Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Annual Belleville Pancake Ride

I woke up this morning feeling like a little kid waiting for Christmas morning, or the morning you are going to drive to Six Flaggs... No, today would be different. Indeed. A yearly JDRF ride group tradition for the Western Wisconsin Chapter team has been the 40 mile bike ride to Belleville and back. So what's so special about the Belleville bike ride?

Oh yeah..... can you smell 'em? The experienced pancake riders lead the newbies to Belleville on a gentle rolling hills ride. We arrive at Beleoni's Cafe, a hot spot for Saturday morning cyclists who enjoy a hot breakfast. I had the Troll Special along with Steve Eager, Joy and Zach Carr. The group includes Triabetes athlete (and my bike coach), Joe Brady, Whitefish alum Kitty Verkuilen along with her "now on the road to Death Valley" husband Steve, Harv and Cindy Johnson, my good friend, Rabbit aong with his new friend Sheryl who just moved here and is new to the group, Brian Cholewa and girlfriend, Jen Williams, and of course my partner in "lets turn around and check that biker out", Patti Batt. We pull in and enjoy talk of our past JDRF rides to Montana, California, North Carolina, and the newbies listen intently as we talk about Jubilee Pass, Glacier National Park, bears, coyotes and well, taverns. :) Of course!

We finish up and head out to spin that beautiful lactic acid out of the legs. I usually get a kick out of that, but our lactic-fun is cut short when Zach is found injured after failing to clip out.

Big macho, me, I immediately go up and congratulate him on his new road rash. Then I look at it and see this is no run-of-the mill badge of honor. It's a pretty deep wound that cut in when he fell right on his king ring. No picture needed to describe that, or the fact that this wusspants almost threw up at the sight. We lucked out and happened to be in the yard of a very nice man and his daughter, who cleaned him up and drove him back to town for medical attention, while the rest of us biked back dealing with a few flat tires and refreshments.

Sigh...another Pancake Ride is been and gone.... until June 2009....

Friday, June 27, 2008

2 months to the math....

So you all know by now that I worship the ground that Lifescan walks on. Our biggest sponsor, the nicest people, the most supportive top reps as well as local reps.... they make the best meter around with the ultra-mini and my son still thinks the pink meter is "the new black." He's not afraid of his masculinity.

So it's time to gear up for the big race, 2 months and 9 days away....I have twelve diabetic athletes that are overexerting and rockin' the house. So what does this mean.


Now, you may ask, "Michelle, I thought many of the athletes are on an insulin pump therapy with a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)?" Right you are, and thanks for paying attention! But you see, the meter is still the tried and true method to really put it to the test, so the triabetes athletes mount these ultra-minis right to their bikes!!! They put one in each transition bag and special needs bag during the race (that makes THREE additional meters just for race day), and they test sometimes upwards of 20 times per day.

So I fire off an email to Lifescan and say, "gosh, is there any way I can get the dream amount of meters and test strips for these athletes through their season?" I got a "you betcha, girlfriend!!!" (Ok, he didn't say it exactly like that, but close!)

So do the math.

I have 12 athletes needing enough strips and meters to get them through September 7, 2008 which is in addition to what they are already ALLOWED to get from their insurance (cheapskates).

I am requesting 10,500 test strips and 31 more meters.

I have to quote a few of the athletes responses:

"do they realize that we may be checking BG's like 15 or more times a day? they are okay with this?"

"Wow. To test whenever I need to......... that is a cool feeling. I'll take 1050 and a few meters, please!"

THANK YOU LIFESCAN! Did I mention Johnson & Johnson? Did I mention One Touch Ultra-Mini?

Sunday, June 22, 2008

So Facebook Asked Me....

"Where would you like to see yourself in five years?"

A stupid facebook "interview" that someone sent me actually turned into a massive pondering. If someone had asked me this question in the Spring of 2006, my answer would have involved different people, a different life. Since that Spring, my life has changed greatly. The "who" is much different, yet... I still find myself diving into the diabetes and sports world. I still find myself obsessively checking the site to see how our athlete, Anne Findlay, is doing in the Ironman today in Coeur d'Alene. I still find myself looking at the photos Bob Schrank and Alex Bowden of Team Type 1 just posted of their RAAM experience (nice head stand contest, Schrank). I still find myself doing everything I can to cure Jesse.

Wow. Where WILL I be in 5 years? Where will the documentary be? Will people still watch it? Will it be important anymore because there are 75 people signed up for Ironman Wisconsin in 2013 with diabetes and it's old news? I hope so! Will Jesse be getting up in the morning and shooting himself with a dose of smartinsulin in his junior year of high school and living a virtually diabetes-free day? Will Mike Runnels actually have won that damn lottery and given me all my promised goodness? Will I actually find that perfect guy who loves the diabetes world as much as me AND shaves his legs (at least during bike season)?

For now I guess I live my life one foot in front of the other, with moments of extreme pleasure as I watch my kids play frisbee in the backyard, or spend a weekend riding rollercoasters with my daughter, or hanging out with my old neighbors...but in my new house. And a simple pleasure of driving down Mineral Point Road and not even noticing Robin Parkway. :)

Who thought Facebook would get me to reflect?
Of course, everyone cracked up when the question was "if you had any superpower, what would you want?" and my energetic 7 year old, Joey, didn't blink before shouting out, "lightening breath." Huh. Like it was a no-brainer!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Smart Insulin - this blew me away

It is very rare I get excited about something "new" I read about in diabetes research. True, I work for an incredible organization, JDRF, that funds research like no one else, but that said, we sure see a lot come across our desk each and every day and it starts to lose it's luster.

At our annual conference, on of my favorite researchers, Dr. Aaron Kowalski, actually got EXCITED talking about "Smart Insulin". Read about it at:

I will be brief in my "mom" version of what I interpreted but basically, the patient receives one shot of insulin per day that adheres to a gel. As glucose levels increase in the body, the gel releases the insulin and in short, gives a type 1 diabetic normal blood sugar levels throughout the day. This is currently succeeding in rats, but has quite a ways to go. So while the scientists over at Smart Cells, Inc. continue to test rats (I keep envisioning rats lounging in a hot tub, drinking margaritas to see if heat affects the gel), I will keep my hopes up.
(I couldn't help CAN google "mouse in hot tub" and exists)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Triabetes Rules You Tube - at least in my opinion

Ok! I've been DYING to see new footage of the hottest thing in diabetes in sports (I may be biased). Here you go!

Thank you so much for continuing to support the Triabetes Project! Many of the athletes are in Chicago at this very moment at Diabetes Training camp with Matt Corcoran, M.D. (featured in this video). Please take a moment to comment on YouTube about the video so more people find us!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

A break in the clouds....

The weather has been nothing but rain and storms the last few days in Madison. Yesterday my kids spent most of the day watching tv in the basement with tornado sirens going off most of the afternoon. I thought, however, that it was a good sign that I was actually upset that I couldn't get my running in or my biking. I'm finally starting to feel like I'm losing the weight I had gained over the winter (mostly, I think after 35 it isn't even so much weight gain - as I never ever weigh myself - but more so the dang shift of waistlines etc that just makes you realize your age). I proudly displayed my new "bike tan" at WNBR (Wednesday Night Bike Rides) this past Wednesday, thank you very much. I saw some old JDRF Death Valley riders that I really miss. They've promised to bike DV with me in 09.

This morning I woke up to the sounds of cars crashing outside my window. I live at the bottom of a major hill and we were experiencing some serious flash flooding at the intersection. I watched more than one car try to slam on brakes when they hit this newly formed lake, hydroplaning across. Seriously, it was so bad I actually had to WAIT to go get my morning coffee! That'll teach me for running out of my own coffee! For those of you who know what I look like at 6:30 a.m. without coffee... I know you understand the issue! Ha!

So, the forecast for Madison for the next 7 days is: RAIN. Lots of it. I have found a break in the clouds and going to give it a shot. Luckily I'll be in Washington, DC all week and can escape the weather! Except.....DC has a forecast of 99 degree temps. Sigh..........................

Thursday, June 5, 2008

What are the odds?

Ok. I'm all about us chicks rulin' the biking world. That's why I'm trying to make my point extra special that I'm even willing to use pink to describe it. It seems to me, at least in my locality, that more and more women are out there. Out there doing triathlons, running, swimming, and what I've really noticed....biking.

Now at first I was grinning at this knowledge, I mean YEAH! WOOHOO! CHICKS RULE! I'm waving like a maniac as they come the other way. In fact, the other day I actually counted MORE women than men biking the Paoli Loop.

And then...the HORROR set in. As a single girl who enjoys what she calls "busy season"...the season in which everyone trades in their winter gear to actually come outside in splandex and show off their shaved legs (Um, I mean the guys here), I realize...OH...MY.....GOSH....


The ratio! The horror! My odds just got more difficult for the athlete dating pool.

For a girl who typically has pictures like this:

Maybe you see the trend????? :)

Anyhow, I'm willing to share the road with these strong women. After all....

Sunday, June 1, 2008

I biked the IM course with all 12 today...

...well.... not really. But in my head today I biked with Guiness, Ninja, Shackster, Steve 3.0, Steve C, Joe, Aaron, Anne, Brian, Peter, Crazy Bill, and Larry.... they were all there... in my mind.

I woke up to an amazing Wisconsin morning. You know what it said to me? "Absolutely fabulous bike tan lines are waiting for you, Michelle Alswager, get dressed! Get dressed! Wear that t-back and get the tan of your life!" No really! That's what I heard.

6 cups of coffee, a few emails, a little work, feed the cats...and I'm off to ride 30 miles. Except...except..... I decide to meander over to the Verona quarry and dip the toe. Would it be warm enough for a swim? Indeed! It is! I'm so excited by this that I say HELL WITH IT the IM. And so I did.

I'm about 42 miles into my biking and I stand on Garfoot, my fav of the course, the sun beating on me, the wind perfect, cyclists coming the other way, and all I think is, "I have to take a pic and send it to the Triabetes gang!!!!" And I did.

I get a text from Anne telling me that she just ran 18 miles and thanked me for sharing my experience with her! She's a CRAZY woman, but then again, isn't that what inspired me to get on my bike and do a full 75 miles today?

I'll admit...Old Sauk Pass HURT. It did. And then came b!tch hill, but I just smiled. Midtown, bring it on, right???! Home stretch....

Here's what went through my head today. I am part of a team. But my teammates don't live here. And yet, they are with me when I'm training. All of them. I've trained for many things....the Ride to Cure Diabetes in various locations, other IM... and this is SO different.

For the first time in my "training" life... I am ok with biking alone. Do you know why? THESE guys are with me the whole ride.... they inspire me to keep moving and I'm so proud to be part of them, that they allow me to be part of them.

And now..... bed! I'm running in the morning and the kids can't wait to go to the quarry tomorrow night! They know how to dial 911....

PS I have the SWEETEST back tan. Mission accomplished.