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.

Monday, May 27, 2013


It's amazing the number of acronyms and jargon we use in our lives.  I have a feeling that it distances sub-groups of us, from them - and in doing so it disrupts the free flow of information.  I'll do my best to spell things out.

DNS = Did not start.

A google search for DNS.  Not helpful.

It is a close cousin to DNF which means Did not Finish.

DNF and DNS are rarely acronyms that you want to be associated with.  I make an argument that it's better to DNS than to DNF, but in doing so I find my logic is diametrically opposed to my previous point of view.  (But then again, what isn't).

The old me (or young me depending on your p.o.v. - er, point of view)... anyways - the way I used to think was highly tied to motivation.  I have been competitive - my personal identity was tied in with how I measured compared to other people.  I found great motivation with this principle.  I would gut it out.  Push through pain, never quit.

I used to think that hard work was the answer to everything.

I value hard work, but now I feel that I've grown up a bit.  Hard work isn't sustainable if it doesn't balance with the rest of your life.  Now the new me (or old me)... err - the me that is typing right now.  My philosophies have developed to work smarter, not harder.

Working smarter is a theme that I see in many disciplines of my life.  Working hard in the wrong direction doesn't make progress.  If we speed in our cars without stopping for direction, we are not making progress to our destinations. Rushing through your job to finish a task in a hurry, only to learn that what you did was wrong and needs to be redone - does not save you time.

In general, rushing and stressing over quantity over quality leads to negative consequences.  More mistakes, more stress.  More stress, less sleep.  Less sleep, less time.  Less time, more rush.  More rush, less attention.  It keeps going.

The greatest lesson I am learning is to continue my work slowly and with deliberation.  I don't need to hurry to satisfy anyone else. I will be better of to focus and produce quality.  I control the internal voice that pressures me to rush.  It's the same voice that also tells me I must be in a bad mood because I don't have time.  There are lots of voices I don't listen to anymore.  I have decided to replace what I deem to be negative voices.

There are lots of negative voices - they inundate our lives. TV, radio, internet ads, billboards, songs, movies.  There are a lot of influences out there.  I really don't miss the noise.  I listen to what I want to listen to.  To this I must thank Netflix and Spotify, along with finally figuring out how to listen to podcasts with I-tunes.  Thanks guys - I know you still track what I do and probably know just as much about me as Target and Walmart.  As a result of tuning it out, my mood has improved.  I heard there was a tornado, a bridge collapse, some bombs, etc. But I didn't hear it over and over and over.  This chronic message affect us and creates Post Traumatic Stress.  I feel bad, I get it.  But moving on.

I'm at a very selfish part of my life where I don't need to worry about that.  Worrying is not productive.  I feel bad about that stuff but I don't need the chronic stress in my life.  I am an incredibly empathetic person.  More than most people know.  I care deeply, I hug often.  But I have lots of things to worry about that I can actually do something about.  Lets focus on those first and worry about the culture of fear later - or not at all.

I surround myself with people I enjoy.  I rest when I need to rest - or at least I plan to improve on this.  I have plenty of room for improvement.  I don't need to define my personal worth on how I compare to others.  At least not all of the time.  There is room for improvement here as well.  But I can still justify wanting to go fast.  Fast is fun and when I'm ready to go fast I will.

Fast is the reward.

I want to go fast.  Its addictive.  But going fast too soon or too often can be a detriment.  It is going to take a huge amount of restraint to know that I am getting faster, but without pushing myself to prove it every day.

Slow down to go fast.  Do less.

So I'm a likely DNS at Lake Mills next week.  I wanted to address this openly since right now while I'm deciding to back down from a challenge, I'm concurrently writing a speech about doing the opposite.  There needs to be balance - and respect must be paid to the long term goal.

A note behind my logic on this decision:

I'm gaining massive amounts of confidence in my steady-state and yet still aerobic portion of my fitness.  This is the fitness that will crush you over the longer distances.  Ironman and beyond (I have always loved this spectum of sport).  Next month I'll be doing a 6 mile swim crossing of Mendota for Gills for Gilda.   Click here to donate.  My swimming has been going very well.

I'm able to bike aerobically very well.  There have been a couple of long rides now and no problems with energy.  I've even gained confidence where I've gone out and run on my own.  I carry carbs, but haven't needed any of them yet.  I don't feel very strong when I'm not warmed up (which requires 30-60 minutes), but when I feel strong I feel superhuman.

My fueling system requires a massive warmup in zone 2.  The best I have felt is after 2-3 hours of easy riding that builds towards the end.   Without this warmup I am not able to achieve the physiological state that is required for hard steady state anaerobic work.  This means Lake Mills     If I'm going to race a sprint triathlon, I'm going to race the damn thing.    Unfortunately my bigger goal is to continue to develop my all day pace with my eye on Ironman Arizona in November.

So little Lake Mills will be a game day decision.  Odds of DNS are high.  I'm okay with that.  I don't quite have things settled to a point where I'd be able to get done what needs to get done to feel confident going into that race.  I'll have a greater reward to focusing on more important things this week.  No reason to stress yet, my race is in November.

Big picture.

IMAZ goals (on a good day):
1:30m/100 swim
36kph bike
5:30min/km run
< 10 min T1+T2

Carry on.  Skip the Pepsi commercial. Oh the irony.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

I used to be fat - now I eat fat.

I've gone a bit underground lately because I want to be careful in what I say.  In the words of Sir Charles Barkley, "I am not a role model".  What I am doing in life and how I decide to pursue my treatment and care for my Type I diabetes is a calculated risk.

I have forgone a lot of the assumed knowledge that is out there and recommended by the FDA, ADA, AHDA - I have said to hell with pretty much every accepted authority that is out there when it comes to how to pursue my treatment..  But I'm not just winging it - I'd done a lot of reading and in the interest of my own life, I'm taking a risk that I myself am willing to accept.  I've made mistakes before in life - I'm sure I will continue to make mistakes - I am not perfect, I don't know everything.  I am doing this for myself.  I do not recommend that anyone else make any decisions based on what they perceive as what I am doing.  I am not a doctor, I am not a nutritionist, I am a person living with diabetes who is trying to live a full life as safely as possible.  

The above video from David Attia is however a very good representation of why I have chosen to discard conventional wisdom.  If you truly are interested in the topic of nutrition I recommend you watch it all the way through.  He has lots of material online that is rather easy to find if you are curious.  I don't know him, but he has gained my confidence to a point that I'm pretty much risking my life on it. If I turn out to be making a poor choice, I will not hold him responsible.  I will not sue him, my family should not sue him etc.  I am a grown man and make my own decisions and take full responsibility.

Beyond Peter Attia there are many other voices out there.  There are people like Vinnie Tortorich, Stephan Phinney, Ben Greenfield, Keith Runyan, Gary Taubes, Ludwig and Lustig, Sisson, Ferris etc.  I'm finding more every day.  Each of these people's voices are a whisper compared to the booming voice of conventional wisdom but together they sing louder than Eric Whitacre's virtual choir of 2,000 voices.  The internet is a powerful tool for the sharing of knowledge. 

And a further word on disclaimers.  

I was in the waiting room of the clinic awaiting my last nutritionist appointment and thumbing through the latest issue of Diabetic Living when I saw an ad for a drug called Apidra.  It was endorse by newly diagnoses Type II diabetic and Food Network chef Paula Dean.  Not only am I amazed that she's been able to cash in on her diagnosis, but of equal amazement was the list of side effects of an injectable drug the company can only say 'may' reduce your high blood sugar, but also might do this....

"The most common side effect of insulin, including Apidra®, is low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), which may be serious. Some people may experience symptoms such as shaking, sweating, fast heartbeat, and blurred vision. Severe hypoglycemia may be serious and life threatening. It may cause harm to your heart or brain. Other possible side effects may include low blood potassium, injection site reactions, such as changes in fat tissue at the injection site, and allergic reactions, such as itching and rash. Less common, but potentially more serious or life-threatening, is generalized allergy to insulin, including anaphylactic reactions."

I find this irony particularly thick when I'm rather confident in saying that type II diabetes can be controlled without oral or injectable medication with drastic and unthinkable actions such as eating a diet devoid of added sugar and exercising regularly.  She knows how to cook after all.

And a side note.  I went for a nice 70 mile bike ride today during which I only consumed 5 grams of carbs and my BG remained between 80-96mg/dl. (higher at the end). My breakfast 4 hours before the ride consisted of 2 eggs and an avocado and two coffees with cream and cinnamon.  I rode easy with a friend and kept my HR between 90-130 most of the time.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thank you.

Life is funny.  We all know there are good days and bad days, but some days can be a bit of both.

I've been managing very well lately, yet despite this there are times where I'm just not able to be my bright sunshiney self.  This morning was one of those times - sure I managed my diabetes fine, but for reasons I don't care to go into here - I still managed to ruin my morning.  Totally my fault.  Totally mental.  

I know that my attitude is totally under my own control - I do choose to be happy.  I choose to be positive - but I'm not perfect.  I fail.  I probably fail as much if not more than anyone else.  This morning was one of those failures - I can be such an idiot.  Sometime in the moment my mouth runs faster than my heart.  

It's easy to lose perspective, it's easy to be angry.  It's easy to be stupid.  Hopefully no permanent harm was done.  I can only hope.

That was the morning.  I was still able to buckle down and finish what needed to be done.  Even when I misread the pool calendar and showed up to swim (having turned off my pump 2 hrs ahead as usual) to prepare for a swim where I planned to expel all of my rage.  I looked at the wrong day on the schedule and the pool wouldn't be open for another 3 hours.  Simple enough mistake if I didn't live a life where scheduling is everything.

I figured it out.  I found an outlet for my feelings - managing to workout in another means, despite tired legs.  Had the chance to come home in the early afternoon and reassess.  

It's become harder and harder not to believe in karma, or fate or who knows what you call it.  There are a couple of people, who know who they are, that were able to say some very kind things to me at a point when I needed to hear them the most.  I have great expectations - that's who I am.  I won't settle, even less so now than ever before.  But I can also be very hard on myself when I feel like I'm not making progress.  As a coach I know the importance of an objective outside view - as good as I think I know myself there are people out there that know me better.

Thank you.