A clear day

13 09 2010

It has been a very long time… and perhaps I can’t claim my blog title any longer. I only made it to mid-May. But I learned a lot along the way. Mostly – that I can take more control of my life and what I do with my days. I was determined to spend more time with my kids over the summer. Less work, less exercise. A financial and physical setback, but one that was essential to my feeling like a good mom. And I am proud to say I did that.

And if I learned anything from my half-marathon journey it was to cater to my desires for improvement. Otherwise, I spend so much time feeling guilty and apologizing to those around me. I have given up on the idea of balance — that I could possibly answer all client demands and deadlines, give my family the attention they need AND tune into my health. There may not be a day when all three happen. The balance can’t be measured in days — but in longer periods… weeks seem more realistic at the moment. Maybe months are better…

I had a great summer playing with my kids and appreciating the freedom to have days with them. I squeezed work in — and lots of active days walking the dog, riding bikes, etc. Just nothing I would count as true exercise worthy of recording in my blog or training log.

My kids have been in school now for exactly a month, and I have been heads down working… and working… and working… still not running.

Today I have some clarity. I met with my diabetes doc for my regular 3-month check-in. My A1c level (that measures blood sugar over 3 months) and my weight are EXACTLY the same as 6 months ago — March, when I was running A TON!

But wow – I don’t feel as great as I did then. And this skort is feeling a little tight in the wrong places… I miss the clarity and sweat and pride that came with running and heading toward a goal.

So, in the last hour from my new laptop at a coffee shop I resigned from a board I’ve been sitting on for four years, and I passed off a small client that was eating precious time.

My great friend and roommate in Atlanta and I used to joke that in our simpler lives either boys were good and work was bad or work was good and boys were bad. That was all we had to focus on, and – even then – we could only be REALLY good at one thing at a time.

Now — with a job, kids, just one boy!, and their daily demands, I can only expect myself to succeed at one thing at a time. So less pressure for exercising SO much and trying to do it all.

Today there is clarity. Tomorrow… maybe a run!


Day 137 – Post-race Bliss

17 05 2010

The view from City Park race site

The day after a long race is awesome. You can take a hard-earned rest day and (if Mother’s Day, your wedding anniversary and your 40th birthday all fall within the same week like mine) you just might get a gift certificate for a massage. Just what my calves and quads ordered.

I’m feeling pretty good and chalking that up to a Powerade recovery (chalk-like) powder my bike-racing neighbors shared for immediately after the race to recover quickly.

They posted the official results today, and I’m very proud to have an official time of 2 hours, 14 minutes and 40 seconds. That includes my 4 minutes worth of blood sugar testing/fueling breaks. My handicap. I was 181st place out of 410 runners in my female 40-49 age group. I did have the advantage of likely being the very youngest in the group, having only been 40 at the start of the race for about 45 minutes.

I was humbled this morning by this inspiring story in the Denver Post about Kerry Kuck, a Type 1 diabetic who is blind and ran the half with a guide. He finished more than 20 minutes ahead of me!

I did beat Todd, whose name I wore on my bib, by about 30 minutes! As much as I like to analyze race results/statistics, and as I explained to Zach when he asked me if I won, it’s only about reaching your personal goal. Another Denver Post article quoted Kuck saying it perfectly:

“You’ve got poor people who wear holey blue jeans, millionaires in three-piece suits, but we all look the same. We put on our shoes, pull on our shorts and we’re all the same out there. And you’re not running against the other runners, you’re all on the same team. It’s you against the course, and everybody who finishes is a winner.”

Day 136 — 13.1 Miles Behind Me

16 05 2010

A wonderful race day started with a huge surprise. Jo-Anna picked me up at sunrise (5:45 a.m.) — what an amazing friend to be up with me so early and smiling. When I got in her car and we started talking… Kerrin – hiding under a blanket – jumped out of the back seat! I screamed, nearly peed my pants, and still can’t believe she came all the way from Pittsburgh to surprise me. I am so lucky to have such incredible friends — Kerrin and Jo and those who have followed my blog in support, emailed, texted and called with encouraging words and birthday wishes. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In short, I met my goal of running a 10-minute per mile pace the whole way and keeping my blood sugar from tanking! My time (by my watch) was 2:10:26. I stopped the clock during two pit stops for glucose checks and refueling and hydrating with Jo-Anna and Kerrin on designated corners.

It was a beautiful morning with chill and sunshine — perfect for running in shorts and long sleeves. It was the flattest course I’ve ever run. Sketchy-yet-entertaining areas of Colfax Avenue on the 7 miles east gave way to the beautiful gardens and the canopy of 100-year-old trees in my old Park Hill neighborhood that led to back to City Park and the finish line.

Such a huge help having my friends waiting at 5.5 and 9 miles with bananas, Gatorade and a backpack full of supplies…I couldn’t have done it without you cheering me on. And, of course, heading for brunch and window shopping in Cherry Creek after. Kerrin and Jo-Anna have been my race buddies and close friends for six years now. Ever since we decided (ironically, while sitting at McDonald’s with our kids after preschool) to do a sprint triathlon together. Five tris, several runs and countless memories later, they knew just how to keep me laughing and running today.

More birthday festivities followed, and I had such a good time — maybe in a post-race fog — that I forgot about it being my 40th. I feel just the same today…not older but maybe a little wiser after training for and running this race. Scott and the kids gave me a new Garmin 405 GPS running watch from my wish list… to track all those miles waiting for me on the road ahead!

Days 127-131 – Getting back on the running wagon

11 05 2010

My Botanic Garden Mother's Day Purchases

In the many days since my last post I have hit a wall. Not a bad wall entirely, because it came with a fabulous Cinco de Mayo block party with friends Saturday, Mother’s Day festivities with my family Sunday (Zach’s card says he loves me because I “give him cokes.” That’s supposed to be “cookies.” He had never had a Coke until Saturday night at the party when I wasn’t paying attention.), and the new flowers in this photo — my annual Mother’s Day present to myself from the Denver Botanic Gardens Spring sale Friday.

Exercise-wise I am still in a bit of a funk. Ran 7 miles Saturday (before the party) that felt similar to pulling the wagon uphill with Zach in it at the Gardens’ sale. I stretched on other days and went for a bike ride with Anna Sunday, but yesterday I gave in. No run. No stretch. Busy shuttling to ballet and just decided to take a for-real rest day on Day 130. We have cold, windy weather — even a chance of snow for tomorrow — that is not helping my cause.

The dread of the race has one bright side though – totally making me forget that on Sunday I also turn 40. The whole reason for doing this now seems like an afterthought…making it still a perfect plan that is now only FIVE days away.

Days 125-126 – A free pass for my birthday

6 05 2010

I have to admit – I am sick of running right now. After logging over 280 miles this year, I have suddenly lost my desire to get out there, and I’m just ready for a break beyond the Classical Stretch I did yesterday.

Today — a windy, chilly, drizzly day — I forced myself into running tights and planned to do 6 miles. After 3 miles my blood sugar was dropping — near 60 — so I cut it short at 3 miles. Tired of pushing my blood sugar up quickly enough to run more miles in my short afternoon while the kids are at school. Is this burnout? Just 10 days before the race? I know I will get back into my groove…

But I’ve been thinking lately how nice it would be if — for just one day — I could give back my diabetes, take a vacation from it, leave it with grandparents and get a long overdue break. Would I remember how to eat willy-nilly, whenever and whatever I wanted without estimating the carbs or pushing buttons on my insulin pump? Could I really eat pizza or a slice of birthday cake without worrying about how tired it would make me later when my blood sugar rose? (Because I rarely estimate enough carbs for those treats).

Without my pump on, I could wear a very fitted dress — the one I always avoid in the dressing room…I could jump into the pool on a whim and not flinch when someone hugged me — in fear they might knock it off my waist. Would I feel like I was missing a part of me without it on?

I don’t feel sorry for myself very often. But Type 1 diabetes is with you 24/7. There’s never a snack or a walk in the park that doesn’t impact your body and require you to make adjustments. And I think I’m tired of how much work it is to run 13.1 miles with it. Almost always I don’t think about this…I let it inspire me to fight back and prove it can’t limit me. Deep down, I know I am blessed with many, many amazing people and good fortune in my life — including the technology and doctors that make managing Type 1 a realistic pursuit. And there are so many more tragic diseases I suspect are much harder to live with. Or that you don’t get to live with.

But I still crave just one free pass…and one chance to remember freedoms long forgotten over 28 years. Can I have that for my 40th birthday please? The day of the half marathon would be perfect — when running those miles would be so much easier without the extra weight.

Days 123-124 — Overthinking the long run

4 05 2010

Tired tired tired from Sunday’s 13-miler. Seemed like a great idea at the time I was doing it, but wow did it zap me ever since! I muddled through Monday and today — fighting to keep my eyes open while playing marbles with my son and watching my daughter’s soccer game. Forced myself to do a late night Classical Stretch Monday which did help my stiff leg muscles once the painful plies were finally over.

Maybe I shouldn’t have tried the full distance. Should have stuck with the SmartCoach, who told me to do 11. The debate goes on in my head…good to know I can do 13 without blood sugar crashing, but paying the price with a tired body now that just wants a rest day — from all things — work, shuttling kids, cooking, exercising. That would be a perfect reward after the race itself, but not in the cards when I have two weeks left to go ’til the half marathon.

The most famous race in our area is the Bolder Boulder 10K on Memorial Day. Equivalent to the Peachtree in Atlanta, most everyone who runs has either done it before or is training for it. You will always find a dozen people you know proudly wearing the t-shirt in June. I have never done this race and probably should someday when we’re not traveling for the holiday weekend or when I haven’t just run a half marathon…

This morning’s sports section in the Denver Post had its typical race-prep article: 10 ways to get ready for the Bolder Boulder 10K

I took number 3 to heart today — running my 2-mile recovery run loop in the park in blasting wind that sucked the Spring right out of the warm air.

“3. Train on fatigued legs. The key to running fast is to be able to train your body to run the second half of the race as hard or harder as the first half. To do that, you have to be able to train the body to run fatigued via a variety of specially designed workouts.”

And number 8 suggests you run the course to practice where to go fast, etc. This would take about six hours in traffic on busy Colfax Avenue in Denver, but I happened to drive part of it yesterday when we were near the route for a doctor’s appointment. It felt…long. And it was not even half of the course. Maybe it was all the stop lights? I seriously have been studying the map so I’m not totally surprised by how far it feels in real life. I’m adding what should be #11 on the race prep list: Don’t overthink it.

I find myself obsessing a bit over what I will wear in various weather conditions, what time I will get up that morning, how many glucose tablets can I fit in my pocket, whether I should try the Hydra Pouch water holder instead of the Amphipod, blue or purple Gatorade?….on and on. I need to have a solid plan, but I need to let go a bit too and remember this is for fun. There is no exactly right way to do the race. And I will very soon forget whether I chose the Pouch or the ‘Pod, wore the tank or the sleeves — tucking the race t-shirt into my bottom drawer with other milestone memories.

Days 121-122 – Trial Run

2 05 2010

Saturday I did a Classical Stretch Miranda said was good for runners, which I appreciated when I set out this morning to run 12 miles with my Gatorade-filled bottle in hand. A test run for hydration/sugar on board for almost the half marathon distance. It was a cool morning, but clear skies and mostly sunshine. After a 6 miles on the dirt road loop I was in good shape — blood sugar at 89, 8 ounces of Gatorade consumed and not too irritated by carrying the plastic Amphipod bottle that fits pretty nicely in my hand. I refilled the bottle quickly, ate a few glucose tablets on my porch and set out for another 6 miles. I took a different route to keep my brain from going numb. But between 10-11 miles felt numb all over.

My CGM (continuous glucose monitor) showed my blood sugar wasn’t dropping, and I kept sipping the blue drink. By the top of the hill at about 11.5 miles I felt fine and sprinted downhill to home. A quick blood glucose meter check on my porch read 90, and I decided I could do one more mile around the park trail. This would be my last chance to go the full distance, so why not?

More than two hours running is a lot of thinking time. For the beginning, I was super-focused on relaxing my arms and shoulders — harder with that bottle in my hand making it colder than it needed to be, yet warming the Gatorade too much. I passed horses on the farms and wondered at what age I stopped being so into those? Nine, ten maybe? Still like to look at them, but not too close. Noticed dozens of blooming trees and shrubs and tried to remember their names from the botany class Wendy and I took in college — when we got to wonder around campus staring up at branches. Thought about my sorority sister Lecia, who was running a marathon in Cincinnati today in the rain — so impressive, and wow that seems farther than ever now that I’ve done 13. Who can do that again!?! Made mental notes of several songs I need to add to my “Top 40 for 40” list to make it through race day. And wondered if you’re even allowed to have iPods. A must have for me. I will hide the wires under my shirt. Have to look that up in the rules. Thought tons about the race course and how I need to study it a bit this week. I like to have it tattooed on my brain so I can anticipate the mile markers and celebrate the landmarks on the way.

Happy to say I did it — stopping near the end to chat with Jo-Anna who was flying kites with her family. So a slow, cool down last mile put me at 2 hours, 11 minutes. (stopped my watch for the few minute pit stops, of course) I am so glad I did the distance (minus the .1) to know that I can make it in two weeks. And this put my total mileage for the week at 26.1 — almost a marathon… Should have done that .1 just to get there!

Most people think I’m nuts for going the whole distance in training, but when you have Type 1 diabetes, there’s not a lot of room for surprises if you want to finish a race. The SmartCoach training plan only had me going up to 11. I know after two runs over 10 miles that I need more food to get through the last 3. Even if I weren’t a diabetic this would be the case. So more snack experiments to come, with an 8-mile and 11-mile this week (back to what the SmartCoach prescribes). Then I get to scale back in prep for May 16.

I actually took a short nap this afternoon — hitting a wall a few hours after the run. Better make that part of my 40th birthday plan!