Saturday, May 23, 2009

things like this don't really help

No matter what you think of Boris, this footage of him and fellow cyclists almost being mowed down by a lorry ain't pretty.

Friday, May 22, 2009

this was going to be more of a heroic post

So I was tootling along on the Townie (is that acceptable? tootling? well, whatever), and thinking that I would come home and write about how I can get around my neighborhood on my bike, no problem! I had spent part of the afternoon with Carolyn and baby Tate, doing errands, getting coffee, and practicing biking on the sidewalks near my house. Some of them are pretty narrow, and I'm not good enough at staying in a straight line to ride them safely. We spent some time at the rec center park (where a kid told me "nice bike!"), and then I walked them several blocks back to their house. Along MacArthur Boulevard, the sidewalks are a bit wider, mostly flat, and nearly empty of people, so once I said goodbye to Carolyn, I decided to try to bike all the way home. And it went very well, I even went over sidewalk bumps without stopping (though I did walk the bike across the side streets), and I was pretty much enjoying it and feeling like it was a much more pleasant way to get around than walking.
Then I got to my block. I really thought I could get around the big recycling bins without stopping, but my handlebar clipped a bin and down I went. Big scrape on my elbow.
It's okay, though, because when I got home, my daughter kissed it and made it all better.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

funds gettin' raised

One thing that's been pretty amazing about this wacky project is the number of people who have contributed to the American Diabetes Association via Team Training Wheels. I didn't set a goal for the team, but I did have one in mind for my own fund-raising, and I'm almost there. That's another thing that's hard for me to do—asking for money—but of course it's a bit easier when the cause is so important. So, thank you!

Saturday, May 16, 2009


I'll begin by getting right to the point: Just got back from a ride with Laura and it was wonderful.

Location: Closed portion of Beach Drive.

Since it was threatening to rain, there were fewer people around, so I didn't get as freaked out that I was going to run into someone. Still, it had been three weeks since I was last on the bike, thanks to a combination of rain, parental duties, and other obstacles. I was seriously nervous. Luckily, Laura is a patient coach, and eventually I got to the point where I was (1) remembering to breathe, (2) looking forward, not staring down at the ground ahead of me, and (3) enjoying myself.

Numbers: BG beforehand was 208 (whoops!). BG after was 135 (yay!).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

excuses, excuses

Now that husband has returned from abroad to spell me from the childcare and the weather is (mostly) better, I can get back on track. Whew! Just in time....

Thursday, May 7, 2009

in praise of stairs

Haven't used an elevator in over 24 hours... I think I've passed through the withdrawal phase and arrived in the euphoria phase. Still need to catch my breath when I get to the 3rd floor landing, but for the first time in a long time I am looking forward to my post-lunch blood-sugar check.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

ow. but ahhhhh.

Yep, I know I went to the gym all right! So how about today?

Day 2: Walk walk walk.

Since I know I won't be able to do a long exercise session because of a heavy schedule today, I plan to add extra walking everywhere I can along the way. I parked at the farthest part of the garage, didn't use the elevator to get to my office, and am visiting colleagues at their desks instead of emailing or calling them. Jeremy and I will take a walk at lunch, too. Yay Jeremy!

Very nice walk (yay, Jeremy!), and I found a new place to practice on the bike, in the neighborhood across the street from our office building.

Update #2: I am told by the fabulous Rachel R. that it is not at all a problem to be short of breath after 3 flights of stairs on the way to graphic design class. Not at all!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

first day, meet rest of life...

Okay, so here's the deal. I am not in good shape. I have been in good shape in the past, and this is not it. There are less than 6 weeks remaining before the Tour de Cure in Reston, and while I have completed phases one and two (purchasing the bike and learning to ride it), there's still phase three (having the stamina and confidence to ride for some distance).

So, until June 14, I need to do some kind of exercise every day. (I know, that's not necessary in the normal sense, but I think I have to be compulsive about it in order to make it stick.)

Day 1 (today): Going to the gym with Heather.

Update: Shaky arms, wobbly legs, intimations of later soreness: Oh yeah, this is what the gym feels like. Also, wonderful.

Monday, May 4, 2009

new shoes!

One of the reasons I'm so bummed about the rain is that I went ahead and got new shoes! As noted before, part of what keeps me going is the design/style aspect of biking—from the gorgeous curves and spokes of a classic bicycle to the sleek engineering of a superhero-style jersey. Admittedly, I chose function over form when I picked these Shimanos, but I like that I can walk around in them as well as ride in them. So, let's get out there!

Sunday, May 3, 2009


In the old days, I wouldn't have minded much about a rainy day. It's great sleeping weather, and great reading weather. But, as my 3-year-old just exclaimed, "oh, you can't ride your bike!" The forecast has never mattered so much to me. (And yes, I should have gone out yesterday. Sigh.)

Friday, May 1, 2009

highs and lows

Reader Bob, commenting on the previous post, asks about how the bicycle training has affected my diabetes--"highs lows and such."

This really gets to the heart of the challenge. Most doctors I talk to pooh pooh the idea that type 2s have to worry about low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), unless they are taking one particular type of drug (sulfonyureas), which I'm not. I have tried to explain that I am prone to going low, especially in the afternoons, but I can tell that they are unconvinced. They suspect I am just giving excuses for not exercising or not keeping my numbers lower. (For type 1s, the issues are very different, because they are completely controlling the insulin intake.)

These docs--some of whom I consider to be friends, all of whom I respect as experts--have never had a low themselves. They have no idea how dreadful it feels, and how terrifying it can be. They do know, because of some new research that we wrote about here in Diabetes Forecast, that people with type 1 are often inactive because they are afraid of lows. I think that's true of some folks with type 2, too.

That said, if you can figure out a pattern to your lows and exercise, you can really make it work well. When I used to go a gym on a regular basis, I always had to have my (full sugar) yogurt afterward, and that staved off the low I could feel coming on after a good 45-minute workout. Now that I am getting on the bike, I like to eat something about an hour before I exercise, test my blood sugar before I start riding, and then test again after (usually sitting in my car, before I get on the road). So far it's worked well--love seeing that 128 on the meter!--but I will keep an eye on how things change as my rides get longer. I'm not up to the 6 miles that Bob does, but I am not surprised that he feels he needs to eat something at that point. I've been carrying the same old pack of just-in-case Skittles with me on my rides (I choose a candy I don't like on purpose), but will soon switch to a glucose gel. And I have a smaller meter that's easier to bring on the bike, since when you're feeling low the best thing to do is test right away.

I'm also looking forward to our July issue of Forecast, which has a big package on fitness. One of the people we quote is Sheri Colberg, who wrote a book called Diabetic Athlete's Handbook, an exhaustive "guide to peak performance" that I am planning to start reading this weekend. You know, in all my free time!


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