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Showing posts from 2010

A Special Type... of Crazy

So December rolls along, along with the miles. It seems like my life right now is pretty much a blur of budgets, Christmas parties, my son's basketball... and running.

The last of those is probably good, as Team Type 1 has formally decided that one of the focal races for 2011 will be the NJ Ultra Festival on March 19, which includes 26.2 mile, 50k, 50 mile, 100k and 100 mile options.

And on that day, with a little help from above plus a handful of painkillers, I'll be aiming to do my first 50 mile race.

Without a doubt, it's a strange goal: I always said I'd do ultras after I qualified for Boston and - to date - I haven't. Moreover, 50 miles is just... well, kind of far.

But there were a few things that led me to this decision:
* Though my base is strong right now, we're heading into the time of year where doing fast work will really suck. I did speedwork last January, and it was a special stage of hell. Instead, I'd rather do a ton of miles.
* Team Type 1 is alm…

Much Ado About Much

The problem with not writing a blog post in 7 weeks is that you're virtually guaranteed to write a rather unfocused diary-like entry, seemingly devoid of purpose, intent, plot or resolution.

Like this one.

In no particular order:

1) I took a trip to England for work, and ended it with a day in Ireland for fun. Despite the fact that Ireland is nearly bankrupt, it wasn't like garage-sale bankrupt. Instead, it was like Kmart bankrupt; everyone talks about it, but the prices were mostly the same. Still, there was Guinness, and for that alone, I was grateful.

2) I took a trip to Cleveland for one night for work, which isn't remarkable, other than the fact that I hadn't been to Cleveland before. We went to a very nice restaurant, which leads me to conclude that Cleveland is awesome! I'm simple like that.

3) I went to Federal Jury Duty, and was dismissed after 5.5 hours, which included a 2 hour lunch. This, too, leads me to conclude that jury duty is awesome!

4) I ran 187 mile…

What's Next

First up, thanks to all the comments re: last week's post. Very much appreciated!

As mentioned, it appears that the next peak race for me will be the Georgia Marathon on March 20. In between, there will be plenty of other races (including a half marathon in two weeks), but that's where my focus will shift. Once again, I'll be going after my elusive BQ and a 3:20.

That said, it's hardly a given. Georgia isn't considered to be a PR course, with a series of rolling hills and 900 foot of climb (though the same descent). Still, I think it's possible it could work out ok. Thus, in a nutshell, the plan:

1) You are what you do. You want to be better hill runner? Run hills. I've already supplanted a lot of my usual routes with hillier ones, and will be trying to avoid the treadmill-like existence I've adopted in recent years. Truth is, I actually am a good hill runner when I train for them. I just haven't in quite a while.

2) Don't peak too soon. I'm sti…

Surrounded by Fast Diabetics

This has been in the works now for a few weeks, but wasn't made official until recently and then I've been too busy to blog about it. And yet, running-wise and diabetes-wise, it's one of the more important things to happen to me, perhaps ever.

I recently received word that I've been accepted to join the new running team of TeamType 1 for 2011, the same organization with a professional and amateur cycling team as well as an amateur triathlon team. In a nutshell, it's made up of a lot of fairly fast to scary fast diabetic athletes.

I'm not going to go into the cycling team's goals, mainly because I don't know much more than their stated goal of getting a team into the Tour de France, ideally with a diabetic cyclist.

I'm also not going to go into the goals of the Running Team, much more than what's available on the website: we're a bunch of amateur runners, some of whom will be running across the country in October (likely not me, but more about t…

Boldly Going Where Diabetics Haven't Gone Before...

... And of course, that's a lie. It's 2010, for crying out loud. Diabetics have done the Ironman, been to the Olympics, flown planes, yada, yada, yada... Truth is, it takes more than a failed pancreas to keep a good man down.

And still, there are certain things that - until recently - diabetics have been highly discouraged from doing. One of these things is scuba diving.

Truth is, I've wanted to scuba dive since I was a kid. But things have a way of getting in the way until one day you realize, "Hey, I'm almost 40 and I'm still not certified."

And then you realize that scuba diving is all about the buddy system, so you're going to need a pal. At that point, it's a good idea if your 12 year old son has a long history of being on swim team, because he can sign up without your wife worrying too much about her young boy and her diabetic husband learning to suck air underwater.

So I've looked up the DAN standards for diabetic divers, and - like a healt…

Medtronic CGM v. the Dexcom

Through most of this week, I was testing the Medtronic CGM side by side w/ my Dexcom. And I mean, literally, side by side. If you'd like, you can see a comparison spreadsheet, here, but these are the bullet points:

* The Medtronic & Dexcom systems had virtually identical overall accuracy. There were a few days the Dex was better, a few days the Medtronic was better and a few days where they were often close to identical.

* The Dex - no surprise here - is a bit more of an Energizer bunny. I'm writing this seven days after beginning my test and the Dex is still cruising. The Medtronic did fine on the restart after 3 days, but I didn't have a charger for the sensor, and yesterday it stopped being any sort of reliable. I had an extra sensor set, but the battery's dead, so that is that.

* That said, like most Dex sensors, I had periods during the week of "???" which is the Dex's way of saying it doesn't know what to tell you. The Medtronic never does that…

Medtronic CGM

So a while back I announced that the Omnipod and I weren't getting along and I had switched back to my Medtronic pump, coupled with my Dexcom.

I'd also announced that I hoped to try out the Medtronic sensors to determine if maybe I should just renew with Medtronic (I am still "out of warranty," which is the insulin pump user's version of being a free agent).

Incredibly, it's taken six weeks to get Medtronic to set me up with a sensor test. First up, I had to get my Dr. to sign off on it. She was on vacation for a week. But since then, I've gotten a nearly weekly call from Medtronic asking me if my local rep had followed up with me. Each time, I was like, "Uh no," which caused them to respond with disappointment.

The whole thing got to be a little odd, as if I was telling on the Medtronic rep for not doing his job.

At any rate, the rep IS finally scheduled to come to my office this Friday afternoon. Not sure how many sensors I'll try but I plan …

Susquehanna Super Hike & Ultra-Trail Run Race Report, the Diabetic Perspective

Friday night heading into Saturday's ultra, I did something I've never done before a big race: went to bed at 9:30 and slept perfectly. I suppose this is what happens when you go into a race without putting any pressure on yourself. I liked it. And when I woke up at 3:30 with six hours of sleep under my belt, I felt like I'd gotten at least an hour more than I expected.

Though I was far more calm than usual before a long race, I still had some adrenaline going, which led to the blood sugar being 200 when I woke up. Not good, but not horrible. Also, with a drive to the finish line and a bus to the start, I knew there was no need to eat, yet. I bolused for the the correction and drive to the finish.

I made the first shuttle bus to the start and the drive went relatively quickly. I spent most of the time talking to a "Marathon Maniac" making her way around the 50 states for the second time. In many ways, her story was identical to mine - a road runner with little to …

Ultra-Eve

The 28.4 mile Susquehanna Super Hike and Ultra-Trail is tomorrow. As a matter of fact, my best guess is that I'll be finishing it around this time tomorrow.

Here's my back-of-napkin math:

1. In a road marathon with no elite competition, I'd finish about an hour behind the winner, around 3:30.
2. Last year's winner of this race did it in 4:05, so the course is roughly 90 minutes slow.
3. Buuuuut - last year's course was 25 miles. This one is 28.4.
4. I expect the winner to be around 4:40.
5. Because it's so much longer and I haven't run trails in a looong time, I expect to be about 90 minutes behind the winner: 6:20.
6. I haven't run more than 15 miles in months.

All of which goes to say I'm putting in a goal of 7 hours and hoping that's relatively easy. If all goes well, a 6:45 isn't out of the question.

But here's the thing: a 7 hour race, to borrow a phrase, isn't really about running. It's a distance nutrition competition, measured in …

My Blue Circle, or Lack Thereof

If you didn't know, the blue circle symbolizes World Diabetes Day, which is coming up... uh, sometime. Wait, let me check.

There: it's November 14th. Plenty of shopping days left.

There have been some discussions of late about why the JDRF and the American Diabetes Association haven't embraced the blue circle. These are fair questions, but it's kind of like asking the Phillies and Major League Baseball why they don't sport the Olympic rings. Yes, we're all playing the same game, but we're doing it in different ways. At least, that's my opinion.

More to the point, I've been thinking about why I don't use the blue circle in my own avatars, much like these finepeopledo. To be fair, I like the look and I like the color, and God knows I like the cause.

What I don't like is the STAMP that it signifies to me. To me, the blue circle suggests that when people see me, they see a diabetic. While I'm infinitely cool with that, I'm not cool with that…

You Wanted a Cure, We Give You Temporary Tattoos

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I kid because I care.

In honor of National Infusion Set Awareness Week (who knew?), Roche Diabetes is offering free temporary tattoos. The idea? You shouldn't put an infusion set in where one was before for ten days. Put on the tattoo and there's your reminder not to replow that field until it's healed.

Tattoos are free for the asking, while supplies last. More info can be found here.

I didn't feel I'd be a responsible blogger without trying one out. Hence, you'll see the tattoo where I removed my old set (this one reminds me of Optimus Prime's face), and the new set correctly positioned more than two inches from the original.

Let's be clear: this will end ugly. If the idea is you keep the tattoo on for 10 days, but the average site lasts 3.5 days, you're looking at 3 fading tattoos plus 1 infusion set. Add in a CGM and the assorted site glue that accumulates and let's just say you won't be the prettiest guy or gal on the beach.

But that's …

To Boldly Go Where I Haven't Gone Before...

So three weeks from today, assuming I don't break a leg or something, I'll be an ultra-runner, with one ultra-marathon under my belt.

How does that happen, exactly? How do you go from saying that you're not training for a fall marathon in one blog post to announcing that you're taking stupid to a whole new level just two posts later? Well, first up, you don't blog so much. That helps. But beyond that, you do something I haven't made a habit of doing: you run a race that you're not trained, peaked or rested for.

This all started bout eight days ago (yes, that's how much mental planning has gone into the process, too... about as much as I typically put into mulching the yard) when my training buddy, Dave, mentioned the Susquehanna Super Hike and Ultra-Trail Run to me during a 12 mile run.

Dave and I - it should be said - are in a similar place, runningspirit-wise. I went into the late summer fairly fit but mentally fried, whereas he entered it too-soon remo…

On Switching Back From Omnipod

After two months of being on the Omnipod, I'm pretty much declaring the experiment to be a failure and have put my Medtronic pump back on.

DISCLAIMER: Your mileage will vary. This post is only about why the Omnipod hasn't worked out for me.

There are essentially five main reasons I've switched back to the pump, but they can all be placed in the same category: the Pod demanded too much of my time and attention.

1) It came off too easily. I'm not talking about the adhesive here, as I've got plenty of heavy duty glues. I'm talking about door jams that would rip it clean off and pods that jiggled loose after seven or eight miles of running. While I've experienced all of these things with pumps, I estimate they happened on 5-10% of my pump insertions. With the Pod, I got the full 3 days out of less than 1/3 of them.

2) The failure rate was greater for me. Whether it be Pod failures (which Insulet would compensate me for) or occlusion failures (which they wouldn'…

On Not Marathoning...

Somewhere in the middle of my 15 mile run last week, I decided not to run the Philadelphia Marathon in the fall. There are many reasons for this, none more important than the other:

1.) Physically, I don't feel up to a strong build. Three years ago, all of my easy runs were around 8:15/mile. Now, there's nearly all at 8:40/mile.

2.) Emotionally, I don't feel ready for the burden that comes with focusing on a marathon. Previously, I'd done one marathon per year, but with doing one in the spring, I'd doubled my frequency. While that's nothing to people who run marathons, I think it's a big difference for people who focus on peaking for them.

3.) Meteor-logically, the weather wins. Interesting: before this year, I would've called myself a great summer runner. I don't feel like one anymore. Global warming, 1. Marcus, 0.

4.) Vocationally, I'm just busier. That isn't a complaint about my job - I love my job and 99.9% of the people in the world have it…

The Price of Perfection

In most things we do, the law of diminishing returns apply. I read somewhere that unless you're an ultra-marathoner, the added benefit you get beyond 65 miles per week is so slight that it's often not worth it, given the time it takes to add on more miles and the wear and tear it creates on your body.

But more specific to this post, I've been considering some diabetes-related items, and how they may contribute to the law of diminishing returns.

The first is Apidra insulin, which I've been on for several months now. In terms of is it a "better" insulin than Novolog, my immediate answer is, "Yes." The reduced occlusions in an insulin pump create truly flat line blood sugars between meals and the faster reaction time is helpful, too.

That being said, this "super" insulin has been more sensitive - I'm assuming to temperature - for me. I've thrown out three vials that simply lost their "oomph." One I left in a hot car for one ho…

To Catch a Thief

Disclaimer: Not a post about running or diabetes.

So this week some jerk made off with 4 of the 8 solar footlamps around our fishpond. Not a huge deal, mind you. If memory serves, we paid $35 for all of them and I'd much rather lose a few lights than have the fish messed with.

But here's the thing: my 11 year old son was pretty pissed about it.

To be certain, it's been an interesting summer for the kiddo. Heading into it, this sort of became one of those years that we wanted him to do more with his time than stare at screens and he's responded very well. We've sealed the deck, weeded the yard, pressure washed the house and built the fish pond together. While each of these activities were accompanied by the usual adolescent whining, they all culminated in what I could tell was a sense of accomplishment for him. So when he realized that some moron had made off with some of the lights, his response wasn't "Let's go buy more." Instead, it was, "We w…

On Marathon Training, Diabetic Blogs, the Omnipod & More...

In no particular order:

A. The Omnipod and I had a fairly good weekend, other than the fact that I chose a bad location for my Pod change and switched it hours later; something I chalk up to experience. Final Pod-servations:

1) The nature of the Pod and the amazing painlessness of it has one negative side effect. It's less obvious when you've got a bad insertion and it isn't working. I don't think this is a big deal, though, as I expect to get better at placing it.

2) The more comprehensive menus and frequent beeping actually create a slightly different relationship than that which I had with my Medtronic pump. By always reminding me what's on board and asking about my BG whenever I bolus, the Omnipod works harder to be a partner. In contrast, the pump acts more like a tool. You do the thinking, it does the pumping. Period. 90% of the time, I love this. But sometimes it kind of seems like a nag. However, there's no denying: I'm running better blood sugars on t…

Omnipod Day 2

Second day on the Omnipod after 8 years on the Medtronic. Less observations, but a few:

1. Did a 6 mile run over lunch with the Omnipod on my arm. Felt a little jiggle and was preoccupied for about 30 yards. That was it.

2. I wish the Omnipod had an easy bolus button like the Medtronic pump. To get to bolus you need to first go past a status screen. It's a small thing, but when you've had this disease a long time, you usually know your status (BG, last bolus) and don't need to be reminded of it.

3. I'm a little worried about how loud the alarm will be when it's time to change the Pod. There is an 8 hour window to change it, but there is an hourly alarm during that window. That strikes me as being a bit naggy.

4. I love wearing this thing on my arm. Though I still have the Dex on my belly, it's really nice not to have the pump there. Very cool.

5. I've gotten a few comments from parents with kids on the Omnipod and I appreciate them a lot. As a parent with kids …

On the Omnipod

After waiting for a few weeks for paperwork to be sorted, filed and what-not, my Omnipod arrived yesterday. Because I am the way I am, I put it on last night without any training.

Incidentally, that's probably not something I'd recommend, as my faulty style resulted in an occlusion and waking up with a blood sugar of 300. But I digress... one fresh pod and several hours of detox later, I'm 93 and the living is easy.

So here's what I think about the Omnipod, after being on it 1 day and being on the Medtronic pump for 8 years:

1) Taking my pants off is more fun. With the pump, you're either unclipping or being careful you don't end up yanking the cord off. No such problem with the Pod, since there is no cord.

2) Having the Pod on my arm is nice. One of the main reason I did this was to give my belly a break and I like that a lot.

3) There is less trash. Others have written about how much trash is involved with a typical pump change. With the pump, things are simpler …

Switching to Omnipod

After more than eight years of being on a Medtronic pump, I'm now going through the process of switching to Omnipod. As I haven't started on the Pod, yet, this isn't a review, but rather a post to explain my rationale.

Since going on the Dexcom over a year ago, I've become a big fan of CGM. Or, to be more correct, I've become a big fan of the Dex. I had concerns (and still do) about Medtronic's CGM solution (there seem to be more than a few complaints about it) and decided to pursue the Dex. I love it and have no plans to switch.

That being said, carrying two devices sucks and I long for the ability to have only 1 receiver. Both Animas and Omnipod announced plans for Dexcom integration and a year ago, scuttlebutt seemed to indicate the Animas would win the race to market. Two weeks ago, however, Omnipod asked the FDA to approve their device, which means they could conceivably beat Animas to the punch.

Along the way, I'd been somewhat curious about the pod. Mor…

Bob Potts Marathon - Photo Proof

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There were about 4 pix taken of me during the Bob Potts Marathon. This is the only one that doesn't look like it was taken in the second trimester, however.

It also cracks me up how the bike rider is grinning like a fool. Though I was appreciative of the many bikers on the course offering gels, etc., this one was like my own personal vulture, slowly going past me, pulling over and waiting for me, repeating the same thing over and over.... for 3 hours. Our conversations were always the same:

Him: "Biker on your left."
Me: "Uh, huh."

This picture was also taken right around the 18 mile mark --- right about where my Boston pace started to go bye-bye.

The guy on the right? Yeah, he beat me, as did most of the people I encountered in the second half of the race. I went out conservatively, but still think that of the runners I saw in the 2nd half, I passed about 30% and the rest passed me.

Good times, good times.

On Not Qualifying for Boston (Again)

Yesterday was my 4th marathon - the Bob Potts Marathon in York, PA. In no particular order, here are notes, quotes and revelations:

1) I finished in 3:26:41, 43rd out of 332ish finishers.
2) I was 5th in my AG out of 27.
3) Out of my 4 marathons, this was my 3rd slowest. However, it was 7 minutes faster than my last marathon, which thrilled me to no end. The very fact that I ran a marathon and didn't get slower than my last is something I've never experienced until now.
4) Though I missed Boston by 5:41, nit-pickers should note that because I've gotten older, it was my second closest call to missing Boston to 2007, when I missed it by 2:57. This is another reason to feel good.
5) Unlike the previous 2 marathons, I had a great day w/ blood sugars. I took a page from the Kris Freeman playbook and boosted my basal rates to compensate for race day adrenaline. This is a gamble move - one that's pretty impossible to practice because when you're in practice, you don't have…

Pre-Marathon #4 Post

So apparently this has been Diabetes Blog Week, though you couldn't have told it from this site, since I haven't updated in, uh, a while.

I could tell you that I'm not blogging at all, anymore, but that would be a lie. In fact, I'm a professional blogger of sorts, and that particular blog continues to see 3-5 posts per week. So maybe that's my excuse - posting over here is kind of like asking the mailman to take a walk.

Truth is, I have been busier than I'd like of late, but that's a crap excuse, too. We all get 24 hours in a day. Chances are, you're just as busy as me.

But regardless, I didn't want to let the week go by without posting about my 4th marathon this Sunday. Well that, plus the fact that I'm sliding into race-obsession mode, so focus is a tad hard to come by at present.

So then, background:

My fastest marathon: 3:18:56
My slowest marathon: 3:32...ish
What I need to qualify for Boston: 3:20:59

Training in a nutshell:
For several months, I'…

Gratitude Post - Things I'm Grateful For About Running

Been a while since I've posted here, though all's well. Had a nice trip to Europe last month and in between it's all work, work, run. Work, work, run.

Marathon training under the tutelage of my coach has gone very well. Not flawless, as I my shin can be a whiny baby when the speedwork ramps up and I just got over a nasty cold, but very good. I'm running similar times for my key workouts that I did 3 years ago when I PR'd with a 3:18, but am doing it on higher volume. Not to mention, I'm older now, so I "only" need a 3:20 to get to Boston. So there's that.

At any rate, I feel like doing a gratitude post: Things About Running I'm Grateful For:

1.) My Zensah calf sleeves. I wear them a lot. It's like a snuggy for the knees-down. I need to either order a new pair, or try out similar stuff from 2XU or CEP Compression.

2.) The quiet in my head after long runs.

3.) Runner's World Magazine. Even though I most skim the how-to articles because I run …

Craziest. Winter. Ever.

Here in central PA we get two snowstorms of more than a foot twice per decade (according to the local news). Wednesday, we might get our third of the season.

After a very snowy December, things got quiet for about a month, but last weekend's 20 inches more than made up for it and this week's forecast is just as scary.

All this is mildly intriguing if you just live here, but if you're trying to train for a marathon, well, it's just another monkey in the wrench.

All of that being said, I have averaged the workout volume each month for the past three months that I had in my previous one month prior to my last marathon. Put another way, in the worst weather for training, I've never been fitter.

When the wife and I finished the basement three years ago, we made one room a pseudo-workout room. It has a vinyl floor (unlike the carpeted rest) and a TV and DVR. It also has its own treadmill and my bike is on a trainer. After last week, it also has an elliptical - a very old but…

ART Therapy for Shinsplints

As I write this, I've just "graduated" from ART Therapy on my left shin after five sessions.

Incidentally, when I posted on my Facebook that I was getting ART Therapy, most of my friends assumed I was getting a tattoo, which led to a wide variety of comments on my Facebook wall. Everything from people telling me not to scar myself forever to others asking me to post pictures. It was an interesting little exchange, both from my "friends" who were shocked I'd consider a tattoo to those trying to pawn off their designs on me.

But no.... this was ART Therapy - Active Release Therapy.

In a nutshell, ART is deep massaging of the muscles that run up and down your shin. The concept is that you can break down adhesions that have formed between your muscle and bone.

Although I tend to hate doctors, I decided to do ART for two reasons:

1. I've moved to the point in my training where I'm doing speed work once a week. Historically, once I do speed work, my shins act …