Old School

So last weekend a little over a week ago I ran the Old School Trail Run in Fairmount Park. As I mentioned in my last post (way back when), I’m running a fair amount of miles these days but nothing fast, so I went into this knowing two things with great certainty:

1) My current overall fitness dictates a relatively slow time. There would be no racing for age group position.

2) Lots of miles on the road do not translate to trail fitness. See point one.

Those points being what they are, I was actually quite excited for the race. I really like running trails, and don’t do it nearly as often as I should. Additionally I tend to forget how amazing the Forbidden Drive section of Fairmount Park really is. Seriously – this is something like 3 miles from center city Philadelphia:

And that’s on a cold and rainy Autumn day!

Anyway, I was up bright and early on a beautiful morning for a race and made my way down to the park. The starting area was full of all sorts of people from very fit looking young men in track singlets to a few older folks in 100 mile trail race shirts and all types in between (for the record I simultaneously try to identify with both groups and fail miserably). I jogged an easy couple of miles to warm up, checked my blood sugar (148 – fine for 5 miles) then waited at the start trying my best to look supremely confident. After a few words from the race director we were off!

The first half mile was on the wide, hard-packed trail shown above, and though I wasn’t wearing my Garmin I was probably at around a 7:30/mile pace or so taking it somewhat easy before hitting the more difficult stuff. Just past the half mile point we veered off to the right on to a series of uphill, rock strewn horse trails. I maintained a decent jog up that first trail and actually felt pretty good as it leveled off, only to panic a little as I realized that the trail had just given us a bit of a “rope-a-dope” and “leveling off” in this context meant “a brief flat bit before continuing up twice as far as you’ve come so far”. I swear I could hear the trees chuckling. Against my better judgement I continued to attack the climb, and by the time we hit the actual top I was in quite a bit of oxygen debt. Fortunately the next mile or so was on single track trough some rolling meadows and I slowly regained some semblance of composure before we started heading down. Speaking of heading down, I had just gone through a tricky bit when I heard a rather unpleasant “thud” followed quickly by an equally unpleasant exclamation of pain. A young lady took a bit of a header after tripping on a root and smacked her knee. I stopped and did what I could (feeling quite proud of my Wilderness First Aid certification), and it looked like she just knocked it. Once she was back on her feet (albeit with a pronounced limp) I was off again.

The rest of the course was rinse and repeat: power hike up rock and boulder strewn paths, run on some rolling section, then bomb down the treacherous downhills. Some things that I learned are:

  • I really do enjoy the trails and I’m making myself a promise to run them more
  • While lots of road miles don’t make you trail fit, they do make you generally fit, and I felt stronger at the end than the start.
  • I’m actually fairly good at the downhill bits and passed many people over those sections.
  • Pushing hard on trails is very different from the road with regards to my diabetes. I took in no carbs and finished the race at 226 – a spike of nearly 80 points without reducing my basal rate.

So in the end I came in just shy of 53 minutes, good enough for almost exactly middle of my age group. The two minutes or so I spent stopping to help the fallen damsel in distress would only have gained me one or two spots in that group, so I can’t complain.

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Relay for Life

This morning was the Relay for Life 5k here in eastern PA. Last year I ran this in my build up to the Philly Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon, and it holds a bit of a special place in my heart as the first race I ran after my diagnosis. As such, it also served as a reminder of how much I really dislike 5k’s. They just hurt. I’m an endurance animal. I always have been. When I was a kid playing soccer I was never the fastest on the team, but I could run the whole 90 minutes. Now don’t get me wrong, a fast(ish) half marathon isn’t exactly pleasant, but due to the very nature of a long race you’re merely very uncomfortable rather than the real suffering that comes in shorter events. Anyway last year I ran a somewhat respectable 21:53, good enough for 17th overall and 3rd in my age group. Not exactly a personal best, but I was pleased.

What a difference a year makes.

Heading in to this year’s race I’m training for the Philadelphia Marathon. Lots of long stuff and relatively little fast stuff. This leads to a couple problems for a short race: my legs aren’t used to turning over that quickly, and I never feel completely recovered. I ran 18 last Sunday and felt strong throughout (in fact I think mile 13 was my fastest), but then I had some miserable intervals on Thursday. Add to that some calf pain when I run fast and the 93% humidity today and it wasn’t looking good for the home team. In fact I came very close to bagging it, but just couldn’t bring myself to do it so off I went. I seemed to have timed it well, in that I had my packet picked up and was able to start my warmup about twenty minutes before the start. A couple of easy miles later and I was soaked, but I felt good. Then I got to stand in place for what felt like hours while the race organizers talked at us. I’ll never understand why they take so much time to say so little… But eventually we were off. The first mile actually felt pretty good and I went through in 6:50, but another quarter mile in my calf told me in no uncertain terms to SLOW DOWN RIGHT NOW. So I did something I don’t ever remember doing in a 5k before: I walked. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no shame in walking, but I tend to be a bit competitive and watching people who appeared to be in my age group run past… Well it sucked. I walked for about a minute before trying to run again, and after a few tentative strides my leg felt okay so I carried on, albeit a bit more slowly. the rest of the race was really quite uneventful. I passed several of the people who had overtaken me during my mosey, but knew there was no way I could claw back the time I had lost. Interestingly I crossed the line in 22:52 – almost exactly one minute slower than last year and good for 21st. It’s the slowest 5k I’ve run in a long time, but I’m still happy with it. Based on my current training, I expected to be around that time without the calf issue, so I’ll take it. After all, there’s always next year.

Oh and somewhere along the way my infusion set fell out. Stupid humidity.

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Ragnar NWP (or: a long post for a long race)

Thirteen Type 1 Diabetics. Two Vans. Two Hundred Miles.

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of taking part in the Ragnar Northwest Passage Relay with Insulindependence. Going into the event I really didn’t quite know what to expect. Certainly I’d heard of the legendary Hood to Coast on which the Ragnar series is based, and I’d heard lots of stories from previous IN participants, but it’s far enough outside of anything I’ve done that I just couldn’t relate.

Our story begins at the Philadelphia International Airport where I was informed at 4AM that my flight had been cancelled. The nice woman behind the counter was able to get me re-booked onto a new flight which was literally cancelled while we stood there. Fighting back the tears, I waited patiently while she found a flight that stuck and I was off; delayed but on my way. After landing in Seattle I called The Hammer for pickup only to find that the van had been broken into and two of my teammates had their possessions stolen. Note to whomever did this: I hope very unpleasant things happen to you in the near future. You are bad people. Certainly it had been an inauspicious beginning to my adventure, but fortunately that was about to change.

After a brief sojourn at REI where I was very good and didn’t buy anything, we piled into the van for the drive up to Bellingham to meet up with the rest of the team and have an amazing home cooked meal before turning in for the night.

Race day dawned cold an rainy. The Local Pacific Northwesterners among us swore this was unusual. We didn’t believe them.

Now would be a good time to lay out some of the logistics of a Ragnar: a typical team consists of twelve runners and potentially one or two dedicated drivers. The runners are all placed in a running order and must stay in the order for the entire race (mostly). Runner One starts the race and runners two through five pile into the aptly named Van One and drive to meet Runner One at a pre-determined point to hand off to Runner Two. Van One then collects a slightly smellier Runner One and drives to the next hand off point. This continues until the final runner in Van One hands off to the first runner in Van Two (me). This continues until each runner has completed three legs and, approximately two hundred miles later, the finish line is crossed. In theory, there is plenty of time to rest as while one van is transporting active runners, the other has several hours of downtime. This theory is patently false.

So where was I? Oh right. As I was the lead-off runner for Van Two, we travelled directly from the starting line to the point on the course where I would begin. After sitting through the mandatory safety gear check and briefing, we walked over to a local diner for some breakfast. I had a huge breakfast burrito, home fried potatoes, and three pancakes smothered in syrup (hey, I was about to run!) and we headed back to the van feeling fat and happy. Three guesses what happened next. That’s right, I went low. Wait, what? That’s right – somehow I ate enough carbs to support a small nation for a week and my Dexcom showed me plummeting. This really gave me pause, as I obviously needed to correct, and ideally overcorrect just this >;|<; much so I'd be at a comfortable good sugar level to run in a couple of hours. Fortunately I was surrounded by other Type 1 runners, and they gave me some examples of things they had tried in the past with success. Life was good leading into the first hand off.

Leg One: 6.5 Miles, Total Elevation Gain – 722′

Finally I get to run. Blood sugar? Good. Warmup? Motions gone through, but not really. Mental preparedness? Excellent. Legs? Stiff and heavy. Well you can’t win ’em all, right? After a morning of waiting around making Ewok jokes (don’t ask) I was ready. Admittedly, one thing I was nervous about was the handoff. You see, the athlete handing the baton (okay it’s really a slap bracelet) to me is a kind of legend in diabetic athletic circles. To my knowledge he was the first diabetic to ever complete the Ironman (back when it really was “the” Ironman) and still holds the marathon record for a diabetic runner. And he is coming at me like a freight train. No time to think. Grab the bracelet and RUN! Okay I’m going a little too fast. Slow it down a notch. No closed roads or intersections so I have to impatiently wait for a hole in traffic to Frogger my way across. First mile down in a tick over 7 minutes which is way too fast for the lack of a good warmup and having stopped at no less than three intersections. Pass some people in the second mile and slow it down, but only by about 5 seconds. Still too fast. Third mile pass a couple more people and slow it down to about a 7:20. Better. A little hill here. More intersections. Is that a hill ahead? Wait… DEAR GOD WE HAVE TO RUN UP THAT THING?!?! Okay here we go. No we don’t. I am shattered. I am walking up this hill. Two of the runners I had passed go by me in slow motion. I may never get to the top. Wait, I think the end is just around that bend. I’m running again. I turn the bend, but the hill keeps going. That’s just mean. Keep running. Finally over the top and on to some trails. Beautiful stream below the trail. I’m having serious double getting back down under an 8 minute pace now. Starting to feel a little better. My heart no longer punching my sternum. Garmin says 5.75 miles and here’s the “One Mile To Go” sign. There’s a volunteer. Here comes the finish. Hand off the bracelet and I’m done. One down, two to go!

Now I get to ride in the van and cheer on my teammates. This is so cool. I’m tired from my run, but so excited to see everyone running that I quickly feel better. My blood sugar is spot on (and would remain so for hours after!). Finally Van Two hands the baton back to Van One and we skip ahead to the next van exchange point to try and get some rest. Unfortunately I don’t sleep well in the best of circumstances, so try as I might I didn’t get a wink. A little before 2AM I gave up and started getting ready to run my leg. It was chilly again, but I knew once I began running I’d be fine in shorts and a singlet. After getting my headlamp and other required safety gear ready some of us headed to the High School gym next to the exchange to find a bathroom and were thrilled to see some students selling coffee.

Leg Two: 8.7 Miles, Total Elevation Gain 722′

I may have mentioned elsewhere that I don’t run with headphones. I have nothing against those that do (except in large road races, but that’s another post), it just doesn’t work for me. That having been said, if I was ever going to want music it was for this leg. The solution? Road Noise kindly donated some of their reflective running vests to our team. These things are VERY cool. Plug your favorite music player in, press play, and you’re golden. My only gripe was that the pouch didn’t quite fit my iPhone4 so I kind of had to jam it in. Still, what a great product for situations like these. The volunteer calls our number and here I go! Feeling much better than the start of my first leg. Running through a sleepy little town. Empty streets. No human being in sight. Glance at the Garmin. 6:20 pace. Whoahhh Nelly. Slow it down. Better. First mile about 7:14. Feeling very good. Up a short hill and over a bridge into a park of some sort. No more town. Start heading up a hill, steep but not brutal. Second mile down and pacing is good. Still going uphill. No human being in sight other than passing vans. Still going uphill. Third mile down and I still can’t see the top. My team van drives past cheering. Finally the hill is done. Still feel good, and now I get to go down. It’s dark here. Lonely. I lose myself a little in the running and it’s glorious. More hills. Still pacing well and feeling tired, but good. Pass some runners and make sure to say a few encouraging words as I go past. It was nice to see them, just for human contact. My watch tells me I’ve got about two miles to go. I just got passed for the first time. Man he looks fit. Passed me seven miles in, on a flat, while I was holding a 7 flat pace. No shame there, but the instinct comes out and I pick it up even as we go over some rollers. Pass another runner. The end is coming and I have stayed reasonably close to the fast guy. WHERE’S MY RUNNER? Oh here he comes… That was amazing. I want to do it again.

The second go around in the van is quite a bit different form the first time. We’re all sleep deprived and a bit loopy. Things that were funny earlier are now hilarious. We’re all bonding over running, diabetes, and anything else that pops into our heads. Most of us had never met face to face 48 hours before and now felt as though we’d been friends for years. CGM trends are compared and discussed, dried young coconut is eaten, runners are cheered, nighttime blogging aids are used. Morning dawns foggy, and we’re instructed to keep our safety vests on. A coffee shop opened early for us. We go over Desperation Pass to Whidbey Island, and it’s beautiful. Finally we are done again.

We travel to the final van exchange point and search for a place to eat breakfast. Finally we found a small place on the water that smelled of fresh food and pastries. The cheerful woman behind the counter must have realized our state, as she first said they were wrapping up breakfast, but after a glance at our fallen face checked with the chef to see what was left. The list of things left sounded great, so we ordered it. All of it. This took a surprising amount of effort to impart, as she seemed to think we were joking. Finally food arrived, and all was right again. After breakfast we headed back to the exchange point, but I knew sleep wouldn’t come and didn’t really try. I freshened up a little and changed my clothes. From there it was a waiting game.

Leg Three: 7.7 Miles, 230′ Total Elevation Gain (Net Downhill)

By now it’s Saturday mid-day. The sun is almost directly overhead, but it’s perfect blue skies and not too hot. Time moves slowly, then suddenly it’s time to go. Let’s take this one out nice and easy. 6:29 is not what I meant by easy. Slow it down. Last leg, and completely flat so far. Have fun. Pass two runners and I’m running with flowing barley fields on both sides. I can see the Puget Sound shining in the distance and I’m running toward it. Steady 7:15-7:20 pace. Nice. I can smell the sound now. Quick and violent downhill and now I’m running along the water. Here comes the uphill taking me into the trees. Beautiful PNW forest with a welcome break from the sun. Back out in to the open. I turn right and glance behind, the runners I passed are too far back to see. At least there are houses and other signs of life here. Some rolling hills but nothing too bad. Much easier than the first two legs in that respect. My van passes me cheering. I want cowbell. They can’t find it so start making cowbell noises. That’s pretty funny. Heading down toward the sound again. Still no runners in sight. My watch beeps and I have just shy of three miles to go. My legs finally feel heavy. The sun is pounding down and reflecting on the tarmac. I’m struggling to maintain 7:40 on the flat now. Just keep swimming… There. There’s the end. I’m done. Sweaty hugs all around.

Ragnar NWP was both much more difficult, and much more fun, than I had anticipated. Everyone on the team was good people, and the learning opportunities available when you put so many Type 1’s in a situation involving prolonged exercise, sleep deprivation, and unusual eating patterns is invaluable. My next Ragnar will be Del Sol in Arizona this February where teammates then will be the other current Insulindependence Captains.

I can’t wait.

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University of Insulindependence

What an unbelievable week.

As I think I mentioned, I’ve volunteered to be a captain for Insulindependence this year. Basically that entails organizing and hosting monthly Dawn Phenom events (fitness oriented free events open to all), mentoring a youth with diabetes, participating in regional and signature events, and fundraising. The last week in June, all the incoming captains travelled to beautiful San Diego, California (insert Ron Burgandy quote here) for a week of education and inspiration to better prepare us for our roles. I was excited in the days leading up to the trip, and while my expectations were high, they were exceeded at nearly every turn.

The structure of the week was such that the first five days all the incoming captains stayed in dorm rooms on the campus of UCSD. I will admit to being on a relatively small number of college campuses, but UCSD just might be the least attractive and most confusing. The barren concrete buildings have a decidedly cold war east block look to them, and their seemingly random placement makes it difficult to get one’s bearing. Fortunately from my room I could look out to the Pacific ocean and all was right with the world again. Each of those first days started bright and early with a practicum. Monday and Wednesday involved all the captains, with a beach run on the former and LT/heart rate testing on the latter. Side note: my max heart rate is 190, and it REALLY hurt to find that out! Tuesday and Thursday the two clubs’ captains split, with us (Testing Limits) indoor rock climbing then snorkeling. Most of the rest of those days were filled with classroom and breakout sessions on all kinds of subjects from nutrition to fundraising to diabetes management and more. I have to say that in my life I’ve both given and sat through an inordinate number of presentations and training sessions, many of them terrible. Each one of the presenters here was well above average, and I think it’s safe to say we all learned a lot. 

To personally thank each of the volunteers, IN staff members, IN board members, and everyone else involved in the planning and execution would take up too much spas and be boring to many of the three people who will read this, so if one of you three was involved – thanks!

Moving on, Friday morning the Testing Limits crew piled into a van and headed an hour or so south to a campground who’s name escapes me for Wilderness First Aid training. I will admit here that I was a little bit apathetic going into this. I have been first aid and CPR certified forever and I was Combat Lifesaver certified in the Army so while I figured to learn a little bit I assumed it would be a rehash.  Boy was I wrong. The instructor from SOLO was amazing, like the MacGyver of first aid. I seriously recommend this course to anyone that spends any time in the woods, be it camping, hiking, trail running, or whatever.

Coming out of the week, now that I’ve had some time to decompress, I’m struck at just how much I came back with. In the short time I’ve been involved with IN, I felt that I had a pretty clear understanding where they were coming from and where they were headed; now I realize that there was so much more, and that the big picture is much bigger than I had dared believe. I’m also confident that I’ll look back at this week fondly for years to come. Spending time with like-minded adults who are also living with diabetes is a rare privilege, and one I am thankful for every time I experience it.

Also I now want to move to San Diego, but that’s a different post!

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As I mentioned the other day I ran the ODDyssey half marathon with my friend Mike yesterday in an attempt to pace him under two hours. In 2010 the average finishing time for a 35 year old male was about 2:09, so it’s an admirable goal. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be. With conditions over 80 degrees F and over 70% humidity we couldn’t have chosen a much more difficult day. He looked strong until the halfway mark (which we went through in 59:41) but soon after the heat started to get to him. At mile 8 he wisely decided to call it. After a brief discussion it was decided that I would go on, so I used the final 5.1 as a pacing exercise and came in at 1:58:21 (not too shabby for not even wearing a watch!). I know Mike is disappointed, but I’ve run much faster with much less discomfort. There is something about a hot, humid day that just saps all the energy out of you. My legs and my lungs were fine, but my body really wanted me to stop in a shady spot and perhaps have a nice cup of tea. Additionally I was having an unusually difficult time keeping my blood sugar up which may or may not have had to do with the heat.

A nice side benefit of the race was to give me a reasonable measure of my fitness. My running has been rather sporadic recently as my marathon training doesn’t start until July, so to lay down 13, albeit at training pace, and have my legs feel fine is comforting.

Regarding the ODDyssey itself, conditions aside I think they did a very good job. The first four or so miles are through a beautiful section of Fairmount Park here in Philadelphia with the next eight on West River Drive ( or whatever they call it now). One word of caution for anyone who wants to join me here next year: nearly half of the final mile is uphill. Ouch. Aid stations were well placed and had great volunteers, and while it was well organized this race doesn’t take itself too seriously (as you might guess from the name). Costumes are encouraged and there are a number of optional “challenges” along the course including an oversized Jenga tower, bean-bag toss, and even a dunk tank. I gave all the challenges a pass, but after deciding to not try for sub-2 Mike gave the dunk tank a go and hit on his second throw! Perhaps my favorite part of the race was the fact that it’s sponsored by local craft brewery Sly Fox, and all of-age racers received a complimentary pint glass full of fresh Sly Fox beer at the finish (poured by head brewer Sean O’Reilly no less). I’m a fan of their beer in general, though the particular beer available isn’t my favorite. That having been said I think it was one of the best beers I’ve ever had. Funny how context changes everything…


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One Year

One year ago today I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus. 

In many ways it seems much more recent; like I just found out last week. In most ways, though, it feels fully integrated into my life. Testing and bolusing before each meal no longer seems odd. I know intellectually that it wasn’t long ago that I didn’t have to think about blood sugar, but that feels like a foggy and distant memory. This is part of who I am now.

I have been incredibly fortunate in my journey so far. I’ve had phenomenal support from my medical team, my family, my girlfriend, and my friends. I’ve even made a few new friends because of my diabetes both through the online world and the amazing folks I’ve met with Insulindependence. While things haven’t always been easy, I’ve learned over the past year that this disease doesn’t have to be a death sentence. Complications are not inevitable. I can still do al the things I love to do. I can still run farther, faster than most people I know. I just need to carry more stuff to do it 🙂 (seriously, I sometimes feel like I carried less stuff in the infantry…). I can still have a couple beers with friends or the occasional dessert.

One thing that keeps occurring to me is that I am not special. I truly believe that with the right support and tools anyone can successfully manage their diabetes. It takes diligence and some hard work, but it’s not impossible. 

I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my athletic heroes:

“Eat right. Get lots of sleep. Drink plenty of fluids. Go like hell!”

-Mark Allen


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New Toy!

So yesterday I finally broke down and bought myself a Garmin 310XT. Typically I use Runkeeper on my iPhone to track my runs, but as I don’t normally listen to music when I run I was getting tired of carrying it around. Add to that my commitments mentioned yesterday (namely pacing my friend and starting triathlon training again) and it just made sense. Also I wanted one. 🙂

While I was at the running store (you DO support your local running store, don’t you?) I got to chatting with the owner about compression socks. I’m always and forever dealing with niggling pains and tightness in my lower legs, and the more I read and hear about compression socks the more intrigued I was becoming. Several years ago compression socks users started popping up on several of the triathlon forums I would frequent like Slowtwitch (triathletes LOVE their their technology) and have since made their way to the more mainstream running community. What I didn’t know was that apparently most of the compression socks that the early adopters were using were in fact designed as diabetic socks. Anyway I picked a pair up and will put my thoughts down here once I put them through their paces (no pun intended). I think I may even violate one of the cardinal rules of running and wear them for the half Saturday.

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Has it really been over a month since I wrote something here? I really should do something about that. The issue is that I haven’t felt like much of interest was happening recently, and the only thing worse than not writing would be writing boring drivel.

Anyway, I’m slowly ramping my miles back up again in anticipation of starting my marathon program come mid-July. This means I’m feeling better and less cranky, which is a good thing, but it also means I need to force myself to be patient and not go too hard or too far too fast (insert Veruca Salt voice here: But I want to be fast again NOW). In the spirit of not punishing my body I’m going to run this weekends ODDyssey Half Marathon with my friend Mike and try to bring him in under two hours. Mike is a relative novice to running, and just ran his first half last month. Even this early into my training a sub-2 should be do-able for me so we’ll see how it goes! On a personal note – this race is the day after my one year “diaversary”and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate.

Speaking of diabetes, I had an appointment with my endo the other day and got a copy of my most recent labs: my 4th consecutive sub-6 HbA1C! (just picture me doing the “cabbage patch” here).

Oh one more thing: I think I may have said I’ll do the Pocono 70.3 next year with one of my friends from IN. I guess it’s time to get back in the pool…

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I got a Dexcom!

After going through the process of applying for insurance coverage and being denied, I finally but the bullet and paid out of pocket. I first have to say that the company was a joy to work with. They did everything they could to get it covered but such is life. Having the Dexcom is great, though I’m still learning the intricacies of sensor placement and calibration. The first day was… interesting. I put the sensor on my abdomen and followed all the instructions. I also tried to do the initial calibration while my BG was relatively stable, thought the documentation states you don’t really have to. Throughout the day I found that when my levels were relatively low, the sensor read noticeably lower than I was, and the reverse was true when I was at the top of my range. The most drastic issue was when I went for a run that first day: after three miles the receiver was yelling at me and claiming a 228, but when I stopped and did a finger stick I was actually 87. I’m going to classify that as “really quite far off”. Fortunately after the first day it settled in and was within just a few points most of the time.

One thing I need to be careful of, and I knew this going in, is I tend to be a bit obsessive. There were plenty of times where I would see the trend going in one direction or another and be tempted to get into an endless loop of test and correct. I think this has been exacerbated by my lack of mileage over the past week which has had a reasonably dramatic effect on my insulin sensitivity and overall BG stability. All things considered, I think this is going to be a valuable tool for long runs and races. I’ll still always carry a meter and strips with me, but I feel like I’ll be able to be more proactive in my running nutrition.

Speaking of running, I really need to get back on the wagon. While technically the only thing I’m training for at the moment is to be ready for my marathon build which doesn’t kick off until mid July, I have been a bit too lax this past week. Part of it I blame on some footwear concerns: as I wrote here, I have started running in a more minimal trainer, and while I do like it I find that as my milage builds it beats me up just a bit too much. I am trying a slightly more built up shoe ( the Saucony Mirage) which has the same 4mm heel drop, I think my real problem is that while I’m building my strength and base up I am trying to go at a slower pace. What I am noticing, though, is that when I go slower my stride changes to more of a heel strike, so when I get tired the low drop causes more impact on the mid foot. When I speed up, my legs feel better. The quandary I’m in is this: do I go back to a higher heel drop for my longer runs and continue at a slower pace or do I continue with what I have for all my runs and speed them up?

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