Diabetes, Exercise, Nutrition, and Getting Older.

So now I’ve finished two events this year: a 100 mile bike ride in early June, and a recently completed 5k run. There are a few thoughts I’d like to get down while they’re fresh in my mind. Things that are different between this year and just a few years ago.

First, the good news. My diabetes has been managed fairly well this year. Notice I didn’t say that I managed my diabetes well. It’s really been a wonderful team effort. The Great Spousal Unit has been both supportive and insightful. Asking the right questions at the right time, and not letting me get away with those half-hearted “I’m okay” answers when I’m really not. A D conversation with her can be difficult, but I always feel better after.

If I can take any credit here, it’s for bringing my endocrinologist in on my training and efforts to continue competing. She’s the reason I was finally able to train and compete while wearing my pump. The results haven’t always been spectacular (see here), but it wasn’t the diabetes that caused my problems.

Second: I need to re-learn nutrition. I’m ashamed at the absolute lack of knowledge I have about nutrition at this point in my life. About what kind of foods will serve me well in training and competition. Granted, I could stand to lose a few pounds. But first, I have to get smart about what I’m putting into my body all the time. Not just on race day. I haven’t seen a dietician since I was diagnosed 21 years ago. That was in the days of diabetic food exchanges. It worked like this: Inject the same amount of insulin every day. Eat the same amount of protein, carbs, veg, dairy, and fat every day. Hope for the same BG result every day. Hey kids– my diet needs an upgrade. Version 2.0. ASAP.

Third: I’m getting older. And yes, it sucks. In just the last year I’ve had to come to grips with the fact that my body can’t recover as fast as it once did. Where I used to be able to work out day after day, now I need a day (or two) to recover after a hard workout. Now, I find myself asking: When will just finishing be enough? When do I cross over from being a competitor to being a participant? I want to be competitor. I need to be a competitor, for as long as possible.

Well, I don’t have all the answers yet. Who does? But I believe in the notion that the real honor is in trying. In the effort. Despite age. Despite diabetes. Champions are made not by overcoming every obstacle, but in recognizing that they’re there and trying anyway.

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  • Scott E  On July 19, 2012 at 8:24 am

    That “getting older” part stinks, doesn’t it? I’m beginning to realize the effects of age, and I’m still a (relatively) young 38. But I’m glad that our bodies start out young and resilient. It got me through my earlier days with D when I was dumb and careless. The only way I can explain making it through my college years, with the undisciplined eating and drinking, was with a little help from youth.


    • StephenS  On July 19, 2012 at 7:01 pm

      Good points Scott… I never thought about that until now. I’m not afraid of getting old. I just wish I felt like I did when I was 38!


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