Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Be Type 1 For a Day" Texts Post 1

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and includes in it World Diabetes Day.  As part of an effort to make others more knowledgeable about Type 1 diabetes, the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) did a promotion where you could sign up and they would send you text messages so you could be more informed about what it is like living with Type 1 diabetes.

I thought the concept was very intriguing because diabetes is different for everyone.  Although all Type 1 diabetics have the same disease, it takes on many different forms.  Yes, all of our pancreases do not produce insulin, but there are many other variables to diabetes.

Knowing that I usually do not look at my phone during the week, I knew that I wanted to sign up for the experiment on a weekend so I could receive all of the messages when they were sent, or shortly thereafter.  I signed up last Saturday, and my texts started arriving Sunday morning.

The first two came very close to one another:

Text #1
Time of Day: early morning, around 8 AM

Before I leave everyday, I make sure I have my bag with my meter, 2+ vials of strips, and finger poker. I also carry one back-up battery and a few back-up finger poker cartridges in the bag.  I also make sure I have a few forms of food - glucose tables, Shot Bloks, and a few granola bars.  When I have a low blood sugar, I am very particular about what I want and like to eat.  Therefore, I carry multiple things with me at all times.  I agree with the text that constant preparation is a necessity.  

Text #2
Time of Day: Around 8:15 AM

I thought this was a rather random and fairly odd text.  I am not sure the last time I gave myself a diabetes "pep talk."  Sure, sometimes it sucks and I feel like I'm on a roller coaster.  But, perfect control is not realistic.  There will be good days and bad days, which is something I've learned after living with it for over 24 years.  It is about learning why things happened that is key.  I also think it is valid to bring up the topic of "recommended range," which varies from person to person.  Personally, I like to wake up between 100 and 190.  Is this what the experts say is "in range"?  No, not at all, but it is what I want and what works best for me.  During the day, I like to be between 80 and 120, and when I start exercising or running I like to be around 80 and eat something beforehand.  This differs from person to person, depending on his/her individual needs.  Even for myself, my ranges differ.  

Text #3
Time: 10 AM or so

I thought this text was great.  I could do the exact same things for 5 days in a row, eat the same things, and have different blood sugars.  Most will be similar, but I'm sure one will be different.  For example, today my blood sugar at 11:30 was 265, for reasons unknown to me.  I ate my typical breakfast, took the typical amount of insulin, and did the same things that I usually do.  I don't take injections to correct my highs, rather just enter the number into my inulin pump and it gives me my insulin that way.  Sometimes diabetes is unexplainable.  

Text #4
Time: 10:40 AM

I thought this was interesting.  Apparently, I had a high blood sugar a few minutes ago but now I am hungry and want to eat an apple.  Personally, I do not get hungry when I have a high blood sugar.  Also, if I am hungry, I eat.  I don't care what time of day it is, or if a meal is going to be relatively soon. One thing I learned from marathon training is that my body tells me what it needs.  If I am hungry, I most likely need food to replace the calories I burned while running.  

Text #5
Time: 10:42 AM

This text was a bit odd.  I'll agree that sometimes my fingers are sore, but not to the point of not wanting to poke one.  I really like my finger poker, though, because it has a dial so I can set it to how much force it uses when stabbing me.  I only check my blood sugar on 6 fingers - the middle ones on each hand.  I will never poke my thumb.  Therefore, it is not a backup spot for me.

Text #6
Time: 12:15 PM

Hmmm...was this because of the apple I ate a few texts ago?  For me, if my blood sugar is between 200 - 250 my normal correct does works.  However, if I am higher than that then I need more insulin to bring down my blood sugar.  How much I take depends on a variety of factors, such as previous exercise and exactly how high my blood sugar is.  I think the wording on this text should have been different.  Instead of saying that it was "too high" (too high for who?  or for what?).  It is a number, and although I have yet to master this concept, I am trying to not have an emotional reaction to a number.  The blood sugar number is just that - a number.  It gives me information I need to make choices.  There should not be any emotion attached to it - good or bad.  Numbers should not be considered too low or too high.  They may not be where I want them, but that doesn't mean they can't get to where I want them in the near future.  

I'll be posting about the afternoon and nigh texts tomorrow.  Did you participate?  What are your reactions to the morning/lunch texts?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Adapt or Die

I recently read an article written by NPR that described how many people have diabetes now (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) compared to 1995.  

1995 statistics

2000 statistics

2005 statistics

2010 statistics

The article failed to mention if they were including all types of diabetes, but I assume they were.  However, I am more interested in see pictures that show the trend of type 1 diabetes in the United States in the past 15+ years.  Although I did find this stat:

I think it is safe to say that all types of diabetes are on the raise.  Personally, I find this disturbing.  Although type 1 and 2 are very different, the core of the disease is the same.  However, how the person got it and when is most like different.  

Being a type 1 diabetic, my pancreas stopped producing insulin when I was 4.  It most likely produced a little insulin for a month or two after my diagnosis, but not a drop since.  There is nothing I can do about it, as my pancreas cannot be magically hooked up to a machine and be revived, even if I wish that would happen.  It is dead, and has been for many, many years.  

I often think about what my life would be like without diabetes.  It is hard to imagine, as all of my memories growing up and into adulthood involve diabetes to some extent.  I literally do not know what it is like to live without having diabetes.  It is a life I have always known. 

I've heard for the past few years that "a cure is close."  However, I don't fully believe it.  I do not doubt that people are working incredibly hard to try to cure the disease, but that takes time.  Typically, lots and lots of time.  Not days, or weeks, but years and decades.  

I cannot rely on a cure anytime soon.  As my sister once said, "everyone must adapt or die."  It is true - I have adapted to having diabetes and have not died.  As I try new and different things, I continue to adapt.  

I wish people in the United States would adapt and live healthier.  Eating a relatively healthy diet and exercising just a little bit go a long way.  Most people can control if they get type 2 diabetes, or if they do have it, if they need to take insulin for it.  

In the distant future, I hope to adapt to life without diabetes.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Drumstick Dash 5k Race Report

As I mentioned before, I have a problem with signing up for races.  I really should look into the course before signing up and hoping for magical PRs.  Case in point: the Drumstick Dash 5k.

I had high hopes of running a sub-20 minute 5k at this race.  Looking back, that was dumb.  I didn't know the course at all.  I knew it started at a golf course in a southwest suburb, and according to their website had "a few gently rolling hills."  What I didn't realize is that we would be running the entire race on the golf course.  We ran on the path that the golf carts drive on.  If you've ever golfed before, then you know that the golf cart path is not the straightest or most direct path.

There were an overabundance of twists and turns in this race, and it was really hard to get into any type of running groove.  When I would speed up, I had to slow down to make another turn.  Also, there were countless little up and down hills on the course, which ended up just making me frustrated.

Needless to say, the race didn't go as planned.  However, given the course I can't be too unhappy.  I ended up running a 21:14, and being 6th overall (out of 200) and the first female.  I have only been the first female in one other race - in 2006 when I was a senior in college - at a 5k that the school where I was student teaching put on the race.  I'll be honest - it has been a goal of mine to be the top female at a race this year.  Why do I have this goal?  I'm not 100% sure.  I think I wanted the feeling of accomplishment of being first female, of being the best on that course on that day.

And although I feel like I should feel great for being first, I would rather run a PR than win any day of the week.  I feel disappointed at myself for this race.  Now that I've gotten over my pity party, lets talk about the best thing that happened.

After I finished, they told me I was the first female.  I waited around for the awards, expecting to get a medal that said "1st place female" but what I got was unexpected.  One unique thing about the award ceremony was that they handed out all of the female awards first.  That means my name was called out first, being the first finisher.  As I went up to get what I assumed would be a medal, instead I received a blue ribbon about the size of my face that said "1st place" on it, and a 16-pound turkey.  I had to laugh. I've gotten medals and ribbons before, but never a turkey.

Having no use for a turkey, as I'll be going to my parents house for Thanksgiving, I posted on Facebook that any of my friends that wanted it could have it.  I didn't want it, and was hoping someone would take it.  One of my friends from my running club responded, saying she would gladly take it.  Wonderful!

I took my turkey to running club Sunday morning to give to her.  She told me that a family she knows is going to get the turkey.  The dad of the family lost his job, and money is tight for them.  So my turkey will go to make a Thanksgiving meal for a family.  I could not be happier about that.

I am thankful I could run, and although the race didn't go as I had hoped, I am happy that another person will benefit because of it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Revisiting Goals

I fall into the same habit every week.  It is predictable and laughable.

Every Tuesday I go to track.  Now that it is the "off season", the crowd is much less.  According to some, only the "die hards" come out now on Tuesdays.  I guess I fit into that category since I go to track every week.

I love track - not only the workout part of it, but also the camaraderie part of it.  Listening to the races people did the past week motivates me, while listening to people talk about future races makes me want to sign up for everything.  And that is what happens.

I come home every Tuesday night and want to sign up for a race.  Granted, I have nothing major on my running schedule right now in the near future, which makes me want to sign up even more.  A local 5k?  Sounds good.  Indoor triathlon?  Sure.  Fall marathon?  I'll highly consider it.

In addition to getting wrapped up in everyone's excitement, I often receive encouragement from friends.  "You're running so well lately" was something that my track partner told me tonight.  "You looked good running those 1200s" a fellow runner put on our track Facebook page.

I questioned myself - why do I feel the need to sign up for a 5k road race right now?  I've been wanting to for the past month, but haven't.  I was recently reading some older posts I wrote back in January.  Although I knew what my goals going into this calendar year were, it was nice to see them written out.

To recap, they were:

  • Stay injury-free
  • Sub 20-minute 5k
  • Sub 1:40 half marathon
  • Qualify for Boston
  • Consistently lift weights 
I lifted weights off-and-on all year, but more so than last year.  I BQ's in April, and ran a 1:34 half in September.  I found out I have a knee problem, took some time off, and have come back stronger.  I wasn't 100% injury free, but I took the right precautions and tried to help myself by taking the month of July off of running.  The only one not touched in that sub-20 5k goal.  In a way, it kills me not having crossed the line in 19:xx for a 5k.  I want to run fast.  I believe I can.  Therefore, every Tuesday after I do track, this goal become more and more vivid, just waiting to be crushed.

There are not a whole lot of 5ks left in the year, but there are quite a few this weekend around where I live.  So I signed up.

I'll be toeing the line of the Drumstick Dash on Saturday.  I'm excited to see how I can do.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Winter Races

My motivation, which was lacking last week, has magically reappeared after signing up for a few races in the upcoming weeks/months.  Although my 2013 plans are still up in the air for the most part, I am happy to have at least one thing to train for.

After seeing that Muddy Monk posted on their Facebook page that the Schiller Chiller was close to being full, I decided to register for it.

I did their Thriller Schiller a few weeks ago, and had a great experience.  I want to do more trail running, and this is an easy way to accomplish that goal.  Plus, the race is on a Saturday.  I would much rather race on Saturday as opposed to Sunday.  My only debate was signing up for the 10k or 5k.  I ended up deciding on the 5k solely for the fact that if it snows/has recently snowed, I would be more likely to turn an ankle running over 6 miles as opposed to just 3.  Although the course is different from the October race, I want to see if I can run a better time.  I'm looking forward to it.

Also, in January I'll be running the Ice Breaker indoor marathon on a relay team.

We are still finalizing our relay team, so I could be running as much as a half marathon or as little as a 10k or so.  We'll be running around an ice rink for 95.5 laps.  Some people might think this is boring, but I know a few people who have done it and they thought it was ok.  It will give me something to look forward to in January.  

As for the rest of 2013, who knows!  Only time will tell...

Have you ever done an indoor race?  Would you run around an ice rink 95.5 times?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thinking Ahead: 2013 Race Schedule

I'm a planner.  I always have been, and probably always will be one.  I like to know what I am doing, when, and plan ahead.  The same is true for my running.  Signing up for longer races (which are those half marathon or longer for me), motivates me and drives my training.  So not having any races in the near future is driving me a little crazy.  My training has been less-than-stellar for the past 2 weeks and I'm feeling the need to sign up for something.

I've been thinking about 2013 and what I want to race.  There are so many possibilities - do I want to run more trail races?  Do an ultra?  If so, a 50k?  50 mile? 100k?  Run marathons?  Get into triathlons?  More duathlons?  Focus on speed and 5ks?  Destination race?  Local races?  Small races?  Big races?  So.  Many.  Choices.

The only race I am signed up for is the Boston Marathon in April.  Other than that, my calendar is completely open.  Do you have any races to recommend to me?  Please share!  I want to hear about other races that I don't know about.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thriller in Schiller Race Report

A few weeks ago I was lucky, which is rare, and won a free race entry from Kim's blog into the Thriller in Schiller trail 5k race.  Having never been to Schiller Park, I didn't exactly know what kind of trail to expect.  I've learned that the word "trail" has many different varieties.

When I got to the park, I picked up my bib and then casually talked to another runner about the course. Was it technical?  Single track?  I was told that there would be a creek crossing, over a mile of single track trail, and many trees to hop over/duck under.  After getting back to my car, I decided to wear my friend's trail shoes that she lent me the night before.  I hadn't ever worn them, or even the brand (they were Asics, and I wear Newton most of the time, but also run in Saucony and Mizuno shoes occasionally).  I had one goal for this race: run under 31 minutes, or under a 10:00 mile pace.  

As we were called over to the start line, I looked around and decided to line up in about the third row.  I'm glad I did, because after the director said "go" there was a sharp right turn immediately, followed by the creek crossing.

Thinking, "How do I get across?"

Hmm....I hope this works

These were some of the guys near the front crossing.  I wasn't too far behind the guy in hot pink.

It was harder to get up the bank after the creek crossing than I anticipated.

After the creek crossing, we looped back around to a long section of single track trail.  There were some trees to jump over, and duck under, in this section.  I got behind a guy going slower than I wanted to go, but couldn't pass him.  I was finally able to scoot around him around around the 1 mile mark.  

I felt like I was doing an obstacle course instead of racing.

After the first mile was over, I was finally able to get into a nice groove.  We ran on a path, and not single track trail, which was nice.  I was able to pass some people.  After mile 2, we were back on the single track trail, except this time I had passed enough people that I didn't have any issues.  There was a guy in my sight that led the way for me so I knew which way to run.  We didn't have to cross the creek a second time, but just looped around to the finish.  

According to my Garmin, I finished in 23:33.  According to the clock that was placed on the ground when I crossed, I ran a 23:43.  According to website, I ran a 23:07.  I finished 2nd female overall, but the results say 3rd.  However, I could care less.  This race was for fun.  I had a lot of fun, and can foresee trail races like this in my future.