Month: September 2015

The big 2-0!

The road to 20 miles!!

I had my 18-miler all planned out. I was feeling good. And then there was rain in the forecast.

I was planning on running the Great Race 10K, which is a huge Pittsburgh event, on Sunday. It’s a gradual downhill and it’s the fastest race I’ve ever completed. I was going to get my proof of time for Princess and then continue on for 12 more miles. Before heading to the expo on Friday, I saw rain in the forecast on Sunday. Oh, crap. Time for Plan B.

One thing about diabetes: Plan Bs are STRESSFUL. Running long distances doesn’t just affect me–it affects my loved ones. For safety purposes, I run with someone accompanying me on the bike (my husband or sister) if I am not running around my house/neighborhood. I take care of myself, but my main worry is getting low blood sugar in the middle of a run and not having access to help. On race day, there are thousands of other runners and medics on hand, so it’s not an issue. But it is when I am alone.

My husband and sister agreed to split the mileage while I ran on Saturday morning instead. I woke up with semi-high blood sugar. Maybe it was nerves, stress, who knows. My husband and I started the first half of the run on the North Shore trail. About 4 miles in, we saw a huge crowd of people coming at us, and that’s when I realized the American Diabetes Association walk was that morning! It was cool to see the event and the number of people there. I felt like I was among people who knew the struggle. We passed a little girl sitting on a rock and her parents were testing her blood sugar. It was such a sobering thing to experience.

My husband finished his shift, and I ran a few miles back toward the city, where my sister would be renting a bike to accompany me for the second part of the run. I was alone at around mile 10, and at this point my blood sugar was still in the mid 200s with the arrow pointing slightly up on my CGM. I had eaten 1 1/2 bagels with peanut butter for breakfast before starting, but I guess it didn’t agree with me. I’ll play around with the banana/bagel fueling ratio.

I wanted some Gatorade or one of my gels, so I turned on my base insulin and administered 0.15 units (I don’t ever do that, but I didn’t want my levels to go up even more). I met up with my sister, between miles 11 and 12. We went into the city and as she went in the 7-11 to buy another bottle of water (probably mile 13-14 at this point) I turned off my insulin again and had Gatorade/gel, as I was in the mid-to-upper 100s. We rode/ran around the city and then made our way back to the trail. At this point, we were at 16.5 miles and I decided I was going for 20. I was feeling good, it was nice out and I felt I could get it out of the way. We ran 1.75 miles away from the bike return, and when we got to the turnaround, I felt so happy! I knew that by the time we got back to the bikes, I would have run 20 miles!

I actually had to stop at mile 19.5 because my blood sugar was low/dropping fast and I needed to eat some fruit snacks (haha, figures, right?). Oh, diabetes. Anyway, I still finished strong! Recovery went well, too! During the run, I wore 2XU compression sleeves that I bought the day before, and my legs felt great. I switched to the socks for the recovery, though. I am still toying around with which ones I want to wear on race day.

Honestly, it was much easier than I would have thought. As we were walking back to the car, I kept saying I couldn’t believe I had just covered 20 miles. It’s a HUGE deal. But I feel like maybe I don’t give myself enough credit. I read running blogs and people are always running more weekly mileage or they’re running so much faster than I am. I don’t ever think I am doing enough, but in reality, I am. I just have to keep remembering that.

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Activities completed:

Saturday: 20 miles (12:57 min/mile)

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It’s the little (big!) things…

Today, I had my first endocrinologist appointment since having my continuous glucose monitor, and my A1C level is 5.5 percent! My endo even let out a little gasp!

The test measures a person’s average blood glucose over three months. For someone who doesn’t have diabetes, a normal A1C level can range from 4.5 to 6 percent. The range for people with diabetes varies, but general consensus seems to be that diabetics should fall below 7 percent.

When I was diagnosed, I had an A1C level of 11.3 percent. Since then, my highest in the almost four years that I’ve had diabetes was 7.4 percent.

The last (and only) time I was below 6 percent, it was three months after diagnosis. At that point, I had an A1C level of 5.9 percent, and I was in what they call the “honeymoon” phase, where your pancreas continues to produce a small amount of insulin (that normally lasts a year or so). I generally fall somewhere between 6 and 7 percent.

I am ELATED!

Compression = Relief

Happy first day of fall!

Last week wasn’t the best in terms of training. My left leg/shin has really thrown a wrench into my plans. I am happy to report that I am feeling some relief, though!

After that painful run last Tuesday, I took a break until Sunday. I had planned to run more, but the fear of this injury getting worse or turning into a stress fracture pre-marathon really had me worried. I’ve been throwing everything at it. I’ve been taking Advil, icing it, putting Bengay on it, rolling it, massaging it, etc. I bought adhesive spray to keep my KT Tape from peeling off, too.

Friday, I moved work offices. We just moved from the fifth floor to the seventh, but there was plenty of lifting and going up and down steps. Saturday, my husband and I took our bikes out. We rode 4 miles along the trails at Schenley Park (holy hills) before exploring Phipps Conservatory and grabbing some dinner. So I was active!

I’ve been wearing a rinky dinky compression stocking, so on Sunday, I went all out and grabbed a pair of 2XU Compression Socks and a TriggerPoint Massage Ball. I had a long run of 12 miles scheduled for the weekend, but I never got to it. I wore the socks and my new Asics Kayano 22 (NYC Marathon edition!!!) and ran 4 miles on the treadmill. I figured it would be less impact than running on the road, and I wanted ease back into it. There was some discomfort and tenderness, but I definitely felt a difference with the socks.

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Running with the 2015 NYC Marathon Asics Gel-Kayano shoes and some 2XU compression socks!

On Monday, I ran 4 miles again while my husband biked alongside me. I was aiming for 5, but it’s been getting dark much earlier and I was wearing a black shirt. That plus poorly lit neighborhood streets = potential disaster. Again, some discomfort and tenderness, but I used the massage ball before AND immediately after the run. I could feel the relief instantly. It’s safe to say I am a believer, BUT, I don’t know if I have the right size. Based on my calf circumference, I needed a medium. Now, I am short…5’0. On top of that, my less are WAY short (long torso, short legs). I have big thighs/calves for someone my size, so the socks are a little too long, and while they fit nicely everywhere, the top seam feels REALLY tight. I was rolling the extra down, but I read you’re not supposed to do that–you’re supposed to rest the top seam just below the knee and then adjust the rest of the sock. I’ll try that next time. Hopefully that helps because the socks work wonders.

Yesterday, I ran 5 miles on the treadmill wearing a compression sleeve from Target. It was pretty decent, but you get what you pay for. A pair cost $12 versus $50 for the 2XU socks, but you don’t get the same compression. I’d like to try sleeves from 2XU because I am afraid of getting blisters with the socks, but we will see. There was some shin discomfort during the 5-miler, but I could have kept going if it wasn’t so late. At that point, it was almost 9 p.m. and my blood sugar was dropping, so I called it a night.

I am taking a rest day today, and I probably won’t run tomorrow because I have an endocrinologist appointment in the evening. Let’s hope for some good diabetes news and numbers! This is my first time getting my A1C since I started on the CGM, so I am hoping for good results. Cross your fingers for me!!

I might run my scheduled 9 on Friday, rest Saturday and then run 18 on Sunday. I am signing up for a local 10K on Sunday that ends in the city. I need a proof of time for the Princess Half Marathon weekend in Disney in February (for corral placement), so I plan to park in the city, take a shuttle to the start line and then continue to run for 11.8 miles around the city trails after I cross the 10K finish line. I’ll get my proof of time and the first 1/3 of the 18-miler will be a fun, mostly downhill race.

39 more days!

Activities completed:

Saturday: 4-mile bike ride

Sunday: 4 miles (12:36 min/mile)

Monday: 4 miles (11:29 min/mile)

Tuesday: 5 miles (12:16 min/mile)

Is It Time to Panic Yet?

*Sigh* The pain in the front of my left leg is back–only on the inner side, though (thank goodness). I guess that 16-miler really flared it up.

I went to the chiropractor Monday after work, and while it was nagging me a little, I focused on my knee pain because that was really hurting. That was really dumb of me. My knee is good now, but the left leg is still achy. I might just call and make an appointment for next week if it’s not better in a few days.

Tuesday, I set out to run between 4 and 5 miles. My husband rode bike alongside me and we went to his parents’ house. They live in the next town over, but we had to climb a steep hill, and what goes up, must come down. That was really hard on my leg. It was pretty much past the nagging to full-out pain at the end of that. I immediately grabbed some ice and then tried to relieve some of the pressure.

Yesterday morning, it still hurt. I wore compression socks all day and used a golf ball to massage the whole area. It felt much better for a while, but later the evening, I noticed that the massaging caused me to bruise. A mess. I decided to postpone the 8-miler I planned.

The pain is a little better today. I wore a compression sleeve and have not taken Advil. I also bought adhesive spray to help my KT tape stick longer and some Bengay. Basically, I am throwing everything at this leg in an attempt to help it get better. I’ve got a month and a half left before getting to that start line…and I am so afraid an injury is going to prevent me from getting there or I will get there super unprepared.

I am ON SCHEDULE now…any more time off is going to throw things off. I’m trying to figure out the bare minimum that I can do at this point. I don’t even care about time anymore–I just need to finish.

Aiming at 8 and 12 miles by the end of the week, but I am on the verge of panic mode.

Activities completed:

Tuesday: 4.3 miles (12:26 min/mile)

Level Up: 16 miles!

I am so sore today, but the smile on my face could not be bigger: I ran 16 miles yesterday! I have two new distances left to tackle before NYC (18 and 20 miles). We are less than 50 days away, and it’s starting to get real.

I did end up skipping the local half marathon Saturday morning because of the rain. I was feeling really down about it because I don’t like to quit or give up. I just know that it was the better decision regarding my long-term goals.

We had a bit of a cold front in Western PA this weekend, and it felt like the fall. That made my Sunday 16-miler a lot easier. It was mostly cloudy, 60 degrees, which is a lot cooler than the 90 degrees we’ve been experiencing. I taped up my  left leg with KT tape and wore capris with a tank top. I never felt hot once during the course of the run.

I was a little worried before starting because I had eaten out for breakfast and my blood sugar was high. It fixed itself around 2 p.m., and I had planned on starting around 2:30 to 3, so that was perfect! I ate two bananas with honey and peanut butter and left water/Gatorade on my porch.

My sister came over to ride bike alongside me. I had told her she didn’t need to go the whole time, but she did anyway. It was nice to have the company! We did loops around my neighborhood for 7ish miles and then we decided to head over to the next town over. We went a back way and then into another housing community from 7-10ish miles. After that we made our way into the new housing development I explored during my 13.1-miler, then to the end of the town and then back home for 16 miles. Honestly, I felt great! Around mile 14, my hips and thighs were really sore and starting to tighten up, but it wasn’t awful. We were almost home and I was ecstatic! Mentally, I was good. I don’t think I complained much. If I wanted to or had to, I’m confident I would have been able to add 2 more miles to get to 18, but that’s for another week!

My blood sugar levels were great during the run! I was in range the whole time, and I fueled with Gatorade and Honey Stinger gels at mile 6 and 10. That was my first time trying those and they were really good! I’m not a fan of gels, but I tolerate them. These were actually tasty, so I will stock up on them for future runs.

I’m really, really sore today. My main point of pain, though, is my knee. I have a chiropractor appointment this afternoon, so hopefully that helps a bit. I’m going to continue using my foam roller and a golf ball to work out other points of pressure. I’ve heard ice baths are good, but I have never done that. Have any of you tried it? I’d like any insight!

Activities completed:

Sunday: 16 miles (12:55 min/mile)

About Shoes and Waterproofing

I had an excellent 8-miler yesterday evening, and I feel good about it. It’s funny because I remember a few weeks ago when 7 miles was considered my long run for the week. Remember that freak out? Yesterday as I was walking out the door, I said to my husband, “It’s only 8 miles.” HA!

I had a route around my neighborhood planned in my mind, but I tend to divert from those. I’ve decided running with music is much easier than running without it. I can still run without it if I am with someone, but I prefer music if I am alone. It helps the time pass and I can still think.

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Anyway, it was cool out (low 60s). The temp was seriously perfect for a tank and shorts. I felt comfortable the entire time, even though I did sweat a bit. I carried a mini water bottle on my belt and left a large one on my porch that I could use anytime I swung past my house. I need to start training with Gatorade, too. At about the 4-mile mark, I had to eat fruit snacks because my levels were dropping fast. During races, I typically take sips of Gatorade at each stop to prevent from going low. Hopefully once I incorporate that, I won’t have to take a gel or other snack so early on.

I also think I figured out what has been causing the tendinitis in my left leg. I’ve been using my new ASICS Gel-Fortify shoes since the end of July. I usually wear the Gel-Kayano shoes, but I was seeking relief from patellofemoral pain syndrome (runner’s knee), so I thought the more supportive Fortify shoes would help. They DID help my knee (it’s been feeling really good after runs), but they created a whole new problem. After taking two full weeks off from running due to the tendinitis, I started to use KT tape for added support. My first run back was on the treadmill (I still use a pair of Kayano shoes on the treadmill) and I felt a little ankle discomfort. My second run was in Toronto, and I was wearing the Fortify shoes. By the end of the next day, the tenderness was there. My 15-mile run was fine, but that was on the treadmill, so I used the Kayano shoes.

Yesterday, I started the 8-miler in the Fortify shoes. By mile 2, I had to go home to change back into the Kayano shoes because I was feeling a lot of discomfort in my lower left leg. Once I changed them, I immediately felt a difference. I am so BUMMED over this. My knee is sore, but if I had to pick one pain over the other, I’d pick my knee pain at this point. I am used to the dull ache, and because it’s a familiar pain, it doesn’t concern me as much as the other. It’s the lesser of two evils, I guess. That being said, I need to invest in a new pair of Kayano shoes. The ones I have now are from December 2013, so there’s been a whole lot of wear-and-tear on them.

On a totally different topic, I need to figure out how to waterproof my diabetes devices when I run. I signed up for a local half marathon tomorrow morning, but it’s supposed to rain all morning. That being said, I think I am going to opt out (as much as it sucks). While my insulin pump and my CGM are waterproof, the pump remote (PDM) and the CGM receiver are not. This is my first time racing with the CGM and sometimes I have a family member hang on to the PDM while I race so I can access it when I see them on the course, even though I NEVER give myself insulin in the middle of a run (I would be going alone tomorrow, though). During a half earlier this year, I forgot to shut off my insulin and didn’t realize it until mile 2. Luckily, my sister was holding on to my PDM, so I shut it off when I met her at mile 4. Had I left it in the car or hotel room, I would have had to take off my pump entirely. Any damage to the PDM or CGM receiver will cost more than the $45 I will lose by not racing. And I don’t want to jeopardize my health by getting wet and/or slipping on the wet trail. Hopefully the forecast changes! I’d really like to do it, but the cons outweigh the pros at this point and I am trying to think about the long-term. It’s a good thing this came up now, so I am prepared for any rain that might come on NYC Marathon day. So if anyone has any advice for waterproofing, let me know!

Aiming for 16 miles this weekend. Let’s go!

Activities completed:

Thursday: 8 miles (11:57 min/mile)

15 Miles, Eh?

I have officially run my longest distance to date. And it was hard.

I spent part of the weekend in Toronto with my sister! We arrived Saturday evening, so I immediately changed into running clothes and off we walked to the waterfront area to get a bike for her. Toronto was a nice city and it was convenient that there were bike lanes to make it easier for my sister to ride alongside me.

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I was hoping to do more, but I ran 3.6 miles. The area we ended up in was under a lot of development and it got dark fast…since we were in an unfamiliar town, we decided to turn around. I walked a whole lot more that evening and even more on Sunday. My legs were feeling it!

I got home just after midnight Sunday night/Monday morning. My original plan was to wake up early Monday to get a big chunk of my scheduled 15-mile run out of the way before the sun came out, but because I haven’t been feeling 100 percent, I decided to rest and tackle the distance in the afternoon/evening. I planned to get at least half done on the treadmill and then finish outside. Well, it was still close to 90 around dusk, so that didn’t happen.

The run sucked–plain and simple. There’s no sugar-coating it. Despite my best efforts, Labor Day lunch resulted in crazy high blood sugar levels and my attempts at correcting resulted in even more problems when it was time to run. My levels were rapidly dropping, so I ate two bananas and peanut butter. Fine. I get 2 miles in, and I am still dropping. I eat fruit snacks. I broke up the runs into a 5-mile segment, a 7-mile segment and a 3-mile segment on the treadmill. I was over it after the first 5-mile segment. I had eaten the fruit snacks and drank so much Gatorade to bring up my blood sugar levels, that I got air stuck in my chest for the remainder of the run.

I kept getting stitches, it was hard to breathe if I ran any faster than 4.5 mph and I kept getting hiccups. My sister sat on the exercise bike behind me to watch “Mary Poppins” and keep me company (and stop me from getting off the treadmill) for a while and I kept texting my husband with updates and requests for words of encouragement because it sucked so bad. Mentally, it was hard to be on the treadmill for so long. I just kept thinking that a marathon would be 11 more miles, and I seriously questioned my ability to do it.

You know how sometimes you look back on a run and think, “That wasn’t so bad?” No. This was agony. I felt like crap when it was over, too. My chest was tight, my legs were sore and I was just overexerted (on the plus side,my tendinitis was fine). I couldn’t even celebrate completing my longest run ever! It took me back to the end of the Princess Half Marathon 2013 (my very first), where I recorded myself saying I would NEVER run a half marathon again because I felt gross. Yeah…

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Because it took me so long to run 15 miles, I finished like an hour before I usually go to bed. That was a bad idea, too. All I wanted to do was sleep, but my mind was racing and I wasn’t feeling so well. My blood sugar was all over the place overnight, and my CGM alarm kept waking me up. So annoying.

Luckily, I’m not completely devastated. The circumstances were totally wrong, but I still got through it (despite by many, many, many proclamations that I was going to stop–thanks for stopping me, Twinny)! From now on, I’m sticking to morning runs. That way, I have more time to recover. Oh well, next time!

Activities completed

Saturday: 3.6 miles (13:02 min/mile–stopped to take pictures and I had to stop for traffic)

Sunday: 15 miles (13:28–I just sucked lol)