Saturday, December 29, 2012

Reviewing 2012 Races

Thanks to Kim for creating this handy template to review races from the previous year.  As I reflect on my races and running journey of 2012, there are a plethora of words that go through my head: success, failure, excitement, awe, disappointment... The list could go on and on.  2012 was a year of extremes - I had some really good moments and some really crappy moments.  It was a year that I learned much more about myself as a runner than ever before.  
Races participated in: 15 
Races “raced” (of x amount above): 14 - all but the Chiller in Schiller due to miscommunication
DNFs: 0
DNSs: 0
5 (4 road and 1 trail)
8K: none officially, but the Chiller race is closest to this distance than any other
5M: none
10k: 2
HM: 4 (3 road and 1 trail)
M: 1 officially (I also ran the Rockford marathon with my friends after I finished the half)
Ultra: 1 (Ragnar Relay Madison to Chicago race)
New to me distances: Ultra relay and trail races 
States run in: Illinois and Wisconsin for races, but I also ran in California, Colorado, and Iowa this year
Road: 12
Technical Trail: 3

Months run in: 11/12 - not July due to injury
Hottest race: Rockford Half Marathon or Ragnar - both were really warm
Coldest race: Polar Dash 10k

Participation medals received: 7
AG medals received: 8 (not counting my turkey or Thriller "goody bag")
PRs: 3 - marathon, half marathon, and 10k
Placed in AG: 10
Races run alone: 7
Races run with others: 5 
Who: Random people from my running club, my BFF (three times), another blogger friend
Acted as pacer: 1 - Rockford (half) Marathon.  My friends were trying to achieve marathon maniac status so I ran the second part of the marathon with them.  
Races run without music:
Races run without Garmin: 0 (I love my Garmin)
Races run in costume: 0
Favorites: Illinois Marathon because that is where I BQ'd and had a massive PR, Heritage Haul Half Marathon because I did so much better than I thought I would do, and The Drumstick Dash because I won it
Medal: The Illinois Marathon and Heritage Haul medals because those races were so special for me
Bib: ??? I don't care too much about bibs

Taken just after crossing the finish line at the Illinois Marathon in April

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Lately, my blog has been neglected for a variety of reasons.  Sure, I've had things I could have written about, or posted something on track workouts or failed/successful long runs.  But I didn't.  Life became busier (and still is), and "blog" went to the near bottom of my to-do list.  What's been going on in my life the past 17 days?  I believe only bullet points can tell the story.

  • The Schiller Chiller race affected me more than I care to admit.  It took me two weeks to mentally get back into a good running mindset.  It kills me that my last race of 2012 sucked, and it stings.  Being the anal-about-numbers person that I am, I logged onto Athlinks, quite possibly my favorite running website, and searched to see if the results were posted.  Sure enough, I found my name, although it did not automatically get claimed under my name.  I decided I didn't want to claim it, as it is not a valid time.  
  • I had my birthday last week.  My age group does not change even though I am a year older, so there is nothing much to report.  Overall, I had a great birthday.  The years truly go faster the older I get.  
  • I've been doing track still, both outside and indoors.  Yesterday I met some of my track teammates at an indoor track to run mile repeats - 6.5 laps were equal to one mile.  It was a lot of running hard, slowing down to make the turn, the picking up speed again.  Overall, I was happy: 6:40, 6:31, and 6:27 and none felt hard.  I'm hoping I can run that well at my upcoming relay.  
  • Speaking of the relay, all 4 of us, plus our track coach, have different opinions of how we should approach it.  Our goal is simple: win.  There is a timing anklet that needs to be worn at all times, and that is the cause of our dilemma.  I think we should run mile repeats, while another wants to run 2 - 5ks, another a backwards ladder, and the other 800s.  The only thing we have decided upon is that we are going to coordinate our outfits.  Black shorts and pink tops will surely help us win...right?
  • I read a statistic that 1 in 20 type 1 diabetics will die from low blood sugar in their sleep.  Normally, statistics don't effect me.  However, for some reason, this one has not left my mind.  I feel like 5% is an incredibly high number.  Honestly, there have been many times where I wonder if I'll be one of the 5%, which scares me.  I want to be part of the 95%.
  • On Saturday I was going to go to the Chicago Running Bloggers holiday meet-up.  But, on Friday I got a text from a lady in my running club whose daughter is diabetic.  She was going a presentation at her school and asked if I could come and support her.  After weighing the options, I decided that supporting this girl was more important than me going to Chicago.  I know I made the correct choice.  
  • I fell while running on the path tonight with my friend.  I simply tripped and went down.  I have a bloody hand and two scrapes on my knees.  This is the second time I've fallen since August.  I have reached a new all-time record for personal clumsiness.  
  • I picked my goal races for 2013.  Granted, I reserve the right to change them if I want to, but I have big goals and think they are attainable.  I'm hoping my training is top-notch.  
  • I might run more miles this year than last year.  Considering I didn't run for an entire, month, I consider this a huge accomplishment.  
  • I do not believe the world is going to end.  My running club is celebrating life continuing on on Saturday with a group run. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Chiller Schiller 5k (not really) Race Report

Back in October, I ran the Thriller in Schiller 5k trail race and had a good time.  I enjoyed it far more than I thought I would.  A few weeks ago, while trying to stay motivated to train in a meaningful way, I signed up for the Chiller Schiller race.  I had never raced in December before, and was familiar with the terrain from my previous race.  However, this time the result was much, much different.

I slept in Saturday morning and got to the race site at 9:30 to pick up my packet before the 10 AM start.    They had the map for both the 5k and 10k races out on the table, so I looked at the 5k and saw it was an out and back course, with the turn around spot being at mile 1.75 or so it appeared.

The group that puts on the races isn't too organized, but from what I hear, trail races aren't too organized.  I just used to running road races, where things have to be in order for things to run smoothly.  Deciding to forego warming up, I went over to the start line a few minutes before 10 AM, thinking I'd be near the front.

The announcer said some things in a loud speaker, which wasn't too loud and pointed in the opposite direction of where I was standing, and then shot the gun off.  Off I went, and felt pretty good the first mile.  I kept looking for a river crossing or something fun and exciting to conquer, but it was mostly just a path.  At mile 1.5, I started to look for the turn-around spot.  I wasn't running with any music, so I listened to the volunteers to see where they were directing the runners to go.  But, I heard nothing so I continued to run on.

By mile 2, I figured there was a mistake.  I fully admit that I have no sense of direction, but I knew that we were still running away from the finish line.  By mile 2.5, I started to get frustrated.  I asked the volunteers working the water stop at that point if I missed the 5k turn around, to which they replied "This is the 10k course."  At mile 3.18, I stopped running.

I was upset that I was on the 10k course, when I only planned on running a 5k that morning.  For me, the mindset of a 5k is far different than that of a 10k.  Also, the preparation is different as far as diabetes is concerned.  There was a man on a bike who was there to watch his wife run so I talked with him for a bit.  He told me the turn-around was where the person with the cow-bell was standing.  I waited for a few others I knew running the race to come by, but ended up missing them while I was talking to that guy.  Eventually, I started to run again.

I caught up to 4 other people that I talked to before the race had started, who were also now running the 10k instead of the 5k.  I crossed the finish line at 5.25 miles (the 10k was a mile short) and decided it was a good thing I didn't have any expectations for this race.

I learned after the race from another runner that the 5k started 15 minutes or so after the 10k.  Never did I hear this, or read it.  Maybe I just missed it, but I reviewed old emails and nothing was mentioned.

In a way, I feel disappointment.  I would have most likely gotten 1st or 2nd in the 5k (I don't know what the #1 female time was).  I think what is most bothersome is that this is my last race of 2012.  I have always felt that your last of the year should be something that you are proud of - time or effort-wise - to propel you into the new year of training and racing.  Do I really need some more trail socks, the prize for winners?  No, not at all.  But I do want the energy from that race to have a positive impact on my training.  Unfortunately, it left a rather bitter taste in my mouth.

However, as I have learned this year, all races are learning experiences.  From this race, I learned:

  • Ask if races start at the same time or different times
  • Always know the course route
  • Trail racing is far, far different than road racing
  • Breakfast after races with other bloggers is wonderful 
My suggestions for the race organization:
  • Have different bibs for the different distances
  • Put in your email that the races will start at different times
  • Put signs on the registration table that races start at different times
  • Get a more powerful microphone for your announcements
I contemplated signing up for another race next weekend so I can end the year on a positive note, but decided against it.  I have bigger plans for the spring and summer, so I'll be focusing my energy on those instead.  My goals are new and exciting, and honestly a bit scary, but that makes them even more exciting.  2012 was the best year I've had racing, and can't wait to see what 2013 will bring.  

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"Be Type 1 For a Day" Texts Post 1

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and includes in it World Diabetes Day.  As part of an effort to make others more knowledgeable about Type 1 diabetes, the JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) did a promotion where you could sign up and they would send you text messages so you could be more informed about what it is like living with Type 1 diabetes.

I thought the concept was very intriguing because diabetes is different for everyone.  Although all Type 1 diabetics have the same disease, it takes on many different forms.  Yes, all of our pancreases do not produce insulin, but there are many other variables to diabetes.

Knowing that I usually do not look at my phone during the week, I knew that I wanted to sign up for the experiment on a weekend so I could receive all of the messages when they were sent, or shortly thereafter.  I signed up last Saturday, and my texts started arriving Sunday morning.

The first two came very close to one another:

Text #1
Time of Day: early morning, around 8 AM

Before I leave everyday, I make sure I have my bag with my meter, 2+ vials of strips, and finger poker. I also carry one back-up battery and a few back-up finger poker cartridges in the bag.  I also make sure I have a few forms of food - glucose tables, Shot Bloks, and a few granola bars.  When I have a low blood sugar, I am very particular about what I want and like to eat.  Therefore, I carry multiple things with me at all times.  I agree with the text that constant preparation is a necessity.  

Text #2
Time of Day: Around 8:15 AM

I thought this was a rather random and fairly odd text.  I am not sure the last time I gave myself a diabetes "pep talk."  Sure, sometimes it sucks and I feel like I'm on a roller coaster.  But, perfect control is not realistic.  There will be good days and bad days, which is something I've learned after living with it for over 24 years.  It is about learning why things happened that is key.  I also think it is valid to bring up the topic of "recommended range," which varies from person to person.  Personally, I like to wake up between 100 and 190.  Is this what the experts say is "in range"?  No, not at all, but it is what I want and what works best for me.  During the day, I like to be between 80 and 120, and when I start exercising or running I like to be around 80 and eat something beforehand.  This differs from person to person, depending on his/her individual needs.  Even for myself, my ranges differ.  

Text #3
Time: 10 AM or so

I thought this text was great.  I could do the exact same things for 5 days in a row, eat the same things, and have different blood sugars.  Most will be similar, but I'm sure one will be different.  For example, today my blood sugar at 11:30 was 265, for reasons unknown to me.  I ate my typical breakfast, took the typical amount of insulin, and did the same things that I usually do.  I don't take injections to correct my highs, rather just enter the number into my inulin pump and it gives me my insulin that way.  Sometimes diabetes is unexplainable.  

Text #4
Time: 10:40 AM

I thought this was interesting.  Apparently, I had a high blood sugar a few minutes ago but now I am hungry and want to eat an apple.  Personally, I do not get hungry when I have a high blood sugar.  Also, if I am hungry, I eat.  I don't care what time of day it is, or if a meal is going to be relatively soon. One thing I learned from marathon training is that my body tells me what it needs.  If I am hungry, I most likely need food to replace the calories I burned while running.  

Text #5
Time: 10:42 AM

This text was a bit odd.  I'll agree that sometimes my fingers are sore, but not to the point of not wanting to poke one.  I really like my finger poker, though, because it has a dial so I can set it to how much force it uses when stabbing me.  I only check my blood sugar on 6 fingers - the middle ones on each hand.  I will never poke my thumb.  Therefore, it is not a backup spot for me.

Text #6
Time: 12:15 PM

Hmmm...was this because of the apple I ate a few texts ago?  For me, if my blood sugar is between 200 - 250 my normal correct does works.  However, if I am higher than that then I need more insulin to bring down my blood sugar.  How much I take depends on a variety of factors, such as previous exercise and exactly how high my blood sugar is.  I think the wording on this text should have been different.  Instead of saying that it was "too high" (too high for who?  or for what?).  It is a number, and although I have yet to master this concept, I am trying to not have an emotional reaction to a number.  The blood sugar number is just that - a number.  It gives me information I need to make choices.  There should not be any emotion attached to it - good or bad.  Numbers should not be considered too low or too high.  They may not be where I want them, but that doesn't mean they can't get to where I want them in the near future.  

I'll be posting about the afternoon and nigh texts tomorrow.  Did you participate?  What are your reactions to the morning/lunch texts?  Do you agree?  Disagree?  

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Adapt or Die

I recently read an article written by NPR that described how many people have diabetes now (both diagnosed and undiagnosed) compared to 1995.  

1995 statistics

2000 statistics

2005 statistics

2010 statistics

The article failed to mention if they were including all types of diabetes, but I assume they were.  However, I am more interested in see pictures that show the trend of type 1 diabetes in the United States in the past 15+ years.  Although I did find this stat:

I think it is safe to say that all types of diabetes are on the raise.  Personally, I find this disturbing.  Although type 1 and 2 are very different, the core of the disease is the same.  However, how the person got it and when is most like different.  

Being a type 1 diabetic, my pancreas stopped producing insulin when I was 4.  It most likely produced a little insulin for a month or two after my diagnosis, but not a drop since.  There is nothing I can do about it, as my pancreas cannot be magically hooked up to a machine and be revived, even if I wish that would happen.  It is dead, and has been for many, many years.  

I often think about what my life would be like without diabetes.  It is hard to imagine, as all of my memories growing up and into adulthood involve diabetes to some extent.  I literally do not know what it is like to live without having diabetes.  It is a life I have always known. 

I've heard for the past few years that "a cure is close."  However, I don't fully believe it.  I do not doubt that people are working incredibly hard to try to cure the disease, but that takes time.  Typically, lots and lots of time.  Not days, or weeks, but years and decades.  

I cannot rely on a cure anytime soon.  As my sister once said, "everyone must adapt or die."  It is true - I have adapted to having diabetes and have not died.  As I try new and different things, I continue to adapt.  

I wish people in the United States would adapt and live healthier.  Eating a relatively healthy diet and exercising just a little bit go a long way.  Most people can control if they get type 2 diabetes, or if they do have it, if they need to take insulin for it.  

In the distant future, I hope to adapt to life without diabetes.  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Drumstick Dash 5k Race Report

As I mentioned before, I have a problem with signing up for races.  I really should look into the course before signing up and hoping for magical PRs.  Case in point: the Drumstick Dash 5k.

I had high hopes of running a sub-20 minute 5k at this race.  Looking back, that was dumb.  I didn't know the course at all.  I knew it started at a golf course in a southwest suburb, and according to their website had "a few gently rolling hills."  What I didn't realize is that we would be running the entire race on the golf course.  We ran on the path that the golf carts drive on.  If you've ever golfed before, then you know that the golf cart path is not the straightest or most direct path.

There were an overabundance of twists and turns in this race, and it was really hard to get into any type of running groove.  When I would speed up, I had to slow down to make another turn.  Also, there were countless little up and down hills on the course, which ended up just making me frustrated.

Needless to say, the race didn't go as planned.  However, given the course I can't be too unhappy.  I ended up running a 21:14, and being 6th overall (out of 200) and the first female.  I have only been the first female in one other race - in 2006 when I was a senior in college - at a 5k that the school where I was student teaching put on the race.  I'll be honest - it has been a goal of mine to be the top female at a race this year.  Why do I have this goal?  I'm not 100% sure.  I think I wanted the feeling of accomplishment of being first female, of being the best on that course on that day.

And although I feel like I should feel great for being first, I would rather run a PR than win any day of the week.  I feel disappointed at myself for this race.  Now that I've gotten over my pity party, lets talk about the best thing that happened.

After I finished, they told me I was the first female.  I waited around for the awards, expecting to get a medal that said "1st place female" but what I got was unexpected.  One unique thing about the award ceremony was that they handed out all of the female awards first.  That means my name was called out first, being the first finisher.  As I went up to get what I assumed would be a medal, instead I received a blue ribbon about the size of my face that said "1st place" on it, and a 16-pound turkey.  I had to laugh. I've gotten medals and ribbons before, but never a turkey.

Having no use for a turkey, as I'll be going to my parents house for Thanksgiving, I posted on Facebook that any of my friends that wanted it could have it.  I didn't want it, and was hoping someone would take it.  One of my friends from my running club responded, saying she would gladly take it.  Wonderful!

I took my turkey to running club Sunday morning to give to her.  She told me that a family she knows is going to get the turkey.  The dad of the family lost his job, and money is tight for them.  So my turkey will go to make a Thanksgiving meal for a family.  I could not be happier about that.

I am thankful I could run, and although the race didn't go as I had hoped, I am happy that another person will benefit because of it.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Revisiting Goals

I fall into the same habit every week.  It is predictable and laughable.

Every Tuesday I go to track.  Now that it is the "off season", the crowd is much less.  According to some, only the "die hards" come out now on Tuesdays.  I guess I fit into that category since I go to track every week.

I love track - not only the workout part of it, but also the camaraderie part of it.  Listening to the races people did the past week motivates me, while listening to people talk about future races makes me want to sign up for everything.  And that is what happens.

I come home every Tuesday night and want to sign up for a race.  Granted, I have nothing major on my running schedule right now in the near future, which makes me want to sign up even more.  A local 5k?  Sounds good.  Indoor triathlon?  Sure.  Fall marathon?  I'll highly consider it.

In addition to getting wrapped up in everyone's excitement, I often receive encouragement from friends.  "You're running so well lately" was something that my track partner told me tonight.  "You looked good running those 1200s" a fellow runner put on our track Facebook page.

I questioned myself - why do I feel the need to sign up for a 5k road race right now?  I've been wanting to for the past month, but haven't.  I was recently reading some older posts I wrote back in January.  Although I knew what my goals going into this calendar year were, it was nice to see them written out.

To recap, they were:

  • Stay injury-free
  • Sub 20-minute 5k
  • Sub 1:40 half marathon
  • Qualify for Boston
  • Consistently lift weights 
I lifted weights off-and-on all year, but more so than last year.  I BQ's in April, and ran a 1:34 half in September.  I found out I have a knee problem, took some time off, and have come back stronger.  I wasn't 100% injury free, but I took the right precautions and tried to help myself by taking the month of July off of running.  The only one not touched in that sub-20 5k goal.  In a way, it kills me not having crossed the line in 19:xx for a 5k.  I want to run fast.  I believe I can.  Therefore, every Tuesday after I do track, this goal become more and more vivid, just waiting to be crushed.

There are not a whole lot of 5ks left in the year, but there are quite a few this weekend around where I live.  So I signed up.

I'll be toeing the line of the Drumstick Dash on Saturday.  I'm excited to see how I can do.  

Monday, November 12, 2012

Winter Races

My motivation, which was lacking last week, has magically reappeared after signing up for a few races in the upcoming weeks/months.  Although my 2013 plans are still up in the air for the most part, I am happy to have at least one thing to train for.

After seeing that Muddy Monk posted on their Facebook page that the Schiller Chiller was close to being full, I decided to register for it.

I did their Thriller Schiller a few weeks ago, and had a great experience.  I want to do more trail running, and this is an easy way to accomplish that goal.  Plus, the race is on a Saturday.  I would much rather race on Saturday as opposed to Sunday.  My only debate was signing up for the 10k or 5k.  I ended up deciding on the 5k solely for the fact that if it snows/has recently snowed, I would be more likely to turn an ankle running over 6 miles as opposed to just 3.  Although the course is different from the October race, I want to see if I can run a better time.  I'm looking forward to it.

Also, in January I'll be running the Ice Breaker indoor marathon on a relay team.

We are still finalizing our relay team, so I could be running as much as a half marathon or as little as a 10k or so.  We'll be running around an ice rink for 95.5 laps.  Some people might think this is boring, but I know a few people who have done it and they thought it was ok.  It will give me something to look forward to in January.  

As for the rest of 2013, who knows!  Only time will tell...

Have you ever done an indoor race?  Would you run around an ice rink 95.5 times?

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thinking Ahead: 2013 Race Schedule

I'm a planner.  I always have been, and probably always will be one.  I like to know what I am doing, when, and plan ahead.  The same is true for my running.  Signing up for longer races (which are those half marathon or longer for me), motivates me and drives my training.  So not having any races in the near future is driving me a little crazy.  My training has been less-than-stellar for the past 2 weeks and I'm feeling the need to sign up for something.

I've been thinking about 2013 and what I want to race.  There are so many possibilities - do I want to run more trail races?  Do an ultra?  If so, a 50k?  50 mile? 100k?  Run marathons?  Get into triathlons?  More duathlons?  Focus on speed and 5ks?  Destination race?  Local races?  Small races?  Big races?  So.  Many.  Choices.

The only race I am signed up for is the Boston Marathon in April.  Other than that, my calendar is completely open.  Do you have any races to recommend to me?  Please share!  I want to hear about other races that I don't know about.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Thriller in Schiller Race Report

A few weeks ago I was lucky, which is rare, and won a free race entry from Kim's blog into the Thriller in Schiller trail 5k race.  Having never been to Schiller Park, I didn't exactly know what kind of trail to expect.  I've learned that the word "trail" has many different varieties.

When I got to the park, I picked up my bib and then casually talked to another runner about the course. Was it technical?  Single track?  I was told that there would be a creek crossing, over a mile of single track trail, and many trees to hop over/duck under.  After getting back to my car, I decided to wear my friend's trail shoes that she lent me the night before.  I hadn't ever worn them, or even the brand (they were Asics, and I wear Newton most of the time, but also run in Saucony and Mizuno shoes occasionally).  I had one goal for this race: run under 31 minutes, or under a 10:00 mile pace.  

As we were called over to the start line, I looked around and decided to line up in about the third row.  I'm glad I did, because after the director said "go" there was a sharp right turn immediately, followed by the creek crossing.

Thinking, "How do I get across?"

Hmm....I hope this works

These were some of the guys near the front crossing.  I wasn't too far behind the guy in hot pink.

It was harder to get up the bank after the creek crossing than I anticipated.

After the creek crossing, we looped back around to a long section of single track trail.  There were some trees to jump over, and duck under, in this section.  I got behind a guy going slower than I wanted to go, but couldn't pass him.  I was finally able to scoot around him around around the 1 mile mark.  

I felt like I was doing an obstacle course instead of racing.

After the first mile was over, I was finally able to get into a nice groove.  We ran on a path, and not single track trail, which was nice.  I was able to pass some people.  After mile 2, we were back on the single track trail, except this time I had passed enough people that I didn't have any issues.  There was a guy in my sight that led the way for me so I knew which way to run.  We didn't have to cross the creek a second time, but just looped around to the finish.  

According to my Garmin, I finished in 23:33.  According to the clock that was placed on the ground when I crossed, I ran a 23:43.  According to website, I ran a 23:07.  I finished 2nd female overall, but the results say 3rd.  However, I could care less.  This race was for fun.  I had a lot of fun, and can foresee trail races like this in my future.  

Thursday, October 25, 2012


This post has nothing to do with diabetes, running, or anything exercise-related.  Instead, it is about a few things that I am loving right now.  Top on the list:

Pumpkin Spice Coffee
I love pumpkin flavored things.  If I could, I would drink a pumpkin spice latte every single day.  Although this coffee isn't as good as a latte, it is a close second.

The Colors of Fall
I went to an apple orchard a few weeks ago with some friends.  This car was parked outside of the orchard and I thought it was pretty creative.  

Iced Gingerbread Clif Bars
I first bought these last Christmas, and have been looking for them because they are so good.  I eat a lot of Clif bars, but these are possibly my favorite.  So, so good.  

Calico Bean Honey Roasted Peanut Peanut Butter
I love all peanut butter, but this is my absolute favorite.  It comes from a store in Iowa and is pretty much the best thing around.  

My Lunchbox
My sister gave me this last year for my birthday, but I didn't realize its awesomeness until this year.  It has three stackable containers and is perfect for me because I need exactly three containers for my lunch/snack.  I'm incredibly boring and eat the same thing everyday.  Therefore, each day the containers contain the same items: a sliced apple, a bin of crackers, and one with another type of fruit, most likely grapes, sometimes a peach or occasionally carrots.  

Sending and Receiving Real Mail

I, shockingly, baked this past weekend and sent my sister some of the pumpkin muffins and cookies that I made.  She gave me the idea on Twitter this weekend.  I doubt that she thought I would send her something, but I hope she enjoys it.

What are you loving lately?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Des Plaines Trail Race Half Marathon Report

Back in August, a friend of mine recommended this race to me after hearing me say I wanted to run a trail race this fall.  He ran the 50-mile race last year, and had nothing but positive things to say about it.  A few days and arrangements later, I was signed up.

I wish I could say this past week was delightful and my diabetes was wonderful.  However, it was incredibly stressful on multiple accounts, which drastically impacts my diabetes.  I woke up between 270 and 390 everyday this past week.  Not only is this hard on my body and not good for me, but it makes me feel sick.  Saturday morning was no exception - I woke up at 3 AM and was 269.  After taking the bolus my insulin pump recommended and then some extra, I hoped to wake up around 80.

When my alarm went off at 6, I was 139 and feeling like crap.  However, I tried to be positive and think about how awesome of a race I was going to run.  This, unfortunately, did not happen.

After getting to the place later than I had hoped, I missed the "pre race" talk.  I don't know what they said, but I don't think it really made that much of a difference.  My goal for this race was to run 7:15 for the first 5 miles, 7:10 for the second 5, and then 7:00 for the last 3.1.

For the sake of this post not getting too long, lets just say that I was on pace through mile 3, my stomach hurt and mile 5, mentally checked out at mile 6, cramped at mile 7, saw my friend who came to cheer and 7.5 and 8.5 and begged her to get our friend (P) who was running the trails for training that day to come run with me the last few miles, started to go low at mile 9, dropped my GU at mile 9.25 so I had to eat my back-up GU, in a flavor that sounded anything but appetizing (Island Tropics is not a good flavor hen you feel like shit), and ran with P from mile 11.5 to the finish.  I was never happier to cross a finish line in my life.  

I walked 4 times during this race, stopped to stretch 3, and talk once.  I thought about quitting 100+ times.  I thought about what a DNF would feel like, and decided although I was struggling, I'd rather finish than have that label.  I've walked before, and I'm sure I'll have to walk again sometime in the future.  I got passed by so many people.  However, the beauty of the trees made up for it.  Knowing that I am running another race made up for it.  Knowing that I could run made up for it.  Knowing that my friend came up to cheer made up for it.  Knowing that P ran an extra 2 miles after running 23 that he wasn't supposed to, but because I needed someone, made up for it.

Sometimes, I need to remind myself why I run when I have races like these.  It was a struggle to finish in 1:41:24, but I'm glad I finished.  Is it my fastest?  No.  Was it my hardest?  Maybe.  Did I have a lot of obstacles to overcome?  Yes.  But I'm glad I did.  It'll make tomorrow's run that much better.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Diabetes Doesn't Stop Me

I love to run.  Not a day goes by when I don't think about how lucky I am that I can run.  I am not the fastest runner or the strongest, but I am incredibly grateful that I can do something that brings me such joy.  

In the past, I would have been discouraged to run because I have diabetes.  When I was first diagnosed 23 years ago, the doctors and nurses told my parents that they should be careful about how much exercise I got.  I'm glad my parents didn't listen much to them and let me do what I wanted to do.  After all, the doctors told my type 1 diabetic grandma (for over 74 years!) that she should never have kids.   My parents always instilled in me that I can do whatever I want, no matter what anyone says, starting when I was young.  

Because of that, I never perceived myself as being all that different from everyone else playing sports.  When I think back on my childhood, rarely do I remember testing my blood sugar at games or during practices or having to sit out because I was low.  Back then, I didn't wear an insulin pump so no one could tell I had diabetes.  I looked like any other athlete playing the sport - soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball,  track - whatever sport it was.  The only difference was that I carried Gatorade with me whoever I went and played sports - to both practices and games.    

Through the years, I have had a few people and doctors tell me I shouldn't or can't do things, or will not be able to do them.  Whenever anyone tells me I can't do something, that motivates me 1,000 times more to succeed.  "You won't run Boston" is what a doctor told me this summer.  "You should not exercise that much because you have diabetes" is something I heard from another doctor.  "Runners never qualify for Boston after only running 1 marathon" another runner said to me last year in the spring.  "You'll need surgery on your foot because your arch is too high and will be painful by the time you are 20" another doctor said.  To all of them, I said no, that will not happen.  I will qualify for Boston on my second marathon.  I will run Boston in the spring.  I won't have surgery.  I'll exercise however much I desire.    

Diabetes doesn't stop me from what I want to do.  Sure, it might be inconvenient and be problematic at times, such as when I "ran" the ChiTown half marathon in the spring (I walked 3-4 miles of it because I had a low blood sugar during the race).  When I go to track and complete workouts with my running club, or do any other runs with the club, I'm the only diabetic.  Do I think I have a disadvantage when we line up and start running?  No, not at all.  As a matter of fact, I'm the first girl to finish most weeks.  When I line up for a race, I don't know if there are other diabetics, but I assume not many, if there are any at all.  Do I think I should start in the back because I have a health condition?  No.  

Diabetes doesn't stop me or prevent me from doing what I want.  It motivates me to be better than the rest, knowing that a small part of me is incomplete.  I am the living proof that anyone can succeed if they truly want and desire to do so.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Curse

Every runner has clothes that they run in more often than others because they simply like them.  I have a lot of clothes that I like, but only one article of clothing that I really do not like: my pale pink Nike sports bra.  Sure, it fits just fine, but we have some unpleasant history:

  • I purchased it in Ohio, about five years ago.  I thought I would really like it.  I don't.
  • It is pale pink and I don't like the color of it anymore.  
  • It was what I was wearing on my last run before I was diagnosed with a  stress fracture.
  • I wore it for the Flying Pig Half Marathon, where I had a terribly high blood sugar and had to walk in the middle of the race because it was so high.
Most days, it just sits in my sports bra drawer in my dresser.  I see it, and never select it to wear because I swear it has bad karma.  I only wear it when I absolutely have to.  Unfortunately, Sunday was one of those days.  

As I got ready to run in the morning, I thought that maybe I would have a great 12 mile run and the curse would be broken.  I also thought a pair of hot pink shorts that I had also brought bad karma until I wore them for the Heritage Haul Half Marathon and decided they were lucky.  After I finally got up out of bed, and drove to the gazebo where my running club meets, I realized that the weather was perfect.  It was a glorious day to run, or so I thought.  

The run ended up sucking for a variety of reasons:
  • My friend/training partner was running a different race so she wasn't there.  I ran with some other people and ended up running the first 6 miles faster than I wanted.  
  • By mile 9, I was exhausted for no apparent reason.  
  • By mile 10, my legs felt like they were getting cramps.
  • By mile 11, I could feel my blood sugar starting to go low.  
  • By mile 11.5, my knee started to hurt.
  • By mile 11.75, an 8:57 pace seemed like  dead-out sprint.
  • At mile 12, I stopped and didn't want to go 1 step farther.  I was 0.1 from our meeting spot and decided I would rather walk there than run there.
The pale pink sports bra once again brought a crappy run.  Since I really don't like wearing it, it would make sense to donate to Goodwill or some other organization.  However, I can't bring myself to get rid of it for some reason.  Maybe because it was expensive or because it fits.  I'm not sure.  What I do know is that it will go back into the drawer and hopefully not be worn in the near future.

Monday, October 8, 2012

The 5 World Major Marathons

The majority of people in the running community know the 5 major marathons:

Boston, Chicago, New York City, Berlin and London

I ran Chicago last year (2011), and will run Boston in 2013.  That leaves New York, London, and Berlin for majors that I am not running.  I want to run New York, but Berlin and London...I have no desire.  As in 0.  Even if I had all of the money in the world I don't know if I would want to run those two races.

I've heard a lot of people talk about running vacations, or turning a vacation into one focused around a race.  The only races I've ever traveled for were the Sam Costa half marathon (March, 2011), Ragnar Northwest Passage (July, 2011), and the Illinois Marathon (April, 2012).  All of my other races have been within driving distance.

Out of the races I've traveled for, Ragnar was through the Insulindependence group, so all I had to do was get my plane ticket and pay the fee and they pretty much took care of everything else.  For Sam Costa, I stayed with one of my friends.  For Illinois, I got a hotel and a friend went with me.  It was only a few hours from where i live and didn't require a whole lot of traveling hassles.

However, I'm learning a lot with Boston.  Plane tickets, hotel reservations, and logistical information need to be figured out ahead of time.  Lucky for me, my parents have offered to go with me so I have less work to do.  My dad bought our plane tickets when I told him which flights I wanted to be on.  They are also booking the hotels.  I've been busy lately with a variety of things, so having them take care of it for me has been a true blessing.

I can't imagine doing an international marathon.  I think I would get multiple headaches trying to figure everything out.  You know some people are "easy travelers" and others are difficult travels, or don't travel well, I definitely fit into the second category.  Not only am I unable to pack and will attempt to fit my entire closet in my suitcase, I don't do well with time change because I'm a very routine-oriented person.  Therefore, I'll leave Berlin and London off my bucket list.  However, Fox Valley?  That one is on it.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Chicago Marathon: Volunteer and Spectator Edition

Last year I had the great experience of running through the streets of Chicago during the Chicago Marathon.  It was something I wanted to do for a very long time, and was so happy and proud when I crossed that finish line.  Back in February, when registration for Chicago opens, I decided not to run it. At that time, I was training for the Illinois Marathon and hoped to BQ there.  I've wanted to volunteer at a big race for the past year, so I decided it would make the most sense to do it at Chicago.

My alarm clock went off at the ungodly hour of 2:35 AM so my friend and I could leave at 3:00 and make it into the city by 3:30, when the key volunteers (us) had to be there.  Surprisingly, I actually felt awake at that hour...without coffee.  We made the quick, easy drive and got to work unpacking the truck, and manning the volunteer check-in station, handing out the jackets and hats and giving people their official volunteer tag.  I can't tell you how many times I said, "Would you like to hand out water or Gatorade?" before 7 AM.  We had 300 people at our aid station (#2), which was located at the 5k.

After a brief discussion, the race started and all the wheelchair racers went by.  I never realized how many different types of wheel chairs there are for racing until today.  Some of the guys were flying.  I also noticed that there were quite a few people on road bikes riding along the route.  I'm not exactly sure what their job is, but I want it next year.  It would be awesome to ride my bike through the marathon course, next to the wheel chair participants and ahead of the other runners.  Do you know how people get that job?

Before I knew it, the elites came sprinting through the water stop.  It was interesting to see who was in the lead pack, which people were trying to keep up with the elites but just couldn't, and then look at their faces.  A face speaks more than anything.  Some were calm and relaxed, while others looked like they were in great distress already at mile 3.

After the elites passed, the elite development wave came by, followed by tons and tons and tons of runners.  It was neat to hand out water to a variety of runners - some thankful, others upset about the quantity of water in the cup (too much or too little), some disgruntled that they missed the Gatorade and we only had water, but a lot purely happy at that point in the race.  I passed out water for a long time and shouted encouragement to the runners while doing so.  I saw a few of my running club teammates, one of whom stopped to talk for a brief moment and we took a picture together.  The energy and excitement of the runners made me wish I was running.  The weather was absolutely perfect - cool and cloudy, not a drop of rain or a sign of wind.

When the last runner finally passed, we hopped on the red line and made our way to mile 21 to cheer.  We were standing on the street, just as the runners were going up a slight incline.  The first person we saw was actually a guy I run track with, who was doing great.  After copious amounts of cheering for him, we crossed the street and were there for the next few hours.  We saw more teammates, and cheered as much as we could.  I don't think I've ever said the words "Good job" or "Keep going" more in my life.  At this point in the race, some runners looked great while others were hurting a great deal.  It broke my heart to see the look of pain across one of my friend's faces.  He had such high hopes to BQ, but it just wasn't his day.

After a few hours of cheering, I was exhausted.  I am so happy I got to experience a different side of the Chicago Marathon this year.  Will I run Chicago again?  I am not sure.  I could see myself doing it in a few years, but not in the near future.  For now, I'll just be a volunteer and cheerleader.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Looking Back on the Past Year

One year ago, I was preparing to run my first marathon.  It amazes me how much things have changed. In the past year, I have:

  • Run two marathons (Chicago in 2011 and Illinois in 2012)
  • Run three half marathons (ChiTown, Rockford, and Heritage Haul all in 2012)
  • Run one 15k (Hot Chocolate in 2011)
  • Run one 10k (Spring Sprint in 2012)
  • Run three 5ks (St. Paddy's Day, Sweetness Run, and Labor of Love)
  • Ran an ultra marathon relay (Ragnar in June of 2012)
  • Participated in one duathlon (Tri the Du)
  • Volunteered at one race (some local race that I can't remember what it was called)
  • Cheered at the Fox Valley Marathon
  • Got injured
  • Learned to love biking
  • PR'd in the marathon, half marathon, 15k, and 10k distances
  • Learned to appreciate every single run
The list above are things that have only happened in my "athletic" life.  Personally, I also feel like I've changed a great deal.  I've become less of a type A personality, and learned to enjoy life more.  There have been many ups and down,s but I can honestly say that I am the happiest I've ever been.  It has been quite a year, and I hope the upcoming year is just as successful as this past year.  

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Track Tuesday: Surprising 400s

Official track workouts last from April 1 - September 30 for my running club, held every Tuesday night at 6:30 at a local high school.  In the "off season,"  a small group of dedicated runners (read: obsessed) meet to continue to do speed work, but the time changes to 6 PM.  Tonight was the first 6 PM practice and it felt so much earlier than 6:30.  It also took me twice as long to drive there so I was late.  However, I am late a lot of the time, so it didn't bother me too much.

I was surprised to see my track coach there, as usually the man that coaches the other runners runs the off-season workouts.  Tonights workout: 400s with 200 recovery.  I don't know the last time I ran a decent speed workout.  May maybe?  April?  It had been a long time.

Due to not having much light, we were only running 8 400s, which sounded good to me.  The less, the better.  400s are painful, a dead-out spring for a 1/4 of a  mile.  Usually we do a group of guys and a group of girls/slow guys, but tonight there were only 8 or so of us there to do the workout, so we all went together.  The group was the majority of the speedy guys, me, a slower guy, and one other lady, P, who I've done multiple workouts with over the past 2 years.

The repeats started ok, and then I surprised myself and was able to get faster with each one.  I kept thinking, "who is this new person, running a sub-6 pace like its nothing?  I'm sure I'll burn-out soon."  But the burn-out never came.  Instead, the opposite thing happened: I gained more speed.  My splits were:

#1 - 1:29
#2 - 1:27
#3 - 1:26
#4 - 1:26
#5 - 1:25
#6 - 1:24
#7 - 1:22
#8 - 1:20

I left the track with far more confidence than I started with.  I still am amazed at how well all of my runs are going.  It is like I've been fixed....or so I can at least hope.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A Family of Runners

In the past few years, I have heard this story over and over from my parents: "We ran the first Benefit Classic together.  Dad ran the whole thing, but mom walked up the infamous Eagle Point Hill at mile 9."  They trained tougher, running 4 miles after they got done working most nights and up the numerous large hills in the city where they currently reside.  My dad is convinced his time is faster than my half time, but we cannot find out since the results cannot be found.  I have my doubts...

Growing up there was always a family that was friends with my parents.  Both of the parents were runners, and still are to this day.  All 4 of their children ran in high school and 2 ran in college.  I know the parents still enter a few races every year.  Secretly, I've always hoped my parents would run again.  However, whenever I bring it up, they both have the same response: "my knees can't take it."  

Then, my mom joined "boot camp."  She told me a few weeks ago that she was joining.  The program seems rather intense - a mixture of kickboxing and resistance training 6 days a week for an hour a day.  Plus, they want you to eat a certain way, with more protein and less carbohydrates.  I was surprised she signed up for it.  She's been a religious treadmill walker for the past 10 or so years, but wanted a change and to shed some weight in the process. 

Bootcamp started the past weekend and they did an initial fitness test, which involved sit-ups, push-ups, and a timed mile in the neighborhood the studio is located in.  None of the females in my family have any type of upper body muscle, and my mom was telling me how hard the push-ups were for her.  I know they would have been difficult for me, but then again I haven't attempted a push-up since senior year gym in high school.  But, I really wanted to know about her mile.  

In addition to running a half marathon, my mom also ran cross-country when she was in high school.  I have no idea how long her races were, but she does have a rather strong running background.  She told me she walked up the hills and ran everything else.  When I asked her time, she seemed rather proud of that 12:04 mile.  

I was proud of her, too.  It takes a lot of courage to do something that you haven't ever done for haven't done for many years.  After a few comments about how she could do the Galloway run 4/walk 1 minute method during  5k, or run every flat surface and walk inclines, just like today, I got a response I was more than surprised to hear: "I'll think about it."  

I've always wanted to be in a family of runners.  I once had a dream that I was part of a family that did a marathon relay, and won.  Now, of course, that has never happened.  My brother and I run, but that is it.  I vaguely remember my sister running sporadically while in college, but I am not 100% sure.  I doubt her legs are running right now, but more her brain all of the time.  But, my mom's timed mile gives me hope that I may be able to convince her to start running.  Maybe we'll be a family where 60% run.  I can always hope.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Tri the Du Race Report

Back when September started, I wanted to race or do a long bike ride every weekend.  It seemed like a good idea at the time, doing one of the things I love the most every single weekend.  However, when my alarm clock woke me up at 5:55 this morning, all I wanted to do was go back to bed.  It also didn't help that my blood sugar was 350, for no apparent reason.  But, I had already pre-registered for the event and I refuse to waste money, so I got up, hoped I would feel better, and started the 1 or so drive south to the Kankakee area.

I had been to Kankakee once before for a school inservice day, but as I was driving it reminded me of Iowa.  All farms and only small towns lined the highways.  After finally getting off the interstate, I got lost.  This did not surprise me because I have no sense of direction.  I finally spotted a car with a racing bike on the back and just decided to follow him to the start.  However, he also was lost.  Luckily, he stopped a group of runners to ask for directions and we finally made it to the start at 8:20.

After going to registration, getting all of my stuff ready for transition, and the stickers on my bike and helmet, I tested again and was 78.  By this time, I was hungry because I did not eat breakfast.  I decided to eat a CLIF bar because it was easy to eat, I knew I would have no stomach issues, and I like them.  I got on my way, and listened to the talk at 8:45, where they discussed basic rules.  It was common sense and pretty boring.

The race started in 3 waves: 1st, men 39 and under and relays, 2nd men 40 and over, then all women.  After scoping out the competition, I decided to start in the 2nd row for the 3-mile run.  I think it was the right choice.  As usual in duathlons, I got killed on the bike.  However, for me, I biked really well.  The roads weren't the best and there were some hills, so I am really quite proud of that bike time.  The final run was brutal and I felt awful.   I was so excited to finally see the finish line and crossed it, and wanted water immediately.  This was fitting because my ending blood sugar was 350.  I've learned that not all days will be successful with diabetes.  However, I will learn something everyday.

My stats were:

Run (3 miles) #1: 21:07 (7:02 pace)
Transition #1: 1:28
Bike (14 miles): 47:31 (17.7 MPH speed)
Transition #2: 34 seconds
Run (3 miles) #2: 22:30 (7:30 pace)
Overall time: 1:33:12

Overall Place: 43/179
Gender Place: 7/65
Age Group Place: 1/11

I was 14th overall female and 70 total overall if you look at just my bike time, but would have been the 3rd female overall and 26th overall out of everyone if you look at just my run times.

It was a good race and would recommend it, especially in you live in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Friday, September 28, 2012

North Shore Century Thoughts and Conversations

Last weekend me and 2 friends did part of the North Shore Century bike ride.  We rode 71 miles on a chilly, windy morning.  That ride was most likely my last organized ride of the year, as it is just get too cold for me to bike.  Proof:  I wore the following items on my ride:

  • My warmest running tights
  • bike shorts
  • running gloves
  • biking gloves
  • long sleeve running turtleneck
  • arm warmers
  • cycling jersey
  • warmest running pullover 
And I was still cold for much of the ride.  

However, it was fun.  I bike for leisure, not for speed.  It relaxes me and I have really learned to enjoy it this summer.  I've spent more time on my bike than I would have ever dreamt of before.  One of my goals was to ride 100 miles, but I am not disappointed at all that it did not happen.  I know it will next year, or maybe if we have a drastic warm-up in Chicagoland that will give me the opportunity.  The god thing about sporting events it that there is always next year.

I will say that runners and bikers are very different, not only in appearance but also personality.  Bikers make me laugh.  

Conversation #1 from NSC ride:

Man: I like your pink biking gloves.
Me: Thanks, I like them, too.
Man: They remind me of something Barbie would wear.
Me: Hm, I never thought about that before, but maybe.
Man: I think my wife would like a pair.
*Light turns green and we ride off at different speeds.  I think this is the first time in my life that something I've had on has been compared to something Barbie would wear.

Conversation #2 from NSC ride:

USA Cycling Jersey Man: (after riding up next to me):  You are a good cycler.
Me: Thanks.
USA Cycling Jersey Man: You'll be so much faster when you get clips on your shoes.
(It is true, I don't have cycling shoes.  I just wear running shoes because I'm too cheap to buy them)
Me: I hope so.  
USA Cycling Jersey Man: Yeah, you're pretty long, lean and gorgeous.
Me: Smile and ride off - it was awkward.  

I'll be missing cycling in the winter, but met the head race volunteer for the Tour de Cure ride in Chicagoland at NSC and will be helping with that.  I'm not sure what I'll be doing yet, but I'll be there.  It is a small thing I can do to give back to both the diabetic community and cycling community.  

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

6 miles of happiness

Today I went on a nice 6-mile run on my favorite path.  By the time I got to the path it was already 6:15  and I knew I'd be ending my run at dusk.  I had no goals for this run but to run, enjoy the cooler weather, and relax.  On the run, the following things occurred:

  • I got waved at 4 times by other friendly runners on the path.  I waved back to each of them.
  • I saw 2 people I knew while running, both members of my running club.
  • I received one high-five about 1 mile into my run from one of guys from the running club.
  • Another runner, who I do not know but saw twice today, gave me a thumbs-up both times.  I'd like to thank him.
  • One man told me to have a good night.
  • Another man told me that my shirt was the brightest shirt he had ever seen.  I was wearing a neon orange Saucony shirt that was incredibly bright.  However, it is not my brightest shirt.
I like it when random things like those mentioned above happen on my run.  It adds some more happiness to my day.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Look what finally arrived in my email inbox today:

I registered last Friday, and my type-A personality was getting worried that something happened.  Needless to say, I was overjoyed when this email finally arrived.

I'm treating this race as a reward for all of the miles I've put in the past few years.  Let the fun begin!

Is anyone else running Boston?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Cheering at the Fox Valley Marathon Races

After coming off a PR on Saturday, I went out to Saint Charles, IL on Sunday to support all of my friends and running club teammates that were running the marathon.  Me and another friend decided to bring our bikes so we could cover more distance and see people more often.  It turns out that there were 4 of us spectating together - me, my friend, a friend of hers, and my track coach whose wife was running the marathon.

My running club had our own tent set up so I went there beforehand to wish them all good luck.  The weather was perfect - in the 50s.  The 4 of us went to the start, and watched all of the groups get sent out individually.  After the last group had gone through the starting area, we got on our bikes and biked along the street at miles 2 and 3.  I didn't spot anyone from my running club, but Bobbi was easy to spot.  She was practically glowing in her orange shirt.  I yelled good job to her, but I don't know if she heard.

We got to mile 6, got off our bikes, and cheered some more.  At this point, we saw everyone in the club go by.  They were all looking good, lots of smiling faces.  We stayed at this spot for a long time to wait for the runners through the 4:30 group.  When they passed, we continued biking and reach the trail at mile 10.5 and 17.5.  We got there just as the 3:40 pacer was going past, which meant we missed many of our friends.  However, we stated there and saw them on their return loop.  Most of them continued to look good and strong.  I ran alongside my friend D, wife of the track coach, for a few minutes, offering her gatorade and shot bloks.  She took some, but needed me to get open a ziplock that had salt tablets in them.  It was hard to get open, but I did.  She was good then, and I ran back to our spot on the path to watch for one more teammate.

We got back on our bikes and returned to the finish area to see all of our friends finish.  After locking up our bikes, we went to the finish and were just in time to see the 3:05 pacer finish.  Next came a few other friends, all looking strong as they went into the finish.  It was neat to see everyone finish.  A part of me wished I was out there, too.  After watching, and watching, and cheering for everyone while taking pictures, my training partner who ran the race came over.  She was so happy, and I was just as thrilled for her.  All of my friends did so well, which made me incredibly happy.  As we were talking, I spotted Bobbi across the finishing area, and went over to tell her good job.

Bobbie was not there by herself, but with Britt, too.  It was fun to meet them in person.  Surprisingly, Britt lives in the same suburb as I do.  It is always nice to meet other runners.

Spectating at Fox Valley got in me excited for the Chicago Marathon.  I'll be working aid station #2 (at mile 3), and then cheering at other places on the course.  I'm so excited to experience the excitement of a marathon again in a few weeks.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Heritage Haul Half Marathon Race Report

For the past 18 months, I have been trying to break 1:40 in the half marathon.  I put pressure on myself, but it never happened.  I was sad about it, but realized that it was not the end of the world.  Then I signed up for a small half marathon on Saturday.  Going into it, I had no formal goal.  I hoped to break 1:45, but if not, I wouldn't care.  I was happy to be racing again.  Enjoying 13.1 miles was more important than time for this race.

Saturday came, and I don't think it could have gone any better.  The result:

Overall time: 1:34:05
Pace: 7:11
Gender place: 2/21
Age Group Place: 1/5
Overall Place: 8/52 

Some times things in running don't make sense.  When I look at the race on paper, I should not have PR'd, especially by 6 minutes.  The weather was in the 50s to start and by the time I ended it was only in the 60s. My slowest mile was mile 12, a 7:35 pace.  My fastest mile was mile 4, a 7:01 pace.  At mile 7, I stopped to stretch my leg.  It was getting some cramps and my stride was impacted by it.  I shook it out for a few seconds and continued on.

I also think the following helped me get my PR:

  • Pitbull Power Hour at 4:30 AM while getting ready.  
  • Wearing my purple sunglasses and not my running sunglasses.  I forgot to pack my running sunglasses so the purple ones were what I had to wear if I wanted to wear any.  I decided I didn't really care, and put them on.
  • Convincing a friend to run the half yesterday so we could ride together.  
  • Eating GU at the slowest pace ever.  I opened by GU packet at mile 4 and still had not finished it by mile 10 when I tossed it aside.  I took a little every so often, but I am out of "GU eating shape".  
  • Registering for the Boston Marathon on Friday.  It made me so excited.
  • Not having any expectations.  
  • Believing in myself, knowing that I could do it.  
I am so happy to finally make it into the 1:30s.  Now, I need a new goal to aim for.  

Monday, September 10, 2012

Diabetes diagnosis: Age and Athletes

A lady in my running group who cycles a lot with me has a daughter with type 1 diabetes that was diagnosed when she was 15.  She often talks to me about her daughter in high school and the highs and lows of living with diabetes.  I find her comments quite interesting most of the time.  Case in point:

"I think that the majority of serious diabetic athletes were diagnosed with diabetes later in life.  You are the exception to the rule, the only one I know that was diagnosed at a young age and are a serious athlete."

I've never really thought about this before.  The percent of the population that has type 1 diabetes is low, and then if you analyze only those that are athletes out of the group the numbers drop even more.

I started to think more and more about her comment, and think about the athletes I knew that have diabetes, which is not many.  Out of the few I know, one was diagnosed in her 20s, and two others in their late teens.  I began to wonder if I knew anyone that was diagnosed at a young age, like me, at 4?  It turns out that I know no one that was diagnosed young and is an athlete.

What makes me different than the rest?  Why am I an athlete and so few others that were diagnosed early in life not?  When a person is diagnosed later in life, they have already established interests.  They now have the challenge of making diabetes fit into their already-established lifestyle.  I can only speculate, but I don't think they would stop doing something they enjoy because of diabetes.

My earliest memories are that of the day I was diagnosed.  I don't remember life without the disease, which is both a good and bad thing in my opinion.  Although my parents were warned that they should be careful of what activities I participated in, they let me do whatever I wanted.  This included playing soccer, softball, basketball, running, volleyball, and stints in tennis and golf.  If they had concerns, never was it shown.  I believe their desire to let me do whatever I wanted helped me in countless ways.  I grew up not viewing diabetes as a limiting factor when it came to sports.  Rather, it was something extra to deal with.  It couldn't stop me from doing anything.

That attitude has stuck with me.  I believe that I can do anything I want.  Run a marathon?  Sure.  Ultras?  Why not?  Complete an Ironman or half?  Of course it is on the bucket list.  Sports have always been part of my life, and I can guarantee they always will be.  I'll be that 88 year old woman who is still running marathons.

Were you diagnosed young in life or older?  What do you think - are diabetic athletes primarily people diagnosed later in life?