Thursday, January 29, 2015

Expectations on Diabetes

I listened to a podcast recently about blind people (click here for the actual podcast). The podcast theme was expectations. The entire program was about how the world and other blind people put expectations on those that cannot see. It's a sad reality that the unemployment rate is much higher for those who cannot see our world. One blind man literally "clicks" so you can see using essentially sonar. Scientists have figured out using brain scans that his visual cortex is lit up the nearly the same as those with vision!

During the podcast he discussed how he believes much of this expectation that those without sight is set by blind people themselves. (If you want detail listen to the podcast.)

Everything the person was saying I can relate to diabetes. Both the good and the bad. I'm not here to compare blindness and diabetes but that expectations are set on both. 

The sad reality of diabetes is that most expectations are set by those with diabetes. At least once a day I think of how lucky I am to have parents that never put expectations on my diabetes. I've always seen myself as an athlete and having diabetes second, or heck even third, maybe fourth! This doesn't affect just athletics but my entire life. My friends, coworkers and the people I ride with know that I have diabetes but in no way do they ever recognize that it affects me negativity, if at all. 

This is the part where I get to the sad truth of the matter. 

If a person has the means to have healthcare, which means insulin, they should not be setting low expectations on the rest of us with diabetes. The world is now flat through the internet. I see a lot of whining about diabetes. People with diabetes using the word "suffering", saying they deserve more sick days, or saying they can't do something. Frankly, this needs to stop. Don't put those expectations on me. 

Those friends previously mentioned have no idea the diabetes is even bad. Now what happens if my friends spouse has a coworker that uses diabetes for more sick days? At the dinner table they may now discuss that maybe Brennan should have more sick days! I don't need this to happen, it sets a low expectation that I am "suffering from diabetes."

If you have the means there is no reason to be in the "woo-boat" (crying to cry). Stop using the word suffering and if you can't then try to help those that truly are suffering. Take a look at the 100 Campaign (click here to learn more) for those that can't even get insulin. Now there's perspective. Learn from the expectation set on blind people so those type of expectations aren't set on those with diabetes.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Joker Ride & New Year

Picture below from Spy Performance "Joker Ride", the weekend prior to my birthday Christmas with the Eliel Cycling crew. Having dropped my riding volume the last month I thoroughly mashed myself keeping up. Cramping near the end I assumed my blood sugar was high, upon testing at the finish I realized my legs gave out simply from lack of fitness. 

Now that vacation is over it's time to up the riding again. Time to get the fitness back in the New Year. 

Sunday, November 16, 2014


It's been some time since I wrote here. Many life changes have taken place in that time. I've raced a lot on the track in that time but more importantly I'm proud to say I started a career with Eliel Cycling and Wattie Ink. Both are wonderful companies with great passion and vision for cycling/triathlon apparel. 

Saturday night was the last track race of the season. It has been a great first season racing on the track. I've met a lot of great people at the San Diego Velodrome and look forward to racing a lot more next season. 

Track racing is over for the season now. I can say that I've learned a lot. I've gotten much stronger on the bike and am excited to just focus on riding for next year. 

Track racing is much more complicated to manage diabetes with the anaerobic spikes than the aerobic efforts of triathlon. I've tested and retested when to give insulin and when to back off. I'll share more of that next year racing. 

For now I look forward to the holiday season and setting goals for next year, riding a little less as the days get shorter then riding more in the new year. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Better Diabetes at Friday Night Racing

The blood sugars faired better this time around. I did what the legend Bill Carlson told me; dosed insulin prior to racing. This time I also had the handy-dandy continuous glucose monitor on as well. The blood sugars were reading a downward trend prior to the start of the first race. The game was on. 

I won the first race easily, thanks mainly to my friend Mike pulling out on the first lap because his seat post came loose. It was a six lap points race, having won the first three laps I pulled up knowing I had enough. I believe this was my first overall victory on the track. 

My blood sugars flatlined now we raced again fifteen minutes later. This was a fifteen lap points race, with a twist. Points awarded on the fifth lap, the twist being we had to regroup after the sprint. Slamming on the brakes isn't fun. I got second overall in this race to Mike who had fixed his bike issue. 

My blood sugars were heading up at this point. The cotton mouth started. The last race of the night was a twenty lap keirin (a race to the finish). The race was pretty mellow until three laps to go. I got third in this one, out sprinted at the end, no juice left. 

I feel better about how my blood sugars were. Diabetes didn't wreck the rest of the weekend either. I gave myself insulin after the last race then rolled around for a fifteen minute cool down. That got my blood sugars to settle, just as Bill said they would. 

I have more to figure out both with diabetes and with racing. It's a challenge but it feels good to have figured it out a little more.  

Can't beat this picture of San Diego.
Coronado Bridge in the back of the Velodrome.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

First Track Race & Blood Sugar Demons

Coming around corner two in the third lap of my first track race I looked down at the competitor to my right. In that brief moment it was as if time stood still. "This is incredible," I thought to myself. 

The first race of Friday night was an "unknown distance", a purely sick and twisted way to start. The race turned out to be eight laps, none of us knew how long it would be until the bell lap. I ended up getting second in my first race.

Every Friday at the San Diego Velodrome there are C and D level races. I'll let the reader guess if you start in C or D. 

I loved the adrenaline. The adrenaline did not like my diabetes. My blood sugar spiked after the first first race to 280. I gave myself a unit of insulin knowing it wouldn't do much. 

The second race was an eight lap points race. I won a lap for a point and got second on the fine lap for two more points, three total for the race. Ended second in that race as well. Confused yet? 

My legs shot like I haven't felt since college, when coach was really [really] mad at the baseball team. Slow triathlons are about cramping, this was about full pounding lactic acid. I checked my blood sugar again. Well over 300. I could feel the cotton mouth. I gave myself two more units while letting my legs rest. 

Triathlon is so different than this. This isn't participation, no feel good pats on the back, it's actual racing. Once the race starts there is no more time to think about how your legs feel. Time passes like a chess match, each player pounding the clock after a move. 

The last race was an eighteen lap points race. Points every six laps. This was more fun than points every lap. I won the first points lap. Sat down on the second points lap without juice in my legs. On the final lap I ended second, eight total points on the race. 

The tired feeling felt wonderful. My cotton mouth from a high blood did not. 

My blood sugar ended near the same place it started in the final race. I learned a lot and sure won't let high blood sugar slow me down. 

The resulting blood sugars reeked havoc on my weekend and sleep. I spoke with the legend himself the following day, Bill Carlson. He gave me wise sage advice on how to keep the blood sugars down this Friday. 

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Team Cassidy Prone Paddle Board & Track Racing

Jamie opened the freezer to find my running shoes in plastic bags. Taking a step back and giving me a dirty look, “what are these?”

Her eyes looking through me, I knew exactly what she was referencing from across the room. My head down I gave a quick rebuttal, “I heard it gets the smell out, we’re the weird family, we all just have to accept that.” 

Keeping her eyes glazed through me, “yeah, I realize that already.” 

I found out this week that only 1 in 5,000 people in America have completed an Ironman. I’ve heard marathons are around 2% of the population. Every Monday my boss asks “what did you do this weekend”, each Monday the reply, “rode my bike.” Once he asked how long, I told him seven hours on Saturday. The look on his face said it all. I’ve haven't been asked how long since.

Jamie has talked about trying paddle boarding since we moved to San Diego. She recently started to go to group workouts with a club that does prone paddle board, basically laying on your stomach (or knees) paddling like swimming. If stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is niche, this is uber niche. Everyone in the group is a former high caliber athlete. 

That’s why I give her credit for showing up in the first place. It’s not easy being the new person in a group of athletes, even when you’ve been an athlete your entire life. 

Last week I finished my six week track cycling class. If road cycling is niche, track cycling is uber niche. There aren't that many velodromes in the country in the first place. I guess that’s the way Jamie and I like it. Thanks to a friend helping me get a track bike I’m going to give racing a try. I love the track; the speed, the contained area, how the community has been so welcoming. 

San Diego, the whole area is full of people like Jamie and me. If you want to get outside and make friends doing it, this is the place to be. It’s nice to know you can be part of the niche and not simply be the only weird ones. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Simple Life: Track Cycling

One of the beauties of baseball is it is fairly simple. A glove, a bat, a ball and one can't forget the hat. When I put my hand in a glove as a child it felt as though the two of us were one. The glove is so simple, a piece of raw leather cut a certain way and stitched up. The issue with cycling is that it is the anti-simple in the modern era. 

The bike most people know has two wheels, a frame and from there it gets more complicated. Two derailleurs (the part that shifts the bike), all the brake parts, the four cables and the list continues. When one learns to maintain all of these together to create a working bike it is very fulfilling. It's all like using an insulin pump for diabetes, when it works, it's great. When the parts don't work together, it is less than great.

I've started to take a track cycling class every Wednesday evening at the San Diego Velodrome. What's different about the velodrome; the bike is a fixed single gear with no brakes. All go, no show. The first time I stepped on a track bike it felt like putting on that baseball glove. Simple. Peddle the bike, it moves forward; stop peddling, the bike stops (quickly). The track bike is like multiple daily injections compared to the insulin pump. The user knows what they get, not all these other parts that are going to break.

This is something different but still the bike, simplified. The track class is a good learning experience, learning how to ride the bike better and differently.