The things I never thought. My Nike 15k recap, running with type 1 diabetes + other autoimmune fun

 

 

Source Nike Women Toronto Facebook Page

Source Nike Women Toronto Facebook Page

The Nike Toronto 15k took place a few weeks ago and I need to share with you some surprises that happened along the way. This was a great experience from my own personal health perspective in dealing with multiple autoimmune disease fun.

1. At the water stations, they provided Nuun. I have never used this before at a race but realized quickly that I needed it. According to the packet, each Nuun tablet has 13 grams of carbs, but was each tablet used per drink? I have no idea.

Lesson: Check to see what is offered at the race stations and try it out beforehand. My stomach doesn’t welcome everything with open arms so I lucked out that taking it in went smoothly.

Also, check if they water the carb drinks down (common practice). That can also mess up your calculations while you are pounding the pavement. Be assertive. Sometimes companies don’t like to admit how much they water down drinks but usually when you say your medical well being heavily depends on knowing this information (and it does), you can usually get a truthful answer.

2. Since I was on an island (Centre Island), it meant cooler temps with the water surrounding me. Add some nasty rain and chilly wind and it equalled out to be quite the bg dip before the race started. I downed a ton of carbs but nothing seemed to bring my levels up so I started a lot lower than I would have liked.

Lesson: Think of ALL weather factors and basically be a came and pack all your food, super extra food, if possible.

3. Take lows in stride. It’s easy to get frustrated quickly when you look down and see your CGM says….

Lesson: Enjoy the experience and think of it this way: You are running a race. Some people would never get the chance to do this, yet here you are, feeling the buzz of thousands around you getting active and building a sense of community. STOP AND TAKE IT IN.

Nike Women Toronto Facebook Page

Running where the planes take off! How cool is that!? Source: Nike Women Toronto Facebook Page

4. Okay, if I can help it, I rather pee in the bush than wait in line for the few port-a-potty’s that are out there on the course. I did not look as carefully as I had thought and when I crouched down a thorny needle-like plant went right into my inner thigh. Once I was done I quickly pulled up my pants and kept running but it hurt. A lot. Eventually it either fell out or I became numb to the pain. Either way…

Lesson: Pee carefully.

Nike Women Toronto Facebook Page

Nike Women Toronto Facebook Page

Overall, the race went well. I had to take some of my other neuro medication the night before (which makes me feel super lazy and feeling ‘hungover’ the next day) so I was thrilled with my efforts. And once I got into the groove… I took the time to stop and smell the roses.

XO,

Jess

 

Animas Canada has kindly chosen to support me with the Dexcom CGM as I continue to train for triathlons, cycling and running events. I believe in full transparency and appreciate that Animas Canada does not review or approve my blog posts. Please read the full disclosure here

Why you don’t need a thing to work out

No clothes, no equipment. In the comfort of your own room with just your birthday suit, you can get yourself ripped.

You don’t need a thing to workout.

Seems like an obvious statement but the cost of exercising can be used as an excuse to not work out or try a new form of fitness.

 

You can use the structures around you get strong. A park bench, the concrete underneath your feet and your own body weight.

At my first Nike Training Club (NTC) outdoor class, our surroundings became our equipment. NTC trainer Jenny Thomson led us through an hour class on a cool Saturday afternoon. I was planking on a cement plant retainer, doing bench dips on my partner’s knees, and shuffling my feet on the playground.

Without any equipment, I got a workout that had me sore for days.

If you’re just starting a new form of fitness, there are many ways to make it easier on your wallet. There’s no need to shell out big bucks for something you may not like.

Read My favourite tech gadgets for staying fit (most featured are free) 

Top tips on saving money
  • Browse around for first timer deals. Many companies give a complimentary class. Do that at all the local spots and you can try out a variety of studios/classes and see what suits you.
  • Free apps. If you’ve got a smartphone, you’ve got a trainer at your fingertips. There are tons of different programs to try out that will keep your body guessing.
  • Head to the park. Your local playground will have enough equipment for you to do a plethora of exercises.
  • Running and cycling clubs are typically free. Check out your local shops to see what’s around.
  • Borrow equipment/clothes or head to your local thrift shop.
  • Don’t forget the power of bartering. If you have skills that may be of use to to a club/team/studio, see if you can work something out.

Once you decide on committing to something, do take the time to invest in quality gear and more importantly, quality people. It’s certainly possible on a budget.

©t1dactiveliving.com All Rights Reserved.

Connect in Canada

Jenny Thomson | Twitter | Instagram |

NTC classes are free. You need to reserve a spot in order to attend.

Nike Training Club Canada | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram |

Thrift Stores: | Value Village | Kijiji | Ebay.ca | Swapcity.ca (barter website) | Craigslist |

 

 

Finding peace: Telling 20 strangers at a NTC class I have type 1 diabetes

Hey strangers in this group photo.

You will forever be etched in my memory.

 

 

I attended my first Nike Training Club outdoor class at the Academy of Lions a few weeks ago.

Towards the end of the class I asked NTC trainer Jenny Thomson if I could take a couple of photos. She explained to the group I had a fitness blog. Then a classmate asked me more about it.

I found myself in a situation that was downright liberating.

To the group of 20 strangers, I announced I have type 1 diabetes (t1d), gave a short rundown of type 1 (no way to prevent it, no cure) and my mission to promote physical activity in Canada.

It went something like that. And as it was happening I felt a surge of positive energy that I never felt before.

In a flash it was over. And when I stopped talking, people clapped. Surreal.

Seen on my run after my NTC class.

Seen on my run after NTC class.

Now is the time I’ve got to commend every person who has ever dealt with any type of physical or mental challenge and talked about it openly. I have the utmost respect for those who share their story on any level.

After everything that has happened these past few years, I can appreciate now more than ever those who speak up.

So many people live in hurt and silence, scared that they will be labelled whatever stereotype goes with the illness.

Diabetics are not alone in being misunderstood or incorrectly labelled. It happens to so many people in every which way.

It’s definitely unfair, and it’s not just us, although for me it definitely felt that way.

So thank you strangers. Thank you for listening for the minute or so I spoke, for smiling at me, for clapping, for hearing my story.

In my journey here as a type 1 diabetic, I will never forget this moment.

I’ll take this positive energy and use it as fuel.

Thank you to NTC Trainer Jenny Thomson & everyone who attended that class.

I’ve taken a few steps forward along my journey to peace because of you guys.

Namaste.

Jessica

© t1dactiveliving. All Rights Reserved.

Connect

Jenny Thomson | Twitter | Instagram |

NTC classes are free. You need to reserve a spot in order to attend.

Nike Training Club Canada | WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram |

I’ll be reviewing the class from a fitness perspective in a future post. 

 

Double-decker workouts. Half-marathon training update + Toronto’s Nike Training Club

How do you know when you’ve really reached your pain threshold?

With type 1 diabetes, that guessing game gets extra tricky for me. Is this shaking related to my blood glucose levels or is it because I’m trying really hard?

My left calf pain is alive and well. Sometimes I choose to run through it, other times I pull back and walk. The pain often subsides (or I go numb to it, not sure which one) but that’s now sitting at 4km-5km in. That’s one long warm-up. Epsom salt baths, tape, foam roller, stretching, I’m doing it all.

I had one long run (an 18km long slow distance run aka. LSD) where I had no calf pain and it felt SO GOOD. Then yesterday it was really ugly where I had trouble putting one foot in front of the other. Pain threshold-what are you trying to tell me? Really I throw my hands up to the running gods.

Aside from that, I’ve been trying to balance my other activities: cycling, swimming, weights, NTC app workouts, yoga. They’ve definitely decreased as the mileage has increased but overall, I think the variety has kept me strong and happy!

Blood glucose levels have been MUCH better. Long runs are always with a hydration pack. I slowly sip eLoad and that seems to be just the trick. I still get lows, but it’s not nearly as bad as this past winter. Although I haven’t gotten faster, I find dealing with less lows a big success. Less lows=less pain threshold guessing.

Tag team back again

This past week I also managed to get back into my free Nike Training Club classes at the Academy of Lions. Spots go quickly, so I was lucky to reserve 3 for the month.

 

That meant double-decker workouts. NTC class followed by my half marathon scheduled training runs.

 

 

As someone who works out solo, joining a class again made me see all the benefits of group workouts. It’s amazing how much longer I can hold a plank when my fellow classmates are counting on me.

Double-decker workouts definitely challenged me. It also gave me an indication of my pain threshold. I realize now I’m nowhere near hitting it when I’m exercising alone. I can push further. Now that I know that, I’ve got to test the limits and work harder.

NTC trainer Paluna Santamaria had me in such a state, drinking my post-workout coffee hurt. Turning the wheel of the car hurt. Thank you Paluna!

L-R: Fellow classmate Nerissa, NTC Trainer Paluna Santamaria & I

I never thought I could pull off back to back workouts like this. It takes me back to that Nelson Mandela quote I saw at hot yoga.

Thrilled with the progress, appreciative of the process, and so lucky to be able to move in whatever way I choose.

Beyond blessed.

 

Up this week:

What strangers don’t know they do-how two women I’ve spent less than 2 hours with have helped me in my d-journey

My first outdoor NTC workout & getting more comfortable talking about t1d publicly

 

 

 

My favourite tech gadgets for staying healthy

I’m tech-happy. Are you? Here are some of my favourite apps and gadgets that keep me on track (click photos to enlarge and browse):

1. My Fitness Pal app (free)

I try to track everything that goes into my body with this app.

  • Love the scan feature where you can grab the nutrition label off of anything with a bar code
  • Has opened my eyes to what I’m eating every. single. day.
  • Ability to track workouts & give estimates to how much you need to replenish

Visit their website here.

2. Nike Plus app (free)

Nike + tracks my run, pace, calories burned, tags which shoes I’m wearing, a place for notes and automatically documents the weather when I’m running outdoors.

  • Share runs through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram
  • Enter challenges with your Nike + friends, chat & encourage each other
  • New Coach feature (which provides detailed schedules for any race distance). I’m using it as a program guide for my second half-marathon.

Visit the Nike + website here.

3. Nike Fuel Band (Around $150 CAN)

Earn points for movement + share on social media outlets. See time, track steps, calories burned and sync to the app via bluetooth. This has shown me the importance of moving at all hours throughout the day. Read more here.

4. Nike Training Club app (free)

NTC are workouts created by top trainers and athletes which include pictures/video. Tons of different routines. Varying times/intensity/styles and can be done anywhere with little to no equipment. This challenges me big time! I never get bored of these. More info here.

5. Road ID app (free)

This is a new app in the beta phase but I’m so excited about it! Road ID enables your lock screen to show your emergency information. When you go out on the road, you can have e-mail notifications sent to friends at certain points, and an alert is also sent if you stop moving. Find out more about the app here. Download it and also receive 10 % off your next Road ID purchase. Yay! What are your go-to apps for keeping active? Jess 😀

2013 Year in review fitness goals. Did I meet them? Plus my promise for 2014.

I had three fitness goals for 2013: complete two mini triathlons and my first half-marathon.

It was pretty ugly at times, and there were moments where I wanted to throw in the towel (and toss my meter into the lake and never look back), but I pushed through and got it done.

Being able to do these events during my first year and some after diagnosis mean more to me than my university degree or any promotion I’ve gotten too.

 

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Why? Because the past few years have been the toughest of my life thus far.

I found out about multiple health challenges and with that came the stress, the worry and the realization of how precious life is. It also meant coming to terms with how I lived my life up to this point. It was and is really, really tough.

It was a smack in the face about every aspect of my life.

A quarter life crisis on steroids.

After all the hospital visits and endless doctors appointments, it seemed as though the universe was saying that my body was simply faulty.

As things got worse, I started to look at training differently. A gym session wasn’t just a time to get sweaty and have fun, it was a part of my day where I felt in control and in charge. Getting stronger and faster showed me how powerful I was. And instead of my body being ugly and riddled with defects, I saw how beautiful I could make it. I could turn myself into a well oiled machine and the things I did this year, blew me away.

I completed all my goals by the fall, so I decided to tackle Runner’s World magazine’s Run Streak Challenge. Run 1 mile every day from Thanksgiving to New Years. I haven’t missed a day, and this morning, I silenced my doubts about hitting my 9 minute/mile goal with this:

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So 2014, I will start with the Inches Challenge at my gym. It’s time to devote myself even more. I’m ready.

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And with Nike’s #WeRun2014 challenge. 100 miles in the first month of the year.

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The distance seems scary, but so are a lot of other things. I can do it. And YOU can do whatever you set your mind to. If there’s anything I learned this year, it’s that fear can rob you of your dreams and the life you want to live. So proclaim your fitness goals for next year.

2014: 

  • #WeRun2014
  • Complete my gym’s inches challenge
  • Complete the Ottawa half-marathon
  • Complete 150km MS Bike ride (my first long distance ride)
  • Get over fear of lake swimming (so I can do more triathlons)
  • Volunteer more at events/programs that promote physical activity

I’ll be here, writing next year around this time, about how I accomplished the above. And you will too with your goals.

In the spirit of hashtags…

#letsdothis

J

 

 

 

Count me in: My first Nike Training Club class at the Academy of Lions

 
Count Me In

 

I was surfing around last week and discovered that there are FREE Nike Training Club classes in Toronto.

Switching up the old routine is never a bad thing in my option. Your body gets a little out-of-the-ordinary shock. New environment. Different people. Right price. Count me in.

RSVP’ed on Facebook If you want to give these classes a try, RSVP early, they fill up fast. 

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The classes available in Toronto are held at the Academy of Lions, a fitness facility that houses some pretty mean crossfitters.

(FYI: I have never done a crossfit workout.)

I’ll have to admit I was a bit intimidated by the setting. And I knew no one.

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Enter our NTC trainer Paluna Santamaria. She’s been leading NTC classes for 6 months and has been a personal trainer for 10 years. Her directions were clear, enthusiasm was way up and she demonstrated a lot. Modifications were given often (and I took some of them as my butt was getting kicked).

After a nice warmup, all of us lined up into rows and did all kinds of sweat-filled moves. Line by line we tackled burpees, sprints, high-knee jumps and all sorts of fun stuff. At one point we split into two groups, half of the class would stay in a low squat while the other would be football shuffling. Ab burn? Check. There was a lot of that too.

I chit chatted with a few girls and overall, the atmosphere was quite friendly. What was most rewarding for me though was the applause my classmates would give to each other without direction.  It was a nice booster that kept me going when I really felt like hitting the floor for a good nap.

Taking a class like this was pretty hard for me on a mental level. Since being diagnosed I’ve been very careful as to what type of training I do. My blood glucose levels have gone wacky for different kinds of workouts (leaving me feeling very ill) so I was apprehensive.

After class I was able to open up to Paluna, who, by the way, was lifting herself up effortlessly (that’s how it looked anyway) at this bar contraption. I kind of stood and watched in awe. Asked if I could take her photo and she held herself up there for a crazy amount of time. 

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“I want people to move more. We are designed to move more than we think we are,” she told me after class.

I didn’t go into great detail but told her about how I was diagnosed last year with an autoimmune disease aka. type 1 diabetes and how I really made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t let one of my organs dying deter me from reaching my fitness goals.

She hit the nail right on the head for me when she said this:

“Some people feel ashamed when they are ill. They don’t feel confident in approaching instructors. They (instructors) are happy to help you.”

My eyes kind of lit up because I knew exactly what she was talking about and I think a lot of others do too. At first I found the act of having to “confess my condition” very difficult. I knew in order to exercise I had to let people know for safety reasons, but in the beginning, the whole process was mentally draining.

I personally think it’s very important that those around you know your condition. For me having a medical ID bracelet just doesn’t cut it. The more people that know, the better off you are. People can see the symptoms sometimes before you can.

For me, some of my greatest support has come from the people I “had” to tell like members of my run club or trainers at the gym.

“More movement is good for your body and good for your health. You just have to understand your condition.”

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It was then that she explained the story of one of her clients. He’s 82 years old. He’s blind. He suffered a heart attack. And you know what? Even after his ticker episode, he made the effort and was present for his training session with her. He couldn’t do everything fully, but he showed up, and he gave whatever he got.

Paluna says it’s that kind of attitude and outlook that can make your body and mind so strong.

For me, making through the session feeling good and with great bg’s gave me a lot of confidence.

So, I will declare this now: Every day I will push myself to get stronger and faster.

Blood, sweat and tears (quite literally!)

Jessie

*I wrote this review to document my first NTC class. I was not compensated in any way by Nike, the Academy of Lions or Paluna Santamaria.