pounds overweight, inactive, with serious diabetic eye complications.
Clearly my gym teacher’s advice was wrong. I was now determined to take back my life, to get a do-over.
Trust me, when you poke yourself with needles every day just to survive, you’ve got plenty of determination.
But I didn’t know where to start.
Like every diabetic who depends on insulin to stay alive, I was terrified of brain damage or death from low blood sugars if I didn’t perfectly balance my insulin, food, and exercise. But blindness, amputation or death from high blood sugars terrified me too. I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place.
My doctors couldn’t give me detailed advice on how to figure all this out. And at the time, I didn’t know anyone else with diabetes to ask.
Today, I’m an extreme ultrarunner and Ironman who’s completed double-century bike rallies, quadruple marathons, and cross-state runs.
Yet getting to this point has been the result of trial and error. And with diabetes, trial and error is very unforgiving. That’s why fear limits so many of us.
I want to make it easier for others with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes to walk, ride, run and play. Easier for them to find the confidence and know-how to amaze themselves and overcome misconceptions that still exist in schools, workplaces and doctors’ offices.
These days, people often ask me why I do crazy epic things. The real reason? Because every time I hear someone with diabetes say “If you can do it, I can, too”, I know we’re breaking through fear and anxiety one step at a time, towards a happy, confident life defined by our abilities, not our disease.
That is my, and our, victory. But victory is impossible if little things like hydration become big problems.
nuun has helped me separate hydration from fueling, freeing me to decide when and where I take on sugar, and that's been a great relief. And little things like that that add up to big accomplishments, especially when you go into competition with "one hand tied behind your back", testing your sugar.
About Don Muchow Age 57, marketing director, Dallas, TX Insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetic for 46 years. Diagnosed in 1972. Founder, Diabetes & Exercise Alliance, Diabetic Ultra Endurance Athletes
2017 CAPITAL TO COAST RACE 223 MI Run from Austin, TX to the Gulf of Mexico. First ever T1D solo finisher.
2017 IRONMAN TEXAS 140.6 MI 2.4 mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2 mile run.
2015 TEXAS QUAD MARATHON 104.8 MI 4 marathons in 4 days. 3rd Place. First ever T1D finisher.
2017 HONEY BADGER ROAD RACE 100 MI 100-mile run in 100+ degrees! First ever T1D finisher.
TOUR DE CURE DOUBLE CENTURY 200 MI Bike rally through Austin, TX Hill Country.
PLUS 30+ triathlons, century bike rallies, ultramarathons, ultra relay races, marathons, half-marathons, 10Ks and 5Ks