On March 17, 2013, Team World Vision will be running in the LA Marathon to raise money for water projects in East Africa. One of the individuals running is Bill Myers. Bill is also running to overcome Type 2 diabetes. I had the opportunity to speak with Bill and ask him about the project he’s running for and talk to him about his lifestyle change since being diagnosed.
Tell me a little more about the project that you are running for.
We are running to build water projects for those in East Africa who don’t have access to water. Eight hours of their day is gathering water. This is my first time doing this; we have been sending out emails to people about what we’re doing and asking them if they’d like to donate. Most people in it are not even runners at all. This is new for a lot of us, and many have never run a marathon like myself. It’s been an amazing experience being able to help and do something good.
What is your goal for the marathon?
In the LA Marathon you have to run less than 15 minutes a mile. I am running the second half of the marathon, and my team member is running the first half. The training is going well. To help prepare I am trying to do a lot of uphill training. Right now I’m averaging about 11 minutes a mile.
I’ve never been a runner in my life though. I’m actually enjoying it! I can’t imagine me ever saying that. I’m looking forward to the event. I even look forward to running on a daily basis. It’s a new experience for me being physical.
What lifestyle changes have you made since being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes?
The thing for me is I’m sure I’ve had it for awhile. You live in denial. Several years ago I was diagnosed with arthritis. I stopped going to the doctor after medication helped the pain go away. I didn’t have any joint pain until a couple months ago. The typical thing I do is wait and procrastinate. I eventually went to the doctor and they came back and said your blood is great, but you have diabetes. I thought there was no way I had diabetes. I didn’t have any of those symptoms. I did some more blood work with another doctor, and the results confirmed that I’ve had it for awhile. I walked out of there and told myself I need to make some changes. I was 54 when I was diagnosed. I started walking. Even walking a block was a little bit of work, but I took the medication and I started feeling better. I never thought of running, but I started getting into it when this opportunity came up.
Since then I have lost 30 pounds. The doctor said my results came back better, and I don’t need to take medication anymore. This lifestyle change hasn’t been that difficult to do. I walked out of the doctor’s office after the initial diagnosis and told myself I was going to have to make a lifestyle change. A little voice in my head said you can choose your end happiness. You can be unhappy about the couple glasses of wine you can’t have anymore, or you can be unhappy about the foot you’re going to lose. It’s about changing your habits more than anything.
How do you stay motivated?
I feel great. For me, I have been really challenged for the need to have self-mastery in my life. This has been liberating; I have control over my life.
I can’t imagine not continuing to run. It has crossed my mind about a marathon. One goal for sure is I want to be 195 pounds, and I want to be under 200 the day of the marathon. I’m close! I also want to continue to do 3 miles 3-4 times a week.
Bill Myers chose his end happiness. Running is helping not only his health, but it is also helping those in East Africa. You have the ability to change your lifestyle for the better and be in control of your life. Be like Bill and be there, and do that.