Tag Archives: Twin Cities

Global Heroes Part 3: Hero of a run

Three months has passed since I last ran. It hasn’t been easy. It has been a frustrating as hell, are you freaking kidding me, I am far too bloody impatient for this kind of three months. A foot injury that first became apparent in late July, and was ultimately diagnosed as plantar fasciitis (oh how I had hoped it was not that) is the cause of my running absence, and as it stands currently, appears to be going nowhere anytime soon. In my state of denial, I kept running, not nearly as much as I was, but running nonetheless, which is likely the reasoning for my suuuuuper slow recovery. But would I go back and change it?

Not a chance in hell.

Dear readers, this blog post is so, so, so long overdue. A semester full of calculus and stats had my brain mushed in nonsensical numbers with barely time to breathe, let alone allowing my thoughts to fly high on hands down the greatest, most exhilarating, goosebump-inducing run I have ever been apart of. I hope I can now give it the due justice it deserves.

05-10-15: Medtronic Global Heroes TC 10 Mile

I did not want the run to end.

We got up real early the morning of October 5th, headed down to the Medtronic suite for a complimentary breakfast that had everything this runner needed – steel cut oats, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, peanut butter, and bananas. I had a few jitters as I didn’t know how my foot would hold up. It had been at least two weeks since I’d run, but I’d had some promising results with physio; the pain was more a sporadic on again, off again dull ache; and my foot was taped up pretty good – I was hoping for the best. Eating and laughing with my fellow heroes took my mind off the jitters.

10-milers getting ready to rock the run! #Type1 #... #...

10-milers getting ready to rock the run! #Type-1 #cardiomyopathy #aorticstenosis REPRESENT!

The endorphins started early with signs like these.

The endorphins started early with signs like these. Thanks Medtronic Canada!

The 10-mile group was the first to board the buses out to the start line in Minneapolis. I don’t remember exactly how early it was, but I remember it was dark as night, and I remember a bus full of us yawners. And the cold, my gawd, it was cold as heck. I had my 3/4 length tights on, which for me, October is way too early to be sporting those suckers, a technical undershirt, a technical, long sleeve, Global Heroes shirt, and my Global Heroes jersey, as well as my throw-away sweatshirt. (Note: I was told it was significantly warmer than years past where they’d seen snow and ice on race day, but whatever, I’m a West Coast weather wuss… brrrrr!) At the start line, my industrious hero buddy Miss Carmen, a native of Mississippi, but a long-time Floridian, discovered the drain circles were pushing up heat. And oh man, it was a glorious, warm, sauna-loving discovery… that is, until I started thinking about where that heat was coming from. Blech.


Boarding the bus: dark and cold.

We met up with a group of the other 10-mile Heroes in the starting corral. I had no idea if I was in the right corral, and frankly none of us cared (sorry hardcores). All I knew was that with my hero chickies and buddies laughing and snapping pictures next to me, I was happy as could be. Before long, my throwaway sweatshirt was nabbed by the Floridians and I was off.

Type-1, ..., ..., ..., represent. (Photo courtesy of Nicola the Hero)

#Type-1, #cardiomyopathy, #gastroparesis, #aorticvalve, #chronicpain REPRESENT! (Photo courtesy of Nicola the Hero)

This race was the cherry on top of my rockstar weekend. Right from the start, I could hear people shouting out to me: Go Hero! You got this! Yah Hero! Way to go! Gloooobaaaal Heroeeeeeeees!  People on the sidelines, people running behind, some even in front, all cheering for me – me! Sure, I’ve had cheerleaders before, fantastic cheerleaders, cheerleaders who still bring warm fuzzies to my heart every time I think of them long after those races ended. But this time was different. These cheerleaders, they didn’t know me, I had never met them, had never spoken a word to them. Yet, with my Global Heroes’ attire, they believed in my greatness, they championed my greatness, they filled me with endorphins I don’t believe I have ever felt before.

It didn’t take long for me to start doing the same. Every alumni hero jersey I saw, every Team Medtronic jersey, and every fellow Hero I spotted, I too was extending loud cheers of my own. And for every sign and every cheer waved my way, I tried as best I could, through my huffs and puffs, to let them know my appreciation of their efforts, even if only with a goofy grin and a thumbs up. I had an honest smile glued to my face from start to finish. The foot was not even an irritation.


The Medtronic Tunnel – it stunk like hard-earned sweat! (Photo courtesy of Hero Debbie)

About half way in, I started keeping an eye out for my New York favourite’s alma mater that I knew I’d be passing by. Macalaster, a college that schooled Kofi Anan AND the wondrous Lil Veggie Patch, a college that was nestled between the beauty of the October orange leaves, and on the same street that had illusive Jesse ‘The Body’ Ventura stories forever stained. As soon as I saw it, my mind exited the running state and entered the Land of Make Believe; I was sitting in a café, eating pain au chocolat, drinking a cup of Earl Grey, with Miss Katie directly across from me. One day…


Seeing as how I couldn’t bring my homemade matcha apple sauce for fuel due to the whole border thing, I risked a NEW fuel source I nabbed at the packet pickup the night before – Clif savoury gels. Shockingly, the pizza flavour wasn’t half bad AND it didn’t mess my belly up!

I have run my fair share of races: two marathons, nine or 10 half marathons, and several 5, 10 and 15 km races. And pretty much, every single one of them there has been a moment of near debilitating fatigue. Sometimes it’s just a blip, gone in a second, sometimes it’s lasted for a good portion of the run (hello Marathon #2). But for this run, that never came to be. I don’t know if it was because I was running in miles, not kilometers (10 miles seems way less than 16 km) or if it was because of those crazy, awesome endorphins pulsating through me, but instead of wanting the race to be over, I didn’t want it to end. I clearly remember thoughts of slowing down, or even outright stopping, maybe doing a sit-in on the course so as to extend the joy a little longer. Seriously, it was like watching Little Ring growing – it was going too fast. And with 3 to 5 km left to run, I was desperate, I didn’t want it to be over, I didn’t want to cross the St. Pauls’ finish line, not yet,  I needed more. I didn’t want to go back to being a nobody runner on just another course. Selfish maybe, but those were my thoughts.

This one was special. It was more special than my first; more special than my fastest; more special than Tiffany. This one was heroic.

Best run EVER!

That smile was the smile of the race!

7 a.m. BG before: 10.1
Temp. basal: -50 per cent (2 hours)
Fuel: Clif savoury gel – pizza flavour
Distance: 16.35 km
Time: 1:33:11
Average pace: 5:42 min/km
9:45 a.m. BG after: 8.9
Temp. basal: +100% (1.5 hours)

Now what? That is a question I have been facing since I boarded the plane. That weekend was so incredibly inspiring, the people I met, the stories I heard, the run I had. I couldn’t just go back to being the same me. I have plans, I have desires, I have things needing to be done, and I have a fire within me to get them done. All still currently in the early, thought-planning stages, but once finalized, they will be shared. I promise you this will not be the last you see of my heroism.

Thank you Medtronic.


And the culmination of it all was wrapped up with a bow at Christmas time from Big Ring. Heart.

Medtronic Global Heroes Part 1: Heroism defined

Have you ever been a part of something so incredibly fantastic that you’ve been nearly muted by the awesomeness of it? Something that you struggle to put words to because no word seems adequate enough? Something that you find yourself unconsciously holding back on because you know the person across from you didn’t experience it and will surely have jolts of envy shooting through them to hear it? I have. For the past month, my mind has been bursting and my fingers itching to attack the keyboard, but my voice unnervingly silent. And then, this morning I went to Dear Physio, an hour long appointment filled with IMS needles, and it all came flooding out of me.

Medtronic Global Heroes, holy freaking hell, I did that – I am that!!!

Global Heroes awesomeness!

We are Global Heroes.


The moment we walked off the plane, I felt like a rock star. There was a sign – a sign! – greeting us. Our bags were carried; our pockets filled with snacks; and a chauffeured car waiting. Oh yeah, and a wallet full of spending money too!!! (To, ahem, cover the costs of our luggage and any meals that weren’t provided (of which I think there were maybe two)).

That smile was pretty much the theme of the weekend!

That smile was pretty much the theme of the weekend!

Where do I even begin?

I knew that this weekend was going to be huge. I had read several online accounts from Global Hero bloggers of previous years, and had studied the Global Heroes website and the faces on the website like no one’s business. But as much as I love the written word, it doesn’t compare to experiencing it in the flesh. The moment I walked into the banquet room of our first mixer, my skin prickled with goosebumps. Everything about ME felt right.

Instantly I was enveloped by 24 fellow Global Heroes, men and women of all ages and all sorts of medical “ailments” and technology – none who have let their diagnoses get in the way of them rocking life to the core. There was my pal Dion, the stoic man from Christchurch, New Zealand, who had a spinal cord stimulator implanted to manage pain after being wounded in an Afghanistan deployment; he ran the 10-mile on crutches. My neighbour chickie Miss Carmen, from Mississippi/Florida, who not only has one of the easiest smiles I’ve seen, she also has an implantable cardioverter defibrillator to treat cardiomyopathy. She did the 10 mile six months pregnant, wearing a closet full of sweaters to stay warm… those Floridians! And Sarah, the girl with the chicest glasses (yes, I was all over those glasses!) who, before getting a pacemaker, spent her adolescence fighting daily blackouts, and struggling to get through a conversation without first running out breath. She ran the marathon, dreaming of the day she gets implanted with a bright pink pacemaker (hint-hint Medtronic).

Drooling over glasses at Minnehaha Falls.

Drooling over glasses at Minnehaha Falls.

Crystal Gail, who just one year ago was lying in a hospital bed with sutures following the implantation of a neuromodulator to manage chronic pain. She’s run 547 miles since and was the driving force behind the Black Lives Matter protest re-channeling into a rally next to the race, not in front of it. And Mike, oh man, Mike. This guy, an eye specialist, who diagnosed his own heart condition. This guy, an avid cyclist too, was run off the road while out for a ride just last year, he suffered a major shoulder injury, but opted to postpone surgery in favour of being a Global Hero. He killed his 10 mile time and few days later was under the knife getting his shoulder repaired.

A friendship knows no borders: Wales, Canada, Canada expat turned Nashvillian, and Zambia.

A friendship knows no borders: Wales, Canada, Canada expat turned Nashvillian, and Zambia represent.

So many fantastic stories. All worthy of the heroism title. And the crazy thing, I was one of them!

I think maybe that’s the hard part for me to truly comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m awesome – you guys know I know I’m awesome – but I never really thought of my diabetes and my running with diabetes as anything extraordinarily special, it’s just something I do. It’s me.

But that’s the thing, right. Diabetes didn’t end my run. Diagnosis didn’t end any of our runs. Not Akende’s; not Luciana’s; not Delphine’s; not Liga’s; not Sergei’s; not Camilo’s; not Jack’s; not Carmen’s; not Laura’s; not Wen’s; not Sally’s; not Yoshitaa’s; not Kenji’s; not Tomas’; not Nicola’s; not John’s; not Melanie’s; not Mike’s; not Dion’s; not Silvia’s; not Crystal Gail’s; not Sarah’s; not Yulong’s. Not mine.

And that is pretty freaking awesome!

And that’s pretty freaking awesome; heroic, if you will.

Heroism defined!

… oh, and that spending money… wellllllll, let’s just say someone got a new hoodie and standout pink sunglasses!!!


Stay tuned…