Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Apparently I missed World Diabetes Day...

Apparently I missed World Diabetes Day this year on November 14. Diabetes has seemingly attempted to capture the color blue and the month of November. I can’t be certain on the color blue but I am certain that Mo-Vember has conquered November. Each year this moment comes I wonder, what does this mean? Is it like a birthday, something to be celebrated? Or is it more like a 60th birthday, the person celebrates but wishes they were celebrating their 21st birthday instead. 

The latter birthday seems to be the victor here. Worldwide diabetes affects some 370 million people. In the United States it affects 11% of the population. Think about that for a moment. One in ten adults have some form of diabetes. Do they have my form of diabetes? No. There are many forms of diabetes, from type-1 (that’s me) to type-2 and a whole host of conditions in between. We won’t get into that but all people with diabetes are susceptible to the same complications. 

Here is the dilemma with diabetes. It isn’t a sexy condition. I won’t mention them but there are sexy conditions out there. The only reason they are sexy is because the nonprofits behind slick marketing campaigns have done a wonderful job receiving public sediment. I wish diabetes had something like this but it doesn’t. 

The best I can hope for is to make people more aware of how diabetes affects all of us. This goes for all forms of diabetes. In this country our relationship with food and exercise needs to change. Primarily our relationship with food needs to change. The growth of type-2 diabetes and the western diet go hand in hand. No one needs to conduct a study to tell us that. This health epidemic involves all of society as it will bring down the health system if something is not changed. 

Last week I went to the endocrinologist (that’s the diabetes doctor for anyone thinking of med school). She seemed shocked I didn’t have high blood pressure or complications. While she spoke I thought about how much I take care of myself and how it is sad that people don’t. When registered dietitians go to conferences sponsored by sugar water companies (I’ll let you figure out who I’m talking about) then there may not be much hope for peoples waistlines and thus their health. 

Type-2 is growing while Type-1 diabetes is generally a mismanaged condition because medicine centers around treating what a patient already has, instead of preventative medicine. I ride my bike because it feels good, it gives me freedom. At least that is what I tell myself. I’m guessing without diabetes I would never have fallen in love with fitness. Exercise and eating well is preventative medicine. Both type-2 and type-1 benefit if medicine would change to see exercise and eating well as the medicine itself. 

In the end I don’t think I missed World Diabetes Day. The true meaning of World Diabetes Day is having an apple instead of a candy bar or going for a walk at lunch. That’s real change. Support programs like the Pascua Yaqui riders program. Their mission is “working to educate and empower people living with diabetes and obesity in the Native American community using cycling, good food and community.” This program actually causes in their community. Change matters. Diabetes may never be sexy but we can all still be aware more than one day a year. 


For more information on the Pascua Yaqui Program visit:

Sunday, October 25, 2015

The best way to hit your goal is...

The best way to hit your goal is to tell everyone about it. Shout it from the roof top. Tell everyone who will listen. This is my way of doing that.

This blog hasn't been written in a long time. That's sad. There is a big gap since May. I've raced a lot since then. It's been a blast. This last racing season was my learn to race season. After stepping away from triathlon I become solely a cyclist racing on the track two years ago. Now for the coming third year I want to do well, race the best I can.

The best I can means being commitment. The last two seasons I've been engaged but this is the step up. Training says ride four hours, that means four and not three because I'm tired. I learned how to be a cyclist over the last two years. Now it's time to climb hills with my big boy pants on, lose weight, get out of my comfort zone and most of all keep my diabetes in check.

October 2nd was my last race of the track season in Los Angeles. After a work trip to Kona I've taken it easy in October. Sleeping in on Saturdays. Riding easy. Working out instead of training. November kicks-off getting ready for the next season.

Next season I want to be below 81 kilos. I'm just under 86 right now. I want to make sure my diabetes is in full control. Each month I'll post my weight and my A1c. Each week I'll post an update. This will help my business writing and keep me in check. Maybe you're not reading this. Perhaps that doesn't matter. I'm using this to shout it from the roof top.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

May 23 2015 Keirin

Raced four Keirin's last evening for a USA Cycling event. Had a lot of fun, short intense racing. Two videos below taken by Jamie with some voice over and information from the speed/cadence sensor on my bike for some interesting video. The intensity of the races spikes the blood sugars a lot. Ended up 3rd in one, 4th in two others. 

Video 1; 

About Keirin from Wikipedia;

  • Races are about 2 kilometers long: 8 laps on a 250 m track, 6 laps on a 333 m track, 5 laps on a 400 m track. Lots are drawn to determine starting positions for the sprint riders behind the pacer, which is usually a motorcycle, but can be a derny. Riders must remain behind the pacer for a predetermined number of laps. Initially it makes circuits at about 25 kilometres per hour (16 mph), gradually increasing to about 50 kilometres per hour (31 mph). The pacer usually leaves the track approximately 600–700 meters before the end. The winner's finishing speed is around 70 kilometres per hour (43 mph).

Sunday, May 17, 2015

San Diego Velodrome Omnium

Tracked insulin for the day prior to the USA Cycling race on Saturday evening at the San Diego Velodrome. I ended up fourth on the day and felt like I've gotten stronger and been able to race better since last year. I had a horrible miss-n-out race (last man out each lap) for race number one followed by an okay tempo race (points each lap). The last race of the night was a scratch race (only the end matters) that hurt like heck but felt good, finishing third overall in that race for fourth overall in the omnium points. 

Tracked blood sugars for the day; 
I had some blood sugar swings from shear laziness in the morning, keeping a little higher than favored during the race. 

May 16, 2015
6:40 - 117
Coffee, no food, no insulin
40 min spin outdoors easy
8:20 -177, 1.0u
9:20 - 7u levemir long acting insulin (15% more than normal)
10:30 - 100g estimate Gluten free pancakes, bacon, 7.0u
13:35 - 272, 4.5u
14:10 - 110 heavy drop starting to feel low, 15-20g sweet potato
5:00 - 35-40g sweet potato, almond milk, 3.0u
5:45 - 277, 3.0u
6:30 - 210, 
6:35 - miss/out, 2/10 intensity
6:50 - rice cake, 40g
7:05 - 9 lap tempo, 8/10 intensity
7:20 - 220
7:45 - 190 --> long break
Warm up again
8:15 - 177, 15g coke --> worried about going down during next scratch race which doesn't have a lot of the surges of a points race
8:30 - scratch race 9/10 intensity but mainly aerobic 
9:00 - 227, 3.0u

Monday, April 27, 2015

April 21 Tuesday Night Track Racing

Blood sugars were pretty stable to start this night of racing. High 100's for not all out efforts. The last race of the night had a HUUUGE blood sugar spike though. I'm learning which type of races need a bolus of insulin prior to going into the race, a points race is one of them. The surges followed by recovery make it one heck of an interval workout and can do serious damage to the blood sugars. During the last race of the evening, I took a few hard hard efforts that destroyed my blood sugar. It was the last race of the night so it all ended up fine. Learning I need major insulin for a points race at the the track. (Wikipedia link to what a points race entails.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
4:30 - 169
6:15 - 177, 3.0u
6:30 - rice cakes 75g
Warm up 4/10 effort
Race, tempo 12 lap, 6/10
7:10 - 210, 3.0u
Race, miss-n-out, 4/10
7:30 - didn't take BS
36 lap points race 10/10 effort
8:00 - 363, 6.0u

Warm down

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Track Racing 2015

Track racing is here again for 2015. Tuesday night kicked off my first races of the season. What seemed like a quick winter included a lot of riding and strength training to be in shape for racing. I felt a lot stronger on the track than the past season. Few things in life feel as good as progress.

The action on the track was fast and fun. One thing I'd like to do is post my blood sugars from race day. Baseball with diabetes was different from distance running with diabetes which is now far different than track racing with type 1 diabetes.

Tracking racing is can be extremely anaerobic (which literally means "living without air"), the short races can take all the oxygen from you with 110% effort. One study I read the statement;

"[..] aerobic exercise usually causes blood glucose concentration to drop rapidly, while anaerobic exercise may cause it to rise [...]" (Source)

It took me a long time to mount the courage to deliver insulin prior to a race. Once that insulin fuse is lit, the timer is ticking. It was either make myself an experiment or the blood sugar will always be high and I'll never race well.

On Saturday I raced the USA Cycling event at the San Diego Velodrome. I tracked my blood sugars for the day. I've learned I need to track blood sugars on important days. I believe most of us with diabetes can learn more from one another than any other source. Tracking blood sugars on race day can help me as well as the community.

The day included three races; a 4k individual pursuit, 12 lap scratch race and 9 lap tempo race. All hard efforts of 5-6 minutes.

Saturday, April 18
6:20 wake up - 81, 50-60g,3.5u banana smoothie, coffee
8:40 - 146
11:20 - 165, 45-55g rice cake, 3.5u (on my feet at work from 7-11am)
12:20 - 122, salad, guessing 35g, 1u
4:10 - 221, 4.0u (should have checked blood sugar sooner than this)
4:30 - 21g, 45g (header to velodrome)
Around 5:30- low during warm up, 50g
6:25- 4k individual pursuit, 10/10 effort
6:35 - 130
7:10 - tempo race, 8/10 effort
7:30 - 141
7:35 - 3.0u
7:40 - 25g coke
8:00 - 12 lap scratch, 6/10, legs flat
8:30 - 235, 4u, racing over, warm down

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.