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Help me raise money for diabetes research! For every foot of Mount Rainier, donate one-thousandth of a cent! ($14.41). To donate, click on the link above or send me an email at ClimbfortheCure@gmail.com. After expedition costs, all funds will be allocated to the American Diabetes Association. If you represent a private or a public sponsor, or if you are also wishing to make a donation, send me an email with the subject line SPONSORSHIP. Your help will get me to the top of Mt Rainier! Thank you, and wish me luck with my journey!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Weeks 4 and 5: Hurts... So... Good...

Over and over again, I am astonished at the levels of physical exertion to which I am able to push myself. Admittedly, I've harbored the deeply buried and shameful idea that being a diabetic makes me more brittle than a non-diabetic. I am proving to myself that this is wrong.

Which, of course, is staggeringly life-changing. Though I've always believed that I should be just as physically capable as a non-diabetic, I never thought I actually was. Since the beginning of my training in January, noticeable changes have been appearing in my physicality, performance, and appearance. This is truly an achievement for both myself and diabetics everywhere; to know that the condition does not have to dictate your abilities. Attitude and discipline are everything.

This past week or so was intense. As my climbing technique, strength and stamina are all increasing and developing steadily, I conquered my most challenging climbs ever at the rock gym; a couple of 5.9's a few times and one 5.10! I'm not at all solidly on that level yet, though, because even some 5.7's challenge me. I am hoping to master 5.9's very solidly within the next couple of months so that I can learn to sport lead, a much more demanding and dangerous style of rock climbing.

To feel my body changing is very exciting, and it's almost at a rate too fast for my consciousness and awareness to maintain. When I am up on the rock wall, my muscles feel much stronger than I can ever remember, and I'm moving in ways I don't fully understand. My creativity in climbing movements is surprising me, and it's encouraging to feel myself improving in my skill and ability. Needless to say, I'm still in the honeymoon phase of my physical training.

This last weekend was perhaps my most physically demanding of all. I managed to do a 7-mile hike over very rocky terrain with a 44-lb. pack (approximately 32% of my body weight) that lasted about 4 hours. Three days later, and my gluteus maximus is hurting so very, very good. Buns of Steel's got nothin' on that hike.


The hiking crew and I, far left. I'm the dipstick with the massive pack.

If that weren't tortuous enough, I just had to go climbing at the rock gym immediately afterward to bag those tough aforementioned climbs. Whoo dillay! I am hurtin' from my ankles, to my calves and things, to my back, shoulders, forearms, and everywhere in between. I need some aspirin, a massage, and perhaps a punch in the face for having lost my mind. Does anyone know a good masseuse/ dojo/ pharmacy?

Truth be told, I loved every minute of the grueling agony of physical exhaustion, and I had even more energy left over. In fact, I wanted to push myself further, but enough is enough! There is always time for more masochism later...

Since that hike, my blood sugar has practically resolved itself. In the graph, take a look at the last third of the readings. Those are my blood sugar results since the hike and following climbs. It may not be easy to see, but my blood sugar finds a much tighter range, with one high reading of 285.



This is a breakthrough in my understanding of how exercise affects my metabolism, and I'm excited for the good news. Also, I blasted through all of my emergency sugar while on the hike, so I can't be too careful about that. I'd rather carry too much than too little, and that's a lesson I don't ever want to have to learn the hard way.

Lastly, I will be doing a late winter climb of Mount Washington come March. Weather conditions ought to be crushingly cold and windy, perhaps below zero and >40 mph winds. I can't wait! What a great opportunity for me to get some instruction and experience with snow travel, crampons, ice axes, and self-arrest. Also, I'll be anxious to see how my glucometer and insulin will fare in such harsh conditions. I'd rather make some mistakes and learn from them on Mt Washington than Mt Rainier.

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