Editor’s note: Stephanie is a member of Team Beyond Type Run 2022, a team of nearly 50 people living with type 1 diabetes who will run the New York City Marathon on November 6, 2022. Their mission is to raise awareness and funds for type 1 diabetes. Encourage Stephanie by making a donation on her fundraising page!
Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes eight years ago, I’m now a 21-year-old senior at the University of Florida. I’m a full-time student, have an internship at the State’s Attorney’s Office, I’m the student ambassador president for the UF Diabetes Institute, I’m studying and taking the LSAT while applying for law school and I’m trying to enjoy my senior year in college with all my friends, while training for the NYC Marathon where I’ll be running with the Beyond Type Run team!
I know my situation is not unique. We all balance each other so much! But this balancing act is mentally and emotionally stressful.
To make sure I can train for the marathon among many other activities, I learned a few key ways to help find balance. Hope this helps you too!
Reach out to friends and family for help
Something about me: I’m stubborn! I generally like to deal with stressful things on my own. But with everything on my plate, I needed all the support I could get.
Look for people who can potentially relate to you, whether it’s running, working, or other responsibilities. As a member of the Beyond Type Run team, I was fortunate to have a group that I could contact with any questions or concerns I might have as a first time marathon runner.
My family and friends were also very helpful. My parents came to visit me the weekend of my 20 mile run and my mom drove while I ran to give me water and Gatorade when I needed it.
Take care of your mental health
Preparing, taking the LSAT, and applying to law school were some of the most mentally challenging things I’ve ever faced. I took the LSAT the day before my 22 mile race. I was mentally exhausted after my LSAT, and couldn’t even bear to think about running 22 miles (my longest run before the marathon).
So I took the rest of the day. I had homework and studies I could have done, but I put myself and my sanity first because I needed it. I knew that if I kept pushing myself, I wouldn’t be able to run 22 miles the next morning, and taking care of our mental health is key.
Focus on one thing at a time
As much as I wish I could do a million things at once, I just can’t. There are times when my heart feels so overwhelmed because I start thinking about all my upcoming deadlines.
I have found it very helpful to schedule my runs shorter during the week in the afternoon so that I have a good break between going to class during the day and studying at the library in the evening.
After my long runs on Saturday, I’m exhausted, so I make sure I have a clear schedule for the rest of Saturday or keep some lighter tasks to complete after my run.
Keep doing the things that make you happy
Marathon training is tiring and can bring a lot more stress into your life. One thing I’ve learned is that I can’t let these stressors take away what makes me happy.
Whether it’s going out for a bite to eat with friends, cooking a great meal at home, just snuggling up and watching a movie, or even traveling on the weekends, it’s important to keep living your life as you usually do.
Find that balance
Whether it’s reaching out to family and friends, taking care of your mental health, or continuing to do the things that make you happy, it’s hard to overcome the challenges that come with training to a marathon. And type 1 diabetics need to do all of this while managing their blood sugar.
Finding that balance between life, work, diabetes and training – it takes a lot of patience, but training for this marathon has been so rewarding. Every time I finish a long run, I’m like, “YOU did that!” I can’t wait to cross the finish line in New York with my team of type 1 diabetics!
Remember your why
Finally, use your dreams as motivation. In October 2021, I had an assignment in one of my classes to create a resume for my future self in 5 years.
A few days ago I was updating my own resume and came across this assignment. In the volunteer experiences, it was said that in 2025 I ran the New York City Marathon with a diabetes team. And look at me now!
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