Thought for the Day

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Results are in

The results from the little triathlon I did this past weekend are in. Considering I was DFL* in the swim, I did all right. I was 17th out of 39 competitors, 7th out of 12 amongst masters men.

A fellow Triabetes Team member, Julie, was first place woman! She swam more than twice as far as I did, biked a mile farther, and was right behind me on the run. In short, she kicked my butt, but I can't feel bad about that. She kicked almost everyone's butt.

*DFL means Dead Last.

I was 10th on the bike, and third overall on the run. I can't be too thrilled with my run finish because obviously I didn't wear myself out as much as others did in the swim.

Still, at the risk of repeating myself, it was a lot of fun.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlon

I am now a triathlete. I have actually completed a triathlon.
Of course, it was kind of a different, and easier triathlon. It was all based on time, so there was no way, once I entered, that I could not finish.
It was a 10 minute swim in the lap pool, a 10 minute transition, a 30 minute ride on a stationary bike, a five minute transition, and a twenty minute run.
I had turned down my basal rate an hour before the start time, but when I checked my blood sugar in the parking lot, with about 35 minutes to go to the start, it was 68. I ate a Pure Fit bar and washed it down with some water.
I did only nine lengths in the pool, with lots of long breaks at the end of each length, and a few mid-length stops. That's just 225 meters. I don't know if anyone did less.
It was probably very good practice for me. I was right up against one wall, sharing a lane with another guy. I hit the wall with my arm several times, and a couple of those stops in the middle of a length were because I was disturbed by how close I was to the other swimmer. He did nothing wrong. I just need to get used to swimming with other people around me.
I got to the bikes and threw my stuff down by one of them. I checked my blood sugar, and it was 173. That was cool.
Then I went to get on the bike and see if I needed to adjust anything, and I saw that it had no toe clips! Some of the bikes had toe clips, and some just had cleats. I was in my running shoes, and needed the clips. So with only a few minutes to go, I was frantically looking for an unoccupied bike with toe clips. I found it with only a minute to spare, and had no time to adjust it. In fact, I only had one foot really into the clip, and had to stop to force my other foot in after the start.
And the seat I was on was way too low for me. I wasn't getting anything close to full extension. Oh well, there was nothing to do about it but ride.
I tried to stay consistent, but I was aware of times when I realized I had slowed down and I needed to pick it up.
My odometer hit 14.0 when we finished. I don't know if that means I could really go 28 mph for half an hour.
Checking my blood sugar before the run, it was 145. I thought that was fine, but if it continued to slide, I would go low, so I ate a couple of clif shot blocks. That was a bad idea. I know things about what happens when I run in different ways, but sometimes I ignore the things I know. For example, I know that when I run a 5K, the race environment and the intensity of the effort can drive my blood sugar up. At least I know I never need to turn down my basal for a 5K. I leave it alone, then check to see if I need to bolus after the race.
So anyway the run went well. I had some of that brick feeling, but I just gradually upped the speed on the treadmill as I got comfortable at each pace, and pretty soon I was running a 7 minute mile pace. This worked for a while, to about 1 mile, but I realized I wasn't going to be able to keep it up for 12 more minutes.
I cranked it back to 7:30 for a while. Twice, I turned back up to 7, then back down to 7:30 when I felt like I couldn't hold it. Going into the last three minutes, I tried to speed up again, but I gave up on it after a few seconds. I was just too beat.
Amongst the people around me whose distances I heard, my 2.71 miles seemed to be the best. I'm sure some people did better, but I did all right.
I will have to wait to see the results. It was a great learning experience, and fun!
Oh yeah, after showering and walking out to my car, I finally checked my blood sugar again and it was 270! It's totally understandable, and I should have known better, but it kind of delayed my recovery meal.

Friday, June 19, 2009

When to Educate

I picked up some test strips from the pharmacy today, and had a brief conversation with the pharmacist that I don't think I handled well.
She expressed some surprise at how many strips I was getting, and actually asked me, "Do you really test 10 or 12 times per day?"
At the time, I wasn't insulted. She didn't ask in an accusatory way. But looking back, when someone asks that in that context, it implies you're scamming the insurance for more than you need.
I just answered, "Yes, I really do." So she asked, "Does your blood sugar really fluctuate that often?"
I smiled, thinking, "You have no idea what this is like..." but all I said was "Yes, it does."
She made a couple other statements about how "strange" it was that my blood sugar should "fluctuate that much," but I just smiled and left.
As I was leaving, though, I thought I really should have set her straight on a few things. It is not "strange" for someone on insulin to be checking that often. If you think about testing only before and after three meals and one snack, that gets you up to 8 tests per day. If you test before and after exercise, and you exercise once per day, that's ten.
And don't get me started on the fluctuating blood sugars.
Yet here is a pharmacist, a person in a position to offer me consultations on my prescriptions, who has absolutely no idea what life is like for type 1 diabetics, saying things like that. Sure, it doesn't affect someone who's been diabetic for 35 years, but someone else might actually believe her. She's in a position of authority. Some newly diagnosed diabetic might think, "Oh, maybe I don't need to check my blood sugar so often." or "Maybe there's something wrong with me because I don't always predict the perfect dosage for every meal I eat."
I should have tried to educate her, I suppose.
Then there was a woman a couple of weeks ago who, upon finding out I was diabetic, told me of a diabetic child she knew who had a "very severe case." She knew this because he was always testing his blood sugar and taking insulin. To me it just sounded like living with diabetes, but I didn't correct her either.
One of the reasons I'm training for Ironman is supposed to be to change people's ideas about diabetes. I need to do that more in my personal life.
I think I had given up on educating people. So many think they already know it all, and whatever you say to them, they misinterpret to confirm what they already believed, or it goes in one ear and out the other.
But I really should continue to try. It matters.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sorry, My Bad

Apparently the health care crisis is caused by "exercise freaks" like me. Sorry about that.

In the words of Rush Limbaugh:

Folks, I gotta tell you, I, uh, I think that those of you who regularly exercise, playing softball, baseball, basketball, soccer, mountain biking, running, rock climbing, skiing, skating, running, you're the people getting injured. You're the people showing up at the hospital with busted knees, and tendons and skin cancer, ankle sprains, knee and hip replacements, broken bones, concussions, muscle ligament tendon cartilage strains and tears, tendinitis, rotator cuff tears. All you exercise freaks. You're the ones putting stress on the health care system.

What happens when people don't regularly exercise, keep their weight relatively under control? Nothing. They probably don't even know their doctors names.

So you're urged, what, to do all this stuff and you end up in the hospital all the time with these injuries, and some people think these injuries are badges of honor, knee surgery scars are badge of honor, shows toughness.

Yeah, toughness somebody else has to pay for.

Overweight drug addicts are bearing the burden of the medical expenses of people who go outside and exercise. Hm. I've had that all turned around.
I know Rush Limbaugh is strictly for entertainment and should never be taken seriously, but I find it hard to believe this rant strikes a chord with even his most steadfast admirers.
Don't play softball or baseball? Isn't that un-American?
It's odd Mr. Limbaugh seems to have omitted more violent sports like football, boxing, wrestling, and martial arts.
I guess tennis is OK, too. Golf is fine, I'm sure, as long as you drive a cart.
Running is so bad he mentions it twice.
Anyway, I'm sure he was talking about me, because even some people who exercise think I do a lot. I'm sure I seem like an "exercise freak" to someone like Mr. Limbaugh.
However, Rush Limbaugh definitely knows his doctor's name. He probably has more than one doctor on speed dial, if only to fill his prescriptions.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Tim Bolen is a generous and gifted coach and triathlete. He holds a track workout at a local high school every Wednesday morning, and anyone who wants to show up at 5:30 AM for a little training is welcome.
I feel very lucky to have the option to add a workout like this to my training, and I've been going there for the past few weeks.
Sometimes I feel great about it, and sometimes I would compare it to being forced to join a graduate class on quantum physics some time in the middle of the semester. I'm just not physically ready for it.

This past Wednesday, Tim started out by saying, "If you're racing this weekend, don't do this workout."
At this point several of the several dozen certifiable nutcases gathered there before most sane people are out of bed turned to each other and ominously whispered, "That's not a good sign!"
Then Tim went on to say, "If you're injured, or you think you might have an injury coming on, don't try to do this workout."
Another wave of fearful muttering went through the crowd of lunatics.

Then we started in on drills, hop on one foot, forward, back, side, other side, forward, back, etc. for a minute.
Then frog jumps, feet wide, squat down low, leap up high, reaching up, then right back down, again, for a minute.
Then walking lunges, reaching ahead with forward leg, keeping back leg straight, not touching the knee to the ground.
Then side to side, on one foot, jump to right side landing on right foot, lower knee of left leg almost to the ground, then jump to other side landing on other foot, lowering the other knee.
I am beginning to wonder if Mr. Bolen is just making up new ways to punish us on the spur of the moment.
Then 200 meters fast. 20 secs rest.
400 meters at 5K pace, 20 sec. rest.
200 meters fast.
Then the series of drills again. hops, jumps, lunges, hops.
Then the 200, 400, 200 series again, twice.
Then 2 X bleacher steps, 3 at a time.
Then timed 1600 meters.
Then cool down.
I still suspect that this whole series of activities was made up right there on the track for the express purpose of causing pain.
Drills were hard for me. I did not do great.
I did the 200s well, but the 400s slow.
The bleacher steps 3 at a time I could not do. I could either do 3 at a time walking fast, or do 2 at a time running.
I did the final mile in about 7:30, which I can't be too unhappy about.
That workout was a tough five miles.

I have been sore from this workout for two and a half days.
So I just want to tell Tim thanks.
And ow.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Trigger Finger

There is so much good stuff going on, I don't know why it so often ends up being the bad stuff that finally motivates me to write on my blog.
Good stuff is that I'm feeling like I'm making progress with my swimming. I'm getting more mileage in, both biking and running. Training is going pretty well.
The bad thing is trigger finger. I have a self-diagnosed case of trigger finger in the pinkie of my left hand. I haven't seen a doctor about it yet, but it's a pretty obvious thing to diagnose.
Trigger finger occurs when a tendon that flexes one of your fingers gets a nodule of cartilage stuck on it, so that it can no longer easily slide through the sheath of tendons that hold it in place as you flex and extend the finger.
The finger can get stuck in a curled position, like it was wrapped around a trigger, and make a slight pop or snap as you extend the finger and the nodule moves past the tendons obstructing it.
So now I am waking up in the morning with my pinkie curled over and locked, and it's getting harder and harder, and more and more painful, to extend it out normally.
This condition is way more common in diabetics, and especially in those who have had diabetes for a long time. Treatments include rest, cortisone injections, and surgery.
I'm going to start by resting it. I'll start by splinting the finger in an extended position. The hope is that once the tendons aren't rubbing against each other all the time, the nodule will break up and go away.
I suspect that leaning on my hands while riding may have started the problem, so I'll get a new pair of biking gloves with more padding. And I'll try to spare the pinkie while I use the handlebars.
However, often this condition eventually strikes more fingers once it has hit one.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

National Running Day

It's National Running Day! I don't know what that means except that it's a good day to get out and run.
Of course, every day is a good day to run.
I ran a track workout this morning, and I'm considering a group run tonight. My mileage is too low, running mileage, biking mileage, and swimming mileage.
My swimming is actually improving. I'm actually looking forward to my next swim, maybe tonight after the run. I would bag the run and just swim, but hey, it's National Running Day!