Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Barb's Race

I was going to do a race report about Barb's race, which was a 1/2 iron distance on July 30th. It was a lot of fun, but I was really tired on the run. I finished in 5:40, which was 12 minutes faster than last year, but the run was 19 minutes slower! Swim was 33 minutes, bike was 2:55, and run was, acckkk, I forget, like 2:02, plus transitions. At any rate, I didn't eat enough on the bike, and made the big mistake of doing an intramuscular shot into my arm in the bike to run transition. BIG mistake. Insulin arrives too fast! and I did 2 units, and should have done one.

One thing that worked was to leave my insulin in a cooler out the night before in the T2 area. I think I'll do that again. And, I think now, for the bike, I'll just bring a bottle with me. I want to figure out a way to mount my meter with velcro onto my bike when I need it.

At any rate, more soon.

At it Again????

September 11, 2011, that's the date for the full Rev 3 in Cedar Point, Ohio for another full triathlon. I can't believe I'm doing it again, but I'm really looking forward to it. After Ironman St. George, a few of my Triabetes teammates signed up, and I was convinced that it'd be another wonderful experience.

So, we are getting closer.

In the meantime, I've learned a few things about diabetes in the last few months.

1. Stacking insulin shots on top of one another makes it hard to control blood sugars. Dr. Bernstein had suggested not taking correction shots or additional shots to cover meals within the time that there is still unused insulin in your system and when I am consistent about being careful about that, it really works.

2. Your body is serious when it tells you to relax. I got a warning about 2 weeks ago, when I thought my kidneys were hurting, but now, I think it was muscle soreness, then this past weekend, after a long hard ride, starting out on a run, my kidneys (but really it was my back muscles) hurt again. Then, on Sunday, I was doubled over in pain, and having a hard time even walking. Went to the doctor, talked to people, rested, put on ice, heat, and rested some more, and now it's almost gone, but I need to listen and rest.

3. Diabetes is a thinker's disease. I saw a shirt or heard about a shirt once that said that, and I really think it is. You have to constantly to weighing and considering multiple factors.

That's it for now. I hope to get back to the regular posts soon.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What Does it Mean to Take Time Off?

Well, first of all, I guess I recently learned that it doesn't mean 'easy rides' or easy swims in the pool, like I thought I was doing. I was supposed to be taking time off, and really haven't been doing that at all. I had been doing easy rides, and easy swim, and it was driving me crazy, but I still thought that it counted as 'time off'. And I found out that it really doesn't. Now the worst part is that I would have done so much more if I knew that it wasn't time off. So, it makes me want to go out and run right now, I guess I still can since technically my time off doesn't start till Wednesday. It is going to be hard to take 4 days off. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday are all supposed to be time off. Wow, that's hard. And I do have to examine the mental part of why that should be so hard. It's that I don't have a direction, a goal for what to do. But shouldn't my goals be coming from other places than just physical activity?

It's good mental and physical exercise I think to change things up and force yourself to do something that is not necessarily comfortable. Partially I thought that since sitting on the couch Craig said I'd produce about as much lactate in my blood as easy riding, I figured that I was taking time off.

Well, it'll be a hard few days, but necessary. So, what it means is just exactly what it means, to actually take time off. And the way my mind works is to constantly try to find a way around that and bend the rules, but sometimes I just have to do what is asked of me and have the faith and the grace to take it and listen.

So, right now, since I still have today and tomorrow that are officially 'not off' I think that I'm going to go out and run or do some of the things I've been wanting to do! More soon on this lactate diet that I'm on.

A little more context: I got my blood lactate tested on Friday, and found out that, while, I was in pretty good shape overall, my body was tired of all the lactate in my blood, and really needed a break from it, so now I'm on a lactate diet is what I'm calling it, and taking the time to give my body a break from it, and hopefully make my body less tired of it, by clearing some of it out of my system.

The mental difficulty of taking time off is something that I'm really going to explore and write about in the next few days, so if you are interested, stay tuned.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Ironman St. George

Friday night was an awesome evening of fun, getting to see the Triabuddies, who had been camping for the last few days. Keaton was a trooper, surviving on very little sleep, still bright eyed, and so positive.

Went to bed early, and didn't sleep too well. Woke up at 3:45 AM and caught the bus to the start. I wondered around quite a bit observing people, getting excited, and before I knew it it was time to start!

The swim felt pretty good overall. It was a bit cold (56 degrees was the unofficial but official temperature). The swim went well, 1:16, which is just a minute over what I was expecting. Halfway thru I got a little cold and realized I had better speed up if I wanted to warm up, so I did.

In the swim to bike transition, I realized that I had forgotten to take my Lantus (long acting insulin), which was a bummer. So, started out high, and began thinking about what to do. I came up with the following.

1. Find the Lantus bottle and syringe in bike jersey
2. Bite the orange cap off of the syringe and hold in your mouth
3. Put insulin bottle in your mouth
4. Stick syringe (have to aim well) towards your mouth to land in the rubber area of the top of the insulin bottle
5. Withdraw 5 or so units
6. Shoot out 2 units or so
7. Wait till your opposite leg (from the hand you are taking off the handles) is up
8. Inject your leg muscle when cadence is right.
9. Repeat as needed.

I guess I also could have just stopped the bike and given myself a shot, but this was kind of a new challenge. And I forgot my salt tablets, which was a total bummer, because I was thinking that I really needed them most of the bike.

The bike ride was harder than I had expected. There was a LOT of wind, and I was really slowed down by that, plus I felt worried about the lack of salt, my water bottle cage didn't hold the flimsy bottles they handed out, and bottom line, is my legs felt tired. I'm not too sure why, but they did. Could have been that I wore compression socks for the first time, hmmm...

At any rate, I barely made the cut off time (with 21 minutes to spare) and was so happy to get off the bike, and onto the run!

The run was also a bit harder than I had anticipated. It was still pretty hot when I was doing it, and I also felt a little tired. But not too muc hurt, basically I was just tired. I walked a lot, but ran down the hills. It was actually kind of relaxing to talk with people, and not feel in such a rush.

Finishing was awesome!! And going by the triabetes aid station gave me a ton of new energy too. I can't express how inspiring it was to know that as I came up to the aid station, I'd see Keaton, Julianne, Chris, Rachel, Ed, and everyone else who ran with me. What a difference that made. And, seeing my mom and Juan get excited and cheer, really honestly carried me the rest of the way.

Here is the official video of the Ironman St. George, where Brian of Triabetes made the cut! The big question now, is... will I do another one? I am having a hard time finding focus, but it's still only been less than a week. I need to think about it some more.

Also, here is a link for a recent Press Democrat Story too.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Dexcom Sensors

Since I've begun using the Dexcom sensor, I have to say, it's been amazing to see the direction that my blood sugar is taking. I can see when it's steady, heading up, or heading down. It totally affects what I do, and how I anticipate lows.

Then, I used my last sensor, and didn't have it, and had a low of 28 the other morning. That's pretty low, and I didn't even feel it coming on. So, my first thought was 'great, hope that goes towards the case of getting Kaiser to support my Dexcom sensors' - that's kind of sad to think that way, but it really was helping prevent lows.

This morning, I woke up and it was 42, same thought.

I think I'm having all of these lows, mostly because I am still needing less insulin. But the affect of knowing what direction my blood sugar is going, and how quickly it is moving in that direction, which is what the Dexcom provides is really amazing. Hopefully insurance companies will figure out that it actually does improve their bottom line to have diabetics have them and consequently have less lows. But for now, I guess we just keep making the case. And documenting those low blood sugars.

Experimenting with Lantus and Exercise

After talking with a few people, I've tried increasing the amount of Lantus (long acting) insulin that I take on days when I plan to be exercising a lot. The idea is that, if I have more baseline insulin active, then what I eat during a long ride or run can be covered by that without having to inject short acting insulin. It's had mixed results. One day, two weekends ago, it worked pretty well, then last weekend, I still go high, and had to take 1 unit of Humalog. I think that the idea is good, and hopefully I can do that.

I have to remember that while exercising, I should be an athlete first, and a diabetic second. meaning basically that I shouldn't wait for my low blood sugar or decreasing blood sugar to prompt me to eat, but rather eat as anyone who is doing what I'm doing and doesn't have diabetes would do. That's hard when you've been riding for 3 hours, and blood sugar is stable or rising, because then you should eat, but the question is, if you eat, do you have to take humalog, or will the basal rate lantus cover it?

I don't always have the answer, and the answer probably changes, but last weekend I got pretty wiped out the next day and I think it's because during my ride I didn't eat enough. Better that happen now than on race day. So, lesson learned I think is to eat, even if it means taking insulin to do so.

Also, I discovered how SUPER fast insulin acts when injected directly into a muscle (especially one that you are using). I was pretty high on my ride on Saturday (300 or so, I can't remember). I took 1 UNIT injected directly into my leg muscle where I knew I'd be using it as I continued the ride for 4 more hours, ate a bar, drank some whatever electrolyte drink, and rode on. In like 1 hour, it was 75! Wow. Good to know.

Also, I've been having more lows lately. Monday morning it was 28. And then this AM 42. I'm wondering how many lows one has to have to get insurance to cover Dexcom sensors. That's crazy but when I have a low now, I think, 'wow, here's one more for the case for them to cover the sensors. That's totally ridiculous, but true.

Hoping to recover some, and then feel fresh for May 7, which is coming right up!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Remembering a Remarkable Woman

I celebrated my grandmother's life today with family and friends at the Central Philadelphia Friends Meeting. Margaret Hope Bacon was quite a woman. From her work to abolish slavery, social activism, academic successes, to her blueberry pies and lasagna, she touched many people's lives. I'm kind of honored and a little proud to be her granddaughter.

I feel like I've only begun to get to know her better since her recent death on Feb. 24. She would have turned 90 on April 7th of this year.

Grandma combined writing with social activism. She wrote over 17 books, was active in the women's movement, abolotion society, and more. She traveled all over the world, from Africa to Europe, China, and Australia. I feel inspired by her, and hope that I can begin to transform some of that inspiration into action, writing, and perhaps pass it on to others.

She was a woman who was frank, stern, determined, graceful, intelligent, and committed to doing the right thing, and inspire others to work to make the world a better place.

I hope to continue some of her traditions, and learn more about her, and the rest of the Bacon family. I am so grateful to be a part of such an amazing family (as Omar likes to say, the "Quaker Kennedy's"), and friends as well.

I'm currently on the plane now, on my way back to California, and then to Nicaragua tomorrow. Most of my blogs have been about athletics, but I've been thinking a lot about my grandma today. I'll just finish by adding two quick athlete related things because they're also on my mind.

My grandma could probably swim in cold water longer than I could. And until she was about 84 or so, she still swam in the cold Taunton Bay on Maine. Out when the tide was high to the sail boat, and back to shore. I used to go with her during the summers.

I was a little bummed to miss the second memorial service planned for her tomorrow at Crosslands, where my grandpa still lives. All of the rest of my family is there, and I absolutely love it when we are all together. It makes me feel so happy, alive, grateful, and complete. But, I had to get dropped off at the airport, as I am flying back to San Francisco now, and then tomorrow to Nicaragua. I was too tired this morning to run, so I figured I'd run at the airport. I've only ever really gotten a good run at Oakland airport. Years ago, also in Houston, but it's been a while. So, I feel pretty good physically now. I got dropped off at 4:15 for a 6 PM flight. Coming in to Philly two days ago, I thought I might do this, and noticed that all of the carts to hold luggage (which I always scrounge around for, and would never rent) were the kind that you have to press the handle down to make them go forward. But, just as I went in the door today, I was stoked to find a cart that was the kind you didn't have to push down on to make it go forward, just push ahead of you as you ran behind it.

So, I loaded up my carry on, computer, and bag with food on it, found a bathroom, changed into my running clothes and shoes, took the elevator up, walked over to the parking garage, took the elevator to the top of the C terminal parking garage and ran around for an hour (I think it ended up being 7.5 miles or so). I came down, went thru security, got some coffee (and yes donuts) from Dunkin Donuts, boarded the plane, got some clothes, went into the bathroom and changed (it's a little small and a little cramped to change in a bathroom on the plane), washed up a little, put on some deodorant, asked for some water for my bottle, took some insulin, ate, put on my compression socks, and sat down (and discovered free internet service onboard). I'm not sure if it's a mistake or what, or if I'll get a huge bill, but it's pretty cool. Okay, I feel a little self-congratulatory, and happy with myself, but maybe I just want to share it all because it was pretty cool.

At any rate, here I am, processing it all still, nervous about the St. George race being less than 2 months away, not having gotten in barely any long bike rides, traveling a lot (5 trips since the end of January), reflecting on my grandma, feeling a little sad about leaving my family, but at least physically I feel better after running. And blood sugar is 216 and dropping. By the way, I got a Dexcom, and it's pretty amazing. That's a continuous glucose monitoring device. WAY cool. More about that and other airport running later. Signing off from 35,000 feet or so.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Running on the Pan American

Hot, burned grass smell, smoldering piles of burning trash, piles of horse dung, choking diesel engines, it's all pretty much the invigorating experience of running along the Pan American highway. I think if I ran north far enough, I'd end up back in the USA.

The heat has been intense even at 6:30 in the morning, when I start out. I've only been running for an hour, at a conversational pace.

Nicaragua is beautiful country. From the morning light off the hills to the bright pink bougainvillea flowers all over the stone walls, to the warm waves of the Laguna de Apoyo (see picture below) it's pretty amazing. Not to mention the incredible coffee, and the warmth of the people here.

Here are some highlights from the last month:

- Training has definitely ramped up! In the last month, I've really increased the amount of physical activity and that's made me feel a little tired; good but tired. The swims feel a bit hard, and I've noticed a new muscle in my arm (funny, I never thought that I'd write about this kind of stuff, and always kind of chuckled when I read other people's specific details like that, oh well)

- I've been in Nicaragua for work for the last week, and it's been a great trip, but I've been limited on what I can do. I've run for an hour every day (as advised by Andrew), but feel like I've lost some of my ground, so although I still have a few days before I get home, I'm ready to start back up

- Today I swam in the beautiful Laguna de Apoyo, outside of Masaya, Nicaragua. It's a crater lake, and absolutely picturesque and beautiful.

I'm a little nervous about the Ironman which I guess is in less than 100 days!

In the last month, I've been biking a lot. I joined a bike team, which I'm really enjoying.

More soon!