Friday, December 17, 2010

Fueling with Veggie Oil

A couple of weeks ago, my Triabuddy's mom came to my house and dropped off 5 gallons of peanut oil. Keaton, my Triabuddy had seen that I run my 1982 Mercedes on vegetable oil, and asked me whether it could run on peanut oil. Diesel engines were actually originally designed to run on peanut oil, so I said of course, and that would be great. Lo and behold, his mom gave me 5 gallons of it.

As I was thinking how cool that was, I also was pleasantly surprised by the fact that he in essence fueled the length of the Ironman. My car gets 28 miles per gallon. With 5 gallons of peanut oil, I can go 140 miles. Well... the Ironman is 140.6 miles (2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run). Cool awesome coincidence.

I'll be fueling with some equivalent of veggie oil too (well only actually oil if I drink Gatorade which actually does have oil in it), but I'll be fueling all the same. I just thought that was a nice cool little factoid.

On a different note, I am a vegetarian and have found that the simpler the foods I eat (ie not processed) without exception the more clean energy I have to burn as I'm exercising. More on that another time.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

How a Low Feels

I was talking with my friend the other day, who is also a type 1, and telling him about my severe feeling low the other day. He related that the last time he described how it felt to be really low to a friend, she suggested that he write about it. So, here is my attempt (note that I am not writing about it AS it's happening).

It was Tuesday, and I injected more insulin than I should of. I was planning to eat a bigger breakfast, but after running 5 miles (3 at LT), and 2 total warm up and cool down, I injected 4 units of Humalog, again, planning to eat more, but was so content with my frequent buy rewarded free mocha, I stopped there.

All of a sudden, in the midst of trying to balance the budget for work, write emails back and forth, check Quickbooks budget reports on one computer, sliding back to my computer, adjusting project proposals, I started feeling like this was all so important, yet unimportant simultaneously. That is, that every single last detail, of printing out an insert to send along with an alternative gift card, and getting the cropping on the paper perfect was the most important urgent thing to do, while also, responding to my emails, and I felt a growing sense of urgency. All the while, I was beginning to sweat, and at a deeper level think about how I was going to finish this all. Probably it was my sympathetic nerve system actually asking that very question, but in reference to "how are you going to get out of this". But maybe because of the limited blood sugar I had in my system, I took that message and immediately applied it to the task I was doing. So, suddenly in that moment, I have this urgency of survival instinct and importance, but I'm thinking it's about the many tasks I'm doing at once. Of course, this is a trigger, as it feels odd, so I test. And it's only 60, but I think it must have been dropping FAST. I drank a juice, ate a bar, scrounged around in my purse for other old candy I carry around, and waited. All the while though that feeling of "what is happening to me, this is so strange, I can't figure out why I'm so stressed, I feel like I'm dreaming, like life is not that important anymore, but yet, I have omniscience about everything all at once"

At any rate, re-reading this, it doesn't capture all of it, but writing it, I began to better understand the physiological relationship between the feeling and brain's alarm for survival, and how strange it feels in relationship to what I was doing

Maybe others can relate or share it. Maybe next time (after I have drank the juice, and while I'm waiting for it to come up), I'll write more.

Monday, November 29, 2010

December 6, 4 PM Howarth Park

I'm putting together the next Dawn Phenom Event - that is a run/walk for people with diabetes, friends, family. We are meeting at Howarth Park in Santa Rosa at 4 PM on Monday, Dec. 6. I know it's not an ideal time, but I'm hoping that anyone who is interested can make it. We will be having monthly gatherings like this from now on. Please let me know if you are interested. Anyone who has type 1 or 2 diabetes, or knows someone who has it, wants to know more, or in general has some connection to diabetes is more than welcome to come!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Alcatraz Swim

I've been meaning to write about this one for a while. Saturday, 9/18/10 I did the South End Rowing Club's Alcatraz Invitational Swim. What a blast!!! I wasn't the fastest 45 minutes I think, but I did it without a wetsuit, and just had a wonderful time.

I got to Aquatic park, in my typical, last minute fashion. Luckily I found an amazing parking place, where all I had to do was move an orange cone a tiny bit to squeeze my car into a place that was totally legal.

I met my neighbor and his wife and daughters there, got my number, asked them to write 'diabetic' down my arm, and was ready to go. Blood sugar was okay. I took a meter with me on the ferry to have. forgot a syringe, so I got so stab my finger with my syringe (brought insulin too). scrounged a free gel that someone had left on the table, and ate it, then, when the time came, jumped off the boat!

Swam in pretty calmly. didn't really feel too cold, but swam a bit out of my way, as I was scared to get swept under the bridge. My mom was at the end, which was awesome, and then they had some amazing food. Including good coffee, and BUNCH of steamed spinach!

All in all it was a lot of fun, amazing, and I can't wait to do it again. There were people from all over the world there too!

Could it all Come Down to 1 Unit? - Diabetes Duldrums

10/10/10 - The Healdsburg Marathon. I was hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

I woke up feeling strong. The night before was the usual nervousness, hoping I would make it under 3:40, which is 8:24 minute miles. I felt ready. This was the time. I trained quite a bit, hard, built a good base, did some serious spring work outs, was good to go.

I woke up at 6:30. BS was I think 167. Not bad. Went for a 15 minute short walk with the dog, got back 137. Ate a pretty big bowl of brown rice, almond milk, and agave. Normally I'd give myself 4 units for that. I took 2 units of humalog. Got my tights on, shirts, meter in my pocket, syringes, bag of lancets, strips, ultra mini meter, goos, and a lot of dates. I was ready to go.

Drove the 20 minutes up to Healdsburg. On the way I tested and it was 101. Hmmmm, that was only 30 minutes after breakfast, I still had most of my insulin in me, and eaten, and it was 100? So, I ate 2 dates (20 or so carbs), found a great parking spot, ran to the check in, got my bag, ran to Safeway to avoid the line (by the way WHY are the port a potty lines ALWAYS so dang long, why not just rent a few extra?). Anyhow, got back from the bathroom, and it was 91. Shoot, not so good. So, I ate a banana, and another date. I ran to the start, literally got there as it was beginning. Here I go.

I felt good for the first 5-7 miles. Pace (although I don't have a fancy garmin, or watch), I just checked my watch at the mile markers. Miles were about 8:05, 7:58, 8:04, around there. some were a few seconds faster, others, a few seconds slower). Tested 1/2 hour into it, and it was 120 I think. I ate about every 30 minutes too. Then, I tested at mile 11. 67. Shoot. Not good, and I started to feel really really tired. Like really tired. I downed like 4 shot blocks, 2 dates, and hoped that would do it.

But I did know at some level, that once it's dropping that much, you're toast. You can't eat enough as fast as you are burning it. Soooo, I kept going. I hit the half way mark at 1:47. If I just kept that pace, I'd still be able to make it. But that aid station at the turn around was out of water. It was actually pretty hot.

Then, I've never every done this in a race, well since I was like 8 at least. I walked. I was so depleted. I felt so tired. I thought I was going to collapse. I kept thinking that if someone offered me a ride, I'd take it. I was miserable. I felt physically so depleted (which I guess I was because all the glycogen was gone, and I had no reserves). I walked part of miles 14 - 21 probably. The slowest mile I think was 10:32, fastest of those 9:30 or something. Then, I started thinking, maybe I can at least finish in under 4 hours. I knew my hopes of 3:40 were gone. So, I made myself walk for no longer than like 1 - 2 minutes at a time. And, I got a little bit of a second wind at mile 22. But I was still miserably tired. I finished at 3:58, actually got 3rd in my age group. But, I was tired, and a little bummed.

So, I kept thinking, could the whole race really have been different if I had take 1 less unit that morning? Crazy to think.

Now, I'm thinking about CIM, but probably won't do it, and planning on Carlsbad. And, really looking at why I feel the need to qualify for Boston, and if I can.

Not sure what to do now.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Documentary, Updates

I am so excited to be a part of the upcoming documentary showing:

I look forward to seeing many familiar and new faces there.

Also, last week, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet with Keaton, my triabuddy! I also met Keaton's sister Kelsey, mother and father. I am so excited about getting to know all of them, and working with Keaton especially. I look forward to seeing them at the documentary.

Sunday, Oct. 10 is the Healdsburg Marathon, which I'm really looking forward to also. I am hoping to qualify for the Boston Marathon in this one, but have to remember that it's okay too if I don't. Last year I missed it by 7 minutes. We'll see.

More soon, but for now, please, if you can come to the documentary showing. The info is below.

Insulindependence Presents the San Francisco Premiere of the
• 2.4 Mile Swim
• 112 Mile Bike
• 26.2 Mile Run
• 12 Type 1 Diabetics
• 1 Goal
Triabetes: “Give it a Shot”
In 2008, 12 people with type 1 diabetes set out to complete Ironman Wisconsin as part of a team called Triabetes. Triabetes has now grown to be the world’s largest triathlon club for people with diabetes, shattering presumed limitations and revolutionizing the way people approach diabetes management. Come meet current Triabetes members, and join us for an evening of inspiration, education and exploration as we follow these athletes and the kids who partnered with them for their journey to the finish line and beyond.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010 @ 7:00 PM
University of California San Francisco, Cole Hall
513 Parnassus Avenue, San Francisco 94143
Tickets are free; $5-10 donation welcome at the door.
To reserve a ticket, visit:
View "EVENTS" tab
Ticket questions:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fundraising with Little Help from My Friends

To follow along with the Beatles' References, I wanted to mention an extraordinary and amazing fundraising event that Holly and Mark Pepper put on to help Triabetes. Holly is a Type 1 and Mark is her amazing husband who also happens to be a fantastic chef. They are both doing Iron Man St. George, so I'm sure you'll meet them.

A while back, shortly after I met them, they volunteered to put on a dinner at their house for friends, cook some amazing food, and charge for it, to help Triabetes, and my fundraising efforts.

I was touched that they wanted to do that, and agreed to even donate all of the food and much of the wine! And.... I am not joking when I say that I had the best meal I've ever had in my life. Here is the menu:

Amuse Bouche
Heirloom tomato puree with fina basil
Celery root soup, chanterelle muschrooms, micro arugula
Dungeness crab friiter, citrus, mango puree, micro cilantro
Maple vanilla glazed tofu, micro cilantro
Range Brothers pork loin, bacon cream, candied pecans, blistered tomatoes, king trumpet mushroom
King trumpet mushroom and fresh baby corn sautee, oyster mushroom cream, candied pecans, blistered tomatoes
Cheese and contrast
Cowgirl creamery Mt. Tam triple cream, frog hollow preserves, macrona almonds
Rasberry almond tart, meyer lemon curd

As you can imagine, it was delicious!! I am so appreciative of their efforts, touched by the generosity of them, and all of those that attended, and more committed than ever to continue to work to support the work that Triabetes and we are doing.

They are even up for hosting another one early next year!!

Back in the Saddle

Wow, it's been a while since I've written. Life is indeed what happens while you are busy making other plans. That's probably one of the most overly quoted, but so true statements.

Since Barb's Race, I haven't slowed down too much. A day after it, I went to Maine for almost 2 weeks and had a really great time with my family there. Among other things, we did our first Taunton Bay Biathlon. Accompanied by my sister in law, brother, niece, dad, and cousin, I swam out to the Island. Liz, swam with me, and it was amazing! The water was pretty cold. As a kid, looking out at the island, we never thought we could just up and swim out there. It's about 2/3 of a mile or so. Then, on the way back, Nicole, my sister in law swam back with me. It was really rewarding to feel so much support, and just out and out fun!

Then, if that wasn't enough, the next event was a 20 mile run. John, my brother organized the family, so that 4 people would do 5 mile shifts with me. And they brought my meter and food to the top of the driveway (dried figs and almonds, and a water bottle). It was awesome!!!! First 5 miles with my other brother, Chris. It was pretty warm, we went out the back road, turned around and back. Then, Liz was waiting at the top with the goods. She and I went back out and back for another 5 miles. Then, Omar, her husband. This was a little harder, but still so wonderful to have company. Then, my other brother, John was there for the final 5. It was a little slower (I was estimating 9 minute conversational pace miles), but we did it! And my two nieces, sister in laws, other brother, and the whole crew was at the top of the driveway to meet us. It was really cool.

I had a wonderful time in Maine also. We did some great hikes, swam to Little Moose Island in Acadia National Park, with my friend Beth's kids, which was a lot of fun. On the island we found blueberries, cranberries, rose hips, seaweed, and crabs! Then, we swam back. It was chilly.

And, we did a 1 mile run and a 5k race. I remembered how slow I am at 5k's, but it was nice. I left that same day as the race, and headed back to California.

I'm following my training plan that Andrew set up, but really, with the exception of yesterday, I hadn't taken 1 day of a break since Barb's race. But I've been feeling really good. I finished reading Born to Run, and have been inspired to run smoother, and to remember the sheer joy of it all.

And, I've gotten really really excited and into biking. I can't believe what an amazing thing it is. From the beautiful views, to the newly discovered thrill of going down hills, and speeding thru the cool air and sunshine; I love it!

And, I bought a new bike. I totally splurged. I went last week and test rode a Cervelo S2, and started to really think about buying it. It was an amazing price, and I couldn't resist. It has all the fancy bells and whistles, and most of all, it's just a lot of fun to ride. I had a huge smile on my face when I rode it.

Since then, I've finally gotten fit and found that I need a longer stem, and a more comfortable seat, and wow, what a difference that can make. I rode on Friday a good 60 plus miles, in the seat it came with, which was pretty uncomfortable, and the handlebars were pretty close. I had to relearn and regain confidence going down hills too, especially on bumpy roads, as you feel everything with the stiffer carbon frame.

Then, today, my neighbor who I've been cycling with, and how has been so super kind in helping me out, tried putting a longer stem (it came with a 90, and he thought I should get a 110 or even a 120). He had a 130 laying around, which he knew was too long, but he put it on, and I got a better seat from the bike shop, and immediately, with the longer stem, I felt way more relaxed. It's such a good feeling to finally figure out what is wrong and correct it.

So, I'm pretty stoked on biking these days. I did the Santa Rosa 1/2 marathon today, and it felt pretty good. It was about a minute slower this year than last year, but I felt a lot better. This year I did 1:43 (7:52 minute miles). I felt really good till like mile 10, then it got a little harder. But I think that I have a lot more endurance now than I used to.

Also, we had a Santa Rosa area Dawn Phenom event on Saturday, which was small, but really nice. I met a couple of new people, and talked to a few more. I can't believe how many people are interested in the Insulindependence shirts!

Okay, more soon. It's nice to be back in touch.

Today was the Santa Rosa 1/2 marathon.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Barb's Race - First 1/2 Iron Man

Well, it's officially done. And what an amazingly fun time. I was probably a little too casual about the whole thing (I got there about 20 minutes before it started), and didn't get sunglasses till the night before, but it was a lot of fun. Somehow, I'm just not the type to think it all thru entirely the night before. At any rate, I can't believe how much fun it was.

So, first of all, I went to the Windsor High school on Friday to get my packet, and set up my bike to run transition.

Then, I got up at 6 AM on Saturday morning, checked my sugar (207), took 1 unit, ate a breakfast of almond milk, raspberries, and hemp seeds (covered by 3 units), walked my dog, and was out the door (with my bike in the back seat) by 7. I got to Windsor around 7:35, and had a hard time finding a place to park. I was a little nervous, since I was cutting it pretty close. I brought way too much stuff to the swim start line (transition 1). I tested right after I set up my stuff, and per Ed's really good nutrition planning and advice, ate two small clif bars, covered by 1 unit, took my 4 units of Lantus, a swig of gatorade, hit the bathroom, and got into the water.

SWIM (1.2 miles) - I got in the water and started at 8:10 AM. I kept to the right hand side, since there were less people and swam up. I probably could have left the wetsuit off, but thanks to Blair's good advice, I hiked up the sleeves and legs to allow for more limb movement. I started my watch, and took off up stream. The water was the perfect temperature, a little cool, but definitely not cold. Some people were waiting along the river, kayakers were on the side, and it was pretty peaceful. My arms kind of hurt. I didn't take it very hard, barely kicked I think, and went back and forth between really concentrating on my stroke, and pushing all the way back with my arms, and piercing the water in front. I also tried to glide and make my strokes last a while. I checked my watch at some point. I was kind of shooting for about 40 minutes, and was pretty close (:39:34). I got out, ran to my bike, and fumbled around. My sugar was 109 I think. Here is where I made a mistake. I got worried that it was going to go up, so I took in a handful of good and plenty's, a small clif bar, AND a gel. In retrospect too much! I seemed to take too long here (:07:17!!). Ran with my bike, and then clipped in to bike up the hill

BIKE (56 miles): This was by far the most fun. I rode pretty conservatively for the first 15 miles or so. I was sipping on a mix of hammer fuel powder and something else. My water bottle had 80 grams of carbs in it, and my plan was to sip half of it during the first 28 miles, and the other half for the second half. The other bottle had water plus Nuun in it, and since then I've found out that Nuun has artificial sweeteners, so I won't be having any more of that. At any rate, I was sipping on the bottle, and kind of holding back on the flats (15 - 17 mph about). At around mile like 20 I think, I started to feel thirsty and a little tired. I decided to test as I rode (right after I was past a station, which again wasn't too smart. 400. Great. So I kept riding and took 2 units of Humalog. And within 15 minutes, I started to feel pretty good. I kept going. Around mile 32 or 35, I told myself "okay, 20 or so more to go, and I'm starting to feel great. After Chalk hill, I took off, I went up to around 21/22 mph, and started passing people. It felt great. I was totally grinning downhill (and even hit 37 mpg, which used to scare the heck out of me.) I really wanted to break 3 hours, but did 3:06:58. I managed to swap my nuun filled nasty bottle for a water bottle at the last aid station and was psyched to down all of the water. I kept sipping a little on the carbo loaded bottle. So, I wasn't sure how smart I was being by going hard on the bike, but I calculated that going 18 mph versus 17 mph on a 56 mile ride would save me like 15 minutes! That seemed a lot easier than cranking my running pace up. So, I ended the bike, and spent :04:56 in T2. That was a little better, but not great.

THE RUN (13.1 MILES) - Blood sugar then was 109 I think. It felt good. I had a little sample size clif bar, and a gel, and started out (and some water). It was hot, and I was a little tired. I'm not sure how fast (or slow) I was going. The run course was hilly! I heard it was a little hillier and different than the 70.3 two weeks before. At any rate, I kept looking at my watch thinking, hmm, I might be able to break 6 hours, but I'm not sure. And the mile markers weren't great. The first out and back was a total of 8.7 miles. Around the hill before the turn around, I started feeling pretty good. I tested about 30 minutes into the run and was like 129, which made me realize I had to consume the same amount of carbs for the next thirty minutes to maintain a good BS. So, on the way back, around what was probably mile 5 or so, I realized that I still had 8.1 miles to go, but I had about 90 minutes to do it. So, even if I did 10 minute miles, I could still make it under 6 hours - that was really exciting! The run back was better than the run out, but around mile 6 or so, I got tired. I had my second gel, and then was out of stuff with me. So I alternated between warm water and warm gatorade at the aid stations. And I grabbed (and ate) 4 clif shot blocks. And then I passed Andrew (who by the way, was 5th overall!!! and first in his age group on the full vineman - what a stud - glad to have him training me). Then, once I got back, and went out for the final 4.4 miles, I was feeling pretty good. Got back, and finished the run at 1:53:52, with an overall finish of the whole thing of 5:52:39. Unfortunately I didn't have anyone waiting for me at the finish line, but I felt good. And BS was like 159. Here are the results:

I feel so grateful for all the help I got on this. From Ed's awesome nutrition life saving advice, to Andrew's training and encouragement, Holly's tips on what has worked for her, to my neighbor's giving me some great sunglasses, and fitting me to my bike, and giving me gear, to encouragement and tips - thank you all!

What an amazing fun adventure. I am really looking forward to more!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Diabetes, Training, and CGM's

I've really been enjoying running lately. Although it's been conversational pace, with just a few miles of hills, I've run 37 miles in the last three days. It feels so great to go out and around Annadel Park, where it's all trail, and the lake in the morning is still, the air is brisk, and I'm pretty stoked.

I usually see enough people to make me feel like I'm not out there alone, but also not too many to be distracted. I forget sometimes how just purely joyful it can be to run. If I stop thinking about time, mileage, my knees, the race, how much faster I should or shouldn't be going, and just remember to not think, and enjoy running for the joy of it, it's great.

The other activity that I've loved lately is biking. Discovering how much fun, peaceful, and beautiful back country roads are has been an adventure. I realized that even though I live in Sonoma county, where there are hundreds of miles of roads to bike on, I've done very little exploring. Lately though I've gotten out there more, and really loved it.

I'm really excited about Barb's race. I'm a little nervous, because I know I'm pretty competitive and I don't want to mess up and go out too fast and use up too much energy, and be toasted for the run. So, I'm really going to try to take it really easy, and not do too much, and just be mellow, and then bike strong, but not too fast and then pick it up for the run.

I've also been thinking a lot about CGM's lately and whether or not I'm justified in asking for one. I understand my doctor's argument, that I can just stop and test. And don't want to assume that I should have one just because I potentially can. But, after having quite a few lows, that really did come along quite suddenly, and thinking about it more, I'm convinced that it really will tell me information that I can't otherwise find out. So, I'm going to email my doctor and continue to write about and focus on the lows. I'd like to go about it just by explaining why I need it, but it seems that Kaiser, (and I imagine other insurance companies) want to see the numbers to even consider it. Although, now I know of two Kaiser patients who have them.

We'll see. The last thing I've been thinking about lately is whether diabetes is considered a disability? Doesn't seem like it is, but I'm always curious when I hear people talk about disabilities.

Tambien me gustaria saber si hay personas que le gustaria leer mi blog en Español? Porque siempre estoy pensando en la posibilidad de escribir en Español, pero no solo para hacerlo por gusto. Si hay gente que le gustaria que yo lo hiciera, me avisan por favor. Estoy disconectada con la comunidad latina, aunque trabajo en Nicaragua y El Salvador, aqui en los EEUU, casi no estoy conectado, y me gustaria estar mas involucrada, especialamente en el area de diabetes.

Bueno, aqui, me dispido, y quizas en los proximos voy a poder incluir unos fotos, y mas informacion. Siempre me gusta oir ideas, comentarios, etc.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Barb's Race 2 weeks away

It's been a while since I have written. Training is going really well. I am really enjoying the program that Andrew set up. A few things especially stand out: bike rides all around Sonoma county, long runs up to Annadel Park, and swimming in Lake Ilsanjo, and just exploring this area in general. I am constantly aware and in awe of what a beautiful place I live in. From the sun, to the redwood trees, the clear water to swim in, and the amazing places to bike; I feel so lucky.

My hamstring was hurting for a while, but that seems to have passed. When it was hurting, I think it was just from overdoing it, and not stretching. I took Arnica internally, put Arnica gel on it, took turmeric and cinnamon (turmeric is supposed to be anti-inflammatory), and I didn't eat gluten for over a week and stretched more, and ran last. Who knows which part of that routine helped, but it already feels better.

This week will be a little tough, with a few brick work outs, but I'm hoping I can find the time to do it all.

And, in less than 2 weeks, Barb's race. I went for a ride along Chalk Hill road, where we will be biking in the race, and it's not as bad as I heard. The hill itself isn't too steep, so I'm hoping it can be done.

More to follow soon.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Why it's Important to Use Body Glide (or some equivalent)

Um, well, sorry about this image, but I just wanted to encourage everyone to use some kind of anti-neck chaffing material when wearing a wetsuit. I have a ring like this all the way around my neck (and the close ups are even grosser, and it kind of stings). I was wearing a surf wet suit on Saturday when I swam, but I didn't have a rash guard or anything on. It was a bit painful while swimming, and now, it's a little embarrassing and looks pretty strange. Learn something new all the time.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Swimming at Aquatic Park, Running in the Presidio, and Riding in West County

Wow, the last two days have been pretty incredible! From Saturday morning's swim in the cold (55 degrees supposedly) in San Francisco Bay at Aquatic Park, to running to Baker Beach in the Presidio, to today's amazing ride from Santa Rosa to Bodega Bay; I feel so lucky!!

On Saturday morning I met Mark and Holly Pepper at Aquatic Park in San Francisco. We donned our wetsuits and headed down to swim in the 55 degree water. Probably over half the people in the bay were NOT wearing wetsuits. We all were. Mark and Holly had neoprene caps, and I had two swim caps, plus ear plugs for the first time. So, honestly the first 5 minutes were miserable. Putting my face in the water was so hard. It gave me that beating headache instantly. But somehow, we just kept going, and after 5 minutes or so, it was fine. We swam around the cones back in forth for about an hour. The current swimming towards the Golden Gate was pretty strong, and you'd get pushed towards one of the big boats there, when swimming between the buoy and the boat. And then, about 30 minutes into it, my neck started to just sting. Not from a jellyfish or anything, but just the sheer fact that the wetsuit was rubbing against it. It hurt! Next time, I guess body glide is a good idea; that and perhaps not using a surfing suit.

At any rate, we all made it thru, and felt great getting out. My blood sugar had been 96 before. I ate a clump of old cliff bar samples from the SV triathlon I had brought and 1 cliff shot. Post swimming it was 124. I at 1 shot block. Then, we set out to run thru the Presidio. It was beautiful. I think we went about 11 miles or so (although I'm not sure). But it was great!

Then, today, Blair and I went riding in west county. ( It was epic. From the beginning, cool early afternoon, to the Coleman Valley Rd. climb, which was a little brutal in parts, to the amazing view from the ridge, down to the ocean. There was a point (see photo) that we began to feel the cool ocean breeze. We cruised down to highway one, went along it for 8 miles or so, then headed up Bodega Hwy to the Wild Flour Bakery in Freestone. Wow, it was amazing, and then we headed back to Santa Rosa. It was just over 60 miles, and beautiful. I had a low about 2 blocks from home, and couldn't make it without stopping and eating a bunch of dried fruit very quickly. Then, I ran a yellow/red light and wasn't thinking too well, but luckily made it, but learned that I really need to slow down at yellow/red lights.

It's been an amazing day. I love the connections with people that I'm making thru Triabetes. I'm so thankful for the friendships already forming. Blair and I have been talking a lot about what Triabetes means, and I've really been trying to articulate the ultimate goals. I keep coming back to: "getting people with diabetes to talk to each other, build community, and friendships". There is more to it than that, and I look forward to exploring and discovering and helping to be a part of it.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Long Bike Rides

Last Saturday, June 19, I went on a fantastic ride with two friends. It was the farthest I'd ever biked, and it was one of those "I love that I live in what seems to be one of the most beautiful places in the world" moments. We took the precarious Calistoga Rosa, which was a bit, well actually super narrow, steep, and full of traffic. And then descended into Calistoga, where we biked along Silverado Trail. What a perfect road! Rolling hills, nice big shoulder, and just awesome.

We biked to Yountville, specifically the La Bouchon Bakery. Because just about every long bike ride I think needs to at least include one stop at a fantastic bakery. We were not disappointed. From the cookies, to the danishes, they are really really good. Unfortunately my blood sugar was 392. I took about 7 units, drank like 4 cups of water, ate a walnut roll with lots of butter (to slow down the absorption of the flour and carbs), and hoped it'd all level out in a few hours. It did.

We got back on the road, and road back up Silverado Trail, into Calistoga, then along a different route back to Santa Rosa. We'd been told there were better alternatives to Calistoga Road. So, we took Franz Valley Road. It was one of the most beautiful roads I've been on in a while. There were barely any cars, incredible views, shade, hills, but also flat parts; all in all amazing. Coming down Mark West Springs road was difficult due to a lot of traffic, and little shoulder for most of it.

It turns out we rode over 85 miles, and did 4973 feet of climbing! Except for my cleat falling off my shoe a couple of miles from home, it was great.

The next morning, I went for a 12 mile slowish run, and felt great. I kept wondering whether I was overconfident as I began to think about how maybe, just maybe, I could do the full vineman on July 31, rather than Barb's race, which is half. I felt really good, and kept increasing my speed. But I knew at some level that endorphins can probably produce overconfidence.

I thought about it for about 24 hours, and concluded (with the help of some good sound advice), that it probably would not be the best idea. But it was hard. I'm constantly fueled by a new challenge, and, based on how good I felt, I thought it was a good idea, and kept thinking I could make it happen. But apparently jumping the gun on an ironman without a solid base of training is not too smart.

So, I'm back on the plan of July 31 being Barb's race (1/2 iron distance), Aug. 29, 1/2 marathon, Oct. 10 full marathon, and the schedule as planned.

85 miles and 4973 feet of climbing!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Ponderings on People with Diabetes

It's a real long shot, but it seems to me that there are certain characteristics that I've noticed in people with diabetes. But, I must couch saying that with the fact that, up until a few months ago, I have only been friends with two people with type 1 diabetes. One is a colleague, and one is a 14 year old. But, as I start to spend more time with other diabetics and get to be friends with them, I keep wondering if I can classify certain characteristics that pertain mostly to diabetes. Maybe it's an error to try to separate the natural personality traits from chronic illness induced ones. That's not a nice way to say it. But what I mean is that it seems like there are some similarities in people that I know with diabetes. First, they are planners, and calculators. Well that's pretty natural, considering that diabetes is such a game of calculation. From the effects of water, electrolytes, exercise (including intensity), stress, food, duration of the food, insulin, (Lantus, Humalog, Novolog, NPH, Regular, insulin pumps, insulin pens, whatever the delivery device), it all contributes to blood sugars.

What I'm not sure about is whether that habit of calculating for diabetes management permeates into other areas of our lives, so that we are planners and calculators when we would otherwise not be were it not for diabetes. I find myself thinking about not just the above mentioned, but also about how to improve efficiencies and inefficiencies in systems, how to get the best deal possible, etc.

I wonder if that's just my limited knowledge of people with diabetes. At any rate, it's very interesting to me, maybe just because of our human tendency to categorize.

As far as I know there are no scientific or even behavioral studies that have been done on this topic. And if you google 'sociology and anthropology of diabetes' not too much comes up that is directly related to the subject.

I guess trying to dissect the components of any human character is a tricky business. Whether from the perspective of diabetes induced behaviors or not, it's a relatively vague territory to be able to discern direct origins in. But it's fun to try.

I would venture to guess that having diabetes does make you a planner and a calculator. Not necessarily a type A across the board, but a maybe just a 'thinker'. Because you always have to be thinking about what's going on now and what's next. And perhaps the difference between someone without diabetes thinking that way and a diabetic is that a diabetic's physiology is actually dependent on successfully calculating and thinking.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day after the Triathlon

It's always kind of a let down the day after a triathlon. What next? And, I also wonder if I should feel sore. I don't at all, just a little tired of having high blood sugars. I'm not totally sure if blood sugars in general should be high after a short triathlon. On the one hand, one would think they'd be better, with all the exercise under the belt, but I also don't know how long the adrenaline lasts. Then, on the other hand, if there was any muscle trauma, maybe that makes the sugars go up. Who knows. But it's kind of a let down and it makes you physically feel bad when sugars are high. I'm hoping that tomorrow will be a little better. And, I'll get back on track with things.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Silicon Valley International Triathlon

Well, I'm totally exhausted, not so much from the triathlon, as from the sun, travel, and just sheer energy of it all. First off it was great to see and meet Holly and her husband, Kathleen and her friend, Bobby Joe (and her really sweet little girls, who got to hand out medals to the finishers at the end), Lucy, James, and others. On Saturday, Peter and I talked to a few people about diabetes, as we shared the shade of the bright orange Triabetes tent with others. Although there was not a ton of action, I think it was really good to have a presence there, as we are the official charity of the race. And, we heard Mark Allen talk. What a stud. He talked about his biggest competitor, Dave Scott, and their races to win the Ironman. For more info, click here. He also talked about his spiritual path and the Shaman work that he as done. I imagine that's a natural desire for a lot of professional athletes, to try to also work on their internal life. All in all it was really interesting - a bit disappointing that so few people were there to hear it. Among other things, he mentioned the importance of taking shorter strides in the run. And how Dave Scott was a vegetarian, and used to rinse his cottage cheese because it was too much fat.

Later, we had a really nice dinner at Sports Basement on Saturday night with James, Lucy, Kathleen, her friend, Bobby Joe, Yetti, Casey, Anne, Peter, and I. What an awesome set up Sports Basement has. They provide really good snacks and drinks, a meeting pace, and all meeting attendees get 20% off when they shop there. And they are super friendly. Like the one in SF, it was just an all out great opportunity for people to talk. Peter pointed that out to me, how it's really all about bringing diabetics together to talk. And so much can come out of that. From inspiration to practical knowledge and ideas, from companionship, to humor, understanding, and so much more.

Following the dinner, we all planned to meet up at 5:30 in the transition area the next morning for the triathlon. My blood sugars had been great during the till an evening 307 out of nowhere for me. I corrected, but still went to bed with it high, and then woke up with around 230 I think. I took 1 unit (1/2 of what I'd usually take to correct).

At that bright hour, Bobby Joe, Kathleen, James, and I were the four Triabetes people (we met up with Holly late) all together. For breakfast I ate a rice cake with peanut butter and agave and took another 1 unit. A little while later it was 286, then right before the swim, (and here is where I think I made a mistake), it was 223, so I thought, shoot, it's dropping, and I ate a little clif bar and 1/2 a banana.

Swim was organized by gender and age group. I started at 7:16. The water left a lot to be desired. It smelled like what I hope it was not; sewage. I had debated whether to wear a wetsuit, and wish that I didn't. Despite the increase buoyancy, it is hard to move, and I felt a little claustrophobic. It was hard to aim directly for the yellow buoys. At one point, I looked all around and didn't see any white caps, and couldn't figure out if they were all behind or in front of me. Eventually, I rounded the last buoy, and headed to the finish. My arms were tired though, and I felt kind of depleted for the first half of the run.

I ran up to the bike, checked sugar, 263, thought maybe it'd decrease on the bike, so I didn't eat anything or take any insulin, BUT I forgot to take some gu's with me. I pushed hard on the bike and felt really good. There was a headwind heading out, but after the turnaround, there was a nice little tail wind. I didn't have anything to track mileage, but by the end, I kept thinking, I should be there, I should be there.

Ended with the bike with the lovely blood sugar of 392. Thought about keytones, took two units of humalog and 1/2 of a gu and the rest in my pocket, since I hadn't eaten anything during the whole event. I felt sluggish at the start of the run. And it was hot. But then about 3 miles into it, I felt a lot better, and finished feeling pretty strong. Although my blood sugar was 353. My overall time was 2:48. Although official results aren't up yet, I believe my swim time was 30 or 31 minutes. And my bike was 1:21 and run was exactly 8 minute miles (49:36). Transitions were like 3 and a half minutes.

All in all it was an excellent time. I'm really looking forward to the next events. Holly, Bobby Joe, James, and friends will plan some rides sometime in the Marin/Sonoma area soon, and hopefully get the dawn phenom events going as well in that SF area too.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Diabetes and Community

For most of my life, I've believed that community is key. It's important not only for us to grow, challenge ourselves, take care of one another, but also to learn new things, have accountability, and face challenges together. I've grown up always as a part of an incredible group of people. From my beginnings in Maine, where I was born, right on Frenchman's Bay, where, when my brothers and I were younger we used to run to the neighbors house to play cards, get a piece of candy, learn about the stock market from Kal and Phyllis, to my best friend Beth's house, where we'd chase bees and step on them with our bare feet, swim in the bay (we would spend hours in the 57 or so degree water), and lay in the sun all day, I've always felt very blessed.

From Maine, we moved to California when I was 5, but used to drive back to Maine every summer in our orange 1972 volkswagon van. it only went about 45 (and that was on the downhill), well, maybe 55 every once in a while. But we found things to amuse ourselves. We'd play the alphabet game, clean the van (because I was afraid of bears), play bingo, tease our dog, try to get him to stop drooling on us as we drove across the Nevada desert with no air conditioning, fight over who got to sit in front, and more.

But in California also, we were a part of a community. We grew up at Wellspring Renewal Center in Philo, California. Where, we lived in a very small house (about 600 square feet I think for the 5 of us), with kerosene lanterns (later solar electricity, river generated electricity, and eventually when my 10 year old older brother was frustrated enough to dig an entire trench, 'real' electricity), no hot water, no indoor toilet, a huge garden that we mostly ate out of, but never did I not feel totally supported, and a part of a community. Granted, I did every once in a while wish for TV, donuts, and cheetos, but oh well. And people would give us these things, just as they also supported us with our interests, beliefs, activities, and lives.

Then, when I was 12, and was diagnosed with diabetes, it was also a community of friends, family, and others who were there. I still have a huge poster that all of my seventh grade classmates (and teachers) put together for me and sent to me in the hospital. Maybe I should recycle that, but it meant so much to me. And I remember, friends of ours sent a clown to entertain me. And, people visited.

For the last 20 plus years, while I've been involved in other communities (in Central America, locally in my neighborhood, in Maine still, my family, and others), I haven't focused on seeking out and being involved in the diabetes community.

And, I'm so glad that I have. I am touched by how kind everyone has been. Open, accepting, kind, and just so willing to listen and help one another. Whether it's anticipating how to best treat highs in the morning, or talking about how much it can such to not be able to convince your doctor that you are in bad enough control that you need a continuous glucose monitoring system, it's been a totally unexpected and wonderful surprise for me.

I'm really looking forward to continuing this part of my life, and connections that I'm making with others, who are not just part of my diabetes community, but becoming part of my life as well.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Always something new to learn

Every time I visit my doctor, I hope that he has some jewel of knowledge about diabetes that will really help me improve my blood sugars. Sometimes I'm disappointed. But I wasn't on Thursday. I was trying to figure out why I'm having so many highs in the morning, and he suspected that I'm having lows that I'm not aware of during the night. I scoffed somewhat, as by this time (with over 20 years of diabetes), I am overconfident that if I had a low at night, I'd wake up. But he informed me that there are 6 hormones that cause your blood sugar to go up: cortisol, epinephrine, glucagon, and I don't know about the other 3). At any rate, all 6 of this cause blood sugar rises, and only 1 hormone (insulin) causes it to drop. That's helpful for me. Make sense to think in those terms.

So, I'm going to test for more night time lows. In the meantime, I'll explore other things....
I have so many things that I want to write about, and now, when it's time and I'm actually writing, I find myself sounding trite, somewhat self-absorbed, and uninteresting. So, I'm working on the rest of the stories. I think that I'll use this blog to try to share a little more about my life beyond diabetes. Now, where to start... I'll give it some thought, and come up with more soon.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Windsor 1/2 Marathon

This weekend on Sunday, I did the Windsor 1/2 marathon. The course was amazing (i'll put up some pictures soon), the weather was perfect. my brother Chris was running, our friends Jed, Todd, and Jim, and it rocked! Although I didn't feel stellar, I completed it in 1:45. 8:02 minute miles. Not great, but that's okay. I am trying to figure out what's going on with my blood sugars. They seem to be a bit high. I felt pretty great though crossing that finish line. I feel like I'm getting in a little better shape now. And finally getting a little more organized. I'm really looking forward to getting together the Santa Rosa area community on June 5, and then the next weekend the Silicon Valley Triathlon. Also, I spoke to the directors of the Windsor 1/2 and they seemed open and interested in Insulindependence and possibly having it be a charity for next year. we'll see.

In the meantime, I'm exploring changing what I eat a little. I'm eating gluten again, which I was off for a while.

And, this morning I swam almost 2 miles, and ran 6 and feel awesome. If anyone has anything in particular that they'd like to read about, please let me know, because I do well to suggestions, and love to talk!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Up and Running Again

Well, I'm going to see the doctor and hope that will help confirm a minor tissue injury maybe, and I'll be ready to go. I'm really looking forward to going up to Ashland this week and finding some great places to run. It's strange how much I look forward to running again after just a short break. More soon.. and hopefully photos as well. And I think that I'll start writing about stuff other than just my trainings too! Any comments, suggestions, etc. are always welcome.

Not Running

Well, I still haven't gotten into the regular habit of writing in my blog, but hopefully soon. In the meantime, I have needing to get all of my triabetes info together, from ordering the kits, to the wetsuit, to a local event that i am planning on june 5, as well as june 12. Sometimes it's hard to keep all of the steps required for each event/task organized, unless a specific time each day is devoted to it.

On a different note, my knee hurts. This is the first time that I've actually not run for 3 consecutive days specifically because my knee hurts. I'm icing it, and swimming one-legged. I probably should go to the doctor, but I don't even know if Kaiser has a sports doctor, or who I would see. It's a little hard, as I really want to run, and I have a 1/2 marathon this coming Sunday. I am really trying to be responsible about it, and have not run at all. But it's hard to stick with something like that when you don't know 100% that that will solve it. I also don't know what a doctor would do besides an x-ray, and then I'm not sure I'd want the results of it.

So, I will try to call them and see what I can arrange. In the meantime, it's made me appreciate all the arm strength required in swimming when you are not using 1 leg. Maybe I can bike? i'm not sure. For now, I'm icing it a LOT.

More soon.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I've been oscillating between a caffeine high and a blood sugar low for a while now, despite eating anything that I can find; an orange, old trail mix from my draw, a half a granola bar at the bottom of my purse, and some peanut butter. Eck. It's finally going back up.

I've been thinking about filling out my training schedule, getting all of my stuff in order. Sometimes it's kind of hard to stay on top of everything.

It's been pretty fun having this blog. I also need to acknowledge Johnny for the Betes ideas.

More soon.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Getting Started

Well, this is my first blog, and it's pretty exciting. I hope that by doing this, I will not only be able to reflect and articulate my own thoughts, but interact with others as well, whoever that may be.

I think to begin with, much of this will have to do with diabetes, and the year long training and learning process I am about to embark on. But I also anticipate commenting on other things on my mind. I welcome feedback.

I am finally taking the time to get started with wetsuit ordering, filling out a survey, trying to plan my fundraising, regional, and local events. It's overwhelming, but exhilarating at the same time. What a journey.

I'm in the midst still of deciding why I should do which races, the prices, times, readiness, etc. I think that I'll sign up for the Silicon Valley Olympic Triathlon on June 13, and possibly Barb's race on July 31. I guess I'll get around to posting those in a separate place.

It all began in late March, when I received an email and then a phone call back from Peter Nerothin, the ED of Insulin Dependence. He wanted to know if I was still interested in being a Triabetes Team Captain. I wanted to say yes right away, but had to think it over a little, as it involved a pretty huge commitment, both time, financially, and energy. Also, I had to cancel a race that I was planning to run to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Who knows if I would have, but it made me think a lot. Friends and family really helped me think it through, and, knowing that I would be doing the Ironman race with other type 1 diabetics, AND there would be a service component, in that we would be working with younger kids and families with diabetes, I signed up.

First time we all got together was in St. George, Utah April 30 - May 2. What a weekend! I can't believe how interesting it was to get to know everyone else. After the typical nerding out on diabetes things, meters, insulin, blood testing, we really started to learn more about one another. We come from all over the country, and bring such a diverse experience of upbringings, beliefs, habits, outlooks, and more, but we also have so much in common. I found myself really enjoying getting to know each one of the other captains, the ID staff and board members.

And on Saturday, we went and saw the start of this year's Ironman. What a trip. The lake was 55 degrees. We were stuck there for 3 hours, until the last biker left. So, I went for a run (in my jeans), but at least I had my running shoes.

Then, after a quick rest back at the hotel, we went to volunteer on the course. I thought it'd be pretty slow, handing out water, but not too exciting. I was totally wrong. It was amazing. People were so grateful, tired, exhilarated, upbeat, and intense. We handed out cola, picked up trash, and cheered people on for a while. Here is a photo of me there.

It's always so unnerving for me to be in the desert, where the sky is so huge, and the mountains loom high, yet, in such a big expanse of blue, don't seem so steep. It takes a day or two to get used to.
We then saw the finish line at midnight. What a trip! After 17 hours, people are just coming thru, and they have to make it before midnight.

The next morning (Sunday) we went to register for the May 7, 2011 Ironman. We wondered around the expo for while. I was hoping there'd be some cheap or free stuff, but not too much luck there. We took a team photo, packed up and headed to Las Vegas. We went on a beautiful run there, right somewhat near the Hoover Dam. And, then flew home.