Thursday 4 June 2015

Coronation Triathlon 2015

Sunday May 25, 2015 was my first triathlon of the season.  I signed up for this race again for two reasons.  1. - I loved the race last year and will likely do this one every year; and 2. - It was exactly six weeks out from my 70.3 (half ironman) and I wanted to get an idea of where I am at when it comes to racing.

It turned out to be a pretty great race for me.  I was disappointed in the run, however I am okay with this given it was so hot outside.  Last year I finished this race in 2:02:43.  I wanted to try my best to get under 2 hours.  My training has been going very well and I have been training hard.  Going into the race I was a bit fatigued from my 70.3 training, however was raring to get out and see what I could do.  

I got up at silly o'clock and got ready to go.  My blood sugar was at 6.8 when I got up which I was fine with.  Bolused 75% for my breakfast and headed out the door by 5:45am.  Transition was closing at 6:45am so I wanted to be there in plenty of time to set everything up. Got to the race site in plenty of time, met up with Linda and we got our transition areas set up.  We lined up to get body marked, met up with Tammy and headed into the pool to wait.  I estimate my swim to be between 19 and 22 minutes and was not due to start swimming until almost 9:30am.  Long time to wait.

An hour before go time I tested my blood sugars and was a bit high at 10.2.  I was feeling nervous and knew that this was the reason.  I dialed back my basal by 50% for 2 hours.  I saw Tammy and Linda off on their swim and sat and watched everyone swimming.  I started to get excited and was ready to race.

Here is how it played out.

The Swim - 1,000m

I have been swimming a consistent 3/week since the middle of February.  I feel stronger in the pool than ever before and have definitely improved my form and speed.  I stood in line until it was my time to hop into a lane and swim.  Before I knew it I was in the water and swimming.  The pool was a 50m pool which I prefer over the 25m, more time to get into a groove.  I kept a consistent pace and passed a couple of people in the water.  My adrenalin was certainly running high and I felt good! I got out of the pool and headed out to T1.  The run from the pool to T1 goes up a grass hill and then down into a parking lot.  My swim was 19:20 and the time shows 20:52 to include T1.

The Bike - 26km

A quick blood sugar check before getting on the bike showed 9.4.  I ate a couple of honey stingers and was off.  I love this bike course.  It is a 4 loop course where you get to go down and back up Groat Road in Edmonton.  Groat Road is fun and I felt much more confident on the downhills this year.  All of my hill training proved that it was paying off when I passed lots of people on the way up.  I had fun during the bike and pushed hard.  It was however starting to get really hot outside.  When I finished my fourth loop and headed to transition I saw that the temperature was 26.  It was going to be a hot run!  I was delighted that when I got to T2 a bunch of my friends and Ryan were there cheering for me.  Gave me a great boost!  After hopping off my bike it was a good 200m or so back to my spot.  My bike time was 50:02 and the time shows 51:52 to include T2.

The Run - 8km

I checked my blood sugars before taking off for the run and they were at 12.7.  WTF?  I took half a unit of insult and was off.  This is where things did not play out the way I wish they could have.  The first 4km were not too bad and I kept a consistent pace of about 5:10/km. It was hot out!  I drank water at the aid stations and dumped water on my hat to keep my head cool.  At the 4km turnaround my stomach felt bloated and a bit off.  The heat was definitely getting to me.  The last 4km has a large portion that climbs uphill and I did end up taking a few small walk breaks.  I was overheating and bloated right up.  It felt a bit like a slog.  I picked up the pace for the last 1km and was so happy to see the finish line and hear my name.  I ran hard and crossed over, finishing the run in 43:52, two minutes slower than the year before.  I was happy to see Ryan, give him a hug and then chugged some cold water.  My blood sugars had climbed to 14.9, I took some insulin and increased my basal rate by 50% for 2 hours (3 hours later I was down to 5.5). 

I ended up finishing the race in 1:56:34, a big PB over last year for me.  I was 14th out of 52 women in my age group which I am very pleased with!  Looking back I know I could/should have pushed harder in the run.  I let the heat and the voice in my head get in the way a bit.  Overall I am super happy with the race.  It was a big confidence booster in getting me ready for my 70.3.  

Stayed tuned for the next race!

Friday 15 May 2015

D-Blog Week Day 5: Foods on Friday

Today we are to talk about food and share either what we ate in the last couple of days, a recipe or meal idea.  I decided to share my go to meal after a hard workout session.  I crave this after a good, long sweaty workout and rarely deviate.  It is simple but delicious.

2 eggs & 1 egg white, whisked
1/4 cup cheese (I like feta)
chopped onion
chopped pepper
chopped zucchini

Grill up the veggies, except for the spinach, together.  Add in egg mixture.  Add Spinach once half way cooked.  I like to cook mine so there is absolutely no goo left (gross).  Throw salsa on top and voila - delicious!

I will usually have this with an apple and some almonds.  Satisfying and tasty!

Thursday 14 May 2015

D-Blog Week Day 4 - Changes

Today’s topic is Changes.  Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?

The obvious change I would like to see is for Diabetes to disappear overnight, never to return.  That would be my ultimate dream come true.  Since that is unlikely I had to think hard about what bothers me most and how I would like to see it change.  

I would like to change peoples perceptions and attitudes towards the disease.  On that note, here are the top things I would love to never hear again:
  • Are you sure you have Type 1 diabetes?  Weren't you a bit old to get that?
  • Is it because you ate too much sugar?
  • Sorry, I would offer you a piece of this but I know you can't eat it.
  • Can you eat that?
  • So does that mean you can never eat sugar again?
  • So your insulin pump must be great, does everything for you!
  • Did you hear that eating lots of cinnamon might cure you?
  • My friend's aunt had her leg amputated and went blind because of Type 1 diabetes, you need to be careful.
  • Does that mean you can't have kids?
  • I read about cleanses you can do that will cure you.
  • You make it look easy, it must not be too serious.
  • You must have the bad kind if you need to use needles.
  • I could never be diabetic, I am scared of needles and hate blood.
As I was typing this list I could feel my blood pressure mounting. The list could actually take up pages upon pages. I know that all of the above sound so cliche and we have all heard them before. It is amazing that people think and say these things.  I do my best to try and educate, but sometimes I want to just drop kick people.  I particularly get mad when people suggest I try certain diets to cure myself, or assume I cannot eat certain things.  

There are so many misconceptions about Type 1 diabetes and it is extremely frustrating.  I think that as people living with the disease, we often try to hide how serious it really is.  It is hard to admit sometimes, but this disease is very serious and we are all responsible 24 hours a day, every day, to keep ourselves alive.  It never gives us a break and is always at the front of our thoughts.  

Change is definitely needed!  

Wednesday 13 May 2015

D-Blog Week Day 3 - Clean It Out

Today’s topic is Clean it Out.  Yesterday we kept stuff in, so today let's clear stuff out.  What is in your diabetic closet that needs to be cleaned out?  This can be an actual physical belonging, or it can be something you're mentally or emotionally hanging on to.  Why are you keeping it and why do you need to get rid of it? 

I like the idea of keeping my diabetes in a closet! It would be ideal to shove it away in a dark closet in the basement and forget about it.  However so far this is not possible (if it is let me know). 

I am not too bad at keeping my supplies in order. I have enough lancets to last me a lifetime and at least 6 glucometers lying around.  I can pretty much guarantee that nearly every corner of my house has a used test strip lurking (seriously – those things get everywhere).  My fridge is stocked with the insulin I need for a month at a time and I have extra lantus pens just in case.

The one thing I do need to clean out – the clutch I carry around that has my strips, lancet, glucometer and tube of glucose.  From the outside it is a pretty purple clutch with that fits perfectly in my purse.  However look inside and it is pretty horrendous.  There are blood spots everywhere! It looks like I drag my pricked fingers across it each time I test. I have a bad habit of just throwing my used strips in the bag when I am out and about to dispose of later.  I am sure if a stranger peeked inside they would be horrified and maybe be sick in their mouth just a little.

Maybe now that I have shared this with the online community I will do something about and clean it out! (When I get around to it, sometime, in the next year or so…).

Tuesday 12 May 2015

D-Blog Week Day 2 - Keep it to Yourself

Today’s topic is Keep it to Yourself.  Many of us share lots of aspects of our diabetes lives online for the world to see.  What are some of the aspects of diabetes that you choose to keep private from the internet?  Or from your family and friends?  Why is it important to keep it to yourself?  

I would say that I am pretty open with most things related to Diabetes.  I share stories of good experiences and bad.  I am happy to talk to anyone about it and never feel the need to hide my disease.  This morning while I was swimming, alone with my thoughts, I thought about the one thing I rarely, if ever, talk about or share.  

Ever since I can remember I have for some reason felt the need to appear strong and together, even when I am not.  I have always had a hard time expressing the negatives I feel deep down as I don't want to burden or worry anyone.  A lot of the people in my family have so much on their plate and I don't want to add to it. So that brings me to addressing this topic briefly.  

The one thing I rarely share is how scared of this disease I really am.  Plain and simple it terrifies me.  I know this sounds somewhat dramatic and I assure you it is not something I dwell on 24/7, but deep down it is there.  

I find that when I try to vocalize this fear the response I get is usually along the lines of "But you are so healthy" or "You take such good care of yourself". While these things may be true, Type 1 diabetes often does not pay attention.  Since been diagnosed three and half years ago I have suffered with a lot.  Insulin Neuritis which rendered me pretty much incapable of functioning, two emergency cataract surgeries and damage to my teeth and gums. I still experience pain in my feet, numbness in some toes, my teeth are an ongoing project and since diabetes is a pretty big jerk, celiac disease was invited to the party as well.  All of this contributes to my fear of what is going on inside and what may happen in the future.  On top of this are the regular daily fears of a person living with Type 1.  Fears about going low in the night and not waking up or going low while running/biking/swimming and not being able to help myself...and the list goes on.

That is about all I want to write on the subject for now as it causes me anxiety and I really don't want to hear "It'll be okay".  I find it easier to focus on the positives and when the fear creeps in, give myself the time to feel it, think about it and move on.

Monday 11 May 2015

D-Blog Week Day 1: I Can

I am excited to participate in this year's Blog Week.  I have had every good intention of blogging more and then.... well, I don't.  So here we go!

Today’s topic is I Can.  In the UK, there was a diabetes blog theme of "I can...”  that participants found wonderfully empowering.  So lets kick things off this year by looking at the positive side of our lives with diabetes.  What have you or your loved one accomplished, despite having diabetes, that you weren't sure you could?  Or what have you done that you've been particularly proud of?  Or what good thing has diabetes brought into your life?  

I love this topic as it is so positive.  As a person with Type 1 diabetes I have found that often the positives get shoved aside to focus on the negatives. Don't get me wrong, there are a hell of a lot of negatives, but surprisingly a lot of positives as well.  I have accomplished and learnt so much in the last three and a half years and could write forever.  However today I choose to focus on what I am in the middle of accomplishing now. 

I still think back to when I was diagnosed and my first Endo told me that I would have to give up my passion for long distance running and triathlon.  I was devastated.  Even talking about it now is hard. I then suffered terribly with Insulin Neuritis which made even walking difficult.  I truly hit rock bottom.  As things in my nerves improved and I found a new medical team I started the slow road to running again. I began to see a light and kept running towards it.

Fast forward to today, May 2015.  I am seven weeks out from my first Half Ironman!  I hired a coach who has put together a training program for me.  Each week she uploads my workouts and away I go.  The training has been aggressive (for me) and has certainly pushed me out of my usual comfort zone.  I was nervous going into this not knowing how I could handle dear diabetes, but so far so good.  There is always that extra challenge, sometimes things go a bit sideways, however I can always pick-up where I left off. If you would have told me 10 years ago that I would be training for this race I would never have believed you.  I think that the fact I have Type 1 is what is driving me to do this.  I want to prove to myself that I can do this.  You know what?  I CAN!

Wednesday 11 March 2015

Running Low

I am into week four of my half ironman training plan and so far so good.  I have been putting a lot of miles in the pool, on the treadmill and road and on the bike!  It is definitely a challenging schedule, but I am loving it.  I find that I like being pushed and I am already seeing improvements in my performance, particularly in the pool.

I have only had a few lows during and after training which I am pleased about.  My insulin requirements have decreased due to the increase in activity, which has also resulted in losing a couple of pounds.  Luckily over the last few years I have been learning a lot about how my body reacts to intense activity and have found things that work for me - most of the time.  Of course since Diabetes is generally a total ass, it likes to throw me curveballs to try and catch.  Last week I had such a curveball thrown.  

I can usually feel a low coming on during exercise and can treat it before it gets out of hand.  Usually a few glucose tabs and swig of juice and I am good to keep going.  Last week I had one of those weird lows that crept up on me with weird symptoms and hit me pretty hard. 

I was about 20 minutes in to my 45 minute recovery run.  I was feeling great and just chugging along at a nice and easy pace.  My blood sugars before the run were where I wanted them to be, I had no insulin on board and had decreased my basal by 50% for 1.5 hours.  So there I was, running along listening to my play list when I started to notice my legs felt kind of numb.  They were moving just fine, I just could not really feel them.  It was like they were fuzzy.  I remember thinking in my mind, wow this is kind of nice, running without really feeling my legs.  Then I thought about how ridiculous that was and it was likely a sign something was not right.  As all of you know that have had low blood sugars, the thought process can slow down and we don't always make great decisions.  I knew something was not quite right, however I just kept running because.....why not?  After nearly 5 minutes of this I realized that I was sweating a ridiculous amount for the effort I was putting in.  This finally convinced my sugar deprived brain to stop and test.  2.6 mmol - ack!  I got off the treadmill, treated the low and waited it out.  By then I was shaky, dizzy etc.  all of the fun stuff.  

I only had 15 minutes left of the run to complete and could have easily called it a day.  Nope!  My stubbornness, and by then anger at having stupid Diabetes, had me back on the treadmill after I was recovered and I ran the final 15 minutes.  

I now know that if my legs start to feel numb or fuzzy I should stop and test!  Anyone else experienced this kind of low symptom?

Wednesday 4 March 2015

I want to play! Things about me..

I first read this over on Scully's blog and then a bunch of other blogs.  A great way to post somethings you may or may not find interesting, as well as get the writing bug in gear.  Here goes.

1. Four names that people call me other than my real name:
1. J or Aunty J
2. J Bird or The Bird
3. Pickles (Ryan's name for me.  Not sure where it came from)
4. JAM (my older brother has always called me this)

2. Four jobs I’ve had:

1. I consider all of the weekends of endless chores on the acreage growing up as my first job
2. Working in a pub in England (best job ever)
3. Working as a waiter at a Conference Centre (had to wear a tux, hated the job, lasted 3 weeks)
4. Paralegal

3. Four movies I’ve watched more than once:

1. Annie - absolute favorite (the original, not this new age Annie where Jamie Foxx is Daddy Warbucks - WTF?)
2. Mary Poppins
3. Dead Poet's Society
4. Rocky Horror Picture Show (never ever gets old)

...I like movies with singing!

4. Four books I’d recommend:
1. Lord of the Rings (favorite of all time)
2. Lonesome Dove
3. Anything by Bill Bryson (technically not a book, but I could not choose just one)
4. Into Thin Air

5. Four places I’ve lived:
1. Holmes Chapel, Cheshire, England
2. Manchester, England
3. Edmonton
4. St. Albert

6. Four places I’ve visited:

Only FOUR!? 

1. Australia
2. Greece
3. Ireland
4. Germany

7. Four things I prefer not to eat:

1. Tapioca Pudding (blech)
2. Soggy Cereal
3. Liver
4. Anything with Gluten (have no choice but to not eat this)

8. Four of my favorite foods:

1. Tomatoes
2. Cheese
3. Dark Chocolate
4. Big salads

9. Four TV shows I watch
1. Parenthood (guilty girly pleasure)
2. Sons of Anarchy
3. Walking Dead 
4. Game of Thrones

10. Four things I’m looking forward to this year: 

1. Half Ironman in July (eek)
2. Summer Camping
3. Going to Vegas next week (yahoo)
4. Having fun doing the things I love

11. Four things I’m always saying:

1. Basil and Kasper - get inside (mainly at 2:00am when they need to go outside and sniff stuff)
2. Can you turn the TV down?
3. It's hot in here 
4.  I love you

Feel free to copy and paste this! It's entertaining to write and read.

Tuesday 20 January 2015

A New Year with New Goals

Happy Belated New Year to everyone!  I was struck down with the flu just after the New Year and have spent a good portion of 2015 recovering.  I am back to normal now and looking forward to the year ahead.  Ryan and I are heading to Mexico this coming weekend for a week of sun and sand, however when I get back things are going to get real.  

I registered for my first Half Ironman (eek) in July, 2015.  Just typing that made my stomach do a back flip.  This winter I have been working very hard at my strength training and have spent a lot of time on the bike, on the treadmill and in the pool.  After last seasons successful triathlon season and realizing how much fun I had, I decided I was ready for my next big challenge.  The race is the Great White North and takes place in Stony Plain, Alberta - where I grew up.  I am putting the finishing touches on my training plan and once I am back from vacation it will be full steam ahead.

If I am completely honest with myself, the thing that scares me the most about this is my diabetes management.  So far I have been pretty successful in managing my sugars during exercise, however I certainly have not embarked on a 6+ hour training day.  I know that as I train a large part will be my diabetes management and if I am consistent and remain determined, I should have a good plan in place for the race day.  I have been reading blogs of fellow T1D's who race long distances and am gathering some good tips!  Please feel free to chime in with any tips or experiences of your own.

I plan on doing a Friday wrap-up each week to summarize not only my training but experiences with the 'betes throughout the training.  Hopefully it will not only be a good log for me, but may help others who are contemplating a longer distance race.

See you all when I get back from the beach :)