Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Going Gluten-Free

After some thought, I decided I wanted to change my diet and try to eat gluten free.  There were a few reasons for my decision.  First, one of my best friends can't eat gluten.  I wanted to be in solidarity with her, if only for a few months, and really know what it is like to expierence this.  I can only imagine how challenging it is to not be able to eat whatever your heart desires. 

Secondly, I have heard that it is truely a heathlier diet.  Althgough I feel like I eat a fairly healthy diet, there is definitely room for improvement.  I've been consuming one too many Clif bars recently because they are easy to eat, don't hurt my stomach, and conventient.  So are apples.  I need to change my habits.

I am currnetly in the "phasing out of my gluten-filled food with gluten-free food" stage.  So far it hasn't been that difficult, but I am onyl a week or so into the experience, and still enjoying some gluten-filled food. 

The ultimate goal of this experience is to become healthier and have more energy.  Those will hopefully improve the quality of my training.  I think the most challenging part will be when going out to eat.  I will miss my Panera bagels. 

Do you eat a specialized diet? 

Monday, February 27, 2012

Switching Shoes

When I first started running in high school, I got a pair of Saucony shoes.  Then, I kept getting them, switching models, getting various models to train at once in, and loving every single pair.  In between my love fest for all Saucony shoes there was a pair of Nike's that I hated.  That made my love for Saucony increase even more.  Currently, I am training in 4 different models of Saucony shoes.  Then I went to my favorite running shoe store today.

I wanted to get a new pair of shoes to start to break in before my marathon 2 months away.  When I walked in, I was talking to the guy who was working tonight about my mileage, training, and so forth - all the normal runner questions.  He had me get on the treadmill and told me he would bring out the new version of Saucony Triumphs, but asked if I was opposed to trying a different brand.  Thoughts came to my mind...."will he bring out a pair of Mizzuno's?  Brooks?  Asics?  I don't know if I can do that...I love Saucony." 

He came out with Triumphs and a pair of Newton shoes.  I tried on the Triumphs but they felt weird.  Saucony has recently redone most of their shoes and I could tell.  Then, I tried on the Newton.  At first they felt weird because the size was off.  Then I got put in a smaller, correct size and my feet felt happy.  I stopped myself after 1/3 of a mile, even though I wanted to keep going.  I was sold.  I bought a non-Saucony shoe. 

I couldn't leave the store without a Saucony hat, though.  A girl can never have too many running shoes, clothes or accessories.

Are you loyal to one brand of shoe?  Do you wear Newton shoes?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Begging Strangers for Juice on a Run

On Saturday I had a relatively hard time unglueing my butt from the coach.  I was tired and my knee still hurt, but finally just before dusk I decided that a nice 3-mile run would do me well.  Assuming I'd be gone for 25 or so minutes, I didn't bother getting out my red flashing anklet or my headlamp.  I felt fine, laced up my shoes, strapped on my Garmin and left. 

At about 1/2 mile into my run, I felt tired.  I assumed this was from spending most of the day relaxing.  By 1 mile, I felt a little better and the pain in my knee disappeared,  I ran in the street for the next half mile due to snow-covered sidewalks, and reached my turn-around point.  At about 1.6 miles into the run, my legs were uneasy.  I knew what it was: my blood sugar was low, and dropping.  I only get the "shaky legs" symptom when I am really, really low (like 30s).  I immediately regretted my decision to not bring any form of glucose/food with me. 

Low, I sat down on the side walk to "think."  If i am low, my thinking is of very low-quality.  Normal things do not typically make sense.  After a few minutes, I thought the best option would be continue to run home.  Totally not logical, right?  But that made perfect sense to my low-blood-sugar self.  At 2 miles into the run, my legs became unsteady again.  Once again, I sat down on the sidewalk.  At this time, a car drove by and asked me what number was on the house I was near.  After saying it, I started to cry.  When I get low, I also cry at almost anything. 

I felt like a scared, lost child and couldn't figure out what to do.  Pretty soon after, a car pulled into the driveway that I was sitting near.  Out of the car step 2 old guys, both with white hair.

"Are you okay?" they ask.

"Do you have any juice that I can have?"

"Do you want to come in?  My wife is inside.  You can get out of the cold that way." (It was in the teens)

"I am fine outside.  I just need some juice.  I have a low blood sugar."

Both men go inside, and one brings me a full glass of orange juice.  I hate orange juice, but was so thankful that this stranger was being so incredibly kind to me.  A couple out on a walk then came up to me and the kind old man.  They asked if I was fine, I filled them in on what was happening in as few words as possible, to which they replied that they had no sugar.  But if I needed a ride home their house was close by.  The old man told me he would be right back.

I continued to sit on the sidewalk, waiting for my orange juice to kick in.  The old man then came back for a blanket for me because "you'll freeze if you are out here a minute more."  I politely declined the blanket and he went on to tell me about low blood sugars - the details which are fuzzy now.  I think someone he knew was diabetic, or he could have been a type 2.  Anyway, a few minutes later i was feeling decent enough to run one mile home.

I thanked the kind old man and ran home.  When I tested I was 42 (20 minutes after orange juice).

Things could have turned out far different for me today if it weren't for some kind people.  Looking back, it was stupid that I didn't test my blood sugar beforehand and bring something with me.  Although carrying things is inconvenient, it is necessary.  I am truly lucky that things turned out the way they did and not worse.

Thank you, kind stranger.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Peaceful 9-mile Tempo

After waking up Thursday morning and being incredibly sore from my workout the previous day, I knew that my scheduled tempo run just was not going to go well.  I decided in the morning that  i would switch my Friday and Thursday runs, and just complete my tempo after school got out on Friday afternoon.  I would have enough time to complete it outside in daylight, something that is very important to me.

Since it snowed on Thursday night, I knew running the path that I normally run would not be best because of the snow.  I decided to head to a garden/arboretum to get my miles in for the day.  I have run there before, and knew that it incredibly hilly.  Rarely do you get to run on flat pavement.  But, I thought it would be a good challenge.

I started running, with the goal of having all miles be sub-8:00 pace.  I thought this was achievable, even in the windy conditions.  The first mile of my run as directly up hill, and a little bit of doubt crept in my mind if this was going to be a quality tempo run.  But, just as I thought, my favorite song came on my iPod which provided some great distraction. 

Before I knew it, I completed the bigger loop (a little over 4 miles) and was on to conquer the loop for a second time.  The run was very picturesque, with all of the trees covered in snow.  It was so peaceful and I was the only runner that I saw.  There were a few cars, but those were few and far between.

In the end, I completed 9 miles at a 7:48 average.  Of course, some miles were faster than others, but all were under 8:00 pace.  I got done, and then realized that my knee was in such pain.  I hobbled to the gym to do some stretching and biking to try to make it feel better, although that didn't work out too well.  Today it feels a little better, but still sore.  I thought I was over my knee problems earlier in the week, but they have decided to return and are very unwelcome.

I am happy I switched my days and did my tempo on Friday.  It was so peaceful and beautiful running through the snow-covered trees.  But hopefully that is the last snow of winter.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Thursday 10

I think it is time again for a "meet your fellow blogger" post.  Enjoy!

  1. I am going to Los Angeles in less than a month for 5 days.  I cannot wait to go enjoy the sun in California. 
  2. I used to play AAU basketball for 4 years.  Then, I played basketball for 4 years in high school.  I eventually got burned out toward the end of high school.  I haven't picked up a basketball in over 5 years.  Sometimes I miss it, but most of the time I don't.
  3. My family is taller than the typical family.  I am the shortest child at 6 feet tall.  My mom is the shortest in the family at 5'9". 
  4. I love mustard, and hate ketchup. 
  5. I got glasses in 8th grade.  I got contacts less than a year later.  The first year I only wore my glasses in school.  I currently wear my contacts much longer than the recommended amount.
  6. My favorite kind of Gatorade is blue, followed by grape, and lemon lime.  I don't like fruit punch. 
  7. I have a pair of running sunglasses that I got at the Chicago Marathon expo.  I wore them for the marathon without ever wearing them before.  According to the running gods, this breaks a rule.  It was one of the best decisions I made.
  8. My favorite class growing up was math until 6th grade.  In junior high, English was my favorite and continued to be so throughout high school.  Science was always my least favorite. 
  9. I rarely remember dreams.  I often wonder if I ever dream at all.  In all my life, I have remembered a grand total of one dream. 
  10. I am right handed, but I always wanted to be left handed. 
I know I am unique.  Please share something interesting about yourself, or something we have in common.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reverse Triathlon: Run, Bike Swim

I have been wanting to swim for the past year or so.  But, swimming seriously scares me.  I took swimming lessons for a year or two growing up, but had not been in a pool in many years - like 10 or so I think.  I never really like swimming growing up and found it too much of an inconvenience with an insulin pump to ever get into.  But, as I said, I have been wanting to swim. 

A few days ago I bought a few new suits that would be appropriate for lap swimming.  Somehow I don't think a two-piece that you would wear to a beach would work.  I got some goggles, a swim cap, and begged my best friend to teach me how to swim.  We go to the same gym and both went at the same time today, after school.  (I am incredibly lucky to have my best friend also teach at my school)  She wanted to spin first and I wanted to run.

I got on the treadmill and then got bored so I ran laps for the remaining part of my run.  Five miles at an 8:02 pace after a big workout yesterday - I was happy.  Then, I got on the bike for a bit.  Last, we hit the pool so I could have Swimming 101. 

Today's lesson?  Kicking, breathing, and, because I begged, attempting to swim.  Let's just say I have a ton of work to do.  But, I am mightily proud of myself that I had the courage to get in the water, and complete a reverse triathlon today.  I am going to blame my weak kick on the fact that I did a relatively hard workout before I got in the pool on an "easy" day.  Still, I still very happy - not only for this success but also for my marathon in Illinois.  I don't really want to go into detail because it involves others, but it is going to be epic.

Are you a natural swimmer, or not a fan of the water?  BDD once told me that swimming is the leg of the triathlon that scares the people the most.  I definitely fit in this category.  Perhaps a triathlon will be in my future....???

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Let's Talk about The Boston Marathon

If you run marathons, half marathons, or know people that run them I am sure the topic of The Boston Marathon has come up in conversation before.  I first realized the prestige of the Boston Marathon when my brother qualified and ran it a few years in a row, a few years ago.  Since then, I have met many more people who have run Boston or are going to run Boston.

When I first started training for my first marathon, I told myself I could care less about Boston.  It was a lot of hype, blow out of proportion.  You can run a marathon almost don't have to pay just to run in Boston.  Then, flaunt your Boston Marathon clothes for the next week year(s) to come.  Not much after my first marathon I decided I wanted a goal.  I wanted a second marathon, and I needed something to aim for.  I decided that I wanted to BQ, which makes all of my previous comments a bit invalid.  I guess my perception changes rather quickly. 

In my running group, there are about 50 people who signed up to run the Boston Marathon.  Unfortunately, not all of them are going to be able to run it due to injury, but most are making the trek to the east coast in April for the historic event.  I want to be part of that.  I want to run those streets.  But, I want to deserve to be there.

I recently read an article about a person who is running the Boston Marathon as a charity runner.  I think charity runners are great - they raise money for a cause they care about.  It is a great fundraiser for the organization, and probably a great motivator to keep training for the participant.  Although I fully support charity runners, I do not think they should get to run the Boston Marathon.

About 1/5 of the runners that run Boston are charity runners.  That means that if you are at the start line, three people next to you qualified and one did not.  Four people earned their spot at the prestigious event while one did not.  It is like playing the game: which one does not belong?  The charity runner.

Most of the time the charity runners could never run Boston on their own, if they had to qualify.  I really feel like they don't belong at the race.  They could run a different race and raise money for their organization for that.  They don't belong with the (most often) serious Boston Marathoner who has worked hard to get there.  So if someone tells me they are running Boston and I don't know much about them as a runner or never seen them run, I always follow up with: "where did you qualify?" 

I have never known a charity runner for Boston, only real qualifiers.  Perhaps my opinion would change if I knew a charity runner.

Your turn: What is your thought on charity runners at Boston?

Monday, February 20, 2012

A Bad Relationship: The Number 12 and Me

Back in the fall when I was marathon training for the first time, I didn't like the number 12.  I never had a problem with it before, but I hated it during training.  The majority of my cutback weeks involved running the miserable 12 miles.  Each run was tough and not that good. 

This training cycle I wanted to make myself love the number 12.  I wanted to appreciate the cutback and less time on my feet.  Thus far, I have run 12 miles on 2 occasions.  The first one was a disaster, ending in a low blood sugar at mile 10 and walk/running the last mile. 

This week I set out to conquer 12 again.  I gathered up all of my positive energy and told myself that it was going to be an awesome, wonderful, great, and any other adjective that means the same thing run. 

Although this week's run wasn't as bad as the previous 12 miler, it was less than ideal.  I started out feeling crappy, and ended with such a relief to be done.  It was like I had run twice that distance and it took three times the effort. 

The whole thing with the number 12 is odd.  I can run 10 miles, or 11, no problem.  Thirteen?  I've raced that distance more than any other.  Fifteen, eighteen, twenty?  I can manage.  It is 12 that kills me.  Perhaps my runs are due to the fact that I ran a high mileage run the previous week.  Maybe it is just mental.  I am seriously debating changing my training plan so on cutback weeks I can run 13 or 11, never 12.  I think I might give 12 one more shot, and then make a final call after that.

Is there a number of miles that you have a hard time running?  I have the most trouble with 12, but 6 is also occasionally troublesome for me. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

GU at mile 4

Yesterday I set out at about noon to run 5.5 miles.  I haven't run much this week because my knee was hurting, and when I started, I felt pretty good.  Mile one clipped by fast and two was even quicker, both around 7:20.  Then came mile 3 and I was suddenly exhausted.  So tired, in fact, that I had to stop.  As I stood on the circular path where I was running, I was wondering why I was so tired.  Although the path was incredibly muddy, I didn't think it was having that much of an impact on my run.  I wiped massive amounts of mud off my shoe and continued on.

At mile 3.5 I have to cross a street.  Inevitably, I always get stopped as the road is fairly busy.  At this point, I was running in the 7:50s and it felt like I was sprinting.  After running up the one and only hill on the path and hitting mile 4, I stopped.  I knew I had a low blood sugar at that point, which was causing me to run slower and slower.  In the past, I have always held a miniature container of glucose tablets with me as I ran, but I have since stopped.  I really don't like holding things and have found that I can stick a packet of GU almost anywhere in a coat or running pants/shorts and be fine.  Plus, a lot of my pants have zippers made especially for such things. 

So at mile 4 of a 5.5 mile run, I had a GU.  I had about 3/4 of the packet, waited a few minutes, and then continued on.  I have never had GU on such a short run, but when you have a low blood sugar, anything with carbs works well.  Most days I don't even take GU on a 16 mile run.  I know I've become really bad at taking in carbs while running, and drinking liquid, so I know that needs to improve before my marathon.  I just hope it is a wonderful day blood sugar-wise...and no lows at mile 4, 14 or 24.

What is the shortest run you've ever had where you've taken GU?  When I told some of my running friends this story, they claim I win the prize.  At least it provided some laughs this morning.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Many Things Race Pictures Can Teach You

If you are anything like me, you both look forward to and dread getting an email after your race that says something to the effect of "brightroom has uploaded pictures of your recent ------ race."  Of course wanting to see myself, I click on the link and look at all the pictures of me, or the random man that always seems to be tagged as me in one of the pictures (does this happen to anyone else?).  After looking at many photos of myself running the past two or more years, I have come to learn a few things:

  1. I am a heel-striker, or so I think.  I was 99% sure I was a heel-striker until I went to a running shop and got on this pressure scale thing that said where all the pressure spots were in my foot.  My friend who was working looked at me in disbelief, saying that all my pressure was near the front of my foot and I must be a sprinter (she knows I like distance).  Weird, right?  I still think I am a heel-striker.
  2. I rarely look like I am having fun.  Last spring, after looking at my Rockford Half Marathon pictures, I was in shock as to just how bad I looked.  I decided before I ran the Chicago Marathon that I wanted a good picture and would smile for all 26.2 miles.  In those picture, I am smiling in the majority.
  3. My left leg is weaker than my right leg which causes it to stride funny near the end of races when I am tired.  My knee goes at more of an angle and my foot goes out.  It makes for some really awkward pictures....really, really awkward. 
  4. I move my arms only a very, very little amount when I run. 
  5. I am tense when I run.  My arms are higher than they should be.
With all this knowledge, I have tried to improve things like my stride and arms.  But, with all things, changes take time.  I do know that #2 can be changed without much effort.  In 2012, my goal is to take better race pictures that have me smiling.

Are you like me, and take not-so-good race pictures?  Or, do yours turn out well?  If so, I am jealous!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

20 Miles

I feel like I've turned a page in my running career.  Running 10 miles does not seem like a long run anymore, like it did in the past.  When I first started running, I had to psych myself up to complete a 10 mile training run.  Now, 10 is not a problem.  It is 20 that I have to get motivated for.

Running 20 miles just seems so much farther than 18 or 19, although it is only 1 or 2 miles more.  I think the fact that it starts with a "2" and not a "1" that makes it sound so much more serious.  Since my normal running buddy was competing in a triathlon today, I begged  pleaded asked if anyone in my running group wanted to run 20.  Unfortunately, there were no takers on my offer.  One of my friends offered to do the first 6 with me before our group meets and then I could run the remaining 14 with a few other guys who were set to run that distance.  That sounded good, except my friend got sick and I wanted to hit "snooze" 1 too many times this morning instead of getting up.  The fact that it felt colder than zero degrees didn't help any, either.

I ended up running 1.5 miles before the group started to run, then 14 with the guys, and finished the last on my own.  It was a much faster 20 than the pace I've been running my long runs at - a 9:02 average.  I've been mostly running around 9:15, a very comfortable pace for me.  9:02 felt good, but I'd rather run slower now since the marathon is still over 2 months away.  Right now I am more concerned with getting the miles in and spending time on my feet as opposed to running a set pace. 

I can remember conquering 20 miles in the fall when I was training for Chicago and felt so accomplished to run that many miles.  Today I felt glad I got my miles in, but that feeling of accomplishment was nowhere to be found.  Perhaps it was because I was the last person running today in the group, or that my buddy wasn't there, or a lot of my other friends, or the weather, or it may have just been me.  I know not all runs will be wonderful and fabulous and leave you with the feeling like you could go on forever and some are just that - runs - putting one foot in front of the other for x amount of miles. 

I am hoping that my next 20 miler will not only be successful in terms of accomplishing it, but also leave that pure running joy in my heart afterward.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Three Things Thursday

I've been busy all week, so here are three things to read.

#1 - Tempo Run Fails.  I want to do my tempo runs on Thursday and Saturday.  I do track workouts on Tuesday and long runs on Sundays, so this works best for my legs.  Some people from my running group meet on Thursdays to run, but there is a problem.  One group runs around a 6:30 or faster pace.  The other group runs 9:15 or slower.  That leaves me, who wants to run around a 7:45 pace, out of luck.  I cannot keep up with the fast group, and I like all of the people in the slower group, so that is where I always end up.  I am trying to figure out how to make my running schedule work by not doing a tempo on Thursday. 

#2 - First 20 miler.  On Sunday I am going to run my first 20 miler of my Illinois Marathon training cycle.  I have done 2 18 milers, but this is the first big run.  I am excited to run it.  I've been doing all of my long runs at a slow pace, and i am hoping this pays off on April 28th. 

#3 - Polar Dash Award.  As I was reorganizing my running medals a few weeks ago, I realized that I was supposed to receive an award for being the 3rd overall female at the Polar Dash, but never got it.  I emailed Team Ortho, who puts the race on, but have yet to hear back.  Honestly, I am not surprised.  From what I can tell, they could improve in the organization department.  I got an email saying that they are hosting another event in Chicago called "get lucky" on St. Patrick's Day.  I hope they are lucky enough to get their permits on time for this event.

Happy Thursday, almost Friday!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

2012 Race Schedule

I have been thinking about the races I wanted to run in 2012 for some time, but just hadn't gotten around to putting it all together.  There were multiple races happening in April and May that I wanted to run, but knew that I would not be able to because of the marathon.  Today I spent far too long and got every organized for the year.  If you look closely, this year is far different from my previous racing years.

In 2012, I hope to run:

1 or 2 marathons - Illinois and either Quad Cities or Indianapolis
1 ultra marathon - Ragnar Relay team of 6 - Madison to Chicago
4 or 5 half marathons - ChiTown, Rockford, Alexian Brothers, Benefit Classic, and possibly Quad Cities
1 8 mile race - Hot Cider Hustle
1 7 mile race - Bix
2 10ks - Polar Dash (already done) and Spring Sprint
1 8k - Town and Country Race
2 5ks - St. Paddy's Day 5k and Groovin' in the Grove (but most likely one or two more)
1 Duathlon - Race Around the World

Of the 16 races I hope to race in 2012, 7 will be ones that I have never competed in before.  Also, there will be a new distance - an 8-mile race.  I am looking forward to running the Bix 7-mile race again this year.  I've only run in one time, in 2010, and was recovering from low iron so my time can be much better. 

I also am going to volunteer at the Chicago Marathon with my running group this year instead of running it.  So, if you are running, I'll be at mile 2 handing out water or Gatorade.  I think it will be a great experience.

Is anyone else doing any of these races this year, or have you done them in the past? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Time to Reboot

Unlike many diabetics, I actually like my endocrinologist because he understands me and my incredibly type A personality, my love for all things exercise-related and running, my past history with doctors and having the disease, and all of my theories.  He does not agree with everything, but he understands, and that is far more important.  Another thing about him that I love is that he does not tell me my A1C anymore.  It is actually better for me not to know what it is, although I am 100% sure that sounds bizarre to the rest of the world. 

This week I got to go visit him for my quarterly appointment.  The last time I was there was a week after the Chicago Marathon, and since then, I would say my control has been rocky at best.  I am currently experiencing an extra long case of diabetes burnout.  In a discussion with a friend this week, I told her that I would swap my dysfunctional pancreas for her dysfunctional thyroid, but, unfortunately, she did not take me up on the offer.  Unfortunately, I am stuck with my pancreas for some time.  As of late, I have been on a roller coaster with my blood sugar numbers and overall have been feeling like crap.  I think I am burned out because of having diabetes for over 22 years and almost my entire life. 

Some big things were discussed with my endocrinologist, including all settings on my insulin pump.  I have not changed the settings since getting the pump in 2009, although my life has drastically changed.  My doctor and I discussed things, and he thought it was an ideal time for me to reboot.  I currently have 1 basal rate for the entire day, 2 insulin sensitivity settings, and 1 insulin to carb ratio.  I let him set my basal rate, but I got to set the insulin to carb ratio. 

After doing all of this resetting, I started to get nervous.  If I have constant high blood sugars, how will I  know exactly was to fix?  My doctor proceeded to laugh, only to tell me to pick up the phone and call him.  That gave me some peace. 

I've rebooted and feel good about it.  Changes needed to be made, and will now because of it.  I am hoping in another month I'll be out of burn out and into better control again.  Things can really only get better. 

What is your endo like?  Have you ever done a reboot?