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 about four degrees removed are presented on PowerPoint slides, with information on how you could (or shouldn’t) try similar methods at home. These are some of the strategies I’ve tried to discuss with my own endo, who gives me a blank face and says he’s never heard of them. Somehow, Dr. Matt has managed to not just learn about these strategies, but has seen them applied to patients and he’s eager to dish out the result.

But what I’ve told you about are just the bricks and mortar of DTC. By itself, it’s enough for anyone to want to go, but truth be told, if that’s the reason people go the first time, I’m not particularly convinced that’s why they come back.

They come back because the relationships developed are strong. Very strong. Casual acquaintances become friends by week’s end, and friends become brothers and sisters. From staff to camper, the unity is unlike any I’ve ever found before.

When I was racing for Team Type 1, it was a similar bond, but because we never spent more than a weekend together and we were always focused on that weekend’s race, the opportunity for a connection as deep as what occurs at DTC simply wasn’t there. If Team Type 1 helped me to do battle with diabetes, DTC teaches me that I don’t always need to be at war with it.

The close of camp involves everyone – staff and campers alike – gathering in a circle. You share what you want, as much or as little as you prefer and with no assigned topic. There are laughs. There are tears.

Some people – like myself – sense an obligation to drop in a line or two about “next year” or “next camp.” It’s a parlor trick, of sorts, because if I’m distracted by the next camp, I don’t need to face the reality that this one has come to an end.

But like all great experiences, DTC packs so much into it that it’s impossible to walk away empty-handed. From relationships to training strategies and tactics, there is more than enough to take away with you to be okay with leaving.

It won’t be enough to carry us forever, we think, but it’s enough to get us started. And with a great start, who knows where we’ll finish?

Comments

  1. Does DTC also welcome people living with Type 2 Diabetes?

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