Monthly Archives: January 2011

Waiting on the toenail fairy

Just when I thought my feet couldn’t get any uglier, my toe goes and falls off … well, the nail that is. Remember these:

That happened three and a half months ago, the result of a rain-riddled marathon and of more than four hours of wet toes rubbing against wet shoes. For weeks they were the colour of fire-engine red, they blew up to the size of air-filled balloons, were angry and incessantly screamed out in pain. And then, when the pain finally subsided, they turned to the shade of purple and stayed that way. Normally I would have loved the colour purple, it used to be a favourite colour of mine, but on my toes, toes that did not EVER wear polish, the colour purple was downright ugly really.

At first I thought the nails would fall off, but they were stubborn little buggers, oh yes they were. They didn’t grow, they didn’t dissipate in colour, they just stayed there ugly and nasty. About a month ago, I got sick of one of them and forcefully removed the little sucker – to great amounts of splurting blood all over my bathroom floor. But last night when I did a quick clip of the nails, to avoid any toenail-related injury for this morning’s run, I noticed a change. Clip. Clip. Clip… what? I got to the big toe on the right foot and the nail was just kind of uplifted, and hanging there by a thread. Ewww, I so threw up a little in my mouth as I peeled the nasty nail away from the skin. Thankfully there was no blood this time, but there was a quarter of a bumpy toenail already grown underneath. Blech.

I was a little stymied as to what the heck I was supposed to do with the fallen-off nail. Should I have thrown it away? Should I have safely stored it with all my other life treasures? Should I have stuck it under my pillow and waited for the toenail fairy?

If you haven’t already guessed, I absolutely hate feet, find everything about them utterly disgusting, and so, there really wasn’t any question as what to do at all – that sucker was destined for the trash bin!


  • 8:10 a.m. BG before: 12.6
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent set 2.5 hours before the run
  • Distance: 10.52 km (LSD)
  • Average pace: 6:57 min/km
  • Time: 1:10:24
  • 10 a.m. BG after: 8.0 (BG correction)

Today’s run was brrrcold, felt like Winterpeg weather and not the usually balmy West Coast. My hands were so cold they were aching, my lips were numb, I was spluttering my words, and on the way home the heat was cranked in my car for a good 45 minutes of the hour long drive to stop the teeth chattering. I’m not really complaining though, it was a beautiful, clear, sunshiny day after all. And I’ll take that, with the cold, over rain (and God forbid snow) any day! And besides, because it was so cold, I think my ankle thought I was icing it, and it didn’t give me any grief at all 😀


  • 6 a.m. BG: 7.6 (temp basal: -50 per cent)
  • Insulin to carb ratio (I:C) 1 unit per 24g carbs
  • Raison toast: 42g
  • 2T peanut butter: 0g
  • 1/2 banana: 11g
  • 1/2c. smoothie: 15g
  • Total carbs: 67g
  • BG correction: the wizard calculated .55, but I decided not to give any correction
  • Bolus: 2.80 units

When I saw that my blood sugars had risen to 12.6 two hours after I had eaten, my initial reaction was to give a BG correction. While I’ve always preferred to start my runs a little higher than usual, I had no idea if my blood sugars would continue to rise, something I did not want to happen, but given that this is an experiment to see what the perfect LSD breakfast is for me, I had to put faith in my morning actions of no BG correction. And I’m glad I did, 8.0 is a decent number to end a run with, not a perfect number, but decent, and with a longer run, I probably would have ended with perfection. The verdict: A near perfect LSD breakfast.

Did you notice anything different about me in the picture today 😀

Doubts of a marathoner

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve had some doubts, running the marathon doubts, doubts that were hollering in my head last night while running alone in the dark in the nasty areas of town with an ankle that seemed to get more and more tender with each cycle of the leg. And had I not run into one of my favourite running chicks before going home last night, a good portion of my blog would have been all about those ever increasing doubts. Instead, you get to read about them tonight.

My inner ankle, as I’ve written about a few times already, has been suffering tenderness. Some runs it feels as though there’s a knife being twisted around and around and around, and others I hardly feel anything at all. (Oh how I do so love those runs.) It’s been this way since before the marathon, when I started kicking my ankles, but I thought once I had my jammed up ankles reefed out, it would get better. It hasn’t. I’ve gone to physio, I’ve had it ultrasounded, I’ve had it massaged, I ice it every morning, sometimes multiple times a day, but it doesn’t go away. Both Mario and my moms have suggested I get it x-rayed, which builds up my doubts even more. Should I really be starting in on marathon training with a mucked up ankle? Am I just going to make it worse by continuing on these runs? But if I don’t do this training, what then? I can’t exactly stop running, that’s not an option – I need those damn endorphins! See, doubts every which way I turn.


  • 6:20 p.m. BG before: 7.8 (granola bar, bolused  .45 units = not enough)
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent
  • One hour: mat, reformer, chair, abs
  • 7:30 p.m. BG after: 10.0 (BG correction: 1.10)

My ankles were working so hard tonight, they were practically convulsing when I was doing the hundred. My pilates chick told me they were talking to each other. If that was talking, they must have been seriously arguing, close to fisticuffs even, because they were shaking to beat all hell.

Old Man Bateman

Taking a trip down memory lane can sometimes be a good thing, sometimes a bad thing, and then there are times when it’s just downright spooky. Today’s trip definitely fell into the spooky line.

This morning I had to go back to my old high school for work; it was the first time I’d walked through those doors in almost 15 years. And my goodness, a flood of nostalgia nearly bowled me right over. Walking into the front foyer, I knew if I turned right it would have led me to the science wing, if I climbed the stairs, I would have ended up in my math and family management classrooms, and if I went left and took a flight down the stairs, I would have walked through the doors of Mrs. Collins’ English class, my favourite class.

My class was the second graduating class of Bateman, everything here was brand new. So when I first approached the doors today, I was a little taken aback by how old and worn they looked with scratches and graffiti and chipped paint covering them like the wrinkles of an old man.

I walked through the foyer, passed the water fountain wall that seems to no longer be a water fountain, just a wall, passed the display of sculpted artwork that kids in my grade did the first year the school was opened, and just steps from my Grade 12 locker. Memories of best-friend conversations, and wild laughter and teenage tears in the bathroom were so strong in my head it was as though I was back there all over again. It was definitely a spooky start to the day.

Have you ever gone back to your old high school?


  • 6:15 p.m. BG before: 5.0 (granola bar and 1 DEX)
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 10 km tempo
  • Average pace: 6:02
  • Time: 1:00:19
  • 8 p.m. BG after: 5.4

I spent a good portion of tonight’s run trying to figure out how best to describe it, and I think just one word comes to mind: Lonely. Actually, that’s not true, I’ve got more words. It was lonely, dark, scary, and yeah, it kind of really sucked. I went out with the Running Room tonight, because I didn’t want to do 10 km in the dark by myself. And the beauty of the Running Room is that you don’t ever run alone. Supposedly.

I tagged along with the marathon clinic which was running the same distance. And maybe it was my fault because I don’t know their routines or how they’re organized, and maybe I was expecting too much, given the amazing, super duper organized experience I had with my clinic. But I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have been running 95 per cent of the run by myself  – through pretty much every sketchy, not-well-lit parts of town there were. Not cool.

How do you get around running at night if you don’t have a running partner?

Mmmm, eh went the little green frog one day…

Sixteen years. Wow. It’s been that long since I last had someone in the flesh to discuss my diabetes with, a peer who really, truly knew exactly what I went through day in and day out because they, too, were going through the exact same things.

The  summer of 1994, I was 16, had raging hormones and Nine Inch Nails angst shooting through my veins, but for two weeks my parents were given a reprieve. Their beloved moody princess was shipped off to Camp Elphinstone on the Island as she had been every year since getting diabetes. I may not have always admitted it, and I may have sent some overly dramatic letters home in my first years begging my parents to let me come home in one letter and then the next pleading with them to let me stay longer, but I loved my camp years. It was the one time of the year where I was with like-minded people. Testing my blood sugars was normal, taking injections was normal, being forced to drink juice was normal, having type 1 was normal. And at that time I didn’t realize how important that normalcy was, but once I didn’t have it anymore, I longed for it.

Yesterday, I got a little bit of that camp experience back. I met with Heather – the super sporty girl with diabetes who’s just taken up running – at the coffee shop down from the Running Room after our morning run. We spent a good hour and half talking about diabetes and comparing insulin pumps (she has Medtronic and I have Animas) and venting about our endocrinologists and other such diabetes practitioners, and about running and other sports and how we work our diabetes with each. We also talked about the crazy small world we live in: We both went to the same high school (she graduated nine years after me), grew up in the same neighbourhood, knew some of the same people,  had the same diabetes doc at Children’s, and both spent our formative years at diabetes camp.

Heather’s been on the pump for 14 years; I’ve only been on mine for a year. And while I may have the running with diabetes expertise, she’s got the everyday pump expertise. Case in point: wearing the pump with a dress. I have not yet mastered this skill as I’m not, uhm, well endowed up top to stealthly attach the pump to my bra (like many girls do) without looking like an alien with a third breast. And I’ve tried the Animas thigh thingy, but because I’ve got the thighs of a speed skater (NOT the talent!) it tends to cut off my circulation. Heather recommended attaching it to my underwear, as long as the dress is an A-line, BUT make sure to wear stay-put underwear, she said. “You don’t want your undies falling down to your knees.” She does a jump test before leaving the house in a dress. Smart girl.

She also told me about a shirt she’d seen one of the campers wearing this year (she worked at the camp this summer) with the logo I run on insulin. I need that shirt!

What would your shirt say?

7:30 p.m. BG before: 5.9
Temp basal: -80 per cent (was right after dinner)
Time: 55 minutes
8:30 p.m. BG after: 4.4 (had a 2.3 low at 35 minutes, fixed with oj and a straw … thanks Mario!)

I’m not competitive, oh no. I was just going on the bike and riding to a little True Blood is all, I had no intentions, none whatsoever, of beating Mario’s weekend trainer ride of 50 minutes 😉 He says at the rate we’re going, come prime riding season this summer, we’ll be on the trainer for five hour stints at a time … somehow, I don’t think so!

Back in the saddle again

Getting back into a routine again is tough. Even though I spent months longing for this day to arrive, and the entire morning this morning singing Back In The Saddle Again, I still went to bed last night and woke up this morning with the unnerving thoughts of ‘Do I really want to do this for another four months‘ filling my head.

Today was the first day of the Run for Water marathon training and I got to say, it wasn’t easy. Oh the run was a breeze, a blast even, but the preparations beforehand were rather difficult. It all started just as I was getting ready for bed, when I felt a twang in my hip, a dull ache that was taking its sweet assed time to remove itself from my body. It’s not a new ache though, oh no, it’s the same hip that acts up every time I register for a race, think of wanting to do a race, or even just pass a poster advertising a race. It’s like the bloody thing knows and it’s telling me “Oh no, don’t you dare put me through that hell again you crazy lady!’

I also spent the overnight hours tossing and turning worrying about the aches and about whether my blood sugars would be cooperative or not. There’s nothing worse than starting a run day off with nasty blood sugars. And when I woke up to the blasted alarm clock, my head instantly started shaking back and forth, why oh why do I want to spend the next four months getting up at 6 a.m. every Sunday – SUNDAY! – my sleep-in day??? I’ll show you why:

My favourite running chicks! It’s been 119 days (4 months) since us girls last ran together and it was as though no time had passed. We chatted from the second we arrived at the store to the very last second before leaving, which is saying a lot because usually it takes me a good 3 km before I start talking on a Sunday morning run. But there was no way any of us were passing up this long-overdue catch-up time. A couple of the chicks were missing, but they’ll be back soon enough. And I’m thinking, we’re going to need a name for us chicks, we are crazy after all and crazies always have alias names. I haven’t given it too much thought yet, but take note girls, there will be a new name to come, a superstar super-fast name 😀


  • 8:15 a.m. BG before: 7.1 (granola bar, no bolus)
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent (started 1.5 hours before the run, turned off right after the run)
  • Distance: 10 km LSD
  • Average pace: 7:09 min/km
  • Time: 1:11:33
  • 10: 20 a.m. 11.4 (should have either eliminated the granola bar or given a small bolus for it)

Something new I’m going to be doing this time around is making more note of the breakfast I eat on Sunday mornings (This was another dietitian suggestion.) With my last training, I really struggled with working my morning meal/insulin dosage in with my long run and battled both highs and lows. So, starting today, I’m going to be recording my Sunday morning meals along with their carb counts, BG correction if needed and bolus dose. And hopefully, I’ll be able to figure out a breakfast that works for me, my run, and my blood sugars:


  • 6 a.m. BG: 6.5 (went down to 5.8 one hour later, but up to 7.1 two hours later)
  • 2 slices raison toast: 42g carbs
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter: 0 carbs
  • 1/2 banana (weighed): 10g carbs
  • 1/2 smoothie: 15g carbs
  • Total carbs: 67g – 2g (I was being conservative)
  • BG correction: 0.25 (I only did 0.10, again being conservative)
  • Bolus: 3.10 units

What do you eat for breakfast before a long run?

Big ‘Type 1’ Theory

Being a rock star diabetic does have its drawbacks – like when you’re looking for medical expertise and the professionals look at you like you’ve got snot hanging out of your nose. They have no idea why you’re there or what to do with you. Now, I wouldn’t say that’s 100 per cent what happened to me today, but it would probably amount to 65 per cent.

When I made the appointment with the insulin pump nurse and dietitian two months ago I was in dire straits. My blood sugars at the time were doing everything but being perfect. They were low. They were high. And nothing I did made them better. It was probably a good three to four weeks of blood sugar insanity before finally something in me clicked and I was once again on the BG perfection train. And just as I had no idea what set off the insanity, I also had no clue what brought back the perfection. I was just happy to be back in the diabetes good books.

So, instead of going to the appointment today looking for them to better my condition, I went looking to better work it with my training. The dietitian was awesome. We went through my usual meals, and she told me I was pretty bang on with my carb counts, except for my morning oats. I had been calculating them from a cooked portion, but it turns out, I should have actually been calculating them from the dry oats, something that was pretty near impossible for me given that I suck at math. But the dietitian called Anita’s Organics, which supplies my oats, and found out the nutritional values, then did this Sheldon-like equation based on the amount of dry oats I cook, and how many days the batch lasts me, and the fibre count, which equalled 12.5 grams of carbs per serving. I had been calculating 20 grams. No wonder I was having mid-morning lows!

She also recommended Praventia bars as a granola bar option as they release carbs slower than other granola bars. She suggested I drop my temp basal rate on runs to -30 per cent instead of -50 per cent. She told me to check out the Children’s Hospital diabetes site because apparently they post all their handouts on the web. She gave me carb-count handouts for baking supplies, which as we all know is huge for me. She gave me a copy of Pumping Insulin, also known as the Insulin Pumper’s Bible. And she told me to email her anytime I had a question. Awesome dietitian!

Unfortunately, however, the nurse didn’t really help. I was hoping to get some suggestions on how to avoid post-run highs (about two hours after the run) which I seem to sometimes be susceptible too. She suggested I do a longer temporary basal rate to the effect of having a temp basal two hours before and two hours after, which made no sense as my problem was with high blood sugars not lows. Good thing I had the above-mentioned dietitian suggestion to fall back on.

Here’s what I think: the professionals in the adult-oriented diabetes centres are so used to seeing diabetics who are in poor condition, they have no idea what to do with someone like me who’s in great control. And the kids, they get most of the diabetic nurses and doctors who are on the leading edge of the disease. I need a youth serum 😉


  • 8:35: a.m. BG before: 5.4
  • Temp basal: -80 per cent (I had just eaten breakfast and was dealing with my breakfast bolus)
  • 45 minutes: to the beat of Tru Blood which helped the mental battle
  • 9:45 a.m. BG after: 4.9

After the appointments, Mario, who had been perusing the fancy bike shops, and I walked up to Granville Island to get some mussels for tomorrow night’s paella (yum!) and blackberry tarts for tonight’s dessert. I wish we had a market closer to home; I love market shopping. Feels so Euro!

Where is the best market you’ve ever shopped at and what made it the best?

Stuck together like glue

That’s it, I am done with you. I’ve tried to be your friend for 32 years, Mr. English, but the friendliness is gone. I’m tired of your mixed messages, tired of your finicky rules, tired of your saying one thing and doing the complete opposite. I’m sick of your favouritism of the letter ‘u’ for some and not for others. I’m sick of your blatant love of capitalization one minute and loathing of it the next. I’m sick of being banned from words and phrases because suddenly you decide they’re a cliche. And by golly if I want to say “gotten” and “boughten,” I’m gonna say them. Because I’m sick of you!

So, I think I might have gotten 😉 a bit frazzled at work today. I sort of announced, in a room full of English lovers, that I was quitting English. My exact words: That’s it. I’m done. I’m quitting this stupid language. Bring on the Italian. Which kind of presents a small problem, given that I write for an English newspaper. But hey, I did want to learn a foreign language this year – and Italian is such a sexy language! – AND my company really should get on with opening an Italian bureau. I would so be perfect for the job, just look at me. I fit.

Today I had an email exchange with one of my work contacts who’s 15-year-old son has type 1 diabetes. We met when I interviewed him for a feature on juvenile diabetes shortly after he was diagnosed. And his mom has helped me greatly in the last couple of years with the many questions I’ve had in switching to an insulin pump, as her son had already been on the pump for a few years. Today, she told me that they’re coming up to his five-year anniversary of having the disease, which got me to thinking, my gawd this year will be 25 years for me!!! Wow. That’s like a quarter of a century.

Taking my insulin before prom almost 15 years ago!

We’ve been through a lot, diabetes and me. We started out bitter enemies, I hated him like I’d never hated anything before. When I got tired of the fight, I pretended he didn’t exist. I didn’t have to take my insulin, my mom’s plants liked it better anyway. I didn’t have to eat my prescribed lunches, the bushes were more than willing to eat them up, and I was more than happy to get by on a bag of chips, win-win. Then, we waged war. He threw me into convulsive fits, and I threw him into alcohol. It wasn’t until about seven years ago that I finally came to terms with the fact that the annoying little bugger wasn’t ever going away. So, instead of fight him, I embraced him. You know what they say, keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Well, we’re stuck together like crazy glue!

What anniversaries/milestones do you keep track of?


  • 5:15 p.m. BG before: 7.2 (granola bar .30 unit bolus)
  • Temp basal: -50 per cent
  • One hour: rack, mat, chair
  • 6:30 p.m. BG after: 9.1 (BG correction: 1.00 unit)

Oh man were my legs and abs working tonight. Pretty much everything I did, the rack, the hundred, some kind of twisty crunch type thing, my legs were quivering and my abs were convulsing the entire time. “That means they’re working,” my pilates instructor told me. Perfect words to keep me going 😀