It Starts TODAY!

Marathon training officially begins today! I am a ball of nerves, but this is so exciting. This schedule is going to help me stay in a routine and keep it going. I honestly have not followed a training schedule since I trained for my first half marathon at the beginning of 2013. Since then, I’ve run consistently and increased my mileage each week to prepare for upcoming events, but I haven’tĀ had anything on paper. Maybe that’s why I feel a little stressed out about my new plan. But things have been so hectic over the last few months that it’s been hard to stay in a routine, and it’s been much easier to just nix a run than just do it. The accountability that comes with having a plan on paper will help. Runs are officially in my calendar and on my schedule!

Yesterday marked the first day of summer! Instead of bathing suit tan lines, I already have tan lines from my running shorts and racerbacks. I chuckled to myself when I looked in the mirror yesterday. It’s very telling about what my summer is going to be šŸ™‚

The only run I was able to get in this weekend was a 2-miler yesterday morning. I intended on getting up at 7:30 so that I could get a decent run in before church at 10:30, but I ended up waking up after 8. My blood sugar was at 170 (I had gone low several hours earlier and corrected, but according to my CGM, my levels had steadied). I decided I didn’t need to eat breakfast and went right out after getting dressed. This is where it gets interesting…I ran 2.1 miles around a loop in my neighborhood, but my blood sugar actually went up instead of dropping. I’m still so perplexed by this. I ran considerably faster than I normally do, so maybe it was considered a sprint–even though my pace is by no means a sprint. I don’t usually run when I am “fasting” either. So maybe that had something to do with it. It’s definitely something I am going to pay attention to moving forward. I haven’t hadĀ a lot of opportunity to run in the morning lately, but I’ll see if this isĀ a trend that continues, given that I will most likely be running early to beat the heat for my weekend runs.

Activities completed:

Sunday, June 21: 2.1 miles, 10:57/mile (see? no sprint)

Upcoming activities:

Monday, 3 miles

Wednesday, 3 miles

Thursday, 3 miles

Saturday or Sunday, 6 miles

LET’S GO!

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Getting Ready to Start!

It’s Thursday and I haven’t run since Sunday (after my little overheating episode). It’s been a craptastic week filled with an ER visit, plumbing issues, rain, etc., and I haven’t had the motivation to get out there.

I will be following the 18-weekĀ Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon Training Program. Training should begin the week of June 29, but I am actually starting a week early to give myself a little bit of cushion with some of the long runs. I have a lot of things going on this summer, and I want to make sure I can appropriately train in between events, going out of town, etc. And if I get sick or injured, I need to be prepared. Luckily, I have a base already. I could complete a half marathon this weekend if I had to, but I wouldn’t finish as strong as I would like.

The first week of training calls for a total of 15 miles–three 3-milers and a 6-mile run. I’ll see if I can do the 6 this weekend just to see how I feel. My biggest obstacle at this point is mental. I can do this, but training is a lot of work and takes up so much time. I’m going to be running for HOURS and HOURS during my long runs pretty soon. I guess it used to be easier because when I first started running, I worked from home. It was easier for me to do my own thing during the day because I set my own schedule. If my blood sugar wasn’t good for running after breakfast, I could try again at lunch or dinner. My treadmill was also at home, so the afternoon heat (or even cold in the winter, wasn’t a problem). Since then, I’ve gotten a 9 to 5 job, so I can’t run until after dinner (some days that’s hard because of general chores, doctor’s appointments, etc.). I try to not run after 8:30 p.m. because then my blood sugar drops really low overnight. At this point, I have a very short window to get a run in, so I’m going to have to tweak and adapt to running later in the evening while preventing those overnight lows. It will take some practice. I also got married two months ago, and my treadmill is back home with my twin sisterĀ (less than a mile away, but still, it’s a mental hurdle).

My shortest training runs will be 3 miles. My husband currently is comfortable running 2 (and he’s really fast–jealous!). If I can convince him to run 3 miles with me a few times a week, maybe my pace will improve! Let’s cross our fingers!! I’ve also enlisted him and my twinny to take turns accompanying me on long runs via a bicycle. That way, I’m not alone (should any scary lows occur), I won’t be super bored and I won’t have to carry a crazy amount of emergency supplies and stuff on my person. Races have water stations, Gatorade and medical staff, so it’s not super crucial for me to train while I am physically carrying extras of all that.

I’m excited!! Just gotta get up and get over this mental hurdle.

So Hot in Here

Summer doesn’t officially get here until Sunday, but it sure has been hot! Not that I mind…I spend the winter months wishing for the spring and summer temps to come back. But I won’t lie, I HATE running in the summer. While a Nov. 1 marathon is almost guaranteed to bring decent running temperatures, the majority of my training is going to take place in the summer. I own a treadmill, so maintenance runs during the week shouldn’t be too hardĀ to complete, but I am a little concerned about the outdoor long runs. The most I’ve run on a treadmill is 11 or 12 miles, and while I’m not sure I could do much more than that without losing it (mind over matter, mind over matter), I at least have some sort of back up plan.

What really got me thinking about this was yesterday’s short run. Not gonna lie, I’ve been slacking on my running over the last few months. I ran a half marathon in Disneyland on May 10 and I was fine, but I wasn’t adequately training for it and I haven’t run more than 2 miles at a time since.

Yesterday, I spent some time weeding in the late morning. It was already 80 degrees and pretty muggy out, but I felt OK. After some clouds threatened rain, I went inside. It immediately cleared up, so I decided toĀ go out for a short run. I ate a peanut butter sandwich, grabbed my phone, CGM (carried them in my FlipBelt) and water. I shut off my insulin, and because I was only doing laps around the neighborhood, I kept it light and didn’t take fruit snacks or my pump manager because it would be easy for me to get home if I needed to.

The first mile was fine, but after about 1 1/2 miles, I wasn’t feeling so well. It was almost 2 p.m. and temps were in the upper 80s. I poured some of my ice water on my back and went home. I think I overheated or overexerted myself because I was feeling sick for about an hour. My stomach was upset, my heart was racing and my face was beet red. It wasn’t my brightest idea. I’ll aim to go out in the morning or evening if it’s really hot/muggy out.

Here’s a snapshot of last week’s activities:

Monday, June 8–2 miles (pace 11:44/mile)

Tuesday, June 9–2 miles (11:22/mile)

Sunday, June 14–2 miles (11:53/mile)

Goals

  • Increase average speed
  • Sign up for some summer races
  • Work onĀ strength training
  • Eat healthier

Running with T1D

If you’re still trying to wrap your head around my T1D overview, you’re not alone. This disease is super complex, so imagine throwing exercise into the mix.

In short, exercise has positive effects on management, but it takes a lot of work to ensure that you’re doing it correctly. Exercise has an immediate impact on blood sugar levels, but its effects can linger for at least a day. When I am active, my insulin sensitivity increases, so I don’t need to administer as much. When I’m not active, insulin resistance increases and I find I have to use a lot more.

Here are a few things to consider:

  • Carbs raise blood sugar
  • Insulin lowers blood sugar
  • Cardio/aerobic exercise (running, walking, etc.) lowers blood sugar levels
  • Anaerobic exercise (sprinting, muscle training, etc.) might raiseĀ blood sugar levels

My activities need to be planned in advance because of everything I have to takeĀ into account. It’s hard for me to just say, “OK, I feel like going out for a run right now, so that’s what I am going to do.”Ā That’s so frustrating! Going for a walk even takes some planning. I took a 20-minute walk during lunch the other day and here’s what happened:

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Annoying, right?

So, I try plan my exercise around my meals. Because insulin lowers blood sugar (like running/walking do), I rarely use it immediately before a run (unless my levels are crazy high), and I typically will shut off my pump’s basal insulin administration unless I’m only running like 1 or 2 miles. I’ll eat my meal, head out and let the run burn off as much as possible. If my levels are elevated after the run, THEN I use insulin. If I am running long distances, I check my blood sugar every half hour or so to keep tabs on it. When my levels are in a good range, my performance improves. If they’re out of range, it’s tough, but I’m used to it, I guess!

I wear a Medical ID charm on my necklace that has my name and says I am an insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetic just in case I do experience severe low blood sugar during a run and somehow can’t take care of myself. I carry a running pack with my phone, my CGM receiver, my pump manager, a lancing device to prick my finger, test strips and high-sugar snacks like fruit gummies or gels in case my levels drop.

While I have run 10 half marathons just fine, training for a marathon is a whole other animal. Fueling needs are different, and I know I am going to have to tweak my nutrition plan in a way that is beneficial to my diabetes but also provides adequate nutrition and fuel for someone who is putting their body through something so rigorous. I’ve thought about talking to a nutritionist, but I am going to see how I fare on my own first. I’ll get a better idea of what I need to do once, I start hitting 18+ miles.

Can’t wait!

Type 1 Diabetes: The Overview

Being that I’ve been a person with diabetes for almost four years, I think I automatically assume that the lingo makes sense to everyone. Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing has been a learning process, and I am still learning each day, but sometimes I think everyone else knows what I know. And it’s frustrating when people don’t get it or seem like they don’t understand.

So here’s a quick overview/lesson (I’ll try to keep it brief) **DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a doctor and this information is only based on what I know about diabetes. This information is not medical advice by any means.**

  • Type 1 is a chronic disease in which your body attacks the beta cells that produce insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas that allows your body to use the sugar in carbohydrates for energy or store it for later use. Typically, a person’s blood sugar should range between 70 mg/gl and 180 mg/gl (depending on the time of day or if they’ve eaten a meal, etc.). The body of a person without diabetes automatically regulates those levels, but people with Type 1 essentially have to manually perform the function of a pancreas.
  • When insulin is not present, excess sugar spills into the blood stream, causing hypergylcemia (high blood sugar). This causes some not-so-good symptoms like dehydration, frequent thirst, excess urination, fatigue…sometimes I feel jittery, like I’ve had too much caffeine or something. If your blood sugar levels are consistently high, you could develop ketoacidosis (diabetic coma), a condition that occurs when your body starts breaking down fat for fuel because it can’t use glucose. This produces chemicalsĀ called ketones. Your body can’t tolerate a large amount of ketones, and you could develop ketoacidosis if ketonesĀ build up in the blood stream. Long-term, high blood sugar levels damage the body’s organs, nerves, etc., creating a slew of complications. When levels are high, insulin is used to lower them.
  • Similarly, too much insulin in the body could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). This happens when your body doesn’t have enough sugar present. Low blood sugar is more of an immediate threat than high blood sugar because glucose is not being supplied to your brain. This can cause confusion, shakiness, hunger, weakness, anxiety, sweating, numbness and, if left untreated, seizures or a coma. When this occurs, rule of thumb is to consume 15 grams of sugar (juice boxes are perfect), wait 15 minutes and then check again. Those 15 minutes feel like the longest period ever when you’re low.
  • Because my body doesn’t produce it’s own insulin, I wear an insulin pump (I started out with insulin injections). The pump releases insulin at a consistent rate throughout the day (this is called the basal rate). I also have to take insulin at meals–this is called a bolus. The amount of insulin used depends on how many grams of carbohydrates I eat. A lot of math is involved, and I tweak ratios often based on my needs. I change my pump every three days or so.
  • I also have to monitorĀ my blood sugar levels multiple times a day. I currently wear a continuous glucose monitor (CGM), a sensor that is inserted into the skin, collects readings every five minutes and sendsĀ those readings (and how they are trending) to a wireless monitor. If levels are too high or too low, and alarm goes off. Each sensor lasts one week on average. I still have to prick my finger and test blood samples several times a day to make sure the CGM is calibrated correctly.
  • No two days with diabetes are the same. I could follow the same schedule, eat the same food, follow the same exercise routine, etc. But my readings would be different. Aside from the obvious factors (food, insulin, exercise) that affect levels, some not-so-obvious factors do the same…stress, emotions, adrenaline, temperature, time of day, hormones…the list goes on and on.

I guess that wasn’t so brief, but hopefully you learned something! I’ll touch on exercising with diabetes in my next post.

Marathon training officially begins in two weeks! Getting mentally ready for that!

The Journey to 26.2 Begins Soon

I’ve been running consistently since 2012, so I guess you could say I’ve been a runner for three years. My running journey began about six months after I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes at the age of 25. Bummer, huh? But, hey, I guess it introduced me to a sport that I love and hate at the same time. Because exercise helps me control my blood sugar levels, I’ve stayed with it, and as of today, I have 10 half marathons under my belt.

Last year, I created a 30 Things to Do Before I Turn 30 list, and on that list, I wrote, “Run the NYC Marathon.” It seemed like a long shot because people have been trying to get into the race via lottery for years and years. I tried to get in to the 2014 race, but wasn’t chosen in the random draw. This year, I surprisingly made it…and on race day, Nov. 1, I will be 29 years old. Let’s hope I can cross that item off my list.

I’m not the best or even the fastest runner. I have to plan runsĀ around meals and blood sugar levels, I have short legs, I take walk breaks, my blood sugar gets wonky on me mid-run, I have to run with a crazy amount of diabetes supplies (pump, continuous glucose monitor, test strips, snacks, etc.)…so why in the world do I want to run a marathon? Preparing to run 26.2 is hard on anyone, but doing it with Type 1 is an extra obstacle that I am going to have to overcome.

But I want to show myself that I can. Sometimes I feel like my body turned against me almost four years ago. This is my way of fighting back.

LET THE TRAINING BEGIN! Join me on this journey.