Tag Archives: exercise

One year later.


One year ago, I used the beginning of Diabetes Awareness Month to springboard the start of our Champion Athletes With Diabetes initiative. Yes, it’s my blog, but I think of this as our initiative, in the sense that a) I had this idea, and b) The Great Spousal Unit has enthusiatically supported it, and c) Countless people and places on the internet have been very supportive too. We’re all to blame, and we’re all to be congratulated (but you guys, more than me… really).

As I’ve mentioned before, I got the idea for this whole thing after I saw a video from Kerri Sparling. I started to look at what it would actually cost to have medals made, make certificates (even The Tin Man received a testimonial!), and send a personal note to each athlete who would write for a medal. The cost seemed reasonable, and in retrospect, the monetary cost plus the cost in time and effort has been miniscule compared to the warmth and kindness I’ve received from our Champion Athletes With Diabetes. And it’s even more miniscule compared to the happiness and pride I’ve felt for my fellow brothers and sisters with broken pancreases each time they achieve athletic goals that seemed nearly impossible when they began.

To date, we’ve delivered fifteen medals to Champion Athletes With Diabetes.

We’ve sent medals to 40 and 50-plus year veterans of living with diabetes. We sent one to a race car driver. We sent one to Scott Johnson and Mike Hoskins. We sent a medal to Mary Beth Wyss, a T1D with two adult children… and we sent one to Kelley Kent, a T1D who will become a Mom for the first time any day now (that’s worthy of its own medal, both before and after the baby is grown). Sprinkled in there are medals for kids and serious runners (hello Cecilia and Corey). And I can’t forget about the amazing Merle Gleeson and the inspirational Bob Parant.

If there’s one thing I hear more than anything else when I talk to people about earning a medal, it’s the notion that they are not a good enough athlete, or they haven’t done enough to earn a medal (yet). This medal is not about achieving a certain level of greatness. It’s about what goes into getting there: The hours of training, the high and (mostly) low blood sugars, the frustrations, and more than anything, the perseverance that is an important and necessary part of any athlete’s equipment.

I’ve been inspired and humbled by what these special athletes have achieved, even before they ever ran a race, or biked in a charity event, or signed up to play volleyball or soccer. I am so grateful you’ve let me share your remarkable stories.

Among the fifteen medals we’ve given away, there are two stories still waiting to be told. So look for more athletes before the end of this month. In the meantime…
If you are living with diabetes, and you’re active; or if someone close to you is living with D and is active, we would love to send a medal recognizing the athlete’s achievement.

There are only four simple things to do to get yours:

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

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. ‘Nuf said.

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.

I think D-Athletes are amazing. It takes a tremendous amount of planning, effort, and bravery to compete, or maintain an exercise routine. Heck, sometimes, it’s everything we can do just to walk around the block. Getting out of your comfort zone and taking that brave step is something that should be recognized and rewarded.

If it’s a big deal to you, it’s a big deal to me too. I want to support you, or support the Athlete With Diabetes in your life. Send an e-mail for your award today.
Happy Anniversary Athletes!

It’s Big Blue Test Time!

Today marks the start of one of my favorite parts of the year. It’s Big Blue Test time!

For the next month, every Big Blue Test that is logged will result in a $1.00 (US) donation to non-profit diabetes groups that are working tirelessly to provide education, support, and supplies to people who need them.

Here’s how it works:

1. Test your blood glucose. If you do not have diabetes, you can skip this step.

2. Get active. For 14 to 20 minutes, get up and get moving. You can , walk, run, clean the house, swim, tap dance…whatever!

3. Test again. On average, Big Blue Testers seen their blood glucose level drop 20% after 14-20 minutes of exercise.

4. Share your results. (Answer the questions in the right column of the page at bigbluetest.org). And don’t forget to talk about your experience on social media.


Tell everyone you know, whether they’re living with diabetes or not. Log those moments of activity throughout your day.
Share this with everyone you know (use the hashtag #bigbluetest).

Have you been looking for a way to help move the needle toward better outcomes for People With Diabetes, but you’re not sure how? This is how.

I’ve already logged my first one! I took the long way walking from the train station to work, and my BG dropped 53 points. I’m going to try to do this every working day (twice per day, of course) for the next month. I’ll bet there’s something similar you can do where you live and work.

Sometimes, diabetes advocacy is both fun and easy. Go to bigbluetest.org to find out more.

Another Champion Athlete with Diabetes: Congratulations Janie!

Today I bring you another inspiring example of People With Diabetes getting out and reaching their athletic goals:

Our Champion Athlete, Janie Moore, is in pink, second from the right

Our Champion Athlete, Janie Moore, is in pink, second from the right

Janie Moore celebrated 40 years with Type 1 Diabetes this past July. Back in April, she started training for a 4 mile marathon in Columbus, Ohio. Like many of us, she was worried about engaging in a prolonged exercise routine, fearing that something bad might happen. Then a friend challenged her with two questions: Why not? and What’s the worst thing that could happen to you?

In Janie’s words:

“After thinking about my answers to those two questions I let down my guard and started training. Wow! If I’d only known then what I know now! That by getting up and moving my body feels better, my insulin works better and emotionally I am so much stronger!”

Guess what? This past weekend, Janie completed the Ohio State 4 miler marathon! I’m going to let Janie tell the story about her day:

“Sunday, Sept. 21, 2014 started early for me. I woke up early so I could eat a healthy breakfast before the 1 1/2 hr. drive to Columbus, Ohio to participate in the Ohio State 4 miler marathon. After working hard for the last 4 months doing walking training, needing to rethink my meal plans, and adjusting my insulin pump settings, only to figure out I was stable/healthy enough to not even wear my pump during exercising I felt like I had already run the race. But, on June 1, 2014 I had set a goal to slowly train and gain 1 mile per month until I was able to finish a 4 mile marathon at the end of September. This may seem like a short distance to some but for me, a person who HATES to exercise, it felt like like I was climbing a mountain!

As I slowly added miles on my elliptical I often felt discouraged. My husband, sons and friends kept encouraging me to continue which was a big help. I’ve often struggled with keeping to myself,not letting others know how I’m feeling. Something else I learned during this experience was to open up and admit my struggles to others. They can’t read our minds but if we tell them we’re having trouble they are there to help and encourage us and it does make a big difference.
Editor’s note: I couldn’t have said it better myself. So great to have cheerleaders!

Back to race day! We arrived early so that I had plenty of time to check my blood sugar, strap on my handy supply waist belt and make any adjustments needed before the start. I met up with several friends then waited…and waited. There were 12,000 people signed up to race. I was classified a walker so of course I was at the back of the line. I finally reached the starting gate 25 minutes after the start whistle. The wind was blowing and it was overcast. A perfect day for a race, all my racing friends kept telling me. During training I had learned that mile 2 was where I needed to recheck my blood sugar to make sure everything was going smoothly. My blood sugar was 108 so I knew I needed a few carbs to keep me up enough to finish without a low. After digging into my trusty supply belt I found a granola bar to eat. On I went eating and walking. I had strategically asked my family to meet me around the 2 1/2- 3 mile mark just in case my 2 mile blood sugar check was running low. Since I was only at 108 I decided to grab a regular 7Up from them and take a couple of swigs before going any further. Mistake! Carbonated pop is not a good choice when you are doing a marathon, trust me. So, I threw the pop in the first trash can I found and pulled out a bottle of instant carb booster from my supply bag. I had put them in there during training but felt I should only use them during an emergency. Well, I thought, a couple of swigs would only help. Mind you, I’m doing all thinking and adjusting as I’m continuing to walk because my pace was going good and I now wanted to best my training time. I finally made it back to the stadium. As I made my way to the famous tunnel I started to get goosebumps. They only allow certain people to go through that tunnel and onto the Ohio State football field and today, I was one of them! I walked down the shaded tunnel onto the sunlit field with tears in my eyes. I had almost reached my goal of finishing on the 50 yard line. I had walked the whole race but according to my sports fanatic son, I was not allowed to step foot into the stadium without running. So, even though my legs were cramping and felt like rubber I started to jog up the sideline of the field. Ok, I must confess, I only made it half way before I had to return to walking but once I turned the corner and started walking up to the 1 yard line I jogged my way to the 50 to finish my very first marathon. Fourteen minutes faster than my training times!

Janie is in pink right there at the finish line.  Yay!

Janie is in pink right there at the finish line. Yay!

After the race I made my way back out of the stadium to collect my medal, find some water, eat a banana and check my blood sugar again. It was 128 by the way. Exercising is a great way to keep your blood sugars down! I met up with my family and friends and we celebrated. I gave my sister, who has overcome many obstacles herself, the honor of presenting me with my Champion Athlete with Diabetes medal. It was a great ending to a great day.

Janie is second from the right, wearing both her medal for finishing the race and her Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal!

Janie is second from the right, wearing both her medal for finishing the race and her Champion Athletes With Diabetes medal!

I’m so proud of myself for the accomplishments I’ve made over the last 4 months. All the days I forced myself to get out of my chair and onto the elliptical or walk on the track were worth it! I still hate to workout but I have learned that my body needs me to exercise in order for it to work its best. And best of all, I feel like I’m in control of my Diabetes instead of it controlling me!”

Congratulations Janie. I’m so glad you made it through your training and reached that goal that meant so much to you. I hope this is just the beginning of a lifetime of exciting athletic endeavors.
C’mon now… It’s your turn to join the club. We’ve handed out something around 15 medals to athletes like Janie in the past ten months. We’ve got two more medals that we’ve sent out to athletes I haven’t even told you about yet. And we’ve got plenty more left. I’ve said it before: Be an inspiration. Not just for yourself or your loved ones. Do it for the people you haven’t met yet, who will identify with you and be inspired too. Because they will.

To find out more and start the process of minting your medal as a Champion Athlete With Diabetes, click here or on the medal photo in the top left corner of this page.

How’s the training going?

I was so thrilled to read that Scott Johnson completed a half marathon recently. I don’t think I could ever handle a half marathon, so I have a special level of admiration for Scott’s achievement.

As he writes in his post on the subject, the half marathon goal came about during a conversation between Scott, Cherise Shockley, and myself on DSMA Live last November. In that conversation, each of us listed a few athletic goals for 2014. I think Scott may have completed all of his by now.

What did I promise to do this year?
As I recall, I set three athletic goals:

1. Complete an ADA Tour de Cure ride

2. Complete a 5K run (3.2 miles)

3. Compete in a sprint triathlon (sprint triathlons are typically about 1/4 to 1/2 mile swim, about 15 miles on the bike, and then a 5K run)
So… what kind of progress am I making on these goals?

I completed the Chesapeake Bay Tour de Cure in May, so there’s that. And I completed my local neighborhood 5K run yesterday. Just like last year, the Live-In Niece and I ran it together. In case you’re wondering, a half marathon is more than four times the distance of a 5K. Anyway, I am now about two thirds of the way there.

Now the triathlon… that’s the really tough nut to crack. I had planned (and trained) to do a sprint tri on Father’s Day, but my recent participation in a clinical trial scuttled that idea. The study dates fell right at the time I needed to train the hardest.

So now I’m desperately searching for a simple, relatively flat, local triathlon to compete in before year’s end. If I don’t find an event, I may have to do a “triathlon of one”, where I do my best in each event all on my own on a predetermined date. It’s not the same as actually participating in competition, but I think it would suffice in the absence of a viable alternative.

As I work my way toward whatever triathlon I can do, I’ll keep you up to date. In the meantime…

Are you working toward an important athletic goal? Have you met that milestone already? Is someone you know living with diabetes and turning in a heroic athletic effort?

If so, I urge you to write for your Champion Athlete With Diabetes medal. To find out how to get yours, click here or click on the photo of the medals on the upper left corner of this page.

Your special effort should be recognized and rewarded. Just like with me and Rachel yesterday, I want you to see the finish line, and cross over. I know you can do it!


Be safe, and train hard.

Another #ChampDAthletes medal winner! Meet Cecelia.

Yay!!! More medal winners!


Our eleventh Champion Athlete With Dibetes is Cecelia Lodge. Cecelia is also a diabetes writer, and you can read her story at the blog Tutoo Sweet. In addition to being the writer of one of my favorite blogs, Cecelia is a runner.

She ran during her middle school years on the cross country team, and continued to run through high school. More recently, she started running again prior to getting married a couple of years ago.

Now stop me if you’ve heard this before, but…


Back in 2013, she was training for another run when she started showing all the classic signs of diabetes. She received her diagnosis, spent a couple of nights in the local hospital, and then:

She finished her first half marathon one month later.

That’s pretty inspirational folks. And I really loved the e-mail Cecelia sent me. I’m going to run it in its entirety here, in the hope that it will inspire you too.



I came across your blog post today about the athletic achievement medals you are awarding to those with diabetes. I read a previous post of yours a few weeks ago regarding this, but I was hesitant to nominate myself because, well, it felt awkward 🙂

I guess it seemed self-serving to offer up myself as a nominee, but once I thought about it a little more, knowing maybe just one person who finds my story through this could be encouraged changed my mind. It’s definitely not about the medal. It’s about showing others who live with diabetes that might be discouraged or scared or worried to follow their dreams, no matter how big or small, and that they can and will accomplish them… and come out on the other side stronger than ever.

Anyway, with that said, I am pretty proud of my achievement. I completed my very first half marathon in November 2013- a month after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

If you are interested in reading the story, I’ve blogged about it here:


Way to go Cecelia! You are a brave and inspirational person, and completely worthy of the title Champion Athlete With Diabetes.

So my advice is: Be an inspiration. Not just for yourself or your loved ones. Do it for the people you haven’t met yet, who will identify with you and be inspired too. Because they will.

To find out more and start the process of minting your medal as a Champion Athlete With Diabetes, click here or on the medal photo in the top left corner of this page.

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