There’s this superficial feeling I get, when I am validating myself by taking type 1 diabetes out 20km from nowhere while putting my body through some military type obstacles.
“Self-awareness is a supreme gift, a treasure as precious as life…. this is what makes us human but it comes with a costly price: the wound of mortality. Our existence is forever shadowed by the knowledge that we will grow, blossom and inevitably, diminish and die” Yalom
When I look back at my Keto journey, it really is my OCR (Obstacle course racing journey) at the same time….. There’s this superficial feeling I get, when I am validating myself by taking type 1 diabetes out 20km from nowhere while putting my body through some military type obstacles…..It’s as if I’m doing things most other people are afraid to do, while being at the mercy of an overpriced medical machine and drug that I have to love and hate simultaneously. It is a feat to come out of every obstacle course race unscathed.
What a human thing it is to love. It is the music of the human experience and I get to embrace it after all these years of not feeling human anymore…… and maybe that is why I haven’t quit yet.
Some days, type1 diabetes is a real kick in the ass. It feels like being in prison, confined because of an arbitrary genetic flick of a switch. It’s not just a physical condition, it’s mental. As someone who hates being confined by a set of routines, rules and instructions…… I struggle so bad inside my head….. Some days it’s so dark that the only light I can see is looking back to the moments I’ve captured when I felt something other than smothered, when I’ve found a way to break the monotonous routine of trying to keep myself alive. However, I have slowly learnt the importance of planning, writing things down, forming collations and learning from mistakes…. Keto was like starting all over again, remembering what it felt like to want to get it right.
Most people living with diabetes would know about the dreaded diary word…. But of course my number one supporter would often request for me to please write my diabetes diary every now and then, especially when he notices that things are going more wrong than right ….. A diary allows you to try keep on top of it (review, reflect, adjust….)…… I of course try to hold my eyes forward as they start rolling back into my head (just to view everything I need to think of, so that I can write it down…) that dreaded diary I think….. the paper that holds you accountable for not thinking about everything….. especially when you look back and 23 years of diabetes means you pretty much aware of almost everything but tend to forget some of it….. so there are plenty moments of…. oh shit the milk carbs…. the extra fat insulin delay….. the extra insulin half way through training because Claude had that evil smile on his face and now my adrenaline gland kicked in.
Once I started to get the hang of the keto lifestyle, I was then able to start focusing more on training and racing….. slowly one step at a time, I started to learn about adrenaline and the havoc it was going to play in my life. Each race was a learning curve.
My approach to life is a little like my training….. make the goal and then keep at it no matter the number of failures…. eventually you will figure out the technique to make it work….. and then the goal changes and we start again…. OCR preps you for life….. the more races you do the longer that list of things you have to get right for the next one becomes….. like a list of things to do to successfully adult….. but the lessons are so much easier to read in OCR than in life….. as I slowly learn that the idea of ever being fully prepped might be a delusion as each race comes up with a whole different set of challenges to overcome and the more you try to prep the more you realize that there will always be something to teach you that life is about having grit and being willing to push yourself to the limit…. the races are really just the small things in life…. it’s about loving the training…. pushing through all the obstacles that are thrown at you….. sometimes I see a 35 obstacles warrior race and I’m going ya right…. more like 135 obstacles if we add in all the unplanned obstacles….. so why carry one…. I guess it’s about being drawn to the impossible…. what type of achievement would it be if it was easy……. if you couldn’t do one obstacle but managed the other 134 getting there…. is it still failure….. why is failure so uncomfortable….when it teaches the best lessons in life….
I value those moments I lay there swearing at myself because it was those moments that brought the bigger picture into perspective….. it was those moments which reminded me why I must not cry when it feels like too much hard work….. because without trying I would not be able to slowly step by step push that boundary…..
I often find myself looking for bigger challenges to test my limits but at the same time to experiment with the effectiveness of the keto diet in conjunction with insulin pump therapy. Simply put, I want more freedom from my diabetes. So far, I constantly find myself experimenting a lot…. with many failures between the success…. and to be honest, I’ve been a little afraid to keep pushing–because the further it enables me to go, the bigger the consequences may be. I’m often finding myself constantly stuck between the terror of flying too close to the sun and staying on the ground looking up at the open sky with resentment……
There have been many races where I felt like I pushed my body to what was its max…… when this happens I learn a lot about how much more I can do than I realize but at the same time I know that I have faced many challenges which could have ended far worse than they did….. As long as I come out with a list of things I would do differently next time then it will always be worth it.
For me, health comes above training/ racing, despite all the challenges I have faced trying to figure this out and the challenges that I will continue to face….. my blood work has never looked this good and I do not recall a time that I felt this healthy….. I might not have all my ducks in a row, but I have found the ducks which is one step closer. Nothing is easy in life…. everything needs sacrifices and time to invest…we all have to face our own will, our own desires…. searching for ourselves…. between escaping and fighting we will eventually learn to embrace the moment and the task at hand.
The decision to give the Keto diet a chance was a hard one, the medical team was half hearty onboard which meant that the support was not really there…. I knew I couldn’t do it without support…. but I had absolutely no confidence in my own abilities…..That was the point where AOT became more than training….. but the approach to my health was completely different….. instead of holding my hand and telling me how to take my life back….. Trish and Claude created an empowering environment through their leadership style….. they gave me a safe space to learn and practice the skills I needed at both training and with Keto…. at every turn, they guided me to believe that I had the answers to everything I needed to know…. They empowered me to take back all that the medical system had removed…….
We all fight different battles….. some chosen….. some given…… and while we have to focus on the positives it doesn’t mean the negatives don’t exist……. not many people consider how strongly influential the people around you can be towards either making you feel isolated in your battle or acknowledging the challenges while supporting you to continue to fight another day…….As an athletic community, Keto was promoted by Trish and Claude to us but never forced…. Within this those who were interested joined together to create a keto support group, where everyone could learn from others, ask questions, share recipes and support each other. One of the most amazing things I learnt on this group, was that we were all in it, learning together…. Keto was an experiment where things went wrong, and we all had our turn…. Getting rations wrong, running out of energy, putting on muscle mass (when you didn’t want to), fluctuating cholesterol levels, epic cooking failures….
For the first time in my life, food changed to a positive experience…. Social events always had carb and non-carb options, sugar and non-sugar…… The entire atmosphere had changed, there was more of a fight for the keto doughnuts than the chocolate cake….the guilt around food and eating had changed to a discussion on what else can be baked and enjoyed.