Champion Athlete With Diabetes: Couch to 5K, 10K, Tri, and beyond.

Can you believe we’ve handed out nine medals to Champion Athletes With Diabetes?

Inspirational stories have come from everywhere. By telling them, I hope I’m letting you know that you are capable of achieving more than you ever imagined too. Today’s story is exactly that.


Kelley Kent lives in the Richmond area with her husband Chris. On her blog, Below-Seven, she describes herself as an accountant by day, blogger by night, an MBA soon to be CPA, and a Type 1 diabetic. For the record, she’s one heck of an athlete. I’ll let Kelley tell the story from here:
I got married in May 2011. By November 2012, I realized that I had gained thirty pounds and was my heaviest ever. It was a combo of enjoying the first year of marriage and also transitioning from an office job to a job where I work from home-the kitchen became way too close to where I was working! I decided that something needed to change and my sister, who is really into fitness (she’s done half marathons, Olympic triathlons, ragnar races, etc.), suggested I try a Couch to 5k program.

In November of 2012, I started the Couch to 5k program. I’ve always been pretty athletic (playing basketball, softball, flag football, etc. growing up) but I’ve never been in very great shape. The first day of the C25K was rough. I couldn’t even run for one minute! But that’s why the program works so well; it starts off slowly and you build up quickly but not too quickly. I remember texting my sister when I first started that I couldn’t imagine week five where I had to run for five full minutes!

By January (2013), I was running close to a 5k (30 minutes!) and feeling great about my progress. My sister was signing up for the Monument 10k, a race in Richmond in April, and suggested I sign up as well since I had been doing well with the C25k. My husband, who was also doing the C25k with me, and I decided to sign up for the 10k training group and registered for the race. I was scared at first because 6 miles seemed impossible! But April 13th rolled around and I did it! I ran the entire race.

I’m a person very motivated by goals. After the 10k, I didn’t have any races that I was signed up for so my running slacked a little. I was so happy with my new hobby that I didn’t want laziness to take over. So I decided to sign up for an 8k in June, then a 5k in July and then a triathlon in August. The triathlon came about randomly. My sister was competing in an Olympic triathlon in June and I went to cheer her on. I didn’t know much about triathlons at the time but it ended up being a lot of fun to watch. While I was spectating, I thought to myself, I can swim, I can bike, and I have just gotten the running under my belt, I bet I could do a triathlon too! After watching my sister’s race, I decided to sign up for a sprint triathlon. A triathlon is a completely different beast than just running a race. For a triathlon, you have to figure out what to do with your pump during the swim portion; you have to deal with three different activities that all affect your blood sugar different; you have to test your blood sugar during the transitions, causing your transition time to be higher than non-diabetics. I was able to figure out and overcome those obstacles and I had a lot of fun while doing it! I’m debating doing another one this year (maybe even an Olympic).

Feeling pretty confident after completing the triathlon, I decided to get a little crazier and I signed up for a half marathon in November. Then I went one step further and signed up for another half marathon in January. I started running in November 2012 and one year later, I completed a half marathon. It’s pretty remarkable what the human body and mind can accomplish. I NEVER thought I would run a half marathon in my life! Somehow I have transformed into thinking a 5k is a short run! I started running because I wanted to shed a few pounds and I lost about 25 pounds (close to my 30 pound gain!) In addition to the weight loss, running included an even better benefit, getting my A1C below seven, a goal I have been working towards for years! Running is now a part of my life and something I hope to do for the rest of my life.
I think the interesting thing about Kelley’s story is that here she was, living her life, diabetes in hand, and she just woke up one day and said “I want to do this”. And she made it happen.

Maybe you’re feeling like you’ll never be the kind of athlete that Kelley is. So what? I won’t either. What’s important is to get moving, and to persevere through whatever might try to stop you. Despite all the things that could have gone wrong, Kelley handled it all in a way that was surprising even to her. You know what? Even if surprising to you is walking around the block every day for a week, I’m know you’re capable of the same kind of determination.

That’s what makes these stories so inspirational, and so worthy of recognition by all of us. Not the actual accomplishments. It’s the strength that comes from knowing we turned fear and loathing into courage and fortitude. That’s where champions are made.

Are you achieving athletic goals while living with Type 1, Type 2, or another flavor of diabetes? Send me your story, and I’ll send you a medal just like Kelley’s. Click here to find out how to get yours.

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  • Kelley  On March 19, 2014 at 12:26 pm

    Thanks for including me in this! I am pretty much the laziest person I know, so if I can somehow get off my butt and train for a half marathon (or even just a 5k) anyone can do it!


  • Karen  On March 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    I’ve been following Kelley’s blog for a long time and continue to be inspired by her. Thanks for sharing her story here.


  • scully  On March 21, 2014 at 11:06 am


    thanks for the new recommended blog follow! AWESOME!


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