What Comes After Humbled

Last weekend was my third marathon of the year, in addition to one ultra, and I owe readers a race report on it. But first I'm going to spend time discussing several things that happended at the Team Type 1 Training Camp, which happened in Tucson at the same time as the Tucson Marathon.

There were a lot of reasons for the Camp to take place. For the Pro Cycling Team, it's a ten day long series of workouts in the desert and the mountains. In addition, it was a rare opportunity for us amatuer athletes to interact with one of the finest professional cycling squads, certainly in the US, and more every day, in the world.

In addition to seeing some of my best friends on the team, the Camp gives us the ability to meet "in real life" people we may have only met online. Generally speaking, Team Type 1 folks follow each other on Twitter and friend each other on Facebook, but this was the chance to actually meet. Anne Findlay, Laura Eli, Patricia Brownell, Mike Hebe, etc... The list goes on and on of friends who bdcame more than virtual this weekend.

It was also the first time the new runners and triathletes had the chance to meet with us. The running and triathlon team has gotten so much faster with the 2012 additions, which I hope to cover this more in the coming days. But selfishly, I did want to talk about finally meeting, in person, my coach, Missy Foy,  as well as Ryan Nichols. Ryan and I have been online friends at least 2 years, and it was through me that Missy became Ryan's coach, so having all 3 of us together was absolutely a blast.

Saturday consisted of mostly a strategy session. Team Type 1 Sanofi is so committed to working with Sanofi for the good of everyone affected by diabetes, and it was great to discuss how we are going to do that in 2012. Specifically, look for the team to focus more energy, more appearances, more events, more races, etc. in certainly key markets. What's particularly exciting is many of these cities, thus far, havent been that exposed to Team Type 1, so everybody involved has the opportunity to truly benefit.

Saturday afternoon consisted of quick photoshoots with a man whom has worked with Lance Armstong. I doubt he was able to make me look as dangerous as Lance, but I am optimistic!

After the photoshoot,  those of us running on Sunday went out for a short shakeout run. To participate in these runs really can't really be described, unless perhaps you've run cross-country with a team. The mood is light, the jokes are great, and often diabetic themed.

Saturday night was a keynote presentation by Phil Southerland, one of the founders of the team, and about the biggest superstar in the diabetes business. Before that night, I had heard "Phil stories," and we'd chatted online, but we'd never met in person. It's impossible to come away from a Phil speech without being awed and everyone involved certainly was.

Toward the end of the presentation, Phil announced that for the first time ever, the team was awarding an Amateur Athlete of the Year Award, to be given to someone who most exemplified what we stand for.

As it was described, it occurred to me that I would not have wanted to decide who to give such an award to.  Truth be told, the room was full of 100 of the finest spokepeople for diabetic athletes I've ever known. Every day they inspire people. How do i know this? Because they inspire me.

As Phil went through what the athlete had done in 2011, I recognized myself right away. Qualifying for Boston was a huge highlight for me in 2011 as was the NJ Ultra Fest. But he went on to describe that Team Type 1 is about more than athletics and at length, he described my 86 mile "Tour for Advocacy" that I'd in July, when we secured support for House Bill 1338 in 9 of my local 10 local legislator's offices. At this point, I heard some of my teammates say, "it's Marcus." And I was called to the stage, in front of everone, to accept the award.

I'm a fortunate man. I've recieved awards before in my life. But two things hit me as I walking to the stage. The first was that I was being given a standing ovation and I'm certain that's never happened. The second was that I was humbled to oblivion. These people are my heroes.  

How do you accept an award you couldn't have possibly won without the daily inspiration of the people you were inevitably chosen over? A day later, I don't have an answer for you.

But I know this: what I love most about Team Type 1 is that the flow of inspiration is so strong that I leave every event I do with them bound and determined to do better. I look at the athletes who out-perform me and resolve myself to train more, to train smarter and to, inevitably, get faster. And I learn about what they're doing with the diabetes community in their hometowns and find myself becoming more committed to doing the same. And though my diabetes is very well controlled, my A1c is not the best on the team. Truth be told, in everything in my life, which includes my Team Type 1 life, I can do better.

There is a scene at the end of Private Ryan where Tom Hanks knows he's dying. He looks at Matt Damon, whose life he basically has spent the entire movie saving, and says, "Earn this." While I don't know that it's possible for me to feel deserving of this award, I know this: I'm going to do everything I can to earn it.


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