Guest Post Numero Cinco
I have always been a sucker for incredibly written blog posts. I have yet to write a post I am completely in awe of. It is all there in my mind screaming to come out. Be patient grasshopper, I tell myself. In continuing with my Guest Posts here at Runnin’ Down A Dream, I have been given an incredibly written blog post. No doubt in my mind about this one. My buddy Cris worked hard on this piece of writing and I hope you all enjoy reading it as much as I did. Big props for this one. Let’s all cheer Chris on as he embarks on his journey to the NYC Marathon.
It is a sultry summer night and I should be out fucking or fighting, but instead I’m slowly sipping scotch and mulling over the idea that Jack The Ripper had diabetes.
You see, back in the days before human analog insulin, diabetes was something to be feared. Type Ones usually died within a year; Type Twos didn’t fare much better, though they could hold on a good while longer. Diabetes was also thought to cause “diabetic insantiy”, a condition which sounds suspiciously like what we call depression, but which back then prompted institutionalization. Most people are at least peripherally aware of the effects of untreated, out-of-control diabetes. Modern treatment – regulating blood sugar levels through diet, exercise, and insulin and constantly monitoring those levels to keep them in check – is quite effective. Up until eighty years ago, however, there was no real treatment for the problem. You got it, body parts started turning black, and then you died.
Now, if we assume the likely, but unproven, notion that Mr. The Ripper was actually London barrister Montague Druitt, then we can look at family history for an explanation of his behaviour. His mother may have had diabetes, judging from the circumstances of her commital to a sanitarium. Montague, already under suspicion for the prostitute killings, threw himself into the Thames shortly after her incarceration, leaving behind a note that said “Since Friday, I felt I was going to be like Mother and it would be best for all concerned if I were to die.” Perhaps he thought he, too, was diabetic and that it would lead to “diabetic insanity” and the nuthouse. Consider the fear he must have felt. So to cope, he starts stabbing whores, crying out against his disease until, finally, unable to face a future of degenerative, painful disease progression, he tosses himself into the Thames.
Well, it’s a theory.
But things are better now. We have real treatments and somewhat more constructive ways of dealing with our anxiety. So when I was diagnosed in March, I was not overly concerned; I knew I could cope. For many diabetics, getting D — they call it D in the diabetic community, as if the very name is too horrific to be repeated aloud — rocks their world. Some people are seduced by despair and others aren’t. I think we all experience despair to a degree; it’s like the red-light district of Coping-town. But while some people happily go wallowing in worry, self-pity, and terror — like Mr. Druitt perhaps — others manage to deal quite well with their diagnosis, using it as a springboard for bigger and better things, positioning it as THE obstacle to be overcome. For some, D is the something that is waiting in the dark alleys of the body, waiting to kill. For others, it is what inspires them to greatness.
So, given my own recent diagnosis, I decided to forego the streetwalker killing-spree and instead chose an ambitious marathon training plan: a 16-week plan written by Bart Yasso, culminating in the NY Marathon November 1st. Officially, training begins on July 13th, but really I’ve been in training for some time – building a base, a daily running habit, knees that won’t give up so easily. This is a huge change for me, as before D I used to run only two-three times a week. I’m not sure that I would have chosen Bart’s plan if I hadn’t been diagnosed! There is the other option, the plan that has less mileage and no special workouts, the beginner’s plan. But something about having one more strike against me now makes me feel like tackling more. Or, perhaps, having gotten used to daily runs, I KNOW I can tackle more.
The details of the plan can be found in this month’s Runner’s World. It builds miles gradually, of course, but has speed workouts, hill workouts, “easy” workouts, two rest days a week, three runs of 20+ miles, and two sessions of his famous Yasso 800s. It’s a lot of miles. I am terrified.
But I’m excited, too. I’m about to embark on an incredible four-month journey, better even than my first two marathons – perhaps as good in focus, effort, and effect as the training plan that got me to my half-marathon PR. I look at my calendar with anticipation, not hesitation. I am looking forward to the future, whatever that means to my health, good or bad. I will take it all in stride and rise above it. I refuse to be Jack The Ripper.