Ragnar with Insulindependence

 

Insulindependence Glucolift Ultra Socal Ragnar

Anyone following us on Facebook or Twitter a few days ago will have seen a small flurry of posts about the SoCal Ragnar, a 195-mile relay race from Huntington Beach to San Diego.

Insulindependence organized two teams for this race, which GlucoLift sponsored: a 12-person team and the first-ever all type-1 Ultra team, which consisted of 6 people.
(you can read more about each team member here)

A Ragnar is a tough event, no matter which team you’re on. You run anywhere from 12-37 miles, both day and night, spread over 3-6 legs and around 34 hours. When you’re not running, you’re in a van with the rest of your teammates, heading to the next exchange point. Managing diabetes while enduring that much physical exertion, with little (or no) sleep, limited food options, and the challenge of actually finding your meter kit under the shoes, socks, water bottles and empty coffee cups littering the floor, is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, there were some potentially dangerous lows (one of which required glucagon) and some crippling dehydration/heat exhaustion experienced by both teams. Still, everyone managed to make it to the finish line.

It’s important to stress that we didn’t complete this race because we were teams of elite athletes (though there were a couple of those sprinkled in for good measure) or because we all have perfect blood sugar control. Blood sugars went as low as the 30s and as high as the 400s. We made it because we were regular (whatever the hell that means) people with diabetes who set a fantastic goal for ourselves and put in the work to achieve it. Most of us were able to set that goal because we were inspired by other people with diabetes who have achieved amazing things before us, and all of us hope that by completing this race, we will inspire other people to take on new challenges in their lives. But most important of all is this: we did not finish this race in spite of our diabetes, we all did it BECAUSE of our diabetes.

I ran the last leg for the 6-person team, which was supposed to be a five mile flat run from Point Loma to the Embarcadero behind the San Diego Convention Center. Along with a number of other runners, I overshot a turn (yes, I have lived in San Diego for 6 years) and ended up running onto and down Harbor Island, which, as the name implies, does not connect back with the mainland. This meant that I had to retrace my steps and add about a mile to the run. I was frustrated, tired, sore, hot, and losing steam. It was sunny and in the high 80s. I had slept about 45 minutes out of the previous 33 hours and hadn’t had a proper meal in as long. I had run almost 25 miles before I even started this final stretch. But after I corrected course, just as my spirits were at the lowest they’d been the whole race, a headwind began to blow on me. Normally, headwinds are unwelcome- you have to work harder, and you feel like you’re being held back. But at that moment, the wind focused my energy and quickened my pace. My head came up, my shoulders went back, my feet felt lighter, and I began to smile. It gave me something to push against, much the way diabetes has given me something to push against in my life, and focus my energy on accomplishing bigger things than I might have otherwise considered. It didn’t make my run easier, but it made it better.

Before I knew it, I was weaving through tourists in Seaport Village, and had crossed the street behind the Convention Center, with the end in my sights. I was waved into the corral heading towards the finish line. My team was there waiting for me and we all crossed together. It was a beautiful end to a great journey, in both life and diabetes, not despite the fact that it was challenging, but because it was.

Insulindependence Glucolift Ultra Socal Ragnar team

March Madness

It’s a busy month of shows for GlucoLift!

While we kicked off the month with a great TCOYD Conference in Tucson, the rest of March belongs to JDRF.

A fan stopped by the GlucoLift booth in San Diego

A fan stopped by the GlucoLift booth in San Diego

Last Saturday we hung out with our local chapter at their Meet the Scientists Day at the La Jolla Institute of Immunology. In addition to speeches by leading doctors and diabetes researchers, there was an exhibit area out in the glorious San Diego sunshine, with representatives from a number of companies and non-profits, including Insulindependence, TCOYD, Tandem, and Dexcom (all San Diego-based). In addition, TrialNet was on site doing blood draws for relatives of people with Type 1.

This coming Saturday we’re journeying east (just in time for a blast of winter weather) for the JDRF Research Summit in Bethesda, MD. Moderated by everybody’s favorite Miss America, Nicole Johnson, this event features talks on the Artificial Pancreas, islet cell encapsulation, and more, as well as youth programs.

Next Saturday, it’s back east again, this time to New England for JDRF Providence’s “Living Well with Diabetes” Expo, which will give us a chance to catch up our friends from Jerry the Bear, six until me, and Bigfoot Child Have Diabetes.

Finally, we’ll wrap up our shows for March with another TCOYD, this time a little closer to home in Santa Clara, CA (Still a flight, but a short one!).

We’re excited to have the chance to connect with so many people and show them that glucose tablets CAN be all-natural, non-chalky, and delicious. I hope some of you will be able to see us at one of these upcoming shows!

Wanna Get Physical?

Want to spend an incredible weekend with other PWDs, testing your physical limits, learning about diabetes from other people who are always on the lookout for new tips & tricks, and create some incredible memories? All within spitting distance of the Pacific Ocean and some of the most scenic beaches in the country? Of course you do!

The 2012 Insulindependence Northwest Passage Ragner Team

The 2012 Insulindependence Northwest Passage Ragner Team

GlucoLift is teaming up with Insulindependence to create two all-D teams for the 2013 SoCal Ragnar, from Huntington Beach to Coronado, on April 19-20. If you’ve never heard of a Ragnar before, here’s the definition from their website:

Ragnar is the overnight running relay race that makes testing your limits a team sport. A team is made up of 6-12 individuals; each individual runs 3 legs. The legs of the race vary in difficulty and distance, from 3-8 miles, allowing elite and novice runners to run together. Over 2 days and 1 night, teams run across 200 miles of the country’s most scenic terrain. Pair that with crazy costumes, inside jokes, a great finish line party and unforgettable stories. Some call it a slumber party without sleep, pillows or deodorant. We call it Ragnar.

We’ll have one 12-person team, and one 6-person “ultra” team. There are still a few spots left. For more information, or if you’re ready to sign up RIGHT NOW, email Brennan Cassidy at Insulindependence.  Your non-diabetic friends will be jealous.

A water break at last year's Ragnar.

A water break at last year’s Ragnar.

Riding on GlucoLift

Riding on Insulin Logo

 

Even though I’m still getting ready for this weekend’s Children with Diabetes event, it’s hard to keep my mind from drifting to the next rodeo on the calendar, a day at Snow Summit with the Riding on Insulin crew.

Riding on Insulin (ROI) is a great organization that introduces children with diabetes to snowboarding or skiing, through the instruction and inspiration of founder, pro-snowboarder, and fellow PWD Sean Busby and his wife/partner Mollie.  Participants are encouraged to learn more about their diabetes management and their potential as PWDs through the challenges and shared learning experiences that a day on the slopes provides.  Riding on Insulin has grown rapidly, and now has camps in 4 different countries (here’s their full 2013 schedule).

Not only will GlucoLift be passing out samples and giving away some prizes (not to mention be in the pockets of all coaches/volunteers), but I’ll be an on-mountain volunteer, which I’m thrilled about.  I started skiing when I was 4, and it’s always been one of my favorite things to do, and something I never considered giving up after my diagnosis.  Hopefully I’ll be able to share my passion for the mountain with the next generation, and pick up some on-slope diabetes management tips and tricks for myself!  There are still a few spots left for next weekend’s program, so if you’re interested, get in touch with ROI right away!

Coming to Austin with TCOYD!

I’m going to try to be better about posting our events here, for people who may not follow us on Facebook or Twitter (but please follow us on Facebook and Twitter!).

Our next appearance will be on December 1st in Austin, TX with the Taking Control of Your Diabetes crew, as well as the legendary Ben Vereen, and Chef Robert Lewis, The Happy Diabetic.  Check out the flyer below, and if you’re coming, be sure to say hi and pick up some samples at our booth!

 

Flyer for Taking Care of your Diabetes Show in Austin, Texas