Monday, 10 March 2014

on 'betes, back pain and being grateful

 it's only March but I already Feel as if I'm in the groove of racing and training. Albeit for most of the season thus far I've been battling for the ultimate prize with little success and distinguished myself more or less uniquely by being the only bike with a beard in the pro race each weekend. Whilst this seems to have something of a cache with those who like to rehydrate after their races with a barley pop it doesn't really bring the fulfillment I look for in tight clothing on a Sunday afternoon.





A couple of factors have reply been getting in between me and fast pedaling this year. One would be that my pancreas doesn't work and apparently, at times, neither does my insulin. The other would be that my ability to feel anything below the waist on my entire left hand side seems to be something of lottery. Both f these can be somewhat frustrating to put it mildly. Oh and there was also one race when some cowboys managed to integrate themselves into the bunch right as we were sprinting.




The back thing can be fairy simply explained, someone drove a car into me and broke it. Apparently i'd been chasing the dream with a displaced SI joint for several months before someone noticed it at PT and kindly popped my bones back into their happy place. Since then I've been at the core exercises and stretching like a good boy and so far so good, I can even stand on JUST my left leg, which would have left me in a heap on the floor a month ago. I can also race without bathing my lumbar spine in embro and filling my stomach with ibuprofen. So that's nice.




The 'betes thing is harder to explain (and let's face it the cowboy deal is pretty damn impossible). For some reason I'm getting much bigger fluctuations in races and training then I'm used to. I'll start where I want to, say 150 and in the first hour of the race i'll go between 60 and 300, if i don't eat I go hop, I get dizzy, shaky and my legs feel like rubber. If I try to correct that hypo I go flying up and feel twitchy, wired, parched and sore. My legs feel like battery acid is flowing nested of blood. Finding a way to balance nutrition, stress and insulin in between those two places is proving a challenge.




I'm hoping that the to issues aren't unrelated. In an effort to get to the bottom of whats going on I'm trying to isolate variable. The issue is that often these things happen in races, races where nobody crest wait while I check my sugars and where I can't take a mulligan if it turns out that the raisins I ate a hour ago should've been peanuts because I'm 300. Training rides are different, I can try thing and test theories: The spasms in my back could be causing stress, stress causes highs. That said I've had problems even on rides where my legs both work. So there's something else at play. The next in my process of elimination is glycogen, the body's storage carbohydrate reserves in the muscles. I've just spent the weekend at an AYUDA training program in DC restocking the reserves with a healthy supply of carbohydrate thanks to more time in meetings and less time in the mountains.




On ting I've always struggled a bit with is post ride insulin. I know I want to benefit from he glycogen resynthesis which occurs right after training but, given that I'm depleted after a ride, a large bolus is potentially pretty hazardous, especially if I'm doing aching other than just sitting about for the next 2-3 hours. You see with my body's glycogen stores low, if I take too much insulin my body lacks the reserves to "bail me out" of. Low blood sugar but if I don't take enough insulin I tend to go really high, perhaps due to the post ride stress hormone release. That's not good for health or recovery.




Diabetes is a constant moving and changing target, it's interesting, intriguing and sometimes annoying. It is also why I am who I am, it's why I do hat I do, it's why I've met most of the people most dear to me in my life, traveled all over the world and why I get the chance to teach people and the privilege to learn from them. At the end of the day, I wouldn't trade my faulty pancreas for. Good one and a different life, so I have to ale the ups with the downs. I wanted to share bit of that process, in case anyone else goes through the same. It's the "inside baseball"part of the 'betes game and it might not be as glam as some of the other stuff I get to do but hopefully for one or two people this represented window into my world with diabetes and gave them an appreciation which they can ue to better relate to their own diabetes or people they know living with the condition. So until next time, stay sweet!

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