My name is Alex. I am an engineer, an endurance athlete and a type 1 diabetic.
I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1996 and I have been living, training and competing with diabetes ever since. Living with type 1 diabetes is challenging in its own right but throw physical activity in and it’s a roller coaster of blood sugar levels, emotions and hospital visits. This has never stopped me jumping in head first though.
I decided to create Type1Athletic after struggling to find an easily accessible resource to help me manage my diabetes effectively and pursue my athletic ambitions. There is a wealth of medical information available about being active with type 1 diabetes but translating this into day to day life is very challenging. Through my experiences I have established simple rules and strategies which allow me to train and compete on par with non-diabetic athletes and I want to share these with all type 1 diabetics facing these same challenges.
In March 2015 I completed the Melbourne Ironman, without question the toughest event I have ever completed.
My journey to Ironman Melbourne started in mid-2014 with a training and race plan which I believed would allow me to achieve my race goal of sub-10 hours. I love training and pushing my limits and I figured that I’d just follow the training plan and I’d get the ironman done. I never expected to face all of the medical, physical and mental challenges which I did but I came out of the experience stronger, more passionate and wiser about training, competing and living with diabetes.
I discovered during my Ironman journey that for every issue I faced there was not a straight forward answer, and I was having to discover how to manage my diabetes with daily training, work and recovery as I was going.
Issues which I regularly faced (and still face) included:
- Maintaining stable blood sugar levels around and during training
- Appropriate basal rate for training and racing
- Getting my nutrition intake and timing right for fueling and recovery
- Balancing eating and insulin whilst exercising
- Managing my weight and achieving a race weight
- Wearing an insulin pump (swimming, cycling and running)
- Blood testing on the go (cycling)
- Using a CGM (continuous glucose monitor)
- Understanding bolus insulin dose during exercise
- Managing diabetes stress
Every diabetic faces these challenges and for every one you overcome another is revealed. There will always be challenges, but through Type1Athletic I hope you can find the tools and support to help you achieve your goals.