Archive for the ‘My Workouts’ category

Take a Break

September 6th, 2012

I feel like we are continually admonished to “live in the now” and not spend too much mental time looking backwards (depression) or forwards (anxiety).


It’s difficult.

Add diabetes into the mix and its never-ending checks questions calculations and figuring… “living in the now” gets sort of swept away before one can even get started!

And, I’m sort of wondering why someone else is telling me how to think, to begin with… was I complaining about something or asking for help?  Maybe not.

It’s the same sort of reason I refuse to read Real Simple magazine—none of those “simplifying” solutions are simple.  Seriously.  Drives me crazy.  They spend all this time sort of trying to make you feel bad if you have a disorganized desk, drawer, or heaven forbid house…just simplify by doing this simple 17 step process every time you cross the threshold.  Crazy making!

Ooh sorry; didn’t mean to rant there.

What I do think is important is having some mental down timetime where you and your mind don’t have an agenda.  You aren’t singing along with Pandora, you aren’t reading the ticker tape across the bottom of the screen, you aren’t on hold with an insurance company.  You aren’t making the grocery list or driving to soccer.  You aren’t trying to accomplish much of anything at all.

Mental down time.  It doesn’t have to be living in the now.  It doesn’t have to be living in the yesterday, or in the tomorrow.  It is more about not having a running commentary at full speed.  It’s trying to allow your mind to slow down and saunter for a bit.

Some people want to meditate.  I haven’t ever really been able to achieve any sort of nirvana while attempting to meditate… I’m asleep far before I reach any enlightenment!

Some people want to knit.  (Love that someone said yesterday their favorite exercise is knitting.)

Some people want to sip coffee and read the morning paper.  For me, it’s running or other exercise.  Some people garden.

Whatever it is, your mental down time is a lot like a rest day off from exercise—essential for your health.  Just like you only can get physically stronger when you are at rest, your mind needs a break from its usual pace.

Think of it as what you do after all five of the kids return to school after a busy summer spent driving, vacationing, sightseeing, and funning.  Those first few quiet days.

Just try sometimes to have an hour or two to give yourself a mind break.

I think you’ll find it’s really quite nice.


August 30th, 2012

I think really of two different things when it comes to the term “motivation”.  I think about motivation to exercise, and I think about motivation to care for my diabetes.  For me and my brain, the diabetes motivation is a very far second to the motivation to exercise.

My friend posted yesterday this question: Diabetes motivates me to _____.

We were a bit serious and a bit silly with our various responses, but the next question I of course wonder about is: what happens when I’m pooped out on motivation?

I like a Kaiser commercial on the radio a few months ago where she is talking about motivation disappearing and what it might take is taking a good long look in the mirror.

But that probably isn’t enough for most of us with diabetes.

So what do we do?

George wakes me up “MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM I’M HUNGRY MOM” …it’s motivating.

As a personal trainer slash not a morning person who has woken up at 5am every day for almost seven years to (very first and very important: FEED GEORGE) lead a group of bootcampers at 6am, motivation is pretty important in my life.  If I’m not motivated, how can I motivate someone else?

Bootcampers who miss the workout due to any number of (may I say feeble) reasons sometimes ask me how I stay motivated to be there every day.  It’s sometimes very very simple: I’m motivated by responsibility: if I don’t show up with a plan, no one will get a good workout.  Sometimes I’m motivated by other aspects of my life: if I don’t get up and run on a Saturday morning, I can’t go see the matinee that afternoon with my husband because I’ll have to squeeze in a run after lunch.  Sometimes I’m motivated by sheer routine: I get up and do it because that’s what I do.

There is one that I don’t usually tell the average bootcamper, yet I hear a lot from other diabetic athletes: my diabetes motivates me to exercise because I have a much easier time managing my blood glucose when I exercise.

So, maybe it’s actually that I’m very lazy!

I find the same things hold true with my motivation to take care of my body and my diabetes: if I don’t take care of myself, no one else will step in and do it for me.  Or, I’m motivated by the fact I want to be around and enjoy my life for a long time with my husband.  Sometimes I’m even motivated by George’s hunger.

Most days, though: I take care of my diabetes because that’s what I do.

So call it motivation, call it routine, call it amazing or call it boring: I’ve got a lot of reasons for taking care of myself!!  I like each source of motivation for different reasons, but I am glad I have each one—they have helped me accomplish a lot of what I have wanted to accomplish!

Pre-Half Marathon Report

August 10th, 2012

I’m running the Water to Wine Half Marathon on Sunday.  I’m looking forward to it!!  I will travel to beautiful and crazy hot wine country and start at a lake and then end at a winery… 13.1 miles away.  Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?  Free wine glass (not free glass of wine, just the empty glass) and shirt for all participants.

I drove portions of the course a few months ago; I’m curious what it will look like on Sunday!  Temperatures are expected to be in the high 90s all weekend.

I’m glad it starts at 7am.

Here’s the reason I wanted to run this one, aside from the fact I like the area and it will be a pretty course.  The real reason I’m looking forward to it?

Check out the elevation map.

I think after that one little thing around mile seven, I’ll be happy… don’t you?

Oh, yeah… that sucker looks ALL DOWNHILL.


Alright: full disclosure.  I have a long history of convincing myself, based on elevation maps of courses of events I haven’t actually done, that a course is going to be flat, or downhill.  So, I’m just not entirely sure how this one will FEEL while I’m out there.

My two recent experiences with this odd phenomena include the Madison Marathon (I told myself it was flat… how I got that idea I’m not sure)

I look at this and shake my head at my ever thinking this would be “flat.”

and the San Francisco Marathon (seriously; what made me think that San Francisco would give me downhills without the corresponding uphills?!)—the second half of that SF one was supposed to be a “net downhill” which is a phrase I learned to hate over a few hours last July.

They say the second half is a “net downhill”… which I now believe means “a lot of uphill.”

In any case, despite the fear I will repeat this “convince myself it’ll feel easy” thing I seem to do, I’m excited.

Anything You Want

August 2nd, 2012

It’s important to START getting yourself where you want to be. 

You may surprise yourself along the way.

Is it fitness?  Is it body weight?  Your blood glucose levels?

Making a change for the better when it comes to any of them, I know from experience, requires patience and understanding of yourself and what you need.

It requires planning and flexibility.  And a fair amount of understanding.

Not to mention it requires determination!

This all sounds like a lot of work and a lot of changes and a lot of work and stress and did I mention a lot of work?  Gah; it’s no wonder people would rather spend a gazillion dollars on fix-it-fast “solutions” that sound good but don’t work.

And yes, the work is all worth it. 

But did you know, even if you don’t get to a size 4 overnight, that what will happen is that you will start feeling better about yourself almost immediately?  As soon as you start to make the changes you need to make, you will see that you ARE working on the goal, and you may start to understand that you WILL achieve it in time.

Baby steps are, after all, still steps.  Stumbling and falling and getting back up is still movement toward your goal.  Keep at it; keep on keepin’ on, and you can get there.

It’ll be great when you reach your goal, or mini goals along the way, and can then look back at where you are today and say: I’ve accomplished a lot of good things for myself.  Good job, Me.

I’m telling you: it’ll be great.  So, start today by simply determining what the first few steps are: do you need to clean out your cupboard?  Skip some desserts this week?  Try a walk each day for ten minutes? Bring your BG meter with you to the office? Sub in some fruits or vegetables instead of boxes or bags?

These are things YOU CAN DO.  You don’t need to schedule an appointment, or get a job, or go to school.  You just need to START.  That’s all!

Go after your happiness; it’s there and it’s waiting for you.

Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner

August 1st, 2012

This is going to sound strange, maybe, but I sort of like that I’m not a very good or very fast runner.

I like it, because I can always work at different parts of my running and maybe get better.  I know that because I have, and the ways I’ve gotten better have surprised me through the years. 

I really like that I do it even though I’m not particularly good at it.  (I think that should tell you right there how much I like running!  I can’t think of other things I do that I’m happy to do even though I don’t feel like I’m very good at it.)

And, better than all of this, I know I will never stand on a podium for running. “Winning” is plain and simple not possible in this body.

But I’m cool with that.

One could say it’s not possible for me to ever be President of the United States, and I will disagree. (T1s are taking over the world!) Yet win, for example, the San Francisco marathon? I’ll maybe be the first to say it isn’t going to happen.

It almost gives me a break from trying to win or excel at everything I do. When I’m running, or thinking about running, or have just returned from a run, or am signing up for a run, or am mapping out a run, I’m having a good time.  I literally run errands, just for the heck of it and because I can.

I run by myself, I run with friends, I make new friends.  It is completely not about winning.

Which sort of makes me… yeah… a winner.


World of Difference

July 26th, 2012

I spent a fantastic four days with 12 other type one athletes last week at the Ragnar Northwest Passage. It reminded me a little bit of being up at camp, plus fifteen years.  (I know; I had to do the math a number of times… fifteen years feels like yesterday!)

I really enjoy the fact that when we get together, diabetes is not as forefront of a topic as one might think.  We pretty much share what type of insulin delivery/monitoring we do (Pump? Syringes? Pen?) and which brands we like and why, and then sometimes how old we were at diagnosis.  Pretty much after that there isn’t that much to say…(unless you want to discuss whether you are a diabetic or a person with diabetes…)

I sort of like that.

We did discuss how so many of us are control freaks/type A personalities.  One woman captured it well when she said we are so used to Being In Charge to protect ourselves it’s sort of now how we operate.  Yet in a group of other type ones, we all sort of did our own thing to take care of ourselves and let the rest go.  Insulindependence did a fabulous job acknowledging that in subtle ways: they sent us the itinerary, discussed and gave links to restaurants we planned to visit, told us how long the drives were scheduled to take.

Little things like that that we so rarely get without scrambling after in our daily lives spent with non-diabetics who don’t have to think about this stuff.

Which, I believe, do not end up being little things at all when you add them together, day after day, for decades.  It’s one of the things I think can wear us down when we live with diabetes.

I don’t have many words of wisdom beyond these: one way to take care of yourself and your life with diabetes (or your diabetic life, take your pick) is to spend some time with other people who care about these same seemingly small things. 

It will do you a world of good.

I don’t mean get together and complain about anything: I mean get together to DO something—whether it be making a meal or taking a walk or going fishing or golfing or shoot running 200 miles—but do it with people who have similar thoughts running silently and relentlessly through their brains.

It’s very nice to know and truly feel you aren’t the only one.  Very nice.

(Many thanks to insulindependence and my team!!)

Walking it Off

October 5th, 2011

I saw a woman who had taken the summer off her regular exercise routine and walked instead.  Yesterday was her first day back at bootcamp and she looked like she was sorry to have taken the time away!  She acknowledged “walking for fitness” isn’t anything like an exercise class.

I know a lot of people walk as exercise.  Are you sweaty by the end?  Are you climbing hills when you’re out there?  Does the weather change your routine?  Do you add in intervals of intense speed to help increase your heart’s capacity to pump blood?

All things to consider.

If you’re in an area of the world that has seasons (unlike me) with snow, walking for exercise probably takes a huge hit during the cold months.  So do you take it indoors?  In front of your television or onto a treadmill?

Running or walking, a treadmill can offer some great benefits but there is also a downside of the treadmill too.  This article discusses benefits of treadmill walking and walking outdoors.  It has some great things to keep in mind for those of us who want to cover some miles several times a week!


Using a motorized treadmill with no incline, you may burn fewer calories per mile than you do outdoors. The moving tread does some of the work for you, and you have no wind resistance. According to research, you can overcome these by adding a slight incline, as little as 1%.

Holding onto the handrails will reduce calories burned further, and wreck your walking posture. It is best to train yourself to walk a speed you can sustain without holding onto the handrails.

Calories Burned Walking

Work More Muscles Walking Outside

Walking outside has its biggest advantage in challenging your balance and stability with all of the small obstacles, dodges, starts and stops. This will give you an advantage for distance walking as well as overall health as we age — maintaining our stabilizing muscles. Here is what you face walking outside vs. on a treadmill:

  • Up and down curbs, steps, short stairways, and stepping over small obstacles. A little workout for your climbing muscles.
  • Sloped sidewalks and road sides. A challenge to your balance muscles.
  • Dodging people, puddles, and poodles. A challenge to move side-to-side as well as forward.
  • Stops and starts at street crossings. A challenge to the muscles to come to a halt and to start from zero.
  • Treadmills only go uphill or level, only very rare models have downhill incline. Going downhill challenges muscles in a completely different way.
  • On the treadmill, the tread is moving and you may not be giving yourself a good push off with your back foot. Concentrate on doing this correctly on the treadmill.

Advantages of Treadmill vs. Outside Walking

Using a treadmill for your regular workouts is a great way to burn calories and give basic training to your walking muscles and practice your walking form.

  • Workout Programs: You may enjoy the pre-programmed workouts the treadmill offers to give you a controlled workout challenge. The treadmill may also have readouts for heart rate, calories burned, etc. which give you data feedback.
  • More Speed = More Calories Burned: Most people set their treadmill workout for time rather than for distance, and can often go faster on a treadmill due to lack of obstacles. More speed = more distance for the same amount of time = more calories burned than if they walked outside for set distance rather than for time.
  • Safety: If you don’t have access to a safe walking route, a treadmill is a good substitute.
  • Weather: You can usually control the indoors weather, but never the outdoors weather.
  • Easy access to restrooms, water, and changing your gear.
  • Entertainment: Some of us are bored with treadmill walking, while others prefer watching TV or listening to their music indoors to walking outdoors.
  • Fewer excuses: If your treadmill is always available, you can’t use excuses such as the weather, darkness, etc.


No matter where you go, keeping yourself happy and fit is critical.  Have fun and work hard!

“Bad Knees”

October 4th, 2011

I spoke with a woman this morning who said she couldn’t work out because she “has bad knees.”  This is not the first time I’ve heard this type of sentiment.  (My favorite was when a lady told me her doctor told her to not bend her knees.  I was amazed she could walk to me to say that, much less take care of almost every other movement in her life!)

First of all, if you have seen a doctor for your knees and have had surgery or your doctor has advised you to stop exercising, then you can be excused from reading further.  (Unless you think perhaps you should seek out a second opinion already because what kind of doctor would tell you to stop exercising my word.)

Second of all, you need your knees for almost every movement you make from the waist down.  Every time you stand up, every time you sit down, every time you take a step, every time you reach for that dollar you just dropped.  Every movement.

So it isn’t like you can just remove your knees from the equation.

Thirdly, knees are just like everything else: use it or lose it.

Fourthly: (is “fourthly” a real word?!) your knees were DESIGNED to support your weight and all the impact that entails.

Take a look at the structure of your knee joint as opposed to the structure of your shoulder (side view of the shoulder blade).

One looks like it was built to take a beating, the other looks almost bird-like.


It goes a long way toward explaining why we don’t walk on our hands.

So what to do if your knees cause you pain?

  1. Make sure you exercise with proper form.  That means you keep your knees in mind throughout your lower body workouts.  Keep your calves stretched to increase flexion at your ankles so you can keep your heels pressing down as you squat.
  2. Exercise your weak spots.  A lot of back pain and I would argue knee pain as well can be attributed to weak glute muscles, believe it or not.  If you have one part of your body that is too weak to function optimally you are placing excess load and strain on the other portions of your body.  So, keep working on your weaker muscles to bring them up to snuff.  You can find a load of floor exercises like the bridge at the ACE Fitness website under “exercise library”.
  3. Keep yourself balanced.  Working on your balance is a fantastic way to keep your smaller muscles and tendons working to benefit you at all times.  We can all use some of that!

Don’t let laziness or fear get in your way.  Be smart about how you take care of your body and it will in turn be better able to take care of YOU!!

Whoomp There It Is

September 30th, 2011

We’ve got new cardiovascular recommendations, Ladies and Gents.  The American Heart Association wants us all, by 2020, to improve our cardiovascular health by 20% and reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20%.

That seems like a lot to accomplish in eight years.


Taken from the IDEA Health and Fitness Association’s September newsletter, the goals set by the task force assigned to make this all come down to 4 Health Behaviors and 3 Health Factors:

The new Impact Goals document declares that as men and women raise their levels of physical activity by increasing the intensity, frequency and/or duration of that activity, they experience much healthier lives. Moreover, coinciding with the release of the new AHA goals, new evidence suggests that low cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is as strong a predictor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and other health causes of mortality (referred to as all-cause mortality) as are well-established risk factors such as smoking, obesity, hypertension and diabetes (Lee et al. 2010).

Confronted with how to define and measure ideal cardiovascular health, the task force identified four health behaviors and three health factors:

4 Health Behaviors

  • nonsmoking
  • body mass index < 25 kg/m2
  • physical activity (150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of these two)
  • consumption of a diet that promotes cardiovascular health (emphasis on a low glycemic load, high fiber, high marine omega-3 fatty acids, high polyunsaturated to saturated fat ratio, and low trans fat content)

3 Health Factors

  • total cholesterol < 200 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL)
  • fasting blood glucose < 100 mg/dL
  • blood pressure < 120/80 mm Hg

Clearly those of us with diabetes have missed the Avoid Diabetes Boat (some of us by a long shot).  However, we still can do so much to reach fantastic levels of cardiorespiratory fitness we are missing another bigger boat if we don’t do our best to keep up with the other recommendations.

Let’s get after it.


Here’s How I Figure It

September 20th, 2011

Being a fitness professional, I know more than the average bear about what aging can do to a body.  Being a type one professional (in training and education for longer than any other professional schooling, I see myself as a type one professional… aren’t you?) I know more than the average bear about what my diabetes can do to my body.

So here’s how I see it.

  1. We need cardiovascular health.
  2. We need muscular strength and endurance.
  3. We need great management of our blood glucose levels.
  4. We need to be happy and healthy as many days as we can, for as long as possible.

I think only #3 on that list makes me different than any non-diabetic.

I think it’s critical for my cardiovascular system that I engage in challenging
regular cardiovascular workouts
.  I want to increase my body’s ability to handle stress and one of the best ways I can do that is to train it to work under some extreme conditions.  Every time I do, my body reacts by building a few more bone cells or making a few more mitochondria.  Thank you, Body; I will need those!

I think it’s essential for my skeleton and my muscles and my wellbeing overall to challenge myself with resistance training a few times a week, every week.  We all begin losing muscle mass by the age of 30—and the only way to fight that is to pick up something heavyHeavier.  And heavier still, as our muscles grow and we get stronger.  You need to lift  something heavier than you thought you could lift last week, or hold it longer, or move it  faster or slower to always work against a challenge.

If you’re bored, you aren’t challenged.

My blood glucose levels are always going to be a challenge for me, and I need to keep my head on straight about those.  I need to work with all sorts of health care professionals who are my allies on this.  Life is too short to be stressed out when I see a doctor or dietician.  I don’t want to carry anxiety about working with someone around with me.  I want to check as often as necessary and not have any part of me afraid to see that little screen.

Life just has so much more crammed into it that is so much more important than spending time afraid or anxious.

And on that note, if I can manage those items #1-3 I think that #4 will kind of take care of itself.  Work hard, work smart, and keep everything in perspective.

Go to it!