Monday, November 3, 2008

Back Again

It has been almost a month ! A serious bout with site infections and generaly laziness, back on the bike for some work and hitting vasa for some swim practice. Generally, coming back from an extended lay-off is tough and rewardign at the same time. After yesterdays sustained power workouts, it was great to hop on a ride. If all goes well, I will be hitting the road and running again, whcih will be beneficial since Denise and I will be running the Baltimore Marathon next October!

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Goals

It is October and the wave of returning to reality has finally set in. After dealing with some of life's curve balls, it marks the time to move forward. What is next? I resigned to myself, my family, friends and supporters that racing Ironman is not happening in '09. Last year it was the mind having issues wrapping itself around Ironman, this year it is the mind and body. I hope to return to Ironman racing in the upcoming years, but I feel relieved not having this in next seasons race schedule. So what will '09 bring? I want to represent Triabetes once again during the '09 saeason as I can't think of a better cause and better group of people I want to be associated with!

I lost a step in my run so it is time to get it back this year and hope to get some of it back. Denise has set a goal to run the Baltimore Marathon next October, and I will run it with her. I envision her finishing the race hand in hand with her- with me finishing the Maryland Double. Additionally, I am hoping to run the Frederick Marathon in May as part of the first leg of the Maryland Double. In Triathlon, I set 2 races in my sites a being the "focus", Rhode Island 70.3 and Delaware DiamondMan Half Iron (I owe this race course one from 2004!), along with a few shorter triathlons along the way.

Monday, September 15, 2008

To Be an Ironman x 3- THANK YOU

Yes, it is over! What a successful week I had the honor of spending with my Triabetes Teammates. Each has provided their personal story inspiration is getting to the start line and beyond. Triabetes did it and the mark has been made on the diabetic community that anything is possible! In sitting back and reflecting, it has been a week since the race and have to return to "real" life. When I got the email and call last year to do Triabetes through now, I am amazed at how our team was able to accomplish some extraordinary results. I thank Michelle, Peter, John, Steve 2.0, Steve 3.0, Bill, Aaron, Joe, Brian, Anne, Dave and Larry for their stories as they will help many out there. A special thanks to Nate for his logistical mind, and Dr. Matt!

Also, I have many in my own support group to thank, but want to single out a few. First to Coach Dave Amato. Coach Dave Amato, who knew how to balance my workout schedule with my ever changing demands of life and diabetes. As an aside, each time I would talk with Coach Dave, he would know exactly what buttons to push to get more out of me and balance a training program to produce results. To Nurse Betty who watch my trainings effects on me and always was there to provide words of encouragement, ibuprofen, and sweets when needed. To my extended family who know the craziness of Ironman and stuck it out yet again. To Donny G and Luke, who without your ear and demented humor, it would have been more of a bear to get through. To my parents and in-laws, who are the constants. To the diabetic community, as I hope Triabetes experience helps someone else know that anything is possible, Lastly and most importantly to Denise, Bri, and Tommy, who are my love and my life. They make it possible for me to do Ironman, test my blood sugar, keep myself as healthy as I can.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Hero...

Seven days til Ironman. As I sit recounting the training and upcoming event and recount the dedication my friend Howard does daily. No matter your politics or views on war, Howard risks his life for our country. A country where a diabetic has the freedom to race Ironman. It was a year ago when I reconnected with this extraordinary person who shares a love and passion for his country, not to mention bike racing and riding. I recall our ride in the Fall over my mini-Moo course talking about his adventures in Europe riding with the Germans and their tactics, our paramount rides, and life in general. I am longing for his return to ride again and re-tell of our stories and share in the joy of his safe return to us. Thanks Howard!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

My Friend Steve

19 Day til Ironman! I received an email last week from my best friend Steve Silverman. The best man at my wedding, the man who knew many of my many challenges in life. His words were transformed into action this morning. After having a decent ride Saturday, and great first half of my Sunday long run, I scraped it in for the final 1 1/2 hour on Sunday and felt like crap the remainder of Sunday into Monday. This morning it would have been nice to sleep in and not workout. But resonating in my brain was Steve's words of encouragement as I re-read his email last evening and got up to put in an excellent run, despite having a closing BS of 55, further dropping to 45. As I prepare for this race, it will be 22 years that Steve and I have been friends. Also, along the way, Denise and I will have been together for 20 years. After all this time, the 2 of them have schemed and supported me over the years no matter the adventure, like Steve, after major knee surgery, hobbling around at the 1997 New York City Marathon, chasing me down in the rain. I realise I am pretty fortunate.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Winding Down Big Volume

Taper is almost here! Big Volume weeks are suck! However, after compelting them, the path to success is partially laid. All of the work leading up to big volume then add 20+ hours of workouts during a 3 to 4 week period adds up to aching joints, tired legs, and many, many cups of coffee to survive the day. Once the final big volume weekend is complete, only small deposits can be made, but I know I can screw things up if not careful during taper. Rest and rest hard is key. Also for me is nailing my nutrition plan during the time as it is easy to eat for 20+ hours of working out but only doing about 12 and the pounds find a way back on. 24 days til the race, but who's counting.....

Friday, August 8, 2008

No- It is the Story.....

Ironman training is comprised of peaks and valleys! The heavy volume time days we are now in challenge even the toughest physically and mentally. For example, Sunday's long run started well enough but ended 2 1/2 hour in with dehydration and scraping it in for the final hour. But the end result of 20 miles done makes it worth it. As I logged the big volume days in, I find myself wondering what I will be doing after this adventure. In doing the work getting to the start line, I ponder what Ray and Nella our documentary filmers pondered with us, is the story the race? or is it getting to the race? This year I found many answers I have sought while racing Ironman. The Ultimate question of why always comes up. The physical challenge? Did that. Mental Challenge, been there. The Story- yep -that's it. The memories of bonking during my first ride on Darth Velo Jedi Penguin. The good training days and the numerous "bad" days. The lows and highs of blood sugar management, the email correspondences with my Triabetes family. My family's absolute and unconditional love and support for me no matter the outcome. The mornings at 5 am riding running, the trips to the pool pondering jumping in the water, the pain of Vasa, the phone calls and coaching from Coach Dave, the pain after long runs, the saddle sores of 5+ hour rides, wanting to quit but keeping the one goal in mind. During this training year, I was challenged with questions and demons. As I heard in Santa Barbara, it was time to stop wrestling ghosts and the answers to life's eternal questions are becoming much clear this year than in my past 4 years training for Ironman. In the final 9 days of big volume, I and my other Tribetes teammates will put the final touches on our training and converge on Madison. And the stories we will tell!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Today starts another week of big volume training. With the bike being the focus, Coach Dave has me in a zombie-like state yet gaining the necessary confidence to tow the start line. My Iron-mares (Ironman Nightmares) have begun to haunt my sleep. Questions concerning did I bring the right gear, is that really my bike? (A beach cruiser), running in bare feet, are just some of the nightmares. The reality is I encountered a real-life Iron-nightmare in 2006 at the Great Floridian. The residue of the preparation deficits, my lack of mental focus, my physical issues haunt me as I prepare this year. I scares me and motivates me at the same time. My take home lesson is that no matter how great or poorly I prepare, respecting the distance and race is of vital importance. As I work my way into this weeks training, I am keeping thing into perspective. Only 40 more days til race day, respect the 140.6!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Words from Nurse Betty I want to Share

Got an email from Nurse Betty this morning and want to post as real good words for us to remember as Triabetes athletes are all out there training. I am not the most religious person, but highly spiritual and found this refreshing to my soul!

From Nurse Betty:

As I was doing my devotion time this morning, it talked about a cyclist who gets dehydrated. Of course I thought of you on your bike in the tri's and intense training. Thought maybe you'd like this too. Have a good weekend if I don't see you this afternoon.

Toward this end, I give you this tool: a prayer for the thirsty heart. Carry it just as a cyclist carries a water bottle. The prayer outlines four essential fluids for soul hydration: God's work, God's energy, his lordship, and his love. You'll find the prayer easy to remember. Just think of the word W-E-L-L.

Lord, I come thirsty. I come to drink, to receive. I receive your work on the cross and in your resurrection. My sins are pardoned, and my death is defeated. I receive your energy. Empowered by your Holy Spirit, I can do all things through Christ, who gives me strength. I receive your lordship. I belong to you. Nothing comes to me that hasn't passed through you. And I receive your love. Nothing can separate me from your love.

Don't you need regular sips from God's reservoir? I do. I've offered this prayer in countless situations: stressful meetings, dull days, long drives, demanding trips, character-testing decisions. Many times a day I step to the underground spring of God and receive anew his work for my sin and death, the energy of his Spirit, his lordship, and his love.

Drink with me from his bottomless well. You don't have to live with a dehydrated heart.
Receive Christ's work on the cross,the energy of his Spirit,his lordship over your life,his unending, unfailing love. Drink deeply and often. And out of you will flow rivers of living water

Sunday, July 20, 2008

The Big Weeks are Upon us

Ah, Ironman training kicked into high gear. Despite all the problems of last weekend, this one was a picture of heat, miles, and more heat, yet a good degree of sucess achieved. With the heat index around 100, took my long 4.5 hour ride to my mini-Moo course, the Columbia Triathlon bike course. Rolling hills, farms, and more rolling hills, along with a bunch of cows. This course is demanding, but nothing like Madison and Dane County is going to be. However, rode the course 3 time (75 miles) and began practicing Ironman pacing and riding strategy. Whe I started, there were a number of cyclist riding. The competitive juices begin to flow. Being passed on the initial climb and beginning of the rollers, I jumped on it only to back off knowing I was only 15 minutes into a 4.5 hour ride! Pacing, fueling and hydration was key to todays sucess. After each loop, stopped by the truck and grabbed fresh bottles. It was hot and tough, but finally felt good about a long ride. Then transitioned into a 30 min transition run after. Blood sugar was a bit high to start 285, but settled nicely to 135 staring the run and in the end, 122.

Sunday was a good day as well. Despite being equally as hot as Saturday, I started off the morning with Coach Dave and his Master's Swim group. Getting some stroke refinements and initially feeling like crap in the water. I managed to get some excellent swim practice in. As always, Coach Dave has a tendency to ground me and keep things real and is genuine in his interest in his athletes. Then off to the run. Ran 2.5 hours today on a very challenging trail course. Once again, blood sugar a bit high to star 260, but settled in and ended at 165. I think dehydration played a part in today's highs. Nevertheless, the first long weekend in the bag!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Rage Bolus, Darth Velo- Jedi Penguin

I know that it is early as on my typical blogging schedule I have been one post per 2 week period. Densie, Bri and Tommy are in Boston visiting Denise's family, more importantly spending time with Denise's mom. That leaves me with time to work, train, and blog.

Saturday was an interesting day. After a week of blood sugar stability, Saturday hit me with a right to the jaw. After dropping Denise and the kids off at the airport, I felt my sugar drop and drop fast. Hit a local McDonalds, very healthy and got some OJ and hotcakes bolused my normal carb to insulin rate, knowing that I would be riding soon. After dropping out at 55, my BS hit 300 and was climbing according to my CGM, crap hit a bolus and a rage one at that not taking into account the ride I chose to do was very challenging. Came home and mounted my new steed, Darth Velo- Jedi Penguin, my new Cervelo P2C. I got the frame earlier in the week and built it, and worked out my fit. I will write more about her in my next blog with pictures of it. So after a small snack, ht the road. At 3 hours 15 minutes in, I hit the wall. As I was on a very fast descent, I began to feel another bad low coming on. My CGM's inner crystal burst for some reason and like a dumb ass, I forgot my glucose meter. A low was coming! A low it was as I struggled weaving off of the road and finally stopping as I had a moment of clarity and began to fuel up. After a few gels, pretzels and shotbloks, clarity came back. I actually lost some time despite being conscious. Scared the crap out of me! At that point I took the path of least resistance to get home. Suspended pump and rode an additional 10 miles slowly, I got in and my sugar was only at 90... Take home lesson is Don't rage bolus when going out on a 3 to 4 hour ride. Don't stray for original plan, meaning when I eat before a long endurance workout, I typically cut back meal bolus to 85% of normal. And, always bring my back up meter One thing is for sure, I learned a valuable lesson, I can be a dumb ass diabetic, and I know my new ride know the way home!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Ironman Isolation

It has been a while since last post. However, Ironman and life keeps me quite busy. I have been working with some challenges associated with diabetes with extremes both high and low. Working with Dr. Matt to get some sense to what I can be doing different in my management regime and hoping to work this in to my routine.

What really hit me today as I rode my 2 hour ride before work was the notion of Ironman Isolation. I basically train alone, but find this to be an appealing part of the experience. Race day is a social event, however it is the athlete who must push his or her body across the 140.6 miles to the finish. During my ride this morning I reflected on how things on the family front have stabilized, how despite the blood sugar issues I am feeling trained and getting stronger, and what I need to do in the next 60 days to get prepared. As a result, I will be climbing again this Saturday and trying to build some confidence in handling hills!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Training for Ironman

It has been a while since I last posted. After Eagleman, I have settled into my routine of Ironman Prep, more the isolation training phase. During most of my Ironman training sessions I workout alone and begin to move inward taking inventory on how I am adapting to the increased workloads, focus on quality of the workout, and begin identifying trends and devising plans to hurdle those obstacles that arise during racing. After consultation with Coach Dave, we are moving at a nice clip and I believe have a solid training plan for the next few weeks. I am feeling pretty good in the water as many of my workouts now are focused on time spent and quality of the swim as opposed to repeats etc, which are part of the Vasa workouts. On the bike, I feel I have made significant progress over last year. On my long rides, at 3 and 3.5 hours now (50-60miles), I am continuing to use a 23-11 on climbs to continue to build leg strength. On race day, I will be using either 25-12 or 27-12, as I want to keep legs fresh for the marathon. My runs have been of better quality since Eagleman. Typically on my quality day doing intervals, I am pushing much harder within limits and focused on more sustained interval efforts. Long runs have fallen into place nicely as I am able to recover on Mondays and hit it again on Tuesday. This I hope will lead to a more successful marathon experience this September. In the upcoming weeks, I will begin more focused on longer efforts and begin the real work phase of Ironman training.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Eagleman 70.3

Another one in the books- I appreciate the folks writing about this and realize during this race, there is a lot to be thankful for! While racing, I try to remain focused and keep moving forward. On days like Eagleman 70.3, that was all I was able to do, but thankful that I was able to race. As I have posted before, I keep many of my thoughts to myself, but this experience with our group has allowed me to feel comfortable sharing some of the deepest recess of my feeble mind. On Sunday, as I said my pre-swim prayer, I was thankful to God to allow me to tow the start line and the rest was just icing on the cake. Not to mention that I was honored to have Ray and Mike Hannon from the doc crew to share in this experience.
The Swim was in the Choptank River and the water was "black" as the call it the Blackwater Refuge area. I began my temp bolus at 2 hours prior to the swim, at a basal rate of 70% (.91) my normal rate (1.3). I swam conservatively especially coming back home fighting the current, but felt solid and ready to bike. At 45 minutes a bit off where I would have liked, but nonetheless, satisfactory. Blood Sugar start of swim 210, exit at 180
The Bike was a winding 56 mile traverse through the Blackwater Refuse and surrounding towns. Flat, Fast, windy, and HOT. I kept a conservative pace and fueled according to my plan at 1 hour 30 minutes to start, and every 45 minutes to follow which consisted of mini pretzels followed by Gatorade and Vitalyte depending on the bottle I grabbed. Took in some Clif ShotBloks at mile 35 of the bike as blood sugar began to go below the 120 mark I set to "stay at". The winds hit at mile 30 and varied from 10 to 30mph, but blew in very hot air. Finished respectable and blood sugar was t 135 to finish.
The Run was NOT fun. With freshly blacktopped roads and a heat index over 110, it started ok, as I was keeping a nice pace for the first 4 miles. Between mile 4 and 5, I began feeling the heat effects and began slowing as I felt my brain beginning to boil. I began running for 10 minutes followed by 2 minutes of walking and walking through the aid stations, which were great! At the half way point, I employed Survival Mode. Get to the finish by putting 1 foot in from of the other. Started the final trek with a 5 minute run, if you want to call it that, followed by 2 minutes of walking. At each aid station, I was taking cups of ice and filling the front and back of my jersey with it an pouring ice water over me as I walked slowly through it. My heart rate was effected by the heat as I was not able to bring it below 175 despite walking. I was feeling the effects of dehydration. Of note I suspended my pump at mile 5, as at that point, what I was eating and drinking was not staying down and my Blood sugar was at 100. The final mile approached, and all I could think about is finishing and getting back to Denise, Bri and Tommy. I visualised Bri's priceless smile, Tommy's uplifting laugh, and my wife, well that is nobody's business! And got there!
The aftermath,was interesting as I finished with a blood sugar of 82, pump suspended, and Ray got a good shot of my CGM, only to have the bottom fall out about 5 minutes later where I dropped and went to medical. I typically don't feel too low at 61 and not concerned but this one concerned me as it was gonna be one of those lows. The medical staff was exceptional! Amazingly as Ray and I were talking a random person came up and asked about what softset I was using that could endure the heat and sweat. As she spoke, she pulled her pump out and said, Well, mine just came out and I wondered what would work better." Diabetics are coming out of hiding. What a way to finish a tough day!

The after-aftermath- I was pleasantly surprised to find a congratulatory, "Chop-ped" poster on my door at work. Nurse Betty done it again with her kindness and prayers to help me through another one of those races. As a friend, she constantly asks me about my blood sugar management and keeps me on point with my health and aids me with her spiritual guidance! It is this type of support is what the story is about!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I would race....

Catharsis- working through an issue and reaching internal homeostasis... Just reached a point where I can finally begin to see clear. My wife prays in hopes of another miracle for her Mom and as I pray for my in-laws for strength and courage that Denise displays daily. Cancer is a nasty disease! As I pray for my cure, I can only add to my prayers a cure for those who suffer from cancer and for my mother-in-law.

As I blogged I found that this senseless exercise his helping me make things clearer. Yet I began wondering what I would do if given a set period to live. How would I spend that time, who would I seek to spend it with, what do I need to resolve? As I sit back, I begin to think of all of my shortcomings and where I need to make amends, what I need to do, and how I need to do it. And realize, that I am working on being a better person, better husband and companion, and a better father. With all that I do (I think I do things adequately), I never seem to satisfy myself with the results and continue reaching for unattainable goals and unrealistic expectations.

I began this season with a singular focus on September, only to find that things aren't that simple. I struggle with the sense of mortality and now know and am beginning to respect. I have begun to realize some dark truths, those things I will never be, what I will never do and conclude- I can only be me? I have begun my pre-race preparation for the annual rite of Spring, the 25th Columbia Tri, my 5th time racing here, and realize that this is part of me, I am a triathlete, When I race I feel alive. I will not win, or even come close to placing in my age group, but I will race. I will race....and I realize if I was given a short time to live, I would race....

Monday, May 12, 2008

I am back...Not that anyone missed me.....

After a long 2 weeks, Denise convinced me to not give up my quest for another Ironman. Her determination and inspration has refuled my fires and my committment to Triabetes and Ironman quest. Her ability to balance her family and our family's demands are extraordinary.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Perspective? When faced with the challenges of diabetes, Ironman training, full time career, family, and such it can be very challenging to remain focused. I have found that through the past 4 years of long course triathlon focus that as volume increases, the static in life can easily overtake my ability to keep things in perspective. Unfortunately, there have been times where I have had difficulty letting go of the distractions and focused to many of my limited resources on resolving the unresolvable. This time it is different. As I pondered dropping out of Ironman to be supportive of my wife and her dealing with the challenges her family faces, I was greeted with , "Are you crazy.." Denise will hear nothing of this and challenges me to remain focused and committed to the task at hand. As I sit here writing, I only wish I could have her perspective, her strength! All too often we can be so self absorbed. However as Iam saying, "I am thinking about dropping out of Ironman to be there for you," my wife steps out of her situation to lend her unconditional support for the insanity of Ironman and my committment to this project. Perspective?

Monday, May 5, 2008


Monday, a day off, and I am sitting downstairs and blogging. I was pondering writing about my sudden bs crash trail running yesterday, but decided against it. I have been consumed with many thoughts and questions regarding my birthday and the significance of it blah blah. I am fortunate the company I work for gives us a gift day for birthdays and I took Friday. I found myself riding a challenging bike route pondering a number of questions. As I pedaled, I began thinking about my friend Howard who I reconnected with this summer after 20+ years. I recounted our Fall ride and him talking about how he had to keep himself safe while in the Middle East. Here I was worried about turning 40, while he is in Iraq trying to stay alive, to get back to his wife, to see his son graduate! Thank God for CW3 Howard Pepper. Whether or not we agree with the politics, we do owe a lot to people like him who sacrifice themselves for us. Then I pondered my friend Steve who after 20 years continues to be just a solid, great friend who calls me on my birthday reminding me that I am his elder, by a few months. Then it hit me, my wife Denise is in Boston, along side of her family dealing with some difficult issues and here I was riding my f#@$in bike! In a moment I my mood and outlook on things changed. I got very angry with myself and sad at the same time. I began questioning what is important in life and really haven't got that far. Ironman is what I do not who I am, but it seems to get blurred at times. All that seemed so clear has become even more fuzzy and out of focus. Those that had answers seem to not have any. I was so sure about this September and not so much now. I hope time give me some answers, some clarity, a renewed direction related to triathlon, but I do know I need to be there for her.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Turning 40

Well it is coming up in 5 days, I turn 40. I am convincing myslef this ain't such a big deal as 40 is the new 30, sounds good in theory but the reality is I will be 40 in 5 days. I have a lot to be thankful for as I approach this milestone. I have a great life! A beautiful and loving wife, 2 exceptional kids and competing in Ironman, what more can I ask for. I reflect on my life with diabetes and wonder, Would I have competed in Marathons, triathlons or even Ironmans without my diagnosis, and realize the way my life was going prior to diagnosis, probably not. Despite the reality I will not be cured, I would not be doing Ironman if it were not for diabetes! So at 40, I can say legitimatly I am living a healthier lifestyle than I was at 30 and much healthier than 20. All in all what more can I expect, I will be 40, is decent health, part of a great cause, and have a great family....more thoughts as the days go by....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Training, Test Taking, and Mangaing

Another rant, another day, and another issue, who cares... Well, I am happy that after 13 years not needing to pass a test, I took and passed a Board Certification exam. In my own Chop-like way, I was quiet and clandestine in my preparation and taking the exam and only let a few know what was happening. I had a real bad experience in bring those into the fold who I thought were a source of good support only to be disappinted. In preparing for a previous Ironman experience, I was a bit more "outgoing" in my prep and really experienced some bad vibes from others around me regarding it. I went into the final phase of training with a less than optimal mindset, and my training suffered which ultimately impacted my race performance. I am taking a leap by blogging my experience as this Ironman experience is so much different that my previous ones. Who knows what the outcome will be, well I am ready for the ride though....

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Another Thursday- Another Rant

Just finishing another non-Thursday workout morning and really enjoyed the rest and waking up a tad later this morning. Anticipation of getting Bri and Tommy off to school and getting ready for another day of work only to be pleasantly interrupted by coming home for Bri's track practice makes the day much more palatable. Up til today, hit 100% of workout plan from Coach Dave notwithstanding the broken toes on my right foot that is causing a bit of discomfort, yet manageable pain. I am thankful to God for giving me the ability yo continue to do this stuff day and day out. Also, I am fortunate that a contact I made about a year ago is allowing Triabetes and IronKidz to be in the Capitol Chapter of JDRF! Thanks Jonathan, a future Triabetes hopeful! Just heard Bri's alarm going off so the sun is really about to shine on today!

Thursday, April 10, 2008


Just felt like blogging instead of working out this morning. In keeping with my training, I really began looking at things a bit differently. When all is said and done, it is me who effects the outcome. I am responsible for how I execute training, my nutrition plan, and approach race day. I think all too often I can fall into the trap, "well if I didn't go low or I my blood sugar is too high." I am stupid but not stupid enough to believe there are many intangibles in working with my disease, but there is so much that I can work with to limit those problems. When I DNF'd the Great Floridian, I was the one responsible for my sub-par training, my horrific nutrition plan leading up to race day, my challenges on the bike course and ultimately my 563 blood sugar. Fear of failure and blaming this result on other matters really is a temporary fix, but ultimate responsibility lies on me. I was fortunate to hear a long time well respected member of my community, George Giese, speak last night that resonated with me as he talked about his "senses."
1. Sense of Responsibility- doing the training, following a sound nutrition plan, managing blood sugars as best as possible, understanding my trends, representing Triabetes
2. Sense of Humor- After all it is just a race! Don't take myself so seriously
3. Sense of Pride- Triabetes is a worthy cause, it is a calling.
4. Common Sense- I will do what I can to effect a positive outcome within my God given abilities

This fellow who did this talk gave me my break early in my professional career and set me up for future success. I am deeply indebted to George once again as he has kept me up all night last night re-thinking things in my life, but also give me an opportunity and framework to take on this challenge.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Brandywine Du

Well it is in the bag! The first multisport raceat the Brandywine Du. Started the day waking up at 120 and feeling like I was dropping. Leaving my home at 4:20 am, I ate my oatmeal, I gave myself 75% of my normal bolus and drove sipping water and coffee on the 2 1/2 hour drive to Coatesville PA. Prior to the race, I switched out my normal road bars to tri bar set up and race it for the first time. I was surprised at how comfortable the new set up was and my propensity to stay in the aerobars longer. Not sure what I will do for Ironman, but at least have some options. The vibration and buzzing of my DexCom reminded me that my initial hunch of racing low was apparent as at 7:50 am before the race, I registered at 60. A quick downing of ClifShot Bloks and I was off for my first run. I felt the previous days 1 hr and 50 minute (33 mile) ride in my legs. I pushed but stayed within my self-prescribed limits. I completed my Pre-Preformance Plan highlighting my desire to race relaxed and paced with taking no risks physically. That said, I plodded along and got to my bike with a less than stellar first run. The bike was cold, windy, and technical with more climbing than I originally thought. The end result was my bike legs came to me at mile 10 and felt good rolling through the final 3 miles. Then the last even less stellar run bookended the day. Oh by the way, a gel and second round of shotbloks, suspending my pump at the start of the bike, and a second gel topped off a end race blood sugar of 72 , I left my DexCom attached to my bike. UGH! All in all, not at all wasted from the race and should have a decent week of training

The best part of the race was seeing Triabetes teammate Brian Foster! He recently moved from PA to upstate NY, where Polar Bears seem to make their home. Unforunately I wasn' t able to connect with him earlier due to cell issues, but caught him in the transition area after the race. He too seemed to be facing lows. I was also forutnate to meet his wife. I met Brian in Madison at sign ups and really am inspired on how he takes running to a higher level. He will be sucessful in this journey and as with all my Triabetes teammates, I will enjoy the results!

Monday, March 31, 2008

The Past Week

Being back and training smarter, I have done the past week on Base Training mode and been more aware of heart rates. Gone is the glitz and glamour of high heart rates and power numbers, and back on pace are the long slow runs and rides, keeping within the aerobic range. This past weekend, riding a hilly 25 mile bike course and c, I kept my heart rate under the prescribed 155, and trudged up the climbs, sitting and even during my runs over a cross country course, I walked a few time up hills. Overall, it felt like cheating, but I realize that I have been training far too long in the gray zone which has impacted my max heart rate negatively. I hope backing off a bit now will give me a boost latter in training or when LT training begins. The sins of 2006 keep coming back.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Back from Camp

Back in Maryland after a peaceful but busy week in at DTC in California! I was able to meet a few more of the Triabetes team (Peter, Anne, Bill and Nate) and reconnect with 2 of the Boone boys (Ahn and Dave). A reemergence of my old nickname, "Chopper" and a push up to Painted Cave, were highlights, as also the volumes of knowledge I gained about Diabetes and exercise. I have been using my new found knowledge and excited about seeing the impact on my performance in training, racing and life. All in all I was very happy about the week, but happy to get home to Denise, Bri and Tommy.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Filling Newspaper space

Here's the link to my 15 seconds of fame:

I appreciated the opportunities the Triabetes project has offered me and being able to work the press to draw attention, albeit large or small, seem important. I was very happy the reporter talked with Michelle and Nate, as this fulfilled my desire for the article to be more about Triabetes than me.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Hitting it again

I took some time after fighting illness twice within a month and began reemerging into life, I scanned my teammates blogs, and found, wow it really has been a difficult cold & flu season! And found the inspiration to get moving. Unfortunately due to my inactivity I put back some weight and will be reworking my diet and hopefully get things moving again and restarting my already slowing metabolism, a misfortune of turning 40 soon.

Spoke with Coach Dave yesterday, and is always a great conversation and prepared for my next block. What impresses me the most is that Coach Dave is able to take from our conversations and develop a spot on training plan. I think this has been one of the keys to my continued motivation and successes in completing training blocks as the challenge me but fit well with all that is going on around me.

As I restart once again, I am happy with most of my sugar control. Some craziness when sick, but in general been running well within the 100- 180 range. I have had a few extreme highs, but that was stupid carb counting on my behalf. When I have worked out, balance in blood sugar has been much easier. So the point is to keep moving!

In close, I was fortunate enough to get a story about Triabetes in a local community paper. I pointed the reporter in the direction of ID and Michelle and heard from her that she spoke with Michelle and Nate which I feel capture the heart and soul of our team! I am reminded that the purpose is so much larger than one individual, yet owe Michelle a lot for her vision of this adventure!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Friends of Triabetes

Training still rolls on. I have had some challenging days with blood sugar management as I re-adjust to increase volume training. I have done 2 of my 3 basil checks and emailing them to my endo, and have already decreased my basil by.5 u/ hr. Better management means better workouts and improved recovery, which all adds up in September. In keeping with my goals, I have been working my nutrition plan better and hope to feel the benefits when I begin racing. Recently, I have experienced a resurgence in my cycling albeit indoors and on computrainer. I have also felt decent on my running. Swimming will always lag behind, but I have worked the Vasa and went to the pool yesterday am. I was feeling like a "load" in the water as my shoulders were dead and seemingly the result of Coach Daves Vasa workouts and weight training. All in all, I am excited to get to camp and begin racing. I should finalize my racing schedule soon.

I am also fortunate enough to represent Triabetes at the Dodgin Diabetes Dodgeball tournament this weekend, Sunday. The folks of this event have been gracious in working with InsulinDependence and this will be neat to see. The proceeds from this event go to the Joslin Diabetes Center, connected with University of MD, and where I am a patient. Also, my local community paper is picking up a story about Triabetes and hope to represent well there. As this exposure is good for the team, I am humbled to be the representative. I got into this to make my kids proud that their Dad did something for people with diabetes.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Time Has Past

It has been awhile since I contributed to my blog. Since being sick, I have restarted training with what I would call my efforts about a grade B. Some struggles, some really good work outs, but overall satisfied with my progression. I do feel ahead of the game as compared to last year, but overall that isn't saying much. Did have a slight hiccup when my Eagleman entry was not showing up and resolved swiftly(within 1 hour after my initial email to them!) by Columbia Triathlon Association who directs the race.

I am excited about camp, as I primarily train alone. I am looking forward to meeting team members who I have had e-contact with and those who I met. Denise says this will be one of the only time she will not be a nervous about me traveling since most everyone is there with the same medical issues! I am looking forward to learning about some of the missing pieces that will enable me to maximize my training and racing with diabetes.

Finally, the multi-sport season is a little over a month away. As I prep for Brandywine Du, I reflect on du is where I started all of this madness. I recall my first du in December, 1998, rainy, cold and just down right miserable. Denise pushing Brianna around in our jogging stroller, and suffering through the day! I remember, the excitement of doing the first run then getting onto my bike, I also remember taking it out way too fast and suffering on the final 2 laps of the bike course (6 laps of a 2 mile course) and the heaviness of my legs on the final run. When it was over I was hooked, but never imagined tarting training for 4 Ironman races, starting 3 and finishing 2. I also never imagined drawing so much attention to our cause of "Anything is Possible- even with diabetes." I am so stoked and going out for my run!

One final new thing, I will be posting in my articles of interest, my workouts and also post Denise;s as she is training for an OLY distance tri in May.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Triathlon- A Family Affair

After being sick, it really feels great to be back working out again. Even better, I was able to workout with my wife last evening and today. We are racing together at the Columbia Tri in May and will be participating in the Simply Stu Worldwide Triathlon Weekend in March with Bri and Tommy, our 2 kids.

As far as diabetes, the blood-sugar fairies hit me yesterday as I battled highs all day despite changing my soft-set, bolusing, and being good eating-wise as I battled the high 200's (240-280) for much of the day. Sometimes it doesn't make sense, but that is the nature of this beast. I am happy with my progression prior to getting sick as I was making progress in my build period and working my weight down. Also a difference is the addition of 2 to 3 weight/core workouts during the build that has both a physical and psychological effect of feeling strong. Coach Dave had me in the gym last week and worked me with some additional weight/core expercises that will help come September. What is really cool is Denise, my wife, is working a similar weight/ core training and allows us to share even more time together.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Oh it's Nice to be Alive Again

After a week and a half with crud, and 2 weeks of it creeping up, I finally feel alive again! I am excited to sit upon my trusty steed- the Cervelo and pedal tonight and do a short run to get my dormat cardio system moving once again. Sometimes it doesn't take much to create exciement but this is and can only hope that it is behind me. I am really looking forward to the upcoming build periods as this is the time when fnishing Ironman is essential!

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Quick Post

Haven't posted for a week, with kids ill and getting it myself, not much time has been spent sitting up. In thinking about previous post about depression and the blues, I went back and re-read a summation of viktor Frankl's quotes in Dave Shield's The Tour and try my hand a what I think it means.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Winter Blues- or more?

Some call it the blues, some call it depression, some even call it seasonal affective disorder, but it feels the same. I just feel it is important for me to provide a quick commentary on this issue. The unfortunate connection between diabetes and depression is out there with no real causal relationship found. That saidwith many of us who experience depression may not seek treatment because this in some perverse way is a sign of weakness. From a book I read in Grad school, A Man's Search for Meaning, by Vicktor Frankl, and recently re-read as it was referenced in Dave Shields's book The Tour, describes suffering as a condition of human existence. One quote that stands out , "To live is to suffer, to survive is to find meaning in the suffering." However, from a closer analysis, I deduce that part of our finding meaning involves reduction of the suffering. Those who have experienced depression understand all to well the suffering. Additionally, depression can follow seasonal patterns. Like many people, you may develop cabin fever during the winter months. Or you may find yourself eating more or sleeping more when the temperature drops and darkness falls earlier. While those are common and normal reactions to the changing seasons, people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) experience a much more serious reaction when summer shifts to fall and on to winter.
SO, what is the link, no one really knows, here's a quote from the Diabetes Monitor:
Causes underlying the association between depression and diabetes are unclear. Depression
may develop because of stress but also may result from the metabolic effects of diabetes on
the brain. Studies suggest that people with diabetes who have a history of depression are
more likely to develop diabetic complications than those without depression. People who
suffer from both diabetes and depression tend to have higher health care costs in primary
Despite the higher health care costs, the impact is enourmous. As a clincal social worker, I expereinced the impact through my clients. But, personaally, my expreiences with SAD and depression "proper" is a living hell, and needs to be addressed. Treatments include: talk therapy, medication regime, and for SAD, light therapy. What I can say is with proper treatment,it works and the meaning in suffering can be found. So, when you see that the blues are taking longer to kick, please bring this to your endo or your family doc because you don't need or deserve the pain associated with a treatable disease like depression.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here we Go Again

Well, I have been battling illness, businees, and the winter blues this week. I have found when things are good, they are really good, but when Bad it gets really bad. After battling a stomach virus, I got back on the bike Saturday and felt "ok" with maintaining a B/S of 150 during the ride with power output averaging about 160 watts, mainly due to the hills of the course I chose. But it was "ok." Sunday's run was a nice hour jaunt with a balmy high of 13 and went into the woods to get out of the wind. Used my Polar to track speed and mileage and was ok with 5.97 miles at 1 hr 2 minutes total run time. Off on Monday and Tuesday was a heavy work and travel day that forced me to take off. SO I am back on schedule and hopefully making some ground in fitness. My swim today was a nice endurace "challenge" as I have not been in the water much but working a bunch on the Vasa, and swam for 30 minute. Despite not being a "fish" today was the best I felt in the water since Iroman Arizona training in 2005. Tonight holds, daughter's basketball practice (me missing all of my shots) and a 50 minute bike after everyone goes to bed then tomorrow.... It is Ironman! I hope to blog tomorrow and talk about winter blues a bit.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Back Again

What a challengin week. Sick for 2 days, and out of it for the rest. A stomach bug hit my household and we were down for the count! It was 2 on and 2 off and back at it today with an easy course for 90 minutes rolling. Will run outside as usual ans see how I respond today. Nothing much more to report so I will muse again on Monday!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Musings- Podcasts

What was working out like before the Sony Walkman? Well I can remember this as I was cutting weight for wrestling and running miles on miles bundled up to lose that last bit of weight! Can you say boring? The the Walkman came out, that huge bulky tape player that made those runs a bit more manageable, but also got a nice upper body workout carrying that thing. Fast Forward to now, we have mp3 players. And I have moved into the 2008's as I found podcasts. Typically I used my mp3 player to carry my favorite power songs to help me through a workout, but this year I have been doing things differently. I began listening to podcasts I have been listening to these on my computer and sometime downloaded them to a CD and listen in my car, but running or on the bike trainer, no way. I was even on a podcast a few years ago, EndurancePlanet, September 15, 2005, but never thought to download and workout while listening. But that all changed, I began downloading my favorites, Simply Stu (from Madison area ) and the Extra Mile Podcast, and Endurance Planet (not so much recently). What I found in listening that not only do podcast talk about the sports I love, but they are like me! I love the Extra Mile's updates as the runners talk about their running, times, struggles, life and I can totally relate. Yesterday in particular, I was listening to a contribution on the Extra Mile of a fellow in Sweden who was running at paces I can relate to. Before I knew it I made the turnaround fop my run and was back at my front door step. Pretty cool!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


Finished another training block and week! It has been a busy and week of redeveloping routines, workouts, work, family and sleep. Unfortunately, sleep gets short changed. I felt strong but tired this week as strength training and workouts are doing their job. B/S ranged from 220- 100 during workouts and Dr. Matt's advice seems to be working as I have begun setting my temp basil rate 60 to 90 minutes before workouts and have increase the amount of insulin of the basil from 50% to 70%. Tweaks like this seem to be helping with recovery,or it is my imagination. Whatever it is, it is working. Got to ride outside yesterday and tried riding a "new" 14.2 mile course with some challenging climbs. Spout Hill is a .5 mile climb that average 6.33 % slope, maxing at 14%. I am setting this course as a benchmark for this season as it has a nice profile of rolling hills, flats, and can be a challenge. First report is 177.7 average watts, max at 494, time 55 minutes, average speed 15.3. Not great but I was happy with the average power output. As it is reported widely, can't fool power training. I will be testing on a longer course (36 miles) in March.

I am using the iBike wireless with the updated iBike 2 analysis software. I am a techno-junkie and was drawn to the iBike as there are continued developments and it is half the cost of other power meters. There are many knocks against the iBike, but recently the developers have done a great job of resolving many of the power spike and inaccurate reading the meter has. Also, with each new advent of software (firmware) is a simple download and not needing to buy a new one. In my use, I have found the power readings on iBike and Computrainer have been within 2 to 4 % of each on the same course. I can live with that!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

A Moment

As I sat around this morning after working out, I decided to check out the Triabetes Google group discussion pages to see what is happening ( ) and saw the official program of the project. Thought to myself wow, despite my age being younger than I am I was really hit emotionally. This is really happening! I am so humbled to be surrounded by my teammates as they are all extraordinary people! I began questioning my worthiness of such an honor. I am a fortunate person on so many levels and at times can take the goodness that I experience for granted. As I read the bio's, I was very inspired to do what is necessary to get to the start in September. I served as a reminder that lives already have been touched and transformed! Then it hit me, my daughter, Brianna, wants to race an Ironman with me. Those close to me know I love my kids more than anything, yet I continue to question myself whether I am a good father. Then it sunk in as it seems that my baby girl is inspired by her Dad.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Feels like Spring in January

Well, in my area it is Spring in January! We have 65 degrees sunny and no wind! Too bad today is an off day so to speak. I have used Mondays, my day off from training, to get an extra swim in of about 1k with focus on stroke and technique. Nothing hard except trying to stay afloat. In looking back on the past week, it was good to get to structured workouts and seeing in the progressive weeks of building. In my bike workouts I felt really good with averaging 150 watts per ride, with my BS staying at 145 average on both rides. Running was good this week as kept my heart rate at 155 to 165. My long run yesterday felt really good as it was very, very nice out, 50 degrees. I listen to my last Christmas time podcast during the run and reflected on just how fun my house was with my kids during Christmas time! This time of joy and elation will pass as I know the Spring like weather will pass and the snow and cold weather will be back, but not until after tomorrow's run.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Weekends

The official build period has begun. Looking at the workout schedule Coach Dave has prepared, we are in it now. I swam twice this week and lived to tell about it (new goggles work). Vasa's twice so actually got 4 swim specific workouts done. Rode twice, once with a brick (45 min B, 30 min R) and about to do my 3rd bike today. Ran 3 times. I will also do weight for a 2nd time this week. Right now everything is balanced. I have a feeling that nothing extraordinary or exciting will be going the next 3 weeks so back to the grind.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Winfield Mile- 2008 Season Begins

We made it a family affair at the annual Winfield Mile race. This marks the beginning of a New Year and comes with the anticipation of good season results. This year the whole Chop family ran. Denise and Bri ran just ahead of Tommy and me as Tommy out sprinted Dad in the final 50 meters. I enjoyed this race more than ever this year. While at the start line, my wife and I were asked about our t-shirts, by a father of twins who have been diagnosed with t-1, and what is Triabetes? We explained what we are doing how she supports me as a t-1'er and how I train and race endurance sports. This fellow introduced us to his son who was diagnosed a year ago with t-1 and was racing as well. After the race we chatted a bit, with me sharing my trials and tribulations of racing with diabetes and my finishing 2 Ironmans. During the conversation, I noticed the father's facial expression and the sense of "relief" he seemed to experience in knowing that if his son and daughter wanted to do something crazy like Ironman that it is possible to do with diabetes. What occurred to me, after we left the race, is that I would not have this type of conversation if I was not connected to the Triabetes cause! Wow, just by wearing our team shirt and this starting a conversation that seemed to help this father. A pretty good start to 2008!