Wednesday, March 31, 2010

An Unconventional Speed Workout

Yesterday was the first day the greatest summer ever, dubbed by some of my friends. The event to kick off the best summer ever was nighttime ultimate frisbee. I have not played ultimate for a couple years, but love anything active so I must admit I was looking forward to it, as well as hanging out with some friends.

I knew I was going to play ultimate last night, but decided to do 10 miles at the gym, followed by some biking, a few minutes on the elliptical and some walking as a cool down. My muscles felt good and I (actually) stretched when I was done working out. I spent some quality time at the gym, more than usual, but I am on Spring Break so this week I have that luxury.

After my mid-afternoon workout, I came back and had a light dinner. It is hard for me to run when there is anything in my stomach, but I knew I needed something before ultimate. Then, it was off to play.

Originally, we were going to play on a college campus football field, but got kicked off of it by security. So we decided to go to a local park, about a mile away. Some people drove, but I walked with the others instead. We got to the field, picked teams, and the game started. By no means do I think I am a great ultimate player, but what I do have working for me is the fact that I am in pretty good shape and can therefore outrun most people, and can catch and throw a frisbee decently. There were 2 guys that had played in college, another guy like me who has played occasionally the past couple years, and then the rest were new to the game. It made for an interesting mix of talent ability on the field, and the fact that the wind was outrageous last night made some of the passes, well, interesting.

We ended up playing for about 1.5 hours, but the time went by quickly. I realized that in the second half of our game I might be sore the next day, as I was getting in a speed workout that I had not intended for the day. Seriously, if you play ultimate and are competitive, like myself, sprinting is involved. Today's 7 miles were taken at a very easy pace, considering I was and still am sore from ultimate. But, it was well worth it to spend a night with friends and, my team won.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Treadmill Training

Many people are not a fan of the treadmill (read: dreadmill); however, I have logged countless miles and spent many, many hours on various ones over the past years. Some people find running in the same spot dull and boring but I like it. Most days I run and watch TV and try to keep myself informed of what is going on in the world around me.

While in college I trained for my first 2 half marathons on a treadmill in the winter and spring months. I went to a college that was in Minnesota, and if you know anything about Minnesota winters, they are not the warmest. The campus was surrounded by bluffs on all sides and had many trails, but those were covered with snow in the winter. For those two years, I trained outside during the month of May since I went to live with my parents for the first part of the summer.

After college and for the past two years, I lived in Ohio. I joined a gym and did all of my training on a treadmill. We did not live in the greatest neighborhood and I never felt safe going from my car to our back door at night so running by myself, no matter what time of day it was, was always out of the picture.

Now I live in the Chicago suburbs, a safe area. But, I have continued to train on the treadmill. I have often asked myself if I could go back to training outside? Part of my reason for training by myself on the treadmill is that I have not found anyone who runs as much as me (7 miles on a low mileage day) or around my pace (about 7:35 or so pace). There is a group at one of the local running stores that have group runs, but they are only 4 miles. I feel like in order to run outside I need to have a partner. Although I live in a safe area, what if something happened? I am young and look even younger than I am (I was asked last week what college I go to, but I guess this is better than the "what college do you plan on going to next year?," a comment I this winter). I have always been ultra concerned with my own safety.

One thing I like about the treadmill is that I know exactly how far I've run at all times and it shows me the pace I'm running at as well as the time. I don't have a sophisticated running watch that tells me this information and don't feel like I have to purchase one at this time. I'm sure it would help me on race days, but that would be about all.

Treadmill training can lead to P.R.s, as last year I PR'd by 7+ minutes training on one. However, I will say that if I ran on the street my feet would probably feel better on race day. I also miss the fresh air and getting the ever-attractive runner's tan (don't forget the watch line).

In a few days I'm going to visit my parents, where I typically run outside by myself. The route I run is a five mile out-and-back and goes by a fire station and through an older, well-kept neighborhood. I love running this route and know that I'll be safe. I grew up in a small city(60,000 people) so it is common for someone to honk while I am running and wave hi.

Have you ever trained on a treadmill? Do you think I would do better if I trained outside?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Shoes, Shoes, Shoes

I recently posted about how my Nikes were causing me foot problems when I ran so I went back to using my old Sauconys. Since Spring Break started today, not only do I get to sleep in for the week and enjoy my time off, but today I also went to pick up my running shoes.

A few weekends ago I went to a running store but they did not have the updated Sauconys in my size. They ordered them and were at the store a few days, but I've been pretty busy lately and did not get a chance to get to the store. So today I went to go get them.

The store was pretty quiet, given the fact that most adults work during the day and do not have a spring break; however, there were 2 other people there but left shortly after I arrived. After the sales person retrieved my shoes from the back room, I got on their treadmill and jogged half a mile. The shoes felt so good!

I had noticed that my old Sauconys were really wearing out from the amount of miles that had been logged in them. The cushioning just was not as good as it should be and needs to be for my training right now. I purchased my new Sauconys and hope that they will continue to make my feet happy when I run. Don't you just love the sparkling whiteness of new shoes compared to old running shoes? If only they would remain that bright for more than 2 days...

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Smelly People

Yesterday I was at the gym running on the treadmill. I was cruising along and a man got on the open treadmill next to me. To give you a mental picture, he was a large man with a big gut (just stating the facts) and began walking. When I run, as I'm sure is the case with you when you exercise, you sweat. However, there is a distinct line between sweating and smelling.

When I got to mile 6 I started to smell a foul odor in the air. The gym was somewhat full and I thought someone might have let one go during their exercise and decided to try not to breathe in the awful odor, thinking it would clear up in a few minutes. However, when I got to mile 7, I realized that the smell was still in the air, only worse now. I wanted to keep running, but it is hard when the air is smelly. In my head I was going through all the possibilities that the stench could be coming from. Then, I realized what it was.

The man next to me was sweating buckets and smelled awful. His b.o. was so bad...and I feel like I have a pretty high tolerance for b.o. since I teach 5th graders. I got off the treadmill to get a drink and give my nose a break and realized that this man had numerous problems:

1. He was wearing a grey shirt. This breaks all "fashion meet running" rules. If you sweat when wearing a grey shirt you will end up with the bat symbol or something like it on your back, which is not attractive. Either wear a dry-fit shirt or a white shirt while working out - never grey. (rule does not apply if you work out in the comfort of your own home)

2. He either forgot to apply deodorant before he worked out or needs stronger deodorant. No one wants to be working out next to a smelly person, especially me.

3. If there are many open treadmills, find one where you are not working out directly next to someone, like me. He could have walked on any open treadmill, which there were many of, but he chose the one next to me.

Have you ever had this problem? I had to finish my run on the track because my nose could not take it. Maybe this is a sign I should be running outside...??

Thursday, March 25, 2010

How much is too much? How much is too little?

When I first started my blog a little over a year ago I was living in a different state, working at a different school, and, in many senses, had a different life that what I am living today. As you know if you read my blog, I am a teacher. Although there are many, many benefits to being a teacher, there is one drawback: disclosure.

When I started teaching at my new school this year, the technology coordinator told the faculty and staff that we should not have a blog or twitter or facebook accounts. She said that we should discontinue our facebook accounts immediately so our students and parents could not find us. I wanted to yell "ARE YOU CRAZY???" Facebook is the way I stay in touch with many of my friends from high school, college, and other parts of my life. I knew that I was not going to give that up. I thought it was not a reasonable request.

Then I started thinking about my blog. Although I didn't blog in the fall, I knew I did not want to give this up as well. I'm smart enough not to post names of parents, students, faculty/staff, or my school on my blog. I feel like a lot of it is common sense.

After reading the comments (thank you!) on my last post, where Katie and jpnair called me Queenie made me laugh. To give you a little history, Queenie is a nickname my mom and sometimes, although rarely, my dad call me. My brother and sister tagged me with it when I was in college because when I would come home they thought my mom would wait on me hand and foot, like a queen. Therefore, Queenie became a name I answer to.

Sometimes I wish I could just write my real name on this blog. I feel like there is an issue of trustworthiness when someone doesn't reveal their "real" name - like, what are they hiding? I wish I could share more, but I don't want anyone at my school to find my blog.

Is this a normal response to a blog for a school or company? I'm interested in hearing your opinions and views on the subject.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Beep Beep Diabetes Alert Day

Do you get the title of my blog? Yes, it has been a long Tuesday and that is my attempt at humor while I put my thoughts together. I know I'll never have a future of being a comedian, a fact that I have already accepted much earlier in my life.

I did not realize Diabetes Alert Day was even approaching until my mother sent me an article a few weeks ago. The article came from a magazine that was in their local newspaper and had numerous tidbits of information about staying healthy. Did you know that chewing gum is good for you? My mom actually circled that piece of information because I chew gum all the time. I probably can keep the gum market afloat just by how much I purchase. I could be addicted to much worse things, and now that gum is healthy, it is even better.

One interesting fact on the page was that it said that if you drink coffee or tea your chance of getting type 2 diabetes decreases. I'm not going to go into my thoughts about type 2 right now, but I plan on blogging about it in the future, but I wished that was true for type 1.

In college I always enjoyed a good Starbucks drink, and still do, but it was not until this year that I started to drink coffee every morning. I'm not a fan of tea. I just don't like the taste of it, but coffee I thoroughly enjoy. However, I am picky: it must be flavored coffee. My favorite it cinnamon hazelnut from a coffee shop where my parents live. It is the best coffee ever. However, since I cannot get it regularly, I settle for other flavored coffees which pass my taste bud test.

If drinking coffee would only cure me of diabetes...

Monday, March 22, 2010

What does a runner look like?

A few weeks ago I was out with some friends. We were eating dinner and I was sitting by one person I did not know. Next to me was one of my friends who also runs and I asked her how her training was going, as she hurt her hip a few months ago. She talked about it and some races she was hoping to do this summer and then asked me about my future race plans. I told her about my planned 5ks, half marathon, and full marathon as well as some others I am thinking about running. To get to the point, the guy that was sitting by me who I did not know said, "I am not surprised to hear that you run. You look like a runner." This comment got me thinking...what does a runner look like?

From my observations, good distance runners are typically lean and leggy. Do I fit that mold? Leggy - check, maybe too leggy (I'm 6'1"; no comment related to my height is necessary). Lean - BMI is 19. But, I always feel like I can lose some weight. What else defines a runner? Perhaps my long hair tied into a mess ponytail? The ever-present sports watch, which is always on my wrist during a run but not when I go out? The length of shorts? I know this one sounds funny, but it is so true. Have you ever seen runners wear baggy shorts or shorts that go past mid-thigh?

What do you think a runner looks like? Do I look like a runner? hm...

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A1C in a Box

A few days ago I was pa rousing the aisles of Target while I was getting what I needed (vitamins). I typically go to look at their health section to see if anything is new, such as new flavors of glucose tablets. As I was looking at the various diabetic products, I noticed their A1C in a Box sitting on the self with all of the other meters.

I have an endo. appointment in less than a month, and one thing I am always worried about is my A1C. I hold myself to incredibly high expectations and would be devastated to see a high A1C. I test my blood sugar a lot to try to achieve the best control possible and with my CGM system my life has gotten easier, but I still strive for perfection. Even though I want to be perfect, I know it is not possible for me. Some days will be better than others as far as my blood sugars go and I will not be able to explain why. As I've gotten older, I have been able to accept this fact better, yet it is still a struggle.

As I stood in the Target aisle contemplating if I should spend the money to buy the A1C meter system, I tried to figure out what my A1C would actually be. I've had a few really bad high blood sugar days since the first of the year, which do damage to my A1C average. However, most of the time I felt like I was in decent control. I decided to buy the system because my curiosity was getting the better of me.

I opened up the box, read the instructions, and decided to skip watching the DVD that they told me I should watch first. I know how to read and follow directions and felt that watching it would be, well, a waste of my time.

The machine takes 5 minutes to read after you put the blood sample on it. I got nervous even waiting for it to read. Finally, it read my A1C: I was pleased. But then I started to wonder: How accurate is this simple machine that you can buy at Target? I guess I'll find out in a few weeks.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's All About the Shoes

I enjoy shopping for anything - clothes, shoes, miscellaneous things at Target, even going to the grocery store is enjoyable for me. Luckily, I have some restraint and do not buy everything that I love. If I did, I would be bankrupt. But, I definitely like to get new things, especially running things.

Before Christmas I was due for a new pair of running shoes. I went to a local running store where I know one of the employees and got a new pair. I had worn Saucony shoes for the past five years until he fitted me in Nikes. I have unique feet, with super high arches, bones that are fused together that are not supposed to be, and curled toes. Luckily, I can still wear normal shoes and have not had to get orthopedic shoes yet, and, hopefully I never will need them.

I've been running a lot lately and noticed that my feet would hurt not only during my runs, but after and during the next day. It wasn't the shoes I was teaching in because I was wearing the same ones that I had worn in the past with no problems. I figured it had to be my Nike running shoes.

Today when I went to the gym I did not bring my Nikes with me. Instead, I packed my old Saucony shoes that I wore in the fall in my bag. I wanted to see if that made a different for my feet. After logging 8.5 miles of running and a few of walking today, my feet do not hurt at all. They feel pretty good as they are propped up relaxing right now. For now I'll stick with my Saucony's until I get another pair this weekend. In the meantime, my Nikes might find their way to the shoe donation post to help someone else, because they were definitely hurting me. Happy feet = happy run.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

How do you train for a marathon?

I've done my fair share of running in my lifetime, all 25 years of it. In high school I ran cross-country (both a 2 mile race and a 2.5 mile race my senior year) and track (400s and 800s). I've trained for 5ks and half marathons rather successfully, if I do so say so myself. I've completed 5 half marathons, PRing every time, with my best being last year's Flying Pig of 1:43:07. I need something more now.

Last year after the Flying Pig I knew that I was ready for something more. My PR is pretty good for a woman. Don't get me wrong, I definitely have room for improvement, but I rank in a decently high percentage for women times for a half. This year my big race that I am training for is the Quad Cities Marathon. It is in mid-September in the Quad Cities, which are 4 cities all located next to each other in Iowa and Illinois along the Mississippi River.

Yesterday I was thinking about how I trained for my first half. My brother who is an avid distance runner, marathoner, and ultra marathoner, told me what to do and I did it. And, I did it for every half that I ran. Is it the ideal plan? I have no idea. But what I do know is that it works for me.

Now, please help me!!! Tell me how you train for marathons...what worked for you? what didn't work out so well? I'm looking for all of the advice I can get, not only with training, although that is my mian concern, but also with the diabetes and nutritional aspect of it. Thanks, in advice, for you comments!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Dear World

Dear World,

I have type 1 diabetes and I wear an insulin pump. It is much different than an iPod or iTouch, both of which I have, or a pager. Did you take time to analyze the device I wear before you assumed it was any of the things mentioned above? Did you notice that my insulin pump tubing is CLEAR and does not connect to my ears? It connects to my stomach. And, does anyone wear pagers anymore? Personally, I do not know a single person who has one. Do you? Weren’t they popular in the 80s and 90s, when I was a child and not an adult?

After you asked me what was on my side, and I replied “it is an insulin pump because I have diabetes” did it ever cross your mind to say anything other than “oh”? Do you have any idea how important this insulin pump is not only to my health, but to my life?

World, would you please stop asking me if I have a pager attached to my hip. It shows me that you are fairly ignorant, did not take the time to actually look at the device before saying something, and need more education about type 1 diabetes. It would be helpful if you became more informed on diabetes, and, hopefully by reading this blog, you will be. I hope to run into you again when you are more informed on the topic.


Saturday, March 13, 2010


This week I was talking to my friend in Ohio. We were catching up on life and everything else, including running. She told me that she is doing the Cincinnati Flying Pig half marathon this year and asked if I wanted to do it again. Since I like to race and want to visit her anyway, I said yes...I didn't even have to think about it.

Although the Flying Pig isn't until early May, it gives me more motivation to train harder now. I did the Flying Pig half last year as well, setting a PR while getting sick with a high blood sugar. Try running when your CGM says you are 120 and you believe it but your machine says "HI" at the end of the race for 13.1 miles. Every race I enter I want to PR, and, luckily for me, it has happened since I've started to race competitively.

Since I want to PR so much, I am more motivated to work out. Not only have I started to run farther this week, but also incorporate some type of cross training into my workout every day - either biking or the elliptical. Know what lies ahead of me in hilly course that the Pig has improves my motivation. I want the PR!

What motivates you? Races? Nice weather, which is something I've also had this week? Trying to attain a PR? Will you be at the Flying Pig?

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I'm not one of those people who lay out their clothes the night before. How do I know what color I'll feel like wearing the next day to work, or what outfit I'll want to run in the following day? I pack my bag for the gym in the morning and have a nice routine. Or, I thought I did.

When I got to the gym today I was getting changed and realized I forgot my socks. Three things came across my mind: 1. I could go home and get socks and come back, which I vetoed. 2. I could wear my brown dress socks that I wore to teach in today to run in, which I also vetoed since I like to match. or 3. I could run and not wear socks. I decided on #3.

I started running and my feet felt okay...not great, but I didn't except they would without socks on them. I did my run - 8 miles - and then walked a mile to cool down. After I was done, I was walking back to the locker room and realized that my feet hurt a little. It was not until I came back to my apartment and took off my shoes that I realized what damage had been done.

It looks like I have 3 blisters forming on my left foot. Before I put socks on my feet I slathered both of them with neosporin. Tomorrow the real damage will be apparent. Have you ever run without socks? Was their any damage to your feet?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Sometimes It's the Small Things

I know that sometimes I feel like I have stretches of bad luck in my life, where it seems that one not so great thing happens which cause a domino effect. There is some famous quote that says life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you deal with it. I believe this to be very true.

The great thing about life is that when I lay down at night to go to sleep, I know that the following morning I will wake up and it will be a new day to start fresh. I love each and every day off in a great way, with a nice cup of coffee as well.

Sometimes life gets so busy that I forget about the small things in life that bring me such joy. For example, one of those great runs that feel like I am weightless and could just run forever. Or hitting all green lights on my way to school in the morning, perfectly painted fingernails, or when my meter reads 83. I love all of those things and they all bring a smile to my face.

Today when I got done running I went to the locker room to get my bags packed up before heading home. I turned on my cell phone and realized that I had a missed call and voice mail message from my friend back in Ohio. It was so little, a simple voice mail message, but brought a smile to my face. It truly is the small things in life that are the best.