1 post + lots of love: Type 1 diabetes CAN be a blessing in disguise.

Last week I was fiddling around with one of my favourite iPhone apps called Word Swag and I made this:

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Posted on Instagram. Tweeted. Put it up on Facebook. Then…magic happened. Positive love was flowing! On Instagram I saw people tagging and writing such heartfelt messages to one another. And Facebook-oh so much <3 too.

So please drag and drop. Download. Spread the love. E-mail it to someone who needs it.

Type 1 diabetes brings lots of challenges, but it also gives us a lot back in return if we care to look for it.

XO,

Jess

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Now what? After the big race…

I’ve been singing Disney songs ever since my race. Aladdin. Little Mermaid. You name it, I’m singing it….poorly mind you but with big hand gestures and sometimes twirling.

Okay, a lot of twirling. But hey, I’m celebrating right?

Realizations? I love the long run. I prefer half-marathon distances to 5 and 10 km races.

Another marathon? I think that’s very likely.

For living well with type 1, for life in general. Here’s your Monday Motivation:

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IMG_0094Bummed to have missed Connected in Motion‘s Slipstream this year so sent some active vibes their way during my workout yesterday.

XO

J

 

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Losing all my strips, water source & the finish line! My first marathon recap at Disney

 

Walt Disney Marathon 2015
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Point form 400 word summary here. Detailed race recap below.

  • 2:15 a.m. wakeup, wait in line for over an 1.5 hrs to start (in the last corral). Ate breakfast normally (coffee and toast with PB), tested, all good.
  • Carrying: Hydration backpack with 2L bladder filled with water-electrolyte powder mix, granola bars, LEVEL gels, passport, cash, insulin, meter, strips (50 in its original container), pricker.

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  • While waiting BG’s were lower than I would have liked, assuming because it was chilly. Ate my snacks to bring things up.
  • Race starts, feeling good…before mile 2, a GUSH of liquid starts pouring down my back. I am confused, frazzled. I finally pull over to the side and start emptying out my bag.
  • The water bladder has burst in 2 places. When I took it out of the bag, I managed to soak water ALL OVER whatever was left dry. Too out of it to think to take it out carefully.

Day 8: Met up with some run friends today and we talked about me running my first full marathon!? Is this happening?

  • Gone-water, electrolytes, part of my snacks, cell phone charger. What. The. What.
  • Hydration bag tossed to the side. Reach 45-1hr mark and go to test. All test strips destroyed by moisture. ERROR sign.
  • Panic. Reach first medic tent I could find a few miles later-they didn’t have a meter at this particular station. Errr, panic x 100.
  • It’s time to make a call. I decide to keep running.

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  • Large part of nutrition planning has gone out the window. I eat everything I can get my hands on. Powerade, Clif shot bloks, bananas. I do everything I can to go by feel.

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  • The race itself was amazing. My fear subsided and I enjoyed every moment of being at Disney. Run-wise, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. It was hard, painful, but oh so worth it (read more about it below).

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  • After I cross the finish line I make my way to the medic tent just to be sure all is well. I sprinted the last leg of the race and was sitting at 10 mmoL (which is around 130 mgdl?)
  • The care I got in the medic tent at the end of the race was superb. I choose to focus on that. Great people.
  • The rest of the day/night my bg’s stayed steady.

The fear of not knowing my bg’s all race was something totally out of the blue. This is where a CGM would be of great benefit!

I couldn’t prepare for it. The water exploding and then further being poured onto my stuff? I’ll never forget. I thought my t1d gear was safe in the water-resistant pocket I had, but it wasn’t.

Lesson? Learn, and move on. Attitude is everything.

 

Extended race summary

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  • Jan. 8-Fly from Toronto to Orlando (with three other runners)
  • Jan. 8-10 the priority was to climatize myself. I found this difficult as it was very chilly here when we first arrived. This messed with my bg’s as mine tend to dip along with the temps. The weather forecast kept changing and I found that a big challenge as to my ever-fluctuating bg’s.
  • Jan 8- short 20 minute jog in the evening after the flight
  • Jan 9- 20 minute swim doing front crawl laps in the pool

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  • Jan 10- 15 minute jog (now the weather was hot so I was sweating and in the sun). Tested out hydration pack-everything working fine.

Nutrition

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  • I didn’t deviate too much from regular eating. I kept pretty much to my diet that I normally have at home. That’s the huge plus of not staying in a hotel and being at a rental home-control!

 

Game plan & goals

  • I wanted to finish feeling strong. My coach helped create a goal of around a 6 hour completion-enough time to test, correct if needed, take pictures with characters and take bathroom breaks.

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Sleep

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  • SLEEP WAS INTEGRAL. I got a fabulous, uninterrupted sleep two nights before the race. Race day I had to get up at 2:15 a.m. and went to bed at around 8:30 p.m. Luckily I was able to get in 5 hours of sleep (with a little tossing and turning due to thunder). This was the best sleep I have gotten the night before a race.
  • I really think my sleep played a big role in having the energy to finish strong. Can I take this bed home with me?

Night before race day:

  • I made sure to pack everything I needed plus a bag to leave in the car. This made the morning less hectic.
  • Car bag included: flip flops, change of clothes, water

Race day:

 

  • Morning routine of coffee, toast with PB, washroom routine, all went smoothly!
  • We got to the park very early with ample time. It was cold (had my rain jacket on and arm sleeves). Went to the washroom 3 times before the race started.IMG_6369
  • In the last corral, it was a long wait. We were in line by 5 a.m. and waiting until about 6:30 a.m. My friend Becky and I were in the same corral so we got to start together which was really nice.
  • Tested while we were waiting and was sitting a little too low for my liking so I ate one of my snacks and tried to keep moving to stay warm and get the legs moving.
  • Check out the start of EACH CORRAL! I’m really happy that every corral got their own fireworks.

 

  • Finally our turn. Start off race with my friend but we end up splitting around mile 1.
  • Before mile 2 hits, I feel something leaking on my tutu and down my legs. At first I can’t make sense of it but then all of a sudden a gush of fluid starts coming down. I’m now really confused. It becomes so big that I pull over and put my bag on the ground. I start to take things out and everything is wet. Even then I’m pretty panicked so I can’t make sense of what’s happening. I pull out the bladder and see two big holes. I lift the bag direct over my bag, soaking the entire hydration pack.

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  • My t1d stuff was in a separate section but since I lifted the bladder right above the bag I ended up soaking that part too. My face on my passport which I was carrying is now green on the left and then my skin colour turns into a nice red to the right.
  • Although I’ve drenched everything, I think my strips are safe since they were in the container.
  • Legs felt tired, sore but overall I had no real issues. Continued running and taking photos with characters although mindful of the time I lost from the hydration pack.
  • Around the 45-1hr mark it’s time to test. I take out my meter, which works, but then realize that none of my test strips work. They’ve got too much moisture on them. I start to panic now. I lost my water source, electrolytes, part of my food and now I have no way to test until I hit a medic tent.

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  • After a few miles I believe, I see a medic tent. I go and tell them the situation. I don’t feel any symptoms but want to know my bg level. They can’t find a meter in this tent. They make a call and one is supposed to come from a medic van nearby. The medic comes with a bag but there’s no meter inside. This is when I realize I need to make a decision-do I continue to run without knowing my bg’s? I have trained testing constantly every 45-1hr (when feeling well-no symptoms) and more if feeling off.
  • I decide that I will just go by feel, and push through. I stop at every water station taking 2 Powerade cups and 1 or 2 waters. Anything available to eat I take-bananas, Clif Shot Blocks, chocolate. Whatever was out there, I ate to ensure I was getting as many carbs as possible. My Level gels were still good so I ate those as planned every hour. I also ate 2 granola bars but they were really dry (I thought I would have my hydration pack to sip on to help take it down)
  • GI issue wise-I was very lucky. No issues. There were points where I felt a little sick but that’s to be expected.
  • The lineups to take photos with characters seemed long although when I did line up they moved quickly. I decided to choose just a few that were special to me. I took photos with Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Baloo, Baymax! (My favourite, saw the movie twice-no line) and the Genie, Abu.

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  • Things I saw: lots of spectators, live marching bands, live music all around
  • Volunteers were really encouraging and positive. They had that Disney spirit!
  • Highlights: running on the Disney race track speedway…

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  • The big castle of course…

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  • And this awesome DJ..
  • Met a fellow female runner from Mexico. We took each pictures for each other of the Baymax blowup. We saw each other after the race and had a really nice chat and hugged. I love runners!

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  • No blisters, or any kind of blaring pain. Don’t get me wrong, it hurt, but there wasn’t anything that caused me any concern. I was sore though so, and again, not recommended to try new things on race day, I tried BioFreeze. I slathered it on my legs and it felt great. So cool and refreshing. I started putting it on whenever there were stations- everywhere below the knees, above the ankle and on my hips.
  • Lots of weaving in and out. This is the biggest race I’ve done to date so not sure if it was this particular crowd or just a larger race in general but it was really hard to navigate through when you wanted to run steadily.
  • As I looked at my watch throughout the race I realize I was going at a much slower pace than I had wanted. Towards the end, given all the events of the run, I realized that I was cutting it real close to making my first marathon under 6 hours.
  • The markers were off according to my watch, but here is the breakdown via Nike plus.

My official time was 5:58:31.

  • As I was nearing the end I was really losing steam, but I wanted to see if I could make it under 6 hours. I walked, then I would push and run. I tried to sprint. The finish line seemed to take forever. As I was about 400 meters from the finish, I saw the clock at the top and it had turned to 6 hours. Honestly I felt disappointed but then kept pushing to try to get the best time. It wasn’t until I was in the medic tent afterwards that I got a message with a screen shot of my time.  I was so thrilled and celebrated with the staff in there.
  • Nike GPS Watch time 5:49:37-that makes me really happy. All the long hours of treadmill training paid off. I think it really helped build up the mental toughness I needed to do this at this point in time.
  • Luckily my neurological issues (shaking) did not occur during this race. I did carry my seizure pills with me of course.

What I took away from this experience: 

  • Running in miles instead of kilometres really throws you off
  • Expect the unexpected
  • Take time to enjoy the race
  • A coach is integral to success (thank you SUEPOO!)
  • Life is short. Have fun and do what you want to do.

I’ll add more later if I can think of anything. Thanks for your support as always. All the messages of love from across the globe have been amazing.

xo

Jess

 

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5 signs I’m running my first marathon tomorrow. Insert. Happiness.

1. After a long chill, the sun came out today and I did my last jog before THE BIG ONE.

 

2. While picking up this haul, my cashier tells me she is also someone who lives with type 1 diabetes. Co-incidence? I think not!

We don't have Level Foods in Canada-so I'm stocking up! It's been my go-to for running and triathlon training. I will be loaded with it tomorrow. 

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3. I got a sweet Facebook message from an old running buddy wishing me luck. I bumped into him during a big runners dinner the night before here in Orlando. This man is the sweetest-and his positive energy just rubbed off on me. He told me to just enjoy it and my response to that is-I WILL SOAK UP ALL THAT AMAZING ENERGY.

4. Splish slash my legs feel primed after this fun swim this afternoon.

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5. Although I’m excited, I’m not nervous. I trained hard. I can do the distance. If something happens, it happens. It’s the process-not the medal, not the bragging rights, not anything else.

Thank you for all of your support. My next blog will be all about the marathon.

Hugs, high fives and fist bumps. DOC-you helped me get here.

Thank you.

Jess

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I’m running my first marathon in just a few days! The bg/jitters breakdown for this runner with t1d!

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Hello from hot hot cold Florida? It’s so chilly (not as bad as Toronto though) and it’s thrown me through a loop bg-wise.

No sweat though, I was out with my good friend (whose sister happens to have t1d as well), getting a good run to shake out the legs after the flight. 20 minutes of exploring our hood for the week. Of course I brought my Connected in Motion to represent.

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During my time in the sky earlier today, I thought about a lot of things before I passed out and started drooling.

IMG_6157I thought about what an adventure it has been training for this marathon. I’ve made so many discoveries about my body. I’ve learned how predictable t1d can be. Most importantly, I’ve learned what I can achieve when my mind can focus.

So unpredictable weather? Pre-marathon jitters? Bring it ALL ON.

XO,

Jess

Training for a marathon with type 1 diabetes. Hitting peak week and the glory of the taper.

I’m walking down the stairs backwards. I’ve got a swagger walk with no swagger. Ah, it’s the sign of finishing my longest distance to date- 32 km (19.8 miles) and it wasn’t pretty.

My bg’s seemed stable throughout but my stomach was another issue. 5 km (3.1 miles) in I had to make a dash to the ladies. With my tummy in knots the run overall was painful. Legs were seizing and it was just plain ugly.

95% of my marathon training was done on the treadmill and here are some tips to keep your mind distracted.

  • Netflix. As much Netflix as you can get.
  • YouTube “running music” and pick your favourite hour-long mixes or create your own playlist
  • Play games on your iPad or tablet. I can get away with this because I’m not running at a fast pace. Don’t expect to win at whatever game you are playing though. Your slippery, sweaty hands won’t let you.
  • Visualize your race. Today’s run was all about imagining myself at the start line, hitting each km/mile and finishing strong.

Up to this point the biggest lesson has been to let go of the self criticism when it comes to my bg levels. I reminded myself that I’ve never done this training before. I reminded myself that the road isn’t supposed to be easy but that it will totally be worth it.

I want to thank everyone in the DOC for their support! This online family has really kept me motivated and inspired. Special thanks to Shawn Shepheard & my triathlete sister and good friend Anne Marie Hospod (who is doing her first IRONMAN!). Thank you for the texts pre, during and post-run.

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Now to taper! For non-runners, taper means that my training will significantly decrease and that the bulk of the “hard” stuff is over.

I love to exercise but I am REALLY looking forward to this taper time.

Happy running,

J

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My photos for the taking: Inspirational type 1 diabetes art

Save, share, it’s yours for the taking.

I love taking photos and using all kinds of apps to make type 1 diabetes art on Instagram.

Here’s a few of the latest below.

If you’d like to request a specific phrase, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below and I’ll try my best to create it for you. I have one stipulation- it must be a positive message.

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Happy National Diabetes Awareness Month!

xo

J