After using a Medtronic insulin pump since 1995, I did something I never thought I’d do: I switched pumps. On December 15th, 2011, I went into unchartered territory and began to use the OmniPod. OmniPod is a tubeless “Pod” style pump made by the Insulet Corporation. www.myomnipod.com It is smaller than a normal pump and can be worn on the stomach, arms, lower back, buttocks or legs. So far so good. I have been extremely happy with the Omnipod and require less insulin than I used to because I never detach. I feel that my work outs are better now and I am more comfortable in my daily routine.
In April of this year, I decided sign up for run my first “Mudder” race called the Rugged Maniac. www.ruggedmaniac.com. The Rugged Maniac is a 5K mud run full of military-style obstacles, designed by British Special Forces. These included steep inclines, 8 foot walls that need to be scaled, 12 and 30-foot ladder climbs, 6-foot over-under barricades, 3-foot tunnel crawls, rope climbs, barbed wire crawls, mud slides and a 3.2 mile track covered in thick mud.
The Rugged Maniac took place on July 15th, so I had a few months to prepare with the Omnipod. Some people train for this type of event in terms of “Will I finish?” or “Will I have the strength or stamina to complete the obstacles?” I approached my training much differently. I knew the distance was manageable. I knew the obstacles were going to be challenging, but doable. The wild card for me was, Would my pod be able to handle the mud?
On the day before the race, I put on a new Pod and moved placed it my lower back, not on my stomach where the previous one had sat. Normally, I would used my arms next (I alternate sites systematically) but I skipped them on this rotation. I did this because I felt that the back was the most secure spot to place the pod. I hoped no one would bump into it there, and that other equipment wouldn’t catch on it and rip it off. I’ve had a few experiences in the gym where I was doing exercises and due to my negligence, my pod got caught on a piece of equipment and ripped off my arm. I wanted to avoid that.
For three full months I had nightmares about my pod coming off during the race. My wife said to me one morning at 3 a.m., “What is the worst that happens? It comes off? Big Deal! You put another one on after you clean up post-race. Go to bed!”
Well, the race started, I ran, and I got MUDDY! Everything was fine until I had to crawl under barbed wire into a four foot mud pool. My heart sank a bit. I was really worried that the pod would not survive and if it did, the site would somehow get infected. To me, the fear of having something go wrong, like an infected site, and having to go to the doctor all over a stupid race was really messing with my head.
I completed the race with my pod still attached. After I showered, I asked my wife look at the pod and give me her impression. How bad did it look? “It looks normal,” she said. “The tape is a bit browner, but everything else looks okay.” I asked her if she could see fluid or water in the pod window. She told me all she saw was the normal condensation that she’s seen before after I’ve exercised. Still in panic mode, I asked her to be a 100% sure that she saw no mud in the window. I even yelled at her to check. She looked at it one more time and said really loudly, “Oh My God!” I started to get a bit queasy. She then laughed and told me I was being ridiculous.
I was relieved, and at the risk of sounding like an ad for OmniPod I think it’s an incredible device. I even sent a letter to them thanking them for making such a sturdy product. I knew the pod was waterproof up to 25 feet, but now I know officially that the pod is mudder-proof. I have since taken it in the ocean to boogie board, have been white water rafting with it, in and out of tubes in a water park, and I even took it in the Delaware River for some pretty cool Yolo boarding.
I can’t wait until my next race, the Spartan Race. www.spartanrace.com It is another mudder, but it’s a 10K. This time around, though, when I train I won’t be worrying about whether or not my pod can handle the mud. I will be saying to myself, “The pod will be fine, train for strength and stamina so you can finish.”