012. Virtual Run with my Twinner!

For my August 5k, I decided to forego a real race and signed up for a virtual run instead. I did the Pride 5k through Badass Runners which directly benefits The Trevor Project, which is a 24 hour suicide hotline specifically for LGBTQ+ youth. This is a cause near and dear to my heart, as I came out as queer at Pride in Kalamazoo Michigan this past June.

A few months ago, my friend Alli (Also known as my Twinner) surprised me by mailing me an awesome workout tank top. She had gotten herself the same one. We decided we wanted to run a race together in our matching tanks.

Fast forward to this weekend when I am in Wisconsin for her daughter’s 3rd birthday. We decided this would be the perfect time to do our race, but there weren’t any nearby. So the virtual race was the perfect option!

Alli and I ran the first mile on our own before meeting up with her friend Victoria in the park for the next two miles. Then we walked home to finish out the remainder of the 5k.

Time wasn’t the goal for this run. We ran and talked and walked and laughed. It was an amazing time with one of my best friends, and totally worth getting up at 5am to do!

The only thing with this run is that I was running “blind.” Of course, when we left Indiana yesterday, my Dexcom sensor was working perfectly, but now it is totally on the fritz. My fellow Dex wearers will understand what I mean when I say that it keeps “dropping off” randomly – it’ll show I’m hanging steady and then suddenly drop 100+ points. I eventually shut it off this morning because it was showing LOW (which means below 40 mg/dL) when I was actually 165. I ate a roll of smarties as a precaution at mile 2. When we finished the run, I was 81. Next time, I’ll make sure to pack a spare sensor, even if the one I’m wearing seems to be working perfectly.

Thanks for inviting me to run, Twinner! Now to decide on my September race.

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011. When You Think You’re Going To Place… And You’re Not Even Close

For 2018 I’m trying to run a 5k every month. (Recap of May and June here) So today was my July race.

It was put on by a group called Run Michigan Cheap who are doing a ton of races all over Michigan this year. This was their 3rd of 4 events in Kalamazoo this year, on the Kal-Haven Trail.

There was no chip timing, the t-shirts were generic, the “official” race photos left something to be desired, and the medals weren’t super fancy, but for the price, I couldn’t beat it! (And I won’t ever pass up a finishers medal race).

The course was a down-and-back with a mostly flat scenic trail on crushed rock (thank goodness because we’ve been having insanely hard rains for the last three days). There was a 5k, 10k and half marathon, but there weren’t any mile markers until “5k turn” signaling my turn-around point.

It was humid, I wasn’t able to pee before the race started because there was only one potty and it was apparently super disgusting, and my head just wasn’t in the game… but I still ran a good, hard race. I knew there wasn’t a ton of people running the 5k so I actually thought I might place in the top 3 in my bracket. I worked hard to pass a couple ladies ahead of me and stay ahead of another one… only to find out they were all in older age brackets than me, and I was a full six minutes behind the next girl in my bracket. That was a bit of a bummer.

I ran in a new pair of leggings this time that I picked up at Ross Dress for Less for $15. They were advertised as having a cell phone pocket, however my phone would NOT safely and securely fit in them. But, my Tandem insulin pump and 4 rolls of Smarties fit in there perfectly. I decided to forego the FlipBelt and Spibelt and run with my iPhone in-hand.

I also recently picked up a pair of AirPods at the urging of my husband (because working out at the gym with headphones cords was difficult) and that was a great decision as well. No more cords bouncing all over the place while I was running!

My blood sugar started a bit high so I left my basal at my normal rate and by the end of the race, I was back in range. I had only just dropped low when we got to breakfast so it worked out perfectly. (And then I dropped low again right before lunch lol)

I did not PR this race, but I still beat all my race times from last year as well as my May race this year. Overall I’m proud of myself and my progress.

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010. “Hey, look at those shoes!”

Last year I signed up for an inaugural 5k in my hometown an hour before it started. I ran it on an impulse with a couple of friends and no training. And I had a BLAST.

So I decided to do the same race again this year (this time with a little more training).

My training this time wasn’t the same as I’ve done before. I focused on my speedwalking since I’m still nowhere near able to run an entire 5k without walking. By walking but doing so quickly, I was able to maintain a pretty decent pace.

I’ve ran a race with my friend Chris before but this was the first time his wife Katherine ever did a 5k. She’s been training for months and she did AMAZING.

Since it was a night race, I bought these ridiculous light-up shoes on Amazon for like $15 for the heck of it. I had them set to flash super obnoxiously throughout the entire race and I kind of loved it. Although I paid for it later with sore arches, they were worth it.

I was in shock throughout the race at how good my average pace was, but I tried not to get my hopes up that I’d be able to maintain it. At the end I was really feeling my elevated heart rate and struggling to breathe. However, a lady that had been passing me back and forth came up behind me while I was walking, tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Come on!” And that was all the motivation I needed to finish strong!

The course was 0.05 miles short. So my official race time shows 37:56, however if I calculate out my average pace on my Apple Watch of 12:29 min/mile to the proper race distance I get a race time of 38:42. I don’t feel like it would take me an extra minute to go 0.05 miles but I feel like the timing was goofy anyway so who knows. Either way I completely obliterated my previous Personal Record of 41:12!

The best part of it all? My blood sugar held steady (for the most part)! I started around 150 and hung out in the 140s until about 2.5 miles in when I started to drop. A few minutes post-race I was in the 90s but I had just eaten a banana so I knew I was good. It even behaved overnight!

I am so happy with my results and so motivated to keep doing races. Yeah, I only got 121 out of 159 people, but in the end, we all went the same distance.

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Pick Stuff Up, Put It Back Down

One of the benefits of Allen and I moving to a new, bigger city is that they have an affordable gym option. He and I have been wanting to go to the gym more regularly for a few years, but the options in our old town were very limited. Shortly after we moved and settled in our new city, we signed up for the gym!

At first my only plan was to use the treadmill. Running outside in my new city isn’t as much of an option as my old city (I knew my old town like the back of my hand since I lived there my entire life, but in my new city there are a lot more murders and gang activity). So I knew getting a membership to use the treadmill would be useful to me.

However, I hung out with my friend Kristina who is starting to go to the gym now too. She talked about her friend showing her how to lift weights and she was also doing Whole30. A couple other friends of mine had also done Whole30 and between that and running they had lost some weight. Kristina showed me how to use a couple of the machines at my gym when she visited. (It was tough.. see photo below) However, my interest was sparked.

While running on the treadmill I would catch myself staring at the people using the free weights. What was stopping me from doing something other that treadmill? Well, for one, I had no idea how to use anything else. I was scared of injury, or screwing up, or a myriad of other things. I wanted to be happy with my body, and I knew that happiness would come through seeing what I was capable of. I’ve always been embarrassingly weak and pathetic. It was finally time to do something about it.

I finally reached out to a wonderful gal named Taja on Instagram. She’s a type 1 diabetic like me, but she’s a fitness coach. We got to chatting and through a couple conversations she agreed to take me on as a client. I was finally read to start my fitness journey!

Taja and I have been working closely on a custom tailored eating and workout plan. I’ve been eating TONS of protein, lots of lean meats and plenty of veggies and even only a couple of weeks in, I’m already seeing differences. I have baby biceps starting to appear! My clothes are already fitting better. I have more energy every day. And I actually look forward to going to the gym. High school Abby would NEVER have been excited for anything close to the word “gym.”

I’m not an athletic person. At all. I am not built for this, not even for running. But with a lot of consistency, hard work and dedication, I’m thrilled to see where this journey takes me!

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009. Run for the Health of it

This past weekend I completed race #9 of my career, and my first for this year. It was the Borgess Run For the Health of It! run in Kalamazoo, Michigan. I trained for about two weeks at the gym on the treadmill, so my goal was to simply FINISH the race.

Of course, I had nothing but issues leading up to the race itself.

One thing I was looking forward to about this race was that the 5k gives you a medal. In years past, they did not do medals for the 5k, so when I saw they added it, I decided to sign up (because we all know that’s the only way I’m ever “winning” a race is with a participation medal) (but I am running the same distance as first place, just slower, so don’t we all win anyway?).

The other thing I was excited about is that this race does customized bibs with your first name on them!

When I went to packet pickup the day before the race, they handed me my bib with the name Tehya on it. Apparently there had been a problem with printing and a lot of the 5k ones were wrong. So I got a new bib.. with no name on it. I guess that’s better than running with the WRONG name.

The night before the race, my Dexcom sensor was being funky. It was 3 weeks old, so I knew it was going to be a little weird, so I let it slide. I did a site change and went to bed.

The next morning I woke up to a 296 blood sugar and a TON of bubbles in the tubing. So at 5am I’m attempting a site change and pushing insulin and fluids to bring it down. Luckily we had a long drive and an even longer wait before my event.

It was a bit colder than I expected, so I ended up running with my jacket that I had planned on leaving with Allen. But I got to see my Twinner (Alli) in the morning, and I knew my coworker Lona was there somewhere too. This race is HUGE so I wasn’t surprised that I couldn’t find her anywhere.

This race boasted their app and the live tracking it offered. Allen normally tracks my location via Apple’s Location Sharing on our iPhones. It normally runs about 1-2 minutes behind real time but is helpful in case I get injured or something happens. But since the race boasted about the tracking that is “the same app Boston uses!” he tracked me on there instead.

At the 1 mike mark, Allen texted me that I was averaging a 9:45 pace and to pace myself. That seemed REALLY fast to me, but I had just gone down a hill, so I shrugged it off. At the 1.5 mike mark, he texted that I only had 1 mile to go! I texted back “WTF, I’m only at 1.5 miles” and we realized then that the app tracking was horribly inaccurate. He switched back to our normal tracking instead.

The race itself was great! It was weird running with SO MANY people and a lot of them didn’t know runners etiquette so I got cut off a lot. The course was a blast. I knew we kept trending downhill and I knew we’d have to come back up eventually, and boy, that hill was a monster. It really helped to see SO MANY people there cheering everyone on, and the funny race signs too.

This was the first race where I actively tried to run based on how I felt rather than what the clock said. And I think it paid off! I finished a little less than 2 minutes slower than my all time record, pacing faster than most of my races last year, even deep into the season. I felt great, my blood sugar behaved, and I did it!

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New City, New Possibilities

I haven’t posted in quite a while and there’s a good reason for that: we moved!

Allen got a new job back in October which took him from a 5 minute commute to 75 minute commute.

Plus, we were both born and raised in the same city. We were tired of the familiarity, limitations, and we were ready for a new adventure.

It took a bit of finagling with my work, but I was approved to work from home, wherever home may be…

So now we live in Indiana! Our new apartment is absolutely amazing and we love it so much! We even have a deck now… and a grill! That’s something we’ve both always wanted.

We are only 45 minutes from our old city, and 40 minutes from Allen’s work. If we would have gotten any closer to his job, we would have been living in the middle of nowhere, so our new city was a good compromise since there is so much to do here! We’ve been here for 2 months now and we are still in awe of all the restaurants, grocery stores, and even an affordable gym that are all within a short distance of our apartment. Plus we live close to a few friends so we’ve still got a little bit of familiarity and comfort here.

Speaking of gym, we signed up! There’s a Planet Fitness here, which is cheap enough to be totally worth it. Plus the murder rate in our new city is significantly higher than our old city, so I wouldn’t feel comfortable running around town by myself here 😉 I also joined the local Type One Run chapter although I’m not confident enough to run with them yet – maybe later this year!

I have a 5k this weekend and I’m aiming to do another 10k this year as well. And I’d like to learn how to use all the machines in the gym! I never pictured myself enjoying going to a gym when I did gym class as a freshman in high school, but so far, so good.

I am still loving my t:slim and using my Dexcom nearly all the time. Life is good!

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I’m Pumped About My New T-Slim Pump

Four years ago, I got my first insulin pump, the Medtronic 530G.

After four years, your pump goes out of warranty. At that time, you’re able to upgrade through insurance. So, back in July, I began the process of getting my new pump even though I wasn’t out of warranty until December. (Of course, the Tandem rep laughed at me in July because it was way too early to even start paperwork or anything).

After 3 weeks involving 37 phone calls (no joke!), I finally have my new insulin pump in hand: the Tandem T-Slim X2.

I’m so obsessed with this pump. It’s rechargeable so I don’t have to worry about always having spare AAA batteries on me. It syncs right with my Dexcom G5 so if my phone dies or gets misplaced, I can still monitor my blood sugar. It’s touch screen and doesn’t look like a damn pink pager.

After 2 days, here’s my impression so far:

The T-Slim’s more precise boluses are great, and although there are more steps for the bolus screens on the T-Slim and some people may find that irritating, I feel like it’s a good safeguard against accidental incorrect boluses

Medtronic’s menus are way more complicated and hard to navigate than the T-Slim’s are

T-Slim’s screen is bright and easy to read

The T-Slim primes so much slower than my old Medtronic pump did

Filling the reservoir/cartridge on the T-Slim feels more archaic than the Medtronic (since it uses a 2 piece syringe separate from the cartridge rather than Medtronic’s simple clip-it-on-the-vial setup)

Even with everything on vibrate, the T-Slim still audibly alarms when you’re starting a new cartridge, you’re below 55 mg/dL, and when you plug it in to charge (not so great when I’m at work in my quiet office) However the Medtronic also audibly alarms when you’re starting a new cartridge and also all the time when the battery is low, which happens after like 2 weeks and then you can run on a low battery for another 3 weeks-ish, so Tandem gets the point on this one

Tandem doesn’t have a Quickset equivalent so I have to use their Mio equivalent. I’m not a fan of Mios but I will get used to it eventually

The T-Slim’s case (and specifically the metal belt clip) feels so much more secure and heavy-duty than Medtronic’s flimsy plastic belt clip did. We will see how it holds up

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008. My first 10K!

Last Saturday, I drove 3 hours to Chicago where I boarded a plane for a 4.5 hour flight to San Francisco to spend a week with my friends, sans husband.

After landing at 10pm local time (add 3 hours for my native time) and struggling to get a shuttle to the hotel, I crashed for a restless 5 hours of sleep before waking up to run my first ever 10K!

Elizabeth and I have been friends for basically forever. Well, roughly half our lives at this point, so close enough. She’s ran countless races including many half marathons, and has been wanting to do a race with me for years. So the week before I boarded the plane, she signed us both up for the 10K, knowing full well that 1) I’d never gone that distance before and 2) that I’m super duper slow. She was willing to take one for the team and run with me, and I “trained” by running with my friends Michael and Chris to prepare for the race.

We were almost late because of construction. And by “almost late,” I mean Elizabeth had to jog to the starting line and reached me right as they told us all to GO so I don’t think she got to stretch at all, and I maybe got 3 minutes of stretching in. I definitely felt that later on in the race!

The half marathon that was happening as well had started about 30 minutes before the 10K did, and the courses were largely the same. The half broke off from the course somewhere around the 2 mile mark and went for a large loop before meeting back up with the 10K course only a short ways further ahead, so when we were in mile 2, the half was at mile 9 or so. Of course, I had to get a funny picture.

The course was very flat and Alameda looks largely like something out of a Michael Bay film. I kept thinking I’d see explosions or people jumping out of the buildings or something because of how unique they looked. It was cool and so different from the scenery I’m used to here in Michigan.

Mile 2 was, as always, my biggest struggle! I wanted to quit. I was tired, sore, and irritated that we were getting passed by the 1:30 pacer for the half marathon, and the group that was with him were all super ripped and looked like it was nothing whereas I felt like I was about to die. But I pushed and got through it, with plenty of walking breaks.

I didn’t push my body to run, I was patient and listened to it, and allowed myself to focus on the distance and not on the time. Of course, there were a few race volunteers who were “trying to be helpful” by “encouraging” us to run. Please, if you see me out there, don’t encourage me to run or I will cut you. I am pushing my un-athletic body to do something unnatural for it, and telling me “you can do it! Don’t walk, run!” is not only annoying but also ignorant of what I’m actually achieving out there.

My blood sugar actually cooperated for the race! I was in shock, and it was literally the only time my blood sugar cooperated for my ENTIRE trip to California. I had set a temp basal of 1/4 my normal basal rate for 1 hour and that seemed to do the trick! I had 3 glucose gels with me just in case and luckily, I didn’t need them.

My official chip time was 1:37:11 and I am happy with a 15:40 average pace because I did 6.2 miles when earlier this year I could barely do 1.0. It’s a start and now I have a time to improve upon!

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oo7. Virtual run, real miles

I’m a HUGE Detroit Red Wings hockey fan. I only discovered hockey in 2013 when Allen took me to a game for my birthday, but I was immediately hooked.

Of course, this year the Red Wings are finally getting out of the ghetto Joe Louis and will be playing in their poorly-named new arena, Little Caesars Arena. Last year, the organization held their first annual Hockeytown 5K, to celebrate the final year at the Joe. My friend Morgan did the race and it looked like fun. So when I saw it advertised this year, I decided to sign up.

Unfortunately for me, I misread the dates, so I thought I wouldn’t be able to actually run it in Detroit, so I signed up for the virtual 5K. Turns out I totally could have made it work to do it for real, but it was too late by then.

The actual race was held on a Sunday, but I ran my virtual miles a few days later. My friend Elizabeth signed me up for a 10K the weekend after the Hockeytown race with only 5 days to train, (more on that in a future post), so I linked up with a couple friends to pound out some miles. My friend Michael and I ran 2.3 miles on Tuesday, and my friend Chris and I ran my “Hockeytown 5K” plus a few more on Thursday.

I definitely earned my shirt and medal! We had only planned on doing 4 miles but sometimes life has other plans and next thing I knew, we had done over 5 miles. It was awesome and I felt super prepped for my 10K!

The interesting thing is that I did the runs “blind” – meaning I wasn’t wearing my Dexcom. THAT was weird and kind of nerve wracking. At one point while we were running, Chris mentioned something about diabetes and how you can’t understand it truly unless you have it, and I said “Yep, you’d never know I’ve been spending the last half mile trying to feel what my blood sugar is, since I don’t have the numbers handy right now.” Luckily I tested frequently both during and after the runs and all was good, but that was insightful for him, and also gave me the confidence that I can survive running “blind” since I had never even tried it before then.

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My Non-Diabetic Husband Wore My Continuous Glucose Monitor for 2 Weeks and This is What Happened

I recently upgraded my Dexcom system to the G5, which has allowed me to ditch the G4 receiver. However, I still had some juice left in my G4 transmitter, so I asked Allen if he would be willing to wear it for a week – Just for a fun comparison of his blood sugars versus mine.

If you know my husband AT ALL, then you know he’s completely squeamish when it’s his own blood, but mostly fine when it’s someone else’s. He inserts my sensors without fuss, and goes with me to my quarterly blood draws, but when he had to get his blood drawn for a physical at his work, he passed out. So I figured he would say no to my proposal, but I was thrilled when he agreed to be my pincushion for a week. He agreed knowing full well that he was committing to the initial insertion plus calibrations.

When he was finally ready to do the insertion, we got comfy on the bed, with a bucket in case he puked, and we got to work.

I don’t usually insert Dexcom sensors, but I know most of how it works, so I stuck it on, and prepped him for the actual insertion. Luckily he didn’t flinch, and I quickly pulled the inserter off. There was a little blood but not too bad. He let me know that it didn’t hurt and he was doing okay.

But then I had to insert the transmitter piece. There’s a little plastic arm on the sensor base that makes inserting the transmitter easier. However, that piece had fallen off as it sometimes does, which makes the transmitter insertion harder. So when I tried to insert the transmitter, I had to push really hard.

Allen freaked out. He laid down to try not to pass out, and ended up sitting back up and vomiting. I started crying because I felt so bad for what I felt was “making him do this.”

Thankfully, a few minutes later, he and I both calmed down. He pulled up a YouTube video to distract himself and I quickly jimmied the transmitter into the sensor base without any more fuss.

So the experience began!

The first day, Allen ran high for a non-diabetic, but I think the readings were not accurate. There was probably a bad initial calibration or something, and once we added a few more calibrations, it fell into range.

(Allen’s numbers are on the pink receiver, mine are the screenshots)

The most interesting part was how steady his lines usually were compared to mine. I expected that he’d hover in the 80-100 range all the time, but not that he’d stay so completely steady even when eating high carb meals.

Even his “dawn phenomenon” wasn’t actually that – he had eaten right before sending me this screenshot below.

I think the most amazing comparison was this one of a 24 hour time span near the end of our 2 week experiment:

A typical non-diabetic and a typical diabetic for 24 hours. The difference was amazing. I even found myself trying extra-hard to be in a “normal” range to compete with him. Of course, I failed miserably, but it was a great experience.

I am so thankful for my husband being willing to experience a snippet of my life for two weeks. Even through our anniversary, a trip to Wisconsin, and many days of work, he carried that pink receiver without fuss. He said the transmitter in his arm didn’t bother him much at all. His tegaderm looked WAY better at the end of two weeks than mine EVER does. And removal when he was done was a piece of cake. Overall, it was a great learning experience for us both! (And he’s said he’ll never do it again… but we’ll see.)

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