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  • Writer's pictureErin Spineto

Coming Up Short

We finished our One Drop Caicos adventure hiking, paddling, swimming, and cycling in July 2017. These are stories from that adventure.


In the world of diabetes, we all shoot for that magical blood sugar of 100. We post pictures of our meters when they spit out that perfect number. We celebrate with out friends with high-fives and Woot-Woots. We finally feel like we’re good enough.

But, why? What is so great about 100? Isn’t a blood sugar of 99 better than a 100? Isn’t a 105 just as good?

Sure, it is, but we still shoot for that perfect 100.

And, sadly to say, most of the time we don’t hit our goal. We go over it. We go under it. Sometimes, we triple or quadruple it.


The One Drop Caicos adventure is the third adventure of mine where I have set up a goal of hitting 100+ miles. And each time I have come up short for one reason or another. On my 100-mile solo sail in the Florida Keys a small craft advisory made it nearly impossible to finish the last seven miles to reach the far end of Key West on the final day of my adventure. Instead, I spent the day covering the island on bike.

Party Bus Loading

On our 100-mile stand up paddle up the Intracoastal Waterway in North and South Carolina, we were run off the waterway one afternoon by thunderstorms that didn’t let up until after dark. We were forced to stuff our twelve-foot paddle boards into a party bus to drive the last eight miles to our hotel that night.

Each time, we made a decision to stay safe instead of covering the miles. When you plan an adventure, you make these great plans of what the perfect adventure will be. But it is just a plan. And in the wild things can and do go wrong. I have never been on an adventure where some aspect of our plans didn’t change.


On our One Drop Caicos trip just a few weeks back, we had to make another plan change. A few days before we left, one of my teammates called me worried about the Zika outbreak in Turks and Caicos.

When doing research for this trip, I noticed the Zika warning but didn’t think much about it since I was done having kids. What I failed to notice was that two of my teammates were still young and had yet to have kids. For them, Zika could be a big threat to their future children.

And no one wants to get sick in a foreign country with limited medical care on top of having Type 1 diabetes.

So we had to limit our exposure as best we could. The best way to prevent Zika is to limit your exposure to mosquitoes, which meant we had to stay near the populated areas of the country, where there would be regular spraying for the buggars, and be indoors before dusk. This meant some major changes to our itinerary.

We did the best we could to modify our routes and the times we would leave or finish. Sometimes the limited daylight meant we had to shorten a leg or two. Sometimes wind direction and the layout of the land dictated the changes we made.

But going on these adventures isn’t about hitting a magical mileage number any more than taking care of diabetes is about hitting a blood sugar of 100. It is about doing the best we can and always trying to push ourselves to do even better than we did yesterday.

And we did just that. Over the six months of training leading up to this trip, we got stronger and fitter. We increased our skills in a sport that was fairly new to some of us. And we each learned things about how our bodies respond to insulin and exercise.

During our expedition, we pushed each other to go harder and longer. We pushed ourselves into situations we weren’t quite sure we could handle. We fought of sun and heat and seasickness. We tried to sleep through the hundreds of Dexcom low alarms that went off from our three Dexcoms each night.

We set up huge goals and set out to reach them. And it doesn’t matter that we didn’t get to prove all of our training by completing the 120 miles. We came out way ahead of where we would have been if we had never tried at all.

It's the same with diabetes. We may not always hit our perfect 100. But as long as we are constantly trying to do this thing we call diabetes better than yesterday we are doing well.

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