Tag Archives: running with diabetes

Diabetes: The frienemy strikes again

Oh Diabetes. Dear, Dear, DEAR Diabetes. This was to be your day. The day the spotlight was to shine all over your youness. The day when you would think you’d want to look your best, you know, have a fresh-faced glow about you, especially in the face of flashing lights and snapping cameras. You’d think you’d want to show the world what a lowly medium, such as myself, can do with your greatness jabbed into my side.

But you’ve never really been an easy one have you, never really gone with the flow, why start now, why put on a phoney face for the reporters, hey. Nah, you wouldn’t do that.

Sure you had me fooled, weeks of cooperation, nary a hiccup to be heard. But that was your plan all along wasn’t it? I had just sat down to my desk, had just lifted my steeping cup of matcha for a quick sip before the phone interview was to begin, when you and your frienemy greatness struck once again.

There was a loud clicking noise my ears couldn’t quite detect, like the sound of an old grandfather clock when you’re trying to sleep. I thought it was coming from the bathroom, but just as I was about to get up, I felt a vibrating sensation rubbing against my back. When my hand reached around, the only thing there was your insulin pump. Before I could even contemplate what was going on, the phone rang.

And you were laughing weren’t you?

I muddled my way through the interview, talked in nonsensical sentences filled with uhms and ers, I told the daily newspaper reporter all that I had achieved athletically, was it with you, or despite you, I can’t recall, all the while wondering what the hell you were doing. You made it hard to forget what with starting to blare a high decibel alarm on top of the clicking and vibrating.

The interview lasted just shy of a half an hour. When I hung up the phone, I saw the alarm message on the pump, no delivery, call service. And I could hear that cackle of yours. I had five minutes, five minutes, to dig out my old backup insulin pump, program her, load her up with insulin and get connected to my infusion. Any other day I would have waited. Any. Other. Day.

Oh bloody, effing hell!

Oh bloody, effing hell!

But this day, this day was all about you, and the fact I wear a bloody insulin pump while running. The photographer was on his way, scheduled to be here in mere seconds, I could not exactly show off an out-of-service pump now could I?

But hey, guess what jerk face, it was actually ME who had the last laugh. I made it out to that photo shoot, my cheeks all aglow, backup pump attached, dosing away, and it was my greatness they wanted – not yours.

Photo courtesy Vancouver Sun, Nick Procaylo

Photo courtesy Vancouver Sun, Nick Procaylo

Ha. Who’s laughing now?

Here’s a link to the article: http://www.vancouversun.com/sunrun/event/Blood+sugar+levels+balance+marathon+runner/10947649/story.html

THURSDAY’S SPEED INTERVALS:
6 p.m. BG before: 7.6
Temp. basal: -50% (1 hour)
Carbs: banana (no bolus) 30 minutes before
Workout: :30-1:00-1:30-2:00-2:30-2:30-2:00-1:30-1:00-:30 with 1:30 walk after each
Distance: 7.70 km
Time: 49:54
Average interval pace: 4:11 min/km
7:30 p.m. BG after: 5.1
Temp. basal: +50% (1.5 hours)

Race recap: They say 10.4, I say 10.0

Wasn’t it just the other day I was shouting to the world PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! Why yes it was, and last Saturday I was singing those glories again.

Some may say this one has a stain of stipulation to it, and this is my response to them:

You say 10.4, I say 10.0. PERSONAL BEST BABY!!!

Seriously

Seriously, who designs a 10.4 km race anyway? Seriously? The 5kers got 5k, I deserve my 10k. I earned that 10k.

Last Saturday I ran the Vancouver Hot Chocolate 10.4 km run at Stanley Park, and wow, what a difference a year can make. When I ran the inaugural run last year it was a miserably cold day; I blew myself out in the beginning of the run; I expended far too much energy early on weaving around other runners; and at about 7 km in I was experiencing that ugly feeling of nausea and was listening to that nasty little chorus of “You might as well quit!” singing Van Halen style in my head.

But this year was different. I wasn’t planning on racing. Sure, I was intending to put a solid effort in, but racing was not top of mind. In fact, I was really only planning to run hard for 10 km; the last 400 metres was meant for something someone special.

And maybe, just maybe, it was that that enabled me the incredible run I had.

Still, at the start line I situated myself closer to the front than last year; I did not want to waste needless energy weaving. I made sure to get a good, solid dynamic warmup in before the go. And when we were unleashed, I made an effort to hold back on my pace. I may not have been intending to race, but really, can you take the race out of this girl???

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The day was so close to the kind of day I had a few weeks ago at the Vancouver First Half. Although there wasn’t the endless rays of god lighting or the spooky fog hovering the path this time, it was such a beautiful morning to be running. The sun was shining warm, but not too warm, over the cool crisp rising up from the ocean. The city’s greens and blues were so clear and so vibrant. Even if I was having a crummy run, I’d be hard pressed not to smile at all the beauty around me.

And because the route covered a portion of the route from the First Half, I was able to find my happy zone pretty quick. Coming off of such a great race, I channeled those endorphins; I pretended my favourites were there with me, all of us being accountable for pace; I pretended it was the first half of a half; I pretended I was the wind just like the daughter of one of my favourites in her first run two weekends ago. And just like that run, I left the music at home, but this time, I had the melody of a three-year-old singing his ABCs while strapped next to his sister in a double stroller with dad at the helm; that was pretty awesome.

And hey, look! That guy shot out of the gate and passed me right off the hop, but look who’s passing him now. And hey now, there’s that chick who was a super speedster too, but is now looking like I did last year struggling even to jog. And oh my greatness, I’m finally gonna pass my pink camo-legged carrot. (Uhmmmm, doesn’t pink camo kinda defeat the purpose of camouflage???)

But wait. Noooooooo! My shoelace is untied. Are you freaking kidding me? I never have shoelace coming undone issues. And mere moments before I’m to pass my carrot, the girl I’d been trailing for the better part of the run, but who I’d been gaining on and was finally ready to pounce over, and my bloody shoe comes untied. Not cool shoes, not cool at all.

So. This could have killed the momentum, it could have slowed me down, it could have sent me spiralling. It didn’t. Yeah I had to stop and retie and nearly took out a couple walkers doing so, but even with my shaky fingers, I was back running again in seconds, pushing my pace, getting back into position, overtaking that carrot of mine.

Nowhere along the way was I feeling any forms of struggle. I had no nausea. I had no pains. I was not overheating. I just kept going, my pace kept solid, I kept smiling. And you know what I am still smiling. Because when I looked at the time on my Garmin for the first time in this race about 500 metres to the 10 km mark, the numbers displayed had my eyes out of their sockets – 49 MINUTES, SOMETHING SECONDS!!! H’oh my gawd!!!!

All hail the run gods!

All hail the run gods!

(I hope I never lose that feeling of that moment of sheer, blissful, proud excitement.)

And when I crossed over 10 km: 52:04!!!!!!!!! PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

RUN FOR HOT CHOCOLATE:
• 9:45 a.m. BG before: 5.6
• Temp. basal: -70 per cent (1 hour)
• Carbs: 3 shot blocks, no bolus
• Distance: 10.0 (10.4 for some)
• Average pace:
• Time: 52:04!!!!!!!!!
• 11 a.m. BG after: 4.9
• Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1.5 hours)

And the diabetes? No issues. The blood sugars started a tad lower than I would have liked, but I had 3 shot blocks at the start (a banana, no bolus, about an hour and a half earlier), reduced my basal down by 70 per cent, and ended with 4.9, and didn’t experience any post-run slap-in-the-face highs.

Perfection.

Post run waffles well deserved.

Post run waffles well deserved.

Stay tuned for a recap of the final 400 metres…

Diabetes and the racing equation

(It’s taken me longer than I intended to post this second part of my Vancouver First Half half marathon recap; again, I blame chemistry.)

So where were we? Oh right, I had just kicked my last personal best out of the park, knocking off a solid four minutes. And oh how I wish I could have started this post with a conquering WAHOO all around, but sadly, frustratingly, Dear Diabetes was having none of that.

Vancouver First Half: Racing strategy win. Diabetes strategy fail.

Dear Diabetes drew me in early on, tantalizing me, teasing me with a good, solid streak of no lows while training. I didn’t dare gloat or boast about it for fear her ugly head would rear, I just kept happily running along, diabetes NOT at the front of my thoughts. But then, it all turned sour. About a month and a half ago, ohhh right about the start of chemistry (see above), my running blood sugars went every which way but the right way to Sunday.

Race day was no exception.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday night, I started feeling pukey. I checked my blood sugars and they were higher than I like. They kept going up and up and up. I checked them multiple times through the night, gave myself insulin at least three times, and still they didn’t come down. I woke up with them at 8.8 (I like them to be 6.0). I knew they’d surge up following breakfast given how they’d been the last month or so for long run Sundays. I increased my basal rate by 80 per cent for the hour following breakfast, hoping that would counteract a major high. By the time I got to the race course an hour before the start, they were 10.1. It was too late to give another dose of insulin or to increase the basal. I hoped, though, also given the Sunday run patterns that they’d soon drop… just not bottom out.

Initially I was planning to take drastic measures with my temporary basal throughout the run. Instead of dropping it down 50-70 per cent has been my normal, I was going to shut it off outright to avoid any kind of low. But something in me just didn’t feel right about that decision, so I was bit more conservative and only dropped it down to 80 per cent.

The second part of my diabetes strategy was to load up on shot blocks and my homemade sports drink throughout the entire run. Again, maybe a little drastic, but I did not want a low, and it seemed for all my long training runs lately, I couldn’t stuff the shot bloks in fast enough to keep my blood sugars level. I popped my first three shot bloks and took a swig of drink about 5 minutes before the start . Every subsequent 20 minutes, I popped two more with a shot. In total, I went through two packages of shot bloks, save two, and two 400 mL bottles of the sports drink.

The third and final diabetes strategy: I was not to test my blood sugars.

So let’s review shall we: I dropped my basal to 80 per cent for the duration of the run; I loaded up on sugar-filled carbs, some might say overdosed; and I did not keep a running track of my blood sugars while doing so. Pretty much, the basics for What Not To Do With Diabetes.

Five minutes after crossing the finish line, my blood sugars were 15.8. Crap. I jacked up my basal rate to 100 per cent for two hours, gave myself an instant bolus correction dose, did not have a thing to eat (no recovery carbs/proteins for me), and shook my head with the injustice of it all. About an hour later, they were at 23.3. Holy freaking crud ugly monkey, what the frick! One hour after that they were 18.8. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. And three hours later they were 3.1.

Bloody freaking hell. Just run me over with a train why don’t you.

Death by highs.

The feeling of high blood sugars, 5,000 times worse than the worst hangover!

No wonder I felt like absolute crud the last 4 or so kilometres of the race.

Diabetes fail.

Almost famous

I’m famous! I’m famous! I’m famous! OHMYGAWD!!! I’m famous!

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That’s ME!!!

When I was contacted by Canadian Running Magazine a few months back asking if I’d be interested in participating in an article on running with diabetes, I was 100 per cent all over it.

For 2 seconds.

Long enough to breathe a second of excitement before realizing oh crud, the tables have turned. I live my life behind a pen and notepad. I live my life asking questions. I live my life nosying around other people’s lives. I’m the journalist. Not the subject. Oh crud. I swear to you, I spent a good half a day, prior to the evening interview, freaking out. Massively freaking out! What if I was a horrible interview. What if I rambled a mile a minute making absolutely no sense. What if the only words coming out of my mouth were uhm, uhm, uhm. All possible scenarios.

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Yep, I totally made a bubble chart to TRY and keep me on track 😀

The hour and a half interview (my ear was super red after!) went fairly well I think. There were a lot of uhms, nervous giggles, and nonsensical ramblings, but interspersed were also nuggets of smart bits, good stories of crazy running experiences, obstacles, achievements, joys, annoyances, and the never-ending challenge of figuring out how to carry things most others don’t have to – all because of Dear Diabetes.

And when I mentioned, “off the cuff” that Big Ring was a professional photographer, she requested photos!!! FAMOUS!!!

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That’s ME! And hey, that’s my T-1 pal and fellow blogging chick Canadian D-Gal too!

On New Year’s Eve, the magazine arrived – and there I was. ME! Front and centre. ME! Testing my blood sugars. ME! My calloused fingers. ME! Running. ME! Right there in the lede. ME! My words. My diabetes. FAMOUS!!!

140105Magazine2
My calloused fingers. My trashy running meter.

My first reaction to the article was … undecided. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the field, or because I was the subject, a role I’m not used to being at all, but I was somewhat critical. Hmm… would I have written it like that? Hmm… wouldn’t it have been better if she had done this instead of that? Hmm… was that the best quote to use?

But after a few reads, (yes, I’ve read it a few times!) I started to soften. Diabetes is a HUGE, complex disease. She had a lot of information to sort through and filter down into 2,000 words. That’s no easy feat. And yet, the article was both informing and personal. And hey, the lede totally had me giggling 😀

A quick glance at [Princess of Pavement’s] running blog makes it pretty clear how she feels about diabetes.
The entry, “Why I run”, features a photo of a closed fist with middle finger extended. Written vertically in capital letters on the middle finger is the word “DIABETES.” …

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FAMOUS!!!

Race Day: Bellingham Bay half II

So. Where were we? Right, the race itself…

When I signed up for this race, I essentially considered it an at-home race. Bellingham is about an hour away, without the border lineup, and over the years I’ve been there countless times. But mostly only for Costco runs or other such cross-border shopping. No exploring. And so, when we arrived at the start in downtown Bellingham, I was immediately taken in by the cuteness of this town; its history, unique eateries, gathering spaces, beauty.

And the course itself, while it had all the beauties of B.C., there was still an element of mystery for me to feel like I was exploring new territory. We ran past Little House on the Prairie style houses, along romantic, tree-canopied trails, around the bay jostling for position against the forceful breeze coming up off the water,  past clusters of enthusiastic cheerleaders; one a girl about four-years-old vigorously shaking a cow bell as she high-fived me with her free hand. I imagined Little Ring doing the same a couple years from now 😀

The first 10 km of my race was pretty awesome, so awesome, in fact, I didn’t look at my mileage for the first nine of those 10 km and had no clue how far I’d run because my math conversation skills from miles to km are non-existent. I was having fun out there. I was enjoying the scenery, the people around me, the movement of my legs. And my time showed it. When my Garmin alerted me I’d run 10 km, I was on pace for a 1:55:00 finish. Holy freaking awesome!!!

Sigh. If only the race could have finished there, I would have had my perfect rainbow race, but no, that’s not how the running gods would have it. My run started to fall apart in probably the last 5-7 km. I got a side stitch in which I struggled to get rid of. My stomach and throat started to feel a little pukey. I got stopped by a train – A TRAIN!!! – seriously, stuck standing there for a minute and a half and then trying to weave through the huge throng of social runners once the train had passed. Are you freaking kidding me??? And the last three km, they were tough as hell.

Hills. Pukey belly. Brain.

I wanted to stop, oh man, did I ever. Doubts creeped up into my head, and it took everything I had not to cave in, to keep telling myself I had made it this far, why the hell would I stop now, the distance was nothing, I could do that distance in my sleep, easy peasy, don’t you dare stop, no way you can stop, just about there, keep going.

With just about 500 metres to go, I spotted my Rings in the finishing chute, which was all I needed to amp up my speed. I ran so hard I could barely stand at the finish. I ran so hard, I thought I would puke at the mere smell of the food lining the finishers’ corral. I ran so hard I had to be held up by the kid wrapping the heat blanket around my shoulders. I ran so hard, I finished with a smile 😀

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Running to the finish, no idea if I’d made goal or not…

BELLINGHAM BAY HALF MARATHON

  • 9:15 a.m. BG before: 9.2
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: none
  • Time: 1:59:10 NEW PB!!!
  • Distance: 21.1 km
  • Average pace: 5:36 min/km
  • Average cadence: 86 spm
  • Fuel: @30 minutes: 2 Clif Shot Blocks @ 60 minutes: 2 Clif Shot Blocks @ 90 minutes: 1 Clif Shot Block
  • 11:45 p.m. BG after: 10.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent

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Proof: finished with a smile 😀

NOTE: Garmin is the time I’m going with. I may be criticized for this as Garmin is not Chip, but because there was no one at the train to document the train stoppage, I don’t feel Chip’s accuracy can be trusted. Whereas Garmin was stopped and started the second I stopped and started, so, for me, that’s the accuracy I need.

Wardrobe malfunction

There are some runs that are just so incredibly perfect, you know the ones, the ones that feel like you’ve been running around the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow the entire time. Ahh, bliss is what those are… And then, there are those other runs, the ones that, well, the ones you want to forget about, but never do in hopes of never EVER repeating again.

Today’s run was that kind of a run. My feet, legs, lungs and belly were all working pretty good. I wasn’t sucking air, I wasn’t feeling like I’d eaten 10 buckets of ice cream, I wasn’t wishing to be anywhere but there. Nope, today was all about my wardrobe – malfunctioning!!!

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The shoes were just a small fraction of today’s issues!

WARDROBE MALFUNCTION RUN:

  • 12:15 p.m. BG before: 7.6
  • Carbs: Sezme Snack (12g) no bolus
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Time: 29:42 minutes
  • Distance: 5.69 km
  • Average pace: 5:13 min/km
  • Average cadence: 87 spm
  • 1:15 p.m. BG after: 6.1

The sun was shining bright; I had no sunglasses.

My sports bra was digging into the inflammation of my right shoulder from the injury I endured the night I found out I was pregnant.

My socks felt like they had little pebbles all throughout.

My shoe laces felt like they were tied too tight, but they weren’t, and yet, I stopped three times to adjust them fearing the onslaught of a bruise if I did not.

My insulin pump, which was clipped to my Spibelt under my shirt, was bouncing all over the belt, which seemed to have loosened somewhere along the way. I relocated the pump onto the back of my shorts waste band, but that meant I now had an unbalanced Spibelt, with my cell phone and keys in the pouch hanging off the back of me, bouncing down onto my pump, causing my shorts to be dragged downwards.

Awesome.

But hey, even through all that, I still managed a pretty decent pace, and it could have been worse, I mean, there was no Janet Jackson style nip slip. Positive!!! 😀

Freedom Friday

Phew! My family and I survived our first week of me being a working mom. The first day was tough as nails, my jaw hurting so bad fighting back those tears as I left my boy for the day, the second day was easier but I still felt the welling of tears in my eyes, but by the third day, I left with no feeling of tears, Big Ring felt more confident with daycare duties, and Little Ring made a buddy and slept for 2 hours at nap time. Success.

And the fourth day… oh wait, there wasn’t a fourth day!!!

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First day of daycare.

Instead of going back to work full-time, we decided I’d go back 4 days to save on daycare, gas, tolls, and wear and tear on the car, and also to grant us more quality time as a family. (Big Ring has Fridays off as well) And because this week started with the Labour Day holiday that meant only 3 days of work for me. Wahoo!

And what did I do with my first ever Freedom Friday? Went for a run of course 😀

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Already loving this day!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 10 a.m. BG before: 7.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) half bolus
  • Time: 1:17:45 (plus 5 minute warmup)
  • Distance: 13.35 km
  • Average pace: 5:50 min/km
  • Average cadence: 85 spm
  • 12 p.m. BG after: 9.7

This wasn’t a perfect run. I had major issues with my blood sugars and glucose metres. At 30 minutes I tested and they were down to 4.2, so I took in a dark-chocolate Agave #9 gel (I kid you not, this tasted like melted chocolate – NOT gel!) and half a tube of Pocket Fuel before starting back up again. Twenty minutes later I was starting to feel a bit off, like a low was coming on. So I stopped and tested again, or at least I tried. I got a couple error messages before finding a strip that would allow me to test. The test came in at 3.7, which corroborated the off feeling I was experiencing, but something inside me told me to test again. I did and the second test came in at 7.1. What the??? I tested again and was at 5.4. Are you freaking kidding me? What the hell result was I to believe?

It could have been the sweat, it could have been remnants of the gel from 30 minutes ago still on my fingers, or it could have been the metre has finally gone to the toilets… which is exactly what I’m thinking happened given the multiple error messages I was getting.

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Stupid metre!

I decided to play it safe and took a couple shot blocks before getting back to my run. And given that I ended with a 9.7 reading post-run, my guess is the 5.4 result was probably the more accurate of the three. Ugh.

But hey, a positive: I’m pretty sure I’m 90% injury free!!! Wahoo!!!