Month: October 2015

As Ready As I’ll Ever Be For NYC!

During this last taper week, I have experienced so many emotions. I can’t believe race day is officially three days away.

I’ve been trying hard to keep my emotions/nerves in check–I’m trying to avoid panic attacks, stomach problems, bad blood sugar levels, etc. I need to get to the starting line in a good mindset and with confidence that I can cross the finish line.

I’ve been questioning my training. Has it been enough? Did I cut too many corners? I didn’t reach my fullest potential, and I think a lot of it had to do with being injured in some way since August. I don’t have the speed, but I think I have the mental capacity and will to push myself–even when my body is telling me I can’t. At least I hope I do.

I have a hard time believing I ran 20 miles and then 18 miles a few weeks ago. Surely, that wasn’t me, was it? Can I duplicate that on Sunday and then push through that final 10K to the finish?

Fueling for the race has been a worry of mine since the beginning because of my diabetes. People tend to increase the amount of carbs they consume in the days before their race to build up their fuel stores (carb loading). Sure, that’s fun, but carb loading with diabetes is hard. In order for you to do it correctly, you have to ensure that you give yourself enough insulin to cover the carbs you just ate. No matter how hard you try, though, that’s not always the case! You risk high blood sugar, which causes dehydration and the carbs you ate aren’t being absorbed anyway.

I’ve been carefully carb loading with foods I have an OK grasp of-bananas, bagels, pasta, rice (from home, not restaurants). Needless to say, my diet has been pretty plain this week, but it’s OK. I’ve been doing well with it for the most part!

Now, I just need to pack! That it going to be an adventure for sure. I need to pack every variation of running outfit possible just in case the weather changes. It’s been fluctuating…rain, no rain, mid 50s, mid 60s…it’s enough to drive you nuts.

They released a photo of the NYC Marathon finisher’s medal–for the first time EVER, I don’t think I want to see it. I am going to refrain from looking at it because I want it to be a surprise 🙂

LET’S GO TO NEW YORK!!!

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2015 EQT Pittsburgh 10-Miler Recap

NYC Marathon race week is here! I leave for the Big Apple with my husband, sister and mom TOMORROW! Someone pinch me…

I haven’t run at all this week. On Sunday, I ran the EQT Pittsburgh 10-Miler. I’ve run the race since the inaugural event three years ago, and I always forget how hilly the first half of the race is! It’s not terrible, but I guess I have a hard time remembering the inclines.

The course is the majority of the Pittsburgh Half Marathon course, but in reverse. It’s a great fall race and I really enjoy it! This year, they had a costume contest and I dressed up as the Road Runner from Looney Tunes (get it? Road Runner? haha) I was one of the few people dressed up, but it was still a lot of fun and I never felt silly doing it. People got a kick out of my costume, though! We’ll see if I placed in the costume contest later this week.

I felt great throughout the race EXCEPT for my ankle. Remember how I mentioned the front part has been bugging me? Yeah, that surfaced. It’s seriously fine, and I had no concerns, but when I got to Mile 3 or so, it really started to bug me. I had to shake it out for a few seconds and then it went back to normal. I had to do that after each mile for the rest of the race. It’s like pressure would build up in my ankle and them immediately stop once I started walking. So weird! My ankle was a tiny bit swollen at the end of the day, but it’s felt fine. I don’t want to risk making it worse, so I haven’t run at all.

My blood sugar cooperated during the run, though my CGM showed the dreaded ??? for the majority of the race. It finally displayed a number for a few minutes around the time that I would test, anyway, so it worked out. I wanted to break 2 hours, which I was pretty confident I would be able to do based on how my training has gone and what I have been running in that distance. Last year’s time was 1:58 and the year before that was 1:59. I wanted to use this as my proof of time for the upcoming Princess Half at Disney since the only other qualifying time I have is last year’s 10-Miler. I ran Tinkerbell this year, but my Disney runs are significantly slower than my best because of photo stops and all that.

Anyway, I finished in just over 1:55! I was still in the bottom 15% of finishers, but whatever.

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Activities Completed (last week):

Tuesday: 3 miles (12 min/mile)

Sunday: 10.28 miles (11:14 min/mile)

It’s My 4-Year Diaversary

In one week, I will be in New York getting ready to run the 2015 NYC Marathon!

It’s funny how things come full circle. On Oct. 20, 2011, I posted on Facebook that I had just booked my trip to NYC for the first week in November to see the foliage in Central Park. I had been wanting to see it, and my sister and I decided to make the trip over.

Four days later, on Oct. 24, 2011, I was admitted to the hospital with symptoms of Type 1 Diabetes (I was obviously diagnosed). Today is my four-year “diaversary.”

I don’t “celebrate” the day, but I acknowledge it every year because it was literally the day my world turned upside down. I was a healthy 25-year old. I rarely got sick but I went to the doctor that morning because I hadn’t been feeling well for almost a month.

That September, I was covering the press conference for the American Idol auditions in Pittsburgh. Jennifer Lopez was walking into the convention center, and I looked up to see her going through the hallway above me when I noticed I was having a hard time seeing her. My vision was really blurry, and no matter how many times I blinked, it would not clear up. I remember thinking, “I hope I don’t need to get glasses.” As the weeks went by, I started noticing that I was losing a lot of weight (quickly) and I was always thirsty. My vision came and went, and I contemplated making an appointment to get my vision checked since everyone in my family wears glasses (except me). I mentioned maybe going to the doctor one day when I was at Starbucks with my sister. “I’ll ride it out a little, and if it doesn’t get better, then I will go. I feel fine otherwise!”

Then came the peeing. I COULD NOT stop going to the bathroom. I thought maybe it was all the water I was drinking to quench my constant thirst. My thirst had gotten so bad that I started hoarding water bottles and hiding them around my room and in my purses because I was afraid I wouldn’t have access to water. Diabetes briefly crossed my mind. I remembered reading “The Babysitters Club” books as a kid, and one of the main characters, Stacey, had diabetes. In one of the made-for-TV episodes, Stacey indulged in too many cookies around Christmas and displayed the same symptoms. Half jokingly one day, I said, “Maybe I have diabetes” when I was talking to my boyfriend. “Why would you say that?!” he responded. His college roommate had been diagnosed with Type 1 earlier that year, and he knew it was no joke and how dangerous it could be. I felt silly for saying it. Obviously I was fine (right?).

After a few more weeks of symptoms, I really couldn’t take it anymore. I was absolutely miserable. I was thirsty all the time, I couldn’t stop peeing, I couldn’t see, I was SO TIRED, my hair was falling out more than normal…I Googled my symptoms late Friday night and the first thing that came up was Type 1 Diabetes. I was terrified and called my boyfriend. He told me that if I really thought that, I needed to see a doctor and stop speculating. I brought it up to my mom the next morning and burst into tears. I almost talked myself out of calling the doctor that Monday morning (Oct. 24), but I had promised my boyfriend that I would go, so I got an appointment immediately (I was supposed to be at jury duty, but luckily was not needed).

I explained my symptoms to the doctor without telling her what I thought, but I knew what she was thinking. The nurse came in, tested my blood sugar and walked out. When the doctor walked back in, my stomach dropped. She explained my fasting glucose was 280 (normal is 70-100) and asked if I knew anything about Type 1 Diabetes. She explained that I was not allowed to leave the office alone and someone had to pick me up to take me to the hospital immediately.

I stayed in the hospital for three days. I was told that I was lucky to go in when I did, as I was experiencing diabetic ketoacidosis and I could have gone into a coma. I was hit with so much information about carb counting, insulin injections, testing blood sugar, insulin-to-carb ratios etc. etc. etc. It was a blur. I remember feeling like I should be scared, but I was numb. Maybe I was in denial. I was upset for my loved ones, but it didn’t hit me until after I was discharged. I was happy to be out, but I was also sad because I was on my own in the world with this new disease. I felt sadness for a solid week. Life as I had known it was over, and I needed to adapt to being a person who essentially has to manually perform the work of one of her broken organs-one injection at a time. I remember lying on the couch in the darkness, and my mom said something along the lines of how she wouldn’t ever fully understand how this felt for me, but that she knew I had the strength to overcome it. I still think about that a lot.

I’ve come a long way since then, and it’s nice to use this day as a reminder. I’ve always been a stubborn person, and in this case, it’s helped me. I refuse, refuse, refuse to let diabetes get in the way of me living my life. Sure, there are things that I can’t do or that are harder for me to accomplish, but I won’t let that bring me down. I do experience “diabetes burnout,” where I am just so sick and tired of dealing with it to the point that I don’t care…but my stubbornness overpowers that feeling very quickly and I get back on track. I am determined to do what I can to live a long, healthy life.

My running journey, and these last couple of months of marathon training in particular, symbolize my daily struggle with Type 1. Some days are a breeze to get through, and others just make me want to throw my hands up and yell, “I give up!” But you learn to dust yourself off and tackle the next day, the next run, the next obstacle.

A week after getting out of the hospital, I was in the car on my way to New York City to see the fall foliage in Central Park. And in one week, I will be in New York once more to run 26.2 miles-hopefully making it to the finish line among the beautiful leaves in Central Park. I never would have thought that I would be a runner, and my journey has definitely been a hard one with plenty of obstacles. But the moment my body turned against me, I fought right back. This is my way of proving to myself that I CAN.

And I WILL.

I had this bin customized from Races2Remember for the NYC Marathon! Can't wait to represent :-)
I had this bib customized from Races2Remember for the NYC Marathon! Can’t wait to represent 🙂

Tapering Excitement and Nervousness

I am one week into the tapering process, and I am feeling the jitters. The NYC Marathon is less than two weeks away, guys. 13 days!!

After my horrendous 18-miler last weekend, I had a pretty decent training week. Aside from some stomach issues that impacted the first few runs in the week, I did well. I ran mostly on the treadmill because it’s been getting dark early, so it worked out. Now that we are getting so close to race day, I need to really focus on hydrating and eating well. No more junk food until after I cross the finish line (my sister has promised me Schmackery’s cookies as a reward)!

I had a 12-14-mile long run scheduled this week, so I settled for 13. Normally I would get it done over the weekend, but I was invited to a wedding on Saturday and on Sunday, my husband and I were celebrating 6 months of marriage. I decided to get my run out of the way on Friday so it wouldn’t get in the way of our fun weekend. I’m not always the fastest runner, so between getting dressed, running, and showering, long runs can take up the better part of a morning/afternoon.

My original plan was to run in downtown immediately after leaving work and then driving home after (to beat the dark). My husband would meet me in downtown after work to ride alongside me. The commute home can take anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, and that amounts to some decent mileage. I made dinner Thursday night so it would be ready when we got home, I packed my running clothes and nutrition, and at 3:30 p.m., I saw that rain was in the forecast. BUMMER. At this point, I already had eaten a banana without insulin for some pre-fuel since I planned to start running at 4 when I left work. The rain was scattered, but it didn’t make sense to have my husband come out to meet me if it was going to be raining. Plus, I didn’t want to be a few miles away from the car and then get wet. It’s super cold out these days…not worth the risk of getting sick. So I half-dosed for the banana I had eaten, pulled the plug on the downtown plan and just went home. So frustrating!

I was frustrated to the point where I considered just abandoning the run on Friday and starting from scratch on Saturday or Sunday morning. Luckily, the insulin worked in time to stop the blood sugar spike from the banana I ate, so I was in an OK range and talked myself back into getting the run over with. I ate plain rice for extra carbs, and set out.

This was the first time that I can honestly say I was COLD during training. It was cloudy and in the 40s/50s. The good thing about the cold is that I run a lot better. The bad thing is that I’m, well, cold. I was in a groove, though, and just kept running around my neighborhood. Dusk was rolling in at around mile 6 and by mile 8, it was pitch black. I headed home to see if my husband would want to finish out the run with me and he did, but by the time we went out, it was raining. He didn’t mind it so he went on, but I finished on the treadmill at my sister’s. I felt GREAT when I finished.

I got in a quick 3-mile run on Sunday with the husband after picking pumpkins and grabbing some lunch. I contemplated going for 6 since that is on the schedule this week, but the tendon in the front of my left ankle (anterior tibialis) has been starting to hurt mid-run. I think it’s stemming from my shin issues. That pain isn’t localized and tends to move up and down my leg, so that’s fun. I decided to rest it instead.

Activities completed:

Tuesday: 3.3 miles (13:03 min/mile)

Wednesday: 8 miles (12:16 min/mile)

Friday: 8.6 miles outside (11:37 min/mile) 4.4 miles inside (11:57 min/mile) (total 13 miles at 11:44 min/mile)

Sunday: 3 miles (10:23 min/mile)

The Last-Minute Lesson

It’s officially time to taper, and I’m not sure how I am feeling.

My last super long run (15+ miles) is behind me, and it didn’t really go as planned. But I am not feeling down about it.

I ran 18 hard, super slow miles Sunday afternoon. Technically, this was my week for 20 miles, but because I already ran 20 two weeks ago when 18 was on the schedule, I swapped the two. I left it open, though, and said if time allowed and I felt good, I was going for 20 again. I was confident and ready to get that second 20-miler under my belt. Alas, that did not happen. A bad dress rehearsal = a good show….right?

I didn’t start as early as I had wanted to. Church ran long, and my bike seems to be on its way to kicking the bucket, so I was messing with it a little bit to see if I could fix it. At this point, the temps were in the upper 50s and it was sunny. I knew I’d be hot in my planned capris and long sleeve shirt, so I ditched them for shorts and a tank.

I ended up renting a bike for my sister downtown and off we went. I had mapped out some possible routes a few days before–one option was to stick with what we know and run around the city/North Shore, and the other was to explore a new trail that would take us in the opposite direction to Homestead. I felt adventurous and led us toward the unknown trail. In my head, it would be easier if we stranded ourselves and came back.

That kind of bit me in the butt. But it might have also been a blessing. It feels like I struggled from the get-go. In my mind, I was struggling because it takes a while to get into a groove when you’re just starting out with a run that you know is going to be really long. The trail was beautiful and scenic. By the 5th mile, I got into it, but my pace had slowed down significantly. I was wearing my Garmin, which gives me the pace for each mile, rather than overall. It was stressing me out because it was taking me much longer than usual to get through a mile. We ended up at the Waterfront shopping area, so we stopped at the movie theater to refill on water and use the bathroom. I took my first Honey Stinger gel at around mile 6 or 7.

We kept going through the trail and looked at the shopping area and residences, and by mile 9, I was ready to turn around. I said to myself that if I wanted to go to 20, I could just keep going when we were closer to the car. We stopped at the theater again for a bathroom break, and went back.

The way back was hard. I walked A LOT and I was hurting. My legs/shoulders were stiff, the sun was hot, my mouth was pasty, my chest was uncomfortable…list goes on and on. My blood sugar was OK, though. A teeny bit high, but nothing crazy. I didn’t have any Gatorade with me, and I think that was part of the problem. I ate my second gel at mile 10 or 11-I can’t remember. My sister did an amazing job encouraging me. She kept breaking up the segments of the trail to make it easier for me to process it. I felt bad because this was taking so much longer than it should have, and she was stuck riding with me until we got back to the car. At mile 13, I got upset because I knew it would still be another hour before we made it to the car, and she said, “Well, if there’s an hour left, that means three hours are out of the way!” Bless her 🙂

I was STARVING, so I ate a Honey Stinger waffle at around mile 14. I’ve eaten them after runs but never during them. I don’t think that was the wisest thing to do. Shortly after, my stomach gave me problems. The worst thing about it all was that we were about 3 miles from the car on a secluded trail. Long story short, it was agony. We made it back to the parking garage at exactly 18 miles. It was safe to say I was done.

I felt fine afterward. Stomach was a bit iffy (it always is after long runs), but nothing major. My muscles were good, shins felt OK.

I was coming down really hard on myself, but something stuck out in my head. When I was struggling, my sister was encouraging me and telling me to get out of my head/get into a better place. My response was, “I’m slowing down, but I am not stopping.” Theoretically, I could have thrown in the towel. But I didn’t.

Maybe it’s just an excuse for my less-than-stellar performance, or maybe it was meant to be a last-minute lesson in perseverance. I like to think it’s the latter.

Let the taper begin.

Activities completed

Sunday: 18 miles (14:08 min/mile)

Happy to be done!!
Happy to be done!!

23 Days = Stress

The anticipation is killing me! Only 23 days to go.

I’ve been browsing the official NYC Marathon site, and there’s so much more information on it now that it’s so close. It’s getting real! I should know my bib number and corral/wave by next week. Once I have that information, I can start planning!

Obviously, I’m still in the middle of training for this marathon, but I’ve been wondering whether or not I would have it in me to try for another one. Training certainly has not been easy. I’ve logged my long runs and I feel confident, but I’ve been injured for two months at this point. I feel like I’m just getting by, because really, that’s what I have been doing.

One of my goals for this summer was to get faster. While I am generally running faster than I had been, it’s still not up to my full potential. I ran my first 9-miler ever three years ago (thanks for the reminder, Facebook) at a 10:38 min/mile pace. I’m hovering between 11-13 min/miles these days. I’m TRYING not to focus too much on pace and just focus on finishing. I have nothing to prove to anyone…just myself. And making it to 26.2–whether it’s in 4 hours, 5 hours, 6 hours, etc.–is a feat alone. Sometimes I like to relate long-distance running to my diabetes management. It’s the endurance that counts. If you can go for a long time, that’s all that matters. Can’t stop, won’t stop.

The only thing my speed IS getting in the way of these days is my ability to log a significant amount of miles before the sun goes down. Sunset falls before 7 p.m., so by the time I get home from work, eat dinner, and get ready, I have about an hour of running in daylight. I personally don’t like to run in the dark. The streets here aren’t well-lit, surfaces are uneven, and I am a short girl. It’s not that I feel unsafe, but it’s something in the back of my mind. I ran in the dark for an hour during last night’s 10-miler, and next week’s 8-miler is probably the only run left that it’s an issue.

I’ll be getting my flu vaccine this afternoon after work. I was concerned about minor side effects, so asked my doctor if I should wait until after the race, and he said there’s still enough time to get it before the race. I have to get it anyway because of my  diabetes.

Aiming for 18-20 miles this weekend! Let’s do it!

Activities completed:

Tuesday: 2 miles (10:28 min/mile)

Wednesday: 10 miles (11:41 min/mile)

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Came across these guys during my 10-miler!
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Great levels during the run and into this morning. I spent the majority of the night close to 100.

NYC Marathon is less than one month away…

…even saying it gives me chills. It has been SEVEN months since I found out that my name had been drawn from the lottery to run one of the most iconic marathons in the world. Where has the time gone?

We are officially less that one month away from the big day–NYC Marathon race day and Type 1 diabetes day. The fact that the two fall on the same day means so much to me. It’s becoming real, and I am so, so excited/nervous.

Last week, on Oct. 1, I woke up with low blood sugar. I treated it with some glucose tabs, and as I waited for it to go up, I browsed my phone and saw the notification that the big day was a month away. “Holy crap.” I fell asleep again, but I woke up with some underlying anxiety–at first I thought it was blood sugar related (“the low hangover”), but I couldn’t seem to shake it off for the rest of the day. Lately my anxiety has brought on some minor chest pains–no worries, I got checked out by a doctor and all is good. I only noticed it during times of stress, and it hadn’t happened for over a month until that day. That’s when I realized it was anxiety.

Maybe it’s the thought of the race. Even though I am super confident that I can do it, I think I am stressing out about what the next month will bring. It’s flu season and everyone in the office is coming down with something. I feel like I need to wrap myself in a bubble. I’ve been taking vitamins, washing my hands, etc. I need to stay healthy! I’m sure I’m not the only one with ants in my pants right now.

I took it super easy with training last week…I only ran 14 miles total. Not the best, but after running 20 miles, I thought I could use the rest. I’m exhausted.

My husband and I went on a weekend getaway to 7 Springs this past weekend. We loaded our bikes on the car, packed all of our gear (I packed running gear, too)…and then we were met with rainy, foggy, feels-like-30-degree weather. It’s safe to say we didn’t spend much time outdoors, and I wasn’t about to spend 2+ hours in the fitness center running 12 miles.

I attempted to run 12 miles when we got home yesterday afternoon. Mentally, I was not in it, and it took a long time to convince myself to start. Once I did, I realized my iPod was out of battery. My blood sugar was super high because, let’s face it, my diet was non-existent this weekend. I felt pretty gross and groggy. Anyway, I started, my shin was uncomfortable (it got better as I warmed up)…at some point after mile 2, I got AWFUL hiccups. Not the dainty kind. The loud, hurting kind. I was making my way back home, where I had water on the front porch when my CGM alarmed that my blood sugar was dropping FAST. Well, crap. At that point, I had heartburn, the hiccups were going for a solid 11 minutes and I didn’t feel like eating or drinking anything to make my blood sugar go up. I ended up running 4 miles. I felt like a quitter, but my confidence is back.

It’s a new week. I’ll do better!

I’ve got an 18-miler (should have been 20, but I already did my 20), 14-miler and 10-miler left as long runs before the marathon!

Activities completed

Tuesday: 5 miles (12:24 min/mile)

Wednesday: 5 miles (12 min/mile)

Sunday: 4 miles (11:45 min/mile)