Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Best Spontanious Training Ride Ever!

One of the most frustrating things about diabetes is the amount a diabetic has to plan to do any exercise. Kim and I were watching DLife TV the other day and were cracking up at the internal conversation a person about to go on a hike was having with their diabetic half about nutrition. From time to time I wish I could just hop on my bike or lace up my sneakers without worrying about the temperature, the amount of hills, the time of the ride or how many carbs I had in the tank; at times I just want to go.

Sunday provided the perfect opportunity for a spontaneous ride and I couldn't have been happier! After a few over indulgent meals with Kim's parents on Friday and Saturday we decided to spend the last couple days of Memorial Day Weekend in Maine. On my drive to Boston two Saturdays ago my car began to buck when I would accelerate and stall when I would stop. Three mechanics later my Pathfinder received a clean bill of health, they all said it was probably just bad gas. Driving the car for 3 days prior to the Maine trip the car seemed fine, so Sunday morning we picked up our travel partners to head to Boothbay.

For the first 140 miles of the 180 mile trip the car was perfect, humming along at 80 mph on interstate 95, then the first buck happened. Hmmm, maybe we just hit something, so we continued to drive. Then the car got very unhappy and started bucking like wild bronco and stalling anytime I would slow down. After letting the car sit for a while, loading it with fuel injector cleaner and driving again, the car dangerously stalled while going down hill right before Red's Eats - a great lobster roll place. We decided that was the perfect opportunity for lunch.

After an hour eating, the car stalled 3 more times in a 1/4 mile period, I had, had enough, called AAA and had the car towed to a garage. The issue was the tow truck could only hold 3 people (including the driver), but there were 4 of us. Thankfully 2 of the 4 are Ironmen and had our bikes with us for the weekend! I turned my pump down, ate my emergency snickers bar, and off Kim and I went!!!

The ride was only 15 miles, but it was a blast just to hop on my bike without planning, without loading up tons of nutrition and just riding. For 15 miles Kim and I had a blast, and it was hilarious the reaction our friends had to the ride since we were actually looking forward to a 15 mile training ride. Sure I might need a new car, but the spontaneous bike ride on nothing more than a snickers bar actually makes it worth it. Hopefully, I'll have some pre and post pictures of the ride soon.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Navigator or Finger Pricks?

Due to the disaster that was my blood sugars during the Charlottesville Marathon, I have not used my Freestyle Navigator again yet. While I have lost money on tons of investments over the years, the Navigator is turning out to be my worst investment yet. Much like a friend who betrayed you, its hard to build trust again. My last blog post talked about when "good is enough," but when it comes to training and racing, just ok blood sugars are anything but good enough. In fact, not having a solid indication of what level my blood glucose is at during competition is dangerous and scary as all hell.

However, I'm considering giving the Navigator a second chance, maybe it was a bad sensor, maybe I inserted it wrong or maybe the batteries were too low. I'm giving the Navigator a ton of excuses but I so desperately want that technology to work I'm willing to look past its inadequacies.

So next week I'll replace the batteries in my Navigator, and have the calibration completed by Tuesday morning. For every moment during training when I look down at my Navigator I'm going to test with a finger prick. I'll chart out everything, heart rate, pace, incline, activity, to see if I can identify anything that causes the Navigator to be less accurate than it should be. 1 week, I'm giving the Navigator one more week, if it fails me again you can find it on EBay!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

When Good Is Enough

I have and always will be a goal driven individual. My Mom used to always call me a "bull in a china shop," if a wall is in front of me, I'm going to figure out a way to go through it, going over it just seems like extra effort. One of the largest challenges I face as a diabetic is finding that constant motivation to keep my A1c as low as possible, but at the same time toe the healthy line of when getting my A1c too low is unhealthy. In the same way I had to learn that lesson in relationships, sports, school and job pursuits. Having a desire to do your best at whatever you do can often limit other opportunities or contribute to an unhealthy obsession.

At that, I often have to remind myself that there is a point when good is enough, but must also be continually motivated to not creep the needle on the negative side of good. Having the occasional dessert, crazy night out or quick stop for french fries is in fact healthy. Obsession in anything leads to a continued fear of failure, it is almost impossible to eat the perfect diet, or get the perfect grade. Therefore, I have learned to accept the break from my hard core diet to enjoy some of the things that will make my blood sugars go bonkers for a couple of hours.

Last week my classmates and I celebrated the completion of our incredibly stressful first year at Darden in the Outer Banks. For three straight mornings I woke up saying, man I haven't been that drunk in a long time; but on the fourth night when my friends continued to play flip cup and beer pong, I knew my liver and blood sugars had, had enough. I threw caution to the wind for 3 nights and am thrilled that I did, I ate what everyone else ate, drank what everyone else drank (or more than they drank) and just celebrated. A year or two ago I wouldn't have let myself do this because I would have been so concerned about the number on my blood sugar meter or my next A1c. However, if I truly believe that diabetes cannot prevent me from living the life I want to live, then I must learn how to enjoy celebrations of some of life's biggest moments.

For the 3 or 4 days after my celebration binge my blood sugars were a mess as I knew they would be. But during each day of the celebration I made sure to get in a 20 mile bike ride or 6.5 mile run, in the days following the celebration I exercised to an even higher degree. Combining some extra exercise with a lower food intake after the celebration mitigated the consequences of my binge and have allowed my blood sugars to return to the 90 - 100 range in less than a week's time. As I continue to mature with this disease I'm learning each day that sometimes, good is just enough and perfect isn't necessary.