Meet Alanna Swartz. She lifts weights, fundraises for JDRF & her birthday is this Saturday!

Courtesy Alanna Swartz

Courtesy Alanna Swartz

Full name: Alanna Swartz

Age: 30 on Saturday (Happy birthday Alanna!)

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

#T1d since: 1990

Animas vibe w/ CGM right?: Yep!

Tell us a little bit about your new job and what you do?  I am the senior fundraising and development coordinator for JDRF Nova Scotia. I manage the Walk and outreach programs including support groups for families, teens and adults.

Our connection: We know each other through social media! We have never met in person but we have some friends in common via Connected In Motion.

What type of exercise do you enjoy or have expertise in? I lift weights. Heavy ones.

What is your current workout routine? I am a creature of habit! I always warm up with some jumping jacks and box jumps. I will then do some variation of: squats, deadlifts, clean and jerks, bench presses, flies (free weights and barbell work). After I do my heavy lifting I will stretch for a few minutes to loosen up, and then I will run on the treadmill, use the stair climber, bike or row for 30 mins at top heart rate and 5 mins to cool down. I will then do a good solid stretch and usually a sauna for extra sweating.

How do you prep to workout? When I know I am going to workout I always check my blood sugar 1 hr before go time. If I am 9.0 or above I will not lower my basal rate. If I am between 6-9 I will lower by 50%, if I am between 4-6 I will lower by 80%.

Courtesy Alanna Swartz

Courtesy Alanna Swartz

What do you find to be the most challenging part of working out as a t1d? Judging if I have enough sugar in my bloodstream to effectively workout AND avoid lows. I think I need glucose on board for my lifts to be effective, so I try and stay around 7-8 while lifting. Battling lows is important, of course, so ensuring I am eating right during the lead up is just as important as my actual numbers.

What is the most rewarding part of working out for you? Mental stability 🙂 I forgive myself, and take it easier on myself on workout days.

What tips do you have for those trying to become active with t1d? Test. Test again. Then test. If you have access to a CGM-use it. But don’t feel like you have to run a marathon or become a power lifter. Just getting outdoors more, or even getting to the mall can count as activity.

What support system to you have in place to keep your spirits up? My partner is a huge support for me. He doesn’t do the gym, but he always tells me how proud he is of me, and shares my happiness when I achieve new things. He is always congratulating me on doing things that are good for me and supporting all of my healthy decisions. In part I am doing it for him. I want to be around for a long time to grow old with him and we both know that I have extra challenges with T1D.

But I also have my support group online! We check in regularly on Twitter and share successes and frustrations. We are a global group that helps each other in the non-judgemental and strategic way people with diabetes need. Everything that is moderately active is an achievement. In a world where people are running across countries and completing marathons and triathlons, we can feel that our very real and regular efforts aren’t enough. This group is online to show that what we are doing is enough, and when we aren’t doing enough we nudge each other to help ourselves and do it for our families and friends. It really is the best place to turn when we need anything. There’s no judgement or bragging just doing and caring. You can read more about it at my blog post here.

Courtesy Alanna Swartz

Courtesy Alanna Swartz

Please list your athletic accomplishments! My athletic accomplishments huh? This is tough for me, I usually keep things pretty quiet. I keep it quiet because I am fat, and I have fat friends who are very sensitive to feeling like their nose is being rubbed in weight loss crap again. But I don’t work out to lose weight. I don’t think there is anything wrong with being fat if you are taking care of yourself. I think that if I lose weight the best benefit would be having a better selection of clothes. But I have my struggles. I still have my struggles every single day with self deprecation and self loathing. I think it is engrained in me as a woman, and as someone living with diabetes that I should be ashamed of how I look, so airing my accomplishments is something so personal I don’t usually do it-I don’t see the point in me saying these things. I won’t be any more proud of myself! Soooo, I won’t get in to specifics.

I will say that when I started power lifting I set my weightlifting goal for dead lifts with my trainer and I have successfully reached that.

I do around 75% longer stints of cardio before feeling exhausted.

I taught an elderly man how to properly dead lift!

But the most important athletic accomplishment for me is that I have let up on hating myself. It still creeps up, but I can now look in the mirror and not feel ashamed. That is a HUGE step for me. More than lifting any weight or running any distance.

What message do you have for other t1d’s who are apprehensive about being active (for whatever reason)? T1D is scary. It can rob you of years on your life, and so much more. But there are ways to get around it. You just have to work a little harder than most people. The best thing you can do is meet other people with T1D and work out with them. Bounce ideas of them and report in with them regularly. Nobody else can understand what living our life can be except each other.

Any other words of motivation? Just stick with doing what makes you feel good, and don’t bother with what anyone else thinks.

Thank you Alanna for sharing your fitness story.


Alanna’s blog & Twitter 



Sebastien Sasseville runs home to Quebec celebrations, passes 2,000km mark


Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Celebrate 2,000 km of running and nearly 3 months of one extreme adventure. How? With a whip cream pie to the face.

Sebastien Sasseville (above photo, centre) is the face of Outrun Diabetes, a solo 7,500km run across Canada to raise awareness about diabetes and to inspire others to live life to the fullest

Outrun Diabetes logistics man Patrick St-Martin (above, left) got fancy, dressed up with a bow-tie along a lonely stretch of highway, to surprise Sebastien on his milestone.

Here’s a video of how it all went down.

Note: This video is in French and even if you don’t understand, it’s important to watch to the end.

Last week Sebastien Sasseville entered his home province, Quebec. You better believe he’s been partying as friends, family and fans welcome him back.

So what do you do when you’re on home turf?

For starters, cheer for the Habs while tackling the kilometres.


Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

And eat carbs. Really. Good. Carbs.

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Have lunch with mom at home

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes


And name the RV. Drum roll please…..the name of the Outrun Diabetes RV is….Charlotte!

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Shawn Shepheard got all the latest updates with Sebastien. Here’s the last video.


What you need to know in 5 (video recap)

  1. Sebastien is still smiling but the extreme running is taking its toll. “My legs aren’t getting any fresher.”
  2. Making it this far? Sebastien is surprised. “I didn’t know how things would go. I feel a lot of support. The legs are…still running. All the events and stuff we’re doing it definitely is giving us a lot of energy to continue doing what we’re doing. All is well.”
  3. During his run through Quebec, expect more French content from Outrun Diabetes.
  4. Help spread the word by liking & sharing Outrun Diabetes content on social media. Sebastien also likes food and massages. Get in touch if you can help. (See contact information below)
  5. Every Friday, Outrun Diabetes announces a Fan of the Week. You get a bright shiny disco ball mailed to your house for doing something kind to support the cause.

© All Rights Reserved.


Outrun Diabetes | Website | Twitter Facebook Instagram |

Sebastien Sasseville | Website | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn |

Shawn Shepheard | Website Twitter | Facebook |

Make sure to follow Patrick’s Instagram account too.

Read more.

Just hold on we’re going home: Sebastien Sasseville nears Quebec

Sebastien Sasseville out of Nova Scotia and into New Brunswick

Sebastien Sasseville #MCM t-shirts hit the market, Outrun Diabetes fans go crazy

Sebastien Sasseville hits 1,000 km mark on run across Canada

Outrun Diabetes update: Crazy photos of Sebastien Sasseville’s run across Canada

Sebastien Sasseville confesses before his run across Canada: I suck.



Retina eye exam. I kind of love it?


When I leave a doctor’s office, I want to feel as though I’ve walked away with a big overflowing gift basket.

Inside would be all kinds of treats that would sustain me until my next visit.

I definitely felt that way after my last optometrist appointment.

Here’s what I got (lifts red blue checkered cloth):

A relaxed, uplifting atmosphere: When the overall vibe of a doctor’s office is friendly, I believe it makes the world of difference to everyone involved. From a patient perspective, the more comfortable I am, the more likely I will open up and be receptive to what is said.

New information: I left armed with a greater understanding of how diabetes effects blood vessels in the eye. Like every yearly visit, I got my retina assessment done (cost not covered by the Ontario government) where they took a picture of my whole eye, all the way to the back.


My doctor went through it all, the different parts of the eye, what he looks for when he examines. Although truth be told I don’t retain much of what he says, my mind grasps onto a few points. Bit by bit my diabetes information jar is filling.

Feeling empowered: I felt like I had control over my eye health. Healthy blood glucose levels= healthy eyes. I can’t control everything, but the things that I can, I will.

I find going to the eye doctor fun. It’s like a game. Slide A or slide B? Follow my finger, look into the light. Focus on the little farm-house picture inside this machine.

Is there any medical appointment that you enjoy going to?







Boston Marathon: photos from my November ’13 trip #BostonStrong

Photo 1: The Boston Marathon finish line was one of the first places I wanted to go to after I landed. My last trip to Boston was my third time visiting the city and the first time since the bombings.

Photo 2: Boston Athletic Association logo at the finish line. My last visit was the first time I ran in Boston and it was magical. The running community and the city itself is truly extraordinary. No matter where I ran, cars, trucks, cyclists and pedestrians always gave me the right of way. There is a special spirit that lives in this city and it’s one of the many reasons why Boston is my favourite American city. If you want to run and feel heart, this is the place to go.

Photo 3: The window front of Marathon Sports, a running store located right at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

Photo 4: My first pair of Boston runner’s that I picked up at City Sports. I’m still wearing them to train for my Ottawa Half-Marathon. These shoes are special!


Photo(s) 5: A few of my Instagram posts of my runs in Boston. At that time I was participating in the Runner’s World Run Streak.

Today I’ll be running 2.6 km in the Boston Marathon World Run. The World Run is a virtual run (utilizing an app and website) where anyone from across the globe can take part, raise funds and tackle the pavement for any distance they choose.

If you use the Nike + Running app today, be sure to put “#STRONGEREVERYRUN” in the notes section. $1 will be donated per mile to the Challenged Athletes Foundation.

Boston, I am with you always, but especially today.

JDRF is a Boston Marathon charity.

Funds raised through the B.A.A. Boston Marathon Charity Program will be directed by JDRF toward funding research to find a cure for diabetes and its complications and to develop transformative treatments that enable people with type 1 diabetes to live healthier, safer lives until that cure is found.

| Boston Athletic Association Website |

© All Rights Reserved.





DSMA Blue Fridays: navy night gown

A formal affair deserves a navy night gown. Here’s another thrift store treasure in blue.

Every Friday we wear blue to support those affected by diabetes. Read more about the project here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Are you wearing blue this Friday? Consider this colour next week and who knows, maybe you’ll be giving someone a little support and a smile.


Just hold on we’re going home: Sebastien Sasseville nears Quebec

Sebastien Sasseville is no Drake.

And even if he were a rapper, Sebastien would have to give up the heavy chains to do what he’s doing. Who wants to do that?!

The 6 time Ironman is, after all, running across Canada to raise diabetes awareness.

It’s a 7500 km, 180 back to back marathon run called Outrun Diabetes.

“It’s hard to do these things alone.” (Totally missed this great line the first time I posted. Thanks Kim!)

Start: February 2014 in St. John’s Newfoundland. Goal? Make it to Vancouver by November 14th for World Diabetes Day.

Talk about epic eh? <–How’s that for Canadian.

Here’s the latest: The type 1 diabetic athlete is just 6 km outside of Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Soon he’ll be crossing the border once more, this time into his home province of Quebec.

Sebastien wished for company during his run, but he didn't say who! |Courtesy Outrun Diabetes |

Sebastien wished for company during his run in New Brunswick, but he didn’t say who! |Courtesy Outrun Diabetes |

Grand Falls, New Brunswick. | Courtesy of SebInspires Instagram |

Grand Falls, New Brunswick. | Courtesy of SebInspires Instagram |

“Feels awesome! Can’t wait to see friends and family,” Sebastien told me via text message last night.

No doubt he’ll get a hero’s welcome. Not only that, in about two weeks he’s moving into this sweet RV.

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes Instagram

“It will help a lot especially for nutrition,” said Sebastien.

Imagine moving from hotel to hotel, along a lonely highway for months on end. His new home should be a big help in being able to better plan meals and have more stock on hand.

Here’s Sebastien’s latest update with Shawn Shepheard of the Diabetes Champion Network. We get to see Outrun Diabetes logistics man Patrick St-Martin on the video too (there he is in the thumbnail below, right).

OneTouch will also be providing updates on Sebastien’s journey. Check out this first video.

Now, let’s look at what we hardly see Sebastien doing, sitting!

Courtesy Outrun Diabetes

Sebastien Sasseville and Outrun Diabetes logistics manager Patrick St-Martin in New Brunswick taking a much-deserved rest. | Courtesy Outrun Diabetes |

If you live in Quebec, get ready to party! Sebastien is almost home.

© All Rights Reserved.


Outrun Diabetes | Website | Twitter Facebook Instagram |

Sebastien Sasseville | Website | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn |

Shawn Shepheard | Website Twitter | Facebook |

Make sure to follow Patrick’s Instagram account too.

Read more.

Sebastien Sasseville out of Nova Scotia and into New Brunswick

Sebastien Sasseville #MCM t-shirts hit the market, Outrun Diabetes fans go crazy

Sebastien Sasseville hits 1,000 km mark on run across Canada

Outrun Diabetes update: Crazy photos of Sebastien Sasseville’s run across Canada

Sebastien Sasseville confesses before his run across Canada: I suck.



How I will choose an insulin pump

I don’t know anyone that uses an Accu-Chek pump. Online and in real life, there was no one to bounce ideas off of or get opinions from.

It would be easy to dismiss them but when I started out on this journey I made a promise to myself that I would sit down with every company, and so I did.

Currently there are four insulin pump players in Canada: Accu-Chek, Animas, Metronic and Omnipod.

Whether a pump company was first on the market, the fastest growing at the moment or the smallest in the game is irrelevant to me.

Pumps that are wireless, with remotes, colour screens, threshold suspend… they are all features that can make life easier but at the end of the day, to me, a pump is a pump. If it makes me healthier, I want it.

Talk to some and one company’s pump fails on them constantly. Talk to others and that same pump brand is simply amazing.

For me the factor that holds the most weight in choosing a pump company is not the technology, but the people.

People=customer service.

Are you engaged during our meeting or do your eyes keep wandering to your cell phone to check e-mails? How much time do you spend bashing the competition, and how does that balance out with tips or encouragement you’re providing me for where I am in my d-journey?

Did you follow through with not just an e-mail, but with relevant resources and connections? Are the words you type speaking to our meeting or is it a generic “thank you for your time” send-off?

These actions are what make impressions. And it speaks volumes to the kind of customer service a company will provide if you choose them.

I’m going to weigh out which features mean most to me, but also think heavily about the people.

Who will go the extra mile for me and who will go the extra mile for you?

© All rights reserved.














Review: 7 day Dexcom continuous glucose monitor trial

7 days with the Dexcom condensed into a 15 second video.

Read about Day 1 with the Dexcom here Knowledge= freedom. This past week I made several discoveries, the most major being that in between midnight and 4 a.m., my blood glucose levels go LL Cool J on me. Dawn phenomenon= blood glucose spikes at the end of the night. After 4 a.m. things go back to “normal” and I wake up around 6-8 mmol/l (108-144 mg/dl). The rest of the nights brought similar results, although not as drastic. I would have NEVER KNOWN about this without a CGM.  How long has this been going on? Will I feel better when I eliminate night-time spikes? Is it finally long-lasting insulin time? Is my pump shopping going to become a reality soon? The week-long trial has sparked a lot of questions. I’m going to my endo armed with all the data I’ve collected. For the week I managed to get in running, yoga, NTC fit workouts and ballet. I couldn’t bring myself to try swimming as my goggles got stolen a few weeks ago and I wouldn’t be able to swim knowing someone could snag Dex.

My workout lows dramatically decreased and I believe that’s because I could see when I was heading south and could correct before things got bad. Whether it was thrift shopping, studying or eating out, Dex and I were inseparable.

And with the pretty graph as proof, I confirmed that brown rice sushi is heaven-sent. Check out Shawn Shepheard and I’s sweet bg’s post-Japanese chow down. Exact same #’s too!     Have to admit I was sad to lose Dex on Sunday. But I’m so grateful. So grateful for the trial. So grateful for the knowledge I gained during the week. Now it’s time to meet with my health team and find out what’s best. J © All rights reserved.