Monday, January 28, 2013

It Takes a Village: Slipstream 2013

1. The turbulent flow of air driven backward by the propeller or propellers of an aircraft. Also called race2.
2. The area of reduced pressure or forward suction produced by and immediately behind a fast-moving object as it moves through air or water.
intr.v. slip·streamed, slip·stream·ing, slip·streams
To drive or cycle in the slipstream of a vehicle ahead.
Photo courtesy of Mike Last Photography. Check out Mike's work at
It takes a village to create a Slipstream. It takes a village to create a community, as one person you never know if the vortex of wind left behind you is enough force to keep another person going. As one person you never know if your footsteps are clearing a path for someone coming up behind you. When you build your community, and you have others to support you when you need it, or you have others to follow you when you can lead you are never truly alone.

Ice breakers. Photo courtesy of Meredith Miller

This past weekend I attended the 5th Annual Winter Slipstream event put on by Connected in Motion. I had intense feelings and expectations for the weekend. I was incredibly nervous as it had been years since I had been in another camp environment, especially where I was not leading and facilitating. It had been years since I had been in a group of adult T1 diabetics who generally were kind, caring and overwhelmingly positive about diabetes. I had my reservations, but my goals are changing and I wanted to challenge myself to be a student, I wanted the challenge of stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my fears of new people judging me. 

Image Courtesy of Meredith Miller

I have intense fears of people judging me because of my weight, I know this is mostly in my head so I am working on it. I always think they will judge me because of how I look without knowing that no matter what I do, this is me because of my other health stuff outside of D. So yeah, going half way across the country to spend a weekend with incredible (mostly) athletes all living with diabetes was a big deal for me. Huge. I didn't sleep Thursday night due to anxiety actually. But I did it, and I am so glad I did.
Action shot. Image courtesy of Meredith Miller.
Something happens when a group of people with diabetes get together. The outside world tends to melt into distant thoughts and there is an intense focus on creating your community in the moment. At Slipstream everyone is encouraged to step out of their comfort zones (and just being there was doing that for me!). For some people stepping out of your comfort zone is being suspended 40 feet above the ground on a ropes course, for some people it is playing in the snow, for some it is admitting your blood sugar is high or low. No matter what your comfort zone was at Slipstream, you were dragged out of it by the collective Slipstream created by the other amazing people there.

Uhm. Broomball "champs"?

I discovered I have an deep passion for playing broomball, even if I ended up knocking over more people than scoring. I discovered that walking alone in the woods and hearing people laughing so loud they "are going to barf" (actual quote) is one of my favourite sounds. I discovered I CAN eat salad for every meal and still be happy. I also discovered that after a few beverages, running down an icy hill will probably lead to me falling hard on my butt, but laughing too hard to feel it (until a long-ass flight home the next day). I learned that some people bolus for every 100 calories of protein/saturated fat and that sleeping with wool socks on is the best idea ever.

Photo Courtesy of Meredith Miller

Photo Courtesy of Meredith Miller. Temporary Insanity courtesy of....

I am trying to think of a deep and meaningful way to wrap this post up. But only one thing comes to mind:

I just think that if I ever see a grown man in a children's chicken costume it will be too soon. (Because nobody can top Luke.)

Thank you for inviting me to be a part of your Slipstream, this community is something really special.


  1. Bahaha That last photo makes me laugh so loud! I look like a large smurf!!! Awesome post, Alanna!!

    1. You're totally encouraging the insanity. The suit just matched the situation! :)

  2. I love this! Looks like you guys had a BLAST! One day I will make it there.

    There's something so magical about being around like-minded people. That came through loud and clear in your post.

    1. Scott! There is talk in the air of our first Slipstream Weekend in the U S of A later this year! We should chat!! ;)

  3. Sounds like you had a great time! I want to do one of their Slipstreams, hopefully next winter. I also get nervous thinking about doing something like this and being out of my comfort zone, but I know that it will be so worth it in the end!!

  4. Awesome Alanna! It was awesome to meet you!
    I hope we welcomed you with open arms and non judgement! this is a family worth being a part of!

  5. "Creating your community in the moment". I like that. Glad you enjoyed your time there. Sounds like fun.