Guest Post: Tiffany at Camp WILD.

Although Camp WILD, a project of Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes), was going on in our “backyards” this weekend, neither Tiffany nor I were able to attend the full four-day package due to other commitments. Mari Ruddy allowed us to let us sit in on some activities, meals, and lectures in exchange for running errands (in Tiffany’s case) and doing some press releases for the TeamWild Ironman team (in my case). And in both cases, Mari would like us to promote our own experiences with Team Wild as women with type 2 diabetes, a demographic that has been difficult for Mari to reach so far.

A member of the cycling team this summer, Tiffany spent several more hours than I did at Camp Wild on Friday (oh day job!), and her write-up on her Facebook page inspired me so much I asked if I could post it here. So, here she is, completely unedited…

I am a Type 2 diabetic. I am not embarrassed or ashamed, although I do know a number of people whom are. I determined when diagnosed 7 years ago that I was not going to play the victim, accept, educate and move on. I have done this for the most part, tweaking my diet to keep a reasonable amount of control and using medications now and then when I struggle with control. One element of the disease that I know is important for care and management is exercise. I am the first person to tell you that exercise is not my thing. I’d much prefer to be a lazy butt at home reading a good book, sewing a quilt, or sitting in the sunshine with my knitting. While these are enjoyable and relaxing, they don’t help my physical well being.

At the end of last year I shared with a couple of friends on Facebook that I wanted to learn to like exercise, partly to help with my diabetes but also because I thought it might help me with my mental well being. Laurie and Ana were both kind enough to give me some things I might consider and encourage me to reach out and take some bold steps. I felt as if I was the only fat woman in the world and everyone was going to laugh at me, so I needed something different. They told me about an athletic team that began here in the Denver area (although it is national and soon to be international) specifically for diabetic women, Team WILD (Women Inspiring Life with Diabetes). I thought what the heck, I can do this. Initially I decided to sign up for a general fitness group that would teach me how to get moving and the intricacies of exercise and diabetes nutrition. While awaiting the start of the season I began to realize that I really didn’t need general fitness I somehow needed to tackle the monsters in my head and set myself up for a bigger challenge with a more specific goal. I spoke with Mari Ruddy, the founder of Team WILD and we determined that the cycling team was a better option. This gave birth to a whole new side of life, competitive cycling (although I am more of a finisher than a competitor).

With the help of Team WILD I am training to ride a Metric Century this August. It is apropos that I am riding in the Colorado Tour de Cure to raise money and diabetes awareness. Using suggestions from Coach Nicole Freedman I drug myself out of the house and bought a road bike that I absolutely love.. I was fitted the bike and told how to outfit myself so that I could actually start to feel like the cyclist I will become. This spring we started Team Training calls in which other members of the WILD Cycling team meet over the phone/internet with Nicole Freedman to discuss our training. Admittedly I have struggled a great deal with my training. Whether it is finding a sitter to watch the kids, balancing nausea with increased exercise, or struggling up hills I have struggled to get myself on my bike. Sometimes I lack confidence. I even at times have doubted the benefits of joining Team WILD and what it was really going to help me with. Yesterday my fears were completely put to rest.

Part of Team WILD’s offerings is a 4 day fitness camp. I was unable to participate the entire weekend due to a variety of commitments, but with some encouragement from Mari I cleared my schedule and attended the afternoon and evening sessions on the first full day of camp. I cannot emphasize enough how glad I am to have taken this bold step. I learned an incredible amount of information about myself and what I can do with a little bit of effort on my bike. While I still have some Monster’s sitting on my shoulders telling me all the reasons that I can’t do something, thanks to Carrie Cheadle’s coaching I now have some strategies for putting those monster’s to bed. I gained so much more confidence from my teammates and coaches helping me to put into perspective that I am actually stronger than I realized. With Marcey Robinson’s help and expertise I have some tools to approach balancing my exercise with the needs of my Type 2 diabetes. She also gave me some strategies to consider while training and desiring to lose some poundage. I learned more about my bike and how to use it to its full potential from Olympic Cyclist Nicole Freedman. While I am not completely over my fear of using toe clips, I know that if I fall I also can get right back on and master a new skill. I learned new terms like “masher” and “spinner” and actually know the benefits of one over the other which has just broadened my biking world. That monster telling me I can’t climb hills is still there, but I know now how to put the monsters in my head to rest.

For me motivation will always be a huge issue. I am not a person that automatically feels better after exercising, honestly I typically feel like crap. I accept that if I want to become healthier as I approach my 40′s than I was in my 20′s and 30′s I need to get out of my comfort zone and move. Meeting other women who struggle with diabetes was very beneficial. I have a number of friends that suffer from their own diabetes issues and I want to tell you right now, no matter your type of diabetes, or your denial that you even have diabetes, you can with help and encouragement from others become an athlete and improve your own health. Team WILD is here for you as it has been for me. I am ready to grow with the help of Team Wild, do you want to join me?

Thank you, Tiffany, for sharing your story. There is a special fall session of WildFit (the program in which I am participating) beginning in September and I hope to see a few more women with type 2 step up to the challenge. 

Posted on June 27, 2011, in Diabetes, Fitness. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Scott K. Johnson

    Way to go Tiffany! I’m so glad that team WILD is encouraging, empowering, and enabling you to get out there and have fun while getting healthier! Go you!!

  2. diabetic supplies

    Thanks for sharing your story Tiffany. It is nice that there are support systems like Team WILD. Women for women, I love it!


Leave a Reply


Please log in to to post a comment to your blog.

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. (Log Out)

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. (Log Out)

Connecting to %s