Wednesday, February 16, 2011
I am Bog Daddy and I am a diabetic. No, I'm not looking for sympathy, or someone telling me to keep it up, or even an understanding nod. It is just a fact. This blog is about taking charge.
My diabetes started because it was in my genes. It started to get out of control because I had a hard time getting into my jeans. In what seems like a previous life I was very active. A lifeguard through college (yes, the stories are true and no I won't tell any), a runner before it became fashionable, I sort of fell off the wagon 20 years ago.
When I became symptomatic of my diabetes, I brushed them off just like any other male would. Hundreds of times I told myself that I was going to start a workout and nutrition program and dozens of times I did, only to become impatient and, ultimately fail. I changed careers, thinking that the change would be what I needed but, alas, that didn't help much. When I finally went to the doctor I was told I had diabetes. Of course, my doctor is an idiot and what the heck would he know, right?
Diet and exercise didn't seem to work. Okay, let me just say that it probably would have worked better if I had done what I was supposed to, but.... Then came oral meds, followed by insulin. Things still weren't working, because I hadn't taken charge.
Let me just say a quick thing about the insulin...at first I vowed that I would die before I gave in to the weakness of having to take insulin, but finally resigned myself to it. Five shots a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year...not really as bad as it sounds, but still.
Last September I finally took charge. While I listened to what my doctor say (I have a new one by the way), I still took charge. I did my own research, I asked questions, I suggested treatment, I joined a gym and actually started going. I stopped listening to other people and started listening to myself. Which lead me to pump day.
Over the past several months I have had very good control of my diabetes and my blood sugars have been not too far off what a person without diabetes would have. My diet is, for the most part, exceptional....I am human and have a thing for certain vices, so I can't hold them off forever. But, I was getting tired of the diabetes taking control of my time, my meals, my life. I decided it was time for me to take control of the disease.
Today I will be hooked up to an insulin pump, a Ping pump for those who are interested, and I will be able to micromanage my insulin. Some will think that it is a sign that things are not going well...on the contrary, it is a sign that things are going quite well. Today I will be in ultimate control.
I guess the point of this is that none of this stuff works, nothing. Not SparkPeople, not the diets, not the exercise programs, nothing, until we take control ourselves. It was odd, I was giving out advice to people and it dawned on me that if I can't help myself, how the heck can I help other people?
When we stop whining (I was good at that by the way), stop looking for excuses (really good at that), and move up to the front of the bus and take over the steering wheel. I will tell you that it feels great. I don't know where the road is going, but I am driving. Now it is on to get pumped.
Wednesday, February 09, 2011
Everyone seems to be preoccupied with measuring. How many minutes did you do today? How far have you run this week? How many calories are in that lunch you had? It almost seems like it is a victory when we run faster, lift more or use the arc trainer for 15 minutes more. Sometimes though the victory isn't about a new record, sometimes it is just about getting there. Let me give you an example.
Today was not a particularly great day. I was very tired when I went to bed last night, cats woke me up a half dozen times, so the morning came by much too fast. All day at work I was complaining about "having" to go to the gym. I didn't want to work out, I was looking for an excuse not to work out, was hoping that a giant meteor would fall from the sky and land on the gym, closing it for the day. Well, five o'clock rolled around and I changed into my workout clothes and went to the gym (I was a bit disappointed that I didn't see any meteor damage) and crawled onto the recumbent bike.
Was it my worst day in the gym? Hardly. Nor was it my best. But I tell you one thing, I got there and I worked out. A little ashamed to say that I felt much better when done, but today it wasn't about measuring. Today it was just about getting there. Today the battle was fighting the urge to go home and sit on the couch. Some days it is just like that.
Like most, I am on a long journey to fitness. It took me 30 years to get like this and I am not going to get into shape in just a few months. I had a coach once tell me that the best workouts, the ones that help you the most physically and mentally are the ones you have when everything seems to be a battle. As I sit here tonight, getting ready for a good night's sleep, I am glad I shook off the excuses and worked out.
This long journey will be mostly good days with a few bad days sprinkled in to exercise my character, and you know, sometimes it is just about getting there.
Monday, January 31, 2011
5 am comes around awful darn early here in Central Virginia and I am trying to figure out if gym manners will let me take a cup of coffee in along with my water bottle. I was getting used to going after work, but the New Year's Resolution crowd sort of took over the place and it is virtually impossible to find a machine to use. I am partial to the recumbent bike as, I have found, are dozens of others now. My solution was to go early in the morning, put in 30-45 minutes of cardio on the bike and, if I felt like it, going back after work, when I didn't feel so frustrated trying to find an open piece of cardio equipment. Today was typical of the "double dipping day" 40 minutes on the recumbent this morning with weights this evening (although I did sneak in about 37 minutes on a dreadmill...oops, I mean treadmill. Oh well, I don't want to sound like a party pooper, but maybe, just maybe, the resolutionaries will start to drop off a little bit, then I can go back to only having 100 people at the gym, instead of 200. Yeah, yeah, I know, I should be happy that all of these people have taken to working out....it is like 200 sparkers all together at the same time...it's just that.....
Monday, January 18, 2010
I am back at the gym after a longer than anticipated hiatus. No injury, just trying to get my act together again, wrestling with old memories. The kind that one shouldn't have, at least not when trying to train now. While I was active in most mainstream sports in high school and college, there was no belief on my part that it would ever get serious. In getting in shape for the military, however, I found that I really enjoyed running and, from 1975-1986 it became a big part of my life.
The military, of course, encourages physical activity and, during the running boom of the 70's and 80's most units had running teams that competed in many area running events. I not only ran for those teams but also joined the local running club. I was hooked. While certainly not a threat to win any races, I did get to the point where on Thanksgiving Day in 1981 I ran a sub 40 minute 10K and in 1982 did a half-marathon in a less than 90 minutes.
Training then, was not always easy, but I was amazed at how, even on a bad day, I could do a "quick" five mile run and it would be really quick, like 30-35 minutes or so. I remember the grove I could get into and how it somehow felt like I was floating, even when doing interval training. When "sucking for air" meant that I had really smoked it on a work out. In 1986. life got in the way and I abandoned running.
Over the past ten years, I have tried to get it back, but the memories are my worst enemy. Now, at 53 years old, I float like rock in a swimming pool and sucking wind is what I do when I try to walk a mile at a 12 minute pace. In my mind I am 25, a strong 175 pounds, ready for any distance/condition...but now I am twice that in both age and weight, my body confused at what it remembers. No longer can I go on a 15 mile "training run" or a quick sprint before dinner.
Those memories may be my worst enemy, but I am going to turn them around so that they are my best friend. The body and mind that I have now are the same one, albeit a little older and in need of a major overhaul, that I had 25 years ago. I understand that I will never get back what was, but I can use the persistence and will that I had when I trained all those years ago, when I workout now. The 10 miles I did on the recumbent bike today in 30 minutes, is just as good as that five mile training run. I think I am going to be proud of where I was AND where I am going. And you know what? That "high" that one gets when one really puts forth an effort, when the legs ache and lungs are working to catch up....it is the same now as it was a quarter century ago.
So maybe the memories aren't my enemy, maybe I just didn't figure out how to make them my friend.
Monday, November 23, 2009
The weekend was wonderful from a workout standpoint in that I am still moving and haven't overdone it yet. Saturday was a nice and easy trip on the recumbent bike, enjoying the morning and trying to keep a nice workout pace, but not getting winded. Sunday was a 90 minute workout day with 45 minutes on the bike and 45 minutes on weights, so the bike workout was a little bit more intensive. The workout on the weights was a little bit more difficult than anticipated, partially because I still see myself as that 20 year old athlete not the 53 year old Michelin Man (or Dough Boy, whichever you think is best). I guess what I am trying to say is that, while I called it working out on weights, there wasn't much weight in it. The 90 minutes left me very tired, although I was able to do some chores, it just made me very tired. I even went to bed early.
This morning dawned 11 hours after I fell asleep yesterday evening. Yes, I said it, 11 hours....haven't slept that long since that bender in San Juan in '86...but felt very good. Shot up with my meds and headed to the gym for a 60 minute bike ride. Wasn't going for speed, wasn't going for intensity, but ended up doing both. The first 15 minutes I was on cruise control, then cranked it up for the end...guess the music in my mp3 player was just motivating me this morning. Ended up at 18.27 miles for the hour. Not the greatest, but I am very happy.
Maybe things are starting to fall into place, might even start to see some changes to my blood sugar. Currently taking four shots a day (1 basal, 3 mealtime), would like to be able to adjust that some in the next few months. Not ready to go on a pump, so am going to work myself down to something better.
The last three days have put me in Sacramento on the Petaluma to Mechanicsville trip. Have mountains coming up ahead and, yes, I will be making the virtual trip as realistic as possible, so by the end of the week it will get much harder. Can't wait until tomorrow to see what happens next.
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