After crossing the finish line I spent some time (like 30 minutes) trying to figure out where the parking lot was that I parked in at 5am. Thankfully I ran into Julie, the other Triabetes athlete racing Cali, who happily offered to drive me around with her husband and dog so I could find my car without walking for miles. Some 15 minutes later we finally figured out where the lot was (about 4 miles from where I was aimlessly walking around! Still smelly from the race I hopped in my car to head over to the Triabetes BBQ in Carlsbad hosted by Jason.
The BBQ was awesome, nothing tastes better after a long race than burgers, grilled chicken and beer. At the BBQ were a few other type 1s, some of whom had been diagnosed within the past year or so. It was great to be able to share experiences with other JDs and spread the word about Ring The Bolus a bit. Talking about my blog with other type 1s reminded me why I started writing all this stuff. 3 years ago when I was first diagnosed I was so frustrated at the lack of information about how to train and live a normal life as an adult diagnosed with juvenile diabetes that I forced myself to be part of the solution, not add to the problem. To help others in my situation I wanted to be an outlet of information and just document my experiences managing blood sugars and life. Was kind of cool to be reminded of that and recharged me to keep writing about finger pricks and insulin needs.
About an hour and 1/2 into the BBQ my bags were finally delivered! Having clean under ware for the first time in 3 days was one of the greatest feelings of relief. I showered, put on deoderant and clean clothing all for the first time in a while. As the BBQ started to wind down I continued some great conversations, got to hang out with Ryan and the Maloneys a bit and continued to joke around with Nate, my host for the rest of the weekend.
From the BBQ I headed down to Pacific Beach, during the drive I had an awesome conversation with Steve Parker, a Triabetes captain from 2008 who I met at IMAZ. During the conversation I was amazed at how great an organization Triabetes is, all of the athletes in Triabetes have one common bond and that bond lets us become quick and instant friends. Whether talking to Julie about blood sugars during Cali 70.3, Steve about his up comming race schedule, or sharing stories about nighttime lows with people I hadn't met before we are all sharing intimate shared experiences. Just knowing that there are other people out there who battle and struggle on a daily basis with the same things you do brings great comfort and solace to a lifetime journey.
Once at Nate's awesome house in Pacific Beach we quickly changed and headed down to PB Bar & Grill. I still hadn't had my fill of post-race goodies and well wanted to check out the PB Bar scene a bit. Unfortuneteley by 11pm both Nate and I were beat - a 4am wake up call and a long day out in the sun had wiped us out. But over a couple beers Nate and I realized we are both born on 4/15/79! That explains our similar taste in reading and constant obscure references.
The next morning Nate and I headed over to one of the beautiful San Diego beaches for an InuslinDependence Breakfast Blend. Since ID (the umbrella non-profit which Triabetes is a part of) was founded in San Diego the support network and events are more established there than in other geographic locations. Breakfast Blend is an opportunity for supporters of the organization to meet over coffee and pastries on the beach with the opportunity to surf. It's a totally informal meet and great and a fantastic experience. At the Breakfast Blend I met 5 or 10 fellow diabetics all of which had a story to share. We spoke about new medical technologies, surfing with diabetes, and really just about life in general. An outstanding time was had by all. Having had a blast surfing when I was in Costa Rica I was dying to ride the waves, after a few times trying to pop up on my board I realized the half Iron from the day before had taken its toll on my legs - surfing was not in the cards.
The rest of the day was spent eating burritos, drinking some beer and returning the cornucopia of triathlon gear I had borrowed for the race. All that was topped off by a great BBQ at Nate's place that evening and then an early morning flight the next day. In all it was a tremendous weekend and I'm always struck by how amazing an organization Triabetes/ ID is.
Recently in an interview for a strategic consulting firm the President of the company asked me, "on your resume what are you most proud of?" I thought about his question for a moment and rather than list one of my professional or academic accomplishments I told him the strategic advisement I have done for Triabetes is what I am most proud of in my career up to this point. When I was diagnosed on April 2nd, 2007 I vowed to inspire as many people as possible; in all likelihood I will never win Kona so the chance that ESPN will feature me as the first type 1 diabetic to win the big show is pretty much 0.000001% (there's always a chance!) I however have been blessed with some athletic gifts that brought me to the world of triathlon and an ability to set forth strategic visions that help others succeed. The combination of those two attributes have let me help Peter and the rest of the ID crew set the table for some really exciting events in the coming year. After 3 years my desire to help and inspire others through the things I'm good at are at an all time high - my diagnosis anniversary passed this year with a smile because I am truly excited for what the next year holds.