Friday, August 30, 2013

Into the Wild

Well not really the wild per se.

I will have all the ingredients to make my beloved breakfast shake and we will have scallops and shrimps for the bbq.

And laundry facilities. Flush toilets and a shower.

But we are going to a cottage without wifi.

So this is it for Running on Carbs until we are back and unpacked.

Talk to you on the other side.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Superhero Without a Name



I did not go to swim practice on Monday morning because I was exhausted from Sunday’s triathlon. 

I can’t go to swim practice on Friday because we are going to be away.

That meant Wednesday morning was a must if I wanted any pool time this week.The fact that I was still tired from the race, had sore legs from running 8k on Tuesday and feeling overall crappy because it was the first day of my period – well that just made me feel hardcore when I somehow managed to drag myself downstairs despite the multiple reasons why I didn’t want to. 

The workout was a mishmash kinda workout. The board told us that we were warming up with 200m swim, 4x50m kick and 200m pull. 

We then had to do 4x75m (drill, swim, drill). Well, everyone else had to do that. Apparently George and I drill beautifully but our strokes fall apart when we try to swim so we had to just swim but focus on keeping our stroke looking good. High elbows, long reach – that sorta thing. 

Then the workout began. 

10 x 50m kick on 1:30s. We were told to try to do each 50m on 1:00 which would give us 30 seconds of rest. 

I did them all in 1:02 and change – in my typical metronome style. I always came in third – after superman who was doing them in 45-50 seconds and supergirl who was always just ahead of me in 0:58-1:00. 

Our next set was 4x200m (pull, drag, swim with buckets, pull). It’s a great 800m arm workout that left us pretty exhausted by the end.  

Next was 6x50m descending which means you start of at a pretty fast pace and try to get a little faster each time. I did mine in 0:50, 0:49, 0:48, 0:47, 0:47, 0:45. I’m not sure what I was prouder of, the speed of the last one or the fact that I actually managed to descend my times consistently. 

We finished off with 6x50m kicks. I only had time for 2 because I had to hop out and head to work. 

During the kick set at the beginning of the workout I had struggled to keep Superman and Supergirl within sight. This time I kept right up to them. This time I saw Superman struggle to surge ahead but he couldn’t. Supergirl pushed but couldn’t shake me either. They finished in 1:00.  I was right behind them at 1:02.

The next one, I was right with them. Kick for kick. From one end of the pool to the other. We all touched the wall at the same time. 1:02. 

I think I've discovered my superhero talent. I may not be the fastest. I may not be the strongest. But I’m the most consistent and the most steady. Given enough time I can wear anyone down. 

I’m not sure what my superhero name should be though.

Captain Metronome?

Consistent Woman?

Whatever my superhero name is, there is no way I’m wearing a cape in the pool. Way too much drag. 

Unless that's the workout of course. In which case, bring it on. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Emerging Patterns

Well I'm just about finished my two week blood sugar log for my upcoming appointment at the diabetes centre.

I usually do it two weeks out and finish on the morning of the appointment. This time I started early because I didn't want to be logging while we're at the cottage. It's annoying to write down everything while on vacation plus it's not really a good representation of blood sugar trends since I'll be out of my usual eating and fitness routine.

Before I started my log, I was thinking that I've been pretty good lately. Not too many lows. Not too many stubborn highs.

Highs and lows to be sure but they were out of the norm rather than 'normal'.

Then I started writing down everything for fourteen days.

And guess what I found?

I found that I was right about the highs. I did have highs but they were not very common and not very stubborn. Nothing that a good correction dose couldn't knock back into submission.

I also found out that I was wrong about the lows.

I had at least one low every day. Every. Single. Day.

That is not good at all.

There were no patterns that I could spot. I'd be low after a swim one day but not the others. Low at 3am one day but not others. Low after a run one day and high after a run the next. Low before dinner two days but not the others.

Most lows had a reason behind them that I could explain but that didn't seem to stop them from happening.

I am not sure what they are going to suggest for me to fix things but I'm guessing they are not going to be happy. Lows are dangerous.

The good news is that, because I test so often, I catch the lows pretty quickly. I'm usually between 3.6-3.9 (64-70) when I catch it which isn't too low considering 4 and above (72+) is considered ok. I did have the odd 2.9 (52) but those, thankfully, were a lot more rare.

Still though, low at least once a day for two weeks?

That is a problem I am going to have to fix and fast.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

End of Summer = End of Triathlon Season

There are only three possible triathlons left in the 2013 season.

The first is next weekend in Guelph. We are away at a cottage so it's not an option.

The second is the first weekend in September, two days after we get back from a week at a cottage. Meaning we'd have to come home, unpack, do laundry and head off again two days later for the weekend because it's too far for it to be a day trip.

The third and final is the second weekend in September. We already have plans on Friday evening and all day Saturday. We'd have to then drive two hours from home on Saturday evening and stay overnight to race on Sunday morning.

Oh, plus it might be too cold to swim without a wetsuit by that point.

I know. I know. Stop yelling at me. I'm getting a damn wetsuit.

Just maybe not in time for this season's races...

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I may be done triathloning until next summer.

Which makes me very very sad.

(I tried to take a picture of myself making a sad face but it was too sad to actually use so you'll have to use your imagination.)

I pulled out a calendar to find ways to distract myself...and my eyes fell on the weekend of October 27th.

The Niagara Falls half marathon weekend.

I counted the number of weeks left between now and then.

Eight and a half.

Ok. Not bad.

I ran 12k a week and a half ago for the first time since March and that felt ok.

So I counted on my fingers.

14k, 16k, 18k, 10k, 20k, 22k, 12k, race day.

Well, it's tight but doable.

It means no more triathlons and it means I'm running 14k up and down a dirt road at the cottage next weekend.

As sad as I am that triathlon season is ending, I set a new goal and I decided three things.

1. I'll run 14k this weekend and see how it feels.

2. My foot is more important than any ol' race so, if it starts hurting at any point during the training, I'm out.

3. I won't sign up until I've run 20k. If my foot feels good and I feel good, I'm doing a Fall half marathon. If not, I'll back off and see if I can handle the Boxing Day 10-miler.

Alright, I have a goal.

Something to carry me over the post-triathlon hump and something to help me transition from warm summer days to cool fall ones.

Whew!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Toronto Island Triathlon

I now have four triathlons under my belt for the 2013 season. 

All four, of course, are different distances. 

Yesterday, Doug and I took the ferry to Toronto Island for an official Sprint triathlon. That means that we swam 750m, cycled 20k and ran 5k. 

Just a reminder that the official Sprint distance is exactly half that of an Olympic triathlon. And the shortest triathlon I've done other than my first try a tri last summer. I wasn't sure what to expect because the distances felt short enough to push hard but a little too long to sustain a hard push. I'm more of a distance athlete than a speed athlete and I don't usually do very well when I go hard for shorter distances. 

Toronto Island is pretty small and there were just under 700 athletes competing in the du and the tri. We had to cycle two loops of the island in order to get all 20k in and we had to run four loops of a 1.25k course to get the 5k run in. There were several wave starts for both events in order to thin the crowds and keep the roads from getting too congested. 

The races started at 8am. Doug and I, for the first time ever, were in the same wave start for the swim. We didn't start until 9am so we got to watch our duathlon friends, hang out with my little sis and our friends and mentally prepare ourselves. Oh, and gratefully feel the sun climb in the sky and warm the cold early-morning air. 


Ready to go in the baby blue swim cap wave. 

The swim started off well but took a bad turn within about 200m. I was right in the middle of the flailing arms and legs and churning water when I took a mouthful of water and choked. I mean really choked. I stopped swimming, tried to clear the water from my throat and just couldn't. No air coming in, none going out. Swimmers flying by me in all directions bumping into me and making me feel like I was in a churning washing machine. 

I felt my first ever open-water wave of panic hit. I almost panicked more at the thought of panicking. I'm a swimmer dammit. This is my best part of the triathlon. I will NOT panic. I will NOT come out of the water at the back of the pack. I refused to let the second wave of panic come. I coughed. Hard! I gasped and sputtered and swam a very slow breast stroke while I tried to clear the water and catch my breath. 

By the first turn around buoy I was back in control and the crowds had cleared a bit. I put my head down and went full tilt. I had no idea how much time I had lost but I wanted to gain some back. I swam hard. I passed a lot of swimmers and, miraculously, I held a pretty straight line for the remaining 500m. If I had done that for the entire swim I would have been done in record time. 

I'm not sure how long the run was from the beach to the transition but I'm guessing about 400m. I finished the swim and the run in 17:17. Not bad. Not my best but, all things considered, not bad. 

I transitioned faster than I usually do (2:10) and headed off on the bike. The course was flat which was nice but it was pretty crowded. There were several times when I wanted to pass but had to wait because someone was passing someone else in the other direction. That being said, I pulled off 20k in 40:20 which is just under a 30km/hour pace. I was pretty happy with that. 

The second transition went pretty well too but it took a little longer because I had to do the ol' blood sugar check. I headed out for the run and felt two things at once. Part of me felt that awful post-bike lead leg feeling and thought 'I don't think I can do this' and part of me thought 'hey, I actually feel not bad'. 

This not very fast runner girl usually aims for an average 6:20min/km pace in races. It's a hard pace for me to sustain but not awful. 

Guess what I did? 

I ran fast and strong the entire run and managed, somehow, to run an average pace of 5:50min/k. 

I am so proud! 

I ended up placing 15/27 in my age group. For someone who usually lands at or near the bottom, being within sight of the top half is pretty damn exciting. 

Blood sugar results? 

I turned on my usual race day basal profile and it did a wonderful job of keeping me very steady over the entire race. The problem is that I had a low an hour before the start which meant I had to eat when I didn't want to. After eating I climbed up to 12.0 before the swim. So I started the race at 12.0, I was 11.2 during the second transition and I was 12 when I finished. Very nice and steady - just a little higher than I wanted. 

Mr. Speedy. I kept ahead of him in the swim and on the bike but he caught me on the run and finished in 1:31:11.8 - nabbing a second place medal in his age group for good measure. 

The proud finisher coming in at 1:33:35.8. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Bye Bye Comfort Zone. It Was Nice Knowing You.

Yesterday I wrote a blog about being stubborn for stubborn's sake. 

Refusing to wear a wetsuit without even trying one on. 

Refusing to wear a golf glove despite mounting evidence (ie. blisters) that perhaps I should. 

My friend Jeff started writing a comment on my 'stubborn' blog which quickly morphed into an entire blog post singing the praises of the wetsuit

Jeff has given me a lot of advice in the past few years. About running, cycling and swimming as well as about type 1 and race day diabetes management. I have yet to disagree with anything he has said to me.  It's always well thought out and supportive yet he gently pushes me out of each comfort zone that I dig myself in to. 

Jeff likes wetsuits. Jeff competes in wetsuits. Jeff thinks I should have a wetsuit. 

Damn him. 

Thanks to his convincing arguments I've gone from hating the idea of a wetsuit to being open enough about it to wonder where I would put my insulin pump. 

In fact I'm already wondering whether I should try one with sleeves or one without sleeves. A full suit or a shorty. 

Yet again he pushes me out of my comfort zone just enough that I feel safe enough to walk a few more steps into the unknown. 

Did I mention that he does half-ironmans and has got me thinking that they're not so bad either? 

Damn him. 

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Stubborn. Plain and Simple.

I've been happy to see the temperatures climb back up after the cooler weather we had been having. I was worried that the water temperature in Lake Ontario would drop and the triathlon we're doing this Sunday would be wetsuit mandatory.

"What?!? You don't have a wetsuit?"

Nope.

"Why not? You do triathlons. It makes the swim easier and you'll be faster. Plus it keeps you warm in cold water."

All very good points I must admit.

Ask me why I don't have a wetsuit.

Go on. Ask me.

Because I'm stubborn. Ridiculously stubborn.

I want to swim in open water without a wetsuit. I want to compete with people in wetsuits and hold my own without one. I want to feel free in the water. I don't want the complication of one more thing to do in transition. I think they look ridiculous and uncomfortable. I don't want to pay for one. I'll never want to wear it unless I have to due to water temperature which means that I'll never get used to it and always hate it.

Of course I'm saying all of these things without ever having tried one on.

Pretty open minded eh?

Last night we went to the driving range. It was hot and humid out and my hands were warm and sticky. I hit a bucket of balls. Not particularly well but whatever.

I don't wear a glove when I golf. I don't want the aggravation of putting it on and taking it off. I think it seems kinda silly that golfers wear one glove when they hit the ball off the tee and then they stuff it in their back pocket until the next tee shot. I don't want to have to try on a bunch at the store and then buy one.

Did I mention that I've never actually tried playing a game of golf with a glove?

Why?

I want to be able to hit the ball and play a game of golf without a glove. Just like I want to be able to swim without a wetsuit.

Why?

I'm stubborn.

Sometimes being stubborn involves not making a whole lot of sense.

It's probably a good time to mention that I'm typing this with a very painful blister on my finger from hitting 90 balls with warm hands on a humid night.

Sigh.

Thankfully the lake temperature is holding steady and I'll be able to compete on Sunday in the triathlon.

On the other hand, there is an Olympic triathlon in September that I'd love to do but it will most likely be wetsuit mandatory. Which means I'm outta luck.

At least for this year.

I don't honestly know if I'll ever cave on the wetsuit issue. I may. I may not.

Right now I don't want to.

But I also didn't want to play golf and now look at me.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Math Tests

It's that time again.

The two weeks where I cart around a pack of paper and a pen with me and I write down everything I eat, every blood sugar reading, every basal adjustment, every site change and all my exercise. In a few weeks I'm heading back to the Diabetes Centre from another appointment with my doctor.

I don't really mind keeping a log for two weeks.

I like doing it because it forces me to document things and then look at the patterns that may, or may not, emerge.

I like doing it because I don't wear a CGM (not an option in Canada yet) so it's hard to spot patterns unless they are staring me in the face. And unless I write them down, they don't stare me in the face.

I like doing it because it keeps me accountable and it makes me second guess what I eat. It's easier to turn down a handful of swedish berries if I know I have to write them down.

I hate doing it because I feel the need to justify every high and low I write down. I write extra notes to explain why I'm high or low. I plan my response to the questions I know I am going to be asked. I force down the feelings of guilt that, irrational as they are, bubble to the surface.

Diabetes isn't like high school math - despite the fact that numbers are involved in both. In high school, if I studied hard enough, I could sometimes pull off 100% on a math test. Or close to it anyway. If I didn't do well on a test, there weren't too many excuses to fall back on other than 'I should have worked harder'.

Diabetes isn't like that.

No matter how hard you work, you will NEVER get 100% on the test.

Ever.

You will always mess up. You will bolus too much or not enough sometimes. You will always have highs or lows that don't make sense. You will always have highs or lows that are entirely preventable yet they happen anyway.

When I am just living my life, it's pretty easy to treat, correct and move on.

When I am documenting my life for two weeks, it feels a little more like I keep failing my math tests.

Bleh.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Raising the Salad Bar

It's getting darker in the mornings. And in the evenings.

I know, I'm sorry, I should stop mentioning such horrible things because it makes people sad.

But it's important for my story.

See, when it's bright and sunny out from 5am to 9pm, I am happy eating pretty much whatever is quick, tasty and easy to make. Like grilled meat with grilled veggies on the barbecue. Or grilled fish with grilled veggies on the barbecue. Corn on the cob on the side. You know, summer stuff.

Then it starts getting darker in the mornings, and darker in the evenings and I start wanting to cook again. I mean chopping veggies, turning on the oven, using three pots kinda cooking.

On Monday night, I was in charge of dinner. I picked up some salmon (you know, to grill on the barbecue) as well as a pack of baby spinach, mushrooms, a zucchini, red pepper and a red onion. I wanted to experiment and make a healthy, hearty, warm fall-worthy salad.

I also wanted to experiment because we are going to be at a cottage in just over a week and are in charge of making dinner one evening for six adults. Six adults with a variety of tastes and dietary lifestyles. And I figured a hearty, healthy salad would not go amiss.

I did not take pictures because I was too busy cooking. So I'll try to paint a word picture for you.

I prepared some quinoa (1 cup of red quinoa cooked in two cups of broth - cook on low for 18ish minutes until broth is absorbed).

I put a tray of veggies (red onion, red pepper, zucchini and mushrooms) in the oven to roast (no oil, salt or pepper).

In the meantime, I rinsed a can of chickpeas and tossed it into a bowl.

Once roasted, I chopped up the veggies and tossed them on top of the chickpeas. Followed by the now cooked and still hot quinoa.

I prepared a dressing (equal parts pesto, olive oil and white balsamic vinegar) and poured that on top.

Stir until bright, colourful and well mixed.

Lay baby spinach on the plate. Top with warm salad. Put some feta cheese on top.

Add a piece of grilled salmon on the side.

Smile like the proud chef you are.

Enjoy.

Looks like we found our cottage salad recipe.

(And just imagine how sinfully good it would be with avocado on top. Or goat cheese. Or lemon juice and olive oil. Oh the possibilities!)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Metric, Imperial and ???

Ever notice that all 10k running races are 10k long?

All half marathons are 21.1k or 13.1 miles?

All marathons are 42.2k or 26.2 miles?

As an athlete who started her athletic adventures in the running world, I grew to assume that all races with a set name are a set distance. (Despite those non-running people who ask us running people questions like: did you run the 5k marathon last weekend? or how far is a marathon? Like 10k or something?) 

Then I discovered triathlons and, with them, I discovered a whole world of randomness.

If I had started at the Ironman distance (ha!), I would have learned that all Ironmans (Ironmen?) are swim 3.8k (2.4 miles), bike 180k (112 miles) and run 42.2k (26.2 miles).

The half Ironman is still pretty logical in that all distances are half that of the Ironman (swim 1.9k (1.2miles), bike 90k (56 miles) and run 21.1k (13.1 miles)).

The Olympic is also a set distance although it does, in my opinion, seem bizarre in how they figured out the distances. Bizarre because the amount of time doing each sport relative to the amount of time doing the event is much different in the Olympic than it is in the Ironman or half Ironman events.

The Olympic swim is 1.5k (0.93 miles), the bike is 40k (24.8 miles) and the run is 10k (6.2 miles).

The swim is only 400m shorter than the half Ironman. The bike is less than half the distance and the run is also less than half the distance. Odd, but whatever.

The thing is that I debuted at the sprint, or what is sometimes called the sprint, triathlon distance. (Well, technically I debuted with a super sprint (or a try a tri) but let's take that one out of the mix for simplicity's sake.) 

Here are the distances of the non-Olympic triathlons I have done so far:

Grimsby:  swim 750m, bike 25k and run 7.0k.
Guelph:    swim 750m, bike 30k and run 7.0k.
Welland:  swim 750m, bike 30k and run 7.5k.
Belwood: swim 750m, bike 30k, and run 7.5k
Toronto Island (next weekend) is swim 750m, bike 20k and run 5k.

They are all called triathlons. Yet, unlike half marathons, I can't compare my results from race to race because they're all different distances.

According to my friends in the know, a sprint triathlon is exactly half the distance of the Olympic triathlon (750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run). Which means that I will actually be doing my first sprint this weekend. A triathlon is anything between the sprint and the Olympic distance.

Got it?

The other thing I find a little odd is the stickers people put on their cars to celebrate the triathlon distances they've done.

Ironmen (rightly) brag of their accomplishment with the number 140.6. Half Ironmen use the number 70.3 to represent their races. Olympic distance finishers use 51.5 for their race.

Notice anything odd?

The 140.6 and the 70.3 are in miles.

The 51.5 is in kilometres. If we switched it to miles it would read: 34.48. But I've never seen a 34.48 sticker on someone's bumper. Only the 51.5.

I like 51.5. It sounds like a lot. Yet it does feel a little unfair because it looks pretty close to the 70.3 half Ironman distance but I know full well that it's not.

It's been two seasons of triathlons now and I'm getting the hang of things. Some things, like the numbers, I'm still trying to wrap my head around.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Diabetes Golf - Like Frisbee Golf Only Weirder

I went golfing twice this week. 

TWICE!!

That's, like, what real golfers do. 

Doug and I joined another couple on Tuesday night for a 9-hole game on my par 3 course. The one I set a goal to score under 50 on by the end of the summer. I scored 61 the first time I played which was pretty awful. The second time I got 50 on the nose. On Tuesday night, I scored 49. 

Forty-Nine! 

Then last night, I went golfing with two girlfriends. We call ourselves the ladies who really suck at golf group and we all play at pretty much the same level. Which is like two notches above horrible. Which makes it fun. And takes the pressure off. 

We played 9 holes on my favourite course which has par 3s and par 4s. 

It was my third time playing this course too. The first time I played I got 53. 

The second time I played I scored 53. 

Last night I scored 52. 

Slowly but surely I'm getting better. 

Oh, and in a weird diabetes golf twist, let me tell you about my dream the other night. 

I was working as Phil Mickelson's caddy (which would be a pretty fun job I'd imagine). I started to feel low as we were walking so I told him I needed to stop and eat something...now. His eyes light up. "Oh, you have type 1 diabetes? So do I" he said. (he doesn't, as far as I know, but it's a dream so whatever)

"Want me to autograph your jacket?" he asked. "Actually" I said, sweating profusely and feeling dangerously low "I just need to get my emergency carbs out of my bag". "Oh, but we're both type 1, please let me autograph your jacket" he insisted. 

I started to feel very angry - and very shaky at the same time. Then I thought "Phil seems like such a cool guy on television. I can't believe he's being such a jerk. Especially since he has diabetes too. No he doesn't. That other golfer guy does. I wonder if I'm dreaming."

Then I woke up and discovered I was 2.8 and sweating profusely. 

Thanks Phil, for pissing me off enough to wake me up. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Some Stereotypes I'm OK With. Some, Not So Much.

It's Wednesday night at 6pm as I type this. It's colder than it should be in August but I wanted to relax on my deck so here I am. On my deck. In my bright pink Keen sandals, my ├╝ber sexy black and blue compression pants, my t-shirt and my jacket. With my glass of red wine and my trusty water bottle. With my laptop, my iPhone and my iPad. Feeling a little ridiculous and hoping that the neighbours don't spot me.

Weird how standards change depending on what we're doing isn't it?

If someone honks at me when I'm running through a snow storm - I'll grin and wave.

If a co-worker says 'hey, I saw you running last night during that crazy rain storm" I'll smile and talk about how refreshing it is to run in the rain.

If someone asks why I have goggle marks on my face when I get to work, I have no problem explaining my morning swim routine.

I'm happy to sit in Tim Hortons after a Sunday morning bike ride, sweaty, with crazy hair, wearing those awful padded cycling shorts that just don't look good on anyone.

And yet when all I want to do is sit on the deck on a chilly August evening, I'm a little embarrassed by my outfit and hope no one spots me.

I'd rather run into someone at the market on Saturday mornings when I'm dripping wet and stinky after a run.

Maybe it's because there's a certain stigma attached to people who run. They run, which is bizarre enough, so running in awful weather or wearing running clothes in odd places just reinforces the stereotype.

Whereas when I'm sitting on my deck, I look like a neighbour. A neighbour who sits on her deck in the cold wearing weird looking pants and a jacket. With fingers tinged blue from the cold. And a red nose.

Perhaps it's time to head inside...

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Diversity

Not really that long ago, I was a runner.

Not that there is anything wrong with being a runner but running was the only activity I did.

That meant that a typical weekend looked something like this:

Friday - day off to prepare for my Saturday morning long run
Saturday - long run
Sunday - day off to recover from my Saturday morning long run

Then I got a bike and weekends started looking like this:

Friday - day off to prepare for my Saturday morning long run
Saturday - long run
Sunday - bike ride to cross train and recover from my Saturday morning long run

Then I started curling. Then swimming. Now golf.

Now there is no longer such thing as a day off. Not really.

Last weekend looked like this:

Friday - 1.9k swim race
Saturday - 12k run in the morning followed by afternoon trip to the driving range
Sunday - bike ride

Soon enough, my golf clubs will be traded in for my curling broom. My open water Friday swims will be back in the pool. My outdoor bike rides will be traded in for sessions on my trainer. Which is totally fine with me because it's not a bad thing - just a different thing.

Diversity, as I seem to discover over and over again, is really good for me.

It allows me to do something physical every day without getting injured or burned out.

It allows my entire body to benefit without putting too much strain on any one part.

It keeps my motivation high because there just isn't time to get bored with anything.

I am still a runner.

But I am no longer a runner.

I'm a multisport athlete.

I wish my younger, non-athletic, embarrassed to even try sports self had known that there were sports she'd actually like. In fact, sports she was kinda good at.

It would have made all the difference during those awful gym classes that turned me off of anything physical until I was in my late 20s.

I'm so happy I decided to try being a runner five years ago.

I would never have believed where it would take me.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Aktiv Race Series - Part II

Friday night, I competed in my second Aktiv Race Series 1.9k open water swim.

The first one I did, back in July, had me pretty nervous. I spent the day with butterflies fluttering around in my stomach.

Friday, I woke up with the same feeling. Which was odd because, once I know what to expect, I'm usually pretty cool the second time around.

Not being used to evening exercise, I had a diabetes plan that I hoped would work.
- I would have my normal lunch at my normal time.
- I would had a snack at 3pm and take a full bolus for it. The race was a 6pm so I figured my blood sugar would be down to normal and I'd have very little, if any, insulin on board.
- I would reduce my basal rate to 60% at 4:30pm. I never reduce my basal before morning swims but my blood sugar drops more easily in the evenings so I figured better safe than sorry.

At 3pm, I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich and took the full bolus for it. At 4pm, I was 11.2 which is actually a bit low only an hour after eating. At 4:20pm I was 9.5. My nerves kicked in and I decided to eat three mini chocolates to stop myself from dropping too low.

We got in the car at 4:40pm and drove to Welland. Doug wanted to get an open water swim practice in before my race and I was happy to have lots of time there to get in 'the zone'.

At 5pm, my blood sugar was 13.8. Bah! From three little chocolates? Or from nerves?? I decided to take a very small (0.3 units) correction bolus.

At 5:30pm, I was 13.0. Not dropping. Not climbing. Not great but not so awful that I couldn't swim. I decided not to have a gel but I also turned off my 60% basal rate figuring it might help prevent me from being too high when I finished.

I pulled off my shorts and t-shirt. I pulled on my swim cap and goggles. I tucked two emergency gels in my bathing suit. I noticed that there seemed to be a lot of wetsuit-clad folks and only two (that I could see) bathing suit clad folks.

I dove in and did a short warm up. My plan for the swim was to go at a fast pace that I thought I could hold for the entire swim. The first time I did it I pushed hard but I had some energy left at the end. I wanted to knock a few seconds off my time and see if I could hold a faster pace.

I reminded myself to kick.

The horn blew and we were off.

I won't go through the swim in any great detail but I will say that I pushed hard and kept it up the entire time. I felt strong during the swim and spent when I finished. I hauled myself on to the dock (as ungracefully as the first time) and ran to the timing mat. I was a little wobbly and a little dizzy but felt pretty damn good.

I checked my blood sugar.

I was 3.7.

I dropped from 13.0 to 3.7 in 35 minutes. That's about as close as I ever want to cut it. Another 200m and I would have been in trouble. Lesson learned.

Oh, and my time from the first race was: 36:53.
My second attempt was done in: 35:56 (almost a minute faster!)

Monday, August 12, 2013

I Heard You the First Time

Last Friday, I was down to 19 units of insulin in my pump when I headed to work. I know it would be close but I figured I'd have just enough insulin left to get me through my workday. I hate wasting insulin if I can avoid it. I've been known to bring my needle to work with me for days when I have enough insulin left in the pump to take care of my basal but not enough for meals or snacks. 

That being said, I have never actually run Lucky down to zero. He's been close but there was always at least one unit left when I changed him. 

On Friday, I left work at 2:00pm. I had three quick errands to run on the way home. I drove to the first one and, as I was backing in to the parking spot, my pump alarmed. No insulin left it said. Lucky asked me to confirm the message. I did. 

Thanks Lucky! We'll be home in less than 30 minutes and I'll change you right away. I promise. 

I headed into the store and grabbed the three items I needed. I walked up to the counter to pay and my pump alarmed again. 

Maybe I didn't actually confirm the alarm the first time. I double-checked to confirm that I was indeed confirming the message and proceeded to pay and head back to my car. 

Thanks for the reminder Lucky. I'll change you as soon as I get home. 

I tossed the items in the car, did up my seat belt and prepared to pull out. 

Lucky alarmed again. 

Are you kidding me? Same message. Same confirmation on my part. 

Lucky - enough already. I get it. You want me to change you NOW. Well, I'm not home NOW but I'll be home in 20 minutes so relax!

I made two more quick stops. He continued to alarm like a misbehaving child every few minutes. He went off twice when I was checking out of grocery store. Twice when I was walking to my car and loading the groceries and twice when I was driving the short trip home. 

I debated taking out the battery to shut him up but it would be out for too long and I'd have to re-entre all my settings. I debating looking through the menus to see if there was a way to reduce the irritating alarm but I was too annoyed by the obnoxious alarms to do anything other than rush home. 

I got home, dragged my haul into the house and tossed it on the counter. Doug came down to say hello and happy weekend. I tried not to make my irritation too evident and told him through gritted teeth that I had to change my pump...NOW!

He unloaded the groceries, I changed Lucky and a fabulous sense of peace descended on the house. 

Lucky - you know I love you. But holy hannah you're an annoying little dude when you're unhappy.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Extra Small to Extra Large and Everything in Between

People come in all shapes and sizes.

Personally, I think that's pretty cool.

I have friends who are a foot shorter than me and friends who are a foot taller.

I have friends who weight half what I do and friends that weight twice what I do.

Friends who could fit both of their feet into one of my shoes and friends whose shoes could double as skis.

I have friends who would be hidden from view if they stood behind me and friends who would do the same for me.

I think variety is wonderful and I appreciate it for what it is.

I also think that some things should not vary quite so much.

Example:

I wear a size 10 1/2 W ladies shoe. Occasionally I fit into a 10 but I'd never fit into an 11 1/2 or an 8 1/2. I'm a 10 1/2 W give or take a teeny bit.

My prescription for my glasses is -1.75 in my right eye and -2.25 in my left. It doesn't change based on the glasses I want to buy or the contacts I order.

Example number two:

If I want to buy a new top, I will be anywhere from an extra small (imagine!) to an extra large.

If I want to buy pants, I range from a size 6 to a size 12.

Depends on the manufacturer and the style apparently.

Bah!

I am not a fan of clothes shopping and, when I do decide to go, it takes more strength than presenting in front of a room full of people.

The other day I decided to go shopping for golf clothes because there is a huge sale going on and, well, I really don't have very much that works well for my new hobby. I got to the store and I walked around and around and around the ladies section. I picked up some M shirts and some L shirts. I grabbed some pants and shorts in sizes 8 through 12. I tried them all on and not one of them fit. Some were too big so I went a size down. Then they were too small. Others were too small so I went a size up. Then they were too big.

Despite literally hundreds of options, I left empty-handed. Partly of my own doing because I did not have the strength to walk around and around and around again looking for other options that might fit. I had gone earlier in the season and had had the same experience. Despite two trips to the change room, both times with armloads of clothes of various sizes, I left with nothing other than a headache and low self-esteem.

What's up with that?

Why can't I just be one size and be done with it?

I asked the lady in the change room and she agreed that it was frustrating. She said that different manufacturers no longer adhere to size standards and people just have to keep trying things on until they find what works.

That, my friends, is an exercise in frustration...and the reason why I never order clothes online.

I've had enough! If you're looking for me, I'll be the girl on the golf course wearing her trusty ol' jeans and a running shirt.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Less is More, More or Less

Honestly! Sports really are as much mental as they are physical.

If I'm running and I'm trying to maintain a faster than usual pace, it's exhausting.

If I'm running and just enjoying the scenery and the feel of my feet pounding the pavement, I'll look down at my watch and find myself doing that very pace I couldn't do the day before. Easily.

Yesterday, in the pool, we had a really good workout. After an 800m warmup of pulling and kicking and such, we had the following set to get through:

4 x 150m build on 3:00 minutes
4 x 50m kick on 1 minute, 30 seconds
4 x 100m build on 2:00 minutes
4 x 75m kick on 2:00 minutes
4 x 200m descending on 4:00 minutes

Let me explain a few things so you can picture the workout.

When it says build we start off at a good but not too challenging pace and we have to get faster every 25m. The last 25m is a full on sprint.

Descending means that every 200m has to be faster than the one before. At least that's what it normally means. We were told yesterday that we had to do #1 faster than #2 and #3 faster than #4 but numbers 1 and 3 could be the same and numbers 2 and 4 could be the same. (just smile and nod if it doesn't make sense).

Finally, when it says to do a 100m swim on 2:00 minutes it means that the second 100m swim starts 2:00 minutes after the first. So if you finish the first in 1:35, you have 25 seconds rest. If you finish it in 1:59, you basically don't stop swimming.

The difference between this and most of our other sets is that we usually get to rest between each line on the white board. So we would do our 4x150m on 2:00 and then we'd get a few minutes off before we started in on our 4x50m kicks. Time to sip our drinks, adjust our goggles and laugh about something or other.

This time, we had to go straight from one thing to the next and did not get to stop at all until just before the final 4x200m. Then we got to stop for one. whole. minute.

I would expect to be exhausted after a set like this but I actually held my own all the way through and managed to sprint when I was supposed to sprint and kick like crazy when I was supposed to kick like crazy. Everyone said the same thing at the end - it was hard but they felt good all the way through. Some people even got a new 100m personal best despite starting off slower than they normally would and building up to a sprint at the end.

We swam 3600m in 75 minutes and felt great.

Last week (on Wednesday and on Friday) we did less distance in more time, with more rest, and we were exhausted and completely spent by the end.

I'm not exactly sure how that works but I like to think that workouts like the one I had yesterday take advantage of the long-distance part of me that is much hardier and better trained than the sprinter in me.

Give me a choice between swimming 750m or swimming 2k and I'll pick 2k.

Give me choice to run 5k or 15k and I'll run 15k (when I'm not injured of course). In fact I'm trying to build up to that distance just so I can run it on Saturday mornings again.

I guess that means I'll be in my element on Friday when I do my second 1.9k open water race.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

My New Favourite Thing

I've been reading books on my iPhone, and then my iPad mini, for a few years now. I still read the ol'fashioned paper kind too but I have certainly come to appreciate the convenience and portability of books on electronic devices.

Heck, I used to lug three or four hardcovers on vacation with me. Now I download a few before I leave and they all fit nicely into my purse. As long as I keep the battery charged, I have hours of reading pleasure at my fingertips.

It's a pretty sweet setup.

Recently, I've made a new discovery.

Magazines.

Magazines and I have a love hate relationship.

I love them. I love buying them. I love reading them. I love the shiny pages and the fabulous photos. I love the variety and I love how much I can learn in a leisurely afternoon of page turning on the deck.

I hate how they pile up so quickly and how, once I've read them once, they sit on shelves never to be opened again. I get rid of stacks of them every few years when I start running out of room.

Imagine my excitement when I discovered that I can buy a magazine, or a magazine subscription, on my iPad.

I started off with some easy reading fluffy stuff right before my trip to Israel. I got a subscription to Vogue and one to Elle Canada. Super cheap and guaranteed to keep me occupied for at least a small chunk of my 23-hour journey.

Last month, I discovered that I could get a subscription to Triathlete magazine. The night before Gravenhurst I signed up for a year subscription and enjoyed a leisurely read in bed. I checked out pictures of the latest triathlon gear, read all about the latest training plans and learned about the best recovery foods. I felt so 'triathletic' as Doug calls it.

Yesterday, I signed up for Runners World. I've bought that magazine off the rack enough times to make a subscription worth it.

Now, every week or so, I get a notification saying that the latest issue of one of my magazines is out. I download it in a few seconds and spend the next few days lingering over the pages, the stories and the photos. (By the way, the photos are even more stunning on an iPad than they are in print.)

These emagazines are a little dangerous though. It's just too easy to click 'subscribe'. Yesterday, I almost signed up for Golf Magazine and Cycling Magazine - because I had gone golfing and cycling on the weekend and wanted to get better at both. I'm sure I would learn a lot from either of them and I'm sure I would enjoy reading them.

But c'mon! Really?!?

I've never bought either of them at the store and yet I'm willing to put down my $19.99 for a year subscription sight unseen?

I'm exercising restraint...for now.

At least until I get through my first issue of Runners' World.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Holiday Mondays

Long summer weekends didn't mean much when we were kids and already had the summer off. They didn't really mean much to my parents either who were both teachers with several weeks holidays during the summer.

Only now, as an adult who spends a good part of my summers working rather than playing can I finally appreciate the wonderful gift that is a long weekend.

Yesterday was a holiday. We slept in until 7am and woke to find the sun shining and the birds singing. Yes, just like in a Disney movie. We had our breakfast, grabbed our coffee and headed to a local golf course where we were scheduled to meet two friends for 9-hole game. We got there early to hit some balls, for me to straighten out my swing and for the sun to warm up enough that we took our coats off.

At tee time, we headed out to enjoy a beautiful and just challenging enough golf course. We hit good balls, we hit horrifyingly bad ones. We laughed and tried not to kill any of the geese who were roaming the course in flocks.

After our game we headed to our club (the one we curl at in the winter) for lunch. A lovely outdoor table at the 18th green made us feel like we were on holidays in some very expensive and fancy country. We lingered over coffee, chatting about books and golf etiquette.

After lunch Doug and I spent a few quiet hours at home before we headed downtown with my parents for Ribfest festivities. Music, ribs, fries and fun.

We squeezed in one more episode of Homeland before heading to bed.

As a child, a day like that would have sounded rather boring and tedious.

As a working adult, it was heaven.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Error

Last Friday's blog made reference to the fact that I had experienced two low blood sugars the day before and had not felt either of them. It freaked me out.

Friday was a bit of a down day in terms of blood sugar. You know the kind I'm talking about? When you have no idea why you're going low over and over again and you overtreat the lows desperately trying to stop them and feeling crappy from all the food you're forced to eat but you still go low again?

No longer confident in my ability to feel lows, I checked my blood sugar obsessively all day. Like twenty times obsessively.

I went to bed Friday night feeling a little off. I checked and I was 3.4 (again!). I had 8 Dex4s which is twice what I should have had. Fifteen minutes later I was 2.1 (and hardly felt it). I had 6 more Dex4s and fell asleep. I woke two hours later and I was 20.1.

Fabulous.

I took a conservative correction bolus and fell back asleep. I woke up at 7:30am and was 3.4. I had a fig newton and lounged around in bed for a while enjoying a day with nothing on the calendar except a run.

My goal for Saturday was to run 10k. My first real 10k run in months. I was excited but, after my two days of blood sugar craziness, I was also a little apprehensive.

I pulled out my running belt (which I wouldn't normally wear for 10k) and I stuffed it with boxes of raisins and emergency gels. I popped my glucometer in with four test strips. My plan was to run an out and back course and to check my blood sugar every 2.5k (which would translate into every fifteen minutes or so). I normally wouldn't check at all for a 10k run I was not taking any chances.

I had a gel and a Larabar before I left and waited fifteen minutes for them to kick in. That is 45 carbs which, without insulin, should make my blood sugar spike.

I ran 2.5k and then stopped to check. I was 6.2 which is a lovely number if you're sitting at your desk but pretty damn low considering I had just eaten and had 7.5k left to run. I ate my box of raisins and decided to run 500m and check again. If I was dropping, I would turn around and head home. If I was climbing, I'd continue.

I stopped, popped the test strip in, drew blood, waited the 5 seconds and saw "error" on the screen.

What!?!

If I'm too high or too low, the glucometer will say "Lo" or "Hi". If it's too cold or too hot and not working properly, it will say error as soon as I put the test strip in. The only time I've seen error after a test was if I didn't have a big enough blood sample but I knew I did.

I very very carefully tested again.

Error.

Bloody hell. I had four test strips with me and had already used three by the time I reached 3k. I didn't trust my ability to run on 'feel' so I turned around and headed home. At 5k, I tried again using the last test strip.

Error.

I ran home and tested with my regular glucometer. My BG was 7.6 which was fine. I decided I still wanted to try for 10k but that I needed to play it safe. So I played it safe...and boring. I ran up and down and up and down the short streets in my neighbourhood. I was never more than 750m from home and figured I could walk if things fell apart.

I finished my 10k (running!) and my blood sugar was 5.4.

I then tested with my uncooperative running glucometer and it confirmed that I was 5.4, looking proud of himself, like nothing had happened.

Asshole.

Good news: I ran 10k in 63 minutes and my foot felt great before, during and after. My blood sugar didn't tank during or after the run, although it did hang out on the low side all day.

Bad news: my sleek little running glucometer that fits so nicely in my running belt is no longer trustworthy. I'll have to ask the Diabetes Centre for a new one the next time I'm there.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Not Feeling It

Twice yesterday I checked my sugar to discover that I was 3.6.

Twice yesterday I was surprised to discover I was low.

I didn't feel low before I checked.

That is very unusual.

The low symptoms didn't kick in once I saw a low number flash on my glucometer.

Also very unusual.

I know it's only one day but the thought of not feeling lows is very very scary.

The thought of going to sleep not knowing if my body will wake me up if I'm low is terrifying.

Here's hoping yesterday was a crazy rabbit day and today is not.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

July Goal Update

This is the first year that I have done monthly updates on my goals. So far, seven months in, I have noticed two things:

1. knowing I have to be open and honest about how I'm doing keeps me focused and helps me make good choices...most of the time.

2. the year feels like it's flying by and it is always a bit of a shock when I discover that it is already that time again.

I'll assume that none of you have memorized my goals so here's the quick recap of the goal list (including updates that I've made along the way): 

- complete the Tel Aviv half marathon (done!)
- stay injury free (no longer a goal as I managed to develop a stress fracture in my foot)
- complete three triathlons, including an Olympic distance
- pay down debt
- log 1000k of running this year
- complete two events in the Aktiv Swim Series this summer
- play 10 round of golf
- play the baby steps golf course until I can do it in 50 rather than 61.

And here is where things stand: 

Complete three triathlons, including an Olympic distance
Done! I completed the Welland sprint triathlon in June and then I did the Gravenhurst Olympic triathlon followed by the Belwood sprint triathlon in July. (psst! I also signed up for the Toronto Island sprint triathlon in August so I'm actually going to surpass my goal. This is particularly exciting considering I didn't even know if I'd be able to do any races this summer due to my stress fracture) 

Pay down debt
I have to be honest. Debt reduction didn't go well in July. We went away to Gravenhurst for five days. I signed up for two triathlons. We hosted friends for a weekend. All fun things to do. All pretty challenging on the pocketbook. So instead of paying down debt, I actually increased it by a rather horrifying $700.10. Not good. 

Log 1000km of running this year
This goal had a pretty major setback after my foot injury but I'm still holding out the hope that I'll at least get close. I logged 73 kilometres this month bringing my annual total to 409km. Considering I missed all of April and most of May, that's not awful. If I can log between 90-100km a month for the next five months I can do it. That sounds kinda crazy at this point but I'm taking it one day at a time and this goal is not worth my getting injured again for. (It does, however, encourage me to add that extra kilometre or two in the mornings when I want to pack it in early.) 

Complete two events in the Aktiv Openwater Swim series. 
I completed one 1.9k swim race in July and I have every intention of competing again on August 9th. So hopefully this goal is in the bag. 

Play ten rounds of golf this year.
Well, I managed to squeeze in three rounds of golf in July bringing my total for the summer to five. It seems that a friend and I may be meeting for a weekly game (we both play pretty miserably so we're actually pretty good company). Add a couple of games with Doug and I may yet reach ten before the snow flies. 

Play the baby steps golf course until I can do it in 50 instead of 63. 
This goal is kinda up in the air at the moment. See, I had set it when I thought Doug and I would be playing the same 9-hole, par 3 course for most of the summer. Turns out that we play at different courses and my friend and I play at yet another course. So perhaps at the end of the summer I'll head back to the original course I set this goal for and see if I am up to the challenge. At this point I have nothing to report. 

And that, my friends, is the July goal update.