150km in 2 days for Multiple Sclerosis #MSBike

Expect the unexpected. Isn’t that the motto when you have type 1 diabetes?

This was my second year taking part in this two-day event and I came much more prepared. I knew that no matter how much I planned, things probably wouldn’t go that way and THAT’S OKAY.

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When you’re out on the road for more than 3 hours each day, you start thinking. What really amazed me is that this time, I realized I was far more forgiving to myself. Skyrocketing blood sugar? It’s OKAY. Crashing low? It’s OKAY.

IT IS ALL OKAY. AND I’M OKAY.

What I love about doing the same races each year is that it acts as a marker. How far have I come since last year?

Here are some of my highlights of this event:

  • I cried the night before from the stress of the prep and the worry of new medication (non t1d related). How is this a highlight? Well it is because even though I shed some tears, I didn’t bash myself into the ground for doing so. I allowed myself to be accepting of my emotions and just went with the flow. Resisting and placing blame just makes the scenario that much harder. This is a lesson that has taken me years to learn.
  • My awesome cycling and t1d friend Steph Brodie was there and I got to see her cross the finish line on day 1. We only bumped into each other for a few minutes, but it totally made my day. Knowing other t1d’s were out there makes me feel so inspired.
  • During one of my pit stops I saw a fellow cyclist testing his bg’s. I couldn’t pinpoint the type of meter or if it actually was one but I leaned in and said, “Type 1?”. He responded yes and we had a great chat about never giving up and our mission to stay healthy. It ended there and we went our separate ways but before that, a quick, “Did you eat enough?” exchange that left me smiling for many hours after.

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The best part yet, I noticed these on my friend’s shoes. Her sister actually has type 1 (Hello Rebecca!). Co-incidence? I think not!

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What a difference a year makes.

More forgiveness. Less blame. And definitely, more riding.

To find out more about MS, click here.

XO,

Jess

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Training this season with Lumiere, my continuous glucose monitor

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WHYYYYYYYYYYY!?!?!?

My mind screams it in anger. On good days, I yell it half-laughing.

It is the question I ask myself when I ate enough carbs to feed a small army before my workout and yet, here I go, tanking into low blood sugar abyss.

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This happens for mostly cycling and running these days. It seems like sometimes no matter what I consume, my body sticks its tongue out at me and says “Oh yeah? Watch this”.

I have purposely set my low alarm alert a bit higher so that I can be notified even earlier to try and adjust and avoid the lows.

Bonus? Drinking Coke. Mmmm I love regular Coke.

Minus? Frustration. The quick reaction to blame myself. I need to catch these sooner and just trust that hey, I’m doing what I can, and that’s all I can ask of myself.

These lows have changed how I train in that I carry more fuel (I am a human camel).

This season I realized how much I miss running with nothing. Just carrying absolutely nothing. No snacks, no belt, fanny pack, hydration pack. NOTHING.

To combat this, I found a loop near my house where I can set supplies down in a safe area and run free! The loops don’t bother me as I zone out when I run so this works for me. As for Lumiere, I do put him inside my running arm band (which I’m fine with). I feel seeing the same thing over and over is worth it to run without carrying as much and feeling that lightness.

I know they have golf carts that follow people around. Wonder if I can get some kind of contraption that does the same? I could carry my water, glucose tabs, bars, tester, CGM, insulin.

Am I dreaming? Maybe. But it’s fun to think about it.

XO,

J

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

150km + with type 1 diabetes. The MS Bike Tour from London to Grand Bend wrap-up

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“Nice behind. Hey I can say that without getting into trouble!”

I heard that more than once with my fake and dimply plastic butt attached to well… my real butt.

Team name: Butt Ugly (get it?)

Event: MS Bike Tour from Grand Bend to London, Ontario, Canada  (in support of Multiple Sclerosis)

Distance: around 160 km total. 85 km on day 1, 75km on day 2.

Accentuating the positives

  • Learned more about MS, how it changes people’s lives and why it’s such a worthy cause to support.
  • Re-discovered that my parent’s friend lives with MS. Although I cannot remember what she looks like, I thought of her often during the ride and it pushed me through some tough spots.
  • Successfully completed the tour feeling happy & confident.
  • No lows (for me this is a big deal as I’ve been battling lows while training for a while).
  • Somehow I managed to stay in between 4-8ish (mmol) for the entire two days. This is in large part due to the well-spaced rest stops which provided ample food & drinks of all sorts. At almost every stop I filled up on Gatorade to sip slowly as I rode, ate PB & J sandwiches and wraps.
  • Hydration win. I drank ample water and other liquids. When the weather isn’t super sunny I find it easy to slip on continually rehydrating. This time around I really made it a priority and it helped.

Lessons learned & other notes

  • Train. This season has been severely disorganized and 100 per cent my fault. Next year I will be more prepared, and will do back to back training rides so I’ll be in better form. I did one 100km bike ride (my longest distance prior to event day) and that was about it. Definitely not enough.
  • Test often. Each day I tested about 15-20 times. I’m glad I poked as much as I did because my bg’s would have been very low had I not remedied the situation.
  • Near bedtime I was around 4mmol so I drank an entire can of pop (not recommended) and I ended up floating around 6 or 7. It was a really weird experience and it made me realize just how badly my bg’s dip when doing long distance.

And the most important victory…

I tested my bg’s while riding! Last year I kept trying and with no success. I would either fall, the test strip would fly somewhere or my meter would be on the road.

While riding with my friend I told her, “I’m going to try, I’m determined to do this.” With a little sweat I pulled it off and we celebrated together. It’s amazing to have such supportive friends.

After day 2 of the ride I still lowered my insulin levels by about 50% but by the day after that, I was back to normal.

Here’s what one of our teammates did to her bike. She arrived before us and we found her bike sound asleep by the time we got in.

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A big congrats to fellow t1d athlete Stephanie Brodie who also took part in the event! I had no idea she was there until after the fact. There’s also a great Connected in Motion indoor spin event that will be led by Stephanie, a certified RPM instructor.

It’s good to be back and if you have any other questions don’t hesitate to ask.

J

 

 

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