Thursday, February 28, 2013

Diabetes Zen Running

 Now I am not one to know much about diabetes, zen, or running but, I would say what no one tells you about the Ragnar thing is the cool feeling you get by basically running alone.  Now you are not alone, alone but more of just alone in a sense.  Do you understand?  Since this is a 200 and something mile run, and an individual sport of twelve people that you run alone but with your support vehicle in the general several miles of safety vicinity.
 The Phoenix area had hills like the photo above that were long and gentle'ish.  I really liked the feeling of doing something crazy like running on the side of a two lane highway.  Think about that, how many times in your life do you get the chance to safely go out along a random highway and run feeling safe and knowing you are not far from a random port-a-potty.  I think that is the feeling of zen.
 Then once you get lost in your diabetes mind, trying to remember your recent bolus and carb intake you forget you are in a race and then come around a corner and there is the end of your leg and the beginning of the next leg.  When you are done, you have this feeling of just wanting to hang out and chill for a moment but the race goes on and you get just enough time to pee, catch your breath and grab a bite to eat before the van has to take off and watch over the current runner.
 Most of my runs were like this with one road that looked like it went on forever, not that I am saying that was bad.  Recently my winter running has been on a treadmill listening to my headphones while watching random NBA basketball games so a long straight road was right up my alley.  The thing that would freak you out were the people that passed you (I am slow and passed often by other teams) and the on coming cyclists.  What are the road rules for a runner going against traffic and a cyclist going with traffic?  I figured the runner took the closest to dirt side and the cyclist took the road side.
The night running was the same but colder and with the funny crime scene investigator vests we had to wear along with headlamps and tail lights.

So I think if you get negative on doing stuff like this because of cost and things (I do this alot because paying to run slow just seems like a double negative) I would say to think about the things that might be different than your normal treadmill/NBA runs, the Zen feeling and also the coolness knowing you got to feel like Forrest Gump or something.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Ragnar natural environment

 So let me tell you about Arizona and this being my first time there.  Everything is shades of brown, there are few trees and lots of rock yards.  So what pictures do you take in this arid climate?  Of course you take pictures of yourself with the local cactus plants.  Above I am trying to do one of those fake photos where it looks like I am putting my arms around the cactus.
 This cactus was tall and had finger like extensions.  Not sure why there are so many different forms of one plant in the dessert.
 Here I am standing in front of one of those huge protected cactus plants you see in the Wile -E- Coyote cartoons.
 This guy was more of the shrub form of cactus with more finger like extensions and probably reached 3 feet or so.

 Here is a better shot of me standing in front of the Wile-E-Coyote style cactus.  You can see the bird nest hole thing above my right ear.
This is like a famous cactus that when you walk buy it too closely something about the earth vibration and a persons gravitational pull makes the little balls jump off the cactus and onto you.  My friend Steve here had the wonderful experience with one.  You could tell he was not familiar with the cactus being from Philly and he did not know the propper way of removing a cactus from your shoe.  I tried to help but he already had others willing to get the thorns stuck into his shoe and toes.  Lucky for him he had already finished his three runs for the event and also there was not much damage done to his gentle diabetes feet.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Happiest places at Ragnar!

 When I say that the running is like the most minor part of Ragnar let me just share with you how you go "number 1 and number 2" for two whole days.  The Port-a-pottie is where you go at all thirty some odd exchanges and it does get cumbersome to clean the seat, check for TP, and of course lock the door.
 More port-a-potties, and I would say that these were pretty nice port-a-potties.  You are asking the Diabetic Camper how I know?  Trust me I have spent much of my time doing business in these things.  When you camp as much as I have you just get used to alot of parks with these things.
 Yes, more port-a-potties, and most of them were so nice they had the "hand sanitizer" in the stall so I did not have to worry about bringing that with me.
 I thought this picture was of the same port-a-pottie as the one above but a closer look I noticed the trash cans had the logo in different spots and the dessert brush was further in the bottom one than the top one.  I guess once you have gone so many times in these things they all start to look the same.
Wait, maybe this one is the same as the one above?  Who knows because at alot of these places you are standing in line with the same people, kind of like cycle potty sisters or something.  We were like a band of gypsies along the same road dropping loads as we go!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ragnar notes

 Well my first Ragnar relay race thingy is over and I must say it was quite the adventure.  The funny thing is that the running almost seams like the side event to the event.  The event (OK for this diabetic) was more of the living with 5 other people in a van, supporting each other, monitoring each other, and keeping the spirits up for the length of time with minimal sleep.  Then coordinating everything with the other van of 6 people.
 The first good thing is that I was not so slow that my van did not have to throw "The Run Faster Rock" which is a negative motivational tool but I needed something to help scare the betes out of me.
 The instructions for "The Run Faster Rock" are pretty simple as you can see from the picture above.  Basically if I was not running fast enough then someone in the van would just throw the rock at me and the cracking of my skull would let me know to move my pace up.
The bad part about the weekend was as soon as I arrived in Phoenix my sinuses filled up and my head felt like a giant water balloon that needing to burst.  Once I realized my head needed a solid nose bleed to reduce the pressure I warned everyone in the van that I might have a massive nose bleed and not to get worried because it is a good thing and is just my sinus cavity cracking open and letting the fluid build up out.  Once I was back home in Dallas and got into my truck I heard the pop in my head and grabbed some tissues and waited for the blood to stop dripping.  Once this happens it actually feels real good because the pressure behind my eye balls either goes down or away completely giving me back my sense of brain function and I could have run faster if it would have happened before the race.  Any ways it at least drained and the same thing happened today at work but now I feel like a million bottles of insulin with no expiration date. 

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Ragnar Weekend!

Myself and 11 other wild and crazy diabetics will be running "Ragnar Del Son" this weekend.  I will take lots of pictures and post them next week.  This will be my first event to run about 6 miles every 12 hours.  Wish us luck!

To view this email as a web page, go here.


Greetings Teams,

It's race week and I hope everyone is feeling ready to roll! Below are some important updates.

Notes from the Team Captains Meeting are online. You can access them here.
If you'd like to watch a recording of the meeting, please feel free to do so here.
Check out the Digital Ragmag available now! A printed copy will still be distributed to teams on race day.
Cold Start
We're expecting a cold front this weekend that will affect parts of the course in the early morning hours. Please be prepared with extra layers. We expect it to warm up on Saturday, however, so please be sure to stay hydrated.
Stay HydratedMake sure that your team is prepared for the heat by taking the following precautions:
1.PRE-HYDRATE, HYDRATE, RE-HYDRATE - Runners should pre-hydrate before each of their legs, hydrate while running, and re-hydrate after each of their legs. Water should be supplemented with electrolytes such as Gatorade, SaltSticks, etc. Proper hydration is obtained when the runner has clear (light lemonade colored) and copious urine...but please, use the portable toilets.
2.OBSERVE YOUR RUNNER - Closely monitor the condition of your runners before, during, and after each leg. If the heat index is above 90°, heat cramps and heat exhaustion are possible. Above a heat index of 105°, heat exhaustion is likely and heat stroke is probable with continued activity.
3.SUNSCREEN - Lathering up is cool...especially if you are wearing a Speedo.

Breakfast options available at the start line
Chaparral Homemade Ice Cream will be set up at the Start Line again this year. They will have delicious goodies and hot drinks to help get you started. Check out their menu online here.
Happy Running,

Cydney Westgate
Ragnar Race Director

Thursday, February 14, 2013

DFW Diabetes and Exercise group

Team Red Tour de Cure TRAINING RIDE Saturday 2/16 @ Frisco Superdrome
Just a reminder, we have a Tour de Cure Training Ride THIS SATURDAY February 16th at 2:30 PM at the Frisco Superdrome, 9700 Wade Boulevard, Frisco, TX 75035. To get there, take the Dallas North Tollway to Lebanon Rd., exist east, and take Lebanon to Ohio, which will be a left turn. Ohio runs into Wade, which is on your left. The Superdrome is on the grounds of Collin County Community College Frisco.
We will ride whatever distance the bulk of you feel comfortable attempting, but the plan is to ride 35-45 miles depending on speed, and to get back to the start before darkness.
Email or text Don Muchow (, 214-537-1043) or Jeff Kilarski ( if you plan on riding.
There's still time to take the rider survey. Make sure your voice is heard.
Don't forget to register for the Tour de Cure. Pick the DFW event and please pick Team Red. If you don't, though, you can still ride with us! Just bring your bike and let's ride!
Since this will be the third Saturday, and that's often when we do runs at Chisholm Trail Park, we'll skip Chisholm Trail this time. Just ping me (Don Muchow) if you want to run some time; I know great trails in the Dallas-Richardson-Plano area.
The Cowtown Marathon, Half Marathon, and Ultra are 2/24. Don't forget to register. Three people from are group are already running Cowtown, so let's make it a few more!
Get your TEAM RED cycling gear from Primalware! You look good in Spandex, you really do. And you will look faster as you ride with us on August 3rd at the Tour de Cure.
DFW Diabetes and Exercise cycling jerseys are also available: (these run a bit small). DFWD&E logo T-shirts are here: (they run a bit large). Or if you want to sport some swagger, check out these other items, including the popular "I'm not type 1, I'm type 13.1" and "Hey, look at the diabetic marathoner!" designs.
Follow us on Facebook at, or subscribe to this newsletter (if it was forwarded) at
Text me at 214-537-1043 or send an email to to RSVP or if you have questions. Enjoy the good weather and get out there and run or ride!
DFW Diabetes and Exercise and its sister organization(s) are member-run non-profits and remain strictly focused on the role of physical activity in diabetes management. We do not make money from merchandise sales, and we do not sell our mailing list(s) to vendors. We do not collect dues, though we may ask for help to cover reasonable expenses like meeting space. Our only requirement for membership is that you have already made a commitment to a physically active lifestyle as part of your diabetes management regime. We occasionally make use of donated goods or services. Logos, documents, and other print or electronic copy remain the property of the copyright holder, and copying or re-use of material for commercial gain requires prior written approval.

Friday, February 8, 2013

The Friday Five - Blizzard Edition

How many times have I told you to be prepared with just simple things you have around the house and on your possesion to be prepared at all times.  Today on "The Friday Five" from Gina she talks about five simple questions to ask that may help to survive the upcoming arctic blast.

Hi Everyone,

I hope you all had a fantastic week.

 Today my family and I are preparing for Super Storm Nemo, which is forecasting to be blizzard like conditions here in the New York Area. I am making sure I have all of my prescriptions filled, enough water, food, and gas in the car in case something should happen to my house and we need to evacuate. I always try to be prepared for emergencies because you never know when something could happen.

Here are five questions you should all ask yourself...

1. Do you have an emergency plan?

2. How many days worth of supplies do you have?

3. What do you put in your emergency kit?

4. Do you have an emergency contact list?

5. Do you have enough food, water in the house, and gas in the car?

JDRF has resources and emergency forms to help you prepare for natural disasters and other emergency situations that can be found here:

The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists has a Diabetes Emergency Plan, available online at with a list of crucial items you should keep on hand to stay safe and healthy during an emergency.

By taking a few minutes to answer these questions and by having a plan ahead of time, you could prevent a potentially stressful situation and make your life much easier should there be a natural disaster where you live.

Please share any emergency tips you may have with me in the comments section of this post.

Please stay safe to all of you, if you are going to be affected by the storm.

Have a great weekend, and Happy Friday!

~ Gina Community Manager
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Friday, February 1, 2013

Survive with only a Knife!

My life gets so busy at times and what falls behind?  Yes my blog is what falls behind.  Today I am posting an article from Backpacker Magazines daily email.  If you don't currently get the daily email you can sign up on usually they are not that great of articles but sometimes they have some great stuff and this article is very informative about how to survive with only a knife, yes only a knife.  I always tell everyone that knowing basic survival skills is a must for any diabetic or human for that fact.  If you know the basics and the order of survival then you are just left with adapting your surroundings to fit.  The fire they do below looks simple but is the hardest thing to do if you have never done it before so I recommend all of you to practice, practice, practice at home this skill even if you are a city person you can do this in your kitchen but understanding how friction causes heat which causes fire is the basic knowledge of life and if you understand how to do it you can do it any where, any time.  Don't tell me you are a city person and you will never need to know how to start a fire because if memory serves me correct Jersey and NYC just was hit and thousands of people could have used these simple skills to help themselves instead of depending on others.  So enjoy!
Survival: In The Wild with...Only a Knife
Long before satellite beacons, humans thrived in the wild with the best technology available: a knife. And with that one tool and some basic knowledge, they fulfilled all life-sustaining needs.

Flagstaff, Arizona–based survival expert Tony Nester helps today’s tech-dependent humans get back to their primal roots with his popular “Knife Only” course. “A knifeless man is a lifeless man,” Nester says. Here is how to cut, slice, and pry your way out of any mess with these survival fundamentals.

Light a Fire
1. For the spindle and fireboard, find some dry, soft, and non-resinous (no sap) wood—like yucca, cottonwood, poplar, cedar, cypress, or elm—which are easier to create friction with. The spindle stick should be about 16 inches long, ¾-inch thick, and fairly straight. Sharpen the bottom end like a pencil tip, and whittle away any jagged or rough spots on the shaft so you can easily run your hands along it.

2. The fireboard should be about six inches by one inch wide, and ¾-inch thick. Carve this rectangular piece so it lies flat on the ground. Cut a V-shaped notch, half as deep as the board, into the edge. Next, carve out a pencil-eraser-size depression at the base of the V, where you will place the spindle tip.

3. Position a leaf, piece of thin bark, or your knife blade (anything as thick as an index card) under the board to catch the coal that will fall out of the board’s notch.

4. For the tinder bundle, gather dry and pithy materials (cattails, mullein, grass, bark, moss), and shape them into a bird’s nest. Place it within arm’s reach.

5. Get in a stable kneeling or sitting position, with one foot on the edge of the fireboard to steady it. Put the tip of the spindle in the board’s depression, and place your hands at the top. Using significant downward pressure, roll your hands back and forth, up and down the spindle. Go slowly at first to deepen the board’s notch. Then go faster (a lot faster), bearing down on the spindle with your body weight as you roll it in your hands. Hot dust will be generated first, then smoke, and as the spindle glows red from the friction, a tiny ember will appear in the notch. If the ember doesn’t automatically fall into your catching device, gingerly tap the board.

6. Transfer the ember to the center of the tinder, blow gently until you have flames, then erect small sticks around it, tepee-style.

Build a Shelter
The most energy-efficient option is to create a nest. Pile up leaves, pine needles, and moss to create a giant sleeping bag that will trap your body heat. Make the mound about the length and width of a single mattress and five feet high, if possible. “You should have two feet of insulation below you and two feet above,” Nester says. “I’ve stayed warm like this on 10°F nights.” To tuck yourself in, scoop out a trough in the middle, sit inside butt first, then pull the debris over your body, working up from your feet.

On rainy nights fashion a lean-to against a short tree like a juniper. Use a sturdy, low branch as the shelter’s ridgepole. Knife-chop boughs (or scavenge) and lean them against the branch, then fill in the holes with forest debris so no light shows through. Insulate the floor with one foot of leaves and pine needles.

Also, site your shelter wisely. Avoid ravine bottoms, since cold air sinks, and high, wind-whipped spots. Instead, set up next to a broad
rock face or tree that has been soaking up the sun’s warmth
all day and will release it at night.

Survival Secret
For hours of extra warmth, place football-size rocks at the campfire’s edge until they’re warm to the touch. Hug one against your chest (under a jacket but over a shirt), and put one between your legs and another near your neck or head.

The Gear: That’s Not a Knife
This is a knife! A Swedish Mora with a 3 7⁄8-inch fixed blade is Tony Nester’s preferred tool for bushcraft ($20, The reason: A fixed blade with a full tang (meaning the blade runs through the length of the handle) is stronger, so the handle never breaks. He favors carbon steel because you can sharpen it against a smooth river stone using an arcing motion against the rock. It also sparks when you strike the back of the blade with a piece of quartzite, flint, or chert.