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Showing posts from June, 2014

Diabetes Training Camp - A Coach's Review, Part V - All the Rest

The first four posts of the blog this week were to tell you about the DTC experience from my perspective, the ultimately limited lens of a running coach. But so much more happens beyond the trails and ex-phys testing.

There are mental skills lectures, lead by author and all-around superstar Carrie Cheadle. If she’s not the first to figure out that the mental make-up necessary to deal with diabetes mirrors that required by athletes, she’s at least the one who’s getting the most mileage out of it. Carrie’s talks are riveting and the campers gobble them up with gusto.

A team of dieticians are on-hand, too, with lessons in how to fuel the diabetic athlete, complete with taste tests and grocery store trips. Put carb counting on steroids and you begin to scratch the surface of what DTC offers for those interested in learning.

And, as mentioned previously, the medical skills lectures are simply on a higher plane than anything I’ve found anywhere else. Tactics and tricks you might have heard …

Diabetes Training Camp, A Coach's Perspective, Part IV - A Little Better

Last year, my first year at Diabetes Training Camp, they added something new, courtesy of Rob Powell, a CDE who’s also an exercise physiologist. What they added was a series of tests so that one could benchmark their current ability in terms of aerobic endurance, flexibility and core strength.

Last year, I had confirmed my existence as a one-trick pony with a stellar performance in the 1.5 mile run, followed by outright failures in everything else. And I don’t mean poor performances, either. I mean, I failed to register on the charts for flexibility and core strength. I attribute this to the fact that at the time I was spending exactly zero time on flexibility and core strength. Funny how those tests work.

Going into the 1.5 mile run, I didn’t really have an interest in going all-out. Coming off a marathon three weeks prior, I knew where I was fitness-wise, and coming two days off a 20+ mile training run, I knew a peak performance was unlikely. I finished it in 9:27, good enough for V…

Diabetes Training Camp: A Coach's Perspective, Part III - The First Run

Everyone is nervous for the first run or ride or swim of camp. Here’s why:

The campers are concerned that they will be the slow ones, the huffers and puffers holding back the fit and the fast. The fact that nobody is concerned that they will be the fit the fast says something about human nature and how we all have a tendency to underestimate our abilities.

The coaches aren’t concerned about having huffers and puffers along with the fit and the fast. That’s how things always are. And as for me, I know that where you are in the pack often says more about the genetic stuff your parents gave you than what you’ve done with it. But myself and the other coaches are concerned that the gap between the two groups is small enough that we can provide coaching, support or guidance at any point, and that everyone feels safe and accomplished throughout the workout.

The med staff on the workouts also walk a fine line. They want the campers to feel safe but also want to encourage them to experiment. A…

Diabetes Training Camp – A Coach’s Review, Part II

“I’m heading over to the track for some 400s. Want to join me?”

I glanced at my watch. It was 9:30AM. I was scheduled to make up DTC camper beds at 10AM. I was dressed for the latter, not the former. My legs were heavy from the previous day’s twenty-one mile run and I hadn’t planned on running on this day, the day the campers would arrive after lunch.

“Sure,” I said. “Give me two minutes to change,” and a half hour later I was coming back from the track with two-time Ironman Lyndsay Riffe. We made the campers’ beds up, doing our best not the drip sweat on their clean sheets.

Immediately, I was brought back to one of the purposes of camp, which was to not let a moment, or thirty minutes in this case, go to waste. Lyndsay is one of the best I know at filling any vacuum of time with activity. The fact that her workouts didn’t often make sense (as the time I caught her inserting planks into a stretching routine) are more a symptom of her spontaneity than any lack of knowledge about how to…

Diabetes Training Camp - A Coach's Review - Part 1

Last week, I participated in my second Diabetes Training Camp at Franklin & Marshall College in my home of Lancaster, PA. The fact that the only camp of this type is four miles from my home is just coincidence, though I was reminded by a friend recently that there are no such thing as coincidences, so we’ll leave it at that.

Though it seems incredibly difficult to condense the week’s worth of learnings, emotions and activities into a cohesive review, it also seems a worthy challenge. If a prospective attendee finds value in these words, great. If an alumni of the camp can look upon these thoughts and be reminded of their own high-points, all the better. But in the end, I’m really writing these posts for me, so that I can capture my memories while they remain fresh.

To the reader, it’s important you know my role in all of this, small as it was. Among a staff of a dozen or so, I’m the Running Coach, a position I picked up a year ago. I’m a member of the Coaching team, which comprise…