In a gentle way you can shake the world.
There is a bumper sticker on the wall at my gym that says, “someone busier than you is running right now.” Whoever wrote this bumper sticker must know Doug.
Doug Masiuk recently shared with me his plan to run across the continent of Australia. By the time this is published he will already be on an airplane to Perth.
His plan: run 30 miles a day across the continent of Australia, from Perth to Sydney — through the Outback during the Australian summertime — until over 2,300 miles are completed. Along the way: host speaking-engagements in hopes of inspiring the world to better health and fitness. Only 21 people have ever made the crossing. None of them had Type 1 diabetes. Doug does.
He is embarking on this unprecedented run across Australia to show the world how different the disease can look. Doug and his team will closely monitor and report the cause-and-effect of exercise, nutrition, insulin, environment and recovery.
Lauren: You live above 9,000 feet and work several jobs. I also suspect planning this huge trip takes quite a bit of time. And yet, you told me you ran 26 miles yesterday. How do you find the time to train?
Doug: Time is our greatest resource. Because we are embodied, we get to be here and experience time. I can’t stand to see people sick. The best use of my time is to show a different way to live with diabetes. Maybe when someone learns about what I am doing it will make them think. It will change their perception. It will change their life.
LB: Wow. Still, running across Australia is a huge undertaking. It sounds daring, regardless of whether or not you have diabetes. Why are you doing this?
DM: Because diabetes can be tough. However, there are so many resources available now to help make living with it better. I want to challenge beliefs about what you can or cannot do when you have diabetes. I want to inspire people to enjoy fit, healthy lives.
LB: What is it like to live with diabetes?
DM: Well, you can’t just go to birthday parties and eat pizza without being acutely aware of the consequence/effect of food. I have administered over 90,000 shots to myself. I have only missed three insulin shots in my entire life. Being insulin dependent can be tedious and inconvenient. The choices I make have consequences. I consistently seek to understand and balance the cause and effect of exercise, nutrition, insulin and sleep.
LB: That sounds like a lot of work. So is what you’re planning to do. What if you are in the middle of the Australian Outback and you decide you want to quit?
DM: It’s a huge mental thing. My legs will feel like lead. I know it won’t always be pleasant. I expect to suffer and be in pain for several months. I’ll whine. I’ll want fresh fruit or French toast, but there won’t be any. I won’t feel like running.
Then I’ll think of my aunt. She died young from a heart attack. That really affected me. I’ll think of the man I met in the hospital who just lost his leg to diabetes, or the little girl who was told she couldn’t play on the basketball team because her coach was afraid he wouldn’t be able to handle a diabetic emergency. I’ll remember that there is someone out there who would give anything to be able to run.
LB: I can definitely see how that would help you stick to your goals. A lot of people struggle with sticking to goals that require habit or lifestyle changes such as weight loss, consistent exercise, a healthy diet, avoiding sugar or alcohol, etc. What advice can you give to someone who is struggling with sticking to his or her goals?
DM: Believe in your goal. Take the next step, even if it is uncomfortable. I used to smoke. I wasn’t able to run a block without throwing up. The next day I took one step farther. I threw up that day too. But I kept at it. As I added another step I was also delaying the next cigarette. Only by a step, yes, but it took a lot out of me.
Be gentle with yourself, especially when you face triggers. I never told myself I was quitting smoking. Rather, I was delaying the next cigarette. I kept thinking of my aunt and knew I would feel better if I continued to get out there and move.
LB: Your situation seems a bit like that of David and Goliath. Diabetes was just labeled a pandemic. Do you ever feel like fighting this monster of a problem is hopeless?
DM: The disease I have is diabetes, but the problem I am addressing is indifference. Indifference — lack of concern — is what causes people to lose sight of their purpose and their goals. I have focused my life on sharing my gifts and maximizing every opportunity to make things a little better for the next person.
Doug has premium sponsors for his run, including Nike, Skratch Labs, Garmin and NovoNordisk. But he needs more support! To support Doug’s Run Across Australia and improve the treatment and understanding of diabetes, visit www.outrundiabetes.org. Follow his journey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Doug Masiuk.