[28 Nov 2014] What I’m Into This Week

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, for any Americans out there reading this. I know I did–I have a big family so we had the smallest, quietest Thanksgiving I’ve ever had with only 19 people. The food was all delicious and it was great to catch up with my extended family.

The BBC posted a really cool article and video about the Cairollers, an Egyptian roller derby league. I don’t know which I like better, the name “Cairollers” or the bag that says “Block like an Egyptian.” Now I want one…

You’ve heard of a white Christmas. Well, we had a black Thanksgiving in many parts of New England…throughout Maine and New Hampshire people are still waiting to get their power back on. I was complaining about losing power for a couple of hours on Wednesday, until I saw a friend today who didn’t get it back until this afternoon!

Speaking of snow, skiing and snowboarding season has started. I’ve been skiing and snowboarding for years, but since I couldn’t take time off from work to go last winter, I haven’t been skiing or boarding since I started skating. I’m excited to see how skating is going to make my skiing and boarding!

I found a new blog this week called Girls Gone Strong. Since I’m interested in getting more into weightlifting, I signed up for their mailing list and I’m hoping for good things from them.

Diabadass on Tumblr posted this really awesome diabetic DIY just in time for the holidays.

On a much more serious note, the ruling in Ferguson to not charge Darren Wilson with the murder of Mike Brown has been making headlines everywhere this week, as it should be. (Disclaimer: I’m white.) How many more black men need to be murdered by white cops before we all admit that there is a serious race problem in this country?


Have a Thanksgiving* Eve Post

Just a reminder on this Thanksgiving* eve that if you’ve got plans to celebrate Thanksgiving tomorrow, relax, take your insulin, but don’t beat yourself up if your blood sugars are off–if you’re hanging out in the 200-300 after a holiday meal, give yourself room for error. I never expect perfection during holiday meals because it’s so hard to measure everything and count accurately. So long as I’m below 400 and so long as I come down within a couple of hours after the last part of the meal I’m happy.

If you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving*, have a happy Thursday!

*Disclaimer: I don’t like Thanksgiving all that much for a lot of reasons, mostly surrounding its hypocritical roots and the way people tend to talk about food during the meal

Well, That’s Discouraging: A Setback is Not a Failure

I was all set to go to the gym this evening and yeah, my blood sugar had been on the low-ish side for a little while but it was fine, I’d just finished dinner. Surely it was just a matter of dinner carbs catching up to me?

No, and a cup of juice and an hour later, I’m still barely over 120. This sucks! Last week and this week have totally thrown off my gym schedule (this week being Thanksgiving here in the US) and while I got to go skating at a roller rink last Thursday, it’s not the same as being able to hit the gym (or play derby) three times a week. And given Thanksgiving is this week, my gym opportunities are pretty limited.

What’s a skater to do? Here’s what I’m reminding myself tonight:

1. It’s okay to be frustrated. My frustration shouldn’t run my life, but it’s totally fine to feel a little down once in a while when my health  gets in my way of exercising. It’s healthier than bottling it all in and pretending I don’t care.

2. Sometimes, junk just happens. There’s at least fifty reasons why my blood sugars could randomly change, from things that are totally in my control (such as the food I eat) to things that are way out of my control (like the weather–yes, it does make a difference). I do the best that I can and I generally succeed. The nature of this disease is that no matter what, my body simply cannot regulate my blood sugar levels and I just have to deal with it.

3. This hasn’t ruined everything. A friend told me “You’re the type of person who can’t do anything unless you’re perfect at it, aren’t you?” I’d never heard it put that way, but she was right–I have a terrible fear of doing anything unless I know I’ll do it perfectly. My pattern with exercise until I started skating was:
Step 1: join gym/join fitness class
Step 2: follow rigorous 3-5x/week schedule
Step 3: two weeks in have to miss a day because my blood sugars won’t cooperate
Step 4: give up
It always felt like the one setback meant that everything was ruined forever. I know that sounds overdramatic, but I tend to be very black-and-white in my thinking.

Too much optimism can be a bad thing–you do need to allow yourself to be upset by your circumstances sometimes–but right now, I think the best thing to combat my frustration is a good dose of “a setback is not a failure.”

[21 Nov 2014] What I’m Into This Week

Happy Friday, everyone! Here’s what I’m into this week:

BBC News talks about how some sports teams may (or may not!) scheme for wins

Sick of inspirational quotes over pretty backgrounds? “Uninspirational” on Instagram made me laugh really hard. And we’ve definitely all been here.

It may be the off-season here, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t worry about injury prevention. I like Hex Chromosome’s Pyro Maim Ya’s article on avoiding shoulder injuries.

My derby name, Dany Stormborn, is a reference to the Game of Thrones character Danerys Targaryen, also known as Danerys Stormborn, also known as the Mother of Dragons. Check out the eyeshadow I ordered from indie make-up company Shiro Cosmetics: Mother of Dragons!

Seacoast Roller Derby will be skating in a couple of holiday parades. I can’t believe the holiday season is already upon us–how is Thanksgiving next Thursday already?!

[Personal Progress] The good, the better, and the silly

The good news: I made it through the first day of week 4 of the couch-to-5k program, which is two weeks further than I’ve ever gone before. It definitely pushed me (so I was ready for the next level), though.

The even better news: my blood sugars were stable enough to make it through the workout–granted, I did have to eat some glucose tabs halfway through and I needed more sugar after I finished, but hey, looks like I’m starting to nail down a pre-gym routine!

The silly news: I knew I had to eat glucose tabs halfway through because I checked my blood sugar (just in case–I’ve had problems dropping too quickly for my CGM to keep up with in the past) and had to pause the workout because I accidentally flung my vial of test strips somewhere and spent five minutes running around trying to look under machines to find them.

7 Quick Tips About Starting New Exercise (With or Without Diabetes)

Starting a new exercise regime, whether you’re a total couch potato or already working out five days a week, is a bitch and a half. Sure, I can skate my 27/5 with pretty decent timing, but can I run that same distance? No way. Yes, being able to skate means that I’m not starting from nothing if I decide to pick up running, but it uses a completely different set of muscles, it needs a completely different mindset, and it affects my blood sugars (and yours, too!) in a completely different way. So here are 7 quick tips I’ve found help me a lot when I’m picking up a new form of cross-training.

  1. Look for intro-to-your-new-sport regimes. If you want to pick up running, for example, the couch-to-5k program is wicked popular. There’s tons of apps out there that guide you so that you know when to walk and when to run. You start at intervals of mostly walking with short bursts of jogging (30 or so seconds at a time) then build up so that you’re just straight running for 20-30 minutes (about a 5k). It’s tough trying to figure out how to get from point A to point B on your own when you don’t have any sort of background in exercise.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try different things. Just because your teammate gets great results from yoga classes three times a week doesn’t mean that you have to do that, but if you’ve never done yoga before, ask if you can tag along! You don’t know if you like or not it until you try. And you might be surprised–I didn’t like tai chi when I did a demo class in high school, but now I think it’s wicked cool and it’s on my list of things I want to do more of.
  3. Find a buddy or a community. I know, I know, EVERYONE says this, but it really does help! A friend can force you to be accountable for it, and it’s much harder to say “nah, I don’t feel like going to the gym today” if your friend is texting you “hurry up, I’m already in your driveway.” In some cases, it also gives you a partner to play with (for things like tennis) or someone to spot you (for things like powerlifting). For diabetics, it’s also good to have a friend who can help you in case your blood sugar goes low, if nothing else so that you have someone to sit with while you eat your candy.
  4. Pick something you’re interested in instead of something that’s “good” for you. You’re not going to have much motivation to go to your workout if you’ve decided to pick up running when you’d rather be playing basketball.
  5. Use achievable goals. Don’t expect to be an expert overnight, and especially don’t expect that you’ll have a pre-workout routine nailed down in a week. As much as I would love to be able to go straight from a season of roller derby to running a 5k…it’s not going to happen. It is going to be tough at first.
  6. Related: don’t beat yourself up if your blood sugars can’t keep up with it at first. I repeat: it is going to be tough at first. It took me about two months to get a routine nailed down when I went from the off-season 1x/week practice regime to 3x/week last spring. The hardest part was having to sit and watch my teammates skate and knowing that I was missing out on valuable training because my blood sugar was 300 and I couldn’t skate (on top of the nausea, fatigue, and extreme thirst high blood sugars bring on anyway). Yes, it’s very important to push yourself to be better, but you need to give yourself time to get the right balance of pre-workout carbs:insulin before you can push beyond that beginner level.
  7. And, obviously, have fun, be proud of yourself, and don’t compare yourself to others. Become one of those sick people who enjoys getting their ass kicked at the gym/playing rugby/running a half marathon/whatever. I find that the harder I have to work at something, the more rewarding it is when I accomplish it. I don’t think I’ve ever been prouder of myself than I was when I made my 27/5 lap time (after about six months of skating). Sure, there were skaters who could pretty much make their laps as soon as they put on a pair of skates. My accomplishment doesn’t really mean much if I’m looking to compare myself to others’ records and is actually pretty discouraging because it took me six months to get somewhere that other skaters got one. But it means a junk-ton to me that I cut off 21 seconds between my second attempt and my third.

What are your tips? What did you have to do when you picked up a new form of exercise?

End-Of-Season Awards Night, or: What Do You Mean, “Diabetes Cleatus”?!

We had our end-of-season awards night this week, and what a great way to wrap up the season. Our season actually ended at the beginning of September, so while a good number of people have been going skating (outside or at the skate park, mostly) there are a number of skaters who I hadn’t seen in a couple of months, in addition to a few who won’t be coming back in 2015. We also get awards–the league president comes up with awards for every skater (things like “Ejection Queen” for the skater with the most ejections in a game, “That’s Not How You Use Your Head” for the skater who had a habit of falling and hitting her head a lot (!), and “Best Wardrobe Malfunction” for…well, you know).

My award? “Diabetes Cleatus.”

(I had to look it up, but apparently ‘cleatus’ refers to hillbillies. Thanks guys.)

I knew it was coming–it’s been a pretty big thing for me and I haven’t exactly made a secret of it–but it still made me laugh when I was presented with the award. It also inspired this Facebook post:

"Seacoast Roller Derby is one of the best things that's ever happened to me and last night's end-of-season party solidified that (as if I wasn't convinced before). I never thought I could do something like play roller derby (and actually wasn't even convinced I could do that until about six months after I started) but you all have been incredibly wonderful and supportive. This is sappy sorry not sorry it needed to be said. Here's to rocking it even harder in 2015."

I know, gross, how sappy. But I mean it when I say “here’s to rocking it even harder in 2015.” I’ve got a general goal (be good enough to earn a spot on my league’s A team) and I’m working on breaking that out into smaller goals to work on during the off-season (more to come on that later, I’m sure). And, of course, I have the goal of “kick my diabetes in the ass.” Rock on, Dany Stormborn.