Tag Archives: exercise

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.

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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.

How are you feeling?

So… How are you feeling?

Hopefully, you haven’t had to go through the awful cold bug that’s been going around the USA. I got to experience that around Christmas and New Year’s. Lots of gunk in my chest, off and on nausea, and it took a little over two weeks to feel right again.

Now that I’m on the mend, I’m back to getting active. Mostly, that means time on my spin bike upstairs. I’ve been trying to get into better shape by simply electing to do more than I was doing the previous three months or so, and be more consistent about it. No big predictions about what I’ll look like in six months, no lofty goals about competing in the Iron Man triathlon in Hawaii (although, in reality, I’ve never dreamed that high).
Workout Room with Large Mirrors
Right now, it’s all about doing what I can do to feel better. Looking better will hopefully come later. Oh, there are athletic events on my radar… there always are. But at this point, I just want to be able to string together a few months of regular workouts without getting sick or having something else happen that will give me an easy excuse to give up.

My record-setting days are probably behind me now. Heck, even my personal record-setting days are probably behind me now. But I’m not dead yet. Far from it. Now I’m concentrating on feeling good, being healthier, and when I do participate in an athletic event, having fun. There ain’t nothing wrong with that. Especially if I’m able to make more efficient use of the insulin that squeezes from the pump attached to my waist each day.

Meanwhile, I’m making extra-sure that I cough into my elbow, dress in layers this time of year, and use plenty of hand sanitizer (but not before I perform a BG check).

What about you? How are you feeling? Have any personal goals this year, athletic or otherwise? Let’s talk.
 
 
 

Making the most of your holiday season.

This is not advice… but if you’re interested in my opinion, here are the three things I feel I need to be able to navigate the holidays with diabetes as part of my life:

Holidays

Get plenty of rest. I’m not someone who needs a lot of sleep. Usually, about five or six hours and I’m good to go for the next day. Only the holidays, with their mix of special events, crazy hours (New Year’s Eve, weeknight parties), and lots of delicious food and drink that isn’t consumed at any other time of year, make getting enough rest a priority for me. If I’m properly rested, especially if I get seven or eight hours of sleep, I’m ready to go when The Great Spousal Unit calls me at work and says “Let’s drive around and look at Christmas lights tonight”. I don’t want to miss out on the holiday fun because I didn’t get enough shuteye the night before.

Get as much exercise as possible. With all of the things mentioned above, it’s no wonder our exercise routines get thrown out of whack for the month of December. I get that. I’m the same way. What I have noticed, however, especially in the past few years, is that the more exercise I can get in, the better I feel, no matter what I’m up to. Like diabetes, the holidays are a marathon, not a sprint. Speaking from experience, let me tell you… when you stress your body every day due to lack of sleep and eating and drinking too much, by the time you reach mid-December, you’re soooo ready for the holidays to be over. Any exercise you can squeeze in this month can help mitigate that feeling, partly because you’ll burn off some of those calories you’re consuming, and partly due to the endorphins that are released during exercise.

That said…

Enjoy the holidays as much as you can with the ones you love and care about. Even if you can’t get as much rest as you’d like or you aren’t able to exercise, let’s remember: We only have so many special people in our lives, and we only have so many holiday seasons in our lives. Don’t be afraid to be spontaneous and do things you don’t normally do. Remember to spend time with the people who want to be with you, and tell them how glad you are that they are a part of your life. Find the joy and happiness that this season is supposed to be about. It’s okay to be a walking Hallmark card. Finding your happiness is even supposed to be good for your diabetes. So… if you celebrate with loved ones this December, you’re kinda doing something that will pay dividends down the road.

Okay, maybe I’m reaching a bit on that last point. But as someone who’s missed out on a lot because I was too bummed out or jaded or whatever to participate, I can tell you that happiness is everything it’s cracked up to be. And you deserve to be happy.

I’ll be moderating Wednesday night’s DSMA Twitter chat beginning at 9:00 eastern time here in the USA. With the beginning of Hanukkah Tuesday night, and Christmas just a week away, and New Year’s a week after that, I suspect we’ll be talking a bit about the holidays and diabetes. Follow @DiabetesSocMed and the #DSMA hashtag to join the conversation.

And while I’m at it, Thank You for reading and being such an important part of my life this year. Happy Holidays!
 
 
 

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