Asking a girl on a date, asking Leanne to marry me, and asking someone to be part of your Dexcom Share family of five. I felt the same nerves while asking people all three of these questions. I thought it would be easy to ask someone if they would be interested in following my blood sugars, it was very tough. I'm basically asking these people if they care enough about me to have an alarm go off at anytime. Asking a coworker I made sure I waited until he and I were working alone to ask. What if he said no, what would I do?!?! I'm happy that he said yes and was even more excited when he asked a few questions about diabetes and how the app works!!
I don't know if I should be proud of this but I was at 265 when I got up at 430am. I had planned on riding my bike to work and enjoying a cool Spring morning. I obviously had to take some insulin but couldn't take to much or I'd be low twenty minutes in to my ride. I decided that one unit would be best, I went on to have my glass of almond milk and peanut butter toast before leaving. I would get on the bike feeling nervous but thirty minutes in to my ride I realized I was feeling great. My smile got even bigger when I arrived at work and my blood sugar was at 149. I could have my breakfast and get to work with no problems!! A blood sugar of 88 at 9am had me smiling again as I had covered my post ride breakfast perfectly!!
Below is an amazing video that was put together by inCycle Tv. The video explains perfectly what Team Novo Nordisk is all about and what they are doing for people living with diabetes all over the world. I could write for days about the team but for tonight I will let the video speak for itself.
At the age of two many of us didn't know exactly what we wanted to do professionally when we got older. For Team Novo Nordisk runner Stephen England it was at this age that he knew he wanted his life to evolve around sports "From age two on I always had some kind of ball in my life, I loved cricket and dreamed of playing futbol (soccer) professionally." At the age of ten Stephen would realize what sport would be in his life for years to come. "At the age of ten my family moved from Hong Kong to England and I was the new kid on the block at my school. The school held its annual Cross Country meet early in the school year. No one knew me and I figured it would be a good way for me to meet people." Stephen would shock his school and win the race, making a name for himself rather quickly at his new school. Stephen would be heavily recruited to run cross country at his secondary school at age 12. He would win a good deal of races but he was still in love with futbol and focused more on getting better as a futbol player.
At the age of 14 Stephen would return home from a futbol tournament in Holland when his family noticed that something wasn't right with Stephen. "I was always thirsty and exhausted all of the time. My sister knew that something wasn't right and suggested I go to the doctor." He would be brought to his local doctor where he was told something wasn't right but that he should go to the hospital to be sure. "My parents needed to drive me forty-five minutes to the hospital, that was when I knew something was wrong. The doctor told me that I had diabetes and I fainted" All Stephen knew about diabetes was that he would need shots, he and his family would be at the hospital for a few days to learn all about diabetes. "In my mind I thought that I could cure it by having great control and taking shots for a little while. When I went to the doctor for my first checkup I asked him if I was cured, he would tell me that you can't quit diabetes." It was that comment that would stick with Stephen forever.
It wasn't until Stephen was named Surrey County cross country champion that he made a name for himself. In 2006 making New York City his home changed everything for Stephen "I had friends in NYC that liked to run and I decided to run join the NYRR. That was when I fell in love with running. Running in Central Park is amazing, it has it all, you can always find someone running in Central Park."
Running was now his life, in a two year period Stephen would complete four of the five marathons that make up the World Marathon Majors. (This was done before Tokyo became the sixth major in 2013) He would begin looking for a new challenge and decided to compete in the Bear Mountain 50K. "The bear mountain reminded me of being a kid, running for fun, going through the woods. It was very pure running" Stephen would continue to challenge himself, competing in the toughest ultra marathons in the world. From the Western States 100 to the Leadville 100 Stephen would run any Ultra he could.
Stephen has done all of this with diabetes, it is how he responds when asked how he does it all with diabetes, "I made diabetes fit my lifestyle" Stephen made sure he tested forty times in the Leadville 100 to know exactly where he was blood sugar wise while running. "Testing is huge, the more you test the more you know about how you feel."
Stephen is made for Team Novo Nordisk and quickly became my favorite team member. As I was wrapping up my interview with Stephen I asked him what would he say to anyone living with diabetes "DON'T QUIT!! I wanted to quit diabetes at 14, I was told by the doctor I couldn't quit diabetes. Ever since that I can't quit a race because if I do I'm quitting on myself." That short statement changed me as an athlete. I have never quit a race but have shortened workouts when I was feeling fine. In February as a blizzard was hitting the NYC you know who was getting in a training run in Central Park.
Everyone knows my love and passion for Team Novo Nordisk, I had to ask Stephen about the team. I would ask Stephen"How was the Team Novo Nordisk training camp, is it like a big brother relationship where everyone wants to race and beat up on each other?" Stephens response increased more love for the team, "Its not like that at all, we are a family. We care about each other and are always in contact with one another asking how they are doing. We go to each others races and cheer them on, when one person wins we all win. We are a family and have each others back." This was not just a generic Team Novo Nordisk answer, another member of Team Novo Nordisk was with Stephen. He would not be racing but came to hear Stephen speak and keep him company. The team is a family and I had proof right in front of me. I quickly learned that Team Novo Nordisk is not the New York Yankees where one person makes all the money and gets all the attention. Team Novo Nordisk wins and losses as a team, they are truly a family and care for one another.
I had a small taste of that family while interviewing Stephen at the New Jersey Marathon Expo. I would interview Stephen while walking the grounds of Monmouth Park with Stephen and his puppy Miles. As we got to the end of the parking lot our interview had ended, we were a good ten minutes or more from the expo. For the rest of our stroll Stephen and I would talked like we had been good friends for years. He had done his research on me and how I am as a person and athlete. His many words of advice and encouragement will stick with me for a long time. Stephen could have quickly answered my questions in the expo and went on with his day. Unlike many professional athletes he went above and beyond for a blogger, fan of Team Novo Nordisk and fellow diabetic. Thank You Stephen and thank you Team Novo Nordisk for being so great!! You are changing diabetes and giving hope to so many all over the world!!
The day after a major event is commonly one of pain for many athletes. After months of training we lay it all out on the line for a few hours and get such satisfaction from completing an event that we worked towards for so long. Hobbling around work and getting picked on for it is nothing because we all know that we can destroy a coworker in any race that they would foolishly challenge us in. The diabetic athlete gets those same feelings but it also has a very unique feeling that brings with it a little bit of fear.
Physically I felt great today besides the injury to my knee, I never hit that exhaustin point yesterday because I pulled up lame trying to get to that point. I still had that unique diabetes feeling however, that feeling was not knowing how to cover the food I ate post race and any food that I ate today with insulin. A race takes its toll on your body, your body is tired and trying to recover from whatever event you just put it through. That means that your body is more sensative to insulin. For example I had a big bowl of pasta at 5pm, eight hours after finishing the half marathon. My blood sugar was at 93 before eating, it was at 88 three hours later. I would take two units of insulin at 8pm while I had a slice of peanut butter toast. On a normal day I would have woken up the next morning with a blood sugar of 300, this morning my blood sugar was at 161. It was crazy, I had a half box of pasta and only took two units of insulin. The odd insulin theme continued all day today, to this point I have only taken 19 units for the day!! I average around 32 units a day.
Before I started racing I never heard anyone speak about the day after a race as a diabetic. I don't know the reason or the science behind it but I know that the day after any race I take a lot less insulin. As always I must say that each person is unique and what works for one diabetic does not work for another. Just be aware that you put your body through a lot when you race. My best advice would be to test your blood sugar a lot more than usual and be aware of how your body reacts when you take insulin to cover a meal.
At the end of the day the half marathon was a great success, I had one minor mishap which I will speak about a little later. My diabetes game plan was perfect last night as I went to bed with a blood sugar of 116 and woke up with a blood sugar of 152. It was only 430am but I was feeling like today was going to be a special day when it came to running. Once I arrived to the start I made sure to grab my usual, half of plain bagel and a regular coffee with nothing in it. I have slowly learned that caffeine is very important when it comes to racing. Before stretching I tested and was a little disappointed to see a blood sugar 268, I decided taking .4 units of insulin and going with a 54% temp basal would be the best bet for the race.
After being a little surprised that I was placed in corral C, I still don't think that I'm that good of a runner. (Corrals went from A-G) I quickly got in to my zone and blocked out everything around me, you could call it my Oscar the grouch transition. Once the gun sounded I was off and feeling very strong, I had the confidence to run well and my blood sugar was right where it needed to be. I was finally able to pace myself. My plan was to go at a 830-9 minute pace until mile 9 and then pick it up. Early on mile after mile I started to feel better and better. The only problem would be a very odd and painful sharp pain on the outside of my right knee. I have had IT band problems in the past but for the last few weeks I have been foam rolling and stretching my IT like its my job. The pain comes when I touch the area around the femur and articular cartilage area of my knee. For the first nine miles I was able to suck it up and keep moving, a sharp pain every mile would slow me down for a bit but nothing that was drawn out. At mile 9 I felt like a little kid on Halloween, as kids we all want to find the house that gives out the full size candy bars. Yea the fun size are nice but the full candy bars were like finding gold. When it comes to running the water tables at each mile are the fun size drinks, personally I want to find a full bottle of water. Just after mile 9 I spotted three young children handing out full size water bottles, I was ecstatic and headed right over to them and said "you guys rule" as I grabbed one. I quickly cracked it open and began sipping it, I would do this for the entire mile so that I would be well hydrated for my 5k "kick to finish.
When I got to mile ten my time was at 1:28, I was hoping to be around 1:25 but I was feeling so strong that I figured if I pushed like I was running a 5k I would finish in a time very close to 1:50, just a few minutes above my PR. After I was past the water table I was like a wide receiver coming out of his stance, I was starting my kick. As soon as a started to kick it to the next level I came up short with a very sharp pain in my knee and after a few hobbles down I went. I quickly started to rub my leg thinking it was the IT band but as I rubbed the IT I felt nothing. I worked down and touched the outer bone of the knee and instantly I felt a sharp pain. I got up quickly and started to hobble, I would grit it out but the further I went the worse I felt. You can tell by the splits below that it was very painful down the stretch.
I'm not going to lie I was very angry when I finished the half marathon, I grabbed my medal and quickly put it in the food bag that they gave us at the finish. For six years I have been injury free, but once I cooled down I realized that I'm not getting paid to run. I run and cycle to live, doing both gives me amazing blood sugars and makes me feel better as a person. I was quickly brought back to the real world after a chat on the phone with Leanne. If I was to never ride a bike or run again I would be upset but I would live, I have a lot more in my life that I live for. Today I learned a lesson, who knows what is up with my knee but I will be out on the bike and running again as soon as I get it looked at. I'm just happy to have amazing people in my life that mean the world to me. Life isn't about a PR.
After months of training and preparation tomorrow is the big day. I'm ready for the New Jersey Half Marathon. I wanted to run the New Jersey half because it was sponsored by Novo Nordisk and today at the race expo I know why I wanted to be here. The expo seemed more like a diabetes expo than a race expo and I loved every second of it. From seeing diabetes banners and diabetes stats every few feet on the expo floor if a person without diabetes was walking the around the expo the would definitely have a much better understanding of diabetes when they left. Personally the highlight of the expo was seeing Team Novo Nordisk member Stephen England speak about his personal story as a diabetic and as a runner.
Tomorrow my plan is to try and run a 1:45 half marathon, it's possible but a tough few days may keep that from happening. For the past few days I have had a nagging cough and a lot of mucus. I felt ok on my training run this afternoon and my blood sugars have been great. I will be working my butt off to see 1:45 at the finish, the weather conditions will also be in my favor with good temperatures and very little wind it is a great day for a run.
I will be posting pictures to Facebook and Twitter tomorrow before and after the race. I will not be writing tomorrow but a race report will be up on Monday night, be ready to read about my half marathon that ended with a pr!!!
"A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself." Sunday the best dog that I have ever had will be on my mind. Dusty didn't have the easiest of lives and that is part of what made him so special. When my Aunt and Uncle who live in Chicago brought Dusty home they saved his life. Dusty had been in the local shelter for sometime and was very close to being put down. He was found roaming the streets of Chicago and was missing many teeth after being abused.
Dustys trip to Rhode Island was a spur of the moment decision, in the spring of 2009 my mother had talked to Leanne and I about Dusty while my parents were out in Chicago. Dusty had been causing some havoc in the house and my aunt and uncle were looking for someone to take him in. It would be almost a year until we learned that Dusty was causing some trouble in Chicago but from what we were told Dusty sounded like an amazing dog that would be perfect for Leanne and I.
I remember when we went to the airport to pick him up, Leanne and I were so nervous and had to stop at the local pet store to get dusty, toys, a bed, and food. As we waited in the baggage claim we were wondering what Dusty would look like and how he would be acting after being on a flight for a few hours. No joke we were waiting near the baggage claim and suddenly the bell goes off to alert you that the luggage is coming out and here comes dusty in his dog crate with the cutest look on his face. As we ran over we quickly let him out of the crate and instantly fell in love with that innocent look on his face.
Once Dusty was home the real magic of Dusty started, I was miserable after my surgery, I was ruining my marriage, and had nothing to smile about until Dusty came. When I would go on my rants about how much I hated my life and was upset with my diabetes Leanne would take Dusty for a nice long walk to get away from it all, to be perfectly honest I was very surprised they both came back some days. Often times it would be just Dusty and I after I had worked all day as Leanne was coaching track. Dusty had no choice, he had to listen to me, him and I would lay on the couch and I would tell him all of my problems. He wouldn't say anything but he would just look at me and when he did I would think about all that he went through in his life. He came to us for a reason and I quickly learned that if a dog that can't fend for himself can get out of a near death situation than I surely could. It was fitting that Dusty would be at my first bike race, the bike and Dusty go together.
The picture above has been on my phone for the past two weeks. This sounds weird but the picture gives me hope, it reminds of what Dusty went through to live a great life and it reminds me that anything is possible and to keep fighting no matter how tough or bad things get. Dusty will be on my mind and when the pain of the half marathon sets in while I'm running I will remember Dusty and will push on no matter how bad it gets.
After countless cycling races and almost ten half marathons I still need to train myself as a diabetic. We all know about training for our specific race, you spend hours on the bike or hours running mile after mile in conditions that vary day to day. What about the diabetic athlete, do they doing anything differently than athletes that are not living with diabetes?
I'm sure that I'm not alone but I like to go through diabetes training a few days before the event that I will be participating in. What does that mean exactly? It means that I try my best to recreate the night before and morning of a race as a diabetic. I need my blood sugars to be hovering around the 150 mark the night before a race and around the 200 mark when I start the race. Not to mention having to setup my insulin pump for the race that is ahead of me, will I need to take a little insulin because my blood sugar is higher than it should be or do I need to set a lower temp basal because I'm lower than I should be. All of that is in my head before each and every race, but I'm also worried about my blood sugars the day before the race. If my blood sugar was low or high all day the day before the race it will take a toll on my body. That means I need more sleep and need to drink more water than usual, maybe even some Pedialyte to get some essential nutrients back.
I treated today like the day before a race, I did my best to keep my blood sugars around 140 (113 average for 8 blood sugar tests today) and ate all of the same meals that I will be eating on Saturday. Tomorrow I will wake up at 4:45 just like I will have to on Sunday, I will test my blood sugar and then go for a 3 to 5 mile run. Obviously that is not a half marathon but it will give me a very good idea of how this weekend will go. If all goes according to plan tonight and tomorrow morning I will have a tremendous amount of confidence at the NJ half marathon. That confidence will not take five minutes off of my personal best in a half but it will help me relax which is very important.
I may be a little OCD but having a diabetes test run a few days before a race has been the best thing for me. It has helped me figure out what foods I need to eat before a race and how my body will respond. What works best for me may not work for you and vice versa but I believe that it is important that we share with each other what works for us. The number of people competing in athletic events is growing each day, it is our responsibility to share what we have learned to help the next generation of diabetes athletes. We are a family and when one of us succeeds we all succeed, we are all strong and we are showing the world what is possible with diabetes!!
For months you have been reading about how all of my training has been done for the New Jersey half marathon. It is a race that will mean a lot to me because of who is sponsoring the race. Novo Nordisk is the primary sponsor for the race, we all know about my love and passion for Team Novo Nordisk but why am I so excited for a race sponsored by the pharmaceutical company?
My love for Novo Nordisk started in the fall of 2011. At that time I was trying to start a diabetes partnership with a pro hockey franchise. My idea was to "Shutout Diabetes" I wanted to partner with a pro hockey team so that each time they posted a shutout a preset amount of money would be donated to a diabetes foundation. I had pitched the idea to many New England teams and was unsuccessful. I was doing everything on my own and had very little support until Leanne and I attended the ADA Boston Step Out Walk to stop diabetes. I was introduced to a gentleman that worked for Novo Nordisk, I was told that he would be the one to talk about my "shutout Diabetes". partnership. After trading emails this gentleman and I met up, I wanted to learn about the company he worked for and he wanted to help me realize my dream. As he told me about Novo Nordisk I couldn't help but fall in love with the company. We hear so much about how pharmaceutical companies just care about money, this gentleman told me the truth. Novo Nordisk cares about the patients. He and all of his colleagues would have to wear an insulin pump filled with saline and "live" with diabetes" for a week when they were hired by the company. If the workers knew what diabetes was about then they would care more about the patients and not just work for a pay check. When I heard this I was ready to switch from the insulin I was using to an insulin made by Novo Nordisk. I would go on to meet many more people that work for Novo Nordisk and each person is just as amazing and caring as the next. If it was not for meeting this gentleman at the walk I would have never had a team sign on for the "Shutout Diabetes" partnership. He taught me how to dream and how to keep fighting no matter how bad things get. Trust me when I say "Things got very bad" it took a lot of time, and tears but together him and I realized a dream.
That story is sweet but my love for Novo Nordisk got even bigger when they were introduced as the main sponsor for an all diabetes cycling, triathlon, and running team. I have had the honor of trading emails with team members and even being able to interview team member Sebastien Sasseville. Just like the members of the pharmaceutical side of Novo Nordisk the Team Novo Nordisk members are just as great. It is no secret that Novo Nordisk saved my life, if it weren't for Novo Nordisk I wouldn't have a friend that helped me realize a dream and I may not have an all diabetes team that is my life. Novo Nordisk has taught me a lot about myself and how to live with diabetes, they have made me a cycling fanatic and they have made me work my butt off to be a better person so that one day I can call myself an employee of Novo Nordisk. I'm still chasing that dream but next Sunday running in the Novo Nordisk half marathon is a way for me to say thank you to such an amazing team. When I hear Team Novo Nordisk I instantly think of the elite athletes, but I also think of all the employees that make Novo Nordisk the pharmaceutical company so great.
Another weekend means another race before my major spring race next weekend in New Jersey. The hope today was to focus more on my diabetes and that the run would take care of its self. Waking up with a blood sugar of 75 was just the start that I needed, I would be able to have my usual two eggs and two waffles for breakfast. The challenge would be how much insulin to take so that my blood sugar was high enough to be able to race at 10am. After much deliberation with my imaginary diabetes friend we decided that 2.2 units would be sufficient.
I arrived to the school around 9am, quickly grabbed my bib and then headed back to the car for the moment of truth. I tested my blood sugar and was very happy when I saw 149, a little lower than I would like but good enough that I wouldn't have to worry while racing. I drank my pre race NUUN and had half of a Powerbar before heading out for a two mile warmup jog. Just like last week I ran the two miles at a 9:50 pace, just something to get some sweat going and my muscles warm. As the race started as usual I sprinted out and quickly found a good open spot to settle in. My goal would be to run mile one at 8 minutes, mile two at 7:30 and the final mile at 7 minutes. That would be right around a 23 minute finishing time. As I hit the half mile mark I was going at a 6:10 pace, I honestly thought I was holding back a little, I felt great. Once seeing the 6:10 pace I slowed it down to a 7:30 pace for the rest of mile one. As usual I raced backwards my first mile was run at 7:10. I still felt strong but would pay for the quick start around the 2.5 mile mark. As I got back towards the school the adrenaline started pumping again and I was able to have a decent kick the final 800 meters. I would finish in a time of 23:31. Not bad but not great either. The real number that mattered was my blood sugar, I felt great and a blood sugar of 135 brought a big smile to my face.
I wouldn't say that I'm happy with my performance today as a runner, I'm sick of not being able to pace myself in a 5k. I feel very fit I just haven't learned how to properly run a 5k as of yet. I was very happy with my blood sugar performance however and that gives me a tremendous amount of confidence heading to the New Jersey half marathon next weekend. Be sure to check in tomorrow to learn why I have been looking forward to nothing but the New Jersey half marathon since New Years Day.
194-148-327-427-179-177-50-88-99 Those were my blood sugars today, for the most part they are respectable. Obviously the 327 reading and the 427 reading are cause for concern. The reading of 327 put an end to my streak of 22 straight blood sugars below 200 so I was quite upset with myself. I had rode my bike to work and was on cloud 9 after having a blood sugar of 148 when my ride was over. I took my usual four units and had my post ride breakfast, I was feeling good until my legs became very sore and weak. I figured it was due to the increased mileage on the bike but decided to test just to be safe. (Dexcom and I are having some difficulties so Easy Ed is on vacation which is becoming a pain, I miss him.) When I saw the reading of 327 I quickly took six units of insulin thinking that I didn't cover the bowl of Puffins that I had eaten post ride properly. It wasn't even an hour later and I still felt bad, I tested again and saw 427.
When you have a string of very high blood sugars one thought enters your mind, something is wrong with my pump site. I quickly took of the site and was not surprised when I saw a slight bend in the tubing. I quickly ran in to the office grabbed an insulin pen and looked for a needle to take some insulin. With no needle to be found I would have to go home. Luckily it was rainy and I have amazing bosses so I was able to sneak out to grab a new pump site. As I drove home I started to get upset, I never want to leave work because of my diabetes and today I had too. I should have checked my work diabetes cabinet and made sure I had enough supplies earlier. The cabinet is now full of pump sites, needles and pens. I never want to run out of supplies again while working.
The tough part would be taking enough insulin to fix the blood sugar of 427 but not taking to much so that I wouldn't be able to ride my bike home. As the day went on I started to achieve small victories, my blood sugar never went below 100, a good starting small victory. I would not take insulin with my lunch because I had taken 8 units to fix the high an hour before lunch, risky but that led to another small victory because my blood sugar was at 179 when I suspended my pump so that I could ride my bike home. The next small victory was a blood sugar of 177 at 330 when I was leaving work on my bike to go home. Those small victories brought my confidence back as I started to pedal. The day had brought a lot of challenges but by not focusing on the negative and setting small goals I was happy with the work I did to just get on the bike.
What I learned today was that the people I work with are amazing and very caring. One coworker let me use his car to run home to get my supplies. A few was asking question after question about how I felt, what I would do, and were both fascinated by the insulin jam that had formed in the pump tubing. Riding my bike home one of the guys I work with pulled up next to me as I was riding and challenged me to go as fast as I could up a hill. As I hit 20mph he started laughing and said "Holy s&#t you're going 20 up a hill, hit 40 on the way down!!!" As much as they all pick on me for shaving my legs and wearing white Team Novo Nordisk kits before memorial day they are good guys and do care. After all that I have dealt with when it comes to diabetes I will take all of there smart ass comments because at the end of the day they do care. That means a lot.
PS- If any of the guys read this I will get picked on relentlessly
It took longer than usual but Spring has finally arrived in southern New England. That can only mean one thing, I'm back where I belong, on the bike!!! The past two days I have been on the bike either before or after work and I have never been happier. The bike is where I belong, I like running but I love cycling. The rush that I get as soon as my feet are clipped in to the pedals is amazing, I go from being this laid back easy going guy to a guy that will try to out sprint a car that I meet at a stop light. Something happens when I'm on the bike, it is far from normal, I love to torture myself while on the bike. I will go out of my way to find big hills or try to ride in high traffic areas so my nerves are good when I race. Who does that?? I was riding home yesterday and was going through downtown when a car stopped to let another car turn in front of us, as soon as the car was past us it was like I was shot out of a cannon. I went all out and got ahead of the car, I decided to hold my all out sprint to see how my fitness was. As I hit 30mph and my heart rate crept past 180 I started to smile. I don't understand it, what is wrong with me, who does that.
What has made the past two days so great has been my blood sugars before, during and after my rides. I have been able to keep my blood sugars below 200 before getting on the bike which is a huge accomplishment for me. Setting a temp basal of 9% three hours before getting on the bike is what works best for me. My blood sugar will crash in the first twenty minutes but a shot of Gu, Gatorade, and a couple bites of a Powerbar get me right back to the 130 mark. From there it is smooth sailing as long as I drink and eat every fifteen minutes. I have been using alarms on my watch to remind me to refuel. To often I get way to in to my ride and forget to eat and drink because I'm so in to the race or ride, if that happens I will often become low and that is the last thing that I want.
I'm happy that the warm air of Spring is finally here. I live for hour rides that coincide with the sun rising, it brings a smile to my face and reminds that each day is starting anew. That is what makes diabetes and the bike go together, I could have a bad ride and horrible blood sugars one day but the next day is another day and with that comes new challenges.
Without a cloud in the sky and temperatures just above 50 it was a perfect morning for a race. In fact all morning things were going perfectly, I was feeling great and my blood sugar was hovering right around 200 as I began to stretch. As I began my warmup run I was feeling very strong and with the help of my garmin watch I was able to enjoy my warmup and ran two miles at a ten minute pace.
Ten minutes before the race my blood sugar was at 181, I couldn't have asked for a better blood sugar. I had suspended my pump twenty minutes before and was ready to race. As the gun sounded I did my best to find a good position in the field so I could quickly settle in to my race plan. I wanted to be at a 8 minute pace for the first three miles, and then finish around a 7:30 pace. My first mile came in at 7:47 which I was very happy with, I was finally able to relax and start with a time that didn't take to much out of me. Mile 2 would come in at eight minutes and mile three at 8:09, I was right where I wanted to be and I was feeling great. I hit the four mile marker at 31:12, the last mile I would push and hope to finish right around 38:40. A decent head wind was more challenging than I had thought and I would finish in a time of 38:47. I was happy and was feeling tired after the race. I walked back to my car with a smile but was exhausted, I figured it was from finally knowing how to run a race but something was off. Once at my car I quickly grabbed my meter and was shocked to see a blood sugar of 54!! I felt like I was 80, I quickly grabbed a Powerade and a Powerbar to fix the low.
It was a great day but a blood sugar of 54 after the race has me upset. I'm better than that, I need to adjust as a diabetic to my new running style. Next week is a new race and a chance to make up for the low post run I had today.
This past week has been one of the best weeks ever for a sports fan. College Basketball Final Four, NCAA Frozen Four, End of the NHL season, start of MLB, Team Novo Nordisk racing in Rio Grande Do Sol, and The Masters. It doesn't get any better than that. Personally my racing season gets started tomorrow as I race in the Clam Digger. The Clam Digger is a well attended local race that is run on a fast and flat five mile course that runs along the atlantic ocean.
Last year was the first year that I ran the five mile course and did so in a time of 39:12 which got me a 43rd place finish out of 111 runners. This year life is a little calmer and I feel that I'm in better shape than I was at this time last year. As always the key will be to start out slow and really kick for the final 5k. I'm aiming for a time of under thirty-nine minutes which is totally possible, I just need to keep calm at the start. After getting some coaching these past couple months I feel that I have started to learn how to run. For the past year or so I was accepting my times and not pushing myself as hard as I could. That has changed and I expect to be totally exhausted at the end of the race tomorrow.
As a diabetic I could not be happier with how I feel when I go to run or ride my bike. Everything seems to be dialed in and that will truly help tomorrow. This is the beginning of a long season that will include a marathon in October and a jump in to the Duathlon world. It all starts tomorrow and I can't wait to put on my Team Novo Nordisk socks, Nuun jersey and race along the ocean!!
As diabetics we check and double check carb counts and analyze every piece of food that enters our body. Personally I should be using algorithms to figure out how much insulin I need for all of my meals and snacks. Being so active makes figuring out insulin amounts for meals that much tougher. Some meals at work only require .3 units of insulin, these are usually 60-80 carb meals.
With so much worry about foods and insulin amounts we often over look the little things. The other night when I was changing my insulin pump site Leanne walked in and said "oh man your stomach is all beat up". After that I looked down and in fact my midsection looked like a pin cushion with marks and bruises from old pump sites. I quickly moved the site to my lower back and hoped for the best, what happened has been amazing. I have taken less insulin all week and have had blood sugars averaging 134 since I moved my pump site to my back. I had fallen in love with midsection and needed a change, being an athlete using my arms or legs is not allowed because they are always moving. That limits site location but finding my back as a new location has been like finding a pot of gold.
I will be using my lower back for the foreseeable future to give my midsection a break. Sometimes the small changes make the biggest difference. Don't overlook the little things.
As the weather gets warmer the random blog posts go away and more serious posts about diabetes and cycling appear. Unfortunately it was 42 degrees, windy and damp today. Days like this really test you as a person but I have found that even a small test like dealing with the cold all day play into how serious of an athlete you are. The athlete that isn't motivated takes today off and waits for warmer weather. The average athlete complains about the weather but gets a small workout in. The elite/professional athlete goes that extra mile, if they were scheduled to ride at a race pace they do that and then go for a cool down ride and enjoy every minute of it because they know that they will see conditions like this again.
I'm not sure where I fall but I need a little pep talk before heading out and dislike that initial cold shock to the body. Once I'm out there and get going however it is game on, I love running and being on the bike. The worse the conditions the better I perform, for whatever reason I never like when things are easy. I love a challenge and love the pain. What does this all mean??? It means that I found a great motivational video on YouTube today and had to share it. I hope that video gives you that extra kick in the butt and helps you in some way.
We all know about the usual low blood sugar signs, dizziness, shaking, sudden mood changes, the list goes on and on. Many of us however suffer from our own unique low blood sugar symptoms. Most of the time these signs are very clear. For example I was just ready to have a melt down because Leanne left an empty water bottle next to the garbage can. My low blood sugar had me very angry because that water bottle wasn't placed in the recycling bin that is maybe fifteen feet away. As I crumpled the bottle while putting it away I realized that I was way to angry and quickly headed over to test my blood sugar, apple juice in hand. I was 64 when I tested incase anyone was wondering.
Yes the rage low is not the best but I suffer from an even worse low blood sugar symptom. I often yawn when my blood sugar is low, a low being between 60-80. The yawn low has shown up at the worse possible moments, from the last seconds of a very close game that I was coaching to sitting down with the boss to discuss a problem on the golf course. It is a very clear sign of a low blood sugar, I shouldn't be yawning at 2pm while trying to learn something that truly interests me at work. The people that I see everyday know about the yawning low but it is the people I don't know that take the yawn to mean something else. In fact I have had parents ask athletes why their coach was yawning as the team came out of a timeout in a game that we were trailing in the final seconds. Explaining that was fun and of course the parent felt bad which made it a very awkward situation.
Of course it would be great if each and every diabetic had the same symptom for every low but where would the fun be in that. The yawn pops up at bad times but it is amusing when it appears around good friends. This sounds weird but I like when a buddy asks "Do you need a nap?" at 9am as I'm preparing to go for a bike ride.
This afternoon I had to call Dexcom because I received the "Low Battery Order New Transmitter" message from my Dexcom. That is both good and bad, bad because I will be without my Dexcom for maybe a week or so. The good news is that I should be able to upgrade to the new Dexcom G4 Platinum with Share. When this technology was first introduced I talked to Leanne about it and she quickly told me that she wanted no part of it, "You're an adult, I don't need to babysit you!!" That got me to thinking, I can share with up to five people who would I choose? I would not choose my parents, they have enough to worry about when it comes to me and my diabetes, I don't need my mother calling me at 1pm when I'm in a meeting and asking me if I'm eating something to fix a blood sugar of 62. Trust me it would happen.
The first two people that came to mind would be my bosses at work. I have never used my diabetes as an excuse to get out of any job at work but going in to grab a snack for a low has me paranoid. Do they know that I'm really low or do they think I'm just looking for a quick break. With the Dexcom Share they will know exactly what is going on. I have a feeling both of my bosses will say no and that they have no use for it but I would want them to use it for a week and see how it goes. I'm a very moody diabetic, most are, but I want them to know why one day I want to be alone all day and the next I'm bouncing off the wall and playing pranks on everyone.
The third person would be a close friend that has taken an interest in my diabetes as of late. When I first got my CGM he asked all kinds of questions about it and cared enough to learn about how low and high blood sugars effect my body and the way I act. He would call the CGM one of the best things ever for my diabetes and even chastised me for not wearing it one night when we went out. When he learned that I didn't have it on he quickly turned to his wife and said "When we get home take all of the batteries out of the smoke detectors, they have never gone off but I want a good nights sleep so take them out so I can sleep." He then turned back to me and said "Not wearing that makes no sense, why wouldn't you wear something that would save your life" He is right and ever since that night I have never gone more than one day without wearing it. If he had my blood sugars on his phone 24/7 I would never hear the end of it and that'd be great. He has a unique way of motivating people and if he was to see a blood sugar of 300 I could just imagine what he would say. "Huh, 300 what happened did you get lazy and not want to take insulin?" or "Huh guess you should learn how to cover the food you eat" Very harsh comments but ones that would make me a better diabetic. After a few months of hearing it from him I could see my A1C dipping below 6 because I would strive for perfection just to shut him up.
The share feature is amazing and I hope thatI get to use it sooner rather than later. I will still have two spots for people who would like to see my blood sugars on a daily basis, if you have any interest let me know I'd be more than happy to share my blood sugars with anyone that would like to see them.
On March 21st Team Novo Nordisk opened its new team store, for whatever reason Leanne has cancelled my credit card and took scissors to my debit card. That was a very good idea on her part but a decision that left me kicking and screaming like a small child. I could easily order one of everything from the team store, I would wear all of the apparel and would have the biggest smile on my face while doing so.
As I thought about which product I would order first I was instantly drawn to the cycling kits, what better way to show support for the team I love than by wearing the kit all over New England. I then thought about the unwritten rule of cycling "under no circumstances should a replica pro team kit or a national/world champion kit be worn unless you’ve earned it. The only acceptable team kit is your own club kit." Cyclists are a strange bunch, we think we are disrespected by people that drive cars and we pick on the person that is dressed like Peter Sagan. I once went past a rider that was covered in the Team Trek Kit, when I got to work a coworker asked me if I passed Andy Schleck on my way in. I laughed and said "Yes he must be training in Westerly to get ready for the Tour" We are all guilty of wearing a teams kit, I even did so when I first got in to cycling, I bought the US Postal Teams kit because I loved Lance and that team was the team that started Lances' historical run.
With that said why do I have two and soon to be three Team Novo Nordisk kits? The answer is simple, this is the first team of its kind in the world. It doesn't matter if you ride a Mountain bike for ten minutes around the block, if you commute to work via the bike or if you're a hardcore cyclist that rides thousands of miles a year. If you have diabetes, care for, or are friends with someone that has diabetes you are allowed to wear the kit whenever you please. Buy the hat, the polo shirts, and the leisure jacket, wear anything and everything that has Team Novo Nordisk or Changing Diabetes on it. We are all members of the team and we owe it to the team to do our part. If you wear the hat out to do errands or wear the polo to play a round of golf you are helping not only the team but everyone that is affected by diabetes!! Team Novo Nordisk is changing diabetes and they can't do it without your help.
Personally when I put on a Team Novo Nordisk item I get chills, each and every time. I'm not saying that because it sounds good or will bring more visitors to my site. That is the truth!! I remember sitting in my room when I was a teenager wishing that diabetes was cool, I would cry because as a diabetic I had no one to look up to, all I ever wanted was an athlete with diabetes to look up too. We now have that with Team Novo Nordisk and it is one of the best things to ever happen to me as a diabetic. Whenever I train I have at least one Team Novo Nordisk item on, on the bike I dream of a car going by me with a child living with diabetes inside of it. Maybe that child can't stand living with diabetes, if that child sees me riding my bike with the Team Novo Nordisk kit on he will learn about the team and what is possible with diabetes. I wear the cycling jersey while running half marathons, the pockets in the back allow me to carry all of my supplies with me. I have had other runners ask me if I was a member of the team, "I tell them that I'm a diabetic and that I don't belong to the team but love what they are about." That is all it takes, someone sees the jersey, hat, or socks they know about the team and will tell others who will in turn look up "Team Novo Nordisk" on Google. Wear your Team Novo Nordisk apparel with pride because you are helping to change diabetes!!
In November I sat down and thought about what I wanted to accomplish as an athlete in 2015. After a life changing 2014 I had to sit down and plan what I wanted to do. Did I want to work harder than I ever had before to be the best diabetic, the best athlete and best parent that I could be or did I want to be just a great parent and a diabetic with a great A1C. The answer is I wanted to be the best person I could be, that would mean finding out how to juggle working out, work and being a parent. It took sometime to understand how all of that would fit together, if I was a dedicated athlete my workouts would have to start at 5am, that would be the only time I could workout and not miss quality time with my family.
In November I sat down and planned out what I needed to do to be a better diabetic athlete in 2015, what did I want to do? I decided that I would race more duathlons and stick to an alternating training schedule, one day on the bike the next on the bike and one weight day thrown in to keep the muscle that I had gained over the winter. Early spring has challenged me quite a bit as an athlete, I have been sick a lot and training has been tough. I'm happy with where I'm at but knew I needed more. For the past few weeks I have been searching for coaches. I never knew how to train, I just jump on the bike or go for a run. I've never done hill workouts or sprint workouts, I just let my ability do the work. I knew how far I had to go and would get to the finish, it wouldn't be pretty but I'd find a way. Last fall I finished in the top 20 in a duathlon, I didn't know how to race I just went off and raced. If I could finish in the top 20 with no training what could I do if I had some coaching.
This afternoon I found out that it won't be easy but that having some help training will help come race time. For the past year or so I had fallen into a lull as a runner. I hit a point that was acceptable to me as a runner, my times were decent but not great. If I wanted to be better I had to push myself as a runner the way I did on the bike. Today mile repeats would be the first of my training drills. Being a "distance runner" short repeats wouldn't help to much, 200 meters wouldn't help me in a half marathon, mile repeats would however. I would run a mile all out and then I would take a minute break and then it was off to run another mile as fast as I could. What I found out was that I'm faster than I thought, I ran my mile repeats at 6:26, 6:47 and 7:05. My mile PR is 6:09, after a week of no training the first mile at 6:26 was great to see and gave me a lot of confidence. The last mile was horrible, I was gasping for breath when I finished but that pain will turn into a smile when I have my first duathlon of the season in May.
Tomorrow is a day of hills on the bike which will not be easy but training isn't supposed to be easy. I'm excited to get on the bike, I'm excited to be doing anything!! I haven't been myself for a couple of weeks now and I'm just starting to feel good.
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