Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Ottawa Race Weekend

I had the pleasure of spending the weekend with my "green cult" friends. AKA the amazing people from Connected in Motion.

We met in our nation's capital, Ottawa, for some racing!

The weather was drop dead gorgeous. Can weather be described as such? I don't care, I was in love. It was deliciously warm for the last weekend in May and it was perfect. We all met at the ever gracious home of CIM folk Shauna and her partner Stephen. Incredibly generous folks who offered me up a place to say when I said I might just sleep in my car. For the record, I was serious. My car is quite spacious and roomy. Though I don't know how roomy it would be if I had to sleep next to sexy bitch. Wake up with chain grease on my face maybe.

After a very long day at work and a 6'ish hour drive to Ottawa I was pretty pooped. I had the pleasure of driving most of the way with a friend I hadn't seen in 8 years so by the time I got to Ottawa my voice was shot! The BBQ was where we all met and saw old faces mixed with some new ones. It's always nice to reacquainted with my CIM buddies. My throat was sore when I went to bed that night and my belly hurt from laughing.

Riding around Ottawa on the huge network of bike trails
Saturday the 5 and 10k races happened in the evening so I hit the road with a couple friends for a casual bike ride. I was to be running the half marathon the following morning. I will admit that I've only ever been to Ottawa once! And that was with a group of kids for one weekend as an educational thing. I got to see so much of the pretty trails by bike. Seriously beautiful. Follow that with a trip to the expo to pick up my race kit. MAYHEM. I love and hate expos. I almost always go low at them from the sensory overload and whipping my head all over wanting to buy all the awesome running stuff. Lucky for me, I ripped my infusion set out for the second time that day (3rd time in the past 2 days) and was not going to go low. This started a chain reaction of insanity because I had already used my backup site that I brought! Low and behold, the beauties of being with a whole whack of other T1D's! we met at our cheering station and they brought their own supplies for me! Wow.... just, WOW!

On to the races....

Nice guy with a hose helped cool down a lot of runners.

The 5km was exciting to watch. We were set up less than a km to the finish line which was a good place to be for all the action. We screamed, cheered, rang cow bells and banged noise makers together. We were LOUD and GREEN and all sorts of AWESOME. Next up the 10km folks. Most of the CIM dudes were running the 10k. Some of them it was their first race EVER! This made it really exciting for me to experience the nerves and the BG woes of the first race jitters vicariously through them.

Cheering for the 5k'ers

Co-ordinating is key (Jen and Hank)

The 10k'ers (Terrence, Katie, Andy, Jen, Amy, Luke, Erin, Trevor. minus Hank)

Happy green people rule! (Luke and Vicky)

Erin and Andy (photo credit me, camera Hank's)

Amy and Jen (photo credit me, camera Hank's)

Luke (photo credit me, camera Hank's)

Terrence and Rebecca and CIM newcomer Maria (photo credit me, camera Hank's)
Maria "fell" into our booth during the 5k feeling low. We had no idea who she was as she didn't come to the BBQ the night before. It didn't matter, we helped her test her BG and offered Dex from our big bowl of goodies.

We had some fast CIM runners and I was on picture duty with Hank's camera. Why he trusted me with his camera I have no idea but I didn't drop it once and it didn't even have a strap on it! So I saw them at less than 1km into the race at which point I whipped over to the finishing chute where I got to cheer them all in. I got goosebumps watching them! It was amazing!

Jen and Amy finishing. It was hard to video AND get their attention amongst the zillion spectators

Then it was my turn. The next morning 4 of us ran the half and we had 2 CIM marathoners! All of us proud to be wearing the new green race tees (and singlets) with the "breathing fresh air into diabetes education" on the back. Naturally the start of the race was a shit show. The corrals weren't big enough and we had to hop the fence and slip in like sardines barely able to breath. 3 of us (Anne, Jenn and myself) found each other before the race and we ran together for about half of it. We were all aiming for roughly the same finish time which was pretty cool, I might add. I felt like a superstar as the three of us wearing our CIM gear ran together. I've never run with anyone EVER.

Anne had an ankle injury from the previous weekend. She was keeping up a really good pace until about 11 or 12km when her ankle started giving her shit. Jenn was far up ahead (kicking ass!) and Anne fell quite a ways behind. I was running alone again. I felt REALLY good and I was maintaining a 6:00min/km pace despite the heat. Every time I looked back Anne was getting further and further behind. I knew she was in pain. I chose to wait and run the race with her. I can run a hard half marathon any time I want but I can't always run with friends. I didn't know Anne hardly at all but by the end I think we became friends. She struggled on the uphills (and downhills). She grunted, groaned and winced. I would have carried her if I had to. So we walked a lot as the back half of the race passed us slowly but surely. Didn't matter much though. We were seasoned halfers and were just aiming to finish.

I had a ton of fun. Smile on my face for most of it. Races of this length are such adventures every km of the way. From watching a woman fall right in front of us (don't worry we stopped to make sure she was okay). To seeing another woman almost faint (there were people there to help her too). To sponge hopping the discarded soaked sponges. To reading all the hilarious signs and seeing the almost non-stop crowd support. It's always just one entertaining distraction after the next. Maybe not the woman puking right in front of us 200m from the finish though, that wasn't very pleasant. But most of it usually is!

I was burdened with chafe again. We passed the Vaseline people early in the race and I didn't take any because I felt fine. It is tolerable chafe though. I can walk easily this time but I'm left wondering how to fix it. Where did my big thighs come from?! At one point while we were walking I used the opportunity to check my BG only to discover I was low. Surprised by it actually. I ate another gel (had one at 10k as per my usual routine). My BG's were fine otherwise. I started a bit high from breakfast, the low temp basal and the fact that it was morning. I had some insulin on board. Then we came up to the CIM cheering section which we were happy to see all the green somewhere around the 17km mark. As we ran by I "expressed" my woes as the low was now taking hold before the gel could hit. I was still laughing all the way (see video below). We ran by someone at 18k who had the audacity to say, "almost there!". I wanted to go back and push that person into a wall or something. Despite the fact that I was feeling great and wasn't tired at all, it's still annoying! I finished with a beauty BG of 6.2mmol/l (112mg/dl) at which point I gave myself the obligatory 1.5u post race insulin to ward off post exercise highs. Turns out I didn't need that 1.5units though, learned that the hard way but wtf, I almost always need it. Also, no issues with my bum exploding. Happy runner here! That's two half marathons in a row crap-free!

What I'm saying..."I'm LOW aaaand I have chafe!"

Turned out this would be my slowest half marathon ever. But y'know what? It was the most fun half marathon ever. Go figure. We got there though, Anne wincing with each and every step the last 400m or so. When we met up with Jenn in the finishers area she ran up to us and said, "I have blisters but LOOKIT MY CGM!". The three of us all huddled around her pump to bask in the glory of the beautiful graph! We took pictures of it before we even asked each other how it went. THAT'S Type 1's for ya.

Jenn, Anne and myself, happy finishers! (photo credit Jen Hanson - I think)
It was an amazing race, a wicked weekend and some phenomenal friends! I talked and laughed so much that my throat was super sore at the end of the weekend.

Gords and I after the long drive back from Ottawa. It was nice to have company for the drive out and back. We had 8 years of catching up to do. He even drove most of the way back after I pulled off the highway for a brain-rattling low. Left me slumped over my steering wheel for a good 15 minutes.

Major thanks goes out to those CIM folks who planned and orchestrated this. Thanks to Medtronic for their support and to Shauna and Stephen for opening their home to us. For more pictures and write up, visit the CIM Fresh Air blog.


  1. Your joy is contagious!
    I smiled and grinned while reading this.

  2. Every time I read CIM posts it makes me want to move to Ontario. CIM Rock!:-)

  3. Sounds like you had a great time! I really with there were CIM events in Manitoba. They sound right up my alley!

  4. Sounds like a wonderful weekend all around!
    Love sore throats and tummies from catching up with friends.

  5. you had an awesome weather weekend, for sure. glad you had fun and like Denise says, sore tummies and throats from laughter and good company are THE BEST!!!

  6. I loved reading this! You are such an inspiration to me. I'm not a runner ( bikes are my obsession) but I enjoyed reading about what it takes to run a marathon as a T1 and the CIM! The pictures were great too. I also love that you named your bike!!!


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