Thought for the Day

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Sharp Stuff

Thinking about what to blog about, I've decided a few of these things should be about being diabetic, and not just an active, athletic diabetic. I mean I write about running and sometimes you wouldn't even know you were reading the blog of a diabetic.
Well, sometimes I'm going to write something that will make it obvious this blog belongs to a diabetic, but there may not be any running/biking/swimming/triathlon content.

I hate needles.

I've been a diabetic for 35 years, and I'm lousy at giving myself shots.
When I was first diagnosed, in the hospital I practiced that quick jab insertion of the syringe into an orange, over and over. I've done injections into my own skin that way maybe five times. The rest of the time I've pressed the point of the needles against the skin and pushed it in. Maybe it's more painful, but it seems somehow less violent.
And I look away when a needle is put into one of my veins to draw blood.
I hate it all.

I love/hate the sensors for my CGMS. While they are in and reporting what's going on inside of me, taking some of that burden off me, saving my life, I love them. I hate looking at them. I hate putting them in.
I mean seriously. LOOK at those things! Are you kidding me? Just stick that thing into my own skin? It's like a nail!

I love/hate Silhouette infusion sets. They stay in much better than any others I've tried. I've seen a QuickSet fall out two miles into a 5 mile run. I've run dozens of marathons using Silhouettes with no problem.
But don't you think they could put it in with just a little shorter needle? Does it really have to be that long? LOOK at that thing!
It goes in at an angle, but if I were to stab it straight in, I could hit any vital organ.

Glad I could get that off my chest... if not out from under my skin.

If you like this post, or even if you don't, you may want to visit the Diabetic Running Mama, who blogged on almost the same topic today, and inspired me to post this.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Biking At Last

You may notice that my training chart finally includes biking as well as running and swimming. I have some kind of unreasonable phobia about biking that has delayed the start of any serious bicycle training.
But I finally put that behind me on Saturday. Biking around the neighborhood, I felt great and had no problems.
Of course, after going nearly 11 miles without incident, I rolled up in front of my house, got one foot out of the SpeedPlay clips, failed to get the other foot free, and fell down, gouging the back of my right calf on the cranks.
This has put a hole in my swimming training for a few days, but I am fine for running and biking.

Click here for a gruesome picture. I left it out of the post because I thought it might gross some people out.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lost Weekend

OK, So I did that. The Pemberton Trail 50K on Saturday and the Lost Dutchman Marathon on Sunday.
And I wasn't alone. At least four of my fellow Marathon Maniacs did both events, and my friend, Melissa, who was not even registered for Lost Dutchman until the afternoon after running Pemberton, ran the whole race with me Sunday.
Melissa has now proudly joined the ranks of the Marathon Maniacs, and she does it at the exalted Iridium level, a level it took me two and a half years to achieve. Awesome.

photo by Jamil CouryPemberton Trail 50K

Believe it or not, the hardest of the two days for me was Saturday. I started out thinking that two weeks off from marathons was enough recovery time for me to run well for the 50K. After all, it isn't a tough course for a trail run, and the trail should have been easier on these old joints.
As it turns out, I'm not as tough as I thought I was. I wasn't fully recovered from three marathons in the previous four weeks. I felt pretty tired after the first few miles.
I hit the wall hard after 17 or 18 miles.
Pemberton is a two lap course, and there's a rough, rocky section about two miles out from the start. The first time through was a breeze, actually kind of fun. The second time through I was just trying to keep my feet under me and not fall down.
There were less than 150 of us running this race, so I spent a lot of time running alone through the desert. This Haiku came to me as I covered the desolate miles on my aching legs:

when the race day comes
it doesn't help to regret
the workouts you missed

Something to remember every day during training. Sitting here now typing this up, I'm thinking along these lines:

easy to register
for unknown levels of pain
far in the future

With about 10 miles to go, I started walking every significant uphill. I was thinking ahead to Lost Dutchman, and I was unsure about being able to run it at all if I didn't try to conserve energy.

photo by Melissa WilliamsLost Dutchman Marathon

Lost Dutchman is a fun race with lots of little things to make it interesting. That's why Runners World named it one of the Best Little Marathons, or something like that.
We got bussed out into the desert, under the weird rock formations at the base of the Superstition Mountains, where we warmed ourselves sitting around presto logs, waiting for the start.
The main difference between this start and Pemberton was that I had dreams of running well on Saturday. Sunday morning, those illusions were gone. I knew I just had to keep making forward progress, so that was my only goal.
And that turned out to be remarkably easy, if painful.
I wore my Marathon Maniacs shirt, which I hardly ever do, simply because I have so many other commitments and affiliations. But it's always good to get cheers from fellow Maniacs and comments from other marathoners when I do wear the yellow singlet. It was a good choice for a race that was going to take a long time and require a lot of encouragement.
Of course, as is usually the case, we saw a lot of the same people over and over again all day, and we made some new friends. Melissa was happy to tell anyone who would listen that we had run 50K the day before, and many people became fans.

There were no blood sugar issues either day. I checked three times during the 50K, and I was always above 120 and below 170. I went totally by feel through the marathon (by feel and experience) and was at 91 after the finish.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Catch Up Blogging

I have nothing but admiration for those bloggers who keep their blogs humming along. Obviously, I'm not one of them. So here are a few topics I should have brought up one at a time over the past couple of weeks.

Desert Classic Marathon

The Arizona Road Racers Desert Classic was a milestone race for me, my 50th lifetime race of marathon or ultra-marathon distance.
I had set a goal for myself of beating my time at Carlsbad, 3:56. At Carlsbad, I said I never had to push it to make it under 4 hours.
Well, I did have to push at the Desert Classic, but it didn't help. The best my poor little legs could do that day was 4:04:19.
Somehow, that was good enough for third in my age group. Third marathon in 14 days and third in my age group. I can't be unhappy with that, even if first and second in my age group were an hour ahead of me.
All of the races out there on Bell Rd. west of the Riverboat Village are the closest thing to running on a treadmill. It just seems like miles and miles that look pretty much the same. And it usually feels like it's uphill both ways.
I don't think it's a terribly difficult course, but some runners will say that a road like that with its sameness wears out the same muscles for the whole race, while something with more variety gives you a chance to use other muscles, and ends up feeling easier.
The headwind on the way back definitely affected me. It wasn't a killer, but it was one more thing to contend with.
Diabetes was never an issue. I did everything as planned, and everything worked as planned.
It's been 11 days since I ran the Desert Classic, so of course, the next big race(s) are already looming large over the coming weekend.

Don't Try This at Home

I've been wondering if doing these marathons the way I have actually has any benefit. I'm sure that it would be beneficial if I seriously trained to do these races and ran them as well as I was capable. But that's not what I did.
Here's a graph from of my running over the past 6 months.
What you see on the left side is the trailing off of some running getting ready for a marathon in October. The plans for that marathon fell apart, so I didn't go.
I got lazy and discouraged and missed some running. Then I did a couple of half marathons and got motivated again.
Then I just up and did the Just Another Mad Dog 50K. That's the longest red spike in the graph.
That was fun, but I got sick soon after, and hardly ran at all while battling bronchitis. That's the big blank area in the middle of the graph.
Once I started to get better, I ran the Desert Classic 30K. I started running again consistently, but not really doing any marathon training, no long runs. But I did three marathons in three weeks anyway.
This graph is a picture of how NOT to train for and run long distances.
What I'm wondering about is whether there is any benefit at all in doing this. Does it really promote any mental or physical toughness to go out and run a marathon on little training, or does it just teach your body and mind that marathons are slow, painful ordeals, to be endured, not enjoyed, to plod, not run?
I don't know.
But there's no time to train before the next race is here.


The first crop of Triabetes athletes, the 2008 team, paired up with diabetic children, IronKiDz, and involved them in their training. They mentored the kids and told them about their experiences as diabetic athletes.
The IronKiDz also participated in a team river-canoeing adventure, learning about diabetes management in the wilderness and having a positive attitude.
At Ironman Wisconsin, the IronKiDz got to finish with their Triabetes athletes. The Ironman triathletes and the kids said this was a fantastic experience. Many of the triathletes said this was the best, most profoundly important part of the whole Ironman experience.
This year, Triabetes is recruiting a new bunch of kids, the Triabuddies, for the 2009 Ironman Arizona. The kids will take a three day sailing and kayaking journey to the Channel Islands off the coast of Southern California.
If you know a diabetic child, 9 to 12 years old, who might like to participate, please see:

The Double

This weekend I run my first double. To Marathon Maniacs, a double is two marathon or ultra-marathon races in two days. It's done more often than some might think... often enough that it has a name.
I'll run the Pemberton Trail 50K on Saturday, and the Lost Dutchman Marathon on Sunday.
I know what you're thinking, and you're right. My wife is disappointed that I signed up for this on Valentines Day weekend.
But she's a very patient and understanding woman, so I'll be all right.