Insights into my personal life.

This blog includes the personal details of my experiences as a recently diagnosed Type I diabetic and the impact of that diagnosis on my endurance athletic pursuits.

Please understand that I consider myself to be a work in progress. I am willing to share both my successes and failures, so please do not take my words to be professional dietary or medical advice. This is a blog, this is only a blog. I research my choices carefully, and take my health very seriously. The choices I make are my own, I am doing the best with the resources and support that I have. If you have questions or concerns feel free to comment, but please be constructive and understand that this is my life. I value it dearly.

My goal is to live a happy, healthy and active life where I can balance my internal drive to push my physical limits and the challenge of safely maintaining stability despite the challenges of Type I diabetes.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Stumbled across an old uncompleted blog that I wrote over 2 years ago and never finished or shared.  Interesting to me to look back.  This was before I knew I was moving back to Wisconsin and I was applying to work for an training center in Vancouver known at Innovative Fitness.  I never applied because I got promoted to a pretty sweet gig as a manager at Sports Junkies....

Had a funny idea while eating my breakfast burrito... I'd like to write a cover letter for a job application. And writing a cover letter is pretty much personal advertising. So bare with me as I brainstorm out a few ideas that I'd like to convey.  I want to write the honest version of my cover letter.

I am a passionate person who enjoys getting involved. I need to be active, it keeps me entertained, healthy physically and mentally. The time I spend alone in my thoughts while training helps to calm and relax my mind. But I also enjoy the thrill of the race. Competition is a powerful motivator. Competition provides a measurable outcome for the benefits of training. I believe that it is important to be strong. Being strong enables a person to do more. As an ultra-distance athlete, I may be biased, but I strongly believe being strong is better than being weak.  I'm sure most agree.  But I have to distinguish this from "More is better".

North America has a problem with "More is Better". In a culture of convenience an increasing proportion of society falls prey to the indulgence of 'more'. As waistlines bulge and automobiles, elevators, rolling officer chairs, computers and cell phones become the norm - the average person has become less mobile.

Without mobility it is very difficult to be strong. Everyday task become more difficult. The average person aims to avoid difficult tasks. I find this to be a shame - to have a body with a gift of physical potential and then to abuse that gift when those with true physical limitations are incapable. Simple and crude, but when I need to dig deep through what could be described as pain, I turn to my standby mantra... 'Some people don't have legs'. I don't mean to be crude - mantras need to be brief. I have seen lower-leg amputees race for 140.6 miles, been passed by wheelchair marathoners, and followed along online as Dick Hoyt propelled his son Rick to an ecstatic finish line crowd at the Ironman world championship. I race in a sport where 77 year olds begin a race at 7am and finish with seconds to spare before midnight to the sound of Iron Maiden and a roaring crowd.

The human body is magnificent and it is capable of so much. When I see a person confined to an electric scooter or have difficulties just getting out of their vehicle due to being overweight, I have to admit that I feel ashamed. Now I understand that it is not my job to judge people - I believe that they are as wonderful as any other person. However, the outcome of their lifestyle choices are impossible for me not to dwell upon.

As a bit of background on myself. Approximately 10 years ago, I joined a gym and stepped on a scale that read 274 lbs. I am 6'5 and had a large frame and a tendency to wear loose fitting jeans and T-shirts. None of my family or friends had ever said anything about my body, but I measured in near 30% body fat (technically obese). This came at a time in my life 6 months out of college, having just found a job in an unfamiliar field. My mother had recently been diagnosed with Type-2 diabetes and my father had already suffered through 10 years of heart disease and survived two heart attacks and an open-heart surgery in which they bypassed 8 coronal arteries.

I grew up an active youth. I swam, ran, biked for fun. Competitive soccer defined my existence. But in college, both my studying habits and social habits left me without a physical outlet. In an unhealthy relationship, I buried my nerves for the future in ice-cream and chocolate syrup, and probably had a few too many beers and pizzas for dessert. I continued to be a hungry growing boy well into my 20's.

Within a year of walking into my gym I'd lost 55 pounds. But eventually I grew bored with the dumbbells and mirrors, treadmills and elliptical. My gym attendance waned as stresses at work increased. I gained back some of the weight, but before long my motivation returned and I reassessed my priorities. I decided to increase my involvement in active sports and hobbies. I missed the mental clarity that followed my suffering sessions on the treadmill. With the goal of dropping a little bit of jiggle before I began running - I bought a $5 garage sale bicycle and started taking it for hour long rides in the mornings before work. The Capitol City trail in Madison, WI provides 18 miles of smooth asphalt trail though woods and meadows and lakes. The fresh air and scenery were intoxicating. The more I rode the fitter I became. As my fitness and bravery increased, the further into the back roads of Wisconsin I would explore. Southwestern Wisconsin is a beautiful place.

I applied my cycling fitness to the soccer field, to quickly learn that cycling does not build up enough lateral strength in the legs and ankles. But I continued to slim down and gain comfort running - getting stronger along the way. Eventually I raced 5k's, 10k's and marathons. Competed in triathlons of every distance and recently completing a mountainous 80km trail ultra-marathon. This year I am returning to racing another Ironman triathlon with the optimistic goal of shaving a full hour off of my previous time.

....and that's as far as I got at the time.  The breakfast burrito was delicious.

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