Thought for the Day

Saturday, October 15, 2011


I wrote this a few days ago in the "Diabetics Who Run Marathons" group on TuDiabetes. It occurs to me that it might be OK for a blog post, and I'm not writing much else. So here it is.

So... I've been thinking about the headline "Stunts to Impress" in Higdon's advice on multiple marathons, and the much appreciated comments on me being "BADASS" and "amazing."
Of course I'm often looking for opportunities in the conversation here to brag about things I've done. I like to be called bad-ass. And I don't see anything wrong with that. Some of the greatest achievements of mankind have been done so someone could say the equivalent of "Look, Ma! No hands!"
A good part of people doing this is that it expands the realm of possibilities for others.
In that spirit I feel like I should point out that I know a type 1 diabetic who's run about twice as many marathons as I have, and run them faster.
I've met two diabetics who have gotten the silver buckle at the Western States 100 mile endurance run, and I'm aware of at least one other whom I haven't met. You get the silver buckle for finishing in less than 24 hours. There are probably others I'm not aware of.
There is a type 1 diabetic world class marathon and ultra marathon runner.
I could go on. I guess the point is that while I like being called "BADASS" and that's at least part of why I do some of the things I do, I'm aware that there are others more bad-ass than I am.
And 14 years ago I was a diabetic runner afraid to try a marathon. I was inspired and comforted by reading about or meeting other diabetic athletes, and not just the fantastic athletic ones, but the ordinary folks like me.
Wherever you're at with diabetes and exercise, there are people ahead of you and behind you on the bad-ass scale. Well, since everyone is different, and every life situation is different, there really isn't a scale we can all be measured against.
We are all inspiring each other.
Reading back over this, I kind of rambled. I hope I had something to say.
"Stunts to Impress" aren't necessarily a bad thing.

In other news, along with a contingent of runners from Glucomotive, I ran the Denver Rock 'N' Roll Marathon last Sunday.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Team Type 1 Has No Stout Members

It's true. James Stout, who was a member of the Team Type 1 Pro Cycling squad was terminated last November.
Team Type 1 says he was terminated for two infractions:

1) Wearing this shirt to a party at a friend's house:

2) Sending this tweet from his twitter account:

RT @AJELive: Afghan president Hamid Karzai says that the killed of Osama bin Laden is very important news. #AlJazeera #noshitsherlock

I don't have a big problem with Team Type 1 deciding when to terminate the contract of a professional rider. They have to be able to make those decisions, even if I feel they're being puritanical, prudish prigs about it, they have to draw the line somewhere, and it's a very subjective thing.
I don't hold it against them that they were never able to help James Stout with his visa, since I don't personally know how difficult it is to arrange a work visa for a professional cyclist. It may simply take a long time, or there may have been some bureaucratic snafu. It could be due to incompetence, whether at Team Type 1 or a government office.
I don't even hold it against Team Type 1 that they stopped providing insulin to James Stout as they had agreed. There may have been very good reasons why they couldn't afford to be responsible for riders' medications. It may even have been the Willem Van den Eynde case that made them make that decision.

Oh, maybe I should explain that Willem Van den Eynde is another of the type 1 diabetic bike racers who rode for Team Type 1 and felt abused. I only mention it here because Willem said that Team Type 1 failed to provide the health care he was promised. It's possible that his case caused enough problems that Team Type 1 decided not to be involved to the same extent in the medical requirements of riders.
In 2009, 18 year old Willem was never sure of medical supplies, mainly insulin and test strips, from the time Team Type 1 brought him over from Belgium until he got money from his parents to go back home. His A1c went from being consistently in the 7s to being 9.9 after several months with Team Type 1.

But I was about to say what really disturbs me about the actions of Team Type 1 in James Stout's case.
They did not communicate to him that they were about to terminate his employment, that they were in the process of terminating, or that he was terminated, until he left the USA. Then they told him his employment had been terminated months earlier.
They stopped paying him and helping him with diabetic supplies, stopped dealing with him at all. It's almost as if they were waiting for him to quit instead of telling him he was fired. Knowing that they've treated others similarly makes this seem like a plausible explanation.
They let him think he still worked for them. He continued to represent Team Type 1 at events. He continued to communicate with them about what he was doing. He would ask about his pay and his work visa, and there was always some delay.

You might wonder how he could go on that way, working at a job he wasn't getting paid for. I can't explain his actions. I can only guess. My guess is that like many of us he was inspired by what Team Type 1 has accomplished and what it represents. I guess he was glad that he was a part of it, and he didn't want to give it up.

Although I have many friends on Team Type 1 teams, cyclists, runners, triathletes... and I love to read about and hear about the inspiring things they're doing, I worry about what is happening to kids like James and Willem, and the others who are afraid to speak out.
I worry about the riders breaking their backs to support the team's mission.
I worry that the mission and the message will be corrupted if the organization doesn't wise up and treat these athletes fairly.

Meanwhile, I've come up with a couple of ideas for shirts:

Please enter any shirt ideas you have in the comments below.

Stout podcast about Team Type 1 on Crank Cycling, when Stout believed he worked for Team Type 1.

A two part Bikezilla interview with James Stout and the author's analysis:

A letter from a lawyer friend sent in a futile attempt at reasoning with Team Type 1 management for decent treatment:

A post by James Stout about his feelings toward Team Type 1, which are not all bad:

Willem Van den Eynde's Team Type 1 story, never disputed by the team.

Team Type 1 response, or lack thereof re: the treatment Willem Van den Eynde got from Team Type 1:


Friday, October 7, 2011

the Politics of Diabetes

I know I haven't been blogging for a while. I don't know exactly why. I really can't say that I've been too busy. I've been letting a lot of things in my life slide.
I have friends who can keep writing new stuff day after day. And it's interesting stuff.
It's honest. It comes from the heart. They are putting their lives out there for the world to see.
It's easier for some of them, because they're nice people. They wouldn't be so open with their thoughts and feelings if they were selfish, egotistical, greedy, lazy, apathetic, lecherous, chauvinistic, cantankerous curmudgeons like me.

But I'll try to blog more often anyway, because as I've observed before, if you don't write anything, no one follows your blog.

If you follow my twitter account, then you know one of the areas which I'm obsessed with, but I don't blog about, is politics. I have felt that this blog was not about politics, and it would be easy for me to drive away people who were interested in diabetes and endurance events if I posted too much about politics.
But on twitter, you're probably seeing more than you'd like of my political opinions. Too bad.

I've decided I may occasionally say something about things happening in the news, including political events or non-events that are in the headlines.
That's because these things do involve diabetes and how people with diabetes live.
Of the two main political parties in the US, one has supported a rational approach to stem cell research, while the other has opposed it. As a diabetic, I would like scientists to be able to explore all ethical avenues which might lead to a cure.
One party supported taking some action toward affordable health care for all, and one party wants to repeal the little that has been done. As a diabetic, I would like to be confident that I will not find myself unable to afford the best possible treatment.
One party has become decidedly anti-science. As a diabetic, I depend on science every day to survive.

That's probably enough for today.