Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Favorite Race of 2010

2010 is coming to an end rather quickly. Tomorrow, or rather in a few short hours, it will be December 1, and the last month of the year always flies by. A few weeks ago I thought I had one, or two, stress fractures. I went to the doctor yesterday who said that I don't have any (yay!), but rather sometimes my legs need a break is more like it. Pretty much: I need to do more cross-training.

Today during my nice 5 mile run I thought about all the races I ran in the past year. I did not do a single race from June 2009 - May 2010 - a whole year off of racing. Part of that was due to being injured (stress fracture), but another major factor was the fact that I moved to a new state. I noticed when I moved from Minnesota to Ohio after college I did not do any races for a year as well. habitual lifestyle carries over into all areas of my life!

This summer and fall I've run a variety of races - 7 to be exact. The most amazing thing was that they were all different distances - the shortest was 5k to a half marathon. I PR'd in 6 out of the 7, the only non-pr being my half. However, I was able to PR because of the randomness of the distances, not because I ran that well for some of them.

For the "I cannot believe I finished this race" award goes....the Bix 7 mile race. This race was in mid-July and it poured for the entire race. On top of that, only a few weeks before the race I found out I am anemic and my iron was so low my doctor was surprised I could even run. All 7 miles were on hills, which is especially tiring if you have a low energy supply to begin with. I ended up running sub-9 minute miles and was so proud of myself. Next year I will conquer the hills!

For the "I can't wait to sign up for this race again" award goes....the MC200. It is so different being on a relay team for a race. Although the weather was not favorable for my 3 legs of the race, I still had a good time and was glad to do it. If you run this race be sure to breathe in the fresh air before you run along the country roads of Wisconsin.

Lastly, the "my favorite race of 2010" award goes to....the Quad Cities Half Marathon. I love the distance of the half and it suits me well. Granted, I've never run a full so I don't' have anything to compare it to, but I just really like the half. The course at QC was flat as a pancake. It was nice to have my uncle sign up for the race with me, have my cousin working an aid station, and my parents, brother, his friends, aunt, and cousin supporting me. Even though I didn't PR, I still had a great time and would go back in a heartbeat.

Looking ahead to 2011, I have a couple races planned that I'll be posting about shortly.

What was your favorite race of 2010? Are you a nerd like me and give awards to the races you've run?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Running Through a Winter Wonderland

I was so excited for Thanksgiving to come because it meant a little break for me. I love breaks and vacations, even if they are little ones. As with most major holidays, I packed my bags and headed for my home state of Iowa to celebrate with family.

Thanksgiving went well and although I don't eat the majority of what everyone else eats (turkey, dressing, gravy, pie, corn) because I am a picky vegetarian, I did enjoy a nice salad my mom made especially for me along with some fresh fruit and a couple sugar cookies. It is okay to break your normal eating habits every now and then, right?

There was a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning, but I decided not to run it because I am not sure what is going on with my leg. I was going through running withdrawal earlier this week and decided to go for a short run on Thanksgiving. I ran 5 miles and it felt wonderful. I know I say this a lot, but running makes me feel so alive, even if it was 2-degrees with the windchill.

Today I wanted to see how my leg felt again, so I ran after dusk for a short 3 miles. I didn't have any pain, either, which i was happy about. Although there is not any snow on the ground right now, it was still cold outside. The neighborhood where I run when I'm visiting my parents had many Christmas decorations on display. I actually ran by a park where they had a huge light display set up that you drive through in your car. It felt like I was running through a winter wonderland.

I hope you Thanksgiving was nice as well!

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Sound of Diabetes

I've had an insulin pump for almost 5 years now and although I have not had the same model, as I got a new one 2 years ago, not much has changed. I've always had a clear one, although I've always wanted a purple one. (Random fact: I love, love, love the color purple. But, I realized it was not practical to get a purple pump because what if it is out and I am wearing black, or blue, or orange? It would not go at all, which is why I got clear) Over the course of 5 years, I have always had my pump on vibrate.

When I first got my pump I thought if I had my pump on sound beeps rather than vibrate mode I would draw attention to myself. Therefore, I set it up so it would vibrate and have never changed it. The only time my pump beeps at me is when there is a low battery. I am aware of that noise, especially since it is the only noise that comes from my pump.

As you know, if you have been reading this blog, I"m teacher. Today during my first period class (literature), I heard the pump low battery sound. I was standing in front of the class and checked my pump; however, my battery icon was full. I thought I might be hearing things, so I continued to teach. Then again, 5 minutes later, I heard the same noise. I have a girl that has diabetes in my class, so I wondered if she was beeping for some reason. She is good about testing her blood sugar when need be, so I just let it go, especially since she looked just fine.

A few minutes later the students were watching a short video clip on WWII, when my student with diabetes came up to be and said, "my pump warning is going off. It says I have a low battery." I asked her if she had a spare with her supplies, but she did not. I got one out of my purse for her, along with a coin to undo the battery cap. She couldn't get the batter lip undone, so I did it for her. The new battery was in and no more beeping was heard throughout the day.

Sometimes it is nice to know that someone has the same things you need in case you run out. I am glad I had what my student needed.

Were you ever in a random place and needed something that someone else had?

Saturday, November 20, 2010


Can you believe that Thursday is Thanksgiving? The older I get, the faster times goes. I can remember being young, when the years go slowly, thinking that is just how the world works. However, my parents always said the older you get, the faster time goes. It seems like a couple days ago that the new school year started, but really, I've been with my students for 3 months.

Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that does not get much attention. It seems as though we move from Halloween to Christmas and just totally skip this holiday. I enjoy Thanksgiving for a few reasons. First, it provides a nice break from teaching (3 days off = wonderful!). I also get to spend time with my family, which I love to do. I'll be driving to my parent's home and my some of my mom's siblings and grandma are coming to their house on Thursday. It will be nice to see my extended family, especially my uncle who ran the Quad Cities half with me. I'm sure the trash-talking will be in full swing, especially since he is trying to qualify for Boston next year (2012). Finally, I like Thanksgiving because it gives me the opportunity to reflect on everything in my life I have to be thankful for. I know I have been blessed throughout my life, from having wonderful friends and family to having a job I love, just to name a few.

What are you thankful for? Do you think Thanksgiving should get more attention, instead of being skipped over?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Elliptical is my Best Friend

If I repeat the phrase, "The elliptical is my best friend" enough times, will it come true? I didn't count how many times I said it today in my hour-long stint on the machine, but I think I might have set a world record.

Last week I ran a lot of miles and after a nice 8.5 mile run on Tuesday, my left leg hurt in 2 specific spots. I thought I might have a stress fracture since the early fall, but my sports medicine doctor said no. I was 95% certain that when I work up on Wednesday morning I had one, if not two. (picture me crying now) I thought that maybe the pain would magically disappear as the day progressed yesterday, but it didn't happen. Today the pain is definitely less, but still there. Therefore, when I went to work out, I could not even look at the treadmills. I headed straight to the elliptical.

I don't know what it is about the machine, but I just find it boring beyond belief. I know some people feel this way about a treadmill, although I don't mind it. Going into my workout today, which I knew was going to be at least an hour on the elliptical, I decided to engage in positive self-talk, stating numerous times over and over again while watching Wheel of Fortune that the elliptical and I were friends. Good friends. Best friends. Over and over and over again. It helped, as anything goes better if you have the right attitude, but it still wasn't the best. Hopefully tomorrow I'll be able to stay on the machine longer and have a better workout.

I decided not to call the doctor because I'm going back in a week and a half. Do you think this is the right choice? If my leg feels better and I don't have any pain tomorrow or this weekend, would you risk running on it? It is hard, because I love running, but don't want to hurt my body more.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

World Diabetes Day

Today, November 14, is World Diabetes Day. I feel like it is ironic that I have been making correction and after correction today, trying to get my blood sugar below 170. Oh well, sometimes these days will happen. Luckily, it is not the norm for me. Hopefully you are having a better blood-sugar day!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


A few days ago my friends and I were discussing the concept of time. There are many different types of time: work time, sleeping time, and leisure time. The main question that was brought up again and again was: "is my leisure time quality time?"

I had to stop and think about this for awhile. In my opinion, any hours not spent working (for me, teaching or doing school-related things) or sleeping is essentially leisure time because I get to decide how I want to spend it. It is my choice to do what I want. Some activities that occupy my leisure time are running, reading books, reading blogs, hanging out with friends, talking on the phone, driving, and wasting time on facebook. Am I using my free time in a good way? In many ways, I think yes, but then there is always room for improvement.

Running is a very important part of my life. I spend a lot of time working out, stretching, running, or doing other exercise-related things everyday. I spend a lot of time doing it, but I think the return I get from exercising benefits me in all other areas of my life. I've blogged about how running brings me happiness, which flows into the other areas of my life. This part of my leisure time is quality time indeed.

Reading novels and blogs is also quality leisure time in my eyes. Every time I read I learn something new - whether it is something I've never heard of before, or just realizing a different opinion on a topic that makes me analyze how I think about something. Back when blogs started, I was opposed to them, thinking that it was a waste of time to write one or read one. But, my opinion has greatly changed. I have learned so much from other people who blog and have found much of the advice that other people leave for me useful. There are some blogs that I enjoy and learn more from than others, but each blog offers something unique.

The other parts of my leisure time are often spent driving and on other Internet sites, such as facebook. Driving is necessary and can be both quality or a poor use of time. Sometimes I enjoy driving because I get to think about things and just let my mind wander. However, I feel like I drive a fair amount, but this is a choice I made. I decided to live in a different suburb than where I teach, thus making my commute longer to work. However, I love where I live. There are pros and cons to everything. It would be a better use of my time to live in the same suburb, but then I wouldn't get to live where I want to live.

Lastly, I think everyone pretty much has one thing that they do that is not quality leisure time. This could be watching TV, which is true for many people I know. My downfall is facebook. I don't go on the website a ton, but I find it interesting. I like to know what my friends from high school and college are up to since I don't live by the majority of them anymore. However, the problem happens when I get hooked on looking at their photo albums. I think I could spend hours just looking at pictures on facebook, which is not time well spent. However, I think it is important to have some time in my day that I can just do something minimal, like look at facebook. It is part of my life and although it is not quality time, I don't intend to give it up. I could cut back a little, but not totally.

In general, I am happy with how I spend my leisure time. I think it is pretty quality time.

How do you spend your leisure time? Is it quality time?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Six Things about the Betes

As many people know, November is National Diabetes Month. Today is the 6th annual Diabetes blog day, where people are supposed to blog about things we want you, and the rest of the world, to know about diabetes.

1. It is just fine if I eat sweet things. I feel like this common stereotype often comes up when people find out i have diabetes and am eating dessert. Guess what? I like cookies and eat them regularly. They are also very good when treating a low blood sugar.

2. I am a person, not a disease. When I was younger someone once told me I could not do something because I had diabetes. I am stronger than diabetes and have accomplished a lot in my life with it. Yes, diabetes is part of my life but it does not control what I do. I control it, not the other way around. If I want to do something, I do it. I'm a pretty determined person.

3. Diabetes does not define me. This goes along with #2, but when I think of myself, my first thought it not 'diabetic.' I feel that runner, daughter, sister, athlete, and teacher describe me more than diabetic.

4. An insulin pump is an insulin pump, not a camera, ipod, pager, or other technological device. It is necessary for me to live and has greatly helped me live a better life. Deciding to use an insulin pump instead of shots was the best diabetes-decision I've ever made and never look back.

5. Some people with diabetes are skinny. I feel like a lot of people think that all people with diabetes are large. My BM is 19.0, which is far from overweight or obese.

6. Diabetes not only is part of my life, but also the life of my family. Growing up my mom and dad cared for me, especially my mom. She was my walking pancreas when I was in elementary school. I know that my parents always worry about me since I have diabetes because it can my/your life if things go wrong, but I am determined not to let that happen.

Every year around this time I am astonished that I made it another year living with diabetes. It has been 21 years since I've been diagnosed and know I can live with it for another 21 years. Not that I want to live with diabetes for that many more years, but I don't think a cure is that close. However, I can always hope for one.

Monday, November 8, 2010


The Hot Chocolate 15k wrapped up my race calendar for 2010, and I could not have asked to end it on a sweeter note. This race was by far and away my best of the year. Although not everything went according to plan, the end result was great.

The race temperature was an incredibly cold 30-degrees, which caused major stress on my psyche trying to decide what to wear. I ended up over-dressing and threw my gloves away at mile 6 to get some ventilation. However, the biggest conundrum was that my Garmin stopped working on the way to the race. I thought I was doing to die, but then realized that it is not like I've always had it. I have run the majority of my races without it, and so this will just be another. (Side note: it is now functioning.)

The race was crowded, but I managed to get into starting corral B. This was wonderful!!! I got to start near the front, which benefited me later in the race. The race went well, and I really don't have a whole lot to report. The post race party was delicious and I consumed a fair amount of chocolate. Below you can find my stats:

Distance: 15k
Chip time: 1:12.04
Pace: 7:44/mile
10k time: 47:28
Overall Place: 843/12,356 (top 7%)
Gender Place: 215/8/150 (top 3%)
Age Group Place: 65/2,272 (top 3%)

I am glad this race ended well. It gives me more motivation for the upcoming year, and helps me set some more goals for myself.

Are you done racing for the year? How did your last race go?

Thursday, November 4, 2010


I am racing on Saturday and have never felt more unprepared for a race in my life. Training for my 15k was hard because it is an awkward distance, I've never run one before, I have been trying to get healthy, and have 5 million other things going on in my life. My race mix has not been made, my outfit has not been picked out, and I'm majorly lacking in the sleep department. But...

I am still excited to race. I think if you are excited to do anything, no matter the circumstances, you truly love it. I love running, and am excited to go out there and hit the pavement for 1+ hours on Saturday morning in the freezing cold temperatures (forecast is 33-degrees = chilly!!).

I know I'll be even more excited tomorrow after attending the race expo. I don't know about you, but I love race expos. I like to see all of the stuff they have to offer and see all of the runners - veteran and newbies alike - milling around.

I do have one question that I don't know the answer to. I've been assigned to starting corral B. On the website it gives no information about starting corrals and google does not turn up any valuable information. I plan on asking how the corrals were picked at the race expo. If I've been put with the slower people I'll kindly request to be moved up. If I'm in a faster corral, that is great, I'll start toward the back. I know my place and my pace. I just hope I'm in a suitable corral.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Another Doctor Visit, Running, and Sleepiness

Do you ever had spells where you have so much to do and since you are tired, the quality of your work suffers and takes twice as long? Welcome to the story of my week thus far.

Yesterday I went back to the sports medicine doctor. He told me that I don't have a stress fracture. I was beyond happy! I thought I might since I was feeling pain in my left leg during some runs, but he thinks it is part of my weak hamstring problem. I still have to go to physical therapy 3 times a week for the next month, but he said he could already see some improvement. I am feeling better when I run, too. Hopefully this trend continues.

Yesterday I ran 7.5 miles and lifted weights and today I logged 9.5 miles in preparation for my 15k race on Saturday. My running times have been pretty slow the past couple days. I am tired and not getting the amount of sleep I need at night, which is effecting my running. Tonight I plan on going to bed as soon as I'm done posting. I want to be well rested for my race on Saturday. Plus, in addition to running in Chicago Saturday morning, my mom and I are going to see a play Saturday night. I want to be well rested and enjoy our time together. I love it when my mom visits.

Do you notice you don't run as strong when you do not get enough sleep? With that being said, I'm off to bed.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Memorable Halloween

Halloween was tons of fun this year. It was quite a celebration! We went into Chicago to Wrigleyville to some bars and had a wonderful time. I ended up being a zumba instructor. I even carried around zumba shaker hand weights all nights. Note: the weight in the picture is a shake weight. We met a guy on the train who had one, so of course I had to give it a try). I even met Richard Simmons at the bar. He tried to show me how to stretch and put his leg on the bar stool. However, he fell over. I felt bad laughing but it was funny. It was a late night but here is a picture so you can see my wonderful outfit. I actually wore sunglasses, like the smiley face. I also wore neon green, orange, and pink striped high socks to compliment my outfit. I felt like a glow bracelet.

How was your Halloween?