* Part 3 of a three-part guest series on Diabetes & Exercise*
Diagnosed with Type 1 nine years ago, David Weingard has committed himself to "navigating the challenges of this condition for my health and for the benefit of my family." He's a veteran of numerous running events and triathlons (including the infamous Ironman). He's also committed to supporting the diabetes community by sharing what he's learned — so much so that he dropped his day job in the technology industry three years ago to launch Fit4D, the country's premiere personal exercise coaching service for people with diabetes. Today, please enjoy David's take on (literally) going the extra mile:
A Guest Post by David G. Weingard, Type 1 diabetes and CEO of Fit4D.com
Those of us living in the northeast who have a passion for the support of triathlon eagerly await the arrival of warm weather. Triathlon consists of bringing three sports together in a race of swimming, biking and running. Race distances range from "sprints" to the Ironman distance (2.4M swim, 112M bike and 26.2M run). While I have the satisfaction of completing three Ironman races, two of them with diabetes, and raising money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, each new season brings a sense of excitement, unknown and the randomness of diabetes.
One of these new and random events showed up as my blood glucose (BG) repeatedly spiked over 300 after the first hour of my 65-mile bike training rides. Why, after nine years of tracking all my food, insulin and exercise, did I suddenly need almost a unit more insulin? I always eat a Powerbar of 45 gram carbs and take 1.2 units of short acting insulin... So why this year did I need 2.4 units to maintain a consistent BG level? My endocrinologist said it best when she said "that the human body changes... and diabetes changes along with it... take the 2.4 units."
And what about these continuous glucose sensors? Didn't Medtronic or the other manufacturers design them not to be ripped out of the body when someone removes their wetsuit? And what about the alarm that sounds after 45 minutes? Do I need everyone in the swim to bike transition area looking around for where that sound is coming from? (My pump was sitting in my bike helmet while I was swimming with the aforementioned wetsuit.)
Fortunately, I have a great setup for testing my BG while riding on the bike. I have a Bayer Contour meter mounted between my aerobars so I can test my blood sugar while riding and not slow down. While the race leaders are far ahead, I prefer to minimize the time diabetes affects my race. After all, the race results don't give me a time credit for having diabetes. The meter setup was working great until a New York City pothole shook up my bike enough to crack the mounting. I was back with the bike mechanic who redesigned the setup to handle the roads.
This year, two Fit4D coaches, Emily Mitchell (dietician/CDE) and Josh Gold (Fitness Coach) helped me train properly for the race. Emily worked with me to reduce the number of high BGs I had while sleeping (due to the large volume of foods eaten during training) by shifting the calories into lunchtime. Josh helped me train effectively and prepare for race day.
The first race of the season was last month, a Half-Ironman (1.2M swim, 56M bike and 13.1M run) in beautiful nature in Cambridge, Maryland. Life threw me a curve ball, however, and I fractured a bone in my foot a few days before the race. Nevertheless, on race day, I woke up at 3:30 am, corrected my 240 BG, drank my 21 grams of electrolyte drink with the planned insulin, and was in the water by 7 am. My swim was strong and my bike ride was the best in years. I ate my two Powerbars and an electrolyte drink over the three hours, did not have any high/lows, and while the stress fracture forced me to skip the run... the glass was very full.
In health, joy and with gratitude — David W, www.Twitter.com/fit4d
btw, Fit4D will be hosting a free online "Open House" on Sept. 16 and 17, 2009. Anyone with questions will have the opportunity to connect with their diabetes coaching experts. Read all about it here.