Minneapolis ADA Tour de Cure Champions! Let’s Roll!

Riding!

The Tour de Cure is FUN!

QUICK! What are you doing on Friday night?!

If you’re in the Minneapolis area and are coming to the Tour de Cure Champions VIP Dinner – I’ll see you there!

I’m honored to be the keynote speaker for the Champions to STOP Diabetes VIP Dinner on the night before the big ride, and I couldn’t be more excited!

You are an incredible inspiration to me, and to think that I’ll be up front trying to inspire you is humbling. But don’t worry! I’ve got some great stuff ready for you!

We’ll have some fun, get some food, and get all charged up and ready to roll on Saturday morning!

“Go Red Rider!”

29 hours for 3 Clicks – Because I Miss my Bike

I know you guys are probably getting terribly sick of me and this contest stuff, but I’m desperate, so I’m making one last push.

This push has a story though. I hope it is enough of a story to collect three clicks from you (and your friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances)  in the next 29 hours.

Looking out of Scott's office windows onto the street in front.

It’s a rental, y’all, don’t get excited…

My home office is one of the best I’ve ever had. The windows look out onto the street in front of the house. It’s a beautiful neighborhood with a lot of pedestrian and bike traffic. Other than my basketball sessions, people watching is the only form of socialization I get when I’m working at home. I love watching people walk by, and even more, ride by on their bikes.

But it’s starting to hurt because I can’t get out on my bike and ride around. It’s like the entire city of Minneapolis is teasing me because I don’t have a bike to ride.

I don’t have a bike to ride.

After working so hard on cycling last year to achieve a goal I’m really proud of (riding 102-miles in one day), it feels wrong to not spend time cycling this year. I’m not riding because my bike broke down during the ADA Tour de Cure this year. I don’t think I ever told the story here.

I rode a much shorter route this year. I wanted to enjoy the event, participate in the festivities, and not be totally spent afterward. Everything went really great until my bike had a catastrophic breakdown. Though in terms of breakdowns, I couldn’t have planned a better one.

I was riding along the Midtown Greenway and closing in on the finish line. Just about four miles left in the ride. I zoomed past an official ADA Tour de Cure rest stop (food, water, support) on my right, almost immediately followed by a bike shop on my left. Not thirty seconds after passing the bike shop I heard the noise that no cyclist likes to hear… “POPSSSSSHHHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhh……”

Popped tire. Flat as can be. I was so casual about the ride this year that I didn’t have a spare tube, or even a pump with me (shame, shame).  I was totally unprepared.

But I was less than a two-minute walk back to the bike shop. I went in expecting to pay for a new tube and some manual labor. I came out with a bike that had been declared unsafe to ride (cracked crank arm).

I bought this bike in the early nineties. It’s very likely at least twenty years old. When the mechanic got above $50 in his repair estimate I waved the white flag and started to plan the funeral. It served me well, but I’m not willing to put much more money into it.

I walked another minute back to the ADA rest stop and bumped into a teammate who broke his arm while on a training ride earlier that spring. He offered to give me a lift back to home base. I was back at the team tent with a cold Diet Coke in less than 20 minutes after my tire blew. Talk about an ideal breakdown!

Picture of Dan, Scott, and Mari relaxing at the team tent

Dan, Scott, Mari

Here’s where I need your help. I’m begging for it. I really miss cycling. I want so bad to get back out there and feel the wind in my hair. But there’s no way I can afford a bike unless I win this contest.

You don’t have to sign up for anything, you don’t have to give up your e-mail address, you don’t have to watch anything, or “Like” anything, or register for anything. It’s three clicks. One on the link (2013 AAA Finalist Voting), one to select my video, and one to click the “Vote” button. That’s all there is to it.

You can only vote one time for each computer/device you have, so sharing is the key. Vote on each computer, tablet, phone, or laptop that you can get your hands on. Voting ends at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday (8/15) night.

On Friday, I’m flying out to San Diego for the live award show – which is a prize in and of itself. Thank you for getting me so far already. I’ll find out on Saturday night who the winner is, and with your help I think I have a good chance.

Pedaling in my Sleep: 102-Mile Ride

One week ago today I rode my bicycle for 102 miles.

102 Mile Route

I still can’t believe I did it.

Riding!

I trained for 18 weeks with TeamWILD.  Each week of training brought hours and hours on the bike.  I pedaled inside, I pedaled outside.  I pedaled in the cold, I pedaled in the heat.  I pedaled in the rain, I pedaled in the sun.

Each week of training brought me closer to the big ride, and each week of training increased my physical ability.  Along with the physical training, the TeamWILD coaches taught me about diabetes management, hydration, and nutrition.

I learned a lot of lessons (took a lot of lumps) through my training and put it all into practice on the big day.  It worked perfectly!

I was able to hang with the group (Heather, her cousin, Gary, Jeff, and Scully) until we hit the rollers (little baby hills – about a million of them) west of the cities.  Scully was riding slowly because she was sipping on a coffee that she ordered at the second rest stop, and the rest of the crew was visiting with each other.  Once we hit those rollers, I just couldn’t keep up anymore.

Besides the rollers kicking my ass, I also had trouble with my back tire going flat a few times.  I had to stop and pump it up, then ride a bit, then stop and pump it up, then ride a bit, etc.  I was so discouraged.  I lost my group, the hills were killing me, and riding on a mushy tire made it that much harder.   I was alone, exhausted, unsure of myself, and ready to give up.

I leaned hard on my faith and a TeamWILD training technique.  Little successes.  I counted my pedal strokes (one, two, three, four, five … one, two, three, four, five …) and worked to get to the next mailbox, light post, or top of the next hill.

I got to the next rest stop and asked the volunteer mechanic to swap out my tire tube.  He found and removed a small wire that had poked through my tire and caused the slow leak.  That rest stop was at mile 52.

With a new tube, the road debris removed from my tire, a fresh Camelbak full of water, and some fresh fuel in my stomach, I was back on the road and feeling much better.

I found Gary, one of the other Pancremaniac Red Riders, at one of the last few rest stops.  We pretty much carried each other through the last thirty miles.  I couldn’t have done it without Gary, and he says the same for me.

I only thought I was going vomit four or five times through those last few miles.

My blood sugars were incredible.  Almost unbelievable actually.

Concentrating

97 mg/dl –  6:03 AM – Start Line
136 mg/dl – 6:43 AM
113 mg/dl – 7:30 AM
166 mg/dl – 8:19 AM
159 mg/dl – 9:21 AM
137 mg/dl – 10:03 AM
143 mg/dl – 10:48 AM
153 mg/dl – 12:43 PM
142 mg/dl – 1:14 PM
150 mg/dl – 2:34 PM
136 mg/dl – 3:04 PM
177 mg/dl – 3:33 PM – Finish

I was running a 50% basal temp rate.  I consumed nearly 600 grams of carbohydrates and didn’t take a single drop of bolus insulin.  I drank about 300 ounces of water and didn’t need the bathroom until hours later.

Even though we were among the last to return, the Pancremaniac crew was at the finish line to bring us in with a bunch of cheering and celebration.  We even made it back in time to get worked on by a volunteer massage therapist.

I was hurting from the ride, and this massage therapist made me want to cry.  It was a lot like the dentist.  Sometimes it hurts, but you know it’s good for you.

After a quick ride home for a shower, I headed to the team celebration dinner.  I burned well over 5000 calories on that ride, so I didn’t feel at all guilty about ordering two grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner.

Grilled Cheese x's 2!

I cannot tell you how incredible it was to hang out with Jeff and Scully so much, and I wouldn’t trade the training time with Heather for anything.  Would I do anything different?  Yes.  I’d remember to put sunscreen on my face…

DOC 100 Mile Club

The ride was so hard.  But you know what?  I worked pretty damn hard training for this.

If I can follow a plan and pedal myself 100 miles, so can you.  This is a shining example of the everyman story.  I am no superstar athlete.  Wait…  I WASN’T a superstar athlete.

I am now.  I rode my bicycle 100 miles in one day and was back on the basketball court three days later.

If I can do this, you can do this.

A special note of thanks to everyone who supported me.  Your generosity is unmatched and appreciated so much.  I thought of each and every one of you as my mind started playing tricks on me, and as I crested the top of each of those damn rollers I thought of you.

For what it’s worth, my wife said that while I was sleeping that night, my legs were pumping imaginary pedals every few minutes.  I think that is pretty funny, but it doesn’t surprise me one bit!

Scott – On His Bike a LOT This Spring!

I am riding 100  miles (!!) in the 2012 Tour de Cure ride for the ADA in June (June 2, 2012).  I must be crazy.

More than a few things have come together to make this happen, and I’m excited about all of it!  This will be the third year for me to ride with The Pancremaniacs, our Tour de Cure team that is more than 30 strong so far (and still recruiting – want to ride with us?).

If you care to donate to my fundraising goal, or help spread the word, every little bit is appreciated.

Two years ago we rode 25 miles, last year we rode 45 miles, and this year we’re making the jump to the century ride.  Not everyone on the team is doing such a long ride – we have people doing just about every route option the tour has to offer.

This winter, Heather, my team captain and inspiration, and I toyed around with the idea of doing 100 miles – she said she’d help me train for it and would be training right along with me.  I still wasn’t sure though – until I got the phone call.

The Phone Call

Two months ago I got a phone call from Mari Ruddy.  She said she had some exciting news and asked if I was sitting down.  She said she had a scholarship to offer me for one of Team WILD’s training programs, and wanted to know if I was interested.

The decision to commit to 100 miles in the upcoming Tour de Cure happened right there, right in that split-second between her asking and me answering.  “Yep, I want to ride 100 miles in the Tour de Cure this summer” I blurted out.

And as soon as it was out of my mouth I was simultaneously incredibly excited and absolutely terrified.  What on earth had I just signed up for?

Cycling In Winter (In Minnesota?)

1984(?) Schwinn Spin Bike

My New Best Friend / Worst Enemy

The training program for a ride this long is 18 weeks long.  Working backwards from the date of the ride, that meant my training was to start the last week of January.  I live in the Minneapolis, MN area.  There’s not much biking to be had here in January.

With CraigsList and less than $100, I was able to find a solution that would get me through the first month of training.  Say hello to my new best friend / worst enemy.

The winter has been unbelievably mild, so believe it or not, I’ve actually been able to do a couple of outside rides so far.  One for two hours, and another for three hours.  But for all the rest of it, I’m in my basement pedaling away the hours on my ancient spin bike.  I spent eight hours on that damn thing last week.  I know it may not sound like much, but think about it…

The Riding

I just finished the fourth week of training, and while it is very hard work, both mentally and physically, I’m already noticing many benefits.

It only took three rides for my rear end to stop hurting, which at first felt like the worst part of training.

I’m also running around like a maniac on the basketball court, and it’s only been a few weeks of riding.  To know that the hours I spend on the saddle in my basement will help my basketball game is a huge bonus in my book.  My legs already feel strong, and my cardiovascular capacity is improving steadily.

The Training and Education

Team WILD has the most incredible coaches and educators around.  Each week I get a series of video messages and content to read.  It is amazing to me how these people can take such complicated science and deliver it in ways that make sense.

But knowing the science behind exercise and diabetes isn’t enough on its own.  The Team WILD coaches feed me bite size pieces that get me through the week of training and leave me hungry for the next pieces of information.

You might think the training is just to get on a bike and pedal, do it often, and ramp up your effort each time.  There’s so much more strategy involved!  “Strategy” – A plan of action designed to achieve a major or overall aim.

My training so far has been to ride a certain number of days per week, for a total number of hours per week, with one ride in that week being a “breakout” ride, or one that is longer than the others.  All of that has to be done while keeping my heart rate in a certain zone.

It’s hard work, but I’m good at following directions.

Not Medical Advice

Water, Gatorade, Glucose Meter, CGM, Towels, Chapstick

Water, Gatorade, Glucose Meter, CGM, Towels, Chapstick

Team WILD is staffed with amazing coaches, as I mentioned above.  Their purpose is to teach you to learn your diabetes in your body during your exercise.  They are not there to tell you specifically about how much insulin to take.  It’s about understanding what happens during exercise, how the body burns fuel, and how you can use that knowledge and experience to do whatever it is you want to do.

I feel that I started with a slight advantage here because of my basketball.  I have played basketball at least a few times each week for the last 5-6 years.  Through that I have learned a lot about how my body reacts to exercise, and I’m using that experience, along with the additional information I’m learning from the coaches, to figure out how to do cycling with diabetes.

Is it going perfectly?  No.  Diabetes can’t be done perfectly. But by being prepared, testing often, and keeping good records, I feel confident that I can be successful.  It’s an added bonus that all of this knowledge can transfer to many different types of exercise.

Picture of my Dexcom at 54 mg/dl with double down arrows, bike in the background

Diabetes is never perfect…

So Impressed (and disclosure)!

I know I’m just beginning my journey with Team WILD Training, but I am very impressed so far.  In fact, I’m impressed enough that I’ve signed on to be an affiliate partner for them.  That means that if you click on the badge (link no longer active) on the right side of my page, and end up buying one of the programs, I’ll get a small commission from that.

Team WILD Logo

Affiliate Link

There are programs for anyone at any level of fitness, and there are a ton of payment options (payment plans, etc).  Everything is on sale until Thursday, March 15, 2012, so if you’re thinking about it now would be the time to act.

I love what TeamWILD is doing, and am a big fan of Mari and her vision.  I hope you’re as excited as I am!

I Did It! Tour de Cure!

Picture of Scott, Mari, Heather

Scott, Mari, Heather

Have you ever gotten yourself into something you weren’t quite sure you could do?  I got myself very familiar with that feeling this Spring.

When we finished the 25-mile Tour de Cure route last year I wasn’t ready to be finished.  I wanted more.  So for the 2011 ride we signed up for the 45-mile course.

The weather here this “Spring” (note the quotation marks…) was terrible.  Cold, wet, rainy, overcast.  If you had to paint a picture of depression, any weekend of Minnesota leading up to the ride would have been perfect.

Last year, for the 25-mile ride, I went on a lot of training rides with the team before the big day.  This year?  I was on my bike twice.  Completing a 14-mile ride the first time, and a 20-mile ride the second.  That’s not a lot of training in preparation for the longest ride of my life (so far).

My fundraising beard was more than ready, thanks to so many of you.  I was also able to leverage it to help Chris meet his fundraising goal!   I’m sure he would have met his goal without my help, but it was a fun day on twitter with the #savethebeard campaign.  Very proud to rock the scragle for a while to represent for a good cause and good people.

The VIP Dinner on Friday night was great, with Mari Ruddy delivering a very moving speech on why the Red Rider movement exists.  I wrote a little about the movement last year, but no words do the woman justice.  If you ever have a chance to hear her talk (about anything!), do it.

Scott and Heather before the ride

Scott and Heather before the ride

The weather for our ride was perfect.  We had a few different groups riding for our team, with the 62-mile riders leaving bright and early at 7:00 AM, the 45-mile riders leaving at 8:00 AM, etc.

This year, all of the Red Riders lined up at the head of the pack to start each ride.  It was pretty cool seeing all of us decked out in our Red Rider jerseys grouped together at the starting line.  Most of us peeled off after a short distance to regroup with the rest of our teams.

There were rest stops at about every hour, which was perfect for us.  Perfect timing to check our blood sugars, refill our water bottles, and grab a bite to eat.

We covered a LOT of ground on this ride.  I was familiar with most of the route in Minneapolis, but we also did a lot of riding in St. Paul.  I hadn’t done any riding on that side of the cities before, so it was pretty fun to see.

Picture of Scott and Heather riding

Scott and Heather – Action shot!

I felt really good for most of the ride.  My blood sugars were amazing, ranging from 61 mg/dl (that was a low I had to stop and treat) up to 137 mg/dl.  I reduced my background/basal insulin for most of the day, tested often, drank a lot of water, and made sure to eat something at each of the rest stops. I’m not sure I could pull off better blood sugars ever again!

Exercise really does amazing things to your blood sugar.  The trick is figuring out how to take advantage of that!

I got really tired a few miles from the finish line, but that was also when I had to stop and treat the low blood sugar.  Who knows if it was tired from being low, or tired from riding 40+ miles, or a combination of both.  Maybe if I would have eaten just a little bit more at the last rest stop I would have felt good to the end.  Even a non-diabetic person has to fuel their body – as PWD’s we are not really much different.  We just have a few extra variables to manage, which makes the food and fuel much more complicated.

At the Finish Line with Leah!

The Finish Line! Leah & Family rooting us on!

After recovering from the low, I pushed on to reunite with Heather so we could cross the finish line together.  The finish line experience is something special.  They announce your name as you approach the finish line, and there is a CROWD of people cheering you through.

All of the Pancremaniac crew was there cheering for Heather and I as we rode through, and there were also a couple of surprise supporters!  Leah and her family were there, as well as Corey, a buddy I used to work with at Cozmo.

It was so cool.  I rode 45 miles (rumor is that it was actually 47 miles)!  That’s a new personal distance record for me, and I’m pretty proud of myself.  Next year we are going to ride the 62-mile course!

We even had a Pancremaniac come all the way from Michigan just to ride!  Dan rode the 62-mile course, and says he had a great time doing it.  We’re all hoping he comes back to ride with us again next year.   I think the look on his face is an affirmation that he’ll be back.

Dan relaxing after his 62-mile bike ride!

Dan relaxing after 62 miles on the bike!

2011 Tour de Cure Finisher Medal

2011 Tour de Cure Finisher Medal

 

Help Scott Ride the 2011 ADA Tour de Cure!

Summer of 2009. Allison came to town and we had a DOC meet-up out at the Mall of America. That was the first time I met Heather (a.k.a “Auntly H“) who blogs at “Beyond Your Peripheral Vision“.  Heather talked about her recent ADA Tour de Cure, and it sounded like a blast.  So I told her I’d ride with her team in 2010.

With her help, I got back on my bike after a decade of it sitting in the garage.  We trained, we trained some more, and we kept training.  Day of the ride?  We kicked ass.  As we approached the finish line, after riding 27 miles, I opened my big mouth again and announced that in 2011 we would tackle the 45 mile course!

As the snow finally melts away here in the Twin Cities, it’s time to get the bikes out.  I have eight weeks to get ready, and I’m looking forward to each and every ride. Well, Ok, maybe not the first couple of rides…

I Need Help

There is a minimum fund-raising goal of $150 to participate in the ride.  Last year I wrote that check myself.  It was for a diabetes related cause, and I was so proud of myself for getting back on my bike after so long.  And I was able to cover that cost last year.

This has been a tough year for the Johnson family, and I just don’t have it.

Please donate to Scott's 2011 Tour de Cure ride!

If you are willing and able, I could sure use your help this year.

$150 by June 4th will get me into the ride.

My First “Red Rider” Experience: Part 1

A couple weeks back I mentioned that I signed up for the 2010 Tour de Cure, and just this week posted a very quick blurb about the Red Rider dinner that I attended the night before the ride.

The ride and the dinner have come and gone, and they were both incredible for me.  I’m trying really hard to come up with a post that does it all justice, but I’ll tell you right now it is going to be really hard.

There were some really special guests at the dinner that made it well worth the drive during rush-hour traffic.

We heard from Angela Past, a Team Type 1 triathlete, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the early 70’s.  She talked about not exercising until she was 35, mostly because she worried about experiencing low blood sugars.  Not much exercise before age 35, and now she is a competitive
triathlete.  That point alone was very inspiring to me.   It is never too late to find your exercise joy.

Please forgive the crappy camera-phone, low light, photo.  Do you recognize any of these people?  That’s right!  Contestants from The Biggest Loser! What a cool surprise!  We had Pete, Hollie, O’Neal, & Sunshine!  While I can’t say I’m a regular viewer of the TV show, it was pretty damn neat for them to come and speak to us.  Pete brought “old Pete” with him, in the form of a life sized picture of what he used to look like.  It really made an impression!  O’Neal describing that he used to live with a “quiet desperation” also really hit me.

After that little slice of inspiration, the new Red Rider jersey was unveiled to us.  Being my first ride, I didn’t know much about the whole “Red Rider” thing, but it is a really special story, and I want to share it with as many people as I can.  While at the dinner, I didn’t know just how special the company was.

After it all sunk in, I came home and did some frantic searching on the internet to piece the puzzle together.  A special “Thank You” to our friend, and fellow biking enthusiast, Courtney, for helping me find all the details!

Ginny Ruddy got up and told us how the Red Rider jersey’s came to be.  Her daughter, Mari, has lived with type 1 diabetes since the age of 16.  in 2005 she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  She went through chemo, radiation, and surgery, and says they knocked her down harder than she ever imagined possible.

As a cancer surviving athlete, she was recognized and celebrated in every athletic event she participated in.  As she says, “Being a cancer surviving athlete is to be admired. Lance Armstrong, the
incredible organizing power of the Livestrong campaign, and the dominate force
of the breast cancer community, have made it admirable to survive cancer and be
an athlete.

But in 25 years of living with diabetes, and having walked, run, and cycled for the cure for diabetes, she was never asked to declare herself as a diabetes-surviving person.  A stark contrast to what she experienced as a cancer survivor.

The following is from her 2007 Invitation to Ride:

————————-
In one of the first resource guides I received when I was diagnosed with cancer,
I was told it was up to me to determine what to do with my membership into the
cancer sisterhood that I had not wanted to join. Within months, it was clear
that these women were serious, I had access to a network of amazing women and I
was recognized in every athletic event as courageous and brave. Being a cancer
surviving athlete is to be admired. Lance Armstrong, the incredible organizing
power of the Livestrong campaign, and the dominate force of the breast cancer
community, have made it admirable to survive cancer and be an
athlete.

This has not been the case with being a diabetic athlete. In my
25 years of living with diabetes, I have walked, run and cycled for the cure for
diabetes, but never once at any of these events was I asked to declare myself as
a diabetes-surviving person. I was never given a special t-shirt or water
bottle. There has never been a special finish line acknowledging the courage,
perseverance, and sheer determination it takes to live with diabetes and be out
on that course riding, running or walking. I want this to change. I want you to
help me change this. I want to work to find the cure AND to celebrate the people
who are courageously living with diabetes.

Being a diabetic athlete means
a dedication to trial and error. Every diabetic athlete I have ever met or read
about is a meticulous record-keeper and is in his or her own way a scientist,
continuously experimenting on his or her body to find the best combination of
insulin, food, stress, exercise. The crazy thing is that the combination keeps
changing and it is highly personalized, so there has to be a willingness to
continuously revamp, re-evaluate, re-organize. Having diabetes and being
committed to performance requires a degree of mental flexibility that deserves
recognition and celebration. It is symbolic of what all of us as humans have to
do to perform at high levels.

One could think I just want special
recognition, and maybe I do. Why? Because receiving the recognition on race day
gives me and my fellow diabetics the motivation to continue seeing the glass
half full on the days when our blood sugar soars to 400 for no explainable
reason, or when we have no desire to eat but we must or risk passing out if we
don’t. Cancer is dramatic. Diabetes is a grind. Both drop people at the door of
death, just in different styles.

————————-

What more can I say?  Amazing stuff, right?  I will be the first to acknowledge that as a person living with type 1 diabetes I have never been satisfied with the ADA’s display of support for those with type 1, but I pledge to ride the Tour de Cure every year my body is healthy enough tocooperate.  Thank you Mari, for inspiring me to keep riding!This post has already gotten much longer than I wanted, and I haven’t even started talking about my ride.  I’m going to break here and continue in another post.  Stay tuned for part 2!

You Are Why We Ride

WhyWeRide
I am riding in my first ADA Tour de Cure tomorrow, and I have to admit that I’m pretty excited.

I can’t say enough about how thankful I am to Auntly H for spearheading this, and for getting me back on my bike after 10+ years.  I have had so much fun riding so far, and am really looking forward to the ride tomorrow.  But the riding does not stop tomorrow, and for that I owe Auntly H much more.

I have to admit that I am feeling a lot of emotions tonight.  I’m a bit anxious and nervous.  I am excited and tired.  I am full of thanks and appreciation.  I need to go to sleep and rest up for an early departure tomorrow.

I have a lot I want to talk about regarding this ride, but I just don’t have the time I need tonight.  I will be writing in my head as I’m pedaling around 28 miles of the metro area, and promise to write it all down “quick fast in a hurry” once I can comfortably sit down again…

Seriously though – you see all the “X’s” in that jersey size?  Still doesn’t fit.  That, my friends, is a(nother) sign that things need to change for me.  I’m going to bike my way into a comfortable fit for next year’s ride.

The Effect Of My Miscalculation? Major Suckage and a Day Wasted.

The thoughts were nagging at me all morning.  What do I do about my blood sugar?  What adjustments should I make to my insulin?  How should I manage my meal bolus?

I was scheduled to meet up with some members of The Pancremaniacs this afternoon for our last team ride before the Tour de Cure (which is next Saturday).  I’ve done three of these team practice rides so far, and they have been great.  I’m so grateful to Auntly H for getting me back on my bike after so many years.

Exercise for those of us living with diabetes is a tricky monster.  It is so beneficial, but can be damn near impossible to get through without a LOT of trial and error.  With today being only my third time out with the group, I’m still trying to figure out the blood sugar part of things.  I’ve learned that my body, when my blood sugar cooperates, can push it pretty hard (relatively speaking) for around 20 miles.  It wipes me out, in a good way, cranks my metabolism, and supercharges my insulin for a long time.  Today was different.

As I watched my CGM for the first few hours of the day, I was pretty happy with a steady blood sugar in the mid 100’s.  I ate a very low carb lunch (no breakfast – shame on me…).  I was trying to keep from having a bunch of insulin in my system during the ride.  I also started a temporary basal rate, reducing my basal/background insulin, about two hours before we started.

Just before we started riding, my CGM buzzed at me, letting me know my blood sugar was rising.  Makes sense, lower your basal insulin, your blood sugar should go up.  In a perfect world, the exercise I would be doing would drop my blood sugar, and the scales of diabetes justice would balance out and I’d be fine.

A little more than halfway through the ride, I was struggling to keep up, and felt I was working WAY too hard.  We stopped for a BG check (it is SO nice riding with other PWD’s and T3’s), and I discovered that I was in the mid 300’s.  No wonder this ride was kicking my ass.  Muscles don’t work right when you are that high, and I was really sucking wind.  It’s like I couldn’t use the oxygen right with so much sugar clogging things up (I have no idea if that is how it works, but the visual seems to make sense, right?).  I took a partial correction and downed a bunch of water.

The last third of the ride felt like it took forever.  I couldn’t keep up with the group, and I was working so hard.  I hated it.  It felt like I was riding up a hill the whole way.  It sucked, big time.

We reached the end of the ride (FINALLY!), and I was so thankful.  For the rest of the day I felt exhausted and worn down.  It seems like exercising out of range is harder on the body.  That makes sense too I guess  – the fuel and energy systems in my body was all goofed up – of course it would have to take drastic measures just to make it through.

That afternoon of torture, and being wiped out for the rest of the day were all the result of a very small miscalculation (I reduced my temporary basal rate too much) early in the day.  I was totally spent.  The thought of doing anything productive for the rest of the day was just total nonsense.  I didn’t have it in me.

As I rested and recovered the rest of the day, I thought about how such a small thing could influence the way my day went for such a long time afterward.  I also have to watch out for post-exercise LOW blood sugars for most of tomorrow.

Is it any wonder why exercise is so hard for us?  There is so much more than the average obstacles of fighting our inner-lazy and finding time to do it.