Wimp or Wise

I choose life.

About a month ago I was presented with an opportunity that at first I adamantly balked at. No way, no how was I going to be running the Death Race. The fact that it had the word death in it pretty much sealed the deal right there for me. I did not have any desires to be apart of something that involved death. Just ask my soon-to-be-brother-in-law; he’s been suggesting we form a team for more than two years now to which I have repeatedly shot down.

The opportunity to join another team in the Canadian Death Race was posed last month when I went rock climbing with the boys from I Challenge Diabetes, an organization that prides itself on pushing the limits for diabetics, and making sure us type 1s know that we are NOT limited because of this disease.  Founder and Canadian Olympic rowing champion Chris Jarvis told me about the organization’s plans to participate in the race which is held in Grand Cache, Alberta every year. I Challenge Diabetes is forming three relay teams consisting of all Type 1s, and one of which Chris was sure could win the whole thing. And given that I’m an avid runner, he thought it would be a perfect event for me to be apart of. But like I said, initially I wanted nothing to do with it. It didn’t matter how many times he related the elevation to the Grouse Grind “but over a much longer distance,” or how less of a beating he told me it would be compared to a marathon, I was not interested.

But here’s the thing, left to my own thoughts later that night, and into the next couple of days, I started weighing the pros and cons. Sure I could die, and yeah that would totally suck, but a weekend like this, surrounded by that many like-minded type 1s would be something of legends really. I mean the last time I was around that many diabetics was summer camp, and they were definitely NOT like-minded, and definitely NOT challenging their diabetes. How great could this be for me? How great could this be for my ongoing training? How great could this be for my diabetes? Pretty darn amazing, I was thinking.

So, I fired off an email to Chris asking for more details telling him I was intrigued. He responded and had me pegged in to the “tentative” Leg 4 of the relay. Meanwhile, Mario did a little of his own research on the race itself. His results, well, let’s just say, you know those feelings of wishing you had listened to your gut instinct? I was feeling that like a medicine ball to the stomach!

From the race website, this is what I was to look forward to:

“through a deep mud bog … very rough terrain … two creek crossings … steep, rocky drop-offs … unstable footing while running downhill … very slippery, rocky terrain … knee deep water … descent is strewn with boulders and deep ruts … eye protection required … remote areas…”

Night running was also on the agenda for the last two legs.

And just look at this elevation:

Did you see Leg 4 in there? That’s like 7,000 square metres straight up right off the top which is the equivalent of THREE Grouse Grinds, and while I am a fan of the Grouse Grind, I have never, not once, had any desire to do it three times over!

I don’t know if I’m a wimp (I sure as heck felt like one) but after a week of fretting and weighing my options I finally sent Chris another email sheepishly bowing out of the opportunity. It wasn’t just death anymore that scared the bejesus out of me, it was also the fact that I’m a pavement runner, not a trail runner, a daylight runner, not a nightlight runner, a city girl, not a backcountry bear encounter girl, and Leg 4, well, that just made me want to pee my pants!

I just hope I’ll get another opportunity of being surrounded by so many like-minded diabetics – that was the hardest part of me chickening out.


  • 7:30 p.m. BG before: 7.9
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Time: 60 minutes
  • @40 minutes: BG: 3.2 (1/2c. oj)
  • 8:45 p.m. BG after: 7.0


7 thoughts on “Wimp or Wise”

  1. Robert Freeman

    I was 40 years old when I eagerly (yes, eagerly) accepted an invitation to run a military obstacle course over in Comox, on Vancouver Island. It was for a story, of course. And it just about killed me: running, crawling, climbing, the obstacle course ended with a 50-foot jump into water. And me afraid of heights!!
    But it was NOTHING compared to this goddam DEATH RACE!! That’s insane!! You are NOT a wimp!! Just showing the good sense God gave you!! You want to live to run another day 🙂 Choose Life, every time 🙂

  2. I thought it looked pretty darn intense too. I know a fellow who did two legs of that race. Janet and a friend of hers are a team of two for this one.
    Perhaps you could just go up and hang out with the group. Don’t they need someone to get supplies from one check in point to the next? If you go as support crew you get the experience of hanging out without the pressure of doing the race. Who knows you might be inspired and decide that it is something you can do. Funny how the idea of what you can do changes depending on who you are hanging around – I am doing ironman next year :o)

  3. Bummer!!!
    would have actually meet you there…
    Hey, you are a one good runner, take the challenge and go with it next time. You cannot fail, think about it. As far as diabetes is concerned you can carry all the supplies you need to keep you alive. As far as running, yeah it’s tough but who says that you cannot do some walking/crawling if need be…
    hope to see you next time…cheers!!!

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