Friday, September 28, 2007

9 FING MINUTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That's it, 9 minutes, that is the length of my workout today - a whopping 9 minutes - 36 minutes short of my scheduled time. This week I'm up on Diabetes 5 - 1 but that just isn't good enough - and today is major bs - I've never been so upset at a disease in my life. In fact if I could kick a diseases ass diabetes would be in for a major beat down right now. We could put it up on pay-per-view put the two of us in a steel cage and settle it like men; but no diabetes likes to play sneaky it likes to play unfair. Diabetes wil sneak up on you and prevent you from living your life the way you want, it will take your eye sight, it will take your limbs; eating healthy and exercise are the best ways to combat it so then diabetes says you have to have your blood sugar high enough to complete workouts but sometimes NO MATTER WHAT YOU EAT your blood sugar just won't be high enough.

Today I reduced my lunch time bolus by a unit of insulin, had a clif bar, 2 acel-gels and 3 glucose tabs before I ran; before I left my office I was at 150, short walk to the gym down to 117, stretched, had that second acel-gel waited a bit - at 120; oh well it will go up I thought. Due to the internet lectures I received I decided to test while I was running today (I hate you guys for making me do this!) 9 minutes into the run my blood sugar was at 88 - crap! Ok lets take a 5 minute break and see what happens; so I stand there on the treadmill staring at the wall and ready to head butt anyone who looks at me weird. After 5 minutes I'm at 79!!!!!!!!!!!!! Call it a day, hop in the shower, at 91 when I finish the shower, back in my office now 45 minutes after I finished my run, over an hour after all that food and I'm only at 112 - WTF!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm ready to forget about the MBA, take the MCAT and see if I can't be Dr. House on this one.

Update: 1 and 1/2 hours I stopped my run and nearly 2 and 1/2 hours after the clif bar my blood sugar is up to 180 - just add some more frustration.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Diabetes - What! Diabetes - Who!

Diabetes gave me its best shot yesterday, it tried as hard as it could to make me cut a workout short, to not even attempt a work out in fact - but yesterday I won the battle, the most important to date. After the exuberance of finishing my 45 minute run on Monday I ignorantly thought I had diabetes under control, I thought I finally learned how to hit the curve ball and was well on my way to batting 1.000 against this thing. Yesterday, diabetes came back with something that I never expected.

It all started in the morning, I wanted to get a muffin when I got to my office so I decided to just have a glass of OJ in the morning. As I put on my work clothes I started to feel really weird - man my apartment is hot I thought, but to be safe I tested - 42! WTF how am I down to 42, I didn't over bolus. So I called my boss, let him know I'd be in a bit late and made myself a delicious glucose tab cocktail. I felt somewhat strange for the rest of the day but was still determined to go for my 5 mile run after work.

At 3:15 I turned my pump down 95% and had a blood sugar of 85; at 3:30 I had a clif bar unbolused, at 4:15 my bs was only 100 - really weird - my bs normally shoots up 50 points for an unbolused clif bar. I decided to add an unbolused clif builder bar to my stomach - at 4:45 my bs was 154 so I headed to the gym. 10 minutes later my bs was 106 - ugh! I had an acel-gel, after stretching I was up to 110; oh well I have enough carbs in me I thought lets get this done.

10 minutes into my run I had a second acel-gel but refused to test, 15 mintues after that I had a second acel-gel and refused to test yet again. I completed my 45 minute run with a bs of 87 - yesterday would have been easy for me to walk away from the treadmill. Yesterday I had a perfectly acceptable excuse to tell my coach why I couldn't run, my blood sugars weren't at a safe level to begin exercising. But what I refused to accept that diabetes would stop me from running, from training, from reaching my goals. Perhaps I put too much into getting every workout in but I refuse to let diabetes be an excuse, I was determined to finish that run yesterday and there was nothing this disease could do to stop me. I will continue to fight it and I will continue to win these batttles and ultimatley win the war. Diabetes, when I cross the finish line at IMLP on July 20, 2008 you will have done everything you could to prevent me and I will smile and know that I defeated you and proved that this disease can not stop me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Best 90 I've Ever Gotten

After a recovery week my coach sent me back to the gym and sent me back hard. Finishing an Ironman is not easy, finishing it with my crazy expectations is terrifying! Since I'm transitioning from a power/ speed athlete to an endurance athlete it is really important that we build a foundation, strengthen my slow twitch muscle fibers and get my body used to aerobic instead of anaerobic workouts. So yesterday Coach Egg came after me with a vengeance and a nice fresh Welcome to the World of Triathlon.

On my workout log account I read 45 minute continuous run at an incline of 1 on the treadmill, no faster than a 9:20 pace. Coach knows I like to go as fast as I can and holds the reigns pretty tightly for the reasons discussed above. However, to date my longest run with diabetes has been 40 minutes - out of the 5 or 10 runs that were supposed to be 40 minutes long I have been able to complete just 3 or 4 of them, the rest were cut short because of low blood sugars. In the 3 or 4 that I was able to complete my blood sugar was in the 70s by the time I took my last stride. So yesterday I went to the gym with some trepidation.

I've been speaking with Rich Weil a certified diabetic educator and exercise phyisiolist, whose also on the board for DESA. Rich and I have talked about why it's difficult for me to maintain my blood sugar during longer runs and his one suggestion so far has been to start my runs with my blood sugar above 185. An unbolused clif bar will get my blood sugar up to about 170. Yesterday I complimented my carrot cake (delicious) clif bar with an Accel-Gel. I had the clif bar about an hour before my run and then had the Accel-Gel when I first walked into my gym's locker room - about 10 or 12 minutes before my run. 14 minutes into the run I had a second Accel-Gel and when I finished the 45 minutes I was greeted by this reading on my meter:

Sorry it's a bit tough to read - but that's a 90 for blood sugar - and the After Exercise setting! Can't wait till Coach makes me run 3 times a week, bike 3 times a week and swim twice a week as she promised in my weekly e-mail to me; as long as I keep getting 90s post workout I'll do all of that with a huge smile.

Monday, September 24, 2007

From The Mountain Top to the Valley

This past weekend was as bad as last weekend was great. Going from an incredible win with my kids last Saturday to a heart breaking loss Friday night and having some upsetting issues occurr in my personal life made the past 72 hours not as wonderful as I had liked. Additionally, the CDE who I had hoped to save the day has given me the same feedback as all the others.

On Friday night for the first time in at least 20 years a Manhattan based youth football team took the field for a night game. The Downtown Giants are only in their 2nd year of existence and we're playing teams from the boroughs who have fielded teams for years. Friday we played the South Bronx Chargers. From the opening kick off things were not good - our kick return didn't field the ball so we lost our opening possession. Once we finally got on offense we scored on our 3rd play but it turned to provide false hope. We had a second touchdown called back because of a holding penalty and two drives stalled because of multiple offsides penalties. With about a minute left in the 4th quarter we were up 7 - 6, came up with a defensive stop and simply needed to hold onto the ball to win the game. Since my assistant coach and I think the kids need to learn how to play the game we refuse to take a knee. We moved the ball to the 9 yard line, then had an offsides penalty then fumbled the ball on the next play - the Chargers recovered the ball on the 1 yard line and punched it in to win 12 - 7. The frustration of the game spiked my bs to 189 but I was able to bolus for a bacon cheeseburger!

Until I meet with the CDE I'll hold off on naming him - but I had hopes that an exercise physiologist who is also a CDE would have had better advice than "your blood sugars look great." I understand that my A1c is really good but unfortunetley I'm a perfectionist and simply good isn't good enough. Type 1 has an impact on my life, far more of an impact than I find acceptable. I've had to cut too may workouts short to be happy with how I'm handeling the disease. Each day will continue to be a battle and I'll win some of the fights and loose some of the fights; however each of us deals with this disease in our own way. One person may have to fight tooth and nail to get their A1c to single digits while another person may be thrilled to have an A1c of 6.5 or 7. For me I won't be happy until I feel like I truly have this disease under control, that I can adapt to any situation and can face that Ironman without a fear. I've learned how to bolus for cheeseburgers, continue a long bike ride while fighting a low, complete a sprint triathlon but I haven't yet figured out how to consistently go on long runs.

Coaching is also an obstacle, during practice I have to turn my pump down and have a clif bar with a minimal bolus. I like to get in the trenches with my kids, run with the, be hands on, show them how to block, how to tackle. I've told them - there is nothing I will ask them to do that I'm not able to do myself. But when we have a game I'm pretty stoic on the sidelines, sit there in a crouched position, and am intent on what is happening in the game - as much as I'd love to put on a helmet I think having a former college football player play against 11 year olds would be against the rules. So I'm still getting used to adapting my insulin to the different situations of coaching.

For those of you who read my blog this morning I've made some changes to the post - I wrote that at 6:30 am and was way too tired for it to make sense.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Some Pictures

I'm still on a high from the amazing weekend I had and wanted to share some pictures with you from it. I'll also have some exciting news in the world of sports and diabetes in the coming days. I've found a CDE that has expertise in monitoring diabetes and performing at an athletic peak and a firm that specalizes in training athletes with diabetes - once I get more information about each and have the opportunity to talk with them a bit further I'll share it all with you.

On the way to the long uphill ride with my bike:

Finishing the race! :

Getting my kids ready:

Monday, September 17, 2007

What a Weekend!

Going into this weekend I had more concerns than confidence. Would my kids have a clue as to what their assignment was on the field. Would my blood sugars be ok while coaching. Have I trained hard enough for my triathlon, will I encounter a low and have to pull out of my triathlon - I was lossing sleep over that stuff all week but in the end the stress gave way to joy and excitement.

On Saturday my Pee Wee football team (the Downtown Giants) took on the Brooklyn Titans. This is only the second year the Downtown Giants have been in existence, the Brooklyn Titans have been around for about 5 years. Most of the kids on my team have never played a down of football in their life and some have only been to three or four practices! But you have to play the cards your dealt and play we did. From the moment my guys got to the field I was impressed, we were able to line up in 2 straight lines and get into our warm up grid flawlessly. My assistant coach and I asked each other who the heck are these kids. They were focused, they were intense and most importantly they were having fun. From the opening kick off my kids played hard and fought each play. Sure we had missed assignments, broke contain a couple times and jumped offsides here and there but by and large they shut down a more experienced, more athletic team. Final score 6 - 0 Downtown Giants!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Only encountered one low during pre game so that was a success as well - but I owe my kids 6 sprints at practice tonight, I made them a deal that for every win we have I'll do one sprint for the # of points we win by, I'm really going to regret that decision once everyone "gets it" and we have some big wins.

Now onto the triathlon er should I say duathlon. Late Friday night I got an e-mail from the race director stating that the swim had been canceled for the Bear Mountain Triathlon. Apparently the fecal matter level was 1,700, the legal limit for a triathlon is 1,000, so it went from a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike and 3.1 mile run to a 1.5 mile run, 12 mile bike and 3.1 mile run; but USAT triathlon points would be awarded so I guess according to the governing body I did a triathlon although I don't know if I can consider myself one just yet until I actually swim in a race.

Waking up at 5:42 am was not easy, I didn't get to my parent's house upstate until midnight and didn't fall asleep until 1. Groggily I got into my car and drove to Bear Mountain; once there I realized how cold it was and really regretted my decision not to bring a jacket for the bike. Pre race I had a muffin, turned my pump down to 10% and had a clif bar - started with a blood sugar of 120 right after the clif bar so was most likely 170 when the race started. I ran the first 1.5 miles in 11 minutes 50 seconds towards the end of the first loop I heard my name being chanted, I looked up and saw my Uncle who runs Marathons and his son who is a cross country runner in high school cheering me on - thanks Freddie and Uncle Fred you two provided a huge boost! I ran over to my bike and T1 was 51 seconds, I hopped onto my bike and headed up an ENORMOUS hill. They say not to do a triathlon without having seen the course before and now I know why. It's not that I had a problem getting up the hill as I passed 5 to 10 people on my initial climb, it's that I had no idea how long it would go for so I didn't know how hard to pedal - my average speed on the bike was 14.1 mph, had I had better race planning I could have increased that by a decent margin.

On the bike I had an accel-gel on my initial climb. My quest to find the perfect workout food for a diabetic continues but accel-gel has taken the lead. Unlike Carb Booms, Hammer Gels or Clif Shots - Accel-Gel has actual sugar not just carbs! The Delicious Key Lim Accel-Gel has 12 g of sugars while chocolate has 17 g of sugars - while Hammer Gel takes about 25 minutes to change by bs Accel-Gel does it within 10 minutes, a huge help during endurance events.

During the first downhill I really really really regretted not having a long sleeve jersey on. While I looked darn sexy in my orange and blue tri suit - the goose bumps on my arms proved how moronic I was! 33 mph on a downhill when it is barely 50 degrees out in a sleeveless tri suit is just a very bad idea, if that makes me soft so be it, I'm not as tough as I once was, I guess an auto-immune disease will do that to a man. I finished up my bike ride drinking gatorade, and had a hammer gel at mile 9 - T2 was 48 seconds, slowed slightly by the amount of gatorade I pounded in the transition area. I ran out of the gate and finished the 3.1 miles in 23 minutes 49 seconds for a 7 minute 39 second pace and a total Triathlon time of 1 hour, 29 minutes and 54 seconds - good for 39th overall (out of 93) and 4th in my age group (out of 9) - couldn't be happier with my results.

Stupidly I didn't test at all during the tri/duathlon for 2 reasons; I felt fantastic and didn't' want to psych myself out, I finished with a bs of 178 so my nutrition was really spot on; had I felt weak at any point I would have tested but I didn't want a seed of doubt entering into my mind. Could I have run into trouble from this mentality - absolutely but I also believe you have to trust your body and listen to it - I had no symptoms of a low and felt like I was at full power so I didn't think it was necessary to test during the race.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Weeked Of Firsts

Big weekend for me coming up. On Saturday my Youth Football team will take the field for the first time. My 10, 11 and 12 year olds have been working tremendously hard since August and have to be sick of all the sprints I've been making them run so far. As the head coach I can only hope that I've prepared them for success, that I've taught them the right techniques and that I've showed them the right place to be - its all about them executing and believing in themselves that will determine if we win or loose. Must be how an endo feels when they send us back into the world!

The other big thing coming up this weekend is the start of my triathlon career! I'll be competing in the Bear Mountain Triathlon on Sunday and absolutely can't wait. Although I'm completely fearful of my blood sugars during this race (had a frustrating episode on Monday) I know I've been training incredibly hard and that with enough Gatorade during the event I'll be able to finish it. Going into this one I don't have a ton of expectations, it will be the first time I have to do a transition and the first time I'm doing an open water swim. So on Sunday keep your fingers crossed that my bs will remain high during the 1/2 mile swim, 12.4 mile bike and 3.1 mile run - I'll have some pictures of the event posted next week.

Here's to some great events this weekend and the hope that my blood sugar doesn't let me down!

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Places I've Been

For the first time in 6 years I ran on my high school track last Friday night. The last time I ran on that track I was preparing for my senior season as the starting center at Hobart College and remember thinking after my last wind sprint for the summer, I'm ready for this year, I've prepared as hard as I could. I never thought all that preparation I did as a college football player could have enabled me to handle my 2007 the way I have.

The feeling was absolutely surreal, I had some things to take care of in the city and didn't get to my parent's house until 8:30 pm but I knew I needed to get my run in. I headed over to the track which was completely empty and had only one set of lights on. Running in the near darkness next to a field that I had amazing memories on allowed me to really reflect on my path of the past year. I recalled running through the gates to my high school field as a 170 lbs. sophomore guard starting my first varsity game and can say those emotions were very similar to the ones I had when I was diagnosed with Type 1. I remembered throwing up on my Dad's shoes after he had me run 15 suicides in the 90 degree August heat as I got prepared for my senior season in college and compare that to the tenacity I have attacked this disease with. But more than anything the time on the track let me realize that I've been working at something as hard as I've been working at controlling diabetes for as long as I can remember.

The darkness also put me at ease for one of the hardest struggles I'm going to have to face in the coming months. I fully believe that the stress I put myself under to get into a top MBA program last year was one of the reasons I developed Type 1 diabetes. After I completed my first master's in Political Economy in 2005 I signed up for a Kaplan course to prepare for the GMAT but was unhappy with the tutoring they provided, from there I enrolled in Manhattan GMAT, took the test and scored a 670 - ok but not quite elite level. That fall I wrote my applications to Darden, Haas, Tuck and Columbia with self-doubt and no confidence. I most likely had blood sugars that were running all over the place as I couldn't figure out why I didn't have the ability to focus as I used to or why I would pass out on my couch after having 2 beers with a friend while watching the Giants. Starting in January I received rejection after rejection and my confidence was shaken blow by blow.

To prove the admissions committees wrong I was pro-active, signed up for an accounting course at Pace, found a GMAT tutor and starting coaching youth football. Somewhere between all that I was also diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and was struggling to keep a relationship together. I received an A in that accounting course and then took a finance course receiving another A which helped me regain some of my academic confidence, I retook the GMAT and scored in the 90th percentile and found another youth football league to coach in. Now September is here again and I've done all that I can to improve my application but I'm scared to death of the ramifications of going through all this again. Last year the process completely changed my life and this year I have to face all those fears and all those vulnerabilities as I chase my dreams.

Perhaps I've had to fight for everything I've gained so I could be prepared to handle this disease in the way that I have. So I'd have the courage to sign up for an Ironman to inspire children with Type 1 diabetes. So I'd have the intensity and fortitude to only eat turkey sandwiches on whole wheat for lunch or to only have ultra meal protein shakes for breakfast. My entire past has helped me prepare for battling this disease but now I'm at a point where I must battle the situation that may have been the catalyst to my pancreas failing and it is a fight I refuse to loose this time. Tonight Darden's application and me meet again!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Adventures In Diabetes!

Up until now my diabetic crisis have been limited to a low blood sugar or an infusion set falling out. I did break a vile of lantus once but had a back up ready to go in the fridge. Last night however I had my first encounter with the OHMYGODWAHTTHEHELLAMIGOINGTODO! moment. I was taking Courtney out for some BBQ in Manhattan to congratulate here on her amazing accomplishment of finishing an Ironman. If you haven't checked out Courtney's blog yet I strongly suggest you read her race report, it is one of the most inspiring pieces of writing you will find anywhere.

We first wanted to go to Dinosaur BBQ up in Harlem, so she met me at the Metro North stop at 125th street, we hoped on the bus and headed over to Riverside Dr. Upon arriving at Riverside and battling through the smell of what could only have been 1,000 dying rats we found Dino BBQ to be closed! So we hoped on the 1 train and headed down to 23rd St. to Righteous Urban BBQ (RUB) but they didn't have deviled eggs which I had promised Courtney.

At this point we had been walking around for a while, I was carrying my bag from a weekend up at my parents and decided I should test. I've gotten into the habit of keeping some glucose tabs in my glucose meter case, but one of those tablets had smashed and there were glucose crumbs everywhere. I lightly tapped my case to get some of the "crumbs" out, as I'm doing this my Freestyle Flash decided to show its speed and independence by jumping out of the case and landing squarely onto a drainage grate!

In movie slow motion I the Flash displayed its last act of independence by jumping 2 feet down into the grate. Few things in Manhattan attract as much attention as 2 people trying to lift a locked drainage gate. No less than 5 people asked what we were doing and a homeless guy thought it was buried treasure. If you're at the corner of 23rd and 7th - look in this grate and you'll see a lonely Freestyle Flash meter!

Courtney called 311 (the NYC help line) and 311 in their display of intelligence sent a freaking ambulance! Apparently the words diabetic and glucose meter send up all the panic flares. The EMTs were really helpful but they didn't have the ability to lift the grate. They did however let me know where the closest open pharmacy would be.

So I headed over to one of the few CVS in the city. Thankfully they had an Accu-Check Ultra Mini and 25 test strips on hand, $48 dollars later I was able to test and had some piece of mind. Not to mention some great BBQ at Hill Country, a new place here in Manhattan; even if it was real expensive for some low & slow meat.

I'm going to miss by Flash meter and now really need to get a new one but this whole ordeal made me realize something. As a diabetic my life is now connected to medical devices and although I didn't flip out when the meter fell into the drainage grate my panic inside was at code red. After last night I now consider myself a full fledged member of the Type 1 fraternity.