9. Becoming Unstoppable with Type 1 Diabetes – Eric Dutcher
Earlier this month, Eric Dutcher and the other members of Team M.U.D. (More Unstoppable Diabetics) competed in the World’s Toughest Mudder. Five diabetics and a diabetic’s father together completed 275 miles in 24 hours on an obstacle-ridden, five-mile loop course. Eric sat down with us to talk about his recent race and how he is active with diabetes.
As Eric shares on this week’s podcast, he wasn’t always active. At the time of his diagnosis, he was faced with a slew of new “can’ts”—all the things he needed to avoid and be aware of, in light of his diabetes. In time, he realized that his only “can’t” was that his body could not produce insulin. Eric credits his wife with asking the question that turned his “can’t” into a “what if”: “What if you went for a run?”
In our conversation, Eric describes the learning curve of first trying to run with Type 1. He emphasizes the importance of small incremental steps and of planning a route that enables you to use your house as home base. He also encourages Badasses to develop an escape plan—what to do when things go wrong. As Eric shares, “When you’ve got a chronic condition but you want to do cool things, you just have to accept a certain level of chaos…As long as you know how to calm the waters, you can still float.”
Eric uses the different aspects of obstacle course race training to keep his blood sugars in check. He’s found that strength training elevates his blood sugar, while cardio lowers it; thus, stacking the activities allows him to manage his condition with less insulin or sugar inputs. He explains that there is value in trying something new as a way to learn more about your condition and its management.
Additionally, Eric believes in the power of community for inspiration and education. He wants other Badasses to know: “There is life beyond your condition. Once you figure out the equation, you can go out and do really big things and get that unstoppable feeling back.” He describes the importance of identifying what one thing you can’t do so that you can work to solve it. By inspiring some people who, in turn, each inspire others, we can create a snowball effect for positive change, he explains. But, Eric also cautions against falling into the comparison trap: “We need to stand up and own the accomplishments we make.”
At the California International Marathon, Eric connected with the Diabetes Sports Project. Together, they developed More Unstoppable Diabetics, named because of the unstoppable feeling Eric has after completing an obstacle course race that had seemed impossible at its onset. Currently, Eric is looking for teammates for next year’s World’s Toughest Mudder.
Links from our discussion:
- Eric’s Instagram
- Diabetes Sports Project
- Project MUD
- World’s Toughest Mudder
- GU Energy Gel, Sample Pack*
- The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes (*These are affiliate links; as an Amazon Associate, our nonprofit earns from qualifying purchases.)
- Type One Run Podcast with Dr. Sheri Colberg
To contact us about the podcast or your own Badassery, email firstname.lastname@example.org. And, for your daily dose of Badass athletes who are redefining what it means to be chronically ill, follow @chronicallybadassclub on Instagram and Facebook.
Podcast music by: Caleb Ritchie