Category Archives: Athletes With Diabetes

Another 5k in the books.

Well, I managed to get it done. Again.

This past Sunday marked the running of our neighborhood 5k. I’ve done this run every year since my early forties, with the exception of 2015, when I opted for surgery on a torn meniscus instead.

It’s a fun event. It’s great to be a part of, and it’s close to home. The weather was about as good as you can get for Maryland in mid-July: temperatures in the low 70s, with atypically low humidity, and not a cloud in the sky.

How did I do diabetes-wise? Only okay. Actually, it was a stark reminder of how adrenaline affects your blood sugar in a negative way. I woke up at 74 mg/dL. I had a little juice, waited around at home with a heating pad on my sore hamstring (what a difference that made), and then checked right before leaving for the race: 152 mg/dL.

Once I got to the race venue, I did some stretching and tried to stay hydrated. One more check before the race began revealed 192 mg/dL. Did I mention I was feeling a lot of stress about finishing this year?

Regardless, I was able to finish, and a check about five minutes after completion showed I had only gone down to 177 mg/dL. I was plenty hydrated; this was all stress. But I knew eventually, the stress would go away, and I could sink fast if I wasn’t careful.

I grabbed a bagel at the post-race spread (which is always nice, by the way) and put it in my bag so I could enjoy it at home. After eating a big, poofy bagel (think MEGA carbs), hydrating some more, and getting a shower, two and a half hours later, I was sitting at 94 mg/dL. Stress gone.

How did I do race-wise? Better than I thought I would. My fastest pre-race run was right around 36 minutes, and I didn’t finish any mile in under 10 minutes. But race day always makes you go a little faster. Though I don’t think I was able to do a sub 10-minute mile, I did manage to cover the 3.1 miles in 33 minutes, 12 seconds. Good enough to be 199th out of 462 runners overall, 20th out of 43 runners in my age group.

The photo above is really the only one of me that we got. However, I did record a little video after I finished, showing others finishing the race.

If you’ve been thinking of entering yourself in a race like this, and you start to wonder why you’re doing it, I hope you come back to this video for inspiration (watch full screen if you can). There weren’t a lot of people lining the home stretch, but we (especially Maureen & I) were vocal. When you’re on that last run to the finish, the feeling of having people cheering you on is indescribable. This is what we all run for.

I don’t have to tell you, but…

I don’t have to tell you, but for the purposes of starting this blog post:

Getting older is hard.

I’ve been training since mid-May for my local 5k, the one I run nearly every year. Nearly every year, I start training in May, so when the race comes in mid-July, I’m ready to go 3 point some-odd miles without stopping.

I’ll admit, I hate to run. Hate it. I’m not very fast, though I’m not slow, and more than any other activity, running pushes my heart rate up. Usually, into the 190-200 beats per minute range, no matter how slow I go. Training allows me to keep it between 180 and 190 on race day, but that’s about as good as I can do.

The thing is… I like the race itself. Once the horn sounds and we’ve all started, it feels more like a party at 180 to 190 beats per minute. Plus, this event is close, about five minutes away from my house. And the truth is, there are far fewer activities (read also: competitions) I can get into at my age.

Okay, I know I’m not that old, but training this year has made me feel old for really, the very first time. I’m now at the point where I don’t know if I can run a sub-ten-minute mile anymore. I’ve been trying, but I’m not there yet. It’s hard to describe… but when I run now, I seem to reach a point where I just can’t seem to move my legs any faster than they’re already going.

Put another way, my top end speed is definitely slower than my top end speed has ever been. Even when I really push myself.

The good news is that my blood sugars don’t care. Rare is the occasion where I’m above 200 mg/dL these days, although I did have one terrible excursion in the over-300 range after a four mile run last weekend. Definitely hydration related. Once I got a correction bolus in, and about 40 ounces of water, I was back down around 100 mg/dL. So fortunately, I was only up there for around two hours.

The race is in a week and a half. After that, I’ll go back to training on the bike, though sadly, there are no bike rides to train for at this point. But I plan to run this race again next year, and do bike rides too, for a few years more, if I can still muster the energy.

For now, all I can do is look forward. There is still some hard training to do, but each run completed means one less run to do before the race. And I think that’s the point for me: concentrate on the next workout, the next event. Don’t worry about how much effort is involved, or how much more difficult it is now compared to 15 years ago.

The weird thing is, I feel weaker, more vulnerable than ever, at a time when I’m doing things that will actually help me stay active longer and hopefully, help me live longer. Like diabetes, concentrating on the good rather than the difficult will help me power through and achieve more than if I stick my head in the sand. A week and a half to go!

Editor’s note: I’ll be taking the rest of the week off (from running and writing) to volunteer at the DPAC booth in the exhibit hall at Friends for Life in Orlando, Florida. If you’re at Friends for Life, stop by and say hello!

Join the Champion Athletes of 2017.

I was going to start this off by talking about Spring coming up in the USA. But hey, this is the World Wide Web anyway, so I need to fully recognize (recognise?) that Autumn is also on the way.

Regardless, it’s a great time to consider that athletic event you’ve been working toward, or accomplished. Maybe you’ve been committed to a better fitness routine for a while now. Feeling like a Champion? That’s where I’m going with this. Here’s my reminder:

If you, or someone you love, is living with diabetes and working toward or accomplishing an athletic goal, I have a brand spanking new medal for you.

We’ve given over 80 of these away over the past 3+ years, to people in places as close to me as Virginia and Pennsylvania, and places as far away as New Zealand and India.

I am always so happy to read about someone overcoming their fears, gaining confidence, and giving the extra effort to reach that achievement they’ve been working toward. Whether it’s your first run, a milestone bike ride, or literally a mountain you’ve always wanted to climb, your effort should be rewarded.

Here, briefly, are the rules:

1. The athlete receiving the award must be living with diabetes.

2. The athletic event must have taken place in the last six months. For now, we’re going with a pretty loose interpretation of the word “event”. We have medal winners who are runners, ballroom dancers, swimmers, motocross riders, and curlers. If you feel you’ve accomplished something important to you, that’s an event.

3. Send me an e-mail at champswithdiabetes@gmail.com. Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal. Full disclosure: I reserve the right to use your testimonial here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

4. When you receive your medal, it would be great if you post a photo of it around the athlete’s neck. You can send a Tweet to @ChampsWithD (hashtag: #champdathletes) or post it on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes Facebook Page.

If you meet the above criteria, you qualify for a medal.

So… as you consider signing up for that event this year… as you consider getting those 10,000 steps in every day, or hopping on the bike in the evening, think about what it means. Think about how your efforts are making a difference for you and your loved ones. Consider how great it feels to get a hard won victory over diabetes.

Then go out and make history. Be a Champion Athlete With Diabetes.

Your medal is waiting.

Let’s hold our own Gold Medal Ceremony.

It’s Summer Olympics time! And what does everyone at the Olympics want?
.DSC01178
That’s right… we all want our very own gold medal.

Guess what? If you’re a Person With Diabetes, or you know someone living with diabetes, and said PWD is staying active, achieving athletic goals, I have a gold(colored) medal to award them.

Let’s face it: right now is the time when most of us are most active. Have you been running a 5k? Running every week? Walking every day? Getting on your bike and putting pavement behind you?

You don’t have to be like the NASCAR driver, or the member of the USA Women’s Curling team who have been awarded medals. You can be someone who takes a boxing class, is a ballroom dancer, or a runner, or a kid who loves to play basketball. Or, like a recent winner, you run a half marathon in a tutu. Regardless of your sport, whatever your level of skill, there is a medal waiting for you.

Why should the athletes at the Olympics be the only ones getting a medal? You’ve worked hard… friends or family members living with diabetes have worked hard. We all know it’s not easy to stay on a training schedule and deal with insulin, low blood sugar, high blood sugar, what to eat, what not to eat, staying on schedule, working hard. Heck, all of that is practically an Olympic event in itself. The kind of event that no one wants to compete in. But People With Diabetes compete and win in that event every day.
 
 
Here’s how to win your Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal:

1. The athlete receiving the award must be living with diabetes.

2. The athletic event must have taken place in the last six months. For now, we’re going with a pretty loose interpretation of the word “event”. If you feel you’ve accomplished something important to you, that’s an event.

3. Send me an e-mail at champswithdiabetes@gmail.com. Tell me your name, name of the athlete (it’s okay if it’s you), and your address (gotta know where to send the medal). Most important, tell me what athletic goal was accomplished, and when. Extra points if you tell me how you felt accomplishing the goal. Full disclosure: I reserve the right to use your testimonial here, on Twitter, and on Facebook. I will not use your name if you don’t want me to. As always, I will never share private information.

4. When you receive your medal, it would be great if you post a photo of it around the athlete’s neck. You can send a Tweet to @ChampsWithD (hashtag: #champdathletes) or post it on the Champion Athletes With Diabetes Facebook Page.
 
 
We’ve awarded medals to over 80 athletes in 20-plus states and territories, 14 or 15 countries, on five continents. Let’s not let the Olympic athletes have all the fun.

Let’s hold our own Gold Medal Ceremony. Write me today.

I’m back!

That’s right… I’m back. Back from Florida (more about that soon), and back as an athlete.
image
Sunday marked the yearly occurrence of my local neighborhood 5k run. The 2014 5k was the last athletic event I participated in before my knee was injured and repaired last year.

It was a difficult process, getting my body down to a workable weight, and getting my stamina up to the point where I could cover 3.2 miles without passing out. Even three weeks ago, I couldn’t cover two miles without wheezing and gasping for half an hour after. Could I make it all the way?
image
Well, the last three weeks have made all the difference. I’ve concentrated on feeling comfortable running, and not pushing myself to the brink like I’m used to. Did I walk part of the way? Yes. I walked about 3 or 4 tenths of a mile during this run. But again, the number one goal in every event I participate in is finish. Everything else is secondary. And in the end, I didn’t finish too badly:
image
My goal (beyond finishing) was to finish in 40 minutes or less. From the photo above, you can see that I finished in just under 34 minutes, which is faster than I’ve run all year.

My diabetes played well all day. Just a little high (170 mg/dL) at the beginning of the run. I ran a 30 percent temporary basal for an hour, beginning just before the race began. The end of the race saw a 148 mg/DL. Well played, Stephen.

There are many factors that went into this successful effort. But there’s no denying: I’m back. And it feels so good to be back. Now I know I can do it. Don’t ask me what my next event will be. But now I know there will be another event. That makes me very happy.
 

%d bloggers like this: