Sunday, August 31, 2008

The grass is greener on this side of the fence

For 18 months the Triabetes Project has been in my life. Next week Wednesday athletes start to arrive in Madison. I'm having a little Triabetes sleepover on Wednesday with Steve Chop and Bill Carlson at my house - how fun is that? The rest arrive on Thursday, staying with host families like The Gorsuch family, the Sollingers, etc. I can't thank them enough for them opening up their homes.

Dr Matt Corcoran and I are attending a medical meeting with Ironman medical advisors to make sure our team is safe on the course. Friday turns into crazyland as we swim, film, register, film, eat, film, bike, film, run, film, get headquarters ready with supplies, computers, twitter, you name it. Oh, and film. Mandatory meetings, film. The huge welcome reception on Saturday at Grey's Tied House from 3-5 (you are invited, blog reader!), a quiet dinner for just the athletes, Matt, film crew, and I...up at 4:00 am for RACE DAY! WOOHOO.

Ok, here's the point of my picket fence picture. I anticipate some of you will be disappointed with my decision to not race on Sunday. I've tortured myself with a vibe I have had for over two months - the vibe that I serve this team better as a logistics person for the week. As much as I cherish being called the lucky #13 team member - the Triabetic Wannabe - I more so cherish the idea of making sure the film crew can find the athletes on the course, etc. I only have one shot at this documentary. It will be a great honor to watch each of them cross the finish line and I look forward to that. Not to mention I started my fabulous new job as Marketing Director for brava magazine last week!

To those of you who have supported me through my training etc this year... no worries, I don't think I've done my last Ironman. I'm trying to convince Anne and the rest of the team to do Ironman in France in 2010. I'm not kidding... a girl has to have goals.

So support me, by supporting the team. More info to come soon on how you can help on the course! Now, off to the Taste of Madison with the kids....

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Reflection from my IM 06

As everyone prepares for the race in just 14 days, I'm sure lots of thoughts are going through their heads. I saved this email I had sent to everyone the day after my race in 2006. It inspires me to reread it, so I share it with all of you. I hope you read the joy in it...and the love.

"it was I did it" :)!
Ok, I'm now rested, and have my glass of wine in hand (I knew you'd appreciate that Norm, and no, I didn't stop for beer along the course...sheesh...even I have to know some limits...:) )
I'm attempting to answer all of your questions below...(gosh you had SOOO many questions!)
The stats:
Night before Preparation: checked transition bags feverishly. Sat around firepit with neighbors. Drank 1 beer, then gatorade and water. Went to bed. Slept like a rock. Amazing.
Person who put up with the most questions about prep: Mark Timmerman (thank you for patience...)
The swim:
Number of times I wanted to vomit: Zero! Woohoo! (I was calm, crazily...) I was there, I was ready, and knew full well "it is what it is".
Number of friends I saw at the start: 6 - a welcome, welcome sight. Hugs in wetsuits ROCK!
Size of waves: Holy Mother of God. (but, that was good, it kept my face planted in the water because if you looked up, you got a face full of stinky water that tasted like boat me...)
Best "under the wetsuit apparel": David Willborn ran up the helix wearing tie-dyed underwear he made himself, including an iron-on IM patch.
Feeling of running up the helix on my way to transition: Are you kidding??? I screamed my fool head off when I saw my people hanging out and cheering! Superstars.
The Bike:
Weather: Ahhh...non-stop rain and cold. Relentless and strong headwinds.
Amount of time my feet were dry: .1 minute
Number of spectators I talked to: How many were out there? Count 90%, it made me CRAZY not to talk.
# of Farmer-Blows: 1209
# of farmer-blows that ended up on my coat: 8
# of farmer-blows that I didn't care anymore where it landed: 6
Why biking was fun: I sucked so bad on my swim time, that NO ONE passed me on the bike course (except the pros on their second loop). I felt like a rockstar passing for hours.
Most impressive bike stat: Ha! Talked for 30 miles straight with my new buddy, John. Yep, you got it baby, you CAN'T SHUT ME UP! That's right!
# of boys signing up to do the Ride to Cure Diabetes that I met during my Ironman: TWO! (I'm always working....)
Biggest Grin on the bike: seeing that I had more fans supporting me than ANYONE on the course...and hearing other bikers complain about it! (true!!!)
Mantras taped to bike: U Rock, This is great I feel good, No negative monkeys, return with honor, slow is steady steady is fast, I did it, I own it, Smile.
Best coaching: I've never had so much coaching in my LIFE!! Bike coaches Dan & Jay, Swim coach Mark, and Tri Coach Cindi....1 on the course, 2 cheering me on and 1 sending feverish emails right up until the event all the way from Kansas City...way cool.
Most motivating moment: Hans Solinger in full bike gear waiting for me to top a hill so he could bike alongside me and give me pointers and tell me to focus and keep pedaling. :)
Mile I realized I wasn't enjoying my bike ride: Mile 80
Mile I lost sensation in both hands and couldn't shift: Mile 80
How many times I decided I didn't want to complete the race: 1
Number of times I cried during the event: 1, biking up the helix and thinking I couldn't physically get off my bike or tie my shoes because I was chilled to the bone.
Minutes held for hypothermia issues: 40 (that SUCKED)
Color of lips at that time: purple
Moment I remembered Bobby Heyer's mantra taped to my bike that said not to let negative monkeys in my head: that very second (thank you Bobby!!!)
Coolest volunteer in the world who dressed me (hands still numb) and got me running: Rebecca
The Run:
Coolest friend that surprised me: Chris Burque jumping in step with me and running alongside for my first mile. Thank you!! (IM 08, Burque??)
Moment I realized I was going to finish the race: Mile 2, when I saw someone I knew coming the other direction with a look of incredible pride and joy (and surprise maybe?), arms up, running towards one another and me screaming how great I was feeling and almost bowled him right over in my excitment when I wrapped my arms AND legs around him for God's sake...I giggled for miles about what a dork I was doing that...especially since I was wearing bright yellow AND a garbage bag (Yeah...this girl looked HOT...ha ha ha)
Moment I met my run buddy, Jeremy: mile 3 (finished the race with him)
Cool stat about Jeremy: he is only 27 and I was keeping pace
Why that stat isn't cool: Damn it, he was injured
Biggest grin on the run: Seeing Sandy, Mike R, Mike K, Stacy and Rob running towards me when I was about to finish...they were screaming and crying with excitement.
Number of blisters: zero
Number of toenails lost: 1 (yeah, gross)
The Finish Line:
Best moment - grabbing my kids to run with me towards the jumbotron baby!
Second best moment: realizing just how many friends/family showed up to see me finish!
The fans:
Who had the most fans cheering them on in the rain: ME!!!!!!!!!! I'm not kidding, I swear it's true. I'm not naming all of you because I don't want to forget someone!!! You know who you are!!!! Thank you!!
Best Wingman: Stacy Cook. I owe her my life. Poor woman had to undress me to get in the shower, feed me AND sleep with me LOL Incredible vibes.
Friend who pulled me through that was an IM participant: David Willborn - he was my hot date for everything. As I showed up alone to get body-marked, I never thought I would see someone I knew....there stood David...grinning...we got ready together and walked the helix together to the swim're the best, baby!
Post Ironman:
Will I get an IM tattoo? No. I contemplated the IM logo on my back, with the "dot" of the "I" using the single freckle I have on my back...but I decided I kinda dig my one freckle, so I'm keeping it as is, thanks. No tattoo.
Will I do another Ironman? I did NOT sign up for 07. No regrets. I have 3 friends who want to do 08....and if they know who you are....I'll be there with you....actually there is a 4th I want to join me in 08...I'll keep you posted...he doesn't know I'm slating him to do it with me..but he is... ;)
Most inspiring: the type 1 athletes I knew on the course had problems with their meters all day...and endured/achieved. Inspired, I am.
How do I top it?: No clue. I'm applying for Survivor. How about that?
My best advice to future Ironmen: I was right. Keep it fun. Smile and enjoy.
What I learned: it was a greater accomplishment to cross the finish line a little later bringing a friend along the way who needed the support, than to cross earlier, alone. I will reflect on that for a lifetime.
Your well wishes, by the way, have been a great joy to read today. For all of you who keep telling me I'm a I'm not...i'm just a girl who loves to watch other people feel inspired and reach their own goals. I know how important it is to have people tell you "you can do it." That is something I have learned over the last few years. To those of you who couldn't make it, I know you were there with me in spirit. For those who made it down and were surprised at how cool the finish line scene is...welcome...enjoy's the experience of a lifetime...and I get to proudly say I did it, for the rest of my life. I'm glad I was pushed to it. Now....I'm going to bed. I want to stay up but my body says...enough girl.
Oh...last stat-
How many people are sick of hearing about Ironman?: How many people are on this email? (grinning)
"How long should you keep trying? Until." ~ Jim Rohn

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

What Inspires You to Tri?

I was torn when I first started blogging about this couple. Follow along, kids, and you'll see why. You see, a couple years ago I was running a 10K relatively unknown race called "Run For the Rivers" in Verona, Wisconsin. I came across the finish line and was happily munching on bagels and coffee when I hear, "Michelle Page? Is that you?" I look at two people blankly. Turns out, I went to high school with Mike and Jenny Wimmer and there they stood before me. They didn't look all that different from high school, actually. I was really surprised they recognized me since I always thought of myself in high school as a little chubby, out of shape, etc, and here I was in geek-gear. They recognized me from the class reunion website and had heard I did Ironman.

We get to chatting and I remembered that their niece, Sarah, was diagnosed with Diabetes years before. I knew this because her dad, Paul, had called me to tell me that shortly after his 37th birthday, he too, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was in awe of this is some strange, fixated "mom-of-a-diabetic" way. Jealous isn't the right was more about being curious. I asked him a million questions about what it was like to have it yourself after treating it for years in your child. Is it as hard as they say? Do you look at your daughter differently? Paul said, "You know, it makes it easier to deal with her diabetes because now I really get it. But she said, 'daddy, you got your birthday wish.'...and I said, 'No, honey, my wish was to have diabetes instead of you, and take it away, not to have it TOO.' "

Onward with my story. I kept in contact with Jenny and Mike as they continued on this new fitness path they had found - still do. She comments on my blog, I read hers. Awhile back I almost fell straight off my chair reading her blog. You see, she had before pictures, as in "before exercise" pictures. I was absolutely astounded...and moved...even now I get really choked up about the accomplishments they have achieved. Look at these rockstars - They just did the Pigman 70.3 in Iowa!

So I share their "before" picture because I'm so proud of them and how far they came to reach their goals - and now they kick my ass. Take a moment to read their blog, and be inspired. They've earned it.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Remember when boys used to eat your bonnie bell lip smacker?

Today I swam, then biked the Ironman course, then laced up the running shoes to throw it all toether and feel like a triathlete. My friend, Kate, and I went out and enjoyed a beautiful day. It was really fun to see all of the other Ironman athletes testing out the bike course whether they were biking it or driving it. Lots of license plates from Minnesota and Illinois.

When we got to about mile 25 we ran into my Ironman friend from 2006 - Jeremy Scherbert. In 06, Jeremy and I both had hypothermia and met at mile 2 of the run course. We finished the race together that year. At about mile 30 I realized, "Huh. My lips are chapped." No chapstick. None. By the time I was running I was licking my lips and dreaming of 1979, wearing my tasty Bonnie Bell Jumbo Lip Smacker around my neck, popping the cap and lathering it on my lips. Then I thought of my friend Tom L, who once told me about how he used to ask girls if he could borrow their lip smacker...and he then would bite off the top of it, eating it and leaving the girls screaming and mad. When he told me that story, I quietly enlisted him in the Bonnie Bell Fan Club - he anonymously received a club membership and free lip smacker for a year.

Yes, these are the thoughts that come to mind as I am trying NOT to think about my chapped lips as I finish up my run.

Today's lesson? Bring chapstick if you are racing Ironman. And why didn't we think to get them on board as sponsors??? :)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Triabetes IronFAN...get your tshirts while they are hot!

Ironman is coming up quick and Madison is buzzing! Our fabulous graphic designer, Emily Dobson, put together the official IronFan shirt for the Triabetes project!
WANT ONE???!!!
We will be handing out tshirts the day before Ironman (more info to come) to anyone who is planning on cheering the crew on out on the course! We want to be able to see you. Shirts will go fast of course, so here's an opportunity to RESERVE QUANTITY AND SIZE TODAY!
If you are willing to pre-order, I will set aside your tshirts! No waiting! No hassle! And you are supporting a GREAT cause!
All it takes is a $10 donation (tax deductible) for each shirt. You can email me your request at OR click on the "FIRST GIVING" button on the left of this blog with your donation. It's that simple!
You've been with us this go the full 140.6 miles with us, baby. Get one, and pass on the information to anyone who might be out on the course on 9/7/08. Thanks for all your support - together, we educate the world that people with diabetes can do...ANYTHING.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

This steezin' fool is on his way to New Zealand

I know this post isn't really about Triabetes. But, this post is about my very good friend, Sean Busby. Sean is a professional snowboarder diagnosed just a few years ago with type 1 diabetes. I interviewed Sean when he was first diagnosed. Between myself, Miles Gerson, and Sean, we created a snowboard camp in Wisconsin for kids with "d". We had so much fun doing it, Sean's been hard at work creating more camps around the country.

I just hung up the phone after Sean called me (we were discussing Facebook issues as usual LOL) to say he leaves in the morning to hang out with "d" kids over in New Zealand. Pretty cool! He'll be there awhile.... when he returns, he is joining an expedition to snowboard Antarctica. Yes, he is quite crazy. I posted about him today because I stumbled on this picture of Sean. He usually hides this part of himself because he doesn't want kids to see it. But it really struck me. I hope someday he can look at this tattoo and say, "remember when I had diabetes?"

Follow Sean's adventures: and

Friday, August 8, 2008

An Honest Blog - should I still do IM?

Ok, usually I try to post something funny.... but I've had a few days of pondering. Maybe I can chalk it up to some scared "29 days to IM" thoughts, but maybe not. Here's the deal - listen and weigh in, will ya?

So here is the deal. I've worked what, 18 months on this? Well now it comes down to a lot of the local efforts. I've been busy trying to get host families lined up to house the 12 athletes and their families AND their friends....establishing a "Triabetes Headquarters" at the finish line (thank you SHARENDIPITY.COM you are rockstars!!!)....putting together a week long schedule, a welcome reception, dealing with NA Sports (who are FABULOUS) about logistics for safety issues on the course, trying to figure out where the best filming locations are...what is the story really going to be....who's going to market it....distribution...showing at local film festivals....

and on top of all that...I'm trying to train...and be a single mom to three great kids....and looking for a great new job (which I think I found...more to come on that).... I'm tired. And I think this: It is difficult to arrange the schedule and life of one ironman athlete during IM. How the HECK am I going to manage 13? I'm feeling overwhelmed.

I talked to Joe Brady today. Told him I was feeling a little like I should drop out of racing. I mean, someone has to make sure it runs smooth from a business standpoint. It should be me. It's my dream, my goal. Of course he answered that I just need to prioritize and basically told me to stop being a whiny baby (in his own way, but I know what he was thinking!).

Do I race? I biked 30 miles today, 22.5 HARD miles on Wednesday in the pouring rain on the hills of Mt. Vernon with an 20 mph pace...and I'm getting up super early to bike 60 miles tomorrow morning....

Should I do it? Am I being selfish? Ugh...... help?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Meet Triabetes Triathlete - Joe Brady

Ok, this video rocks out. Today Nella put together a few clips to share with the world. I'm choosing this one first to share. Meet Joe Brady. Joe was my bike coach at JDRF for a couple of years. (Actually, in the photo to the right, we are at a checkpoint in Whitefish, MT. I had just climbed on board the Kansas City Smack Train and he was about to be the first finisher of the day for the JDRF century ride.) I convinced him to do the Triabetes project - now he tries to convince me to meet him to swim at 6:00 am - yuck! I spent the day over at Ray and Nella's (a.k.a Andiamo Productions). I meant to go over there just to get the video, but the kids hung out and they invited us for a delicious dinner. It was quite rewarding to watch the process of what they do to transfer the data, etc. Ray had just returned from San Francisco, filming Anne, John, Bill, et al as they swam in front of Alcatraz, ran the Golden Gate Bridge - SO jealous! I also think a very cute moment at their house was when my son, Jesse, picked up one of the Emmy Awards that sit above their tv like forgotten bowling trophies and said, "Um, is this REALLY what I think it is???" I said, "Yes. They have 13 of them." Pretty cool moment....

Ok, back to Joe. Take a look.

BE SURE TO WATCH IT IN 'HIGH QUALITY'. Click the button directly under the video!


Sunday, August 3, 2008

Meet my new training buddy!

Some people like to go running with their friends, some like to run alone. I tend to run alone more because I'm embarrassed about how slow I am, but the more I run, the more I appreciate just quietly getting into my own head.

I decided to run through the arboretum today which is a really nice 7 mile loop around Lake Wingra. It's just a bit of a tradition for many athletes to run the "arb". As I am stretching outside my car, parked close to the Nakoma Country Club, I realize the mosquitos are swarming. Ugh.

I start my run and feel pretty good. After about 3 miles, I walk so I can wipe sweat that is dripping in my eyes. Instantly, my buddies are back, biting me.

So instead of a rabbit, it appears that mosquitos become my new running buddies. Stop, and you are a goner. What was that crazy movie? Logan's Run or something?

Two loops of the arb today, 14 miles and man, am I crabby ... and goodnight!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Hey! How can I support Triabetes? Here's how!

So, if you want to have an interesting afternoon searching the web, I highly suggest googling things like "kids saying please" or "giving". I was looking for just the right image to put with my asking you, your friends and complete strangers for money. You know what came up when I searched for a cute little kid face saying please? I got this photo of kid flippin' the bird. Huh. My mom must have taught me wrong?

Anyhow. I've set up this really cool thing called "First Giving". Any money raised by clicking on the button to the left will go directly to funding the Triabetes project. I mean, look how COOL Dave Shack looks with these iron-fans last year during sign up!
But, Michelle, isn't the project already funded? Well, yes, thanks for asking. We have had HUGE support from sponsors who gave us huge amounts of money (ahem, Lifescan) and those who gave us really cool stuff like Specialized helmets, shoes, and optics, training from Diabetes Training Camp, spibelts, vitalyte, purefit bars, money to spend at the tri-sports store - just to name a few. But documentaries are expensive!

What we would like to do is make sure everyone who comes out on race day to support the team gets a free tshirt to wear - what's the point? A free tshirt? Well, no, actually. The point is, we want everyone out there racing to feel at home. We want them to feel the diabetic love. We want the film crew to be able to "spot" our fans for the documentary. We want our tshirts to show up all over the official Ironman video too of course!

Steve Ahn has been working with a supportive fan in the Boone, NC area who is trying to get us 500 tshirts! Imagine the course dotted with little Triabetes Iron-fans everywhere. Let's make it happen!
PS googling "giving" comes up with a lot of unsavory pictures of birthing....don't go there!