Get to know Miranda Phillips

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“Previously I had tried running, and always came back having completed an excruciating five minute run followed by a 25 minute walk of despair and shame”

Rider in the mHealth Grand Tour 2014 - Barcelona to Vienna. 2300km ride, 33000m of climb.

Moi

I grew up healthily enough until the age of 11 but was diagnosed with Type 1 on Christmas Eve 1999, having gradually deteriorated over several months into a skinny invalid child. Not the best Christmas present I ever received and almost as underwhelming for my family. I got out of hospital a week later on New Year’s eve and watched the Millennium fireworks with my sister and parents. I don’t remember rebelling in my teens but looking back, my HbA1C’s were fairly abysmal and I think I went from one week to the next without testing my blood glucose. Although I did get involved with plenty of activities, I didn’t enjoy intense exercise because I didn’t have the required cardiac fitness, so I didn’t do any.

Getting Fitter

At Uni in 2006 I decided to get fit and so I followed a precursor of the Couch-2-5K program, which I wholeheartedly recommend for the tentative beginner to sports and exercise. It was a revelation for me, as previously I had tried running, and always came back having completed an excruciating five minute run followed by a 25 minute walk of despair and shame. I completed my first 5k race for life a few years later, and realised that having an event to train for was a great motivator. Even if you don’t do enough training, you always do more than you would have done without the target to aim for.

Why?

Sadly all the physical evidence indicates I eat far too much food to avoid having a huge backside. I find exercise the best help in this battle against the backside, which is probably the main reason I own a bike, am in a triathlon club, cycled to Paris this year, and signed up for this little pootle from Barcelona to Vienna. In addition, I love the capacity of sport and exercise to bring people together. I know a network of great people through volunteering at the cycling club, the triathlon club, at the local parkrun, even through going to weightwatchers and the gym.

More specifically, my friend Simon (also Type 1) did the first Grand Tour last summer from Brussels to Barcelona and was so enthusiastic on his return that I wanted to take part this time. It is an awesome challenge and with a few weeks to go until we set off, I ask myself why I thought I should cycle 2300km, climbing 33,000metres, in 15 days..? I can’t recall, but somehow I’ll make it, I hope.

Knowing more

This year I attended the Animas Sports Weekend at Loughborough University, which was excellent as I heard a lot about the science of Type 1 and exercise, and was given strategies to manage my blood glucose before, during and after exercise. Even better, I met loads of other Type 1’s and was inspired by their stories and ambitions. I hope to spend more time with other type 1’s in future. The shared experience is inconspicuously absent from my other friendships, so I value the time I get in the company of others like myself.

These days I do alright at maintaining an acceptably low HbA1C with the assistance of my trusty insulin pump. The pump is extremely useful when you’re exercising regularly and for long periods, as you can drop the basal rate temporarily, which is not possible on multiple daily injections. A year on from getting the pump (and 15 from getting this condition) Type 1 is still a huge challenge and I need to keep better records so I can discern the subtler patterns in my blood glucose levels, especially when alternating between exercising and resting. Thankfully on the Grand Tour, there will be no resting to mess up the ratios

Future

I am going to find a training contract to qualify as a solicitor and put all my legal qualification to use, in place of my current job as an account manager at an IT company.

I hope to establish a parkrun on Ilkley Moor near my home. I’m currently looking for the remainder of the funds required to set it up.

I will focus on improving my swim technique over the winter. I hope to discuss my future exercise plans with my ride buddies as we make my way through the Pyrenees and the Alps

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