Exercise

Finding My Inner Ryan Reynolds

Every year right around this time we all dream up our New Year’s resolutions. Some form of weight loss, get in shape, go on a diet, or eat healthy is almost always at the top of everyone’s New Year’s list. This year, I’m feeling the stretch, and I realize that I need to do something to get back to my size 4 bikini body again.

Actually, I don’t even know what that means. I just heard it on an infomercial for some kind of magic beans that are supposed to make your clothes fit better. Truth be known, they probably have a better chance of turning into a beanstalk and leading to a land of giants than they do making me lose weight.

I bet they are good with ham though. Anyway, moving on…

I freely admit that I weigh more than I want to right now. I’m overweight. Heck, I might even be considered obese by the current standards of ¬†how big a person’s butt should and shouldn’t be. (And don’t you dare tell me what the difference is. I don’t want to know.) What I do know is that my clothes fit a little tighter than I would sometimes call comfortable. I can’t really button the top button on my dress shirts right now because my head and neck resemble Jabba the Hut. If someone told me to haul ass, it’s questionable if it would take me one trip or two to get it all. At least, that is how I feel.

BusinessJabba

I’d love to lose some of the extra pounds that I’m carrying around. I know it would make me feel better, both inside and out. I mean, there is a Ryan Reynolds under all of this that is just waiting to get out. I’m just trying to find a real solid purpose that I can grab onto besides, “Skinny people are happier.” Oh yeah? With that kind of logic, rich people must also be less lonely, hairy people have more style, and short people enjoy the smell of toots. Give me a break. Happy has nothing to do with weight, just like loneliness has nothing to do with how much money you have.

And everybody hates the smell of toots. Unless you’re a proctologist. Then it just smells like money.

When I signed up for my last gym membership, my goal was simple: I wanted to look good naked. I could have said that I wanted to be able to run a marathon, or be in good enough shape to teach spin class, or ride my bike for miles and miles and miles, but…well…yeah, naked. You have your goals, I have mine. Unfortunately, 2012 was a really hard year for me to establish and maintain a routine of exercise, working out, riding my bike, and keeping active consistently, and I feel like I’ve lost my way a bit. I could blame it on a chaotic schedule, being overwhelmed by other things going on, not having enough time, or that the Mayan’s had predicted that the world was going to end anyway, so why bother. When it really comes down to it though, it was me. I didn’t take time or make time, and I realize that I really need time to exercise and work out for both my physical and mental well being.

In order to change all of that for 2013, A-Flizzle and I worked extremely hard in our garage over the holidays to get it organized so that we could have a functional workout space that would be available despite my busy and often chaotic schedule. If I want to work out at 11 o’clock at night, I can. I don’t have a bunch of expensive equipment, but what I do have I can definitely make the most of now. I’m SUPER excited about it.

GarageGym

In 2013, I’m trying to get back to establishing consistent exercise routines. I’ve really got to find a way to make time to train and get to where I want to be. The first place I want to be is on my bike in a few months for the Tour de Cure. My goal is to train consistently this Spring so that I can complete the 100 mile century bike ride in May. From there, who knows? Hopefully by then there will be other bike rides that I can train for. Or maybe even a triathlon. Wouldn’t that be exciting?! But, first things first.

I know that exercise is only part of the story. In order to get fit and have a set of abs worthy of doing laundry on (thanks Ryan Reynolds for setting THAT bar so high), I realize that I also have to eat right. What does “eat right” even mean these days? I look at all of the options for supposed “eating right” and I wonder how in the world I can adopt something like Weight Watchers, Atkins, Paleo, eating clean, gluten free, zero trans fat, and all the other whoop-tee-do diets out there for the rest of my life. I don’t want to make a change that gets me to where I want to be with my size and weight, just to reach that goal and balloon back to being the fat kid that I am now all over again. I also don’t want to not be able to have a Burger King fish sandwich WITH fries when I have one of these:

BG24

Basically, I’m a walking contradiction.

Weight Watchers I don’t get because of the point system. It’s difficult for me to understand how a banana (about 24 carbs, take or give) is zero points. It sure doesn’t feel like zero points when I’m having to bolus for the carbs and then check my blood sugar a couple of hours later to make sure I guesstimated properly and am not sitting at 300. Fruit is like jet fuel for blood sugars when you have Type 1 diabetes (YDMV – your diabetes may vary). “Free food” is really just a matter of perspective. Yet it works for so many people.

Then there is Atkins. How is it healthy to eat that much meat? I mean, essentially the diet is a version of a low carb diet, but it also talks about putting your body into ketoacidosis. Aren’t we supposed to be staying OUT of ketoacidosis? Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) can mean a hospital trip for many of us people with diabetes (PWDs). But there again, it works for so many people.

Correction: It’s KETOSIS, not ketoacidosis. Easy to get confused. Thanks Allison!

Those are just two examples, and clearly I don’t understand all of the ins and outs of them all. I see info about this meal plan and that weight loss option, conflicting testimonies and experiences, and I can’t seem to come to any conclusion about what is right for me. It is this lack of understanding that is paralyzing my decision making process on what it means, for me, to “eat right.” I see successes and failures with every single option. How do you pick one? Which one is the “right” one? It’s like walking down the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Can’t I just get the one that is delicious and has the best prize?

I don’t have an answer. I probably just need to commit to something and try it. For now, I know I can work out. I enjoy that, and even look forward to it once I get into the routine. Maybe my rule needs to be, “If you eat it, burn it.” Or maybe it’s, “Sweat like a pig to look like a fox.” It’s one of those. In any case, we’ll call it the “Running on Fumes” plan, and I’ll try to talk Chuck Norris into being my spokesperson. After all, Chuck Norris never loses weight; he knows exactly where it is, and it’s very afraid of him.

Friendly Neighborhood Tyrannosaurus Rex

Just Another Day

This past weekend was a good weekend. No deadlines except that one that made a nice whooshing noise as it went by, nowhere to be, just an opportunity to enjoy things at a leisurely pace.

Saturday, A-Flizzle and I got a wild hair and decided it would be fun to go on a six mile urban hike, which is a more adventurous way out saying that we walked through a few neighborhoods and down a few sidewalks. It’s kind of amazing the things you notice when you are on foot that you never see from driving around in a car. We found a house with a dinosaur in the front yard, several Florida rooms off the sides of houses with beds in them that we were hoping to catch someone dozing in, a new sports bar and restaurant being built, and we learned that the pedestrian crosswalks have absolutely no rhyme or reason for when they decide to let you cross the street.

Friendly Neighborhood Tyrannosaurus Rex

Throughout the day, I thought I had done a really good job of counting carbs, factoring in activity, and doing a good job of keeping tabs on things so that I didn’t go low from the activity or high from any of the delicious things that I ate, like the banana and Nutella crepe that I may or may not have had for lunch at about mile 4.5 of our urban hike. And by the way, this is my blog post, and I call it Nutella, not Noo-tella…because there’s a freakin’ “nut” in it. YPONMV. (Your pronunciation of Nutella may vary.)

After a day of near perfect BG’s, around bedtime on Saturday night I realized that I wasn’t feeling too well, so I did a quick check to see where things were. 342. I was pissed. Are you for real?! I counted everything! I know I got the math right, or at least in the ballpark enough to not merit a stupid 342 BG. What the #$@#%#$?!!!!

After I got done pitching a fit, I tried to think what might have jacked my BG up so high. Surprisingly, I don’t think it was the banana and Nutella crepe. There was nutritional info, and I’m pretty sure I was in the ballpark on that one. Since it was sunny and over 90 degrees outside when we were urban hiking all over town, I settled on the idea that the insulin in the tube of my pump probably got a little too warm during the activity and had lost its effectiveness. Insulin is supposed to be kept cool or at room temperature, and let’s face it, late Spring and Summer in Florida is far from being room temperature by any stretch of the definition. Something you have to be aware of if you’re going to sport an insulin pump is that, every once in awhile, heat happens.

I dosed down the 342 BG with a shot of insulin via the old faithful syringe, and then switched out the insulin in my pump. Either I overestimated how much I needed to pull that 342 BG back down to normal, or the activity of the day finally caught up with me, because I woke up around 3:00am at BG 35. After a juice box and a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter (which I may or may not have shared with Hopper dog), I woke up in the morning with a perfect BG of 88.

Diabetes is a total game of numbers. In order to stay alive we have to count everything. And guess. A lot.

We have to know how many carbohydrates are in everything that we put in our mouth, what our blood sugar (BG) level is at the time, and guesstimate how much activity (or lack thereof) is going to affect our metabolism and BG level. Then, on top of that, there are ever present questions about how accurate our BG meters are, we never really know for sure how effective the insulin that we’re injecting is going to be (especially after it has been in an insulin pump for a few days), and our bodies sometimes process that magical life elixir differently than yesterday, when we had the same food, the same activity, and the same BG levels.

My endo says that “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity…unless you have diabetes.” In Martin World, it’s just another day.

Mt. Pwned

Last Saturday was a beautiful day off and a beautiful day outside. After sleeping in a bit, I decided to go for a bike ride. I checked my blood sugar, everything was fine, so I dawned the bike gear, grabbed my road bike and took to the streets. I felt good, and was excited about the ride: Just me, the bike, and the road.

I made it 2.6 miles into the ride and was climbing a steep hill with gusto when I bonked, a term commonly used in cycling or exercise when your body stalls and you just can’t go anymore. I’ve hit that wall before while on long rides, but never less than three miles into a ride.

My heart rate spiked. I couldn’t breathe. I had no power in my legs. I couldn’t catch my breath. I was seeing spots. There was no choice in the matter, I couldn’t even make it to the top of the hill. I had to stop before I blacked out.

I coasted into a driveway, unlocked my cleats from the pedals, and put my feet down. What was happening to me? Was I low? How could I be low after I just checked only a few minutes ago? I laid my bike down, then proceeded to spew what little bit of water that was in my stomach onto someone’s well-manicured lawn. Fortunately, north Florida has had an extremely hot and dry summer, so those nice folks that lived in that house probably didn’t mind the extra water. After I caught my breath enough, I grabbed my phone out of my back jersey pocket and called A-Flizzle to come and get me and my trusty steed.

That. Never. Happens. And to be honest, it scared the spandex out of me. It was probably the worst bike ride I’ve had since I started cycling six years ago, and I’m still not sure what went so wrong. My blood sugar was fine. Maybe I simply got sick. Maybe I didn’t eat enough before the ride. Maybe I’m more out of shape than I thought, even though I’ve done plenty of spin classes and I did a 24 mile road ride less than a month ago. Maybe my extra weight that has been mentally plaguing me has become a physical problem. Maybe I just took the climb too hard and had an adrenaline overload. Maybe I have no clue.

I do know that I’m setting a new rule, effective immediately, to move around for at least 30 minutes every day. If I can do more, like a spin class or a couple hours in the gym, fantastic! But if I’m busy, and I can do nothing else, at least I’ll have that 30 minutes, even if it is just going for a walk. Surely I can find at least 30 minutes to spare.

It’s already cold here in north Florida (or “cold” as all of you in areas that actually see snow would call it), and I hate being cold. What better way to warm up than moving around? I’m declaring this Winter training season. I have to find a way to make moving around a priority, every single day. Mornings and me do not get along at all, but if that means I have to start waking up early to go to the gym before work, so be it. Or if I have to go late at night (which is more likely), so be it. If I don’t make it a priority, then it will never become one. Plus it’s warm in the gym, so there’s that.

That hill scared me, but fear is not a motivator. Now that hill is taunting me, teasing me, begging me to get back on the bike so it can try to beat me again. I’ve got news for it though. It won’t be long before I stamp my name all over that mountain, and declare it Mt. Pwned.

Mt Pwned

Lake Ella at Dusk

No D-Day: Hit the Ground Running

Today, October 7, 2010 is “No D-Day”. The Diabetes Online Community is taking one single day away from diabetes. We will still be checking our BG’s, counting our carbs, dosing our insulin, and managing our diabetes, but we will not tweet about diabetes, we will not blog about diabetes, and we will not update Facebook about diabetes…for just one day. There is so much more to all of us than just diabetes. You can find all of the “No D-Day” posts on Twitter by searching for the the hashtag #noDday, or you can visit Ninjabetic.com for a list with links. I hope you enjoy this and all of the “No D-Day” posts today, and perhaps one day we can make every day a…

No D Day

Running and I are not friends. Running is hurtful, vindictive, and immature, and even tries to make me jealous by playing so well with others. Running is a complete bully towards me. It hurts my left ankle that I cracked when I was a kid. It hurts my knees, which get sore from time to time, especially when I’m really training hard for cycling. Being honest, it really hurts all of my leg muscles. But last Friday, something changed with mine and running’s long term tepid relationship.

As I was spending all of my energy on chores last Friday, taking clothes to the laundromat, sweeping floors, washing dishes, putting clean (and warm!) sheets on my bed, I got the notion to stop working so hard and go do something I enjoy: Exercise.

The Fall season is just arriving here in north Florida, the humidity levels are down, and the temperatures are dropping (not to my liking, I might add!), so it was a good evening to get outside of the house. I dawned my workout clothes, grabbed the iPod, and went a couple blocks away to Lake Ella, which has a nice paved sidewalk all the way around it that totals 6/10 of a mile per lap.

Lake Ella at Dusk

I started out with an easy walk. Although I’m an avid cyclist, I haven’t deliberately gone for a run in years, so I didn’t want to just take off running right out of the gate and injure myself. That might result in me not being able to go on a bike ride, and that simply cannot happen. I need my bike rides. Got to have priorities in this world people, even when it comes to exercise.

So I started walking. The cool thing about Lake Ella is that there are always a lot of people there to ogle. That makes walking around and around the lake a lot less monotonous. Pretty soon I got good and warmed up, iPod playing in my ears, and I started to become aware of people passing me.

Now, perhaps I was a race horse in a former life, but the competitive nature in me was starting to get antsy. I’m a cyclist. I can pedal 33 miles in less than two hours on the St. Marks Trail. I’ve completed the Five Boro Bike Tour in New York City. I’ve done the MS150 from Miami to Key Largo and back three times. Surely I can pick it up enough to keep up with everyone else, right?

Wrong.

For the record, running is not cycling. It uses a completely different set of muscles, many of which I’ve learned that I’ve been neglecting for too long. Now, I’m no Calvin Klein underwear model or a perfect 10 on the “OMG he’s dead sexy!” meter (I’m a humble 9.5), but some of the folks that were passing me as I was jogging like a pirate with two peg legs looked to be much heavier and not in near as good of shape as I am in. This ties back to the start of this post, about how running makes me jealous by playing so well with others. How do they do it, keep up the pace, and make it look so easy?

I still don’t have an answer to that multifaceted question. But I do know that I had a fantastic time dragging my limping carcass around Lake Ella for 5K last Friday evening. So much so that I did it again on Monday. And I vow to continue to push through the pain of running, and find that common ground where running and I can coexist without arguing so much, and hopefully one day the two of us will inspire enough jealousy in others for them to want to push through the pain too.

Crossing the 150-mile Finish Line with my team (Team StormRiders)

Bike Ride & Motivation

I sent my friend and colleague an email, with the subject line: Need. Bike. Ride. It wasn’t long before he replied with a similar sentiment, and we both made the dash to our respective homes at lunch to grab our bike gear.

I love cycling. I love it like my dog loves Milk Bones, or my cat loves a bright patch of sunshine. It brings me joy, it makes me feel better about myself, and it helps me manage my stress. I’ve always said that one of the best things about a bicycle is that there is no room for “baggage” on it. When I get on a bike, the stress just seems to fall off as the miles click by. Cycling also helps me stay in shape, push my limits, and meet new and interesting people. My best friend got me into road biking several years ago, and I’m so glad he did, because it has brought me so many stories and adventures since.

Today was almost an adventure unto itself. As we were just about to take off from the start of the ride, I did a quick BG test to make sure things were copacetic. They weren’t. My blood sugar was 36 mg/dl…and I did not feel it even the slightest. That frightened me, because normally I can feel it, especially one that low. I played it off so as not to freak out my friend, because good or bad, that’s what I’ve done most of my life, hide it. However, I did make him aware that my BG was low so he could understand our delayed start, and I got a glucose gel down, suspended my basal insulin delivery on my pump, and managed to get my BG up to a modest 74 before feeling confident and safe enough to get on the bike. About 10 miles into the ride we stopped at a convenience store, and I added an orange Gatorade to my arsenal, just to make sure that things didn’t sink back down with all of the activity.

At the halfway point (16.5 miles) my BG was holding at 74, which given the activity and fact that my pump was suspended, seemed about right. I continued to drink my orange Gatorode (which by the way, is quite delicious when you don’t get it on a regular basis), and by the time I finished the 33 mile ride, my BG had risen to a solid 147.

Earlier today Kerri (@sixuntilme) wrote a great post about fear and hope, and what motivates us. I hope that I can be strong, athletic, and continue to do bike rides like this (and even longer distances) for years and years to come. I want to be retired and able to blow the doors off some young whipper snappers who think they are lightning on wheels. Being on two wheels, pedaling for miles, and as a Type 1 crossing finish lines that most people say “I could never do that” about, that makes me happy. I love the endurance, the challenge, and the sense of accomplishment when I cross the finish line. But while I have that hope, I also have the fear of that one low BG that sneaks up on me and is one that I can’t manage on my own. I hope so much that if/when it happens, that it doesn’t ruin for me the sport that I love so much. That mix of hope and fear is one of the things that motivates me, and encourages me to stay @woodonwheels.

Crossing the 150-mile Finish Line with my team (Team StormRiders)

Crossing the 150-mile Finish Line with my team (Team StormRiders)