The Diabetic Athlete

I was lucky to catch up with one of the fastest marathoners in the Australia yesterday, Shawn Forrest, who is also a Type 1 Diabetic. Shawn’s been running all of his life and as a professional athlete has a wealth of experience and knowledge about competing at the highest level which I just love learning about. He’s only been a T1D since 2014 so I might have also been able to provide the same to him with my lifetime of diabetes experience.

I get so much from speaking with similarly experienced and focused people with T1D and I walk away from these meetings feeling enthused with new knowledge and with a little weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that someone else is going through the exact same experiences and feelings as I am.We are not along!

One of the topics which we spoke about was an athletes mindset and how having T1D can change this. I told Shawn about my experiences through the end of 2015 and early 2016 where I suffered from crashes, injuries, fatigue and ultimately depression. During that time I was so focused on the results that I stopped enjoying what I was doing, didn’t celebrate any achievements and had such a poor mindset that my performances suffered. Once I was able to acknowledge and reconcile this everything including my performances improved. The results are certainly important,  but so is the journey and also the bigger picture and enjoyment. On a much bigger stage Shawn had been working to qualify for the Olympic Games for a number of years in the marathon and there were untold pressures on him to achieve this, and then he was also diagnose with T1D. Listening to him I had so much respect for how he continued to push through and achieved some great results through some very challenging times.

The thing that we both agreed on was that having T1D allowed us to have a really positive impact every single day and in every single race through the diabetes community and this often something that we overlooked. There will always be personal goals, but working to promote T1D and inspire other T1Ds to be active, take on challenges and achieve their own goals is super rewarding in itself. This fact alone is great motivation to continue pushing our own limits and finding new challenges. As another T1D positive this is something which many athletes and people generally do not have the benefit of.

I’m looking forward to spending some more time with Shawn and getting my legs run off with a few training sessions with him.

If you don’t know about Shawn he’s a real inspiration for T1Ds and has competed at the top of long distance running around the world for many years. You can follow him on Twitter: @runforrestT1run

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