Friday, December 20, 2013

Les Vacances Commencent

Christmas vacation starts at 2pm today!

Two weeks off.

Two weeks to rest. To relax. To see my friends. To see my family. To run, swim and bike when I want to - rather than when I can.

We have lots of stuff planned as well as plenty of down time.

If all other routines are out the window, I'm guessing my blogging schedule will be a little less structured too.

I'll write - but maybe not every day.

Life returns to 'normal' on January 6th.

Until then, I'll see you when I see you.

Enjoy the holiday season - however it looks to you.

And remember - it's not what you eat between Christmas and New Years that you need to worry about. It's what you eat between New Years and Christmas.

So enjoy!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Bending the Crank

Wednesday morning I got up just after 5am. Despite not going to bed until 10pm the night before after having agreed to spare at the curling club.

I got up early and headed back down to the basement for my second go on the trainer.

Why?

Because I wrote in my blog the day before that I would and I hated the thought of not doing it. Even though no one would know the difference.

You wonderful folks out there who tune in day in and day out are the best motivation. You keep me honest and you are the kick in the butt I need on cold, dark mornings.

So not only did I get up early because of YOU. I also did the crazy Bending Crank Arms workout because I told YOU I was going to do it.  Now that it's over and hours and hours in the past, I can thank YOU for making me do it. At the time though - I was not so grateful...

For the record - it's still hard.

Thankfully not as hard as it was last spring when I first did it. There was not one moment when I thought I would throw up. Bonus points right there.

There was never a second when I doubted my ability to finish it. Double bonus.

There were, however, a few moments when I remembered why Coach Troy and I are not and never will be bffs. He's a tough dude and he motivates me but I'd have to kill him if I didn't have the option to turn him off. I can only take so much of his upbeat, militant, rip my muscles apart while flashing a brilliant smile kinda stuff. Especially at 5:30am.

Some tough workouts I don't feel until the next morning when I get out of bed. Some I feel the same night as I crawl into bed.

This one I felt before lunch. My quads were stiffening up at an alarming rate. They were tight by lunch and sore to touch soon afterwards.

Thankfully, I tacked the crank arms on the day when I already had a post-work massage scheduled. My massage therapist commented on how tight everything felt but I slid out of there an hour later feeling much better.

Friday I'll do an easier bike workout but next week, I'll be back at it again, trying to bend those crank arms.

It's surprising really how good it feels when you finish something that seems so darn hard when you're in the middle of it.

Thank YOU for kicking me out of bed yesterday and getting me on the bike. Much appreciated!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Back in the Saddle

Well, after two weeks of not getting up at the crack of dawn to swim, I’m happy to report that I’m feeling a bit more rested. Not back to my usual self quite yet but much closer. In fact, on Monday morning, my body was itching to do something.

Our Masters swim classes are now finished until 2014 and I didn’t feel like heading across town in the cold just to swim on my own. (Running is something I can do without external motivation - swimming goes better when I pay to have someone yell at me.) I also didn’t want to add more days of running to my schedule so close to a race. So I bit the bullet and headed downstairs. Not downstairs to the kitchen but downstairs downstairs – to our spider-filled, stone-walled, low-ceiling’d basement to spend some quality time with my trainer.

Yes folks, I’m back in the saddle again. 

I tried to remember my well-honed routine from last spring but my memory failed and it took a few trips back and forth to the trap door before I had everything I needed. The pile consisted of my laptop, my bottle filled with water and my other bottle filled with NUUN, two packs of fruit chews in case of emergencies, Dexter to keep me posted on how I’m doing (he's a new addition to the supplies this year), some tissues because my nose runs when I’m down there, my iPhone in case my bike falls off the trainer and I end up in a heap, buried under bicycle parts, clipped in and unable to scream loud enough to be heard two floors up.

I realized after I finally dragged everything down that I forgot a small towel to mop up the sweat and also forgot to set up the fan to keep me cool. Oh well, there are plenty of cold cycling mornings left for me to get the details worked out.

As this was my first time on the bike in a few months and my first time on the trainer since probably April or May, I decided to hold off on my beloved Bending Crank Arms workout. Instead, I settled for a 45-minute ‘calorie-burning’ workout and focused on encouraging my legs to just keep spinning and my rump to toughen up a bit. I promised (or perhaps threatened) them that I would be bending crank arms on Wednesday so they had better shape up...fast. 

Compared to running and swimming, a hour of spinning never feels as tough a workout, no matter how hard I bend those crank arms. After the video ended, I climbed upstairs thinking that I felt energized (which is good) but not really drained the way I do after a good swim or run (not so good).

The next morning, as I bent over to tie my shoes on for my early-morning run, I noticed more than a few achy muscles. Aching in places that only a good bike ride can find.


Makes me think that my Wednesday morning return to Bending Crank Arms is going to be tougher than I thought...

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Retirement Wishes

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, there lived a pancreas.

He had a full-time job, at which he was very very good. His boss counted on him to get his work done, well and on time. His co-workers were fun to hang out with and everyone pulled together to make sure quotas were met and products were delivered. It has a fast-paced, busy life but he loved it.

One day, the pancreas felt a little tired. He went to work anyway but what work he did wasn't quite up to snuff. He began to take more breaks than he used to, trying to rest up and find his mojo again. It didn't seem to matter how much time off he took, he continued to feel more and more exhausted. Unable to perform. Unable to keep up with his colleagues.

He eventually just stopped coming to work altogether. His office was cleared out, his name taken off the door. Dust settled in the corners, cobwebs appeared. Despite an intensive search no one was found who could replace him. No one could fill the void he left. The entire company started to fall apart. They were days, perhaps weeks away from a complete collapse.

In the nick of time, they were saved.

His name was Humalog. He wasn't as efficient as Mr. Pancreas was. His work a little less predictable. A little less reliable. He was finicky, didn't like the cold or the heat, responded differently every day, despite everyone's best efforts to provide a stable, consistent workplace for him.

Still though, he saved everyone and for that the rest of the team was willing to put up with his quirks.

They brought in the latest technology to help Humalog meet the needs of the rest of the team. First came needles and they were replaced with pumps. Glucometers were given CGMs to help keep them on track. Or was it the other way around?

Humalog was here to stay.

Mr. Pancreas. It has been more than a decade since you left and yet you are still the stuff of legend. Everyone still talks about you at the office. You did the work of twenty men when you were here. For that we will be forever grateful. You set the bar high and no one has yet come close.

You are greatly missed but I we have come to terms with the fact that you had to go. I hope that you are happy in your retirement.

Wishing you the best during this holiday season.

Céline

Monday, December 16, 2013

Braveheart

There are some things about running that non-runners seem to understand.

Like the fact that a Saturday morning long run allows us to eat pretty much what we want that day for lunch. Who wouldn't like that?

There are other things about running that non-runners think is ridiculous. Like chafing.

And like going for a long run after a big dump of snow - when the streets are still covered, the sidewalks unpassable and the wind whipping the white stuff around and around.

Thankfully, I'm a runner so I totally get the appeal of heading out into a winter wonderland. Which is exactly what we did on Saturday morning while the snow was still falling.

I was supposed to run 14k. Instead, I ran for time rather than distance and ended up doing 12.5k in the time it normally takes to run 14k. Part of the deal when you're running in the winter - pace is sacrificed for safe footing.

I ran by a lot of people out shovelling driveways and sidewalks. Some didn't see me as they were too busy heaving on their shovels. A few people glanced my way and went back to their work. Another few said a word that sounded suspiciously like "crazy".

I'm guessing those folks are not runners.

One person, all bundled up, said "it's actually nice once you get used to it eh?" I nodded in agreement.

Another man, shovelling out the end of his driveway, spotted me coming. He stopped, leaned on his shovel and watched me approach. He looked at me not with disdain or with envy. Just with interest.

"Braveheart" he said.

I grinned and said "it's beautiful out here isn't it?". He nodded and went back to his shovel.

I carried on and thought about my newest nickname.

Braveheart.

I like it.

Our orange Christmas balls hanging from our Charlie Brown tree after the snowfall. If you look closely you'll spot my favourite photographer in the picture. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Running by Numbers

When I was building up my mileage for my half marathon back in October, I was very conscious about not overdoing it. Not pushing my foot too hard or too fast.

So I gently added two kilometres every Saturday but I kept my weekday runs to 5-6k, twice a week. No hills. No speed work. Just enough to keep my body moving.

I survived the half, took a bit of down time and then started back at 10k to build up for my 16k race on Boxing Day.

This time, I wanted to increase my running fitness in a different way. I had noticed during my half marathon training that my 5k weekday runs never really felt good. Five kilometres is not really long enough for me to warm up and find my groove.

So this time I decided to do something that, while perhaps not scientific, appealed to my love of numbers and patterns.

In the week building up to my first 10k weekend run, I ran 5k twice during the week. Five plus five equals ten. With me so far?

The next week, when I was planning to run 12k on the weekend, I ran 6k twice during the week. Six plus six equals twelve.

The next week, I ran 7k twice in preparation for my 14k weekend run. And the following week, I ran 8k twice - but then missed my 16k run due to a curling bonspiel - sad day.

Going from 5 to 6k at 5:30am felt way harder than it should have. Going from 6k to 7k was also a bit of a slog - plus I now had to get up earlier to accommodate the extra time I was taking.

During the 8k run week - something clicked and they were much better. I hit my stride and my body seemed to be getting used to the extra weekday distance. Instead of slogging through most of the run, I now took a few k to warm up and then enjoyed the last 5k. I didn't worry about pace. I chose a route with one tough hill and a few easier ones and I let my mind wander.

Over the past few weeks I have cut back on my swims and have skipped a long run due to fatigue. One thing I have not done is I have not tapered back down from the 8k on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I like them. A lot. Way more than I thought I might. It's a good distance for me and I come home feeling strong and ready to face the day.

Even though I'm bringing my long run distances back down in preparation for race day, I think I'll hold on to my 8k runs for a little longer. I'm not ready to give them up quite yet.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tough Little Dude

It's Thursday. 

That means yesterday was Wednesday. 

That means that yesterday, at 4:30pm, it has been exactly two weeks since I revved up Dexter for the first time.

Exactly one week since I brought him back from the dead as zombie Dex. 

Which means that yesterday at 4:30pm, zombie Dex was seven days old. 

At seven days old, ready or not, he dies. 

So my undead little buddy was dead again. 

I didn't miss a beat this time. He died. I immediately restarted him and, two hours later, he came back to life. 

Still accurate. Still hanging on (albeit a little less securely). Still willing to work to keep me alive. 

In just over two weeks Dex was 'woken up', he died, he was turned into a zombie, he died again and then came back to life a second time. 

Is there a term for that? Or is it once a zombie, always a zombie? 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Dexaddict

You know how some people are addicted to their iPhones? Or their Blackberries. 

Crackberries as I've heard them referred to. 

They check compulsively every few minutes, or seconds, just to see if they missed anything. 

I am becoming addicted to my Dexcom. 

Don't worry though. I don't overuse him all the time. 

Just when I'm high. 

(Is it just me or does saying I overuse my Dexcom when I'm high sounds suspiciously like the mayor of Toronto saying "I only use crack cocaine when I'm in a drunken stupor"?)

Well, I guess the first step to getting help is admitting the problem right? 

So here's my problem. When my blood sugar is behaving, I can happily leave Dex on my desk for hours without peeking. He's like my quiet sidekick that I trust to alert me of danger as needed. 

When I'm high and showing no signs of dropping, I'll bolus and then check Dex every five minutes. For an hour. If I'm still climbing or haven't dropped enough for my liking, I'll test my BG on my glucometer to confirm, bolus again and then check every five minutes. 

Once I finally start dropping, I check every five minutes to make sure I don't drop too low. Once I plateau, and stay steady for a while he goes back on my desk and is ignored again...until the next spike. 

Am I a pro-active person with diabetes taking good care of my health by correcting highs and avoiding lows? 

Or am I a Dexaddict?  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding my Mojo

I've fallen off the bandwagon. Partly on purpose. Partly out of necessity. Partly because it feels like what I need right now.

My regular routine of working out six or seven days out of the week has, for the last two weeks, dropped down to 4 days a week.

Max.

A combination of crazy schedules, simply not enough time, late nights and a nagging fatigue that feels heavier than it should has resulted in my skipping more workouts than I have in...I don't remember how long.

I've swum twice in two weeks instead of six times.

I haven't cycled once.

I've gotten four runs in instead of six and I completely skipped my scheduled 16k long run that was in my training plan for the upcoming Boxing Day ten mile race I signed up for.

Despite sleeping in until 6:30am most mornings, and a much reduced workout schedule, I feel like I'm still in major sleep debt.

So I've decided not to worry about picking up my socks and getting back on the bandwagon. Instead, I'm going to focus on sleeping as much as I can, eating as well as I can and getting in a few quality workouts rather than a bunch of half-hearted ones.

I have nine working days left until I get two weeks off. Two weeks to recover. Catch up on my rest. Nap when I want to. Workout at noon if that's what makes sense.

Twenty-fourteen is already filling up with races, travel plans and lofty goals. I don't want to start off the year feeling like I'm behind the 8 ball.

Nine working days left and then I can work on getting my mojo back.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Seeing the Forest for the Trees

We spent a good part of our weekend in a small little town called Forest.

Population: 3500

Tim Hortons: 1

Churches: 5

Curling clubs: 1

Doug and I made the two-hour drive early Saturday morning. We arrived and checked in to the only hotel in town. The hotel, and the rest of the town for that matter, were overflowing with curlers from all over the region. Eight men's teams and eight women's teams were in town. Each team had won their zone and were in Forest to try their hand at winning the Regional Championships.

Doug's team played their first game at 12:30pm on Saturday. We got there early and I staked my claim on the perfect chair, right in front of the glass, facing sheet four. There was one empty seat beside me and I wondered who would end up being my watching buddy since I was the only 'fan' from the St. Catharines team. As I watched Doug and his team do their warm-up practice routine, a familiar face appeared. Doug's friend John had made the trip to cheer them on. He snatched the seat beside me and we kept each other company during the game - mostly me asking questions and John answering them.

A sign I spotted pinned to the wall that captures the curling world perfectly. While the team plays their heart out on the ice, the folks behind the glass have animated discussions after each shot about what they should have done. 

The Forest Curling Club. Quite a nice facility full of history. Established in 1884. 

Doug and Larry sweeping their hearts out to drag their red rock past the blue guard. 

Doug throwing his first rock in the second end. 

Hurry!! Hard!!!

Doug holding the broom for the skip. Based on where the broom is, I'm going to guess he's trying for a takeout on that blue rock. 

Another action shot. 

As I said, the game went back and forth. 

For those of you who can't read a curling scoreboard: 
Doug's team took one in the first end. 
Lost one in the second end. 
Took two in the third. 
Lost three in the fourth. 
Took one in the fifth. 
Lost one in the sixth. 
Took one in the seventh. 

They started the eighth and final end at a disadvantage. The score was 6:5 for the other team and the other team had the hammer. Also known as the last rock. 

Doug's team lost. 

Their next game was at 8pm and winning had just become a necessity because teams were out as soon as they lost two games. 

The second game was one of misfortune, valiant fights and more misfortune. The opponents took a four-point end early in the game. Never a good sign. Doug's team fought back point by point and they were back in competition by the fifth end with a score of 4:3. Unfortunately, the opponents then took another four-point end. 

Fighting back from one bad end is possible. Two of them? Not an easy feat. 

They lost. And, as quickly as their Regional Championship adventure began, it ended. 

It's hard to stand far enough back from a disappointing day of curling to see the amount of talent it took to get to that point. Hopefully, with a bit of distance, the St. Catharines Masters Zone Champions will see the Forest for what it was. A chance to play competitive curling, rub elbows with some talented people, learn a few things, and come back stronger next year.

Friday, December 6, 2013

It's Been a Zombie Green Curry Rage Bolusing Kinda Week

What I learned this week.

- being woken up multiple times in the night by Mr. Dex can get really annoying, especially when I'm not really having problematic blood sugars.

- on the other hand, sleeping through the night without a peep for Dexter and seeing a lovely steady blood sugar graph in the morning makes the restful sleep even more sweet.

- green curry and sticky rice is apparently very bad for my blood sugars.

I'll let you guess when the thai food kicked in. Well timed for a perfectly horrid night of testing and rage bolusing.

- a night like the one above is one of the only times I will turn off my 4:50am alarm without an ounce of guilt. A missed workout is sometimes the best way to take care of myself. 

- it's so much easier to close a bank account than to open one. It took under five minutes to pay off a loan, cancel a credit card and close a bank account. It took three visits to another bank to set up an account, transfer my loan and open an RDSP. I am happy with the end result but intrigued by what was hard and what was easy about it. 

- good friends, dinner and a wicked movie make all the difference in the world and should happen more often

- it is indeed possible to create a zombie Dexcom sensor. Hopefully Zombie Dex is satisfied just being attached to me and doesn't try to eat my brains when I'm not looking.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Back From the Dead

As I'm typing this, I'm waiting patiently for the two hours to be up so I can see if the rumours are true.

Rumour has it that I can bring my Dexcom sensor back from the dead.

Sensors are supposed to last for seven days and I started my very first one last Wednesday evening. It didn't come as much of a surprise that, yesterday afternoon, I started getting warnings that my sensor would end in x hours. And then in x minutes.

At precisely 4:45pm it ended. And at 4:45pm, I started a new sensor.

Only it was an old sensor. A technicaly dead sensor.

In fact it was the same sensor that's been hanging on for a week already and, with my new Tegaderm recommended by Jeff, the same sensor that will be hanging on for a while yet.

Rumour has it that I can tell Dex that I have put in a new sensor, he'll do his two-hour new sensor warm up dance and then I should be good to go for another seven days. Dex may be cute and very helpful but he is apparently not that hard to fool.

I've been doing some reading online and some people can drag these puppies out for twenty days or more before they start to really fail - sputtering to a halt or recording some wonky numbers.

Being a frugal, waste not, want not kinda girl, I'm all for it.

My question is: if the rumours are true and I can bring my sensor back from the other side, does that mean I now have a zombie Dexcom?

And, if so, does that make me super cool or really creepy?

Tell me that's not creepy. Go on, I dare you. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

A Dex By Any Other Name...

I am a big fan of Dexter.


I am attached to a device called Dexcom.  

This device is also known as 'Dex' for short. The same nickname as the guy drinking coffee in the first picture.


Oh, and when my blood sugar drops, I eat fast-acting carbs in the form of Dex 4s.  

Also known as 'Dex' for short. Kinda like the device attached to me or like the guy drinking coffee in the first picture. 

I know it's only been a week but, so far, I haven't confused a serial killer with my continuous glucose monitor. Not even once. 

Nor have I mistaken a blood spatter analyst's photos for my three-hour BG trends.  

Nor have I tried to eat my Dexcom in the middle of a really bad low. 

Nor have I stared at the my bottle of Dex 4s wondering if they're trying to kill me. 

But I can see how, in one of those foggy 3am low blood sugar hazes, I might get a little turned around and think that perhaps I'm being attached by my Dexcom receiver. And if that were to happen, I might try to kill the attacking Dexcom by whipping my bottle of Dex 4s at its head. 

I can also see myself trying to explain what happened to Doug and insisting that he thank me for saving his life from a serial killing blood spatter analyst who lives on my bedside table. 

Anyone else having problems like this? 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Five Days Later - Holding Steady

I've been Dexy now for five full days. Five showers (six actually). Five sleeps. Five days of clothes rubbing against him.

I like him - even more than I thought I might. I cannot believe how easily I forget he's attached to me. I don't feel him. He doesn't get caught on things. The lack of tubing coming out of him certainly helps but I still never thought I'd say that a hard plastic thing sticking out of me would be comfy.

It is.

He's been put to a few tests already. He survived four games of curling. One on Friday night and three on Saturday. Curling involves a lot of squatting and crouching which moves ones torso in odd ways sometimes. It also involves a lot of bending over a broom sweeping madly while running full tilt down the ice. Oh, and it's freakin' freezing out there!

The site and the transmitter held up just fine despite the numerous times I could have caught it on a broom handle or swept the darn thing right off. My receiver stayed tucked in my vest pocked and survived the numerous hot/cold/hot/cold temperature changes. He also did a super job of keeping me informed on how I was doing as I had never curled so much in one day before. I checked every few ends and didn't have to worry about going low at a game-changing moment.

The problem with our busy weekend was that there was no time to get a run or a swim in. So, other than curling, Dexter didn't get any workouts in during his first few days.

Yesterday morning, I headed back to the pool for my regular workout. I left the receive in my locker since it's not at all waterproof and I didn't want to risk it getting wet. As for the transmitter and sensor - well I decided to swim like I normally would because I needed to know if they could hack it. We did a speed/distance set with lots of 200m and 300m fast swims that ended with 8x25m sprints going full tilt.

He hung on just fine - thank goodness. In fact I kept feeling to make sure he was still there. I fully expected to spot my transmitter lying at the bottom of the pool by the end.

I showered and headed off to work. At the end of the day, I pull back my shirt and noticed that the edges of the sticky area were no longer sticky and they were starting to peel back a bit. That often happens to my pump site on the last day but I never worry about it because I know it's coming off soon. It's another story with Monsieur Dex as I'm hoping to drag every second I can out of every single site - especially if they are behaving as well as this one is.

So we pulled out the IV 3000 (the sticky dressing used to hold IVs on). Doug cut a hole in the centre and placed it on to hold the site in place.

I've learned that IV 3000 doesn't survive showers well but does ok otherwise. So, by the time you read this, I will have sleep on the site for another night, I will have run 8k with it on, showered and, if needed, put a new IV 3000 on to hold Dex to me for another day.

I'm guessing this is not a long-term solution because I'd rather not be going through these things daily. I also don't love the IV 3000 because my skin doesn't breathe well with it and gets red and itchy pretty quickly.

If anyone has discovered any other products that hold infusion sites or Dex sensors in place, that breathe a little better, and that can also withstand the rigours of an active lifestyle (pool/run/curl etc) - I'd love to know.

Monday, December 2, 2013

The Lighthouse

On Saturday, our Friday night curling team played in our very first ever omigod what are we doing bonspiel. Doug, our skip, has been curling for years. The rest of us are in our third season and still getting the hang of things.

It was the annual Lighthouse Bonspiel held at our local club. A bonspiel that, until a few years ago, was called the Oyster Bonspiel and players enjoyed free oysters and a seafood buffet between games. We still had oysters and some seafood but the name was changed and the menu expanded to appeal to people who weren't big fans of fishy things. The East Coast theme still held and some people showed up dressed for the occasion.

The bonspiel involved 3 six-end games. Never having played in an event like this, I didn't even set any goals. I just wanted to play as well as I could and not let my team down.

I wore my lucky socks and my lucky Scottish plaid sous-vêtements. We walked into the club the hear the opening notes of one of the only songs that can make this Irish lassie cry: Cockles and Mussels. I hummed along and thought about my family, my little sis who loves the song, my little nephew who had it sung to him by his mom. When it ended and another East Coast ditty began, I knew it was going to be a fun day.

Here's how it all shook down.

For the first game we were paired randomly against a team I had never seen before. Which meant I had no idea how they played. The first few ends were one-point ends but then we took a few points in one end and the game quickly turned. We finished by winning it easily 9:3.

We handed in our score card. We get points for winning the game, points for each end we won and points for each point we took. Our final tally was 16.25.

We found ourselves, surprisingly, in second place, behind a team that took 17.

Break time! Oysters, lemon juice, horseradish and tea. Best! 

For the second game, they paired the top two teams, then the next two and so on. So we were up against the lead team with 17 points. We knew them from our Friday night games and knew they were good. 

The first few ends were back and forth, one point at a time. Then we took 3. Then two. And we won the game with a score of 9:3 again which gave us another 16.25 points. 

We were now in first place with 32.50 points. The second place team had 29.25 points and we were paired against them in the final game. If we won that game, we'd win the event hands down. If we lost, we would fall down to third or worse. If we tied it, we'd have a chance for first depending on how the third place team did. 

First end: we took one
Second end: they took one
Third end: we took one
Fourth end: they took one
Fifth end: they took two
Sixth end, we had to get two to tie. With two hail mary shots from our fabulous skip, we did it. Two points - and a tie. 

We headed back in for a few more snacks while we waited for the other teams to finish and then waited some more while they tallied the scores 

Might as well have a few more while we're waiting...

The final scores. For those of you who don't know - we were Team Geddie.

Winners of the 2013 Lighthouse Bonspiel!!

When they announced our team and handed us our trophy we were pretty proud of ourselves. Then they announced that the vice of the winning team is responsible for organizing the 2014 event. 

Guess which position I played? 

Oh yes my friends. It looks like I'll be organizing my first bonspiel next year. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Twenty-Four Hours In

I've been attached to Mr. Dex for just over 24 hours now. More like 28. Here is what I have discovered so far:

1. He's not always in sink with my actual blood sugar. In other words, I might be 5.0 but he might think I'm 4.0. He hasn't been too far off, and he responds fairly well to calibrations, but at 3am, it makes a difference. My first night with him he went off about 8 times. He kept thinking I was 3.9 but I was actually hovering right around 5.0. How did I know? Because I checked my blood sugar 8 times between 9pm and 5am. That is 6-7 more times than I normally check - when I don't have a continuous glucose monitor attached to me. And I calibrated almost every time I checked. And yet Mr. Dex still kept freaking out. I turned off the noise so he just vibrated. I then tucked him in bed with me to keep him quiet. I finally resorted to sleeping directly on him to shut him the hell up.

2. I did not run on Thursday morning. Partly because I'm exhausted and a little too busy at work right now. And partly because Mr. Dex kept me up all night. So my blood sugar did not have to deal with a morning exercise routine. It was pretty sweet to watch the graph as I hovered around 6.0 between breakfast and lunch and hovered around 5.0 between lunch and dinner. I'm guessing those basal rates are pretty good - at least on days when I don't exercise.

3. Mr. Dex prevents me from making decisions I would normally make. Last night I was a little high two hours after dinner (11.0). I was hungry before bed and would normally have bolused and eaten a snack knowing I would go higher than 11.0 but then drop back down again overnight. I also know that Mr. Dex is set to alarm if my BG goes higher than 13.0 (or lower than 4.0 for the record). After the previous night's symphony, I decided I'd rather go to bed hungry than spend the night dealing with high BG alarms. It may have been a good decision since late night snacking is not typically encouraged but not a decision I would normally have made. So he will most likely have an impact on my lifestyle choices.

4. He's not nearly as annoying as I thought he'd be in terms of feeling him under my clothes or carrying around another device. I need to remind myself to grab him off my desk before I leave work or toss him in my purse before I leave the house but, otherwise, he's been pretty tame. So far. I'm expecting a few growing pains as we get used to each other but I think he'll slip into my routine fairly easily.

I'll try to post a few photos next week for those of you who asked where I put him or what he looks like. By Monday we should have bonded a little more and gotten used to each other's quirks. He'll have survived a curling bonspiel as well as a family reunion AND and a family dinner. How's that for an initiation weekend?

Stay tuned for more adventures of Mr. Dex.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mr. Dex Com

Monday, November 25th, was "The first day that the Dexcom was being shipped in Canada" Day.

I knew this because I received an email from Animas the Friday before to let me know.

When I received the email I called Animas and was able to connect with someone who could answer my questions and help me place my order. In answering my questions, she mentioned that the transmitter, one of the three parts of the Dexcom system, has a battery that, once it dies, cannot be replaced. Which means that, when the battery dies, I need a new transmitter.

Which costs $700.

"The battery is guaranteed for six months but some people have reported that they can get almost a year out of it" I was told.

That's better than six months but $700 every six months or (best case) every 12 months is more than I can afford.

So I hit the pause button on my Dexcom order and said I had to speak with my benefit provider first.

I called my benefit provider on Monday morning. I spoke with a helpful lady who listened to me explain the Dexcom and listened to me as I told her what the previous person I spoke with there had told me. I asked her to check whether the transmitter was considered a medical device (which means they pay once) or a medical supply (which means they pay over and over again like they do for test strips).

She checked and said that they do not pay for batteries so the transmitter would not be covered beyond the first one.

I corrected her and said that I didn't need a new battery every 6-12 months, I needed a new transmitter every 6-12 months because, once the battery died, it was time to replace it the transmitter.

She checked again and, this time, confirmed that it was indeed a medical supply and would be covered as many times as I needed with no maximum.

I repeated it back to her to confirm. "So the sensors and the transmitter are both 'supplies' and I can submit receipts every time I get them and you will reimburse me in full."

"Yes".

"Well that's great news now isn't it?" I asked.

She told me what paperwork I had to send and I thanked her.

I hung up and promptly called Animas to order the Dexcom. They took my order, I put $1840 on my credit card and it shipped on Monday afternoon. It arrived late on Wednesday.

I opened all the boxes. 

I laid out all the supplies and poured over the instructions. 

Tell me that doesn't look horrifying. 

I winced in anticipation as I pushed the needle in but it was nowhere near as jarring as the one I had used with my Medtronic CGM. 

Just like that, I was connected. I had to wait two hours for the sensor, transmitter and receiver to be able to speak to each other. Once ready, the pump beeped and I calibrated it by entering my BG and, not long after, headed to bed. I'm not exactly sure what to expect. It might be a restful sleep or might be a nightmare of beeping, vibrations and grumbling. We'll see. 

Don't worry. I'll let you all know how things go. 

Getting the Dexcom reminded me yet again that anything related to diabetes is never a win-win. I'm excited at the possibilities that the Dexcom gives me in terms of better management, spotting trends and having a back-up system to warn me of highs and lows.

On the other hand, I already hate having one thing attached to my body. Now I have two. I'm feeling decidedly robotic and decidedly unsexy.

I remember back when I got my pump and I know there will be an adjustment period as I get used to this new thing on my body. I also know that I will forget about it after a while but never really get over it. I'll just learn to live with it because, ultimately, having it makes it easier to live.

Just like I have gotten used to needles. Finger pricks. Late night gorging on Dex 4s. Pump site changes and the rather disgusting smell of insulin.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Goal Planning

My favourite multi-sport series just announced the dates for the 2014 triathlon season.

I have already been asked several times if I'm doing the Niagara Falls Women's half marathon in June 2014.

There are a few half-marathons early in 2014 that, if I sign up for, would keep me running when the weather gets nasty.

Around the Bay 30k is at the end of March and I need to decide if I'm willing to risk my stress fractures and my ear plugging to tackle the distance.

I want to focus on becoming a stronger and faster runner in 2014 which means I need to change how I train in order to see if I can get my half marathon time a little closer to 2:10 rather than 2:20.

I want to focus on becoming a stronger cyclist since that's my weakest of the three triathlon sports and yet it's the sport that takes the most time during a triathlon. So I need to get more focused on the bike and need to get more cycling in to my training schedule.

I want to do some open-water swim races, at least one 3k and perhaps (perhaps!) a 5k.

I want to do some sprint triathlons as well as a few Olympic distance triathlons in 2014 because I loved that distance last year and want to do more of it.

I seem to have a lot of goals for 2014.

I'm guessing the first goal I need to actually accomplish is to figure out what my goals are going to be eh?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Zone Championships

Last weekend I curled on Friday night like I always do in the winter months.

I then spent a good chunk of Saturday as well as Sunday morning at the curling club. Sitting behind the glass, with my heart in my throat and my hands over my mouth for most of it.

It's stressful watching the man I love compete in a curling tournament - when every game seemed to come down to the last rock in the last end and where millimetres really do make all the difference.

Doug curls a few nights per week and has been doing so for years. He's pretty darn good. This season, he joined forces with three other men to create a Masters team. Their goal was to compete in the Masters Zone Play Down. If they win, they go to the Regionals and then, if they win again, they go to the Provincials.

So last weekend I watched Doug in the Zone championship. There were 8 teams, three from his club and 5 from other clubs in our area.

The first game was on Saturday morning. I got up early to get my long run in and got to the club on time to see the end of the game. It didn't end well and Doug's team lost. That meant that they could not afford to lose again. Another loss and they were out.

The second game was Saturday evening so we ran a few errands, had an early dinner and headed back over. This time I watched every rock in every end. Doug's team dominated for the first few ends but the other team rallied and the last few ends went back and forth as they fought for points. It was nerve-wracking. The last rock in the last end clinched it and Doug's team won!

Sunday morning, we were back at the club before 9am for the final deciding game.

The first end, the other team scored two points.
The second end, Doug's team nabbed three.
The third end, the other team got one point to tie it all up again.
The fourth end, they took two more points to take the lead.
The fifth end, they took one more and were leading by three.
(This is the point where I texted my Irish mother and asked her to send some good luck leprechauns)
In the sixth end, Doug's team took three points to tie it up again.
In the seventh end, they took one more to take the lead.
In the eighth and final end, they got one more point to win!

Looks like we're off to the bustling metropolis of Forest, Ontario for the Regional Championships in a few weeks.

After that, if the leprechauns continue to do their jobs, we're going to Gravenhurst in January for the provincials.

I'm guessing the Olympics are the next stop.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Blood Test Results

Last Friday, on my much-needed day off, I headed over to the naturopath for my follow-up appointment.

I went in full of questions and left full of things to think about.

First of all, I got my blood work results back. After complaining about fatigue, I had been sent for the following blood tests:
- iron
- ferritin (think of ferritin like my iron stores)
- vitamin d
- vitamin b12
- thyroid

Being low in any of these things can result in fatigue so it was worth checking out. I figured I'd be low in iron, low in ferritin and wouldn't have been surprised to find out everything else was low too.

Instead, my iron was fine, my ferritin was fine, my vitamin d was fine, my thyroid was fine and my B12 levels were the highest he's ever seen in someone who is not getting B12 injections.

Well wasn't that nice to hear on a cold Friday morning in November? I asked if I was too high and he said no. Just higher than he is used to seeing. I asked how that was possible since I don't take extra B12 or do anything special to try to get it in my diet. He said I might just be absorbing it really well from my VEGA powder or my multivitamin. Whatever the reason, the blood results were fine which means I have a few less things to worry about.

He then told me that he thinks he figured out that weird thing that happens in my ears when I run. He said it was called 'exercise-induced eustachian tube disfunction'. A long name to be sure but it's not dangerous or problematic. On the other hand, there isn't much we can do to prevent it from happening either. It happens when I run for over an hour and goes away when I stop running. If I start up again, it comes back almost immediately. In my body's struggle to deal with it, it also affects my breathing and I find myself gasping for breath for a few minutes once I do stop.

(For the record, I googled it when I went home and read all about it. Sounds exactly like what I am struggling with. My GP, diabetes doc and my ear nose and throat specialist couldn't figure it out - I'm impressed my naturopath did and that he did it so quickly.)

So I have a diagnosis for my ears and confirmation that my blood test results were good. So what's up with the fatigue you ask?

Here's where things took a turn and I left the appointment with a lot to think about.

"Eustachian Tube Disfunction can sometimes be related to food allergies. So can unexplained fatigue. You're probably not going to want to hear this but I'm going to recommend you try an elimination diet to see if you have any food allergies."

What??!?

He talked about the four most common food allergies (dairy, wheat, eggs and soy) and suggested that, ideally, I would eliminate all of them from my diet for six weeks and then reintroduce them one at a time. "If you're not willing to do that, at least try wheat and dairy."

Bleh!

I drove home and thought about it. I told Doug what the doctor suggested and we talked about it. I thought about it some more.

Pros: if I really do have a food allergy, doing this might help me identify it, make changes to my diet and feel better overall. Not that I feel bad - I just have ears that plug up on long runs and I personally think I'm more tired than I should be given the amount of sleep I get.

Cons: I turn my diet upside down for six weeks. Just in time for Christmas. I wouldn't be able to eat out (easily anyway), I'd have to rethink every meal I eat, I'd be the most annoying dinner guest ever (did I mention Christmas is coming?) and I'd be pretty annoying to live with because every meal would potentially involve two meals and a lot of discussion to ensure all my allergens are avoided. And for what? I have no other reasons to think I have food allergy so it could all be for not.

I did think about doing it after Christmas but we're traveling in February, spending a week with friends, and doing things throughout the year that would never make it easy to find a six-week chunk of time where I can eat every meal at home without too much fuss.

Don't get me wrong. If I had a legitimate food allergy, I'd make all the dietary changes I needed to make to be healthy. But, because all of this is hypothetical, I'm really hesitant.

So, after a weekend of thought, I emailed my naturopath. I said I would continue with everything else he recommended, I'd increase my veggie intake, perhaps cut down, when reasonable, on my wheat, soy, eggs and dairy but I would not be doing the elimination diet at this time.

I felt both relieved and disappointed as I hit 'send'. I also felt like a tiny bit like a jerk since I went to him for advice but didn't take it. It is, however, my life and, ultimately, I need to make the choices that make the most sense for all involved.

So I did.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

D-Blog Week Day 6 - Favourites and Motivations

Today we were encouraged to go back into our blogging past and re-post something that we have written. A favourite sentence or blog post. Well, after years of blogging, I still think that the post I'm reposting today is my favourite. If you missed it the first time, enjoy.

Diabetes - What it's Like on the Inside

It's always the same and yet it's always different.

Sometimes it starts with a dry throat and a gentle headache right between my eyes. The kind that makes me squint a bit and brings out those frown lines that I get when I'm thinking hard about something.

Sometimes it starts with a yawn. And then another one. And then another one. I usually start slouching in my chair a bit or get up to make some tea in an effort to wake up.

Sometimes my elbows start to feel a little less bendy. Like the fluid in my joints is starting to solidify.

Sometimes I get a funny taste in my mouth.

Sometimes the symptoms stop there. Sometimes they get worse and my dry throat becomes a crushing thirst, my gentle headache starts to pound, my yawns flow into each other and my joints all begin to join the stiffening chorus. Sometimes my hands start to ache.

Sometimes I clue in quickly. Other times I don't.

I always clue in eventually and grab my glucometer - knowing I'm going to see 16+ on the screen.

Sometimes my lips and tongue start to tingle just a bit. The way they feel when the freezing is coming out after a trip to the dentist.

Sometimes my heart starts beating a little faster and feels like a fluttering bird in my chest.

Sometimes I start to yawn. And yawn. And yawn. I go make a cup of green tea in an effort to wake up a bit.

Sometimes my limbs start to feel light, like gravity was turned down a notch. I become a little more awkward and clumsy than usual.

Sometimes little things annoy me. Things that didn't annoy me even a minute before and things that don't normally annoy me...ever.

Sometimes I clue in quickly. Sometimes I don't.

When I don't, my lips and tongue start tingling a lot - to the point where I can hardly feel them. My heart beat gets crazier and I start to sweat. It comes on fast and furious at that point and I can easily sweat through a hoodie and a jacket as well as my jeans in minutes. The yawns progress to the point where I can hardly get a sentence out between them. The world starts to spin. I need to sit down.

What I really need to do is grab some juice.

Diabetes is a textbook disease made up of numbers. Dosages. Ratios. Units. Time.

Diabetes is often summarized on a piece a paper with pictures of people drinking water or looking pale and shaky. It comes with warnings that a person is in one of the two ends of the blood sugar spectrum and helpful suggestions about what to do.

Diabetes is all of those things. And it's none of those things.

Diabetes is the horror of waking up drenched in sweat and hardly able to reach the Dex 4s on your bedside table and wondering, through the haze, "what if I hadn't woken up?"

Diabetes is the fear of going back to sleep in case it happens again. And it's the feeling of isolation when you get to the pool the next morning, tired and shaken, and no one has any idea what you've been through and how scared you were...and how important it was to get up early anyway so diabetes doesn't win.

Diabetes is the horror of struggling to control a blood sugar of 25 with dose after dose of insulin and feeling that every minute you spend up in the clouds is another minute that diabetes is doing damage to your body. The only body you have. And diabetes is wondering if this high will be the high that puts me over the edge to the land of no return.

Diabetes is the fear of going low 1500m from shore during a triathlon swim and yet still getting in the water because the fear of letting diabetes dictate your life is greater than the fear of an open-water low.

Diabetes is squinting at the tiny air bubbles in your insulin tube, carefully priming to get them out, and then wondering if anyone will do that for you if your eyesight fails and you are no longer able to do that for yourself one day.

Diabetes is listening to people talk about other people with diabetes and all the horrible things happening to them...and refusing to let that stop you from trying to be healthy even though it's just so easy to give up and hand diabetes the reigns.

Diabetes is about doing the same thing, day after day after day, knowing it's only going to work half the time.

Diabetes is about finding a way to be proud of the fact that you test your blood sugar in public and have tubes coming out of you as you walk around the change room after your swim. Because the alternative is hiding and that's not an alternative you're willing to entertain.

Diabetes is all numbers and ratios and signs and symptoms on the outside.

On the inside, it's a never-ending battle between fear and courage. Between motivation and depression. Between the will to fight and the urge to throw in the towel.

Sometimes I'm the one on the left. Sometimes I'm the one on the right. 
Depends on the day. 

The View From The Couch

I have a warm bean bag on my tummy, a blanket over my feet, a glass of red wine and a bottle of water at hand and two cookies sitting on a plate waiting patiently to be eaten. 

I'm on the couch with my laptop on my lap (fitting non?) and I'm all set to write my next blog. 

Problem is that I don't feel like writing about diabetes.

Or running. 

Or swimming. 

I don't feel like writing about what I had for dinner or what I'm doing this weekend. 

Curling isn't doing it for me either. 

I glanced around my living room looking for inspiration. I don't typically need ideas as they tend to flow easily but sometimes I stare at my screen feeling rather stumped. 

Here's what I saw.

I saw the cover of Vanity Fair with Nicole Kidman on it. It made me think about the upcoming Hunger Games movie and how very excited I am to see it. December 5th has already been booked as Hunger Games night and I'm trying to figure out what colour to paint my nails and how crazy to do my eye shadow so I can keep up with Katniss Everdeen. So fun! 

I saw the plate of cookies and was glad that this is not the week I have to write down everything I eat for my naturopath. I did that two weeks ago. And, on Friday, I'm going back for my second appointment. I'm going to find out my blood test results and get some feedback on my eating habits. I'll let you know next week how that goes. 

I saw my iPad and realized that I'm really liking having easy access to books and magazines. I have iPad subscriptions to several magazine and download books regularly. I love the variety and I love that busy week when all the new issues of my magazines come out. That was this week so I'm overwhelmed with choices of what to read: fashion, politics, financial tips, triathlon training, running or cycling. It's great having so much information at my fingertips. 

I saw my baby sitting across from me, quietly reading on his iPad. I realized it's been a rather busy week and we haven't had as much time together as we might like. 

Tonight we have a fun adventure and won't be home until late. Friday I took the day off work and look forward to sleeping in a bit. I don't blog on weekends and, since I have an extra-long weekend, I'll see you folks on the other side. 

Have a good one! 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hurry up eh?

Some days I have time for diabetes.

I have time to cajole the high blood sugars back into range with hourly tests and reasonable boluses.

I have time to bolus ten minutes before a meal to allow the insulin a head start.

I have time to test every waking hour of the day in order to stay on top of things and try to prevent the diabetes gods from getting a foothold.

Those are the days when I'm willing to deal with the never-ending highs that won't budge. I'm not happy about them but I deal with them by the book.

Other days I don't have time for diabetes. And I have even less time for following the rules.

Don't get me wrong. I always make time for the essentials. I test before meals. I test when I feel off. I carb count. I bolus. I test two hours after eating.

The difference is that I cross my fingers that the numbers are where they should be because I'm testing at a red light, one minute before I walk into yet another two hour meeting. I'm testing in the parking lot of a high school right before I walk in to a meeting with five teachers, two behaviour therapists and a host of other people. I'm testing as I walk out the door, bolusing on the way to the car and eating my sandwich and apple as I drive to the next meeting.

The last few weeks have been like that and the next few weeks will be the same, or worse. I run from meeting to meeting, eating lunch on the fly On the surface it's all good. I'm eating healthy meals - albeit in the car. I'm testing. I'm bolusing. I'm correcting.

But the only reason it's working is because, most days, the diabetes gods behave. Sure they have their mini tantrums. But overall they listen and do what they're told with a minimum of threats.

It's times like these when I realize how much I'm looking forward to getting the Dexcom. I can't wait for a time when I can glance down at a screen and have a sense of what my blood sugar is doing...instead of wondering if now is a good time to reach under the table, root around through my purse,  and dig out my glucometer - trying not to draw attention to myself.

I do what I need to do but it will be nice when I have a little device that helps me do it on those days when things are a little too hectic.

I'm guessing it won't be long before I can't imagine a life without it.

Hurry up Dex. Canada is waiting...

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Choices We Make

Some weeks it's pretty easy to fit in all the workouts I want to fit in. I get my three swims done sans problème. I get my three runs in without missing a beat a step.

Other weeks, like last week, things seems to conspire against me.

Last week I had a workshop on Wednesday morning that prevented me from getting my swim in.

I also had an early appointment on Friday morning that prevented me from getting my swim in.

I could have gone to the pool on Thursday morning instead. There are masters classes every morning so it's not a problem.

I could have skipped my Thursday run in exchange for a Thursday swim.

But I like my Thursday runs. A lot.

I like them as much as I like my Wednesday and Friday swims.

So I missed two swims out of three but got all three of my runs in.

I can also tell you that if I had had Tuesday and Thursday meetings last week, I would have missed two runs but got all my swims in.

You could argue that I'm a little too entrenched in my habits.

You could also argue that I should have done two runs and two swims rather than three and one.

You could be right.

I would argue that I did what my body felt like doing. I've had a bit of down time lately in my running routine as I recovered from my half marathon. I am enjoying getting back out there and loving my crisp, early morning, quiet time.

I would also argue that I don't have any scheduled 'easy weeks' at the pool. Every workout is different but they're all pretty tough. So the only down time I get is down time that I create. I figured two days off would make it an easy swim week.

There are no right or wrong answers when it comes to workouts. At least not at my elite level. My body benefits from a variety of workouts, some hard weeks and some easy ones. I made my choices.

The runners among you might agree with them.

The swimmers might argue that too many days out of the pool is never a good idea.

The cyclists might wonder where my cycling workouts were (fair enough).

Luckily the week ahead looks clear in the early mornings so I'll get all three swims and all three runs in. And I'm working on convincing myself that I really do want to head down to the spider-filled basement for my cold-weather 'Bending Crank Arm" workouts.

I'm just really enjoying my lazy Sunday morning routine right now...

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Week Without Bullet Points

What happened this week?

I rediscovered my love for Margaret Atwood. I am rereading Oryx and Crake (which is just as good the second time) and have the next two books in the trilogy lined up and ready to go. I am endlessly fascinated with the way she writes - the language, the undertones of irony, the societal warnings, the humour. Such a Canadian treasure.

I showed up to work on Thursday wearing purple. It was World Diabetes Day which means I should have worn blue but I only have two blue tops and neither were really warm enough for the day. I figured no one I worked with would really care since I'm the only pancreatically-challenged one of the bunch. I arrived to discover that one of them had discovered the importance of blue on November 14th and sent an email out to the rest of them. Almost everyone showed up at the staff meeting in blue. So nice!

I renewed my Canadian passport. It expires in early 2014 and we are already planning a winter escape so I figured I'd better get on it. I got my photo taken and application submitted within 40 minutes. The new one arrives in 10 days. And won't expire until I'm, wait for it, 49 years old. Eeep!

I discovered that regular nail polish can survive two swims in the pool before it really starts chipping. Metallic ones, as pretty as they are, don't survive one chlorine dip. I put on a pretty copper colour on Sunday evening. I went swimming on Monday morning and every nail has chipped or worse by the end of the swim. Sad day. Guess I'll have to save that colour for weeks when the pool is closed.

I was reminded what happens when we close up the house and turn the heat on. I wake up every single morning convinced I am getting sick. My throat is dry, my lips feel cracked. Then I have a few sips of water and remember, again, that it's the dry heat that kills me. Instead of grumbling about the heat, I thank the gods I'm not getting sick fix the problem with a few extra gulps of water.

I run in the dark now, like a vampire, with my red light flashing on my toque and my reflective vest warning cars that, yes indeed, that is a human approaching. Tuesday morning there was a light dusting of snow on the rooftops, the sky was clear and the stars were twinkling. On Thursday morning the wind was howling and the sky was full of clouds. Both mornings I dragged myself out of bed and spent the next 30 minutes trying to convince myself not to crawl back in...until I walked out the door. The wild, unpredictable and beautiful weather this time of year is my favourite. Funny how I forget every time the alarm goes off and yet NEVER regret forcing myself out of bed once I get out into it.

I realized that Christmas is in something crazy like 42 days and I haven't even thought about Christmas gifts. For anyone. I'm just so excited for my family to be together, to meet my new nephew who I have yet to actually see in real life, to spend time giggling with my sisters - I don't care one whit about the presents. Bring on the hugs!!

I only got one swim in this week. I missed two due to early morning commitments that I could not escape from. I dislike missing one swim. I hate missing two. I'm already looking forward to Monday morning so I can slip back into the water again. I hope I remember how to do that body roll I'm working on...

I did, however, have two wonderful runs (see above) and am looking forward to squeezing in a quick 12k run before Doug and I head to Toronto for a day of family visits, friends and trips to fountain pen stores.

For those of you who care about such things, did you see what is coming out very soon?

Pretty! Soooooo pretty!!! 

And this week I made a date with three fabulous ladies to go see the second Hunger Games movie. Dinner first. Then wicked movie. We're all so excited that it's almost funny. 

Except it's not. 

Because we're just so excited. 

Talk to you all on Monday eh?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Any. Day. Now.

I feel like I'm poised, legs slightly bent, ready to spring.

I have done my research, got my doctor's note and called my insurance company. I'm poised and ready to spring the second they announce the Dexcom's release in Canada.

Any.

Day.

Now.

I've done my research and narrowed down my selection for the new GPS (running/cycling/swimming) watch (watches?) I want to buy. Now I'm scouring websites and waiting for Black Friday deals. Pre-Christmas deals. Boxing Day deals. Waiting for the price to drop to a point where I'm ready to buy.

Any.

Day.

Now.

It's getting colder in Canada and I've traded in my running shorts for my winter running tights...which are just a bit too bit. Not too too big but big enough that, even when I tie them up tight, I have to hike them up a few times on runs. I'm waiting for the December sale at our local running club to buy a new, smaller pair.

Any.

Day.

Now.

I've diligently written down everything I ate for a week. I'm religiously taking my digestive enzymes before every meal. I've gone for bloodwork. I've found a website that sells the stuff I need at a pretty decent price. Now I'm just waiting patiently for my second naturopath appointment at the end of next week to see what they say about everything and what they recommend I continue to take.

Any.

Day.

Now.

I'm working to improve my swimming speed to go along with my new and improved swimming stroke.

I'm waiting for the late fall Clinique Bonus Days at Holt Renfrew so I can get a fabulous gift when I buy more face cream.

I'm looking forward to my trip to Toronto this Saturday so that I can stop in at a new fancy pen store to buy more ink for my fountain pen...and maybe buy that lovely kelly green fountain that just came out.

I try hard to live in the moment but sometimes it feels like I'm spending more time looking down the road thinking:

Any.

Day.

Now.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Four and a Half Hours

Monday mornings are especially dark. Darker than any other morning of the week. They are especially cold as well. It's just the way it is.

On Monday morning I woke at 4:48am and looked at the alarm. It was going to start singing at 4:50am so I reached to turn it off so as not to wake Doug. Doug, at the same moment, shifted and got up for a quick bathroom trip before I went in. He crawled back into bed. I crawled out. He whispered "have a nice swim baby" and I whispered "I'll try".

Another week had begun.

There were more of us than usual at the pool. We warmed up for 1050m and, while we worked our way through the warmup, the main set was being written on the board and buckets were being tied together for us.

The main set was the following:
3x50m (with buckets) on 2:00
8x100m (without buckets) on 2:00
3x50m (with buckets) on 2:00
4x200m (without buckets) on 4:00
3x50m (with buckets) on 2:00
1x400m (without buckets) on 8:00

Keep in mind that this is the third workout using my 'new and improved' body roll. I am still in the growing pain stage where nothing feels quite natural and my feel for the water is non-existent.

There were three people in my lane, including me. It didn't take long for them to figure out that I should be third.

The part of the set with the buckets went fairly well because everyone is really slow and it's as much about power as it is about technique. I made up in power what I lacked in technique and managed to keep up.

During the no buckets part of the set, I fell behind but not horribly so. I got every one done under the cutoff time and the person in front of me never got more than about 30m ahead.

During the 8x100m I was told that I did one of the 100m in 1:49.

I know it's only been a week of swimming slowly but I have already lost track of my 'old times' and didn't remember if 1:49 was good or not. I think it's acceptable but nowhere near my faster times. I feel like 1:42s was more my speed...but I could be wrong.

I had been three workouts now since my stroke correction.

I still lag behind...but not as much.

It still feels depressing that I push as hard as I can and still feel sloppy and slow...but not as much.

I still miss my old, comfortable stroke...but not as much. Partly because I'm caught between my old and my new one and neither feels quite right anymore.

The good news is that there is enough of an improvement after each session that I'm excited for the next one to see how much better I can get with another hour and a half worth of practice. Twelve hours is apparently the magic number of hours of practice it takes to make a real change in a swimming stroke. I'm up to 4.5.

Getting there.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Moving from Advanced Beginner to Beginning Intermediate Feels Like Both a Step Up and a Step Down.

Three and a half years ago, Doug brought me to the curling club one Sunday afternoon and taught me how to walk and slide on the ice. How to aim for the broom. The difference between an in-turn and an out-turn and how to come out of the hack without falling on my face.

Or my behind.

It was humbling. It was awkward. It was, as everyone says, way harder than it looked on television.

We joined the Friday night league with two other running friends and played the second half of the season.

The next year we joined again and played for the entire six months.

The following year we recruited four more running friends and formed two teams and we've played together for two seasons in those teams.

I am now two weeks into my fourth full season of curling.

On Sunday morning, Doug and I went to the curling club to take part in a three-hour intermediate curling lesson. It was put on by members of the Brock curling team and led by the coach of the women's team.

We reviewed the fundamentals and went through some exercises to help improve our delivery, our balance and our aim. They broke the delivery down into small steps and we practiced each one - trying to do what we were told without collapsing in a heap.

They even put two rows of small pylons on the ice and had us aim so that we slid between them without hitting them. Again, easier said than done

After that session we headed back into the lounge for some lessons on strategy and tactics. I held my own for a good 45 seconds and then felt my knowledge fail. When I started out I learned how to curl and how to throw my rocks where I was told to throw them. I learned how the game was played but I never really learned the strategy of the game. I understand why one would want to throw a take out or draw to the button but never realized the layers of thinking that go into calling every shot.

It was confusing and fascinating. I quickly realized that I am glad I am not a skip but also quickly realized that I want to learn more.

Like any sport I've ever done, the first step is to just learn how to do it. Learn how to run for five minutes without dying. Learn how to swim across the pool a few times without drowning. Learn how to actually hit the damn golf ball.

Once you can run for 30 minutes or swim a kilometre, or hit a golf ball more often than you miss it, you realize that all you've managed to do to that point is go from absolute beginner to beginner plus one.

Now you have to learn how to run well. Learn how to improve your swimming form. Learn how to actually aim the golf ball where you want it to go.

I've gone from absolute beginner in curling to advanced beginner. I have now moved from advanced beginner (near the top of the heap) to absolute intermediate (bottom of a new heap).

The intermediate heap, from what I can tell, looks a lot more difficult to climb.

Thankfully it also looks a lot more interesting.

Monday, November 11, 2013

What Our Bodies Tell Us

When I checked into the hospital 11 years ago I had lost a lot of weight and was looking pretty awful. I was newly (as in less than two hours before) diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. An endocrinologist was assigned to me. He came to visit me in my room and we chatted for a few minutes.

He then stood at the foot of my bed and asked me to look at him.

I did.

He asked me to turn my head to face the window.

I did.

He announced that I was severely dehydrated.

"How do you know?" I asked, thinking that I drank more water at that point that the rest of my family combined.

"Your nose" he replied.

He had never seen me before so had no idea what my nose normally looked like. But he was able to, correctly, determine that I was severely dehydrated based on what it looked like. He transferred me to Intensive Care, put me on insulin and looked at my nose every time he came to visit. Within a few days, he was happy with how it had 'filled out'.

I have known people whose doctors have diagnosed a deficiency in one thing or another by looking at their fingernails and the ridges that formed there. Horizontal ridges mean on thing, vertical ones mean another.

I find that kind of stuff fascinating.

It's obviously not going to work with every possible diagnosis but our bodies tell us much more than we realize.

The other night I was telling my sister that my naturopath put me on digestive enzymes. She laughs and said that her naturopath did the same for her.

"Did he look at your tongue?" she asked.

No.

Apparently the colour of one's tongue gives a good indication of their digestive prowess. A rich, red colour means, as she puts it, a person can digest a tin can. A pale tongue means that they have difficulty digesting food that isn't cooked.

At a yoga retreat she attended a few years ago, everyone had to show their tongues and they were told what percentage of their diets should be raw and what percentage should be cooked. So interesting.

It sounds part voodoo but also makes sense. My tongue, like my sister's, was pretty pale when we compared to others around us. I do have difficulty with large amounts of uncooked veggies and, like her, would probably have been put on a 90% cooked diet at that yoga retreat. Even the fruit was cooked, just a bit, to help aid in the digestion.

Noses, tongues, fingernails. I'm guessing I haven't scratched the surface on the little hints our bodies give as to how they are doing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Admitting is the First Step

I was driving home yesterday afternoon and listening, as always, to CBC Radio One.

It's a rare day when I'm am not fascinated by what they are talking about.

I missed the beginning of the interview and didn't catch who exactly they were interviewing. Whoever it was was talking about the growing number of people out there who are using some form of alternative therapy. My ears perked up when she said ''naturopath".

The speaker did not have any problem with naturopaths but she did say that many traditional family doctors do.

Because of that, many patients keep that information from their family doctor. They also, often, refrain from mentioning that they are taking fish oil. Or Coenzyme Q10. Or any other non-traditional supplement which, according to the speaker, can interact with pharmaceutical drugs in unexpected ways.

The message was not to stop taking supplements. Nor was it to stop taking pharmaceuticals.

It was to be open with everyone about who you are going to see, what you are taking, and why.

It's interesting.

When I went to the naturopath last week, they asked me to fill out a form with all the medications I was taking and the doses. I didn't hesitate and put every little pill down. I even put down the Vega powder I put in my breakfast shake because it's pretty high in a lot of things and I didn't want them recommending something that might lead to my taking too much.

On the other hand, when I go to my family doctor and they ask what I'm taking, I have no problem listing all the medications that they, or my diabetes doctor, prescribed. I do, however, refrain from mentioning my Vega powder. Or my iron pills.

I haven't seen my GP since I saw my naturopath but I'll be there early in the new year. I already know I'm going to think several times before 'admitting' that I'm taking a teaspoon of fish oil in my breakfast and digestive enzymes before meals.

Because I'm pretty darn sure I'm going to get a sigh and a polite lecture.

I also know that I'm going to think twice about telling my diabetes doctor because I've asked her several times about supplements for people with type 1 and she has always insisted that I only need Vitamin D and nothing else.

I'm not sure what the problem is exactly. I'm a firm believer that I am responsible for my own health and that the doctors, nurses and dieticians I see are there to help me make good choices and understand my options. They are not my bosses and they don't have the right to tell me what to do or not do. They can make recommendations and provide information to help me make my own choices.

And yet I am not thrilled at the idea of telling them about the naturopath in my life and the fact that I'm giving their advice as much weight as everyone else's. I won't do everything they recommend either but I'll certainly consider it seriously.

I have a few months before my next 'traditional' appointment which should give me enough time to get used to the idea that I'm going to have to look my doctor in the eye and say 'yes, I'm taking fish oil and enzymes'.

Do we have a problem?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Stubborn

"On a scale of one to ten, one being low and ten being high, how stubborn do you think I am?" I asked sweetly. 

"In general or when you want to be stubborn?" Doug replied. 

"When I'm actually being stubborn" I said. 

"Olympic caliber baby. With bonus points." was the response. And then he darted outside with the recycling before I could argue with him. 

It's true. I pride myself on being flexible and quick to respond to change but, when I have a reason to be stubborn, I'll dig my heels in so deep it takes some pretty heavy machinery to dig me back out again. 

A funny thing happened at the pool on Wednesday morning. My stubborn streak kicked in big time. The only problem was that I wasn't exactly sure what I was being stubborn about. What I was refusing to budge on. What I was unwilling to yield. 

I just knew it was something.

I mentioned in Tuesday's blog that I was working on changing my swim stroke from barge to speedboat. I mentioned that, on Monday, I had found a drill that worked well at getting me to move the way I was supposed to move without feeling too unnatural. 

The only problem was that I was doing this drill in slow motion. 

On Wednesday morning we got to the pool and were told we had a 'fun' set to do. It was a tough set in terms of distance but the kind of set I normally like. It looked like this: 

Warm up
200m pull
6x50m breast arms with freestyle kick
150m pull

Main set (also known as a pyramid set)
100m fast
200m (4x50m kick)
500m tempo
700m (400m build, 4x50m fast, 100m fast)
700m (400m build, 4x50m fast, 100m fast)
500m tempo
200m (4x50m kick)
100m fast

I put my hand up (like I do when I have a question and also to be funny). "Do you want me to swim fast or to swim well?" I asked. 

"I want you to swim well but push your speed. Keep working on your body roll" was the response. 

Right-o. 

We started. I swam as fast as I could while keeping my body rolling the way I had figured out on Monday. I was lapped in the 100m. 

I lead during the 200m kick set because I'm a pretty fast kicker. 

I was lapped several times in the 500m tempo. In fact, they didn't even wait for me to finish before heading into the 700m set. 

Here's the thing. I was swimming significantly slower than I normally do and yet it felt harder. I no longer had my 'feel' for the water and felt like I was really struggling to move forward.  I was out of breath. It was not pretty. 

It was during the 500m that my stubborn streak kicked into high gear. I will NOT lose my roll. I WILL push to keep the form I'm learning and I will NOT allow my body to go back to the way I always swim. I kept moving. Kept panting. Kept feeling like a new kid at the pool flailing about ungracefully. Kept being lapped by my swimming friends who usually beat me to the wall by seconds, not minutes. 

I got to the 700m part and the other ladies were already more than 200m ahead of me in the set. I pushed harder and harder while forcing my body to keep rolling back and forth, stubbornly refusing to sacrifice form for speed.  

I got to the 4x50m section and my coach told me to swim them "fast!!!". "Dammit" I thought. "I am trying to swim them fast. Can't you see how hard I"m trying??"

I did the first 50m in one minute. 

One minute!!!

Not 50 seconds. Not 48 seconds. 

One. Whole. Minute. 

It was starting to get depressing. Body roll is supposed to reduce drag and help you move more quickly though the water. Not lumber about like a seal with one flipper tied behind his back. 

The next 50m took 58 seconds. The third took a minute. 

Bloody hell! I was getting so frustrated at myself and then at my coach who kept saying 'faster'. 

For the fourth 50m, my stubborn streak kicked in. A different one this time. I pushed off from the wall and purposely fell into my old stroke. My comfortable stroke. My barge stroke. I flew through the water, hit the wall, flew back and touched the wall in 53 seconds. It felt fabulous. 

"That's better!" she said. 

A third stubborn streak kicked in and I thought "no it's not! It's faster for sure. But it's the stroke that you've been on me about to fix for a year."

So I stubbornly went back to the body roll and struggled through the next 700m. It took so long that it was 7am and I still had 800m to go. 

"I'm done!" I said, trying to keep the frustration from my voice. 

"What happened today? Was it your blood sugar or the stroke correction."

"Stroke correction." I said crisply. "I would have stopped if I had blood sugar issues."

"Well, it takes time. Give it two weeks and you'll notice a big difference."

"I sure as hell hope so" I thought as I headed to the shower. Because it's pretty darn tempting to drop this whole thing and go back to being fast.