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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Racing for Others

There are lots of reasons to sign up for a race.  Some people like the idea of running through certain cities, while others do it for the experience.  The majority of time I race for one thing - a new PR.  However, today was the the second time this year (the first being the Boson Marathon) where I lined up at the start of a race knowing that the main goal was to run with a friend.

I signed up for the Fox Valley Half Marathon in December, with the intention that it would be my goal race of the year.  I had such high hopes, and the idea of a new PR danced around frequently in my head.  Then I got sick.  I had a fever for a few days, a nasty cough and cold and couldn't breathe well.  I didn't run until Thursday, when 5 miles felt like a marathon, and my 9:16 overall average felt like a dead out sprint.  Friday I decided that I would need to adjust my goals.  I would run the race with my two friends, helping them to reach their goal of a sub 2-hour half marathon, rather than running this race for myself.

Sunday morning rolled around and I felt no pressure whatsoever.  The weather was nice and cool, made for PRing.  I lined up with my friends and our 13.1 mile journey through the western suburbs began.  I had the most fun I have ever had in a race before, and truly did not feel like I was actually in a race.  We ended up running a 1:57, which averaged out to a 9:00/mile pace.  In the end, I got my medal but more importantly, my friends got their PR.  I'm happy I could help them achieve this goal.

Life is funny.  I thought that this race was going to be awesome all spring and summer.  I looked forward to it with such great anticipation, but it was not meant to be.  Surprisingly, I am ok with that.  Because just like a lot of other runners, the first thing I did when I got home from the race was sign up for another half marathon in November.  PR's can happen at any race, but helping a friend can't.  I am glad I could help them out today.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

2013: DNF and DNS

A few weeks ago, I DNF'd my first "race".... the beer mile my friends were putting on.  It was hard, and my stomach can only take so much liquid.  Rather than getting sick, I quit half way through.  My friends think I need to practice more so I don't DNF the Chilly Beer Mile, held in November.  Thus far I have done zero work in order to remedy that problem.

On to bigger issues...2013 will be the year where I have my first DNS.  As I "recently" blogged about, my training hasn't gone well.  I traveled a lot in July and August, and struggled to get quality miles in.  Last week was the icing on the cake.  I was supposed to run 20 miles and made it 1.5.  Yes, you read that correctly.  After doing some stupid training that week, including an 8 mile track workout that involved 5 x 400s at 1:23 pace and then a 5k in 21:30 Friday night followed by a 6 mile tempo on hills the next morning, my body couldn't handle it.  Not only did I have a blood sugar problem and went low, my legs were hurting from the first step I took that day.  My running friend walked back with me to our starting point.  It was at that point that I knew I would not run the Chicago Marathon.

This past week I have felt sad, and have had a "pity party" for myself.  I know I could run the marathon in sub-4 hours, but I don't want to.  I'm not in the best shape right now, and I think it would be mentally taxing on me to do the race.  I don't want to hate running, and I know if I continue to train for the marathon it is not going to be enjoyable.  It has been disgustingly humid and hot outside this week, making it hard to run.  I've been doing my fair share of sweating, and my once "easy pace" has seemed incredibly hard.

The year is 2/3 of the way over as of today.  I started the year with my best running ever, and have gotten into a major slump this summer.  I have a half marathon at the end of September that I am still doing, but other than that, I know I need to run with no goal other than to enjoy the activity.  Who knows what the rest of 2013 will bring, but I am hoping it ends as good as it started.

Monday, August 5, 2013

In a Slump

I'm running the Chicago Marathon for the second time in three years on October 13.  Two years ago when I trained for it, everything was new.  It was my first marathon, and I felt a great sense of accomplishment with each new distance.  "I just ran 18 miles!"  "I just ran 20 miles!  Yay!"  With my excitement, I also had a few really good races and became a lot faster.  

This time around, it hasn't been the same.  I feel like my running is at a standstill.  I'm not making progress, but actually running worse, or so it seems.  Runs are becoming harder and I'm not making progress, which has greatly hindered my motivation.  I'm frustrated to say the least.  

I once heard that when a person is trying to lose weight, they go through certain plateaus.  One week, they may drop 2 pounds and then do the exact same thing the next week and not lose any weight.  Or perhaps it stays the same for the next few weeks before dropping a pound or two again.  

I am not sure if this is where I am with my running or not, but I hope so.  I wish I could get instant gratification with my running and see results every day.  However, with all things, that is not how the world works.  I will just be patient and wait...for however long it takes.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Diabetes in Zero G

This past week I had the opportunity of a lifetime....to experience Zero G and 2 G on a NASA plane.  Three other teachers from my school and I were in Houston, Texas for 12 days.  Back in the winter, we created an experiment that our students at school could do and that would have different results in zero and 2 G.

NASA has a special plane (the weightless wonder) that we got to ride for 2 hours while testing our experiment.  I was nervous for a few reasons:

1.  In order to prevent motion sickness, you should take a pill or shot.  I hate needles.  However, I sucked it up and took the shot, which makes you dizzy.  In reality, I didn't get too dizzy and it was similar to getting a flu shot.

2.  I had no idea how my insulin pump would work in zero G and 2 G.  From my limited research, there has never been a diabetic astronaut.  My endocrinologist in Chicago didn't think it would be an issue, and the flight doctor told me I'd be fine.  In reality, I was.  When we took off, I was 134.  When we landed, I was 103.  I'd say I was successful.

It is hard to put into words the experience I had.  Being weightless was one of the neatest things I have ever experienced.  We also go to experience Martian and Lunar gravity, which made doing push-ups very easy.  If only it was like that in real life.

I can definitely say that I am more interested in space after this week, and had an amazing time.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Sunday's TdC Chicagoland Bike Ride

Continued from yesterday's post...

Instead of getting to the start of the Tour de Cure bike ride at 6:30, as originally intended, we instead arrived fashionably late at 6:55 AM.  Cleaning up my knees was more important than being on time.  Plus, my team knew what happened because we texted them.

After parking, getting all of my biking stuff out of the car, and finding my team, I wanted to get my Red Rider jersey.  I found it a bit odd that they did not give these out ahead of time.  I went into the venue to get it, asked a man where they were, and was told the wrong way to turn.  Then I asked another volunteer where to go.  Instead, I got this response:

Old Man Volunteer: "You shouldn't ride with your knees in that condition."

Me: "I'm fine.  I fell running this morning."

Old Man Volunteer: "It is not safe for you to ride."

Me (already pissed off at this point): "Where are the jerseys?"

Old Man Volunteer: "There is a medical tent outside.  You need to go there."

Me: "I'm fine.  Where are the jerseys?"

Old Man Volunteer: "You shouldn't ride."

At that point, my frustration had gotten the better of me.  I was already late because of falling, and now this old man was trying to tell me not to ride.  If he only knew that whenever someone tells me something is not possible it only makes me want to go prove them wrong even more, perhaps he would have stopped talking.  Instead of yelling at him, which is what I wanted to do, I simply turned and walked away.  I eventually found the area, got my jersey, and headed back to my team, my friends.

At this point it was already 7:30, and the first wave was long gone, as they started at 7 AM.  Me, my running friend, and another guy were starting together.  After getting to the street, we contemplated which way to go, and ended up following the arrows.  We were the only ones on the path, which we thought was odd.  We weren't even biking that slow.  By the time we reached mile 6.5, both of their phones rang.  We pulled off the path to see who it was, only to find out that our other team members, still at the start, called to tell us we were going the wrong way.

At that point, we turned around and made our way back to the start.  By the time we got back, we had already biked 13 miles, and I knew the century would not happen.  However, I was okay with it.  It could happen another day instead.

By the time we got to the first rest stop, they were packing up.  All of us, runners first and cyclists second, found it a bit funny.  The there of us run well, and often finish near the front of races.  It was like we became the slow runners.  It was a different feeling, one that I didn't particularly like.

When we reached rest stop 2, the same thing happened.  By rest stop 3, we had finally (!!!) caught up to some other riders.  By rest stop 4, we caught up with two other people on our team and biked with them for a little bit.  At that rest stop was the dividing for the century and metric riders.  However, the century riders had to leave that stop by 11 AM to continue on the course.  We got there at 11, so we knew the metric was what we were going to be doing.

My running friend was starting to feel tired and her legs hurt at this point.  She started to bike slower, with one of the other teammates, and by the next rest stop decided she would rather take the sag vehicle back to the start than finish.  This was at 100k, or 62 miles.  However, the guy (D) who was biking with us and me and the other two continued on.  D and I biked the last 13 miles together.  I was getting tired, and on the hills he would pull me up so I didn't have to work as hard, which was very kind.  We ended up crossing the finish line together, wheel-by-wheel, 75 miles later.

My knees did not hurt at all during the bike ride.  I did, however, get many interesting questions asked:

Many times, people would look at me, up and down, and then say, "what happened to you?" or "does that hurt?"

My canned response was: "I went running before the ride and fell this morning.  I feel fine, and I am ok."

D and my running friend joked that I should just put a sign on my jersey that said "I am fine."

Even though the day did not go as I thought it would, I wouldn't have done it any other way.  To live with diabetes is to overcome an obstacle every single day.  Therefore, biking with scrapped knees is only fitting.  It was just one more obstacle to overcome.  And I can say that not only did I overcome it, I demolished it in the process.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Sunday's Run Before the Bike

One of my friends always says that when her family says her training is crazy, there is always someone out there who is crazier.

Yesterday was the Chicagoland's Tour de Cure, an event that I had a small role in helping out with and  was also a team captain.  My friend and I had these grand plans to ride 100 miles in this event ever since we signed up.  We both have never completed a century ride.  My farthest was 75 miles, done last fall, and hers 98 done at Ragbrai a few summers ago.  Plus, a century ride is on my bucket list for the year.  I thought it would be meaningful to complete it at the Tour de Cure ride.

However, as much as I love to ride my bike, running is my true love, and yesterday was the kick-off of marathon training.  I was supposed to run 12 miles yesterday, however, my friend (also a marathon runner) and I decided 10 miles would be good.

She came over to where I live at 4:15 AM on Sunday morning so we could fit our run in before the ride.  We promptly left at 4:20 and ran out 5 miles, had some GU, and started to come back.  Then, at mile 7.5, this happened to me:

Ouch!

I tripped on the uneven sidewalk and scrapped my knees.  After laying on the sidewalk for a minute, my friend promptly told me I had to get up because if any cop cars drove by they would think she beat me up, which made me laugh.  Luckily, one of my hands landed in the grass and the other, which held a handheld water bottle, was unharmed.  The handheld, though, sustained all of the damage and broke. 

We ran the remaining 2.5 miles back to where I live, and maintained the same pace as my pre-fall.  My friend so kindly posted the picture above to Facebook, where the comments were entertaining to read.  I changed into my bike clothes and off we went to Aurora, the city where the Chicagoland Tour de Cure started.  Who says a little fall will deter me from riding my bike?

...To be continued tomorrow...

Saturday, June 8, 2013

5k is not the same as a Marathon

I had the pleasure of viewing this conversation on Facebook.  Two people I went to high school with recently got into running, and have been running all of the local 5k's or similar back in then tristate area.  

This was the conversation that happened under a picture that they posted.

Runner #1: I ran the race in xx:xx and placed 13th out of 75 in my age group!!!  I am starting to get the hang of this marathon thing :)

Person #1: You flew by me at mile 1 and I never saw you again

Person #2: I love your matching shoes!

Runner #1: You should join us for one.  We are doing the race in (city) next weekend.

Person #2: I can't because i have to work.

Runner #1: At the end of the month we are doing the Color Run.  We are also running two more marathons in July in the area.


It amazes me how Runner #1 interchanged the words 5k and marathon, acting like they were the same thing.  Personally, I have always known the difference because I grew up around running.  Marathons were a great distance, 5ks a short run.

Having trained for both 5ks and marathons before, I can, as well as anyone else, say that there is a gigantic difference.  It takes a few weeks to train for a 5k, but months and hours upon hours to train for a full marathon.  It would be like saying that you got a home run in baseball when really you were walked.  You still got on base, but it was only to first.  You did well, but could have gone farther.

This isn't to say that running 5ks is easy.  I think they are incredibly hard if you run them all out.  However, they are nothing like a marathon.  5ks are done in 30 or less minutes, while marathons take a few more hours to finish.

Are there other things that you often hear people confuse? I have heard 5k and marathon before, but also biathlon and duathlon often get confused.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Rockford 10k Race Report

Do you ever have the feeling that you are capable of much more than your performance showed?  That is the feeling that I left the Rockford 10k with last Sunday.  After speaking with my running coach the races held that day, we decided that it would be most beneficial if I raced the 10k and not the half marathon, as I originally wanted.

Mile 5.5 

My goal was to run the first mile in 7:00 or 7:05 and then run the rest in the 6:50s, so I would average 6:55 or so for the race.  I'm here to say that did not happen.  It wasn't even close.  I ended up averaging 7:04 for the race, and ran about 20 seconds slower than my PR from last year.

Getting my check

There is a lot I should be happy about.  I was 13th overall and the 2nd place female.  This race gives out money to the top 3, so I got a $50 check.  This is the first time I have ever won money for running.  Three of my running club teammates were running in the races, and there were an additional 4 that came to spectate/bike/cheer for us.  Doesn't it all sound great?

This past year, I have had concrete goals for a lot of races and fell short every single time.  The races where I had no goals were the ones that I ran my fastest.  I don't get it.  I can get 3 hours of sleep before a half marathon and run a 1:36 on the hilliest course in Illinois, but actually get sleep and proper rest only to run a 43:53 10k on a flat course?

With all that aside, I'll continue to race and have goals.  Hopefully I can achieve them this summer/fall.  I did accomplish one goal for this race, although it had nothing to do with time.  I've always felt that my body is too fat to only race in shorts and a sports bra.  But, I wanted to overcome that, and I did.  I raced in my shorts and sports bra, and was thankful I did due to the incredibly high humidity.  At least I achieved one goal, right?  It is the small things in life that matter!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week #6 - Art Day



I dumped a plethora of used test strips from my meter bag and came up with this design: 


I think it is fitting, as I am racing tomorrow.



Friday, May 17, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week #5 - Switch Disease Day



When you consider all things, diabetes, although it is a pain sometimes, definitely is not the worst chronic condition one could have.  I thought about other chronic conditions and many are a lot worse, so coming up with a disease I would want to switch with was rather challenging.  Ideally, diabetes would just go away.  However, that isn't happening soon, so instead I would become Celiac in its place.


Changing my diet wouldn't be too awful to do.  I went gluten free for a bit last year during marathon training and it was just a different way to think about food.  Obviously, if you do eat gluten than that would suck.  However, there are so many people jumping on the GF band wagon that it is easy to find options to eat at most restaurants.  Some of my favorite foods are GF anyway, including my favorite: 


Although I don't truly consider myself part of the DOC, given the fact that not too many diabetes topics are spoken about here, I don't think it has impacted how I treat others' medical conditions.  I am a caring person by nature, so I am concerned when someone else gets hurt, injured, or sick.  But that is part of who I am, and would be regardless of other people.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Post #4 - Accomplishments

Today's post deals with stating your biggest accomplishment.

Non-diabetes-wise, my biggest accomplishment is qualifying (and then running) the Boston Marathon.

Diabetes-wise, my biggest accomplishment is not having an A1C over 6.5 since I was in 5th grade.  It could be longer, except I haven't bothered to look at reports from 18 years ago.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Diabetes Blog Week Post #1 - Doctors

As I've done attempted in the past, this year I will be participating in Diabetes Blog Week.  This year my goal is to actually blog about diabetes for the entire week.


Today's prompt deals with doctor visits:



I think I am in the minority in that my doctor spends more than 15 minutes with me, rather 30 minutes.  I don't hide the facts of my life from my doctor.  He knows that I am a runner and that I do a plethora of cross-training.  He knows that I have always struggled with low blood sugars, and the panic that I feel when I see a number over 200 come across the screen on my meter.  He knows that change for me is very hard, and also that I don't like to use the Bolus Wizard on my pump when I eat.  I believe in being completely honest with my doctor.  This means telling him the good things happening, the bad things, and the ugly things.    

If my doctor read my blog, I don't think he would at all surprised.  I blog about what is important to me on it - mostly running, a little diabetes, with some random stuff thrown in.  Having diabetes requires a lot of work, and even more so if you are an athlete.  Diabetes is always present, and needs a lot of attention.  I think that many people start to have problems because they do not pay enough attention to it.  It is more than counting carbs, finger sticks, and insulin shots/boluses.  It is carrying GU with you on any any run over 3 miles and wearing a bracelet that identifies me as having a dysfunctional pancreas.  

I feel incredibly lucky to have a doctor that understands me, and can help me take care of myself better.  

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Perspective

After a rough few weeks in regard to running, including a half marathon that included a stop at the med tent at mile 6.5 on what was supposed to be a 1:32 half PR, I've been especially hating diabetes.  Sometimes having it just sucks - and there is no other way to put it, but especially so when it derails my plans.

Today I opted to run a little later in the morning instead of in the 30* weather.  On the schedule was a "long" run of 10 miles, which was broken down into a 1 mile warm-up, 8 mile MGP run (7:37 pace) and a 1-mile cool-down.  As I got out of my car and waited for my satellites to load, I looked at the beauty around me.  I could see flowers rapidly moving in the wind, and a bright blue sky.  It was incredibly windy, but a good day to run.

A few steps into my run I had to stop and wait for a car before I crossed the street and continued to run on the path.  As I waited for the car, I noticed two people on the other side of the street.  One man was wearing a Boston Marathon shirt from this year, and was talking to another man.  Not really thinking much of it, I looked down at my watch to see that it was paused.  It was then that I realized the other man.  He had a prosthetic leg.

After the car passed, I ran by, saying hi to both men on the way by.  As I ran 1 mile out, I thought about how different life would be without one of my legs.  How much harder running would be.  Could I even bike?  Everything would be different.  And as I turned around and hit the 2-mile mark, I saw the man running by me the opposite direction and said "hi" again.

I am constantly amazed by other people.  This man was out on the prairie path today running, just like me.  However, although I am 100% positive he does not know it, he changed my perspective.  Did the run today go as planned?  No, not in the least bit.  I had a low blood sugar around mile 6 and ended up running an over pace of 8:00 miles, instead of 7:45.  But I could care less because I could still use my legs to run.  It made me thankful that the majority of my body does work well.

This run today was more than just a run, but helped me gain perspective of the good things in life, and to be thankful for what I do have.

Monday, April 29, 2013

A New Chapter

In my five years of being a runner, I have been self coached.  I took advice from others, but ultimately it was me who dictated what I did.  Being self coached requires a great deal of discipline.  The only person you are accountable to is yourself, which can be both a blessing and a curse.  I think that worked out fairly well for me in the past.  I achieved some respectable PRs under my own guidance.

But, I want to become better.  I don't just want to be "average"...I want to be considered "good".  I don't think I can achieve this on my own, which is why I am going to start working with a running coach on Wednesday.  My coach "W" is a runner himself.  He actually coaches my best runner friend, who I have trained with for the past year.

The self-coaching door is shutting come Wednesday and the "getting coached" door is opening wide.  With it come all sorts of excitement, dreams, and goals that I hope to accomplish.  I realize my goals are ambitious, but W says that they are attainable.  This scares and excites me at the same time.  In the next six months, my goals are:

1.  Break 1:30 for a half marathon (sub 6:53 average pace)

2.  Break 20:00 for a 5k (sub 6:24 pace)

3.  Break 3:20 for a marathon (sub 7:38 pace)

And as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams."  It will take work, but I believe my body and mind are capable of running these times.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Bombs and Floods

In the past week, I have experienced a bomb and a flood.  I'm currently waiting for a tornado to happen to complete the trifecta.

Considering all things, I thought I handled the Boston Marathon bomb quite well.  This is mostly because I didn't hear it go off, and was 1/2 mile from the finish line.  Plus, my parents were in Boston with me.  They could handle the logistics of getting back to the hotel while I hobbled down the streets of Boston after them trying to find our way to the bus station.  Luckily, my mom and I flew back to Chicago on Tuesday before American had all of their problems.  I was emotionally and physically exhausted from the race and the chaotic aftermath, but dealt with it quite well.

Then, on Wednesday night and early Thursday morning, we had torrential downpours in Chicagoland.  My school was cancelled on Thursday and Friday, which provided me with a nice break to regroup.  Although, I couldn't, because where I live was flooded.  Water was all over the floors, and I had to leave.  Luckily, I have some great friends that have helped me out.  But, after a while I personally feel like I am a burden.  Therefore, I stayed 2 nights in a hotel.  However, I couldn't take it anymore.  Tomorrow night I've decided to reside with friends again.

Unfortunately, I have not handled this event as well as the bombings.  On Saturday I cried 4 times.  On Monday I get to see my endocrinologist.  I think it is safe to assume I'll shed some tears in his office.

I realize that temporary living somewhere is not the end of the world.  But it is incredibly inconvenient and causes more stress in my life.  Right now, I need peace and not stress.

The good thing is that after this week, things can only get better.  Unless, of course, the tornado actually does come.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston Marathon Race Recap

I got up at the early hour of 4 AM to get ready for the Boston Marathon.  After getting lots of glorious sleep on Friday and Saturday night, I didn't sleep much at all Sunday night.  All kinds of negative thoughts kept swirling around in my head, like how I wasn't in shape, would have to walk the final 3 miles to the finish, tripping during the race....Not the best thoughts pre-race, but especially pre-marathon.


Outfit I decided to wear.  I started the race with 2 pink gloves and not 1... I don't think I'm Michael Jackson.  

I decided what to wear that morning, got everything together, and got into a cab with my parents so we could go to the hotel to catch the CARA charter bus.  A friend that does track with me sat by me and in back of us was my friend that I would be running the race with and her boyfriend.  The bus left a few minutes late, but we made it to Hopkinton in plenty of time.

I was supposed to start the race in 2/4, but moved back to 2/7 to run with my friend.  We decided a few months ago that we were going to run the race for fun, and not race it.  Getting to Boston was the challenging part, so our goal was to enjoy every moment of the 26.2 miles.

My brother, who ran Boston 3 times, told me what to expect: 13 miles of gently rolling hills followed by 3 heartbreak hills and 5 miles of downhills.  This helped a lot, as most people say the first half is all downhill.  Really, the first hill is at mile 1.75.

We started running and I shed my throw-away gloves at mile 3 because I started to get warm.  By mile 6, I was hot.  I took off my arm warmers and my friend weaved them through my tank top.  They stayed there until mile 17, when we saw my parents.  We briefly stopped to talk to them.  I gave them my arm warmers and my mom gave me some GU packets.  We continued on our way, and then mile 19 happened.  I was already incredibly hot by this point, and went was taking a cup of water and pouring it down my back in the hope that it would cool me off.  However, that didn't work.  At mile 19 I got cramps in my legs, and it sucked.  My friend listed to me complain about them, especially knowing that THE Heartbreak Hill was rapidly approaching, knowing I wanted to walk.  "You'll regret it for the rest of your life, so I won't let you," she told me.

I listed to her, and I followed her up it, at a rather slow pace.  For the next few miles, my cramps would come and go.  By mile 21, I had to use the bathroom.  My friend and I did 99% of our long runs together, and as most runners know, talking about poop is not odd.  And although I really needed to use the bathroom, there was no way that my will would let me stop, nor would I poop my pants.  We talked about other things instead.  Rather, my friend did most of the talking this part of the race.

When we saw the 40k sign, I knew the end was close.  The crowds had been awesome the entire time, and although I was in pain, I didn't really want it to be done.  We concluded the marathon by running a 6:59 pace for the last 0.4 miles.  And just like that, 3 hours and 46 minutes after we started the journey in Hopkinton, the Boston Marathon was over.




This may have been my slowest marathon, but it is the one that I am the proudest of.  The course was the toughest.  My legs were just not feeling it.  But sharing the experience with one of my best friends will be something I will never forget.  Running by thousands of fans was amazing.  Boston definitely does live up to what everyone says about it.  I don't know when, but I'll be back to make another 26.2 mile journey here again.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Boston Marathon - First Thoughts

Over the past 5 days, I have felt such a wide array of emotions.  It was a weekend filled with excitement, nervousness, celebration, triumph, and tragedy.  However, after returning home to Chicago today, the emotion that resonates the most is that of love.  Luckily, I was already across the finish line and on my way to the family reunion area when the bombs went off.  I didn't know what was going on, which is probably for the best.  It wasn't until a man at the restaurant i was at told us about the finish line that I really realized what was happening.  But, I was by my parents, and my sister was texting me like mad.  Cell phone service was sketchy, and I would end up getting numerous text messages all at once and then not have service for the next 10 minutes.  Getting back to our hotel was another adventure, one that I felt scared during.  However, I am amazed of all of the love that was shown in Boston.

The love was shown in ways both big and small, by those that I know very well and those who I don't know at all.  From a guy in my running group making sure everyone from the group that was running was safe to my sister doing everything she could from the west coast to texts and messages and emails from friends and family.

This was a special weekend, one that was designed around a race.  But running the race was the least important detail in the end.  This weekend showed me the various ways that love manifests itself in the world today, especially in the wake of such a horrific act.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Yoga Geriatric Style

A few weeks ago, my mom asked me if I wanted to go to yoga with her.  I was surprised at this question because although my mom exercises, never has she had any interest in doing it with me.  I planned on visiting my parents and grandparents for part of my spring break, so she knew I would be home around that time anyway.  I do believe she was even more surprised when I said yes, I would join her.

Keep in mind that my yoga experience is incredibly limited.  Back in 2011 when I was training for the Chicago Marathon I went to yoga a few times the day of my long run to help with stretching.  Since then, I have been to one class.  Yoga and me just aren't compatible...I am not flexible, have a hard time being still, and like to move fast.  I could care less about how I breathe, while that is a main component of yoga.  Can you see why I haven't been back in over a year?

When my mom and I got to class, it was pretty much how my mom described it, with the average age of the person in then class being about 65.  My mom also told me that I could not sit by her for fear of laughing.  I am proud to report that I made it the entire session without laughing out loud.

When I went to other yoga classes, I always felt (more or less) like the outsider with being so inflexible.  However, today, I fit right in.  Granted, we didn't do a whole lot of movements/exercises/poses (whatever they're called), but what we did do, I was able to do, which made me feel good.

The moral of this story is that if I plan on going to yoga again, I think it would be best to find a geriatric class, which is obviously better suited to my ability level.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Getting Coached

As I figure out what it is that I want to get out of the year in terms of my running, it has become that I think I possess super-human powers.  Unfortunately, that is not the case - I am human.  And as much as the "no goal for this race" approach is working for me, I do have goals, which are all a bit ambitious.

I've greatly enjoyed my winter/spring training session for Boston, especially since I am not racing Boston.  As I have said before, all of the hard work was done last year in order to qualify for the race.  The race itself will be the ultimate celebration.  I'll be running it with my running BFF/training partner for the past 15 or so months.  And I can't wait.  I feel no pressure, expect the pressure to have fun and enjoy every single moment of the expo, race and weekend.

I have a few things that I'd like to do after the Boston Marathon this spring, but have not yet signed up for any because I don't know how my body will respond to the marathon.  I anticipate that I'll be fine since I'm not going all out and trying to PR, but you just never know.

The summer and fall tell a much different story for me, though.  Back in December, I signed up for the Fox Valley Half Marathon as my goal race for the fall.  My goal is to run a sub-1:30 at this race.  I feel that it is doable, and have gotten the same response from my track coach.

Then I decided I wanted to run the Chicago Marathon again....but really run it.  Race it.  PR it.  Spring through the streets of Chicago with a smile on my face and enjoy every step.  All this after theoretically PRing the half 3 weeks prior to it.  Smart?  Doesn't appear to be.

To add another twist to the story, I'll be in Texas for 8 days in July this summer, learning how to be an astronaut (more or less).  I'm not sure the quantity of training I'll be able to do while there because of the heat, and the demands of the program that I am doing.  I know we are in class/sessions from 8 until 5 or 6.  But, I get to fly in an aircraft at zero gravity at the end of the week which will be completely and totally awesome.

Therefore, I've been thinking about how I want to handle the fall.  Another running coach in my running club suggested that I sign up for a November or December half and PR the hell out of that race.  But, that would require traveling, and I don't do that well.

My running BFF/training partner has a running coach that she has been working with the past 5 years.  I do a lot of her workouts with her because we run together 3 times a week.  And although he does not technically coach me, in a round-about way he does.  He's our cheerleader, supporter, challenger and commander all wrapped up in one.

Last week I was telling my running bestie about my predicament.  I've thought about getting a running coach before, but decided to forego it because I thought I could come up with a decent enough training schedule on my own (which I did).  But I've never attempted anything like the fall I'm going to have.  I think I need a coach to help me achieve my goals, tell me what to run and how fast, and keep me injury-free.

Deciding I need a coach isn't the hard part, it is deciding who I want as my coach.  There are a few options:


  • My bestie's coach.  He already knows me, has seen me run, knows how I like to approach long runs, and is experienced.  I'm sure he would come to Fox Valley and help pace me if need be.  
  • My track coach.  Also an experience runner (he was actually on Team USA last year for the duathlon), he knows his stuff.  However, he likes long runs to be faster than I like to run them at. Given the fact that I'll be marathon training, this might be a problem.  But he is a phenomenal track coach and could help me PR the half I'm sure, and the 5k, which is also on my bucket-list for this year.  Another plus is that he already knows me as a runner.

Then there are some coaches that I only know via the internet.  One guy is an endocrinologist in addition to being a runner, which could be beneficial as far as training is concerned.  I also know Missy Foy, a diabetic runner, is a running coach that other diabetics have used and had success with her.  I haven't looked too much into her - to see if she is even taking on new athletes or is willing to work with me.  

Questions....

1.  Did you/do you have a running coach?  How did you pick them?

2.  Thoughts on who I should pick?  Or, is there someone else I should consider?  

Monday, March 25, 2013

Boston Week #9

I've started tapering for the Boston Marathon and couldn't be more excited to do so.  Unlike last year, when Chicago didn't have a winter, this year it has been cold and relatively snowy.  It snowed last night.  I prefer to run in the heat any day over the cold.  My current view of warm consists of "30* and sunny"....a far cry from last year, when I was loving the 85*+ heat.

This week was more about recovery than anything else.  My race at the hilly March Madness Half Marathon wrecked my legs for the first half of the week.  If I have learned nothing else in this training cycle, it has been to listen to my body.  My body tells me what it wants, or doesn't want to do.  Sometimes we agree on things, and other times not.  This week looked like....

Monday
Bike 6 miles
Walk 1 mile
Elliptical 2 miles
Weights

I decided to not run today because I was tired from the race on Sunday.

Tuesday
5 miles on treadmill
Bike 7 miles
Walk 2 miles
Stairs - 4 miles
Elliptical - 2 miles

I was tired by the end of the day.  The 5 miles felt good, though, which was encouraging.

Wednesday
Run 5 miles at indoor track

I attempted to do a track workout this day and failed.  My blood sugar was low, and wouldn't come up. I ended up running a 1 mile warm-up with 2 sets of 800/600/200 thrown in and some recovery laps.  It pretty much sucked.

Thursday
Run 8 miles
Walk 1 mile
Stairs 1 mile
Basketball

For the first time in 3 years, I played basketball with some people at the gym after my run.  I played AAU growing up, but got burned out on the sport by the end of high school.  It was nice to shoot around again, and make shots.

Friday
Run 5 miles on hills
Bike 7 miles
Walk 1 mile
Stairs 1 mile
Weights

Attempted a tempo run on the hills, but only averaged 7:42 pace.  Oh well...the legs were still recovering.

Saturday
20 miles

Last long run on Boston Marathon training!  Originally, I wanted to go 22, but considering that I battled low blood sugar issues the entire run, especially from miles 12 - 16 we decided to cut it short.  You know you're having a problem when you consume 2 GU's in three miles and test in at 53.  #diabeticfailure

Sunday
Stairs - 2 miles
Walk 1 mile
Bike 1 mile

I was so tired from the 20 miler and from being so low during it that I slept in Sunday morning and did not run.  I listened to my body, which was screaming "DO NOT RUN!" I've never been happier to taper.

Weekly Totals
Running - 43 miles
Biking - 21 miles
Elliptical - 4 miles
Stairs - 8 miles
Walking - 6 miles
Weights - 2 times
Basketball

Boston is three weeks from today...and I've never been more excited to running a marathon.  Qualifying was the hard part, which I did last year, so this year is all about enjoyment.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Diabetes Questions...Answered

I occasionally get questions emailed to me or put in the comment section of posts from my blog, which I often fail to answer.


How do you prep for long runs with having diabetes?

This answer has changed a lot in the past year.  I do 90% of my long runs in the early morning, which I find to be the easiest time.  In the past, I have eaten yogurt, fruit, and instant oatmeal (uncooked) on top of it before my run and taken Gu every 6 or so miles.  During my Boston Marathon training cycle, I eat a piece of peanut butter toast 45 minutes before the run.  Right before I start, I take a Gu.  I take a Gu every 5-7 miles on long runs.  I found the the hills I've been training on really wear me out, and I need the extra calories to make it through my run feeling strong.


My current favorite Gu flavor 

How do you handle insulin on your long runs?

I do not set temporary basals ever.  My pump is always on 100%, no matter what.  Before my long runs, I deliberately take less insulin than what my pump tells me.  I also do not bolus for the first Gu.  I take between 0.2 and 0.3 units of insulin per Gu for the rest of them.  I have found this balance to work well for me.

This picture made me laugh.  I do love insulin, mostly because I like to eat.


What color is your pump?

Someone emailed me this question, which I thought was really random.  My pump is clear.  I decided to get the clear one in college, when I first got my pump, because if it was visible it would match everything I was wearing.  I could get another one, as I've had my current one for 5 years, but haven't decided if I want to stay with a  clear one or go for a color one.  Or, if I want to get a skin.


My pump looks similar to this, but is an older version.


What type of holder do you use for your insulin pump while running?

I had a Medtronic Pump and use the belt clip.  I have a black one, unlike the picture below.  It is the only pump holder I have found that doesn't move around when I run.  It is secure, which is why I like it.



When you line up at a race, do you think of yourself differently compared to the other able-bodied athletes around you?

No, I consider myself just as capable of achieving my goals as the runner standing next to me.  I believe the proper term for seeing myself different is called "self pity."  Yes, diabetes presents challenges that others do not have to deal with.  I have had races where I couldn't run the way I wanted to because of my diabetes.  But, I consider those races learning experiences, although I am generally pissed off after they happen.  In all honesty, I think of myself of being a pretty good runner that has achieved some success in the short time I have been competitively running.  I have big goals that I would like to achieve this year, and know that believing in myself and not having any self-pity is the only way they can have a chance at being accomplished.


Is anyone else diabetic in your family?

My paternal grandmother, who is still alive, has had diabetes for 75 years.  It has been interesting to learn more about her life as I have gotten older.  When she was younger, doctors told her that she should not have kids because it would be a risk to her health.  She went on to have four.  Doctors told her to not do a lot of things, and she didn't listen to any of them.  Although it is hard for her to move around now, she still has all of her limbs and hasn't lost any of her brain power.    

About 15 years ago, doctors told my dad that he was on the verge of getting type 2 diabetes.  He took matters into his own hands, lost weight and started exercising.  He is now pretty thin and works out 6 days/week, with not a sign of insulin resistance.  

This was chosen only because my grandma loves Jeopardy.

Do you think you are a "diabetic elite" athlete?

This question was raised after I wrote about my experience with Team Novo Nordisk.  I think it is important to mention that they never did change their website, and still claim that they are an elite diabetic racing team.  To truly answer this question, I think you need to define "elite."  Compare to many of the athletes on their team, yes, I am elite.  If we were to race, I am confident in saying that I would be the 1st female across the finish line, regardless of the distance, and quite possibly some of the men.  I know I am not the fastest diabetic runner around (I'm definitely slower than Missy Foy), but I don't know of one other female diabetic runner that is faster than me.  

I was talking with a guy from my running club last month about TT1 and how they portray themselves on their website.  "D" is a pretty good runner - a sub 3 hour marathoner - who is brutally honest.  He told me I was "diabetic elite," which shows you that to one person you may be and another you may not.  It all depends on your definition.  I still stand by the fact that anything over a 25 minute 5k PR time is nothing close to elite, but rather closer to "middle of the pack on a good day" runner.  

Do you wear a CGM?

No, I don't.  I did not find it to be accurate and therefore stopped wearing it.  It is an expensive toy to have if it doesn't work.  I don't miss it, either.  

This machine is used 8 - 10 times a day by me.  I also have it in green, but purple is my favorite color so I always use that one.

You mentioned that you changed your pump site.  How's that going?

For 7 straight years, I only had my pump infusion sites in my stomach.  A few weeks ago, I finally go the courage to try a new spot after deciding it was time for the stomach abuse to stop.  I started using my sides, which is working out really well.  I like having my site on my right side far more than my left, only because it feels more natural to put my pump on the right side of my body when I run.  Overall, the transition has been great.  I don't think putting an infusion site in my boobs would work, as a few people recommended, because I don't have much in that department to begin with.  


Have other questions?  Email me ( lifeofqueenie@gmail.com) or put them the response section.  Feel free to answer one of the questions, too.  I'm interested in hearing other answers.  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

March O'Madness Half Marathon Race Report

Last week was full of excitement, and to top it off I raced on Sunday.


I had to wake up at 6 AM on December 30 to register for this race, but wanted to because so many people from my running club do it and I could use it as my Boston half marathon race.  It's a tad bit hilly:



However, I could have cared less.  I've fully realized that the more pressure I put on myself, the wore I do.  If I expect nothing, and just go out and have fun, the results are much more favorable.  Therefore, I got 3 hours of sleep the night before the race.  Saturday night was full of this:


On the ride up to the race, my friend was talking about her goal (sub 1:40).  Since I had no goal, I thought i would just run with her.  I didn't know what shape my body was in, but it sounded good.  So, we started the race together....

Mile 1- 7:21
Mile 2- 7:15
Mile 3-7:19
Mile 4-7:33

At this point, I was feeling pretty good, but my friend said she wasn't feeling it, so I went ahead.  

Mile 5 - 7:11
Mile 6 - 7:23 *hills
Mile 7- 7:27 *hills
Mile 8 - 7:16
Mile 9 - 7:01
Mile 10 - 7:34 *major hills

I passed a group of runners around this point.  When I went by them, they said hi and said that we had met a few weeks ago.  We met after I did my first 20 mile run on the hills.  They drove from Chicago to the Arboretum to do their run.  It was fun to see them out on the course, as they are really nice.

Mile 11 - 7:41*major hills

A man said to me that he never thought he was going to have to worry about chocking on ice in a water cup at this aid station.  It made me laugh, because last year it was 80* at this race.  

Mile 12 - 7:21

Mile 13 - 7:03

Last 0.11 - 43 sec  (6:29 pace)

Overall time: 1:36:14 (not chip timed, Garmin time was 1:36:08)
Sex Place: 26
Age Group Place: 10/27
Overall: 100-something (can't remember) out of 1400 or something

Happiness level: high 



My friend ended up running a 1:39:01, so she was happy.  I didn't think I was in this kind of shape.  I would've probably guessed that I was in 1:43 shape, as that is my default half marathon time in the past few years.  After looking at my splits, it seems as if I could've run faster.  I shouldn't be able to have a 6:29 spring in me at the finish if I really tried hard.  I do know that my legs were so sore the next day from the hills.  I have nothing but great things to say about this race and  I would recommend it if you live in the Chicagoland area.  It brings out some really good competition and the swag (medal, sweatshirt) is pretty sweet for how cheap the race is ($40).  


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What a Week

Last week was an incredible week...


I was lucky enough to get into the Chicago Marathon via the lottery.  This made me so happy.  I cannot wait to run it again and really race it.  I won't be racing Boston, so this will be my only marathon race of the year.  I have some goals I'd like to accomplish on October 13...



I found out my Boston Corral start.  I'm in wave 2/corral 4.....but I am actually not going to start there.  I'm running Boston for fun, with my running best friend/training partner.  She is seeded in 2/7, so I am going to start back there with her.  This race is all about the experience, and having a good time, and nothing about running a PR.  



I ran a half marathon on Sunday.  It is so hilly that they have nicely named the hill, which they post on a sign about half way up it.  The elevation profile looks awful, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  I was expecting to be running up mountains, and the hills weren't too big.  The only other hilly half marathon that I've done in the Flying Pig 4 years ago.  However, this made the Flying Pig seem like a flat race.

I took this race real seriously....I got 3 hours of sleep the night before, had no idea what my goal was, didn't really taper, and wore some outrageously gaudy sunglasses.  The result?  Not a PR, but a great time and a time that surprised me, especially on such a challenging course.  I'll have the race report ready tomorrow hopefully.

There were some other great parts of the week, but they deal with things that I don't blog about, but brought many smiles and much laughter to my days.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Boston Training - Week #7

Boston is 5 weeks away.  Where has the time gone?  I feel good about what I did this week...

Monday
Run = 5 miles  on treadmill with 1 mile warm-up, 1 mile at 7:30, 1 at 7:23 and 1 at 7:18, cool down
Bike - 5 miles
Walk - 1 mile
Weights
Felt like I might be in shape

Tuesday
Run - 7 miles on treadmill with a few at 8:00 and a few at 7:30
Bike - 6 miles
Walk - 1 mile
Stairs - 1 mile
Elliptical - 2 miles
Abs
Felt pretty good

Wednesday
Run - 5 miles with 5 x 800s on the track between 5:54 and 6:12
Walk - 1 mile
Elliptical - 1 mile
Weights
Felt that track was much harder than it should be.  I did it solo again this week due to the snow and miss my teammates.  I ended up trying to chase a fast guy around the track for all of my 800s.  I am sure he was annoyed by me by the end.

Thursday
Run - 6 miles outside with 10 x 30 seconds fast (6:00 pace) and 90 seconds slow (9:30-10:00 pace)
Felt - like I love this workout and want to do it every week

Friday
Run - 0 = rest day
Bike - 5 miles
Walk - 1 mile
Stairs - 2 miles
Felt - that I was happy it was a rest day

Saturday
Run - 6 miles with middle 3 at 7:30, 7:24 and 7:13 on treadmill
Bike - 4 miles
Walk - 1 mile
Stairs - 2 miles
Elliptical - 1 mile
Felt good

Sunday
14 miles at 8:50 pace on the hills in shorts(!!!! - made me so happy)
Walk - 1 mile
Weights
Felt - like the hills were going to swallow me up

Weekly Totals:
Running miles = 43
Biking miles = 20 miles
Walking miles = 6 miles
Elliptical miles = 4 miles
Stair master miles = 5 miles
Weights = 3 days
Abs = 1 day

I have a half marathon (March Madness) next Sunday, so I will be not running as much this upcoming week.  The week after I'll most likely log a lot of miles before the Boston taper begins.

Here's to another great week of running and cross-training!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Diabetes x3

If you live with diabetes, you know that it never takes a break, even if you want it to.  Even when it is on its best behavior, I'm still thinking about it.  Due to Saturn, the snow storm, I was at my gym at a time I usually don't go because school was cancelled.  The following conversation happened in the locker room:

Lady: Are the roads bad outside?

Me: No, not really.  They are a little slushy but completely drivable.

Lady: Are you diabetic?  I see you have an insulin pump on.  

Me: Yes, I am.  I have diabetes.

Lady: I work at a hospital and a man was trying to tell me he isn't diabetic, when clearly, he is.  His A1C was 7.2, and he said it was because of the steroids he was on.  And that is not true.

Me: I know steroids make blood sugars go higher (side note: only because of reading Marcus's blog do I know this).  However, I have type 1 diabetes.  

Lady: Oh, my niece has that kind, too.  But she is in high school now and refuses to wear her insulin pump because she doesn't want anyone to see it.  

Me:  I completely understand.  I didn't get my insulin pump until I was in college for that reason.  

I was ready to go run by that time and said bye to the random lady.  But, that conversation really made me think.  Before I went to the gym, two diabetes-related things happened to me today.  First, I watched a video put out by the Diabetes Research Institute that more or less said they are close to coming up with a cure by translating islet cells in an artificial pancreas.  When I watched the video, a few questions came to mind.

  • I don't know if it will actually work.  I've had diabetes for 23+ years, and have always heard "you'll be cured of diabetes in your lifetime."  However, I feel like very little progress has been made to coming up with a cure that works and doesn't involve my entire body going through a massive surgery.  Yes, I want a cure, but isn't there just some kind of pill that they can create instead?  It would work a lot better for me, as I am terrified of needles and surgery.  
  • I'm really leery of them putting an artificial pancreas in my body.  Plus, from the diagram in the movie, it looked incredibly high.  I do have ribs that I use quite frequently.  
  • What if it malfunctions?  And, what is the cost?  

On to happier things.  Today was the FIRST time in 7 (SEVEN!!!) years that I did not insert my insulin pump site in my stomach.  I've abused my stomach for 7 years, never giving it a break from a pump site.  I have wanted to move my site for a few years, but never had the courage to do so because:
  • My legs would not work.  Even when I gave myself shots, I never used my legs.  They are too muscular and all of the shots would hurt a ton.  Plus, a leg site doesn't work with running.  
  • My arms are also out of the question.  Although I didn't mind giving myself shots in my arms, it is not realistic to put a site there.  I buy the short tubing and there just isn't enough of it to make it work.  Plus, I move my arms a lot because I run and workout.  
  • I refuse to do it in my butt.  I have never given myself a hot in the butt, and refuse to pump there as well.  I have plenty of fat so that is not an issue.  It is more of a psychological issue.  I don't want a site in my butt.  It just seems incredibly awkward.
Therefore, the only option was my side.  This morning, I put my site in my side.  And it feels so strange to have a free stomach.  I think I have almost pulled the site out only about 10 times today, so I am not sure if it will last through tomorrow, but so far I am loving it.  More importantly, my stomach is enjoying its first taste of freedom in 7 years.  I'm not sure what will happen in the future, but I hope this spot continues to work, but I'm sure my stomach would like a 7 year vacation.    

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Boston Training Week #6

I realized a few days ago that I neglected to post about training week #5 for Boston, mainly because I was racing last weekend.  Week 5 was a major cut-back week, and I only ended up running 30-some odd miles.  Going into this week, I knew it was going to be big.  The first 20-miler was slated for Saturday morning and I was nervous about it.  I've never been nervous for a 20+ mile training run before, mainly because for Chicago in 2011, everything was new and exciting.  For the Illinois Marathon, I was in such great shape and had such determination while training that 20 miles didn't phase me.  This training cycle has been a roller coaster of emotions, with many peaks and even more valleys.  Here's how this week went down:

Monday
6 miles on the hills at 8:43 pace

Tuesday
5 miles on the treadmill at 9:20 pace
1 mile walk
3 miles elliptical
weights

Wednesday - track
ladder workout at indoor track - 6 miles total
It was hard to do this workout because normally I do track with my club mates on Tuesday, but we canceled due to the snow storm.  I did it solo, and ended up chasing another guy around the track for the majority of the workout.  He was a little faster so it was good motivation.

Thursday
7 miles at 9:02 pace
1 mile walk
3 miles stairs
2 miles elliptical

Friday
Running rest day
3 miles stairs
1 mile elliptical

Saturday
20 miles of hills at 9:09 pace
1 mile walk
3 miles stairs
1 mile elliptical

Sunday
6 miles at 9:22 pace

Weekly Totals

  • Running: 50 miles
  • Stairs: 9 miles
  • Elliptical: 7 miles
  • Walking: 3 miles
  • Weights: 1 time
Mindset: I feel slow and out of shape :(  I realize this is exactly how you are not supposed to feel 40-some days before a marathon, and 2 weeks before a half, but it is the honest truth.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Frosty Foot Race 5k Race Report

My track coach always says that if you want to be strong racer, then practice racing by competing in events throughout the year.  Taking his advice, one of my goals for this year was to race every month.  In January I raced the Ice Breaker Indoor Relay with my teammates, but needed something for February.  There aren't a whole lot of races in February in Illinois because we typically have a "real winter" (aka it snows and is cold).  When Kim posted that she was doing a 5k by her, I thought it would be perfect for me to do to help meet my goal of racing each month.

I think it is hard sometimes when someone else wants to run the same race you are running.  Everyone has goals, and sometimes those goals can make things awkward.  This rarely happens, probably because my friends know my pace for various races and what my goals are.  I've run in the same races as teammates before and it can be super great when both people run well or not so much fun when one or both people don't hit their goal or run well.

In a way, I felt guilty for singing up for the race, knowing that Kim likes to place in this race, preferably 1st in her age group, and we are the same age.  In the spirit of stating the facts, most days I am faster than Kim, although I'm sure she'd kick my butt at various other athletic activities.  The night before the race I had a dream that Kim beat me at the race, right at the finish line.  The details as to what my time was during that race are a bit blurry, but I remember feeling incredibly happy for her that she out-kicked me.

Before the race on Sunday actually started, I'll admit that I was a bit nervous that she would beat me.  My runs in February haven't been too stellar and I feel like I'm in a bit of a training rut.  I know that running well for me is 90% mental and having the confidence that I can do well.  Sunday morning I woke up and my confidence was nowhere to be found.  I think I left it with the warm weather back in the fall.

The race itself was small and run on a course with rolling hills throughout.  I didn't taper for this race and ran 8 miles of hills at a pace that was faster than I should've the day before.  Shockingly, the sun was out for once and the weather was in the upper 30s, which was something to rejoice about.

There aren't too many details to share about the race.  I could've won a gold medal for the biggest positive split.  I ran:

Time: 21:28 (*not chipped time)
Pace: 6:55/mile
Overall: 19/237
Age Group: 1/12
Female: 2nd overall out of ???

I feel like I have a lot to do to work on my fitness, and more importantly, my confidence.  It is always good to have a starting spot, so I am hoping this really improve from here on out.

Thanks to Kim for helping me meet my goal, and for having a HUGE PR.  It was so neat to see her finish.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Extreme Exercising


I posted the other day about what it feels like to be 400, but left out one detail:  

Most doctors and the ADA don't recommend exercising if your blood sugar "ins't in range."  From the Mayo Clinic:

****

Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
  • Lower than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). Your blood sugar may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small carbohydrate-containing snack, such as fruit or crackers, before you begin your workout.
  • 100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). You're good to go. For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise blood sugar range.
  • 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L) or higher. This is a caution zone. Before exercising, test your urine for ketones — substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy. Excess ketones indicate that your body doesn't have enough insulin to control your blood sugar. If you exercise when you have a high level of ketones, you risk ketoacidosis — a serious complication of diabetes that needs immediate treatment. Instead, wait to exercise until your test kit indicates a low level of ketones in your urine.
  • 300 mg/dL (16.7 mmol/L) or higher. Your blood sugar may be too high to exercise safely, putting you at risk of ketoacidosis. Postpone your workout until your blood sugar drops to a safe pre-exercise range.
****

Exercise is a big part of my life, just like diabetes.  If I followed these rules diligently, I would probably only work out 50% of the time.  And if you personally know me, I'm fairly stubborn when it comes to my workout routine.  I'll do what I want to do, whether diabetes is playing fair or not.

If I'm less than 70, I'll eat 10-15 carbs and go exercise.

If I'm less than 100, it depends.  If I have insulin on board, then I'll eat 15 carbs.  If I don't I most likely won't do anything and o exercise.  

If I'm 100 - 150, I don't do anything and go exercise.

If I'm 150-200, I take a small bolus if I don't have any active insulin.  This would be between 0.1 and 0.5 units and go exercise.

If I am 200 - 250, I take 1/4 of the correct bolus and go exercise.

If I am 250 - 300, I take 3/4 of the correction bolus and go exercise.

If I am above 300, I take 100% of the correction bolus and go exercise and check my blood sugar 30-45 minutes later.

Even with the above guidelines that I have adapted over time I still have issues.  For example, when I do speed work or track workouts I tend to go high.  If I do long, slow runs I tend to go low, especially if it it cold outside.  With that being said, I carry some type of carbohydrate with me (mostly GU) 99% of the time when I run.  If my guidelines fail me, I can rely on my GU to get me through the run outside.  If I am at the gym, I simply go to the locker room and check my blood sugar and will just eat something right there.  

What I do and what you do may be completely different things, which makes diabetes such an individual disease.    

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Feeling 400

Kim asked me the other day what it was like to be 400.  From my perception, everyone generally feels crappy when they have blood sugars that high, but everyone has different symptoms.

The average, non-diabetic person typically has a blood sugar between 80 and 120, depending things like eating and exercise.  But, on average, no lower than 80 and not above 120.  A person with type 2 diabetes who is not taking insulin runs higher than average - I believe in the upper 100s and lower 200s.  Most of the time, doctors tells these people to exercise and watch what they eat in order to lose weight.  For some people, it works, for others, it doesn't.  Many times they will end up on insulin.

Most people who are diagnosed with type 1 diabetes have incredibly high blood sugars at the time of their diagnosis.  I believe mine was in the 600s.  However, I don't remember much about my diagnosis because I was only 4.  Over time, I have become incredibly sensitive to high blood sugars.  I don't like how they make me feel and they interfere with how I want to live my life.  So how do they make me feel?

Imagine:

  • Being so thirsty that no matter how much water you drink, it isn't enough
  • Feeling like you could throw up at any moment
  • Like there is a cotton ball stuck in your mouth and you can't get it out
  • Your stomach hurts
  • You have varying degrees of headaches
That is why I try at all possible costs to avoid being high.  

Count your blessings if your pancreas works well!!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chicago Marathon

As many people know, registration for the Chicago Marathon opens tomorrow.  Part of me wants to get on my computer at noon and hand over my $175 and run the race.  The other part of me is asking myself what I want this year.  I'm conflicted to say the least.

Reasons to Run Chicago:

1.  It was my first marathon and I want redemption.  Granted, this is not a good reason to run and I feel like me running the Illinois Marathon last year was how I redeemed myself, but the feeling is still there.

2.  My brother is running it.  Let me be clear - we are not the same speed.  He is far faster than me, but the idea of running the race and (possibly) starting in the same corral is a fun thought.  Although his goal would be far out of my league (sub 3), it would be neat to share the experience with him.

3.  It is flat, and I'm not a fan of hills.

4.  I didn't get into the Naperville Marathon, which was the race I wanted to run, and this is the next closest marathon to where I live.

5.  Support.  My running club runs the 2nd aid station in the course.  I don't think it would be hard to convince someone to meet me later on in the race and run with me.  As a matter of fact, I'm can think of about 5 people right now that would do it.

6.  Training with a group in the summer.  I like training with many other people, and especially in the summer.  I don't mind running in warm weather so summer training really doesn't both me like it does many other people.

Reasons to Not Run Chicago:

1.  My goal race this fall is the Fox Valley Half Marathon, and my goal is incredibly big.  So big that it scares me sometimes.  However, people have told me that I can achieve it, which makes it become less intimidating.  Since my goal will be a half, I won't be putting in a ton of miles, like those which I would need to log in order to run a full marathon.

2.  My friend is getting married the day before.  I could still go to her wedding, but I would have to leave the reception early.  And I wouldn't want to be on my feet.  It would probably appear as if I was an old, cranky lady at the reception.  I'm not sure if I would even eat the food.

3.  A marathon is hard on my body.  I've put in some decent miles in my current marathon training cycle for Boston and my body doesn't appear to be too happy some days.  I'm not sure if part of it is running so many hills or what, or maybe just the intensity at which I am doing everything, but my body aches most days.

4.  I'm going places this summer and training will be hard.  I'm going to be in Houston for 8 days in the middle of July for a thing for school and I already know my training will suffer.  I am also going to Colorado in August, however, I'm not too worried about training there because my brother would just run with me.  I am legitimately worried about Houston, though.

Just for fun, I decided to ask an online magic 8 ball if I should run:


Apparently, I should register for the marathon without a doubt.



"It is decidedly so" that I should run Chicago.

I'll be thinking about it tonight and tomorrow...who knows!?!  My mind changes with each passing minute.