Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Change is in the Air

I think swimmers notice it first.

Runners are the next group to say something, with a hint of sadness in their voice.

Cyclists take a little longer to figure it out. Or perhaps it's just denial because they are more affected by it in the end.

The days are getting shorter folks.

Slowly but surely the darkness is inching its way into the light.

On swimming mornings, I now wake up in the dark. I get dressed in the dark. I check my blood sugar in the dark and I drive to the pool in the dark. I didn't do that in June. I also wear a light coat to the pool over my tshirt. I still wear shorts of course but there is just the slightest nip in the air.

On running mornings, I wake up just as the sky is lightening. By the time I get dressed, check my sugar and head out the door, it's light, if not bright. I run in shorts and a t-shirt quite comfortably but I do pass walkers out in pants or long sleeves.

On cycling mornings, it's light when we wake up. We comfortably ride in short pants and short sleeves. I still feels like the middle of summer on cycling days.

But the runner in me is feeling a slight change in the air.

The swimmer in me knows the change is already well on its way.

I like change. I'm ok with the seasonal shift and the loss of light. I know it will come back again and I know that the swimmer in me will be the first to notice. The runner will feel it next and, when it's finally warm enough to get the bike back on the road, the cyclist in me will rejoice.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Looking for Advice

I mentioned last week that I was asked to write an article about supporting people with diabetes.

The article will be geared to support workers who work with people who have a developmental disability but, let's face it, diabetes is diabetes.

Today's blog is short but really important and I need your help.

What do you want people to know about supporting someone with diabetes?

What are some frequent misconceptions that people have about diabetes?

What are some frequent misconceptions that the medical profession has about people who have diabetes?

Tell me about some great ways that you have been supported and some downright awful ones.

Tell me about the things people say to you that inspire you to be a little bit better and the things that people say that make things worse.

I will be writing about types 1 and 2. I know a lot about type 1 and a lot less about type 2.  How do you explain type 1 or type 2 diabetes to people in a way that they understand?

I have a rough draft already about what I want to talk about but I am one voice in the diabetes choir and I want to add as many voices as I can.

So leave a comment and add a few notes to the music.

Pretty please.

Monday, July 29, 2013

A Running Shift

There seems to be a shift in the running world.

A shift from running and only running to multisporting.

It tends to happen like this.

Runners run. They run far and they run often.

Then they discover cycling.

They buy a bike.

They figure it will be easy because they are a runner. They discover it's not. They are surprised. They keep cycling and get better and better. It seems to help their running, and it's fun, so they keep at it.

Then they hear people talking about duathlons.

They think it might be fun so they try it.

It IS fun and they love it.

Then they realize that it's not as hard on their body as running for 2 hours and they it takes a lot less time to recover.

Some of these runners then find themselves in the pool. Some are there to recover from an injury. Others want to add a third sport to their repertoire. Next thing you know they are buying wetsuits and signing up for sprint triathlons.

Doug and I have a group of running friends. I am one of the only ones who doesn't have a pretty impressive collection of marathon medals. These folks are runners and they are serious about it. They commit to 20-week training plans. They focus on one event and dedicate hours and hours per week preparing for it.

And yet, one by one, these dedicated running friends are signing up for duathlons and triathlons. And loving them. And doing well.

And not talking so much about their next marathon.

Instead, they're talking about improving their transition times, how to hydrate on the bike and how to get their damn wetsuit on.

It's fun to watch and great to be a part of.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Reaching Out

Yesterday was a very interesting diabetes day.

I started writing my blog pretty innocently back in January 2011. I had no secret ambitions. No plans for world domination. I just wanted to reach out a little bit and see if anyone reached back.

They did and I have made some pretty amazing friends and learned a lot of diabetes tips and tricks. I also like to think that I may have helped a few people along the way...and perhaps helped dispel a few diabetes myths.

Yesterday, I was asked to write an article for a newsletter that is distributed pretty widely in my field. It's a newsletter aimed at direct support workers who support people who have a developmental disability.

I was asked to write an article about supporting people who have diabetes.

I am honoured and excited by this challenge and can't wait to flex my writing muscles.

I was still grinning from that new when I arrived home after work to discover a FedEx envelope waiting for me.

From Animas.

With a thank you card and a CD of pictures from the photoshoot we did a few weeks back.

Later this year I will be featured in their Animas newsletter.

Neither of these honours would have happened without diabetes and neither would have happened if I hadn't decided to be open, honest and very public about living life with type 1.

I'm so glad I reached out.

I'm even more glad that people reached back.

Here is a small sample of the photos Animas sent me. It's pretty odd being in front of the camera instead of behind it but I'm happy with the results. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Seven Under Double Par

Monday night was golf night. After a week of triathlon racing, recovering from triathlon racing, doing another triathlon, I really wanted to get back on the golf course.

I suggested Monday night.

I came home from work and Doug announced that we were going to a different golf course.


That's like saying I have to run in different running shoes on a different running route. It's completely crazy is what it is.

So of course I happily went because I knew he would take me somewhere lovely that would be challenging but not overly so.

It was an 18-hole golf course but we were only going to play nine holes. It was a short course, as Doug described it, which means an executive course that is easy to walk. There were par 3s and par 4s (new for me).

For those of you who don't know much about golf or who forget (or don't particularly care), I am trying to sink each ball in under double par. In other words, if a hole is par 3, my goal is to sink it in six strokes or less.

Hey, I'm just starting, gimme a break!

I won't give you a stroke by stroke playback of all nine holes because that's just way too much information.

As my friend Inigo Montoya says:  'Let me es'plain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up'.

1. Par 3 Score 6
2. Par 3 Score 3 (yep, I got par on a hole for the first time in my life)
3. Par 3 Score 6 (not earned - which means I count six strokes because that's the max I can count but I didn't actually sink it in six)
4. Par 3 Score 5
5. Par 3 Score 6 (not earned)
6. Par 4 Score 7
7. Par 4 Score 8 (not earned)
8. Par 4 Score 8 (not earned)
9. Par 3 Score 4 (this one was over a water hazard. I didn't hit my ball hard enough and it didn't look like it was going to make it...but it landed on a rock, bounced up and landed perfectly on the green. Crazytown).
Total score if I got par on each hole was 30. Double Par (my goal) was 60.

I scored 53!!

Seven under double par.

I'm not exactly consistent in any way and my swing is nowhere near intimidating or inspiring but I'm learning more every time we go out and liking it more too.

Even though it's frustrating as all hell.

Wish me luck on Thursday. I have a golf date with two girlfriends. No Doug to hold my hand and tell me what golf club to play. And new people to feel intimidated and embarrassed in front of.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Learning on the Bike

The cycling portion of duathlons and triathlons is the longest. Both distance-wise and time-wise. 

Swimming is my forte but, no matter how fast I swim, I only gain a handful of minutes on the slowest swimmers. Cyclist after cyclist go whizzing by me during the bike. By the time the ride is done, I've lost any advantage I had, several times over. 

So I'm trying to learn how to get faster on the bike without burning up before the run. 

My natural cycling style is to put the bike in a hard gear, typically in the big ring, and give'er. That translates into low cadence but high power. It allows me to maintain a 25-28km/hour pace on most rides and most races. 

Problem is that my quads are exhausted by the time I have to run. 

In Gravenhurst I decided to experiment a bit. Trying something new on race day is not typically recommended but I wasn't particularly well-trained for the race and everything about the event felt pretty new anyway so I figured it couldn't hurt...much. 

I decided to stay in the little ring as much as possible rather than stay in the big ring as much as possible. The little ring, essentially, translates in to less resistance which means you have a higher cadence (ie. you pedal faster). 

It was a hilly course to be sure so it made a lot of sense to stay in the little ring. Still, even on the flats, I pedalled fast rather than hard. 

I didn't break any records and I was essentially cycling at the same speed I always cycle at. 

The difference was that my legs felt quite fresh at the end of the bike and held up beautifully during the run. 

AND, I didn't experience that awful wobbly-leg feeling I often get when I start running after being on the bike. 

I tried the same thing in Belwood last weekend. My bike speed was no different but my run went so much better. My legs had lots of energy left and didn't flag at all during the run. 

So I have not yet figured out how to get faster but I think I'm learning how to cycle smarter. 

I guess the next step is to be able to keep the cadence up in higher and higher gears. 

I'm thinking that is what translates into speed on the bike? 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Belwood Triathlon

Sometimes I plan races for months. I sign up so early I get a super cheap rate and I have a training schedule posted on the chalkboard in the kitchen.

Other times, I race on a whim.

Last Wednesday, Doug and I were looking at our calendars for the summer and trying to decide which triathlons worked with our schedules.

"There's one in Fergus this Saturday" he said. We have great friends in Fergus with a lovely house along the river. "Sure, c'mon up, we'd love the have you" they said when Doug called.

So on Thursday morning, we signed ourselves up for our second triathlon in 7 days.

Good lord.

No training plan. No tapering plan. I was just glad we had our laundry done from Gravenhurst before we packed it all up in the car again.

At least it was a sprint rather than an Olympic tri. I only had to swim 750m, bike 30k and run 7.5k this time.

Neither of us had raced Belwood before. When we arrived, we discovered that it's a lovely conservation area with a surprisingly big lake and beautiful roads for running and biking.

The days leading up to the race had been horribly hot and humid. I'm talking 40 with the humidex kinda awful.

On Friday evening, the clouds rolled in and a super storm roared through southern Ontario. By Saturday morning the temperature had dropped to 17 degrees and we actually regretted not packing light jackets. How nice was that timing eh?

My blood sugar/basal rate plan didn't go quite as smoothly as Gravenhurst did but it was still pretty stellar compared to my pre-waterproof pump days. I spiked after breakfast and was not pleased to discover that I was 16.4 thirty minutes before the start. I bolused to correct it despite the risk of going low. Ten minutes before race time I was 14. I was dropping (that's good) but it seemed a bit fast so I had a gel despite the risk of going high again.

(Diabetes is a lot like gambling isn't it? With a bit of go with your gut and what the hell thrown in for fun.) 

The swim went well. I finished the swim and the long run to transition in 16:09 and was 5/18 in my age group for the swim. The fact that I'm in the top third just seems so crazy to me but I love that I can hold my own in the water. A guy from the wave ahead of me who I caught and passed yelled "wow, you're fast in the water" as he ran by me into transition. How's that for an ego boost?

Post-swim BG was 8.5. I quickly weighed the pros and cons of eating something and decided not to. I paid close attention to how I felt on the bike but did the entire 30k without eating anything. I wanted a gel before the run and didn't want to be too high on the bike.

The bike went fairly well. My overall pace was 25.5k/hour and I finished the 30k in 1:10:37. Slower than Welland but pretty good considering the nasty headwind and 'rolling' hills we had for a lot of it. I was 30km/hour (ish) on most of the flats and I passed a lot more people than I normally do. So yay for getting faster on the bike.

Post-bike BG was 4.6. Too low to run obviously but not too bad. I had a gel and raisins in transition and headed out for a 7.5k run.

The run was my best triathlon run yet. I am normally pretty toasted by the run and have not yet completed a tri or du run without several extended walking breaks. My pace is usually 7:00 (or higher) min/k and it's all I can do to finish.

This time, I ran. I didn't go crazy but I only allowed myself to stop briefly (15 seconds or so) at water stations. And I only stopped at 3 of the 6 stations. I ran 7.5k in 48.11 which is a pace of 6:28 min/k. I felt tired but strong and was so so proud of myself. PLUS I knocked 7 minutes off my Welland run time for the same distance.

I finished with a time of 2:21:27 which put me 16/18 in my age group. Nothing to write home about but I am getting better with each event in terms of how I handle each sport, how I handle my blood sugars and how I feel at the end.

Oh, and how did Doug do you ask?

Second in his age group in his second triathlon. Swim 18:02, Bike 1:07:53, Run 39:20. Total time: 2:10:12. 

Best of all, we waited around for his medal so we also got to be there for the draw prizes. He won a gift certificate for 3 dozen Hero burgers (woot!) and I won the grand prize which was this wicked cooler from Chocolate Milk (the title sponser) filled with socks, a t-shirt, a hoodie, towels and an ice pack from Milk. We looked pretty funny with all our loot. 

Friday, July 19, 2013

Head First

I have a confession to make.

Wednesday, at the pool, about fifteen minutes into our workout, I cried. 

Out of sheer frustration, but still, I cried.

And I learned something really important about myself: I love to swim but I am not a big fan of the other stuff that comes with swimming in pools - like flip turns and diving. 

Wednesday morning we were told that we were swimming 50x50m. Some 50s were fast, some were easy. Some were kicking and some were dragging. 

All of them had one thing in common: they started and ended in the deep end and we had to climb out after each 50m and dive back in. 

The rationale was that it would give us a great arm workout. 

"Um, I don't dive. I hate diving." I immediately said. "Can you give us some tips or something?" 

"Keep your head down" was the only tip I got. Plus a bit of encouragement about getting better with practice. 

I dove in. My goggles shifted and immediately filled with water. 

"I hate this" I thought. 

I climbed out and was told that my dive was actually pretty good. I didn't care. I just clenched my jaw and dove again. Goggles pushed hard against my nose and shifted, filling with water. 

Bloody hell I hate this. 

By about the fifth one, I was crying with frustration. No matter what I tried, how I tucked or didn't tuck my head, how close to the side or far from the side I dove, my goggles shifted or just plain hurt my face. I pulled off my swim cap and tucked my goggle strap underneath it. Still sucked. 

I am stubborn and I did 45 of the 50 before I had to leave.  I dove most of them.

By the time I left I had a huge bruise on my shin from climbing out of the pool 45 times and my face hurt from diving back in. 

"Not your favourite workout eh?" Christine asked.

"Not even close" was all I could mumble before leaving. 

The next morning I woke up to discover four kinds of pain. My abs hurt from heaving my body up and out of the pool. I take that as a good pain. 

My butt hurt from lifting myself up with my leg after using my arms to get myself halfway out of the water. Another good pain.

My shin was black and blue and very tender from leaning on it 45 times getting out of the pool. Bad pain.

My eye sockets were so tender I couldn't touch them. There is no visible bruising but they were puffy and still sore two days later. Bad pain. 

Tether me to four buckets and make me do 200m sprints and I will happily do them. 

Tie me to the wall and have me work as hard as I possibly can to fight the tether and I actually look forward to it. 

300m time trials are awesome. 

1900m open water races are fun and not quite long enough.

Freezing cold open water swims feel wonderful and pushing myself to the point of exhaustion feels great. 

Diving? If I never ever have to dive again, I'll be a very happy girl. 

And I can tell you right now that I will not be participating in any indoor races if diving is involved. I can't even tell you how uninterested I am in that. 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heat + Insulin = ??

I mentioned in my Gravenhurst race recap post on Monday that my blood sugars in the wee hours before the race were pretty horrific - hovering above 13 for hours and hours.

I changed my pump and popped in some fresh insulin and everything seemed to return to normal.

On Tuesday, we drove home from Gravenhurst after breakfast. I was feeling pretty rotten in the car so I checked my blood sugar. It was 20.4. Bah! I bolused and rechecked an hour later. 17.5. I repeated this cycle for a few hours and drank three huge bottles of water. I got it down to 10, took a double bolus for a protein bar because I was starving, ate it, and spiked again.

We got home, unpacked, did groceries and laundry and I fought to bring my blood sugar back under control again.

Then it dawned on me. We had spent most of Monday outside. In the shade and on a boat with the wind whipping by but still outside. It was 35 degrees.

Did I cook my insulin?

Sick on feeling high, I changed my site and my insulin for the second time in three days.  We had dinner and I settled nicely down to a more normal number.

There are lots of other logical reasons for my pre-race high (jitters being a big one). There are also other possible explanations for my Tuesday high. I hadn't exercised in three days. I was probably a little dehydrated after the day before.

Or both days of highs could have been caused from the heat wave we were in the middle of. Did I cook my insulin twice in four days simply by being outside?

The thing is that my insulin rarely, ever, does that. Even when I've done 2-3 training runs in the heat of summer, the insulin remained effective.

What's the difference this time?

I haven't changed the type of insulin I use but I have changed my pump.

Could different pumps be insulated differently? Do different pumps react differently to heat? It is the reservoir? Do they react differently in the heat?

I don't know but I will definitely be more vigilant as this heat wave continues. It's turned into a pretty expensive diabetes supply week.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gravenhurst Sprint Triathlon

I apologize for not posting on Tuesday this week but we spent Monday in Gravenhurst: eating, boating around Lake Muskoka with friends, hanging out at the cottage and eating some more. It was lovely.

We're home now and it's time to write about the second race of our race weekend. The one I spectated. The one Doug competed in.

This was Doug's first ever triathlon and he chose the start with the sprint distance which was 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. The bike and the run followed the exact same course mine did - he just turned around earlier. And the swim started with a jump off the Wenonah steamship - just like mine. So Doug was able to watch my race and get a pretty good feel for what to expect for his.

Sunday started off bright and sunny and hotter than Saturday (which was pretty damn hot for the record).

We headed down to the start and Doug set up his transition area. Duathlons are his multisport of choice and setting up for three sports took some rethinking of the transition area.

After everything was put in its place, it was time to yank on the wetsuit. It was approaching 30 degrees already so imagine how it felt to don a rubber suit. 

We headed down to the boats and I waved goodbye to Doug. 

I tried not to think too much about him jumping off a ship in the middle of the lake and swimming 750m to shore among flailing arms and legs. 

We couldn't stand on the dock to watch the swimmers so I had no idea where he was. My only gauge was the colour of the swim caps coming in. Doug was the last wave and was wearing a yellow cap. When I spotted the first yellow cap come in I knew the speedier swimmers in his wave were arriving. I waited another minute or so and what to my wondering eyes should appear...

...but my favourite swimmer looking pretty damn proud of himself. 

After that, he was in his element. The bike went very well, up and down the hilly route. 

Heading back into transition. I snapped the photo and then ran to photograph him getting ready to run but he was off and running before I got there. 

I got him heading for the finish. 

Multisport does a great job of providing quick and effective ways to cool down in the heat. Cold water and misting fans were Doug's method of choice. 

See the lady in white beside him dumping spongeloads of ice water on her head? That's what I did at the end of my race. Worked like a charm. 

Cooled down a few degrees, fed, rehydrated and feeling much more refreshed. 
Now Doug can add triathlete to his list of accomplishments. 

Triathlete with a first place medal in his age category on his first try (tri). 

Heading into the chute, Doug spotted a man in his age group ahead of him. Doug sprinted and passed him at the last second - literally - and found himself in first place. 

And I couldn't be prouder. 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Gravenhurst Olympic Triathlon - Race Recap

The other title to this post is: Diabetes Perfection.

It didn't start out that way. The night before the race, after driving to Gravenhurst, checking out the race route and having a pre-race pasta dinner overlooking Muskoka Bay, we went to bed. I woke up two hours later to a blood sugar of 13.3. I bolused and chugged water. Two hours later I was 17.4. I sighed, bolused more aggressively and drank more water. Two hours later I was 14.0. Same routine. At 5:30am, when my alarm went off, I was 9.0, dehydrated, exhausted and unsure what to do. There was no time for fiddling. I removed a one-day old infusion site and tossed out an almost full insulin reservoir. I was not taking any chances.

Fresh insulin and a fresh site, I started up my race day basal profile, drank a LOT of water and had my granola/yogurt/banana breakfast.

Being tired and emotionally spent after a night of fighting highs, we headed to the race with me feeling resigned rather than nervous. Which probably ended up being a very good thing.

I racked my bike, set up my transition area and listened to the very extensive pre-race instructions. There are a few more things to think about apparently when you take an old steamship to the start of the swim.

The famous Jason Vurma giving us our pre-race instructions. 

Down at the docks ready to board the steamship

I was feeling pretty calm about the whole thing but watching my blood sugar like a hawk. I was worried about the heat and knew that my blood sugar climbs when I compete in these types of temperates. I also didn't have time to make sure the new site was working and just had to hope for the best. Three checks, thirty minutes apart showed 7.1, 7.0, 6.7. Looks like the basal profile was holding up well so far. I had a box of raisins before heading on to the ship. 

Leaving the dock and heading out to the starting buoys. 

A lot of the ladies in my wave were pretty nervous about the 6 foot jump off the ship. I ate my pre-race gel, gripped my goggles in one hand, and was one of the first off the ship. I wanted to get away from the nervous energy. I treaded water waiting for the start. 

The two steamships unloading their swimmer cargo. 

We had to swim left for 400m (past the island you see) and then swim 1100m straight to shore. 

The swim was awesome. I felt good the entire way and I swam a strong but not crazy pace. I finished the 1500m swim and the run to the transition zone in 32:59. 

I wouldn't normally check my blood sugar between the swim and the bike but, I was worried, so I did. I was 6.3. So far so good Mr. Basal Profile. That meant my plan was working and I could have a gel on the bike. 

Heading out for the 40k ride. Most of the route was quite hilly (rollers as they were described) which meant I worked hard on the ups but got breaks on the downs. My pace was slower overall but it felt easier because of the downs.  

Coming in from the ride. I still felt really good which surprised me. I haven't ridden 40k at all this year and I had already swum first. I didn't expect this feeling good thing to last much longer. I finished the bike in 1:36:10. 

I checked my BG again in the transition zone. It was 7.0. Unbelievable! My plan was still working and I got to have my pre-run gel. I have never had such stellar and stable numbers in an event and never been able to eat what I wanted when I wanted. 

The run was hot and there was almost no shade for the entire 10k. It was also hilly for most of the course with a few short flat sections. I didn't know what to expect but I told myself to run easy rather than hard and try not to walk unless it's a water station. I managed to do that for the first 5k and, for the first time in my running career, I passed more people than passed me. 

The 5k run back was harder and I was really overheating. I took more walk breaks but, 2k from the finish, a girl in my age category passed me. Normally, I wouldn't care but this time I did. I chased her, and passed her, on the last hill. She chased back, I could hear her behind me, but then she gave up. I ran the next kilometre at a good clip but, 500m from the finish, she sprinted past me. I gave chase but had no speeds left other than the one I was running. 

But I ran those last 2k really fast and finished so proud of myself. I had expected a tough tough race. I didn't expect to feel good from start to finish. I finished the 10k in 1:10:40 instead of the 1:15 that I had hoped to do. 

My final blood sugar check? 


I enjoyed a post-race chocolate milk. After a well-deserved shower, we had a huge lunch. A big dinner. A chocolate bar. 

My blood sugar never spiked and I didn't have one post-race low. 

I think that's what made the difference. I ran a race with perfect blood sugars. I ate when I wanted. I drank what I wanted. My energy stayed high the entire time. I was an athlete like everyone else out there. 

It was nice. 

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Olympic Triathlon Basal Profile

Tomorrow we leave for Gravenhurst...and my first Olympic triathlon attempt. I have a packing list ready for tonight, a nail polish colour picked out and lots of emergency carbs and site changes packed. 

I also have a special basal profile entered into my pump - ready to be initiated on race day morning. It's like a basal profile sleeper agent - laying in wait for the secret password to trigger the execution of some high profile politician. 

(On a side note: Doug and I started watching Homeland last week...)

The Welland sprint tri a few weeks ago was my first attempt at a special race day basal profile. It worked but not as well as I has hoped. It kept my blood sugar between 8-10 the entire time which is great but it didn't allow me the flexibility of having a pre-run gel which I really wanted. 

My goal is to find a basal profile that keeps me safe and yet gets my blood sugar low enough after the bike ride that I can have a gel without worrying about spiking too high. 

Here's what I worked out based on what I know about how my body reacts to swimming, cycling, running and race day stress. 

We have to be on the boat by 8am. The race starts at 8:30am and I plan to have a gel right before jumping off the boat into the lake. My goal is to have a second gel in the transition zone before the run. 

swim 1.5k: estimated finish 9:00am (total time 30 minutes)
bike 40k: estimated start 9:05am, estimated finish 10:35am (total time 90 minutes - including run to transition and transition)
run 10k: estimated start 10:40am, estimated finish 12:00pm (total time 75 minutes - including transition)

Based on that, my basal profile is: 

7am 60% basal rate
9am 150% basal rate (to deal with the pre-swim gel and the fact that my blood sugar is probably high after the swim)
9:30am 60% basal rate
11:30am 150% basal rate (to prevent the post-race spike and deal with the fact that I'm probably a little dehydrated and climbing at this point)
12:30pm 100% basal rate 
2:30pm 60% basal rate (to deal with the post-race low)
5:00pm 100% basal rate and resume regular basal profile (based on how the BGs go, I may reduce my basal for longer than 2.5 hours or lower it overnight). 

Races involve a lot of planning. 

Triathlons involve a ton of planning - three sports in three and a half hours is a lot to think about.

Diabetes + triathlons = a notebook, a calculator, a huge bag of supplies and backup plans for my backup plans. 

Three and a half hours. That's my realistic estimate based on my current running ability and the fact that the bike and run course are hilly. If I cross the finish line anytime before noon I will be pretty damn proud of myself. 

As always, I am not a doctor. Diabetes is crazy and unpredictable. What works for me will probably not work for you. Feel free to learn from my experiences but please play at your own risk. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Golf Game Number Three

Monday night Doug and I had a super early dinner and headed to the golf course for my third ever round of golf.

We arrived to discover that Monday nights are Ladies' Nights so we had to wait until 5:45pm before we were allowed to play. They gave us a free bucket of balls to keep us entertained until we could get on the course.

Poor Doug. A man in a sea of women.

I hit balls, working my way through all of my clubs in the hopes that a bit of practice would make a difference.

My goal, as you might remember from my monthly goal report was to play this 9-hole, par 3 golf course over and over and not totally suck by the end of the season.

The golf rules dictate that a player should give up on a hole if they haven't sunk it in twice par. So, on a par 3, I'm supposed to 'give up' if I haven't sunk the ball in 6 strokes. So the worst score I can get is 9x6 which is 54. During the first two games, I scored a 54 but I didn't really earn it. Some holes I sank the ball in six strokes, some I had to concede after 6 strokes. None took less than 6 strokes.

On this, my third round, I scored a 50!

I still scored 6 on six of the nine holes. Four sixes I conceded, two I actually earned. No big changes there.

The biggest excitement was that I scored a 5 on two holes and a 4 on one.


That, my friends, is called a bogie and it's one stroke away from a par. Which is totally wicked and very exciting (for me anyway).

Doug was pretty proud too I think. 

Anyway, I'm a long way away from the Canadian Open but I do feel like there's hope yet.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Sedentary Athlete

I've noticed lately that there seem to be a lot of articles, news broadcasts and radio discussions about the dangers of being too sedentary.

In fact, sedentary seems to be the new smoking. Or the new overweight. It seems that we can do a lot of damage to our bodies by not moving and it can lead to all sorts of health problems.

On a typical week, I exercise six out of seven days. My swims are an hour and a half. My runs, right now anyway, are just under an hour. My bike rides are typically an hour and 15 minutes, give or take.

That's a lot of exercise. At least I like to think I'm pretty active.

Problem is that I don't move a heck of a lot other than that. My job is extremely sedentary and I sit at my desk for eight hours a day. I come home and spend part of my evening on the couch. I sleep for eight hours a night.

When I think about it, I lead a pretty sedentary life...with a few short intense bursts of activity thrown in.

Yes, I could do better at moving when I'm at work. I could force myself to get up every hour and walk around for a few minutes. I could take fifteen minutes in the afternoon to go for a walk around the block. Nobody in the office would mind and, in fact, I might have a few people who would like to join me.

As for after work, by that point I'm just tired (probably from having been sitting all day) and I don't want to do anything. That's why I do my exercise in the morning - when I want to move and when I'm full of energy. By evening time, I'm pooped and am quite happy to sit on the deck or the couch and read.

Should I make myself go for a walk? Would it make that much of a difference after all the exercise I do in the mornings?

It just seems crazy to think that, according to the news lately, I'm not moving enough.

But maybe I'm not...

Monday, July 8, 2013

Aktiv Swim Series - Race Recap

Friday night  we headed to the Welland Flatwater Recreation Centre. Doug wanted some open-water swim practice so we went early enough for him to get a swim in before the race started.

Here he is after his 600m swim - all ready for Gravenhurst next weekend.

By the way, Doug and I usually swim together in open water. It was surprisingly hard to stand on the dock and watch him get smaller and smaller as he swam further and further away. I was much happier to have him within reach.

Once he was safely back on land, it was time to get ready for my race. I was a little nervous because I have not had much practice with swimming in the evenings and was worried about my blood sugar. As a precaution I had set a 50% basal rate starting at 4:30pm for two hours. The race was at 6:00pm so I figured that would help avoid lows. My blood sugar at 5pm was 9.0. At 5:30pm it was 8.7. It seemed to be pretty steady and the low basal would hopefully keep it that way.

I tucked two gels into my bathing suit just in case...

Modelling the lime green swim caps that we were given to wear. For the record: it totally clashed with my blue nail polish and blue and yellow bathing suit. 

Testing out my new goggles that I just bought. They are not prescription because I normally wear contact lenses during triathlons and I learned the hard way last summer that contact lenses + prescription goggles = a very fuzzy landscape. I wanted to give them a good test run before Gravenhurst to check for leaks. 

They fit nicely and didn't leak at all. Lesson for next time: wash off eye makeup before evening swims or you come out of the water with some pretty funky racoon eyes. 

Warming up my muscles and getting used to the still slightly chilly water temperatures. At least I wasn't the only person not wearing a wetsuit. 

Janice and I splashing around before the start. 

We had a mass start. They forgot to bring the horn so the organizer stood on the dock and yelled "Ready? Go!". There were 19 people swimming the 1.9k race and 12 swimming the 3.8k. The course was 1.9k long so the longer distance swimmers had to swim it twice. My goal was to not get lapped. 

Almost at the finish. I totally thought I had decent sighting technique. Apparently I lift my entire head out of the water. Gonna have to work on that skill. 

The hardest part of the race was that we had to heave ourselves up onto the dock and run to the timing mat in order to register our time. Upper body strength after a hard swim is not my forte. Laughing while trying to get out probably didn't help. 

I struggled halfway up and then fell back in. 

After that I gave up trying to maintain any semblance of dignity. I flopped down on my stomach and rolled my way on to the dock. 

Seriously?!? It's wet and slippery and I'm freaking tired. And I could hear the clock tick tick ticking away as I struggled my way up. 

Made it! 

This is the only photo that gives a sense of the race course. The bridge in the distance is 500m. We swam 950m out and then back again. 

Don't slip, don't slip. 

Done and done! I finished 12/19 with a time of 36:53. I beat a bunch of the wetsuit swimmers too. According to Christine, my coach, swimming in a wetsuit is like running with rollerblades. It's a wee exaggeration I'm sure but I'm glad I can keep up with folks who have an 'edge'. 

My post-swim nose honk that I apparently always do but never noticed until Doug started taking pictures of it. By the end of the summer I'll have an entire gallery of nose pulling pics.  

I'm really happy with how it went. It's hard to judge pace out there in the water but I felt like I maintained a decent speed the entire time. I pushed hard but not so hard that I struggled to breathe and I was still strong at the end (just not strong enough to get out of the water!). When I passed the bridge and had about 400m left, I asked myself if I could now get out and hop on the bike for 40k followed by a 10k run. I decided that I probably could but that I would definitely need to pace myself in order to survive. 

My post race blood sugar was 6.9 which was pretty freaking awesome and my pump survived the mass start with all the kicking and flailing. 

Blood sugar a few hours later was 22.0 which was totally not awesome. It took hours to come down despite a few rage boluses. Apparently I'll be needing a post-swim basal increase to prevent THAT awful feeling from happening again. 

All in all it was a great evening of swimming and I will absolutely do it again in a few weeks.