Monday, April 27, 2009

Directionally Challenged

I have no sense of direction. If you ask me what way north is, I would tell you I have no idea. Since I cannot tell north from south or east or west, traveling is sometimes a bit difficult for me. When I moved to Ohio, I learned to navigate the city fairly easily. I know the major interstates I take, and everything is pretty much located off of them. I have been lost my fair share of times, but nothing too bad.

This weekend, in preparation for the Flying Pig, I decided it would be beneficial to take a drive down to Cincinnati to check out the route. I wanted to see how big the hills were from miles 5 to 8, through the Eden Park district. Knowing that the Reds were in town and the race starts by their stadium, I wanted to make sure I left early enough to miss the baseball traffic. When I got in my car to start my drive, I thought I was in good shape. I had the directions, the half marathon course, and felt ready to go.

Then, I started driving. I have only been to Cincinnati two other times, although both have been to the suburbs, and not the city. As I continued my drive along I-75 through Cincy, I thought in my head I should be getting off soon. I stayed on, and eventually my exit came up. I got off, only to find tons of people and policemen everywhere. When I am situations like this, I get super nervous. The street I was supposed to turn on was blocked by the numerous moms and their strollers (I think there must have been some type of walk, but I am not sure). I began to panic in my head, fearing I would get lost in Cincy (ah!). Plus, there are a lot of one-way streets, which also confuse me.

At that moment, I saw a sign for I-71. I decided to get on I-71, knowing that it would connect me back to I-75 due to a previous shopping excursion to Kenwood. As I got on I-71, I saw an exit for Eden Park. Since the interstate was not very crowded, I looked out my window only to see what resembled a mountain! I knew that if I got off at the exit, I might not be able to find my way back on, considered how I was already flustered. I continued driving, thinking about how huge that hill was. I hope that they do not make us run up the entire thing. That would just be cruel. In the end, I made it back safe and sound.

Luckily, I live with two people from the Cincinnati area. I am sure they will be able to give me some insight into the route. I looked at the half marathon elevation chart on Flying Pig page and it appears as though miles 1 through 5 are flat, 5 through 8 are uphill, 9 to 11 flat, and 11 to 13.1 downhill. Hopefully the 5 - 8 mile incline is not the mountain that I drove past in a panic!

I learned a couple of things from this experience: first, I should have gotten my GPS now instead of waiting until the summer to purchase one; and secondly, it is good to be able to laugh at myself. I know I am directionally challenged, and I am just fine with it.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time to Call the Toe Truck

My mom always said this phrase to us when we stubbed our toe as children. Anytime that I have a foot issue I always think of her and this phrase.

In high school I found out that I had a problem in my left foot. I think the technical name is tarsal coalition, but I am not quite sure. Basically, I have two bones connected that are not supposed to be. To fix my problem I had custom inserts for my shoes made. I was supposed to wear them at all times - during my basketball games, when I ran, even in my dress shoes (not realistic, though).

The orthodics seemed to fix my problem at first. However, as time went on, I began wearing them less and less, until not at all. I do not even know where they are right now because I have not worn them in a couple years. I think I may need to dig them out.

My big toe on my left foot has been hurting at random times recently. Sometimes it is during a run, other times when I am not doing a single thing. The pain, although it is not severe, comes and goes at it pleases. It is rather annyoing.

I have been trying to figure out why I am having my toe issues. I have not gotten new running shoes recently, and the shoes that I have been wearing during the day are pairs that I wear on a consistent basis. So, why the pain?

As far as I know, there is not much you can do for an ailing toe. I'm sure it is recommended that a person rests, but I have a hard time doing that, especially with the Flying Pig coming up. What do you think I should do?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Favorite Diabetes Number


Is it weird that whenever I see the number 83 on my meter screen that a smile crosses my face? I thoroughly enjoy being 83.

I have always liked numbers. I love math (even as a student, when most kids don't like it, it was always one of my favorite subjects and now is my favorite class to teach). One year for Christmas I even got a book all about numbers that famous sports players wore. I have read the entire book, too.

To me, 83 is the perfect number. It means that I do not have to take a correction bolus for being too high, or eat something or take less insulin for being too low. It means that I get to remain where I am, in my happy world.

Growing up, my parents always got excited about the number 100. They always tired to make a big deal about congratulating me for being "the perfect number." However, I have never succeeded at being 100. Rarely when I test does that number come up on my screen. Last week, when I was on vacation/break, I actually got a reading of 100. I went to show my dad because I was in disbelief. (My body likes the number 98 a lot I noticed and is not a big fan of 100).

When it comes to all other numbers, I am a big fan of 31. I was born on the 13th, the reverse of 31. It was my basketball number all 4 years of high school. Growing up I loved Reggie Miller, who also wore 31. 31 and I have a long history together. It has been good to me.

However, 31 is not a number I like to see on my screen. For those readings, I'll stick to my 83, which makes me smile.

(Side note/update: I had a good run today....9 miles with 1 cool down in a decent time. I am happy with it. The field trip went well. It was just a little chilly but the sun was out and the kids had a good time.)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Running Update

I feel like the Flying Pig will hit me hard. The past couple days have been rather rough for me, and I have not logged nearly as many miles as I should have. This weekend I plan on driving down to Cincy to see the course and the hills. I do better if I know where I am going, instead of just running and following people.

I have been so tired lately (really the past 2 days). I can tell I need to get more sleep at night (which I plan on doing tonight...hopefully). I know that I run better, feel better, and am able to accomplish much more when I am well-rested. Hopefully a quality night of sleep will help me have a good, long run tomorrow.

My students are also going on a field trip tomorrow. We are going to a retreat center to "hike" some trails, visit a grotto, write some prayers, and then, of course, have some time for recess. It has rained a lot here lately and I am pretty sure the trails will be very muddy. I am not a mud person, but hopefully will manage. I'll put on a pair of old running shoes for the hike and be good to go. Not that my 10 and 11-year old students can move at a blistering speed... Hopefully the rain will hold off and it will be sunny during the time we are there, like the Weather Channel has predicted.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Mary Poppins Bag

Last week I had the opportunity to see the Broadway play Mary Poppins in Chicago. I can take a play or leave a play, but I wanted to see this one because I watched the movie when I was a kid. The play was awesome (Bert walked up the side of the wall, across the ceiling on a board and down the other side during the song "Step in Time", which was by far my favorite part).

If you are familiar with Mary Poppins, you know at one point in the play/movie she pulls out tons of stuff from her bag. The stuff just keeps coming out and out, like a lamp and pillows and tons of other stuff. I think I carry a Mary Poppins bag.

A couple years ago, I was able to fit my meter, insulin pen, insulin pen cap needles, and finger poker into my ugly testing kit that comes with a meter. It worked fine. I had a snack in my backpack in case I got low, and everything was peachy.

Then, I got out of college and into the "real world." I did not have the luxury to going to my apartment in between classes if I had a problem with my pump or anything else. It was then that I upgraded from carrying a purse, to carrying my Mary Poppins bag.

I love my Mary Poppins bag (it is a Vera Bradley one with Pink Elephants that zips, although now it is really dirty..but don't worry, I just got a new purple flower Vera one). I feel like I carry so much stuff that it is ridiculous. Not only do I have a new pouch-thingy for my meter and stuff (also a Pink Elephant bag), I have to carry more stuff with the technology that I use. Just to entertain you, here are a few things in my bag:

1. Pink Elephants small bag (meter, finger poker, extra battery, dime, gauze, extra finger poker lancet cartridge, three vials of test strips)

2. box of tough-strips waterproof band-aids

3. insulin pump supplies (reservoir - 1; cording/adhesive thing that sticks to your skin - 2) and the quick set device for putting it in

4. planner, Nalgene, wallet, Tylenol, four packs of gum (sweet mint, supermint, spearmint, and peppermint), cell phone, Panera gift cards, and a book.

As I was typing the above part of this post, I thought about how lucky I am that I am a girl. Seriously...what do guys do with all of their diabetes-related stuff? How do they carry it? Maybe I should "down-size", but them I am afraid I'll have to re-do a pump site in the middle of a school day and not have my necessary supplies. Or what happens if my battery goes dead at the gym? I have to have a spare with me. Hopefully I won't have to upgrade to a suitcase in the future!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Straight Lines

If you know me in real life, or if you were to meet me, you would know that I am very particular about certain things. Ask people about my eating habits, and they would tell you I like my food a certain, particular way. I like my vegetables burned a little bit in the microwave (I know it is weird), eating carrots at every meal, cinnamon on my oatmeal in the morning, having a Fuze at 9:00 everyday, and absolutely nothing involving ketchup or oranges/orange flavoring.

I like to lift light weights two days (but only two) a week, on Monday and Wednesday. I like to walk at least a half mile after each run to cool down and think about how the run went and what I will be doing the rest of my day. If I am on a machine at the gym, I always have to end perfectly on a mile or half mile increment. I could never run say 5.14 miles. The thought of that just makes me get annoyed.

Ever since I got my CGM, I have wanted to see a straight line on my 24-hour graph. I hate having high blood sugars more than anything and avoid them at all possible costs. My trouble time is in the night, and I can't really figure out what is going on. Since I am on vacation this week, I decided to experiment with some stuff. I set a temporary basal for the past two nights so I coudl see the difference in my 2-4 am numbers. Increasing it slightly has made a noticeable difference and I have not gone high (high is relative, though: my CGM alarms at 200).

As I was checking my CGM today while visiting with my grandparents, I noticed something that my anal self become delighted in: a straight line for my 24-hour blood sugar graph. I felt so proud of myself. I have seen many straight lines on my 3-hr. graphs, but never one this straight on my 24-hr. graph. I felt like doing a victory dance right then and there!

There have been many days since getting my CGM that I have not had my high alarm vibrate at me, but never once has a line been so straight. I hope to see many more straight lines in the future.

Monday, April 13, 2009

When Pigs Fly...

This week I am visiting my family in Iowa. My parents, brother, and one set of grandparents all live in the same city and my aunt flew in for the weekend. It was nice to see them all and visit with them, although it does come with some challenges.

I became a vegetarian 4 years ago. My sister (who is about as different as different can get from me) is a pescatarian (she only eats fish). My dad, who likes to try anything in moderation, has been telling me I should try fish for many years. I hated fish (and many other foods) when I was younger, and could never get up enough guts to try it. On Sunday we went out for brunch at the country club my parents belong to. One things being offered was some type of fish, which my mom got. As I ate my plate of fruit, I kept looking at her fish. It was covered in something and I inquired about it. To get to the point, I tried a centimeter of fish, which thrilled my dad. My verdict: it was okay. Will I eat it on my own? no, at least not right now. I prefer my plate of veggies and fruit any day to meat and bread.

One of the benefits of visiting my parents is that they live in an extremely, extremely safe city. I have been able to run outside the past couple of days, and it has felt wonderful. There is a street that I like to do a 5-mile loop on. It has a lot of old houses and is flat. It has reminded me that running outside, in a way, frees me. I do not have to count the number of laps I am running and do not have to be on the treadmill. I am able to go at the pace I want to go at, all the time. It has been a nice change, and the weather has been perfect - shorts and a jacket is my favorite thing to run in, which is what I have worn.

Other news that I am excited about:

1. I will be graduating with my master's in less than 3 weeks.
2. I signed up for the Cincy Flying Pig 1/2 marathon. It is the day after my graduation. I am looking forward to it. I love the name of this race!
3. I am doing a 4-mile race in June here in Iowa. I did it a few years ago. The race course is part of my 5-mile loop, which I love.
4. My grad paper is almost done! I need to re-read it through and make some more corrections, but it should be good. It has to be submitted online one week from today.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Today is the first day of my spring break. Although I love teaching, it has been a long time since Christmas. I think I needed the break more than my students. Over my break, I hope to accomplish many things: finish grad paper/powerpoint, log many miles (this week has been light for me since my half on Sunday) and relax. I am going to my parents house for some of it to visit them. My mom and I are also going to Chicago for 3 days, something we had planned for a while. I must admit I am very excited for it. Whenever I am on vacation my blood sugar tends to run higher than I like; hopefully it won't be too bad this time. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Finally over...after 6 months!

My school had a "weight loss challenge" for all faculty members that wanted to participate in it, which began in the very beginning of November and ended today. I feel like I work with many people who do not live as healthy as they should, but whatever, it is their life and not mine. Most people are much older than me, mostly in the upper 40s or 50s or even older. It all started because one of our staff members was diagnosed as being a pre-type 2 diabetic and another teacher wanted to try to help her lose weight.

We got into teams of three or four and started our challenge. Now, I am fairly lean and knew that by signing up I was doing it more for the team aspect because I miss that about competitive sports, not becaues I felt like I needed to lose weight. Before our first weigh-in, I acutally did something very unhealthy and purposefully ate a lot of carbs the day before so I would be a pound heavier. My team members were all bigger than me and could afford to drop numerous pounds. Some of them just changed their diet and were able to lose some weight.

Going into our final weigh-in today, my team was neck-and-neck with another team, who had a rediculously anal and competitive team captain who got on my nerves. Anyhow, my team pulled it out at the finish and beat the other team. I contributed a small amount to my team, but enjoyed my numerous talks with our school nurse about diabetes, exercise, and heathly eating. I got to know her a lot better, and was able to be a "cheerleader" for her. She actually ended up losing 30 pounds. At my last weigh-in today, I weighed the least I had all throughout the competition.

This summer I was trying to lose some weight in order to become a faster runner. It was a long process, but I lost some and now am faster because of it. Something that has always stuck with me over the years was a doctor (not my own, though) saying that type 1 diabetics with A1Cs in the "normal range" (below 6) are likely to be fat. I have always taken great offense to this...and this summer I wanted to prove that I could be skinny and have an A1C under 6, and I have achieved my goal. In a way I like to think that I have overcome all odds, but really, I know that many athletic diabetics have A1Cs under 6 and are in shape, like me.

I did not realize how "in shape" I was until my last endo. visit. When I was talking to my doctor about where to put my CGM on my body, he said, "(my name), you really don't have that many options. You don't have much fat on your body." We talked about the places - legs (I have always hated giving shots there because it hurst too much, so that was ruled out), butt (I have never tried it here, but cannot work up the guts to do it - it just seems wrong), and my "love handles", where we decided. I guess it is not too big of a problem to have.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Great Debate...

Recently I feel like I have read a lot of blogs that cover the issue of getting type 1 diabetes early in life compared to later in life. Here are my thoughts...

I was diagnosed when I was 4 years old, on Halloween. I really do not remember much before I was diagnosed, although I remember some details from my actual diagnosis day and my time thereafter in the hospital. I can remember eating lunch at our kitchen table with my mom and brother and having a Snickers bar for dessert. I went to the doctor in the afternoon and remember my mom telling me that I had to go to the University of Iowa hospital to get better. I was there for one week while my parents were educated by the nurses and doctors. I can remember doing some things there, like making a mini-pizza, only to find out that I had to give it to my dad because they said I could not eat it at the time. Later, the nurse told my dad that I could have eaten the pizza and he felt awful and apologized for hours about it.

I am glad that I have not known life without diabetes. I cannot imagine being able to freely eat and exercise and not have to worry about my starting blood sugar or reading the signs my body is giving me. It is always something I have known and cannot imagine not doing it.

I admire all those people who got diabetes later in life, and actually remember living a "normal" life compared to one withe diabetes (although living with diabetes is still a normal life in my book, it just takes a little extra dedication and motivation). Even now as I type this blog I cannot imagine one day waking up and knowing that I would have to give myself insulin shots or be attached to a pump in order to live. In many ways, I feel lucky to be diagnosed at such a young age. I cannot imagine my life without it, which is why I have a hard time thinking about a cure. Maybe someday I'll wake up and there will be a cure. For now, I will keep living my life the way I have always known, only with better technology.

Monday, April 6, 2009

PR baby!

In a nutshell, I had a good race on Sunday. To warn you in advance, this is going to be a long post about everything it entailed. In case you want to know the details right away: finish time was 1:43:46, a 7:56 mile pace.

I woke up at 57, had my morning breakfast of oatmeal and took my bolus wizard correction. On my drive to Xenia for the ORRRC half marathon, I debated what I should do with my insulin. Typically, I do not suspend for the entire part of a morning run because I have the dawn phenomenon.

I got to thecheck in place and was sitting at an 87 so I checked on my meter and it said 86 - perfectly aligned. I got there an hour early so I had time to "stretch" and go to the bathroom about 100 times. I started to see arrows down, so I drank some Gatorade. I started the race at 160 up one up arrow. It was 40 degrees and cool, but felt pretty good. I decided to suspend my pump to see where I would go...I would rather be high than low for the race.

I knew that if I wanted to be near 1:45 I needed to run a little over 8 minute mile splits. This is a really small race, so there are no pace groups, so I had to rely on myself and my watch. At mile 1 I was at 8:16 because I started back a little bit in the pack; but by mile 2 I was at 16:08...right on target.

Near mile 5 I started to feel sluggish so I looked at my CGM...150 with a down arrow. I popped 5 glucose tabs and felt better in about 2 minutes; regaining my speed and passing some slower runners. I felt good for awhile, then looked down again to see that I was at 166...perfect I thought. By mile 8 I was at 122 with a down arrow. I ate 5 more glucose tabs and kept on going, once again regaining my energy.

By mile 10 I felt really good...I had a stable 170 on my CGM and felt good. By mile 12 I thought I needed a little boost, although I wasn't getting any arrows and was at a 158, but I ate 2 more tabs. By this point I never wanted to taste another glucose tablet in my life.

I felt strong at the end of the race and still had gas left in the tank when I finished, so I could have pushed even harder. All in all, I was proud of myself for getting lower than 1:45, my original goal.

I was happy about my time and how much the CGM helped me during the race. In my previous half marathons, I did not run with my pump and did not have a CGM. I now realize how much it helped me during the race. In fact, I emailed doc Parilo to tell him how well it worked. I know I have the best doctor, because today he emailed me back saying that he was excited and "good job" on it working so well. Seriously, I love him as my endo.

My body is sore today from running on the cement for so many miles, but I am excited about my future races. When I first started running, I never thought I could be this fast. I am in the best shape of my life right now, and it is awesome. The CGM is working miracles for me. It gives me hope that I will be able to compete in a full marathon in the near future; something I never thoughtpossible for me.

All in all, I must admit I am happy with how I raced.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Ready to Run!

I went today to get registered for the ORRRC half marathon tomorrow. I like to mentally prepare by looking at the course map, although they only have the full marathon course map online and not the half because it is a small event. All I really know is that from mile 1 to 5 appears to be an uphill climb. I'm excited to be racing again! Early to bed tonight...