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?


  • 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.  

Twitter, Pinterest and Diabetes

I'm a little behind the times.  A few months ago I finally joined Twitter, and although the primary reason was to know what my sister was writing, I've come to enjoy it.  I recently joined Pinterest.  What I've heard everyone say is true - it is the ultimate way to waste time.  But it is oh-so-intersting.

I searched for "diabetes" and found some interesting pictures and info graphics:

This is one of the misconceptions about having diabetes.  Type 1 diabetes has nothing to do with eating too much sugar.  I may have been diagnosed on Halloween, the holiday known for sugar, but my pancreas decided to stop working.  Another misconception is that people think I cannot eat sugar.  However, I do eat sugar.  I couldn't live without cookies.  

I don't know if I consider 126 to be a high blood sugar.  I do know that there still is no cure.  

Most people don't understand how much work it is to live with diabetes.  I wish all people who have fully functioning pancreases would be appreciate them more.  They don't understand what it is like to have a mutant one.  

It is a good thing I don't live in the South.  

I didn't know this and find it shocking.  

I'm one of 8% of the population that has diabetes.  Out of the people that have diabetes, only 10% have type 1 diabetes.  

Average monthly cost of living with Type 1 Diabetes according to this is $422.80.  Luckily, I have insurance to help decrease the cost.  It is an expensive disease.

This is my hope. 

Do you have Twitter?  My name is my Facebook profile name, which, if you know me, isn't my real name.  Let me know your name so I can follow you.  

Are you on Pinterest?  Are you able to waste a lot of time on it?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Boston - Week #4

The Boston Marathon is less than 2 months away.  I have one word: yikes!!!  I'll be honest...I'm feeling completely and 100% unprepared for this race.  This week was a busy one and my training didn't go as planned.  I ran everyday, unintentionally, but will be taking tomorrow off.

Monday - Temop
7 miles on the hills in 34 mph winds
1 mile warm-up and then 6 mile tempo
overall average (warm-up + tempo) was 7:32

Felt amazing after this workout.  So amazing that I posted it to Facebook and got some positive responses from the fast guys in my running club.  Perhaps the most influential comment was that I can PR at March Madness.  We'll see.....

Tuesday - Track
7 miles total
warm-up, 400, 800, mile, mile, 800, 400, cool down, plyometrics after

Felt tired, but was surprised at my consistency for the workout.  I did it inside with 3 other track teammates and averaged between 6:25 and 6:55 pace for the various distances.  The plyometrics after just about killed me.

Wednesday - Easy
5 miles at 8:17 average
1 mile stairs
2 miles elliptical

It was so nice outside that I had to get out and enjoy the weather, even though I ran in the dark.  I wanted to run slower and was surprised at my overall average when I got done.

Thursday - Easy for Real
6 miles with running club at 8:57 average

We didn't run on the path like we normally due because it is currently a sheet of ice, so we took our run to the hilly streets.  We saw a possum on a fence when we were running, which scared me a lot.  I may have sprinted into the street when I saw it.  It was so fat and ugly....just gross.

2 miles at 9:28 average
6 miles bike
1 mile walk
2 miles elliptical
2 miles stair master

Felt super, super tired!!

Saturday - Failed Long Run
8 miles at 9:02 pace
1 mile walk
2 miles stair master
2 miles elliptical

Originally, I was going to do my 18-miler today, but I had some stomach issues.  I've never had these before and I now feel incredibly sorry for anyone who has them during a race.  There is nothing worse!!

Sunday - Long Run for Real
18 hilly miles at 8:58 average

Lesson learned: fuel properly.  I started the run at 1 PM and only had a piece of peanut butter toast for breakfast.  During the run I consumed 2 chocolate GU's.  That is not enough food to properly fuel me and I felt incredibly tired at the end of the run.  It was a mental struggle, when I kept telling myself "only 20 more minutes, then 10, 5....".  It was just me, the hills, sunshine and Pitbull today.

Weekly Totals:
Running: 53 miles (this is a new record for me)
Walking: 2 miles
Elliptical: 6 miles
Stair Master: 5 miles
Bike: 6 miles
Weights:  2 times

I'm tired!!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Boston Week #3

This past week was all about healing.

Healing my foot.

Healing my cold.

Healing my hellish blood sugars.

Although the week was rough to say the least, I accomplished all three of my goals listed above, which makes me happy.

So what did I actually do this week?  Not a whole lot.

Monday - nothing

Tuesday - nothing

Wednesday - 3 miles on the treadmill and three on the elliptical

Thursday - 4 miles running and 3 on the elliptical

Friday - nothing.  Being over 400 for 8+ hours negatively impacted my body.  It made me never want to be high again, although I realize that is an impossible goal.

Saturday - 8 mile "long" run for the week in the sunshine (how I have missed the sun!!)

Sunday - 3 miles on the treadmill and three miles on the stair master after cheering on my friends at the indoor triathlon

Weekly totals:
18 miles run
6 miles elliptical
3 miles stair master

Can I count this as a step back week?  It was more of like a "do nothing" week, but I am surprisingly ok with that.  I'd rather be healthy and not work out a few days than have lingering sickness.

This week is going to be so much better.  I can't wait to resume training now that I am feeling better.  Plus, it is supposed to be a little warmer, which is great!!!

Running and Happiness

This past week I was sick.  Not just a little sick, but majorly sick.  This is the second time in the past month that I've been feeling bad.  Due to this, I only ran on 3 miles on Wednesday and 4 on Thursday. I think that qualifies as a major taper week.  On Saturday I finally felt good enough to run outside, and was so happy.  I met my friend for the last 8 miles of her 16-miler and it could not have been better.

The weather felt so warm compared to what we have been having - it was 35* and sunny.  And the 8 miles went by quickly.  After I finished I was so happy, a happiness that remained with me for the rest of the day.

Running is not only good for my body, but just as good for my soul.  It is something that brings joy and happiness to my life.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Not Worthy

In many aspects of my life, I am not current with the times.  Most evident is that I don't use the internet on my cell phone.  I know many people who don't think they could live without their iPhone, but it doesn't matter to me.  I'm also probably one of only a few people that don't check their email during the day.  I check it before I leave to work in the morning, and when I get home at night, and that is all.

When I got home today, I opened up my email to see that someone had mentioned me in a comment on Facebook.  Surprised at who had mentioned me, I logged on to Facebook to see what I was mentioned in.

Emily, who I ran the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay with in the summer of 2011, commented that I was inspiring.  When I read that, I first thought about how kind it was of her to mention me, out of all of the other female athletes that she knows.

Then I started thinking.  I don't view myself as inspirational.  I view myself as 98% ordinary with 2% oddness thrown in for good measure.  I'm an average person, who has a average job, and wants fairly average things in life.  Perhaps the only thing I am truly exceptional at is rolling ankles and falling down while running, both of which I have mastered in the past few months.

Thank you, Emily, for mentioning me.  I think all athletes - no matter what time they run or if they have a chronic medical condition or not - are inspiring.  Every athlete has overcome obstacles and worked hard to be the athlete they are.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sisterly Emails

You can learn a lot from an email exchange between two people.

I recently heard the New Kids on the Block was coming to Chicago for their reunion tour.  This brought back memories from my childhood.  I really only have one, which is that New Kids on the Block was the first cassette tape that my sister had.  This prompted me to email her and tell her the "good news":

her response, which made me laugh:

She's obviously the witty one in the family!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Boston Training - Week #2

I was so excited to see that Chicago was going to get warm weather early this week - 50 and 60 degrees in January = awesome.  Then, we got hit with snow.  It wasn't a whole lot of snow, but it was enough to put on my YakTrax for the first time ever.  The verdict?  Not a fan.  I'd take 90* weather and super high humidity any day over snow.  Spring can't come soon enough.

This week started out well, but ended not so good (read more below).  You can see my running and other cardio work for the week.

5 mile run - 7:28 average
Stair master - 2 miles
Elliptical - 2 miles

The path where I ran was in bad shape, making it more like a mud run.  By the time I was finished, I was covered in mud on my calves.  The mud and puddle-jumpting made me tired by the end.  I don't think a Steeplechase is in my future.  

Rest day from running
Bike - 6 miles
Walk with incline - 1mile
Stair Master - 3 miles
Elliptical - 2 miles

It was warm but rainy on Tuesday night, so instead of going to track, I went inside and remained dry.  It felt like a crime not to be outside in 60* weather.

4 miles outside in the slippery snow - 8:52 average
2 miles on the treadmill - 7:43 average
Walk with incline - 1mile
Stair Master - 1 mile
Elliptical - 2 miles

After running 4 outside, I decided to go to the treadmill for the remaining two to avoid falling.  It was incredibly slippery.

2 miles AM on treadmill with progressing incline - 8:38 average
6 miles PM - 9:08 average
Walk with incline - 1 mile
Stair Master - 1 mile

My ending incline in my AM run was 5, but it felt like I was running up a mountain.  The PM run was cold and windy, but felt good to run outside.

Walk with incline - 1 mile
Elliptical - 2 miles

Another rest day from running because my legs were tired.  I hope to end this 2 days off running trend next week.

17 miles at 9:13 pace on hills
Bike - 6 miles
Walk with incline - 1mile
Elliptical - 2 miles
Stair Master - 2 miles

I rolled my left ankle 1 mile into the run and thought it would just work itself out.  Unfortunately, the pain never completely subsided.  I was tired after the run, from going through snow the first 3 miles, rolling my ankle, and running on hills for the entire time.  It questioned my fitness level, and if I could even run a 20 mile training run right now.

6 mile run at 9:00 pace

My left foot started to hurt at mile 5.5 and wanted to be done.  I didn't do any other cross training to give it more of a rest.  I'm hoping it gets better fast.

Weekly Totals
Running = 42 miles
Biking = 12 miles
Walking = 5 miles
Elliptical = 10 miles
Stair Master = 9 miles
Weights = 2 times

The goal for next week is to only take 1 day off of running, and to find my mental toughness.  It has vanished in the past week or so, and needs to come back.