Many of us wouldn’t mind visiting both Disneyland and Disney World at some point. There are plenty of people who have managed to visit both several times. However, it’s not often that someone can say they ran from one to another. One man from Texas can, and he did it to inspire other Type 1 diabetics.
Fifty-nine-year-old Don Muchow has finished an Ironman event and done multiple ultra-races. It wasn’t always that way, though. In 2003, he wasn’t in the best shape and was experiencing side effects of his Type 1 diabetes.
On his website, he says, “By then, I knew that my gym teacher was wrong. I knew that exercise was crucial in helping Type 1 diabetics stay healthy, control blood sugar, and minimize complications.
But I had two big problems. I didn’t know any active Type 1’s. And my doctors couldn’t answer my questions about juggling exercise, insulin, and food to avoid dangerous blood sugar swings—the deepest, darkest fear of every Type 1 diabetic.
Still, I was determined to figure it out.”
He said his first goal was a 5K Turkey Trot, and he’s just kept going ever since.
One day when he was explaining the transcontinental run to a friend who happened to love Disney, they asked him, “Well, are you running from Disneyland to Walt Disney World?”
Muchow hadn’t thought of that but wondered if it had even been done. He said a search found that it hadn’t, so he decided to take on the task as part of his dream to run across the country. He was excited to dip his toe in the Pacific at the beginning and then in the Atlantic at the end.
He began the nearly 3,000-mile trek in California in February 2020, but the journey was paused in March after his father died and the COVID-19 pandemic began to rage. When he had hit New Mexico that month, he said he saw huge lines at Costco and that they had run out of water. The lengthy break finally ended several months later.
He said, “We did our first big pause on March 24 of 2020. That was for six months, we picked back up in September, during a low in the (coronavirus) numbers and ran the remainder of the way across Texas.”
After he hit the Texas-Arkansas border, there was another stop before he finally tackled the home stretch beginning on March 2nd. During that period, he covered about 32 miles a day, with a rest every ten days.
To manage his diabetes throughout the process, he gave himself insulin shots every day, used a Tandem insulin pump, and had a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor linked to his wife’s phone so she’d know if his blood sugar was at a dangerous level.
On his website, he explains that he hopes his activity inspires other Type 1 diabetes to not be afraid to try something similar.
He writes, “Other T1D’s ask me, ‘Before Type 1, I ran marathons—how will I ever do that again?’ ‘How can I exercise if my sugar always goes low?’
I share experiences and connect them to the active T1D community, because together is how we figure out what works. And I know every step I run is worth it when they reply, ‘If you can do it, I can too.’”
After the run, Muchow said he planned to do a more leisurely trip to Walt Disney World. He also planned to do a small personal memorial to his father.Whizzco