Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Hills and Hills and glucose meters that don't work

The last two weekends were both good training runs for Around the Bay (ATB from here on out).  I ran with a couple friends, well, one friend and one stranger who is maybe not as much of a stranger any more now that we've spent like 4 hours running together.

Permanent km markers
So it's ATB season again. This will be my 2nd year running this 30km monstrosity. Before I ran it last year I really didn't know what to expect. I mean, I sort of knew the route but I didn't at the same time. I didn't do any training runs on the back section which is known for it's.. can we say... ups and downs? HELLO 10km of hills!

SO... the past two weekends I've been running that back section with friends. It's not so bad when you're only out for 15 or 20km of it but on race day, the hills don't start till the last third. I will fully admit that I don't really train on hills. I have done hill training in the past and I fully believe when I was stair climbing regularly that was equivalent to a good hill workout. But.. I'm kind of like, put my shoes on and run. Just run. wherever, whatever, just run. There are some good hills in my 11km route around my house. Sometimes I run a bit fast, sometimes I run normal. I understand the value in hill training especially for a race like ATB where there are so many hills, I just couldn't be bothered to do it.

I have really super appreciated my last two weekends of hilly training runs and I plan to continue these long hilly training runs until race weekend.

They are hard. Some are very hard, like barf up a lung hard. Like maybe I shouldn't look down at my heart rate or my eyes might bug out at the number I see hard. I spent a good portion just trying to maintain the speed of my friends who were always two steps in front of me. For an LSD run, I was running about my race pace, doing hills no less. So I was pushing it - hard. My average heart rate was 10+ beats higher than any other LSD run. And y'know what? It felt great to push myself.

(Thoughts for another post on another day, I don't push myself enough and I doubt my abilities.)

I think we went too far
So I promised Jeff a few pictures of some hills but truth be told, my phone bouncing around in my jacket was annoying and I found myself too busy keeping up with my friends to have the time to stop. For those of you that don't know, Jeff is making the trip all the way up here from Boston to run the race that is "older than Boston"!

Here is a picture of one of the hills. Photos totally don't do hills any justice. For the record, that hill keeps going up around the bend.

As well, because of plans I couldn't be late for, I had to turn back before getting to "death hill" which I really wanted to photograph :). Have no fears though, I just realized that through all my complaining that there weren't any hills near me to do hill training on, I'm going to do hill repeats on "death hill". Death Hill for those of you who don't know is the killer hill at 26km of ATB. My friends and I coined it death hill last weekend. For obvious reasons.

So I feel I really need to vent about those royal-pain-in-the-ass glucose meters. They don't work when it's too cold. They don't work when they are too wet. They don't work when I need them most. Judging by my last couple posts about asshole blood sugars, the trend continues. I went into Saturday's run confident. I was confident with my choice of temp basal and when I set it. I was confident with my breakfast bolus. That does NOT mean I can go on a long run of hills without my glucose meter. It was too cold for the meter to work, that much I knew. I don't carry the whole case, just the meter lancet and a few strips. I put them in a small snack sized ziplock bag. I sometimes use hand warmers to keep the meter from getting too cold but they need oxygen to work so when you put it in a ziplock bag they don't work. Last weekend I had trouble so this weekend I forwent the hand warmer and stuffed the whole baggy into my sportsbra where it would stay warm next to my hot boobs. It would stay dry also due to the ziplock bag. For whatever reason, it didn't FUCKING work. ERROR. ERROR. ERROR.

what the fuck man? come on!!!! I kept you warm and dry so what's your bloody issue?

We were doing two out and backs with the cars half way. I felt like the biggest turd. I ran to my car and tested with my backup. My friends waited even though I told them to go on. I hate it when my issues delay others. It's not fair. I have such a beef with glucose meters.

I was pissed, beyond normal.

So I wasn't even left with a solution.

It was a wonderful and difficult run with some awesome friends and a not so awesome glucose meter.

LASTY... I just annoyed myself. This post is filled with the word "hill" 26 fucking times (make that 27).  That's kind of gross and super annoying.  I'm sorry.  SO SORRY!


  1. I am *so* looking forward to this!! Thanks for the course picture. Perhaps I'll recognize it when I get there. Of course, by that time I might just be too tired to notice.

    My meter pisses me off on my winter outings, too. I found out last time that I can keep my test strips and lancet in a zippy bag in my pocket, but I have to keep my meter in the palm of my hand inside one of my gloves. That's the only way it will stay warm enough.

    See you in a few weeks!

  2. I am right there with you on the crappy meters. When camping in the winter I bring 5 meters, an ice chest with hand warmers in it just to try and get one meter to work and this is for a weekend. Sometimes I only get 3 readings and use about 100 strips of errors. Why can't one company make an outdoor meter? Just one freaking company? They make every color, size, and less than ten seconds reads with ipod this and that but when it comes to quality then wont do it. Lets start a letter campaign and force one of these companies to take our freaking money. Ok I feel better thanks for the post. How do you run in all that snow? I would be scared that I would fall and break my pancrease or something.

  3. 30km is ridiculous - good for you!! I stay inside during the winter so I've fortunately never really experienced problems with my meter in the cold, however, you've definitely brought that to my attention... I've honestly never thought about that!

    Also, hill.. hill.. hill. Does that make 30 on this page? :)


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