Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Living Up To Ring The Bolus

Over the summer I found out I was awarded a partial scholarship for my second year at Darden. It was not until late last week I was informed of the requirements for the award though. I knew to be eligible for any second year scholarship I had to be in the top x% of my class; but each scholarship had its own non-academic criteria. When I found out the selection criteria I could not help but crack a smile, the qualifications are characteristics I strive for. Having others think I may be reaching some of those personal goals gives me some confidence I'm doing the right thing.

The qualifications were:

• Demonstrates a relentless passion for learning and inquiry
• Displays a magnanimous and charitable spirit

• Enlivens the learning environment with warmth, humor and good will.

• Will contribute to the health and welfare of all members of the Darden Community

After I was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes I was determined to use my disease as a vehicle to inspire others. I had a strong desire to demonstrate that anything is possible if you do it with the right energy and a strong belief in yourself - that's why I got the crazy Ironman idea in my head. Once I came to business school I realized those aspirations could reach well beyond the chronic disease community.

This year at Darden I am starting a holistic wellness program and founding the Business & Public Policy club. The holistic wellness program has been created under the belief that incorporating physical fitness and proper nutrition can improve mental focus and health. While the BPP club is attempting to address business and policy issues from an all encompassing view - for too long business leaders and policy makers haven't been on the same page. Common to both pursuits is the desire to make the entire Darden experience richer and deeper for all.

Finding out the criteria for the scholarship lets me know that while sometimes my methods are a bit unconventional I'm still reaching the goals I set for myself on April 2nd, 2007. I don't always do things like everyone else and that's ok, sometimes a new way and a fresh perspective is needed. Especially since my goal always has been and always will be to help others.   

Monday, September 28, 2009

El Bastardo Comes Home To The King of Neon

Two years ago when I named my original Orbea "The Master of Disaster," I couldn't have predicted how fitting a name that would become. At the time Coach Egg, who was training me for IMLP, used to hear mechanical problem after mechanical problem about the bike. A short list of highlights include:

1. On Route 9W in NY my front derailleur slid down getting stuck on my big ring; not knowing nearly as much about bikes as I do now, I had to ride for 20 miles in a single gear to get it back to the shop.

2. During my first full triathlon my seat came loose causing unreal back spasms because I used my hip abductors to keep my saddle in place for the entire bike leg.

3. During Mooseman in 2008 the evil front derailleur struck again and again; I was relegated to my little ring for the entire bike leg. My quads are not made for the little ring.

4. Shortly after Mooseman I left my parents house for a training ride and was shocked to find my aero bars in my hand but not attached to my bike, that was a fun slow motion crash; thankfully I was ridding up hill. Unfortunately this occurred right in front of my parents house; making my Mother who was already way more nervous about my biking endeavors than she was at any point during my football career completely neurotic about my long bike rides.

5. My crank coming loose during a training ride about 15 miles away from the car.

6. The final ride on "The Master of Disaster" at the Patriots Triathlon.

So yes, that bike lived up to the name well, but it had to endure a hard death. Last week in order for Orbea to send out my new frame I had to render "The Master of Disaster," unrideable. With steak knife and meat tenderizer in hand I cut and struck until the top tube was no more. I cried as I killed my baby, whispering to it that it would be ok; that this was for the best, that it was going to a better place to ride and play with other "Masters of Disasters."

The times were great on that frame and I will miss it dearly. I have no idea how many hours or miles I spent on that frame; although I think hours spent on that frame are probably pretty close to hours spent on my bed! I will miss it dearly, but sometimes things need to be sent out to pastier and with that El Bastardo was born!

Some things to note about El Bastardo - I have gone with he more refined black bar tape as opposed to white on the "Master". I am no longer pure and innocent on my bike, so I felt black was more fitting for my sadistic demeanor as I hammer. The cable housings are silver, for the amount of money I spent I felt I deserved just a little bit of bling! And I have decided to give the Speedfil a try! I was always frustrated with the Aerodrink and now that my bike fit is so much more compact the Aerodrink straw would kind of poke me in the face and there was no room for my Garmin with it. About a year ago the Speedfil came out and has been met with some pretty good reviews (will receive it this week). Hopefully this solves all my sweat mongering hydration issues.

My first ride on El Bastado felt great; an hour and a half training ride with three - six minute zone 5a intervals. I took Kent out on the ride with me and we had a blast hammering away in the pouring rain on the Charlottesville streets. Saturday's training was pretty crazy; Coach Orton had me swim about 2000 yards (the main set was 2 500 yard zone 4b swims); followed by the bike; followed by a 45 minute run with 10, one minute half marathon pace intervals. Basically I did an olympic distance tri on Saturday! Blood sugar and nutrition was spot on; hopefully those good vibes follow me to the South Carolina Half, my A race for the season, on Sunday!

Prior to my full taper for the race I had to get in some much needed fun. Perhaps the biggest advantage a triathlete's wardrobe gives them is at a King of Neon party! Saturday night we partied it up, unlike most of my friends I didn't have to purchase one item of clothing (not sure what that says about my fashion sense!) - my bright orange wardrobe served me well. With how good I look in orange I may have to make drinking in spandex a regular occurance.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Of Fast Miles & Snake Bites

Friday I took my classmate, Jeff, out to Sugar Hollow to do some hard core speed work. Sugar Hollow as I've mentioned before is one of the few places in the Charlottesville area where there is enough flat ground to do some real interval work. Training on hills that have your heart rate approaching zone 5 while at a 15 minute mile pace make interval work pretty tough! So whenever Eric wants me to run at X heart rate for X miles or minutes I try and head out to Sugar Hollow to get it done.

Jeff was a varsity soccer player at University of Michigan and weighs about as much as my right quad. He's one of those disgusting natural athletes that can go out and run 7 minute miles without much training. So its great for me to work with him when I do speed work because I know I'm going to be pushed, and I know my competitive spirit is going to drive me to do better; its always more fun training with a good buddy too.

So Friday around 6pm Jeff and I started our run in that serene area. We began with a mile warm up at like an 8:55 pace. Then the rest of the workout proceeded as:

2 miles - zone 4b
1 mile - zone 5a
.5 miles zone 5b
3 minute rest interval between each speed interval

I was shocked with how fast the miles ticked off; we ran the first two miles at a 7:30 pace, the zone 5a run was done at a 6:55 pace and the last half mile was done at close to a 5 minute pace - in short; we kicked ass. The real fun started after the last 1/2 mile interval though. Jeff being the skinny munchkin he is wanted to run the last mile (my cool down) as fast as he could - he has aspirations of qualifying for Boston at the Disney World Marathon in January.

About 20 yards away from me I see Jeff launch into the air, perpendicular to the ground; he wasn't paying tribute to Michael Jordan as he screamed "holy f***k" as something lunged at him. He shouted back to me, "dude that's not a stick," so I ran on the other side of the road past the spot Jeff had just gone airborne over. Starring at me was the face of evil:

Waiting for Jeff in the middle of the road was a freaking copperhead snake! Had the snake gotten its fangs into my buddy's legs I would have been sucking out poison - as attractive as Jeff is, really he's just not my type. Freaking crazy, sometimes I forget how lucky I was to be living in the North East where I didn't have t worry about meeting my demise during a run in a remote wooded area.
The rest of my training went pretty well for the weekend, although riding my commuter road bike on the trainer is way more painful than Apollo ever was. I'll have pictures of my new black beauty as soon as it comes in from the factory. So on a weekend where I found my legs again, had some fun with friends and was able to run sub 8 minute miles again on Sunday I'm just thankful I didn't have to suck snake venom out of a friend's leg.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

7 Is Not The Luckiest Number Of Them All

When I received my bib number for last weekends race the woman said, oh you have the luckiest number of them all - 777. As soon as she said this, I knew that triple 7 was going to bring me anything but luck; really I'm not superstitious at all! The next morning when I showed up for body marking, the guy marking me made the comment, "oh you're going to have a lucky race," as he wrote 777 on my arm - really this is why I'm a huge fan of ipods so I don't have to freak out over comments like this.

I quickly forgot about the "lucky" comments, got into my race groove and was happy coming out of the water:
Then the crash happened, which turned out to vastly more unlucky than I had previously thought. Not only did the crash screw up my overall time for the Patriots International, but its going to turn out costing me a cr*p load of money. I cracked my freaking frame!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

As I was cleaning my bike off on Tuesday and about to load it onto my trainer for my recovery ride; I noticed some sort of mark on the top tube - upon closer inspection this was anything but a mark, it was the most evil sight any triathlete can see on their beautiful carbon frame.

So my options are to use Orbea's crash replacement program which allows me to purchase a new frame and fork for retail cost; which 3 sports in Richmond can have for me built up this weekend. Or can I go with a company in California called Calfee which repairs carbon frames; this will cost about $1,000 less than the replacement frame (including shipping) but I will miss the South Carolina Half as the turn around time for a Calfee repair is 30 to 50 days. I'm not sure whats worse, missing a race and being without one of my favorite things or spending a bit of extra money and not missing a beat.

This decision has me feeling like this:

full disclosure: I've been making faces at cameras in races for a while - I finally timed it right!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Patriots International Race Report

I have never before gone into a triathlon with such confidence and hope for a strong performance. I have always known what I am capable of on the bike; god gave me the quadzillas to eat flats and well struggle up hills; but it has taken me a long time to learn how to swim and run for distance. Last week Coach Orton had me do a 500 yard swim test and 6 minute run test.

The results:
500 yards - 7 minutes, 48 seconds
6 minute run - 1 mile

I was a pretty decent swimmer when I was a little kid but moved away from the sport as my body developed for the gridiron. However, running has never been my strong suit. For high school lacrosse, I once dropped 20 lbs in a 15 day period so I could receive extra points on our fitness test for my bench to weight/ squat to weight ratio since I knew I couldn't run consecutive 8 minute miles. So running a mile in 6 minutes was a huge success for me, and something I am astonished and thrilled about. Given that, I had all the hope in the world that I would finally live up to my expectations at the Patriots International Triathlon.

Pre Race
Saturday was a bit of a weird day. I woke up and had my fruit and protein shake; went for an hour bike ride, and then devoured pancakes before driving to Williamsburg. Prior to getting into the car my blood sugar was in the 80s, an hour later it was 118 but I felt kind of weird. I had a clif bar at this point; bolused as normal but my blood sugar was in the 250s about an hour and 1/2 after that. For the better part of the next 5 hours I struggled to get my blood sugar below 300 - awesome, just what I want the day before the race. I made sure I took in extra salt for all the water I was drinking to try and flush my system.

That night for dinner I had 1 cup and 1/4 of whole wheat pasta, a 1/4 lbs of ground buffalo and tomato basil sauce - about 65 grams of carbs. I had trouble falling asleep, by 11:50 my blood sugar was 55, so I took in a clif builder bar; finally falling asleep at 1am. My alarm went off at 5:20, I woke to a blood sugar of 120 - perfect I thought.

For breakfast I had a banana, some mixed berries, 1 scoop of muscel milk light, 4 oz of odawala superfood and some chia seeds all blended together. I gave myself a 2 unit bolus for this. At 6:50 am I turned my pump down to 41% (i'm kind of weird and don't like to round down) and 10 minutes later had my clif bar. At 7:20 am I took in my 2 scoops of EFS, and then tested; uhoh 355 - umm how'd that happen. .8 units of insulin and off to the water to swim.


The start of the swim was alot of fun. Having done all my triathlons in freezing cold water I felt like I was in the Caribbean during my warm up. I cracked up as the mostly southern field complained how the water was freezing. Try Jersey in early April for freezing guys, this was like a bath tub! I felt great during my swim warm up, lined myself to the right, the gun went off and there I went.

The entire time during the swim I kept thinking I was going really slow; I had open space the entire time, and from what I could tell no one from the previous wave had passed me. I exited the water, 4th in my age group! I did the 1500 yard swim in 28:21; a great swim, I was calm the entire time and just felt comfortable in the water. In T1, I tested my blood sugar and was relived to see 224; still high but headed in the right direction.

Swim Results: Final Time 28:21; 4th in age group
Swim Grade: A


I felt great in my new groovy aero helmet on the bike; I actually headed out to the bike course next to an undergrad on the UVA tri club team so that was pretty cool. I passed by him and yelled out go UVA, only to realize I was about to encounter an insanely sharp turn. I gripped my breaks, my tire screeched, I cut my front wheel, my rear wheel slid off the road where there was a drop off, I slid onto the road at 20 mph, shifting my aero bars out of position, throwing my nutrition and shredding up my leg. For the first time in my tri career I crashed during a race:

Amazingly the only part of my pump that was damaged in the crash is the clip, and really just some superficial scratches. However where the pump sits on my hip as I ride has an awful case of road rash; I would take pictures of that but I try and keep this blog PG. I'm pretty sore and pretty banged up but.....

I collected my things from the road, dusted myself off and jumped back on my bike. After a couple minutes of riding my bike didn't feel right so I pulled off the race course, checked my tires, checked my cranks, and everything seemed good to go. I kept my pace at 19 mph as I convinced myself that nothing was broken. I finally settled back into my groove and wound up passing the same UVA dude that I had crashed in front of; this time I didn't say hello.
My bike was great; I kept my cadence above 90; and even with the crash my average speed was about 22 mph. According to my race data it looks like I lost about 5 minutes due to the crash; and its pretty cool to see my heart rate totally spike when I realized I was going down. Overall I'm pretty happy with the bike, with how aggressively I push the bike I'm going to dump it from time to time, thats part in due to the confidence I have from learning to ride and Manhattan and in part because I'm an absolute meathead who loves to hammer. I love the way I ride, and I love riding hard; I'm not upset about the crash, and am psyched I was able to get up, bounce back and still have a pretty good bike.

Bike Results: Final Time 1:09:14, 13th in age group
Bike Grade: B, solid effort, but still below my goal pace of 25 mph, crash or not

I knew that my goal of breaking 2:25 was out the window when I finished the bike in over an hour. With a good run, breaking 2:30 was within my reach however, I had planned to go out at an 8 minute pace, see how I felt after 4 miles and then fire the legs to try and close at a 7:30 pace; well that was the plan at least.
I went out at an 8 minute pace and felt freaking great; my legs felt strong, I felt well hydrated and was just looking forward to enjoying a good solid race. About 1.5 miles into the run I started to cramp up on the right side of my sternum. A mile later my legs started to feel heavy, and my pace began to slow from 8 minutes, to 8:30, to 9, to 9:30. By the 3.5 mile mark my calves had cramped so badly that I almost fell over. At this point I was upset, disheartened and just plain disappointed.

All that training, all the effort, killing myself during all those intervals didn't let my body hold up. I don't know if it was the high blood sugar the morning of the race or the day before, I don't know if I didn't take in enough salt, or if to be honest I just can't run. I've improved my swimming, I've become a solid biker, yet I still can't put it together on the run and I'm frustrated. I can work through pain, I can work through heat, I can't work through what my legs wont let me do and I need to understand why my legs are preventing me from running. I work hard enough to be better than this, its time my race results are indicative of how much effort I put into this sport.

Run Results: Final Time 58:46
Run Grade: F
Even though my run was awful I'm pretty happy with my performance in the race. The first two segments of the tri went to plan; even with the crash I had a decent bike. Even with the poor run I took 15 minutes off my Mooseman International time in early June. To really improve I need to really dig into the reasons behind my high blood sugars and awful performance on the run. Coach Orton and I have to address why my run times are so off my training paces. I'm excited that I was finally able to take performance pressures off myself during a race allowing me to juts enjoy the event. However, I'm not satisfied and will really need to push myself to figure out this run issue, as in 3 weeks I have this seasons A race, the South Carolina Half Iron.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

It's Official - I'm a Tri Dork

Coach Orton obviously has a plan to not only make me fast but to improve my overall fashion style - Major Tom here I come!

Eric had wanted me to pick up an aero helmet, realcyclist.com had the Giro Advantage 2 for a great price so..... ummm yeah.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Why Aren't Diabetic Supplies Designed Cradle To Cradle?

Today in our sustainability and entrepreneurship course we are speaking with the CEO of Method, a company that produces house hold cleaning products that are healthy for the environment and designed to either be recycled or 100% biodegradable. As I changed my infusion site this morning, with the Method case fresh in my mind I once again became frustrated over how much waste is created through the simple act of refilling my insulin.

When I change my insulin reservoir I am throwing out:

1. 2' long plastic tube
2. 1.8 ml plastic canister
3. 2" long metal needle
4. 3" wide adhesive tape
5. Whatever insulin is left over in the reservoir
6. Plastic packaging from the new infusion site
7. Plastic wrap from new reservoir
8. Plastic cap from reservoir
9. Aluminum wrapper for IV Prep
10. IV Prep Cloth

In addition each box of infusion sets has a ton of documentation and instructions; the same documentation in each box!

That process above is repeated 3 times a week, 52 weeks a year, for the rest of my life. Not to mention the hard plastic containers One Touch uses to house their test strips, or the waste that each test strip creates. That's a ton of non-recyclable waste; there has to be a better way!

One of the things we're learning about is how to design a product for cradle to cradle. Cradle to cradle means that the life cycle of the product is continuous, it is either 100% bio-degradable or the non bio-degradable portions can be recycled and incorporated into a future product - essentially carbon neutral. This design process ensures no additional harm to the environment and actually can create significant cost savings to the manufacturer. Cost savings can be found throughout the supply chain or in something like shipping costs from lighter or less packaging.

I haven't yet fully identified all the potential ways to improve how to redesign all insulin pump supplies or testing supplies. However, packaging test strips in bulk with a plastic canister that can be reused would be a great start and create a huge cost savings for the supplier. A trade in program for Medtronic could be a second innovation; the plastics Medtronic uses can be recycled which would reduce their supply costs and decrease the amount of waste through our necessary activities. There are some simple changes that can be made, that would decrease the price to consumers, increase the profitability of corporations and most importantly be better for the environment.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

2:26 AM - Awesome

I would love to be writing a blog post at 2:26 AM about how incredible a drunken night with my friends was. Unfortunately, that's not the case of this post - it's 2:26 AM, I've been trying to fall asleep for about 2 hours, and every 20 minutes or so I wake up shaking and confused. Since 9pm tonight, my blood sugar has struggled to get above 70 and for most of the night it has been in the 50s.

Sunday had me complete my 40 mile ride mostly in zone 3, in 2 hours and 3 minutes; then it was out for a nice hour long zone 2 transition run, about 6 miles. For the 3 hours of exercise I need 460 to 480 grams of carbohydrates. During the bike I took in about 120 grams of carbs, then took in 80 more grams of carbs before my run. Post run I had Endurox for 50 grams of carbs, and ate an entire flat bread pizza for another 135 grams. After that I added a Whole Foods "super foods" salad, and had a fruit smoothie - about 80 grams. I should have taken in enough carbohydrates to avoid a huge deficit (unless this is cumulative from during the week).

After the salad and smoothie when I noticed the lows I've added 2 glasses of orange juice, a 1/4 clif bar and now a clif nectar bar. Hopefully the clif nectar bar at 2:20 AM does the trick. I feel my mind and body slowing down as I write this so I can only hope that means my blood sugars are bouncing back up. I had hoped that avoiding late nights out with my friends this weekend and only having a couple social beers at our Darden Trivia event on Friday and tailgate on Saturday would help me avoid this. My recovery week isn't off to the start I had hoped it would be!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Final Push

Next Sunday I will be competing in the Patriots Triathlon held in Williamsburg Virginia. I'm excited for the race for a few reasons. A couple of my Darden friends are going to do the sprint version of the race while I do the oympic! This will be the first race that Coach E and I have done a full training cycle for and my blood sugars have been super solid for all but one day of the past month.

As I had posted earlier in the week, my emotions were running out of control which caused my blood sugars to fly all over the place. I'm still not 100% sure what happened; whether it was a combination of lack of sleep, insulin going bad and a racing mind or if it was all the food I had with lower boluses from the super intense workout weekend, but my blood sugars were sky high Monday. I think my efforts to let go of having to control every situation will go far in helping to limit situations like that in the future. Since Monday my blood sugars have returned to normal levels and have been steady as a rock during workouts - 6 hours thus far this week, with 2 hours on tap for today (a lift with core strength and a 40 minute run); then THE BIG WEEKEND.

This weekend Coach Orton has me doing a 35 minute continuous swim with a 15 minute warm up and 5 minute cool down on Saturday. I may try and find a lake somewhere around C'Ville to do it in open water, as a continuous swim in the UVA pool sounds about as enticing as cleaning my disaster of an apartment. There are two outdoor lap pools in Charlottesville so I may test my luck at one of them tomorrow morning to get the swim in. Sunday is the big day however, a 40 mile bike at my race cadence followed by a 1 hour run - essentially 75% of a half ironman.

Coach has had me cycling at a cadence of 80 to 85 for most of the past month. The idea behind this was cycling at a higher cadence was destabilizing my back muscles causing alot of spasms I was experiencing on longer rides. The lower cadence combined with the new fit has done wonders for my back and hip, I'm feeling great and stronger than ever on the bike.

I have also been running in the Nike Frees (more on these next week). My stride has become more efficient and some of the normal running stresses I've encountered have been just about eliminated. I feel like I'm running much more naturally than I have been and am enjoying running again!

All this leads me to great excitement for what can occur in Williamsburg next weekend. My nutrition has been dialed in, my training has been outstanding and my Coach is totally kicking my butt. I'll write more about my goals for the race next week, but I am putting the most effort into giving up control and just going with the flow of the moment. I was at my best in college football when I let the play come to me, when I didn't force things and when I adapted to the situations, letting the theory of play dictate my actions. On Sunday's big training day my goal will be to ride within myself, not force a higher heart rate, not feel like I need to hammer through the ground, enjoy the beautiful scenery and ride every second with a smile. Then on the run I want to run with the joy Emil Zatopek did in the 1952 Olympics - embrace the challenge, love the pain, but enjoy every second.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

4 Things....

In our Sustainability, Innovation & Entrepreneurship class Professor Larson asked us to write down four things that were core to our future happiness. These four things were to center around our professional life and were supposed to identify the four qualities a future job would need to make us professionally and personally happy. For years I have been thinking about things like this - probably part of my weird make up that has me wanting to control situations. But as I reflected on what is really important to me, it gave me great hope that if I can give up some of that control I'm going to have a much happier and more fulfilling life, those 4 things to me are:

1. Have time to be the best Father and Husband I can be. Family has been and will always be a huge priority in my life, although I am neither a father nor husband yet; I know that my future career better allow me to make both my children and wife a priority. In large part this is why I did not go into coaching football out of undergrad, because I knew the commitment required for a high level of success in that career almost eliminates the time for anything else.

2. Have a position that lets me impact others and aids them in living a healthier lifestyle. I want to help people, I need to learn how to do this in a less controlling fashion, and need to learn just to listen sometimes. But I have a core belief that living actively, and eating healthy will lead to a greater level of happiness for everyone.

3. Work in something that is related to athletics, in a non-corporate culture and wants to be sustainable. Athletics has been the one thing that has always made sense to me, and the one thing that has always made my worst day better. Staying involved with athletics, whether through nutrition, apparel or something I haven't even considered yet will be a huge driver to having fun and enjoying my profession.

4. Solve a problem and leave an impact. This one is pretty self explanatory; I'm a problem solver by nature, for better or worse. I think strategically, I act analytically and I crave a puzzle. Professionally, this is an awesome quality, personally this one needs to be shut off sometimes and I'm working on that. But to be professionally fulfilled I need to be working towards solving a strategic issue that will allow me to leave a positive impact.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Hope For A Better CGM

I have no idea how Abbot will use my user feedback in the further development of the Navigator. Although the idea of having the potential even the smallest voice in the development process makes me feel like this blog is potentially accomplishing something. I even included some of my thoughts on sustainability in future generations of the Navigator. And who knows who else might come along the below view points; because I think we're all striving for the same thing - a better, easier way to manage our blood sugars that is more integrated into our daily activities. Here are my hopes for the next generation Navigator:

1. Adhesion, although I have used several different types of external medical tape I have continued to have a problem keeping the sensor attached to my body. This has been in part due to the size of the transmitter and the lack of adhesive tape attached to the sensor. Often after a simple shower or a 1/2 hour in the pool the sensor will fall off, sometimes without my knowledge. Would love to see future versions of the sensor have extra adhesion.

2. The 90 degree cannula neither stays in my body as well nor is as comfortable as a 45 degree or variable angle cannula, like the Minimed Silhoute. When speaking with diabetic educators about which insertion set to go with for my insulin pump they unanimously suggested the variable angle type. A longer cannula would also give me piece of mind that the sensor is staying in place, and actually provides more comfort because its further below the tactile nerves in my skin.

3. A universal insertion device would achieve two goals. From a sustainability perspective, a "gun" similar to the one Medtronic uses for their insertion devices reduces the amount of plastic required for each sensor. This reduces the environmental impact of each sensor as there would be less waste material; additionally this may provide more consistency for insertion as a "gun" is much easier to handle than the bulky automatic inserter. Secondly, this could provide a huge cost savings to Abbott; less plastic means lower manufacturing and shipping costs. The production line for the mold of each automatic inserter could be removed, by removing the plastic automatic inserter each shipping box will be smaller, a smaller and lower weight shipping box means lower shipping costs for Abbott - a win, win for consumer and producer.

4. A smaller transmitter and smaller receiver. In a perfect world the receiver would be the size of a Garmin Forerunner watch. For training purposes wearing a watch that displayed my blood glucose and trend at all times would be a gift from heaven. The watch would allow me to view my blood glucose more easily and require less effort than the current receiver does. Additionally, the lower bulk of a watch makes it a more practical solution - for my needs communication distance is much less important than size. Both the Polar HRM and Garmin Forerunners are great models for product innovation.

5. Although you are serving two consumer bases, the menu options on the receiver are a bit limited. Because it is produced for such a generic audience I understand that you need to keep it as simple as possible. However, I think the simplicity at times makes it more complicated than it needs to be. Additionally, I would like to see my glucose number always displayed; and the backlight automatically come on when I hit a button; rather than having to hit a button to display glucose and a second button for the back light.

6. Battery life and battery recycling is another main concern. A shift to a rechargeable battery or a longer life battery would help a ton. Too often the battery in the transmitter goes dead without my knowledge; having a rechargeable unit in place would allow more frequent use of the device and ensure that the device does not go dead mid-cycle.

Of Stress, Emotions & Blood Sugars

It's easy to forget the impact ones blood sugars can have on their blood sugar management. Yesterday due to a perfect storm of events my blood sugars were out of control requiring a little extra effort to slow my mind down to help me process everything that was going on.

Sunday night I barely slept as I was thinking through some stuff in my personal life, this made my looming operations strategy class seem way more important than it actually was. I went to bed with a blood sugar of 340 on Sunday, as I tested throughout the night my glucose level never dropped below 200 although I had given myself more than enough insulin. Its amazing how much of an affect blood sugar plays on your thought process - when I'm that high I feel like my brain simply can't slow down.

Monday I had egg whites, coffee and a glass of OJ for breakfast, but my blood sugar spiked above 200 just an hour after eating. I sat through class, dizzy and ultra focused as I was trying to understand a concept. Mind you, under normal bs levels competitive cost analysis wouldn't be that hard for me to figure out. Oh the joys of diabetes.

Throughout the rest of the day my blood sugar fluctuated between 180 and 300; and the pending club fair at Darden did little to ease my worries. I'm the founder of a new type of club at Darden which is a cross-academic endeavor that is combining the new Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy and Darden to form the Business & Public Policy Club. In order to be an official club at Darden we need at least 20 members. I was nervous about having to pitch my club to the first years, and terrified we wouldn't get the #s needed to become sanctioned. I was blown away by the response, we had 40 first years sign up for the club which exceeded our wildest expectations.

I came home, did some valuation homework, then went to my second year coaches course, where I skipped the free pizza and just had a diet coke. Finally back home at 8:30 pm, I had a salad with chicken sausage and was glad to see my blood sugar pre meal and post meal come in at the same level of 205 (consistency is a move in the right direction). I gave myself 2 extra units of insulin before bed, went to sleep at 11:15 and am super happy to wake up with a blood sugar of 75. Now its off to the pool before my 10am class, hopefully the exercise, extra sleep and understanding some stuff better will get my blood sugars back to where they should be.