Friday, March 13, 2009

Endurance Training Question #1: Diabetes

It might not logically flow that I'd be concerned about becoming diabetic as a result of training for RAO (Race Across Oregon). So I'll let you in on the brain connection game that led to diabetic paranoia:
  1. My dad, a runner, became a Type 1 diabetic within a year of running his first marathon.
  2. If it skips a generation, I'd still get slammed from my mom's side.
  3. If a list were made of the amount of food I shove through my face in a training week--or in a single, 200 mile ride day--the general population would be entirely grossed out.
  4. Let me rephrase that, the general active and healthy population would be entirely grossed out.
  5. My pancreas might have a genetic predisposition to becoming insulin resistant. Therefore, making it deal with 1000s more calories per day than a typical girl my size might catalyze the process of becoming insulin resistant.
In other words, I wanted to know if the massive workload of processing endless Powerbars, Gus, PB&Js, chocolate cake, etc... could possibly screw up my body's metabolic process.

Becci Twombley, Director of Sports Nutrition for UCLA, put my mind at ease when I spoke with her a few weeks ago.

Says Becci, "If you have a healthy pancreas, you have a healthy pancreas, and you can do a ton to it. The insulin resistance and stuff that we see is generally caused by weight gain."

Typically, excess fat alters the shape of the insulin receptors in the body, causing insulin resistance.

This was happy news to me, as the diminishing size of um...certain female parts that are the only female parts for which the motto, "Bigger is better!" usually rules, is proof I won't have issues with fat screwing over my body's ability to fuel monster workouts.

However, a article also cites a "strong genetic factor" as one of several causes of insulin resistance, along with stress.

I can't alter my genes, nor would I want to. I inherited some killer legs from padre, a fact that was confirmed today when I was hit on by a 70-year old German man while walking a friend's dog.

So I suppose the only thing left to do to ensure a safe continuation of monster workout fueling is to take up yoga. Or get one of those Pure Moods CDs.

Reaching a state of Zen will now be one of my RAO training goals, since doing "everything in moderation" (a practice that would keep my pancreas's abilities from ever being questioned) is obviously not.

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