Saturday, December 22, 2007

6.5 and a great friends

Well, we finished exams on Thursday....ahhh. I went to Dr. Morgan on Friday morning and got a nice little Christmas bonus: a hemoglobin A1C of 6.5. My lowest ever. I mean that is not even flagged as high....for normal people! (Granted - it is right on the edge...) It even made the fact that a landslide had closed my route back to Boone and I had to take a hour and a half detour back to town....not so bad. Then I got a gift from two incredible friends of ours - William and Janet - who could possibly be the most giving people I've ever known....and I have known some incredibly generous people. It just popped into their heads that I could really use a treadmill while I train for this event so they arranged for their super plush treadmill to live at our house. This really comes just at the right time - its been harder and harder to run and have Ashley run and spend time with the family now that daylight and temps have dropped. I just need one of those endless pools and we can have triathlons in my basement... Understand these are the people who came over on a whim to spend a day to help me build a deck and when we mentioned about putting in a wood stove (furnace) in our house - they said "just use the one at our rental house - its never used"...just like that.

However, this whole process has really thrown in my face the fact that I am surrounded by an incredible, caring community - from Heather who is funneling me strips (test strips, guys) now that I have run out and my insurance company is the diabetic devil - to the guys (Russ, Dave, John, Wayne) I run with who are true friends and not just partners in spandex - to Jon and Carole who begged me to call them in the middle of the night (last night) in case Ashley's stomach bug got worse - to all my neighbors (many of the previous are in that group) - and on and on. I really do feel like for some reason I have been given this perfect life.... I haven't even mentioned my family....

Thanks. I guess its time to get serious.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Paris Mountian 20K

Well, my first organized run...ever. I went back to where I've spent much of my life (Greenville, SC) for the Paris Mountian 20K. My wife has run this many times before and it was just something I was always certain I would NEVER do. So it was very appropriate that this was my first Triabetes run. I had on my Triabetes shirt and the tri hat John gave me (would have carried voodoo dolls if I thought it would help). I got there at 6:45 for an 8am start - even bought my breakfast with me because I was most worried about how my blood sugar would do. I checked in and got my cool t-shirt (almost went home after that) then I went back to the car to stretch and eat. At about 7:20 I ate breakfast and took 2 units (blood sugar 137). Earlier I had backed off the Lantus just a bit - because I figured that I would only be a few hours and wouldn't affect the rest of the day that much. I pinned my number on (number 4....felt like an elite runner - but they just did this by alphabetical order) and went to the start line at 7:45.

There was like, 4 people there. I walked around the building and didn't find anyone else and walked to the finish line where a few were getting some things ready - found out that the start was really at 8:30 and that the website was wrong and that someone should have told me when I signed in. So I sat around inside for 30 minutes.

As I walked out to the start line my blood sugar was 284. Thank you very much.

So in the crowd, I walked around just a bit - looking for some old students that used to run this race usually - when someone says "Steve?"

Turns out it was a dear long time friend of ours that we had lost touch with. He and his wife had gotten us into hiking and backpacking and dogs back in the day. I recognized his face but it was attached to a body that was 70 pounds lighter than I remembered. To make a long story short - he and his wife simply decided to make a change and now they are uber-athletes. Running races all over. Absolutely wonderful.

Anyway - he left me in the dust. As the pack was making it out of Furman a woman came up beside me and said "are you a diabetic? Type 1?" Turns out she is a type 1er and a diabetes educator. But here is the kicker. She says where are you from? Boone, I say. "I am from Boone" she says. Turns out she went to the middle school where Dave teaches and went to the high school I teach at. Small world - I'm going to hit her up for Greenville donations...

Anyway the race went well - I was low by the top of the mountain (4 miles) I was 89 half way through and 93 at the end. 5 clif shots. Pretty surprised by that. I didn't expect to have to eat so much. Much of the course went right around where Ashley and I used to live when we first moved in together in college - it was a basement apartment of the nicest older couple. So it was really nostalgic to run down old roads and say "I used to catch fence lizards on this old split rail here"... ok, maybe its only nostaligic for nature geeks.

I finished at 1:49:27 and was happy with that. An hour later I was 334....ah, Diabetes. I was fighting high blood sugar the rest of the day. How ironic that the only stable blood sugar I had all day was while I was running...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Its a (nother) miracle!

Not really a Triabetes log here today - I thought nothing could top the test strip miracle, but then our dear, sweet 6 month old Adia...slept through the night. Realize that Ashley has not slept well since she was 6 months pregnant. So that's 9 months of poor sleep (and 6 months for me). The irony in the whole thing is that Adia just doesn't sleep well with us. We have always had a family bed and have always slept great - but its just not for Adia. She slept her first night in the pack and play (our version of a crib)...which is a little sad....until you realize that we slept!


Paris Mountain 20K tomorrow. I'm now stoked to run my heart out...which is good - because it is supposed to be cold rain.

If you haven't read Dave's brother's comments on his blog ( about Wide Open - please do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thank you American Diabetes Wholesale

So, when this project started I knew that 1) I would have to test more (while I run, bike, swim) and 2) my insurance would be difficult about it. I am a teacher in NC so I have Blue Cross / Blue Shield - they say that my plan only allows for 150 tests (strips) per month - (450/90 days). Well that works out to around 5 tests per day. Now that I am exercising I find that I can blow through 5 in a single long run. I'm low a lot and there are many times when I'll be exercising and I'll ask myself "am I just getting tired or am I crashing?". Well now I test to find out. The problem is that BY TAKING BETTER CARE OF MYSELF, I HAVE GONE OVER WHAT MY INSURANCE ALLOWS. Oh, by the way - my doctor wants me to test more and has written a prescription for more....which my insurance won't accept.

So I was on the phone for 45 minutes with the insurance company 2 nights ago trying to figure out how to get my prescription filled. I have been talking with my benefits coordinator. And I have been planning on how to make it the next 3 weeks on 25 strips. It was rather discouraging. While talking to the insurance company - I got the video camera set up to document the nightmare - (but couldn't find the power cable - its all set up for the next round of talks, however).

Well, this morning I get an email from Nate saying that he has found someone to donate all our test strips for the whole project (until next September!). It was just out of the blue like that. The Universe, or God, or whatever you want to refer to it as, apparently thinks that the TRIABETES project is a decent endeavor. However my guess is that when I call on it again during the Ironman (like at mile 130) - I will simply get the reply "suck it up, chump! and test your blood sugar!"

Thank you Mr. Chris Stocker at American Diabetes Wholesale (http:// I will get all my diabetes stuff through you as long as you are in business. He has a belief that socioeconomic factors shouldn't prohibit access to the medical supplies they need. Amen. Perhaps this guy should work on National Health Care....

Saturday, December 8, 2007

2 hours

Dave, Wayne (Dave's principal and my old principal), and I went for a run this morning and just kind of wandered for a couple of hours. It was soo good to just keep going and to realize that "yeah, I can do this thing...slowly". I've signed up for a half marathon in Greenville, SC next weekend - one my wife always used to do. I'm hoping to simply be close to her time. This is my very first "race" ever... how hilarious. I wonder what it will be like to be at the starting line...

Sunday, December 2, 2007


This weekend was pretty nice by anyone's accounts. Saturday morning John, Dave, and I went for an early morning run. It was the first time the musketeers have been together in a few weeks and it was really nice to connect and get excited about this project again. As the goals of Triabetes become more clear it becomes more and more of an honor to be involved with it. We started in the pitch dark and the sun rose while we ran. And on the way home McDonalds had 2 sausage and egg biscuits for $2 ...mmmm - but it makes you wonder how they can afford to sell quality food at such a low price.... hmmm

Later that day Ash and I and a dear friend from Athens took our kids and watched the Christmas parade in town. (Pictures are posted on our picassa site - see link on the side) Today (Sunday) we slept in, took care of starting a nice little split rail fence, Ashley did some doula stuff and then just after dark I went for an 8 mile run in town (Greenway Trail). The clouds were backlit by a moon (which was nice because I forgot a light) and I simply ran through the dark in kind of a trance... it was pretty wonderful - which is something I never thought I would say about running. Of course, part of the feeling might have been the fragrant, tangy smoke coming from the only couple of people I passed. Seriously - it was a pretty remarkable (and hard to describe) experience. Amy Steinberg's song kept going through my earphones... "I am exactly where I need to be I need to be exactly where I am"

On the diabetic side - I think that my body is simply on its way down in the afternoon. I started at 85 - I ate a clif bar - a couple of miles in I ate a gel and a few smarties - half way through I was 81 - I ate another gel - I finished at 71. As Dave would probably remark - I should have tested more to boost my average!

So all in all a pretty sweet weekend - all that and I got the biggest smooch and hug (complete with the back pats) from my daughter, Zoe when I left tonight.

"Peace. Love. Free"

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"You're not makning any sense! Go test your blood sugar!"

4am discussion while the baby is crying

My wife worked an evening job until 9pm and was in bed by 10.... the baby got up at 12 and nursed twice by 3am and then wanted to play (the baby)..... played for an hour while my wife did the dishes and cleaned up (just noticing this) ... and I say something mean.

I am 44 (mg/dl..... not years)

I am also a lucky man

(this was written at 4:03am so I wouldn't forget it in the morning.... baby is crying again)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


OK - this day was a real treat. I woke up at 4....again....because of the baby....and I had left my car at school so I had to ride in.... and it was misting a bit. So I got Adia back to sleep and got ready to go to school.... which I was really excited about because I had signed up for bus driver training for the next 3 days. Just for field trips and stuff and because I have some desire deep down to say "yeah, I got my CDL". Anyhoo - I am getting the final things ready to ride to school and I can't find my cold weather gloves. Hmm. No biggie - I'll just double up. I go to grab my helmet and shoes and it hits me.... I left all my stuff in my school. So I debate for a moment whether I should wake up Ash and have her take me - but I decide against that for the simple reason that it will take too long and I am still not done getting sub plans ready. So I try on Ashley's helmet - doesn't come close to fitting my rather bulbous melon. I look around and end up with my kayak helmet on...and my running shoes. Off I go.
Besides looking like a dork, let me tell you that long, steep hills with running shoes on those tiny pedals will really give a good burn to your calves. It was rather surprising the loss of power that comes from soft shoes.... or was that a loss of dignity?
So I get to school and I work like mad finishing up my sub plans and even end up late to the training - I did call first, but it was still a bit embarrassing. So we're being told how to fill out forms for an hour and near the end there is some medical info.
Oh yeah, this is where it gets good.
There were all kinds of questions like high blood pressure (which the instructor had - he said no big deal), dizziness and fainting (one person used to have real problems with this but that was a whole year big deal), DUI/DWI (as long as you don't have 2 in the same problem, mon!), and then there was diabetes.
That was a big deal. The conversation went something like this:
"you mean that if you are a diabetic, you can't drive a bus?"
"Do you take insulin?"
"Then the answer is no... you can leave now."
And I left. Kind of dazed. I mean I can understand the idea behind the rule, but I am a whole lot more capable and able to drive a bus safely than many I see on the road - I thought to myself "I'm training for a freaking Ironman and I can't drive a bus!!!" For the first time in my life I was denied being able to do something just because I was a diabetic. It was surprisingly profound to me.
There are some bright spots - I got a free day off of work... they said that the sub was already paid for and this wasn't my fault (I thought "damn right its not my fault... I'm Type 1!".... sorry, that was a bit rude to type 2ers). So I was in the office calling Ashley telling her what was going on and after I got off the phone the nurse came up to me and said..."are you Steve?"
She is the other main person trying to put together the Diabetes Awareness month and Diabetes Walk for our school district to possibly raise money for Triabetes. She recognized me from the video. So that was good to make that connection at that very instant.... as I was denied because of diabetes.
I will take on a new nickname now. I will be known as "Pigeon" If you have no idea why - read some Mo Willems children's books.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Hopefully today is not what the next 9 months will be like. I woke up at 4:15am because I did no schoolwork over the holiday and I had to get 3 days of sub work ready (bus driver training...yeehaw!) After school, Ashley picked me up and we went to the swim center - I swam with Zoe for a while and then swam a mile. I was 77 when I started and I ate a clif bar. Half way through my head started pounding but I figured it was just because I was a terrible swimmer. When I got out and tested, I was 33. The last time I swam I was 39 when I got out of the water. I guess all my cues are messed up in the water - no weird sweating, I'm dizzy anyway when I swim, definitely can't use performance as any indicator....

Maybe I should just get used to an after dinner Advil...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

John and I rode uphill to school this morning (he was out of school - I had a workday:) and for the first time I got off the bike and did a tiny bit of running. Man, was that a bit unusual and uncomfortable....

I've been inspired a bit recently by the community - my friend, Heather, has gotten some of the school nurses to get involved and do a multi-month school district wide diabetes fundraiser - that will end with May being Diabetes Awareness month. She's always wanted to do something like this but I think Triabetes pushed her over the edge ...she has a son and husband that are both Type 1. Here we go. They are taking it to the principals and district. As it unfolds, I'll report.

I'm going to eat like a fiend over the next week and will try to run it all off.

Happy Thanksgiving

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

It hasn't even started yet?

I agreed to this in August of 07 and I signed up for it in September. I've been running, swimming, and biking... I'm sore and sleepy quite a lot and I am just realizing that I have not really begun to train yet...

I guess I should set the stage. My name is Steve and I am a Type 1 Diabetic and have been since I was 10 (so 25 years). I've kept pretty good control (just lucky on that front - not due to excess effort) and I was always kind of active - so when my neighbor moved in (also a Type 1) and somehow talked me into being part of a group (now called Triabetes - see of Type 1 Diabetics that will train for and complete in the 2008 Ironman Wisonsin. I wasn't a runner, I was a terrible swimmer, and I was slow on the bike.... so I figured, "why not?"

This blog will be a record of my path through this process.

More to come.... as I figure out what a blog is....