Karen was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in December 1979 at age 11. She is grateful to have left the days of urine testing and exchange diets behind in favor of finger sticks, carb counting and insulin pumping. She blogs at Bitter-Sweet and is an active member of the Diabetes Online Community. She also advocates offline and is involved with two local JDRF chapters. She shares a home in Connecticut with her husband, her cat, and a whole lot of yarn.
How do you define “Athlete”?
To me, an athlete is someone who makes a commitment to train regularly at some physical activity. I tend to look more at the consistency of training than at the level of skill, because we can’t all be pros but we can all be athletes.
What inspires you?
Personally, I’m inspired by progress. When my husband and I were training to run a 5K, I loved seeing how much farther we could run without a walking break as the weeks went by. It helped me want to keep working to improve every week.
How do you move past obstacles to your fitness goals?
This is a question that I’m still struggling to answer. I have a very hard time sticking to a consistent fitness routine. My greatest success was when I trained for and ran several 5Ks a couple of years ago. That worked because I signed up for them and paid the entry fees a few months in advance. Seeing the race date approaching on the calendar kept me from slacking off on my training. It also helps to find an activity you enjoy. My husband and I used to take ballroom dance lessons. It was a lot of fun and also a guarantee of 45 minutes of physical activity at our lesson each week. As our training progressed the routines got harder and we had sore muscles to prove it!
I like to knit, so often I will make a deal with myself that if I get all of my exercise in for a week I can spend Friday afternoon knitting and watching chick-flicks.
What is something about you that might surprise us?
I’m terrible at sports, probably because I’m kind of klutzy. But in high school I was one of the flag spinners in our marching band. It was very good exercise and a lot of fun, but I did manage to hit myself over the head with the flag on more than one occasion!
WILD stands for We Inspire Life with Diabetes. How do you GO WILD in your life?
I’m more of a rule-follower than a wild woman, but I do try to challenge myself to do something that scares me every so often. It’s such a rush when you do a great job at something you were petrified to do!
Editor’s note: I think Diabetes Blog Week is WILD!