Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Tri Limbo

People keep asking me what triathlons I'm doing this summer.

I'm not sure what to say to them.

As much as I love cool spring weather and as much as I prefer 12 degrees to 28 degrees when it comes to running temps, our freezing winter and less than balmy spring have meant that the water temperatures are taking their sweet ol' time warming up.

Last year, we had a super early and unusually warm spring. Despite the warm temperatures we didn't get into the canal for open water swimming until June and, even then, it was breathtakingly cold.

This year, I'm not sure what's going to happen.

The first triathlon on my radar is Welland which is in the middle of June. At this rate, the water will still be so cold that the swim will be wetsuit mandatory.

And no, Jeff, I have not yet jumped on the wetsuit bandwagon.

There is a triathlon in Toronto in early July but it's in Lake Ontario. Last year I swam in Lake Ontario near Toronto in August and it was still agonizingly cold.

I feel like I'm in a weird sort of triathlon limbo.

I'm keeping up with my swimming, cycling and running. All three are going well. I could do a triathlon tomorrow if I needed to.

And yet I have no firm plans lined up for what my tri season will actually look like. After last summer's über-organized triathlon schedule, it's bizarre to be training but not really sure what I'm training for.

It's also kinda freeing.

I'm just enjoying the activities for what they are and am not at all worried about the details.

It's kinda nice to be honest.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

One More Activity to add to the Calendar

Some of you might have noticed that, when I've talked about golf during the past few weeks, I also made reference to 'our golf club' or 'our golf course'.

Doug has been a member of the local golf and country club for a while now. I've been a curling member there for several winters but decided to jump in with both feet and sign up as a golf member too. At least for this summer. To see if I like it.

Being a golf member has its privileges. One of which is a small but serviceable gym.

You know, the kind with weights and a treadmill.

I haven't used a real gym of any kind in years and years.

I run outside in all weathers and all seasons. If it's just too awful to run outside, I don't run.

I cycle outside during the spring, summer and fall and cycle in the basement in the winter.

The only facility I actually drive to and pay fees to exercise in is the community pool.

Now I have use of a gym. With weights. And a treadmill.

I used to love lifting weights back in my YMCA days but haven't done that since discovering my love of cardio activities on the open road.

Now I have the use of a gym. With weights.

It's pretty much there for the taking.

Problem is finding the time in my fitness schedule to squeeze in some weight lifting.

Finding the time? Or making the time?

Considering how much I love my swims, rides and runs, and the fact that I'm taking full advantage of golf season, it really will be about making the time.

Any scheduling tips for how to squeeze it all in? While working full time, sleeping 8 hours a night and spending quality time with Doug?

Monday, April 28, 2014


Pssst! It's Zip. The Fitbit. 

You have to help me.

I have been purchased by a madwoman. 

Do you know what she did on Saturday?!? 

She woke up at 6:30am. On a weekend for heaven's sake. After waking me up at 5am or earlier all week. Who does that??

She pulled on her running tights. I have already learned that running on a Saturday means that we're headed out for a run that is longer than the runs we do before work. Last weekend we ran 10k together on Saturday so I figured we'd be back home within 75 minutes and enjoying a warm cup of coffee while we stretched. 

She headed out along the same route we took last Saturday. So far so good. 

I've noticed that she starts off kinda slow. It seems to take her a few kilometres to warm up. She slowly found her rhythm and her pace picked up bit by bit. 

As we approached the corner we turned at last weekend, I smiled and prepared to congratulate her on being half done her run. I was also looking forward to heading back into a warm living room as it was starting to drizzle a bit. 

She didn't turn. 

She didn't turn at the next corner either. Or the one after that. 

When she finally turned, we were 8k from home, I had no idea where we were and I was starting to worry she was running to Toronto. That's about when Doug pulled up in the car to see how she was doing. She said she was fine, feeling pretty good actually, had a few sips of water and carried on. 

At 10k, she turned left down a street we have never been down before. She ran 2k down that street and then, if you can imagine, turned around and ran 2k back to the 10k spot. Except it was now the 14k spot. 

She pulled over at Doug's car, drank some water and Nuun, checked her blood sugar and compared it to Dexter (who, to my happiness, was along for the ride. At least I had someone to talk to). She had a gel, half a pack of fruit chews and headed off again. 

I had no idea where we were but home was nowhere in sight. And it was still drizzling. 

She ran another 3k and she actually got a bit faster with every kilometre. Like 20 seconds faster than she was running at the 10k mark. One last quick pit stop with Doug at 17k for a drink and then he left and she carried on to run the last 3k home. 

Twenty freakin' kilometres!! On a Saturday morning. Before 10am. 

Twenty one thousand steps. 

She's a complete nutter. 

She bounced into the house and announced that she felt great. Her blood sugar behaved, nothing hurt and her energy held. I'm learning that these are really important things. 

I am also learning that there are different definitions for 'sleeping in on Saturday morning'. 

Looks like I'm going to have to learn to love the wee hours. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

5am Chafing, Quinoa Shampoo and Speedy Sprinting

I haven't written much about swimming for a while now.

Not because I haven't been swimming - because I have - but just because there always seems to be something else to talk about.

I figure it's about time for a chlorine update.

First of all, my new red bathing suit is holding up well. Thank you for asking. I have noticed a bit of chaffing on my shoulders where the straps sit. I have never ever had bathing suit chafe before. It's a whole new way of thinking for me and I can tell you that applying body glide before pulling on my bathing suit at 5am is one too many things to think about at that hour and I have not yet remembered to do it. Thankfully it's pretty mild chafing and does not hurt at all.

Also, I have a new chlorine shampoo that I'm trying. The one I usually buy was not in the store when I went the other day and, since I had waited until the very last minute to restock, I needed to buy something. The lady suggested a brand called Abba and said that their Detox shampoo would be great. She tried to convince me by telling me that it was all natural, gluten free and vegan. She also assured me that the shampoo contained quinoa, barley AND soy.

Thank goodness for small miracles.

I asked if this tasty concoction had the power to strip the chlorine from my hair while leaving the colour intact. She assured me that it did. Despite my reservations that this shampoo sounded more like a fad diet than a chlorine busting superhero, I bought one. And, because I was almost out of conditioner, I bought the Abba Colour Protect Conditioner as well.

I tested them both out on Wednesday morning and, after my initial shock at the bizarre brown colour of the shampoo, I was more than pleased. They both smelled delicious (a huge plus for me), the shampoo worked well and the conditioner left my hair feeling fabulously soft. I also read the bottle a bit more closely and apparently my shampoo also contains molasses and baking soda which explains the brown colour. Happily, the high molasses content did not seem to affect my blood sugar.

Believe it or not, I actually do swim when I go to the pool. It's not all about bathing suits and shampoo testing you know.

On Wednesday morning we had a fun workout. At least I thought it was fun.

After a 1000m warmup, our main set looked like this:

5x100m build on 2:00 (minutes)
4x100m variable on 1:55
3x100m 25m steady/25m hard on 1:50
2x100m 50m steady/50m hard on 1:45
rest for 1:00
100m hard

To explain a few things:

Build means get faster as you go so each 25m of the 100m is faster than the last and the final 25m is pretty darn fast.

Variable means that, in the first 100m, the first 25m is fast and the rest is steady. In the second 100m, the second 25m is the fast one. In the third 100m, the third 25m is the fast one and you can guess which 25m is fast in the fourth one.

I was in a lane with two boys who are faster than I am so we didn't even discuss the fact that I would be going third. They sorted out who was first and second and then, when the red hand touched the top of the clock, we were off.

I knew that the first 5 100m would be ok because I can do them easily in under 2:00. I knew I would be tired by the 4x100m and that I would, at best, get 5 seconds rest between those. I figured I'd be touching the wall and turning right around in the 3x100m and I didn't think I could keep the pace time for the 2x100m.

Turns out I was right on all counts. It also turns out that I kept up fairly easily to the boys and, by the 3x100m, the guy right in front of me told me to go ahead of him since I kept catching him.

It also turns out that when you have almost no rest between 100m, you don't actually swim a bunch of 100m repeats. You end up swimming 900m without stopping. Very very different both mentally and physically. I like it because it appeals to the long-distance runner in me.

I'm happy to say that I finished it all, I kept up and I held all pace times except the last one at 1:45.

I'm also happy to say that, after the one minute rest, I was able to find enough energy to sprint the final 100m in 1:36.

I remember the days when breaking 2:00 for a 100m sprint was tough.

Not anymore baby. Not anymore.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Jumping on the Diabetes Bandwagon

There is something very physical about how it feels to have a high blood sugar. Or a low one.

The pasty mouth and bizarre headache of a high blood sugar and the heart-palpitating, tingly-lipped cold sweat of a low are hard to explain and, I would argue, impossible for someone to understand unless they feel it for themselves.

There is also something quite non-physical about highs and lows. Something, dare I say it, akin to jumping on a bandwagon.

Take a low blood sugar for example.

My body is pretty good at giving me signals when my blood sugar is low or when it is dropping. Sometimes though, it doesn't.

Or perhaps it does and I just don't notice.

Either way, there are times when I feel perfectly fine until Dexter starts buzzing or until I do a random blood sugar check and see the number 2.2 staring back at me.

In less time than it takes me to process that number, my body goes from feeling fine to being attacked by a full blown, sweaty, shaky, blurred vision low.

It's like my glucometer decided I was low and then my body decided to jump on the bandwagon.

Or the other night when Doug and I had pizza for dinner when we were out at an event. I pre-bolused like a good pizza eater and after about 20 minutes, I had my pizza.

Not long after that Dexter, who had only recently been changed and was still having trouble getting his calibration act together, started screaming that I was over 10 and climbing fast. Within 20 minutes he told me that I was 13 and fifteen minutes later I was apparently 16.

I sat through the rest of the meeting feeling more and more like a bag of dirt and was grateful when we finally left and were able to head home. My head ached, my teeth hurt and I felt so dehydrated I couldn't wait to guzzle a huge glass of water.

When we got home I pulled out my glucometer and tested. It told me I was 8.2. Not 16.

I checked again just to be sure and was told I was 7.7.

So apparently I had calculated my dinner correctly and Dexter just needed to get his act together.

Guess what happened?

Yep. I immediately felt better once I saw that I was not high after all. All the high symptoms miraculously disappeared.

Did my body jump on the high blood sugar bandwagon or did I really truly feel all of those high symptoms?


Sometimes I think it's all in my head.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

(Almost) Naked Shower

Yesterday I just missed having my second naked shower since November. 

One in six months. That's just sad when I think about it.

Yesterday morning I went out for an 8k run in the cold spring rain. Dexter, who was already 10 days old and holding on by a combination of sheer determination, the fear of my wrath if he let go before day 10, and some well-placed tegaderm, didn't survive. My wet and heavy shirt kept rubbing on him and, by the end, he had come completely unglued. 

When I got home, I dug him out from under my wet layers, placed him on the counter to dry and headed up for my shower. 

After my shower, I noticed that my infusion site was also barely holding on after the rainy run. There was just enough insulin left in my pump to make it until dinner so I taped it in place, crossed my fingers and went to work. 

I fought highs all day. Not high enough to go home and change my site but high enough to make me think that I may have caused some structural damage to the site and not all the insulin was getting in. 

I changed it the minute I got home and that is when I realized that, if I had changed it in the morning when I was doing Dexter (that sounds worse that it should), I would have been able to have a naked shower. 


Naked showers, for those of you who get to take one every day, are a luxury that I rarely get to enjoy anymore. 

The thought of not having to gingerly wash around my cyborg parts and just being able to enjoy the shower is, well, I can't even think of the right word for what it is but it's a damn nice thought. 

The thought of not having to think about where and how I stand in the shower so that the water doesn't directly hit one of my sites when the edges are already started to come unglued. 

How many of you actually know how to stand to make sure that some parts of your body get wet but never actually get directly sprayed by the water? How many of you care? I'm guessing it falls in the category of 'who the hell does that?'.

And imagine the whole post-shower drying off process. Dry arms vigourously. Dry legs vigourously. Dry abdomen...oh wait, dab, dab, carefully dab so as not to knock any cyborg parts off. 


I missed my naked shower by a handful of hours. 

With pump site changes every 4-5 days (usually in the evenings) and with Dexter changes every 8-14 days, the odds of both sites coming off on the same day at the same time just before I need to shower are roughly the same as the odds of my taking up figure skating.

Or ballet.

Or anything else that requires a combination of grace and short skirts. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Zip's Easter Weekend Adventures

Hi kids!

It's me, Zip. Remember? The Fibit.

Well, I arrived a few days earlier than expected and I was able to spend the entire four-day Easter weekend with my new pal Céline. 

We seem to be getting along (that's a relief!) and I've already learned a few things about her. 

First of all, she's the most active sedentary person I know. It's crazy. She'll be all quiet and peaceful in bed for, like, 8 hours and then suddenly the alarm clock starts chirping and she's up. Next thing I know we're dressed and heading out for a run in the dark.  

Or a bike ride in the freezing cold. I mean I don't really track bike rides since I'm a pedometer but she took me along anyway. Probably to test whether or not I counted steps while she was riding. 

Well I'm pretty smart and I assure you that I did NOT mistake a bike ride for a walk in the park and I didn't count a single step. She seemed pleased with that. 

She also took me to the pool but I'm not waterproof so I sat in her locker. It was a little creepy since I was stuck in there with this guy named Dexter who kept crying out for her until she came back.  It was dark and she took a long time. I almost started crying too but didn't want her to think I was wimpy. Anyway, that's another story. 

So she's pretty active but then she'll also spend hours happily sitting quietly on the couch after whatever activity she just finished. Sipping her coffee and reading. For hours. 

Like hours and hours. 

There were two pretty crazy days though. Friday and Monday she took me golfing. I could not believe how much this lady walked. And she had already been out for her 5:30am swim. 

Both golf games took just over four hours and she walked and walked and walked. She also carried her clubs which seemed a little hardcore but she assured me it was actually quite comfortable and easy to carry them. 

On Friday she walked over 13,000 steps and I logged the distance at over 10k. On Monday she walked about 15,000 steps and together we walked about 11k. 

I've been with her four full days now and, according to my calculations, she had walked 55,000 steps and covered 43km, including a 10k run on Saturday morning. 

That's, like, a lot. 

Now, today is a work day so I'm guessing my job is going to become a little less interesting. She'll run in the morning before work which should be fun but she warned me that her job is pretty sedentary so I'm guessing I'll be having a pretty quiet day. 

Hopefully I can guilt her into walking around the block after lunch...

So far, my biggest worry is that she will forget to take me out of her pocket at the end of the day. Twice I ended up in the laundry bin before she remembered I was still attached to her pant pocket. 

Since I really am not waterproof I'm guessing I will eventually meet my demise in the watery depths of the spin cycle. 

Until then though, I'm going to hang with my new pal C and cheer for her on the golf course. 

She did well by the way...for a beginner. 

Monday, April 21, 2014

Dexter and I Spending Quality Time Together

Sometimes I picture Dexter like a night in shining armour. He protects me. He keeps me safe from the diabetes monsters. He watches over me while I sleep and yells at any sign of danger.

Other times, Dexter is more like a puppy that has completely destroyed the living room couch and is sitting innocently in the kitchen when you discover the mess.

What?!? Me??

And the only reason he's still alive is because I somehow manage to hold on to the memory of the times when he has protected and cared for me.

On Friday, Doug and I went golfing with some friends. We walked all 18 holes, had dinner at the club and then drove home. My blood sugar during the game was pretty stellar. Thanks to a reduction in my basal rate and a well-timed Larabar, I hovered between 6 and 9 the entire time.

I ordered the curry chicken with basmati rice and naan bread for dinner. I bolused for most but not all the carbs because I figured those four hours of walking would catch up to me.

We enjoyed dinner, came home and settled on the couch for an hour of West Wing before bed. I bolused for six squares of chocolate to enjoy during the show and checked Dexter every five minutes to see when my blood sugar would start dropping so I could enjoy the chocolate.

Enter crazy puppy covered in couch stuffing.

My blood sugar when we got home at 8pm (we had a rather late dinner) was 10.0. By 8:30 it was 14 and by 8:45 it was 16. Dexter is set to alarm once I hit 10 and keep alarming every fifteen minutes until I drop below 10 again. He was having a fit on the table.

I bolused despite the fact that I still had a ton of insulin in my system from dinner. I also checked the site to make sure it wasn't leaking (it wasn't).

By the time the show ended at 9pm, I was 20 and still climbing. I was also feeling pretty awful. I put my chocolate squares back in the cupboard for another night. I checked the infusion site again (no problem), checked for air bubbles (none), and double-checked that I had indeed taken insulin for my dinner (I had). I also double checked my blood sugar on my glucometer in case Dexter was playing a joke on me. It matched up right to the decimal point.

Despite feeling exhausted from our golf game, I couldn't go to bed so I took another bolus, stretched out on the couch and tucked Dexter in beside me. I dozed off for fifteen minutes until he buzzed. I was still 20 but no longer climbing so I figured the insulin was kicking in. I dozed again for fifteen minutes until he buzzed me awake again. Still 20. Damn.

Doze, buzz, check, bolus, repeat until 11pm. I was still hovering between 19 and 20. No signs of a faulty site but no signs of any blood sugar drops either.


I bit the bullet and changed my infusion site and filled a new reservoir with fresh insulin just after 11pm. I took a full correction bolus for a blood sugar of 20. For me, that is 3.6 units. With the other 7 units that were supposedly coursing through my system, I now had enough insulin in my body to probably kill me twice.

I settled back on the couch knowing that Dexter would keep alarming every 15 minutes until I got back down to 10.0 again. No point in keeping Doug up too.

We settled into a routine where I dozed between alarms and woke up to check. After fifteen minutes I had already dropped to 18.5. Within 30 minutes I was down to 17. Every fifteen minutes I was at least one number lower. Sixteen, fifteen, fourteen, thirteen.

When I hit 12.0 I headed upstairs. It was almost 1am and I figured there would only be one or two more alarms from Dexter before I dropped below 10.0. That was exactly correct and, thirty minutes later I drifted into a grateful, uninterrupted sleep. I woke up a few times on my own and saw that I had dropped from 20 to 6.5 and then settled there for more of the rest of the night.

My last correction bolus was the only one that seemed to work. I have no idea where those other 7 units went but I keep waiting for a rogue pocket of insulin to explode under my skin and send me plummeting into the blood sugar depths. It's been two days and I'm still leary of touching where the previous infusion site was in case there is a rogue pocket of insulin hiding there.

As for Dexter, he buzzed every fifteen minutes from 8:00pm on Friday night until almost 2am on Saturday morning. I was grateful he kept waking me up and yet I was ready to throttle him at the same time. He was minutes away from execution.

I'm guessing he was feeling roughly the same about me.

Would that woman just get her damn blood sugars under control so I can get some sleep!!

The next morning he was quiet and stoic with a lovely flat line on his screen. I looked like I had survived a rather rough night on the town.

And thus concludes anoother chapter in Céline and Dexter's diabetes adventures. Not one I ever want to read again.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

It's Happening

In the last two years, the following things have happened:

I have started dyeing my hair and I eagerly look forward to each appointment at the salon because I can actually see fistfuls of grey appear between appointments.

I have started paying attending to the face cream I buy. I need to make sure that it had as high an SPF as I can find but I have also started looking for words like ‘anti-aging’, ‘overnight recovery’, ‘wrinkle-fighting’ etc.

I am shorter than I used to be. Not by a lot but by enough that I would much prefer that my doctor asks to check my weight rather than my height. It makes me sad that I have already reached my peak height and am heading down the other side.

I am now considered a senior golfer at the golf course.

On the other hand I have gone from being the oldest in my age category to the youngest which will be fun this summer when I'm doing triathlons. 

I have stopped wearing shimmery eye shadow and now gravitate towards matte because it seems more fitting for people "my age". 

Of course, when I'm out with my sister I usually wear some crazy combination of colours and we prance around like glamour girls.

I have come to realize that warm-ups and cool-downs are actually an important part of any workout. In fact when I hop on the training for a cycling workout and the guy on the video says to warm up at 80rpm, it takes me the entire length of the 10-minute warm-up to warm up enough to be able to cycle 80rpm.

I wear contacts when I am outside in the sunshine which allows me to wear sunglasses to protect my eyes. 
I need the contacts to see far. I can see just fine close up without my glasses. Turns out that, when I wear contacts, everything close up becomes blurred. To the point of not being able to read small print or be able to tell if there are air bubbles in my insulin tubing.

I have to dress up more often than I used to which makes me feel like I'm acting more mature than I actually am sometimes. I've learned that wearing fun socks helps that. Anyone with x-ray vision can see that, under my fancy dress boots, I am wearing socks with sushi pieces all over them, knee-high bright pink socks with black moustaches or crazy striped ones. It's fun and makes me feel a little more me. 

I love playing Scrabble as well as doing sudoku and other puzzles. I used to do them purely for fun. Now I do them mostly for fun but also to keep my brain active because that's what we are supposed to do to keep sharp in our dotage. 

I add spinach to my breakfast shake to make sure I am getting enough vegetables in my diet. 

I read Macleans. I watch Sunday Morning and 60 Minutes. I am currently reading a handbook on golf rules. 

I say things like "that's totally awesome" and then secretly wonder if anyone else says that kind of stuff anymore. 

When I look online for shoes or sandals, I always click on the "orthotic" option because there is no point in buying shoes if my orthotics can't fit into them. Right? 


Omigod it's happening isn't it?

I am turning into my forty year old self. 


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Meet Zip

Oh hi there! 

My name is Zip

I am a fitbit.

I'm a super-duper pedometer. As in I track your steps and keep track of how far you've walked in a day. I also sync with your iPhone or iPad and keep track of your progress. 

Oh, and I'm a wicked shade of green and just look really cool. 

I'm currently sitting in an warehouse somewhere but that is about to change.

A nice lady, well I assume she's nice anyway, just ordered me. Her name is Céline. That sounds like the name of a nice person I think. If all goes well, I should be packed, shipped and delivered by next Tuesday.

Rumour has it that this Céline lady is planning to spend a lot of time golfing this summer. As in three or four games a week!?! Rumour also has it that she's a bit of a fitness freak and prefers to walk most of the courses she plays.

She apparently keeps track of her other activities (running, cycling and swimming) and decided that it would be fun to also track how far she walks and how many steps she takes during a golf game. And I'm guessing, since she is apparently a new golfer, she will be walking A LOT!

An hour of research, some reading of reviews, a few clicks of the mouse and voilà! I'm about to have a new home.

Give us a day or two to get settled and then I promise to be back with a review of how it's going. She might take a bit of getting used to as I figure out her quirks but I have every confidence that we'll get along fine.

Hopefully she comes with a manual...?

Stay tuned for more updates from Zip and Céline on their golfing adventures.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Personal Support Team

I ran 18k on Saturday morning.

In shorts!!!

Afterwards, I stretched in the sunshine on the back deck and watched a robin hopping around in the garden looking for nest-building supplies.

It really does not get any better than that.

Oh wait, it does.

I ran 18k on Saturday morning.

I headed off to the country roads. I saw the ditches and rivers swollen with spring runoff. I saw the red buds on the trees and the tiny flowers blooming underneath. I heard the birds singing with the same happiness I felt as my body remembered the joy of running in the sunshine.

For the first hour, I was completely alone. Alone in my thoughts with only the sound of my feet to keep me company.

And then exactly halfway through my 18k run, a familiar black car approached and slowed to a stop a few feet ahead of me.

Doug, my support team and my cheerleader, had arrived. With my water and my Nuun. With my glucometer, salt tablets, edisks and snacks. With a smile and a twinkle in his eye.

"How's it going baby? You look good. Feeling ok?"

If that doesn't sound good an hour from home, I don't know what does.

He was there at 9k for my big pit stop and blood sugar check. He was there at 12k and again at 15k for a quick water break.

And with a wave and a last few words of encouragement, he was off, leaving me alone for the last 3k home.

I have run 18k alone many times. I could have run 18k alone this time too. I know what I need to bring with me to be self-sufficient and I am happy to do it.

Every once in a while though, it sure feels nice to be taken care of.

Especially by someone with such a nice smile!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Outcomes for Diabetes Conference

Last Friday was a pretty amazing day.

It was the day when I spoke to a room full of diabetes educators at the Options for Diabetes Conference in Kingston.

I've been preparing for it for a few months. I developed my presentation and I practiced it over and over again - usually in the car as I drove to appointments. I would practice, realize that a slide I had created needed to be moved or changed, practice again, and tweak again.

My goal?

To inspire people by telling them how, with a slow and steady plan, I went from not being a runner to becoming a half marathoner. How I went from not being able to swim 50m to swimming over 3km, 3 times per week. How I went from never having been to a race before to becoming a half-marathon finisher and a triathlete.

More importantly though, I wanted to paint a picture of what it is like to live with diabetes. And how, after we leave our appointments with our diabetes support team, we go back home again. Home to live our life with diabetes without their support. For months and months on end.

I painted that picture and then I talked about how important it is for people with diabetes to find other people like them. I introduced them to the DOC and I stressed what a crucial role it plays. It does not replace our medical support team but it does help fill in the time we spend dealing with diabetes on our own.

Finally, I talked about how important it is for them, as our medical support team, to get to know us as people. By learning a bit more about who we are and what is important to us, they will be better able to support us the way we need and want to be supported. I talked about One Page Profiles, showed them mine and talked about how much of a difference they can make.

Do you know what happened?

They liked it.

They listened.

They asked a ton of questions.

They caught up to me in the halls afterwards and asked more questions.

They asked if they could email me, if I would like to speak at other events, and if I would be willing to help them learn how to better get to know the people they support. I was even asked if I would be willing to help with one page profiles for a sports camp for kids with type 1 that happens at York University.

And I said yes to every single request. How could I not?

I wanted to make a difference that day and I want to make a difference every day.

In less than an hour I helped get a room full of people jazzed about how they can get better at helping people like me.

In less than half a day I met people who seemed to really want me to help them do it.

Who knows how far this will go but I like to think that, somehow, my little talk in Kingston may make a difference.

Friday, April 11, 2014

What I Will Talk About

This morning, around the time this blog is posted, I will be getting dressed in my hotel room in Kingston.

I will then be heading down to the restaurant for breakfast and caffeine.

I will then be heading into a conference room to hook up my laptop and, for the tenth time, make sure that the slideshow and the sound are working properly.

At 8am, people will start trickling in with their coffees in hand and, at 8:30am, I will be introduced to the crowd.

And then floor will be mine for an hour as I speak to a room full of diabetes professionals.

I will talk about myself and paint a picture to show that I am much much more than a diabetes label.

I will talk about how I was diagnosed and what the word "Type 1" meant to my 28-year old self.

I will talk about the journey that I have been on since my diabetes diagnosis and that, no matter how challenging diabetes can be, it always seems to have a role to play in making my life better.

I will talk about how, any goal, no matter how crazy it may seem at the start, is manageable when broken down into bite-sized pieces.

But more importantly, I will talk about the Diabetes Online Community. I will talk about how I discovered it. I will talk about how it, and you, made such a difference both in my daily life as well as in how I manage fitness and health. I will talk about how important the DOC is as a way to provide support and encouragement to people in the time between our six-month appointments. When we are dealing with all of the diabetes stuff on our own. When we don't always have people in our lives who understand.

I will talk about how taking even a few extra minutes to get to know who a patient is can make a world of difference in terms of how care is provided.

I will encourage them to explore the DOC and encourage them to talk to the people they support about it.

And hopefully, by 9:30am, I will have made a bit of difference in the world.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

All the News That's Fit to Print

In sporting news....

This Sunday morning our cycling group may, I repeat may, be riding OUTSIDE. For the first time since October. It will be crisp and we will need to wear many layers of clothing but, for the first time in six months, I won't be on the trainer in the spider-filled basement. Not to mention the post-ride chocolate milk and cycling banter. Yay!!

On Wednesday morning at the pool there was a head-on collision. As in one swimmer pulled out to pass another swimmer and crashed head on into a swimmer in the oncoming lane. I was the swimmer in the incoming lane. It only took five minutes for the shaking to stop after having been shocked so badly and it only took four hours for my headache to subside. The fear of random crashes in the pool may take a little longer to go away...

On Wednesday evening I bet, well actually Doug bet for me, $10. Five dollars that Angel Cabrera will win the Masters and five dollars that Jason Dufner will. If either do I plan to retire on my winnings.

Since I last changed Dexter I have run 22km, swum 6km and cycled for 90 minutes and he is still firmly attached. I can normally get one swim or two runs out of him before he starts to become unglued. I'm not sure what's up with this one but I think he has a crush on me.

On Tuesday evenings, starting as soon as it gets warm, I will be golfing with a group of three other women. Two of them I do not know. The one I do know assured me that I'd fit in just fine. She said she's only been golfing for 15 years and isn't that good. Oh dear.

On Tuesday last week I received an email with a photo advertising this year's Aktiv Open Water Swim Series. The one I swam in twice last summer. Take a look at the poster and see if you recognize anyone...

On Sunday last weekend I ran 16k. Afterwards my stomach was kinda unhappy and would not settle despite chocolate milk, an apple with some almond butter and a comforting lunch of oatmeal. A running friend of mine had told me earlier that she read about someone who drank pickle juice for electrolytes on runs. We laughed about gross that sounded but, on a whim, I decided to eat a pickle. Guess whose stomach settled immediately? 

On Friday last week in the locker room I was chatting with my swimming friends after our workout. They were talking about how lazy they were. These are the people who were at the pool at 5:30am and had just finished a tough 90-minute workout. Lazy?!?

And that, my friends, is all the news that's fit to print.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Things That I'm Happy About This Week

Things I am happy about this week

  • that I have had Dexter on for seven days and he doesn't even need sticky reinforcement yet. 
  • that I drove for an hour yesterday and the sun shone the entire time
  • that my presentation for Friday is all set and ready to go
  • that Doug and I tried homemade nachos, complete with homemade pico de gallo, and it was delicious

  • that I haven't seen one snowflake this week. Not one!
  • that the Parti Québécois was soundly thumped in the provincial election and that the discriminatory ideas they had will not come to pass. Go Québec for voting for inclusion rather than exclusion!
  • that the sun doesn't set until almost 8pm now
  • that I finished the book I was reading called the Sixth Extinction. It was quite interesting and made me long for my science days
  • that, after searching in three different Winners, I found my favourite shampoo at a really good price and bought one of those big huge bottles
  • that we are all stocked up for the easter egg hunt we are running at a family Easter event
  • that I've only snuck three (ok four) chocolate eggs from the Easter egg hunt stash (don't tell Doug)
  • That Game of Thrones Season Four has started. We don't actually get HBO but just knowing it's on makes me happy.
  • That it's Wednesday today but, since I have the next two days off, it's kinda like Friday.
  • That I have a four-day weekend this week AND next weekend
  • That the Masters is on this weekend and, if the weather holds, our own golf course might just open too
  • That we're watching Season Two of West Wing and I really like it 
  • That my red bathing suit seems to be holding up nicely so far
  • That I make lists like this sometimes and they remind me how many things there are to be happy about.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Back on the Course Again

Golf season is upon us and, just like that, I begin my second summer as a golfer.

Despite a desperately long and cold winter and a slow to start spring, Doug and I managed to drag our clubs out of the basement on Sunday and get a bit of practice in.

Our golf club is not yet open for playing and the driving range is still off limits but the short game area opened this weekend so we headed over to join the hordes of other golfers itching to get out to play.

No drivers were allowed so I practiced my sand trap escape technique which, while it may be a little unorthodox, works fairly well most of the time so I am loathe to change it.

I practiced my wedge shots where the goal is to hit the underside of the ball, scooping it up in the air and then watch it drop down all lovely-like onto the green. I manage to do that about half the time. The other half I hit the ball on the top rather than underneath and send it careening across the green into the bunkers on the other side.

Which I guess is good because it gives me more bunker practice.

I practiced my putting and was reminded that I am very good at either aiming or getting the weight right but it's a rare moment when I get them both working well at the same time.

Finally, Doug and I played a wee little game by hitting the ball around the practice area. We played three par 3 holes that way. The first took me 6 shots to sink. The second took me 8 because I kept going from the bunker to the other side of the green and back into the bunker again. The third one I sunk in 2 giving me my first birdie of the season.

Game on!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Dexter's First Run

Unlike Lucky, my super pump, who come with me everywhere but the shower, Dexter sometimes gets left behind.

Not because he's been misbehaving. Not because I don't like him.

Unlike Lucky, Dexter is not waterproof. At all. And he's kinda pricey so I'm a little protective of his sensitive nature. That means that he stays in the locker when I swim and he stays on the counter when I head out for runs.

It's actually a little sad because the first thing I hear when I walk up to my locker after a swim is his sad little vibrations from inside.

"Hello?? Is anyone out there? Have you seen my mom?"

Saturday morning I woke up feeling well-rested after a lovely night of blood sugar steadiness. No midnight buzzing from Dexter meant a solid 8-hour sleep. My body was raring to go for its 16k run.

Then I heard the 40km/hour winds howling outside and decided that I would wait until Sunday for my long run. Sunday was supposed to be 10km/hour winds, sunny and heading up to 12 degrees by noon. So I cycled for a bit, stretched, iced and prepared for my Sunday long run.

Saturday night I went to bed with steady blood sugars. Unfortunately Dexter woke me up a few hours later with high numbers. I tested to be sure he was right and then took a correction bolus. Thus began a five hour ping pong match. Every fifteen minutes he buzzed and woke me up. Every 30 minutes I took more insulin unless I was dropping. Back and forth we went. Finally around 4am I took an extra large dose, dropped down to 7 and held steady until 8am when I stumbled bleary-eyed out of bed.

The sun was indeed shining. The wind was indeed calmer. But I was not feeling particularly frisky for a run.

Unfortunately I was running out of weekend so a long run was going to happen whether I was feeling it or not.

After that night of unexplained highs, I was a little worried about spiking up again during my run. I didn't want to have to lug my glucometer with me and test every half hour so I decided that Dexter was coming along for the ride.

He seemed excited about it to be honest.

I took him out of his protective case and tucked him into a ziplock bag. I filled my pockets with emergency carbs, tissues and lip balm.

Pre-run I was 5.5. I had a date and a gel and headed out.

At 5.5k I peeked at Dexter. He said I was 7.4 and holding steady.

Doug met me at 10k. Dexter told me I was 8.5 and a glucometer check told me I was 9.0. I drank some water and some Nuun and soldiered on. Doug met me again at 13k and Dexter said I was 7.5. I drank a bit more and headed home.

Once home, Dexter said I was 7.0. My glucometer said I was 5.5.

He survived his first run and did fairly well. I know that continuous glucose monitors are not as precise during rapid changes in blood sugar and during exercise. That being said, it was neat to see what my blood sugar does on a 16k run. I've never seen that before. And it was comforting to know what was happening, especially after the night I had.

And, despite a pretty rough night, I managed a decent 16k run. I finished it in 1:46 and, in case you didn't notice, my blood sugar was 5.5 when I started and 5.5 when I finished.

Can't complain about that.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Insulin Works!

It's so very easy to forget how essential insulin is. How much of an impact it really does have. How we are one missed bolus away from big problems.

When things are going well and my blood sugar is doing what I expect it to do, taking insulin feels kinda like taking vitamins. You are pretty sure they're important but you don't really know if they are doing anything. You know you should take them so you do but you don't really feel any different for it.

Then there are those other days. The ones that teach you, without a doubt, that insulin ranks up there with oxygen and water in terms of importance.

Like yesterday. When I woke up to a lovely blood sugar of 6.4. When I had a date and then ran my fastest 8k in months. When I got home to a blood sugar of 8.0. When I bolused for breakfast, waited fifteen minutes and ate. When I showered, dressed and headed to work.

Here is what yesterday looked like.

I'll let you guess what which point I realized the importance of insulin. 

If you look at the graph you'll notice a little gap towards the left. That's when I left Dexter at home while I went running. I came home, bolused, ate and all hell broke loose. 

After breakfast I climbed quickly and steadily upwards. In less than an hour I was 17. Usually after a run and my regular breakfast, I'm pretty steady. I knew something was up and guessed that my infusion site was not exactly infusing. So I bolused two units and held my fingers against the site as the insulin went in. I pulled them away and they were wet and smelled like insulin. 

Yep, faulty site. 

Most or all of my breakfast insulin never went in and, in my sweaty clothes, I didn't notice the extra moisture on my skin.

I headed home for a quick site change, bolused again and you can see for yourself how nicely I dropped down and how steady things were after that. 


Looks like I do need it after all. 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Fire Engine Red

Wednesday morning I went to the pool sporting my brand new, fire engine red, TYR bathing suit.

Why should you care?

Because it is the first bathing suit I have purchased in 15 months.

When I first started swimming, I purchased a bathing suit. My criteria was that it had to fit well and it had to look more 'swimmer' than beach goddess. I found a great suit that met the standard and I wore it proudly.

It took less than two months of swimming before it started to disintegrate from the chlorine.

I bought another one.

And another one.

The best one lasted three months before it became transparent when I held it up to the light.

Finally I had the good sense to complain about it in the change room. All the women there immediately chimed in to tell me that I had to purchase a chlorine-resistant suit.

Seriously?!? It's that simple?? These things actually exist?

In retrospect I should not have been surprised. I have learned through all my sports that there is an invention out there to meet absolutely every need - real or imagined.

I was told about a swim shop about 30 minutes away that sells all sorts of swim supplies as well as a wide variety of chlorine-resistant suits.

Last January, and by that I mean January 2013, Doug and I made the trip. I bought a lovely blue Speedo for about $30 more than I had been paying for the see-through suits. I figured I'd have won if it lasted six months instead of three.

It lasted 15 months thank you very much and it is still perfectly opaque in all the right places. The only problem is that it slowly stretched over time and I was now spending a bit too much time adjusting it in the pool in order to remain respectable.

So on Monday I headed back up the highway and purchased another suit. A bright red one this time. A TYR.

When I wore it to the pool on Wednesday, I felt super fast. I had forgotten how good it feels to have a bathing suit that fits snugly and that doesn't sag or shift. The long slow stretch went unnoticed for so long - kinda like how running shoes slowly wear down and you only realize how bad they are when you put on a new pair.

In fact it was kinda weird to see the outline of Dexter and of my infusion site. Weird in a good way - like I was a cyborg with fancy cyborg parts.

My red suit and I will be spending lots of hours together.

Fifteen months is the new record.

Let's see how long this puppy lasts.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Oh She Glows

There is a blog I have been following for a few years now. It is written by a fellow Canadian lass named Angela Liddon.

It's not a diabetes blog.

It's also not a running, swimming or triathlete blog - although she does talk about exercise sometimes.

This may or may not come as a surprise to you but it's a vegan blog called Oh She Glows.

I discovered Angela a few years ago when I decided to look online to see if there was a way to make homemade Larabars. I loved (still love) Larabars and was going through them at an expensive rate. Considering the ingredient list on most of them was three or four items long, I figured it couldn't be too hard to make them on my own.

I found Angela, printed out her recipe and discovered Oh She Glows.

The larabars were delicious. As were the energy bites recipe I tried. And the roasted tomato soup. And the green monster smoothies that made her famous. She develops her own recipes, grows a lot of her own ingredients and taught herself to take some pretty stunning food photography.

And despite being a meat-loving, gluten eating, kinda girl, I kept coming back to her blog.


Because Angela makes delicious recipes. I could care less that they are vegan and I don't avoid any foods or food groups so the fact that most recipes are gluten-free, dairy free, processed sugar free etc didn't make one ounce of difference either.

I just really really like her recipes and am constantly impressed at how tasty she can make foods that are, rightly or wrongly, are often thought of as tasteless. Plus I like the fact that it gets me to try stuff I wouldn't normally try - like spelt berries and chia seeds.

A few weeks ago, Angela released her first cookbook.

A few days ago she announced that her vegan cookbook make the New York Times bestseller list. In less than a month.


I bought her cookbook and have tried three recipes so far.

A cauliflower lentil curry soup. An African peanut stew. And a protein goddess (her name not mine) salad.

All were easy to make. All were super healthy. All were delicious. All made for wonderful leftover lunches. Most importantly, all were satisfying and kept me satisfied despite some tough early-morning workouts that usually leave me super-hungry all day.

I already have two people in mind for whom I will be buying this cookbook.

I also have a bunch more recipes bookmarked that I will be trying.

This gluten-loving carnivore gives the Oh She Glows cookbook her stamp of approval.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Workout Report - First Quarter

The first quarter of 2014 is behind us already.

Some people I know have already started Christmas shopping. I won't be included on that list until we are well into the fourth quarter of 2014. 

Curling is finished...until it starts again. 

And golf may start up by the end of the week if the warmer spring temperatures hold. 

Time to report on how March went in the ol'fitness department and how this year is shaping up so far. 

I ran 10 times in March for a total of 101km.

I cycled 6 times for a total of 112km

I swam 5 times and managed to finish 15.5km. 

I missed two runs due to bad winter weather but I got two more bike sessions in so that kinda evens out. 

I missed two weeks of swimming because the Masters classes didn't run during March break or the week after. 

The grand totals for the year so far: 

Run 265km in 29.5 hours
Bike 297km 15.5 hours 
Swim 47km in 22.5 hours

I'm well on my way to running 1000km this year and April will be pretty heavy mileage-wise as I up the distance for my June half. 

I'm very happy with all the time I've spent on the bike - especially considering the fact that the weather has been too cold to be outside. Fifteen sessions on the trainer is only going to help once we're back on the road again.  

I am a little disappointed by the lack of swimming but April is a new month and I fully intend to pick it up in the pool. No vacations planned and Masters has resumed so there are no excuses. 

Let spring begin!