Diabetes Training Camp - Something of a Review - Part 1

I'm starting this blog post with a vague title because I'm 100% certain I'll miss something critical. After a week filled to the brim with amazing experiences, real life comes hurtling at me immediately with 10 to 11 client meetings interspersed with 4 or 5 internal meetings and a video shoot this week. The fault of this is my own, as next week is a vacation week. Still, it's somewhat daunting, if exhilarating.

I've known about DTC for a few years, but was never able to get the stars to align until this year. Two years ago, I was chasing a Boston qualifying marathon time and was burning vacation days traveling for Team Type 1. Last year, I was interested, but had scheduled vacation the same week. This year, everything clicked.

My "job" at the camp was assistant coach in charge of running, choosing the routes and offering insights about the simplest of all sports. But secretly, I had agendas, too. I knew the camp would offer a variety of athletic experiences, and if anyone has ever become a one trick pony, it's me. I run. I don't stretch. I don't cross-train (unless I'm injured, and haven't been seriously in quite some time). The result, I suspect, is similar to if you see an old piano that has the ivory rubbed off of 15% of the the keys. It sounds good, but it's definitely not reaching its potential.

The camp also would have a full contingent of dieticians, medical staff and mental coaches. In terms of dieticians, I knew I could learn something. In terms of medical, I wasn't sure. In terms of mental, I like to think I am tough, but I also believe that if you're into ultras, having some new tricks in the bag isn't the worst thing.

I arrived at camp on Sunday for a half day of staff training, which for me had two basic purposes: get to the know the rest of the staff (60% were returning, 40% of us were new) and review bios of the campers so we knew what to expect.

The ice breakers were effective in getting conversation flowing, but at the same time, I could tell almost immediately they would be largely unnecessary. The people on this staff were bright. Very bright. As mentioned, most of them were experienced. Being a diabetic camp, half were diabetic. Simply put, there wasn't much need to find common ground, as it was abundant. It was just about making sure we were all aware of how close we were.

I clung a little closer that first day to the other sports coaches - head coach Rick Crawford and cycling coach bike fitter (and T1) Grant Curry. Rick's bio speaks for itself - he's a pro's pro, whose triathlon career included chasing seconds behind Scott Tinley. He's not a diabetic but has coached some of the best of them. As for Grant, he's turned a love of cycling into a bike fitting career. Both had been with DTC since the beginning, so I leaned on them to help me know what to expect.

I also talked a lot w/ Rob Powell, a near-PhD brought in for fitness testing. Simply put, I love that kind of crap and I was eager to learn about what that process would look like at this camp.

Quietly to myself I geeked out a bit about being on the same team as Lyndsay Riffe. If you're active in the diabetic community, you know about Lyndsay's accomplishments, and I was very much looking forward to working with her.

But even aside from the the diabetic celebrities, the team cohesiveness started immediately. I remember Dana bringing me a Diet Coke, probably 10 minutes after we'd met. I remember Lauri greeting me with a hug the moment we met.

After several hours of planning, the group headed to Iron Hill Brewery for a dinner. I sat beside mental coach Carrie Cheadle, and quizzed her about the minds of her ultra running clients. But even then, I remember thinking that this group was incredible and I wish I had the time to have a private dinner with each one of them.

But truth be told, even with all of that, I had drastically underestimated the effect the week would have on me. Though I'm a little ashamed to admit it, I remember Dr. Matt (who I'll cover in a follow-up post) saying that he'd like as many of us as possible to remain at camp through closing on Saturday and I remember thinking, "Well, we'll see. There's a race Saturday morning I had on my schedule that I was kind of looking forward to." But by the time Saturday rolled around, I would be very much at camp, taking the group for one last unscheduled run, remaining to the very end, and wishing it didn't have to.

How I got to that point will be in the next post.


  1. Sounds like an amazing experience, Marcus! Isn't it absolutely magical to be surrounded by so many incredible people?


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