Atop the Hill


cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by Leo Reynolds

Having achieved a milestone of time on earth never seeming conceivable, it somehow seemed appropriate to raise the I Hate Running Flag. Finding a body that aches more than it ever did or stiffens in ways that are sadly novel- I resist this aging! The last few years have brought a lot of travel and new activities, but also a lessening of physical fitness. And what is that heavy sounds when climbing stairs? Can that be my breath?

So in this 50th year, I am challenging myself to not turn the clock back, but to make that clock laugh at itself.

No, I am not taking up running. Never. Not now at least.

But I do plan to set up some challenges to keep me motivated. And joining my friend Robin in being open about such efforts.

First up is prepping to do a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim hike (22 miles) in June with my good fiend Uwe. So let’s get hiking!

I Meant It! Now a Change of Plans


cc licensed flickr photo shared by Clover_1

I really mean it about the title of this blog. I have tried and tried, and I failed to come to a joy our even tolerance of running. It’s been a while since I made this decision, but am late in catching up. I ran 5 miles on my first day in Spain in early October, than was out three weeks with bronchitis. I got a few more runs in after that, but was not feeling any motivation to go out, and then felt guilt because I was not staying up on my training.

This seemed counterproductive, and I full reached acceptance of my disdain for running.

So I hatched a new plan, since I was committed to completing the PF changs in January, especially as I had lined up sponsors.

My new plan is– rather than run (badly) a half marathon, I decided to walk the full (26/2 miles). This is not just slacking off, as it is not easy. You have to be off the course in about 7 hours, meaning I will have to aim for 16 minute miles.

But doing walks instead of runs means I could do more hikes, which I have missed doing. I got a great walk in for a 15 mile hike- form Strawberry down the forest trail to Pine, than round HardScrabble Road, taking Forest Road 428 behind Strawberry Mountain and back to Strawberry.

So I am on to I Like Walking.

Born Again

Born Again
cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Found this interesting book on Amazon (I was buying a gift for a friend’s birthday, she is diabetic, and the description of the book caught my attention.
www.amazon.com/Born-Again-Diabetic-handbook-diabetes-cont…

I liked it so much I got one for me too.

I’ve been diabetic now 39 years this coming October and want to see a lot more Octobers.

I’m really enjoying this book! It seems written for me, and I am learning some practical things, like the approach to blood sugar testing:

You must understand that a “bad” number is not a punishment; it is empowerment. Diabetes is unique amongst chronic illnesses, well unique amongst all diseases, in that you are in the driver’s seat. It is one of the few self-managed diseases. You are the mastrer of your own fate, Your doctor is not in charge, You are. Your meter is the best and most important tool to help you understand and control your diabetes.

I plan to take the author’s suggestion to do more before and after meal testing to learn my own patterns, as well as exercise. Like on today’s run. I woke up with low blood sugar (I felt it, did not test for it, oops), and afterward, I had spiked to 212. I over-treated. After running (reducing my pump’s basal to about 60% of normal), my level was 186. I would normally hope for a lower test score, but this is good because I don’t want my blood sugar dropping much during running (and a 40 mg/dl drop would be a problem if my starting level as more normal….)

The author, himself diabetic, has a fun sarcastic writing style (that certainly speaks to me), which really sets this apart from “expert” books on diabetes, which always seem clinical and talking down to you. At one time I had hoped to find a doctor who was diabetic him/herself so that they would better understand first hand the rollercoaster we D’s live with.

I also enjoyed the opening, where Dubois outlined the types of diabetes and the difference between Type-1 (me) and Type 2. And he introduced me to a new variant, Type-3:

Type-3 diabetics aren;t actually diabetics at all… As far as I know, the term was coined by the folks at dLife. dLife is an empire of sorts that involves web sites, a TV show, multimedia, books, and more. The dreamed up the tag of T-3 for the family members of the other types of diabetics. It is a way of symbolizing that diabetes doesn’t just affect the patient, it affects the patient’s entire family.

So that means there are a lot of Type-3 diabetics out there- that’s you Mom, and my sisters, who have been T-3s for almost 30 years.

I’m eager to learn more from this great book!

got nike? yes


cc licensed flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Jack the UPS guy is making some regular rounds here as I have ordered these new running shoes, a pair Nike Equalon +3 and equipped for Nike+ as soon as the sensor arrives from another retailer (I ordered all the stuff on Amazon.com). A bit risky buying shoes w/o trying them on, but I did go through Nike’s Shoe Finder and just trying them on, they sure are comfy.

Also on the way is an armband to hold my iPod Touch which will grab all my running data from the sensor, and some new earbuds.

So I have new shoes, and one less excuse remains to start up again.

Medtronic Offers No Incentive To Run

I’ve pretty much given up interest in Medtronic’s Global Heroes program, which purports to recognize runners who’s lives rely on medical devices (many of them, ahem, who run with Medtronic devices, aka customers):

Running long distances was never meant to be easy. It becomes even harder when the body becomes a barrier. For runners diagnosed with medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, spinal disorders, chronic pain or neurological disorders, that is the reality. Yet the passion for running remains.

Medtronic proudly recognizes these runners as Global Heroes

They select 25 runners a year, fly them to Minneapolis in October, and sponsor their participation in the Twin Cities Marathon.

Cue the orchestra rising to a glorious crescendo.

And then there is a screech from the violin section, a trumpet squeaks, and the drums crash to the floor.

Under their guidelines it rains this parade, right after the cheery opening:

A Global Hero is a runner. An inspiration. A person whose life has been improved by medical technology.

comes this crushing blow:

Runners 40 years and older, who have had diabetes for more than 15 years, are ineligible. Learn more

As I already said, they pretty much say “Old Heroes Not Wanted”.

People like Team Diabetes fellow runner Jerry Nairn, diabetic pump user, who was run 43 marathons after age 40. Unlike me, who also started late, and pretty much runs at the pace of “enough to finish”, Jerry is a competitive runner, like Boston qualifying level.

So they recently added that little “learn more” statement which I find all more baffling.

Under those guidelines, the TCM [Twin Cities Marathon] medical director determined that runners older than 40, who have been diagnosed with diabetes for more than 15 years, are not currently eligible for the Global Heroes program. This decision was based on increased cardiovascular risks, including a rise in sudden death from atherosclerotic causes, associated with the longevity of diabetes in people older than 40.

So this was the decision of one person. I guess the TCM medical director know my medical condition better than my own doctor? I cannot wait to tell Dr B that his assertions of my good health are wrong.

Where exactly is the medical proof for this assertion? That ALL people at these conditions are at risk for death by running. WHERE IS THE MEDICAL EVIDENCE? cause it runs against everything I have read in more than 37 years of being diabetic.

And then there is this head scratcher:

Each year the criteria for the Global Heroes program is reviewed and re-evaluated. In fact, the guidelines for diabetes were revised from 2007 to 2008, making more runners eligible by adding the qualifier of “diagnosis for more than 15 years” to the age requirement.

Let me try to understand the logic here.

  1. Guidelines in 2007 made ineligible diabetic runners over age 40.
  2. Guidelines in 2008 added an condition to ineligibility “who have been diagnosed with diabetes for more than 15 years”

How the #^@% does this make MORE runners eligible? The wheels on that logic have fallen off the cart or I need more coffee this morning.

At age seven, when I first went to diabetic camp (yeah Camp Glyndon, which is no more), I heard all the messages that by taking care of myself, I Could Do Anything. There were no asterisks.

This entire situation is a direct slap in the face to any one of the 20+million US diabetics who may even dream of being long time fit, active, and healthy… “If you take care of yourself using the best care available, insulin pumps”, stay physically fit, you are rewarded by being told after age 40 and having been diabetic 15 years you should not be doing this”

I for one, remain totally dismayed by this entire fair. I’ve not run in 2 months since finishing my first marathon — I am in no way blaming Medtronic and their Colossally Stupid Guidelines, as there are other noise going on in my life, by I will say that aiming to be a Global hero (I was nominated by a very nice lady named Catherine), someone to be “An inspiration. A person whose life has been improved by medical technology.” is not a motivator at all to strap on the running shoes.

If you are a runner with diabetes, if you know someone who is, if you are a medical professional, read their words that are supposed to help you “learn more” — and then as they suggest, send your feedback, ask for justification and medical proof for this arbitrary age discrimination to mtcm.globalheroes@medtronic.com since, in theory, “Your input will continue to help us continue to evaluate this program.”

Heroes Wanted.

Must be Under 40.

WTF?

Old Heroes Not Wanted

During my training for the last marathon, I had some wonderful comment and email exchanges from Catherine W, and a ton of support there. ironically, she works and lives in Phoenix though we never met (and certainly not on race day as she was way ahead of my time).

She wrote me about a neat program from Medtronic, makers of my insulin pump, their Global Heroes program, “Celebrating the passion and accomplishments of runners who benefit from medical technology”:

Running long distances was never meant to be easy. It becomes even harder when the body becomes a barrier. For runners diagnosed with medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, spinal disorders, chronic pain or neurological disorders, that is the reality. Yet the passion for running remains.

Medtronic proudly recognizes these runners as Global Heroes, in a first-of-its-kind program that brings people running from around the world with medical devices to Minnesota to run in Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon events.

In 2008, up to twenty-five Global Heroes will be selected and awarded their Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon or Medtronic TC 10 Mile Race entry fees, an exclusive travel package, recognition throughout the race, and a $1,000 grant to an associated patient organization.

Catherine went on to nominate me, and my excitement level was high until I got an email asking me to verify their program guidelines where it says:

Runners 40 years and older, who have had diabetes for more than 15 years, are ineligible.

WTF?

Why would a program rule out people who have dealt with an illness a long time and still are able to run distances? What does it say about a program that only wants young heroes? I am struggling to even see a reason for such a thing.

I am crushed.

Is this my first time of age discrimination?

I am crushed. Why should I get back running nextw eek if I am too old or have lived healthy with diabetes too long?

I am crushed.

Update: Upon asking the reasn “why” via e-mail, this is the explanation:

I apologize that you are not eligible for the program. The health and safety of our Global Heroes is of utmost importance to us. We worked closely with Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon medical staff in developing medical criteria for all potential Global Heroes.

As cardiovascular risks associated with diabetes mellitus increase with longevity of the disease, with a rise in risk of sudden death from atherosclerotic causes for people over 40, it was determined to limit the age of diabetic runners.

Every year the medical criteria for the Global Heroes program will be reviewed and re-evaluated. Your input will help us during this evaluation process.

You want review? YOUR PROGRAM SUCKS. What exactly is the message you promote? That people over 40 or have lived with diabetes 15 years should not be active? This is shameful, shameful, and I am making it my new mission to let as many people know as possible.

I know my health much better than some “medical staff”.

Pffftttttt on you and your program.

Still Not Running

Yep.

The running shoes are in the closet.

I might be riding shotgun on the Excuse Train, buy to be honest, my life has been turned upside down (separation, move out of house, sadness) and now I live full time in Strawberry.

Hey, its cold here! There’s snow today! Great excuses? Not really.

People have written telling me how therapeutic running is. Sounds nice.

So my goal is just to do one run the next day I see sunshine (and the roads are not a muddy mire here).

Oh, yes, ther blog shall not be renamed “I Love Running”- the hate is still there, not a nasty evil “hate”, just a “I cannot pretend I dont feel this way” hate.

Not Running (Now)

Thanks for the many nice messages I got after announcing completion of my first marathon. It is a big deal, and I know that stat about less than 1% of Americans can say the same.

I feel fortunate in that I had only minor soreness in the thighs for one day afterward, and feel great now. In fact, the whole run is seemingly a blur and I am sure I am forgetting how horrible miles 22-25 were.

Since then, I;ve not run- the advice from Coach Dave was resting a day for each mile run, so that’s time off til early February, and then from there decided what to do– Valley of the Sun Half Marathon in March??

On Sunday, I enjoyed a fairly strenuous hike down and out of Fossil Creek Canyon, 8 miles total and at least 1000, maybe 1500 feet of elevation change.

Sidelined By The Office Virus

Oh, the training log takes another hit this week. I felt great after Saturday’s run. On Sunday, as a different excercise, we walked about 3 miles total going to a movie and back (for what its worth we saw, “No Country for Old Men”).

And Monday, I felt IT coming it.

IT was that coughy, achy, sore throat thang that sidelined me a month when I caught it in Australia (or as my colleagues there called it, “CogDogWog”– that is another long story). I had to wait til Tuesday to get to the docs so I could get a magic pill (antibiotics), but this weeks was perhaps “No Running for Sick Men”.

Even more ironically, I had a new employee in our organization fly in for some training on Wednesday and Thursday, and he was sick too! As was everyone in our office.. we traced a common thread to a colleague from our office who was coughing all over the place at our meeting last Friday in San Jose.

I’m feeling on the upswing, and hope enough rest can happen to at least get me out on Saturday’s long run- this is the 20 miler!

Yikes!

One Country Circuited; One Run Done

Well, my small cold I caught my second day in Australia lasted the entire trip. I coughed my way around the entire country, likely sharing all of my germs with hundreds of innocent people. My voice was hoarse, and at about 40% there, not a good thing as I had 8 speaking presentations ranging from 2 to 5 hours each.

I saw one doctor in Sydney who gave a few antibiotics and some cough medicine and had to go to another clinic in Adelaide to get scrips for refills. My doc here says the antibiotics were not nearly powerful enough for me and my diabetes.

I managed to get through them, get to each city, and meet some great people. I did have time here and there to see a few things, like AC/DC singer Bon Scott’s grave in Perth, a short hike in the Adelaide Hills, a bit of the river in Brisbane, and a hike in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. You can read all the tales at http://cogdogroo.wordpress.com or see the photos at http://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/tags/cogdogroo.

The crowing event was the morning of my last day, when my new friend Westley offered to take me out on his kayak on the Sydney Harbor, and we rowed below the famous Bridge and past that cool Opera House.

Gimme a Paddle

So while my running schedule is in the trash (and actually I was still sick another week at home)… I have some great memories.

I am currently in New Orleans for a conference my organization is putting on, and I have brought my running shoes and shorts… but feel like I am back to training ground level zero.