I’m not sure if Team In Training will keep up my blog forever, so I thought I’d bring over the copy, my journey, just in case. And share it here.
From the beginning…
May 9, Welcome
Hi, family & friends:
Thanks for stopping over. I appreciate the love if you are following my journey to compete in my first Triathlon. I have just signed up this past weekend (thanks to the encouragement of my friend, Taylor!) and I am still feeling anxious and excited about the whole idea. I don’t know yet what my training looks like. I am still waiting to hear from my coach and see the training schedule. However, I may have already bought some cute new training gear from Target. Duh.
You know me, I’ll keep everyone posted here, via Insta, Twitter & Vine! Thanks for considering a donation. No matter how small, I truly appreciate the support. Maybe I should be more intimidated by the amount I need to raise, but I have some pretty giving friends and family, so cheers to being an advocate!
My mom ran her marathon with Team in Training, so I know I’m in good hands.
May 23, Fear #1
When I look at pictures of past participants swimming in the Pacific Grove Triathlon…
I think of one of my favorite, yet terrifying movies…
And I am afraid.
May 24, Can I quit this early?
That was my thought last night during my FIRST track practice for the running portion of my triathlon. Sure, the people were great. Friendly even. Interested and interesting. But, they were just chatting along and exchanging stories about their last event, and I could barely breathe. It was a problem. I didn’t think I could keep going. My chest hurt, my lungs were burning… my legs barely keeping up with my upper body.
And then you look to your left and you see the honoree. The man that is approaching his 40 something event, and dealing with both prostate and bone cancer. He was 70ish. He had oxygen on. So, I just kept going.
I thought about quitting, but that would be too easy. So, I’ll stay and keep telling myself I will get stronger. I will keep reminding myself that I can do it. And know how happy I will be when I do.
June 5, Shake Don’t Stir.
Bike training has officially begun. After purchasing my first road bike, I attended Team in Training’s first bike clinic. This was really awesome, and a huge part of why I choose to train with an official group. Each Saturday we train in the water with a good swim, and then on the road with decent rides. I am looking forward to see how I train combining those two events.
I also learned about what I will be wearing the day of the race. It layers like this- swimsuit, tri-shorts, jersey. All of this will be under my wetsuit. After my swim, I remove my wetsuit and go with the rest of the clothes I have on (suit, shorts, jersey). I throw on my bike shoes, and go. Next, I’ll have to purchase a wetsuit.
And I have to remember through all of this to keep fundraising. Sometimes that gets lost in my list of things to do. But on July 29, myself and a few friends will be bar-tending on June 29 at Soda Popinski’s (1548 California St, San Francisco). This awesome bar allows you to keep all of your tips to donate to your fundraising effort (ours will be for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!) So, please come out and watch me struggle with making your cocktails all night and raise money to help find cures for cancer.
June 7, Oh My Gawd
I was nervous to head back to the track last night. The previous week while we were running, I was thinking of all of the reasons I had to tell them I had to leave. I skipped those excuses and stayed, but I was anxious to go back. I haven’t had many reservations about swimming or biking, but I have not been training outside by myself on running. I have been running on the treadmill steadily over the past year on and off (nothing consistent) and then Patrick and I did a casual 5k a couple of months ago. However, running steady outside is much more difficult than on that treadmill.
After an hour and a half of conditioning last night, they announced we would be doing a timed one mile. They wanted to see everyone’s cadence (mine was averaging 87) and endurance. I ran with my friend and colleague, Alex. We were both anxious and that made me feel better. I alarmed the group that they could wait all night if they planned on cheering me on. They laughed. I did not. Seriously, this could take a while.
The great news is that nothing really hurt during the run. I had a few small stomach pains, but my knees felt great (even though they shouldn’t) and my feet didn’t go numb either. I continued with a steady pace and around a half a mile I truly wanted to slow down and run/walk. I was breathing kind of heavy and focusing on keeping my head up (to allow more oxygen in). And then I finished, 10 minutes and 34 seconds. I was so happy to cross the finish line, and still be breathing.
It’s great running in an environment like this. The huge advantage of doing Team In Training- all levels, all supportive, and all happy you are there. I was happy, too. I can only hope I get stronger and I am able to feel good about it as I go along.
The OMG photo is me shortly after my run. The OMG is because I suck at running and OMG, I did it (so lame, but damn it, I did it!).
The other sweet photo is a pic of last night’s practice honoree. Denise was there to tell us all about her family’s experiences when they discovered that one of their twins (then 2 1/2 yrs old) had leukemia. Kyle spent THREE YEARS in treatment with chemo and is now 7 yrs old. Denise is training for a triathlon, too. Kyle and his brother practiced with us the entire time. It was fantastic, soothing, and inspiring. I will run for him and everyone else effected by cancer.
P.S. Remember, I am raising a small $3,300 for this race to help find cures for cancer. Any amount would be so gracious. You can’t deny the cause. Or this sweet little boy. See the donation box to the right of this blog entry. Thanks!
June 19, I’ve learned how to prick in the pool.
Sounds like a fun tongue twister, right?
Since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, almost two years ago, I’ve lived with one too many fears. And although I’ll save you from a full therapy session, one of the major challenges is understanding how to exercise. It poses unique challenges. Because I wear an insulin pump, I have to be very careful not to allow exercise to cause hypoglycemia. It can produce a variety of symptoms and effects but the principal problems arise from an inadequate supply of glucose to the brain, resulting in impairment of function (neuroglycopenia). Effects can range from mild dysphoria to more serious issues such as seizures, unconsciousness, and permanent brain damage or death.
I have to follow strict guidelines, and let me tell you, it’s so very tricky and stressful.
- Lower than 100 mg/dL: My blood sugar is too low to exercise safely. I eat a small carbohydrate snack, such as fruit/meal bars/crackers, before I begin my workout. If it’s a workout for Team In Training, I usually make an English Muffin with peanut butter and have a glass of milk. I just have to remember to eat it in plenty of time prior.
- 100 to 250 mg/dL: This means I’m good to go. For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise blood sugar range. However, I should never be this high prior to not having had an afternoon snack. My healthy range is 100-125, so again, I have to have a snack and try not to go above 250.
- 250 mg/dL or higher: This is a caution zone. Before exercising, I have to test my urine for ketones (substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy.) Excess ketones indicate that my body doesn’t have enough insulin to control my blood sugar. If I exercise when I have a high level of ketones, I risk ketoacidosis — a serious complication of diabetes that needs immediate treatment.
- 300 mg/dL or higher: My blood sugar may be too high to exercise safely, putting me at risk of ketoacidosis. I have to postpone my workout until my blood sugar drops to a safe pre-exercise range.
Sounds easy, right? Doing a triathlon further complicates things. I have to test, swim, test, eat, bike, test, eat, then test, eat, test, run and probably eat again. And then another test.
For all of these reasons (and many others) I choose to do my first tri with Team In Training. I really needed a team of people (participants, coaches & mentors) to help me understand how to do all of these things, knowing that they can support me along the way and watch over me if something doesn’t go the way I intended.
And it’s tough. It’s so very tough. I feel different. I feel scared. And I test my blood glucose throughout, and sometimes I am over on the side snacking (and wondering what people are thinking about me eating during a workout…LOL) and I test again, and I am constantly evaluating how my body is feeling (could I be low, am I too high?!) and I think sometimes I shouldn’t go back. And I think sometimes I’d like to just go home and not tell a soul again and deal with it on my own.
But, I just can’t. I just can’t. And with Team In Training encouraging me, I will continue to face my fears.
P.S. I am trucking along on my fundraising goals, so any contribution you’d be willing to make would be awesome. All of the funds go to the leukemia lymphoma society! My goal is to raise $3,300 and so far (thanks to some amazing people in my life!) I’ve raised $525 Donate button on the right.
June 25, I have cancer right here.
On Saturday, we had an honoree picnic following our practice. It was a great morning although I was pretty grumpy to be running again on an early Saturday morning. I wonder if I will ever not despise running.
Anway, one of my fellow teammates stood up and let us know that he had cancer. It was right there in his stomach. And he just had chemo on Wednesday, yet there he was. Working the hardest and truly motivated by our practice together. As most honorees spoke, most of us cried. I wish I could do more. And I am asking you to do the same.
Fundraising is a difficult thing to do. It’s a hard thing to ask, because everyone has their cause. But I am asking you as my friends, as my supporters, as those I love dearly to please consider a donation, today.
I am striving to reach my half-way commitment point by tomorrow at midnight, PST.
Here is what your money will actually do-
- $100 Provides 3 patients access to an information teleconference.
- $75 Average cost of tissue typing to become a bone marrow donor.
- $40 Cost of sending a comprehensive packet of information for children with cancer.
- $35 Pays for transportation expenses for a patient living in Northern California’s most rural areas to treatment at a comprehensive cancer center.
- $25 Covers a single prescription co-payment.
- $5 Cost of sending a newly diagnosed patient information about support & their disease.
Please make a donation, today. Thank you to all of you that already have reached out to me and sent your emails of support and made donations. I will always remember you as I fight each day to reach these goals.
July 1, Tending to the cause.
I was thrilled to find out we were able to fundraise in San Francisco by bar tending the Saturday night shift at Soda Popinksi’s. All tips collected from 6-9 pm went to our cause and we were able to walk away with over $400 in cash tips! Incredible! Thanks to all of our friends that came to support us and generously tipped us much better than we deserved!
I am so extremely overwhelmed with the love and support I’ve received during my training and fundraising efforts. I am currently at 90% and am collecting donations until early August.
Thanks for such a great night!
July 3, New Day.
I’ve been struggling with my health this week. The past two days were awful, with my glucose numbers reporting anywhere from 250-400. We were steps away from the hospital on Monday night, and Tuesday wasn’t very kind either. After adjusting meds, I feel so much better today. I decided to not go to track practice yesterday, and instead rest. I think it was a smart choice, although I felt terribly guilty.
Another fantastic note is that I am killing my fundraising goal. I have to tell you how grateful I am for everyone’s generous love I’ve felt over this.
Today is a new day. Thank goodness.
I’ll leave you with a picture of our pups napping yesterday in the sun. I have to remember to stop and take in the air, too.
July 19, The ride home.
I feel proud.
I feel happy to be sitting.
I feel accomplished.
I feel hungry.
I feel like I achieved another milestone.
I feel like I should eat a brownie.
I feel anxious about the next practice.
I feel happy to report back to friends/family.
I feel like I should watch a few YouTube cat videos tonight because I deserve that.
I feel strong.
I feel like wine sounds good.
I feel like I can do it again.
I feel like I can accomplish this goal.
I feel like the ride home is beautiful for a reason.
July 22, I drank some saltwater on Saturday.
Maybe more than I anticipated.
Saturday was our first open water practice. And quite honestly, I didn’t anticipate it being as challenging as it was. I knew it would be cold, but I didn’t know it would be that cold. I knew I would be afraid, but I didn’t know I’d be that afraid (I had convinced myself at one point that I felt a shark rub up against my right side).
I did it. And I swarm hard. That’s what matters.
August 5, Course Preview.
Saturday was ah-mazing. A 5 am wakeup call was so worth the day.
Here’s what I found out:
- The water was mind-numbingly cold. I didn’t think I could handle it at first. My hands, feet and face were so so cold.
- The kelp was horrible. I struggled crawling through it.
- I was terrified that I could see in the water. The big kelp plants up close and personal scared the living shit out of me. The ability to see scuba divers, sea lions, plants. Ugh, I was really freaked out.
- My glucose dropped much lower than my other open water swim. I had to stop half way, check and snack and jump right back in.
- I was able to complete my full swim distance.
- The bike ride was RIDICULOUS. All along the 17 mile drive (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/17-Mile_Drive). Ridiculous and we only rode 6 miles. It was quick and beautiful.
- Then we ran. My calves were killing me, and I was a bit wobbly, but excited to finish.
Having my husband at my side was fantastic. And also training with my friend, Meghan.
Only SIX more weeks and only a COUPLE more weeks left to donate. (Button on the right!)
August 13, 32 & 7.
32 days left for me to train, and 7 days left to donate! I feel so blessed (more than I probably anticipated) to train with the people that I have (if it weren’t for Meghan, I would have never kept going and smiling) and work along such amazing athletes. This won’t be my last, but I am so glad I took the beginning steps with Team in Training- what a blessing.
August 20, A really long post about me being a really big psycho.
This past Saturday, our team participated in a triathlon to prepare for our real deal in September.
I take preparation for practice very seriously and that usually includes me feeling anxious about my performance. And my good husband knows exactly how to calm some of those fears… let’s go shopping and get new tri gear.
So, that’s how we spent Friday night. Who would have thought this is my ideal way of spending money lately? I was able to snag some much needed items.
- New goggles- It has been about 10 years since I’ve purchased new ones, and wow, things have improved. Holy fancy!
- New bike pump- I haven’t been the best at making sure my tires are where they need to be prior to riding.
- A new biking jersey, because a girl has to feel good when she feels like she is going to die biking uphill.
- A new pair of biking socks, and some new running Wright socks. These double layer socks help keep you blister free, and since I was already battling a few from track practice, this was a must. Getting sores as a diabetic doesn’t go well, so I’m extremely anxious about avoiding them.
- Lots of nutrition. My cousin Jen (Triathlon Beast) has turned me onto Bonk Breakers (delicious) and I was excited to try Jelly Belly’s own extreme beans. Learning what works (and what does not) is really important during training.
So, the alarm went off the next morning at 5:45 am, and Patrick (I am always so amazed that he wants to go and cheer me on each time) and I had everything packed and ready to go:
- Bike- two accompanying water bottles both with new sports performance mixes. (Last time, Nuun made me feel sick, so I tried a new one (really liked it) Cytomax, helmet, and two bento boxes (filled with nutrition and spare tube in case of a flat).
- Tri bag- My life is in this bag on the day of the race. It includes- wetsuit, towel, biking/running jersey, running shoes (and socks), biking shoes (and socks), bag of nutrition, pill jar (ibuprofen, tums, pepto bismol), goggles, kleenex, swim cap, biking gloves, running visor/hat, sunscreen, and lots of body glide.
- I also pack and leave in the car an additional bag of clothes for after the event, and a cooler bag of drinks for our ride home.
- I wear out of the house my tri-shorts, flip flops, swim jersey, and jacket.
I am one prepared bitch. You see that?
So, we arrive to the area and realize we are in the wrong place. Up climbs my anxiety. We finally find the right spot and we are 15-20 minutes late. Being late is a huge problem for me. I can’t stand it, and I would rather sit an hour early than arrive late, especially for an event like this. So, my anxiety meter continued to climb.
I hop out of the car, run over to my first transition area to set up. I check-in, grab my trash bag, scribble my name and race number on the bag, get my arm and leg marked. Quickly take my blood glucose, start preparing my transition area. Realize I’ve left my running visor in the car. Call Patrick. Anxiously ask him to walk over, find my stuff, take a jacket and my flip flops back to the car and leave my visor in my transition area. Anxiety meter continues to rise.
My running transition is all set, and now we need to get on our bikes (with our tri bags) and bike to where we will be setting up our T2 (biking transition) and then get into the water to start the race.
I look over to my friend Emory (team manager and my safety net) and she gives me this “Take a deep breath” look. I look to my right and see another mentor Whitney watching us and she tells me I am going to need to get into my lowest gear for this ride to the other transition area. So, I know at that point we are going to be biking up some hills and I guess I just wasn’t prepared for it. And things weren’t perfect. I like things perfect. It’s a problem.
We begin biking and some team members get off their bikes and start walking up the hill. I tell myself I am fine, and keep going. Feeling very unstable while clipped in, and in my lowest gear, I clip out and walk up the rest of the hill. I hop back on and continue biking to our destination. I was completely out of breath, feeling the deep burn in my throat and chest, and thinking I should probably return back to the car and go home. I had no business being here trying to do this. The ride couldn’t have been that long, but it sure was dramatic for me.
I arrived at our transition area, and I set up my biking transition, realizing I had forgot my biking jersey down at T1 (running transition). Thank goodness for a back-up jersey in my bag.
I began walking down to the reservoir and I noticed the markers out in the water, and again, the self doubt crept back in. I can’t do this. I am going to drown. And then I couldn’t blink away the tears fast enough. I stood to the side, staring up at the sun hoping no one would notice my melt-down moment. My mentor Ben walked over and asked if I was OK, and I told him I was having a moment. He reminded me that it was normal and to breathe. My friend Denise and Emory were near-by and I knew Denise was anxious too. I hate to say that it made me feel better, but it did.
I could do this. I knew I could, it was just getting there.
The coaches talked for a while, and I didn’t hear much. I just wanted to get started. I didn’t really think I could do it all. Our swim portion was going to be a bit longer than what we had to do on event day, and I was thinking I couldn’t finish it.
I got in the water and realized I was surrounded by incredible people, and coaches that constantly make me laugh and feel supported. I wasn’t alone regardless of the outcome, and it was going to be just fine.
Then, we took off. I swam and it was beautiful. No kelp, no cold hands, feet or face. It was smooth and enjoyable and I felt happy and strong. I hopped out of the water, walked with Emory up to my transition. Tested my glucose, ate a snack, changed, and went off on my bike. At the bike half-way mark I felt decent. I had some drinks of gatorade, chatted with the volunteers, tested again, and hopped back on my bike. Now, I was in a groove (and it helped that it was mainly downhill for the second-half). I made my way to the running transition, looped around to see Patrick and gave him a big smile, and went down to change into my running gear. Tested again, and had another snack. Then, off I went onto the trail and it was beautiful. It reminded me of being a kid and playing in the woods. I was alone, happy, and I felt really good. I made it to my running half-way mark, said hello to more volunteers, tested and knew I was close to the finish line. Near the end I looped around to the finish line and there stood our Team in Training crew cheering me on. I had to look down as I was totally crying and embarrassed of my happy tears.
Goodness, that was hard and so many do much longer/harder distances. But, I did it. And I felt good while doing it. And it wasn’t perfect. I have to remember those moments are the best ones.
September 9, It’s Go Time!
Every time I think about my triathlon, my tummy flips a few times. I had no idea when I started this in May, the impact it would have on my life. My health (and level of athletic ability) was a web of anxiety, fear, and self-doubt.
Most times, I have a hard time admitting to myself that I have an autoimmune disease, let alone sharing it with others. And so, this was a huge part of overcoming this challenge. On the first day, as we were doing an Indian Run (How I hate those!) everyone had to say something about themselves, and breathless I shouted out, “I am a type 1 diabetic, newly diagnosed, and fearful of passing out while exercising.” Everyone else had said normal things like, “This is my 4th triathlon, and I have 3 kids!” and “I love to bake!” Their response to my odd declaration was warm, kind, and helpful. From there on, I knew I would be OK.
My mom ran her marathon with Team in Training (she was so inspiring to me!), so I was certain I’d be in good hands. And I was right. Our team mentor, Emory, reached out to me early reassuring me of the great support I’d have. Both myself and Patrick were really emotional reading her email. She reminded me I had a full staff of coaches, mentors, and teammates that would make sure I had everything I needed to be successful and safe. That’s all I wanted. That’s all I needed. She became an instant safety net. When I see her at each practice, each event, I know I’ll be OK. No pressure on her, I’m sure, but that’s how I’m sure most people on our team feel. Soon after I rode with another mentor Whitney. She was a beast on the bike (and a superhero on the track! She runs trail marathons, let’s think about that), and took time to talk with me. I shared with her my challenges, and she shared with me that her college roommate was a type 1. Again, I started to feel a bit more normal. It was the first time in two years that I started to feel alive again, and not ashamed.
All of my coaches made sure I was not only OK, but that I was pushing myself and doing great things at each practice. The first practice I could barely run a 1/2 mile. In the water, I’d swim behind my teammate Jen. Once I would hear what we’d have to swim, I’d think ‘no way I can keep up,’ but, if I followed her pace, I’d realize an hour later I completed the workout just fine, and enjoyed every stroke. Jen was dealing with her own physical limitations, and it didn’t stop her. How could I quit? All of these people were dealing with their own challenges, yet here they were, each practice, pushing and pushing their limits. During a long and hard 26 mile ride, I was certain to give up. There were three climbs and on the second, I couldn’t go any further. My legs were mush, my core exhausted. Yet, two of our coaches took time to help me climb, and stayed with me as I got off the bike and walked up the hill. They continued to remind me I could do this, and I felt for certain I could not. On my last hill, my mentor Ben, coached my every step on that bike with a “You got this! You can do it. You are doing it!” as he too, climbed the beast. Jen also got me through that ride. I thought if her wheels were moving, so were mine. We had a beautiful ride back. She brings such peace to my training.
And my teammate, Meghan, kept me running and remembering to keep taking steps. I will be SO proud to finish our event together. She is an incredible athlete.
This weekend I had the honor of cheering on my teammates for the Big Kahuna triathlon. Watching my heros compete in each event, and finish so strong was absolutely one of the most inspiring ways I have spent my day in a long time. I shed many tears for them as I saw them run through the loose beach sand and cross the finish line. I only hope to be like them one day.
I could go on and on about them all. It makes me so damn emotional when I think about it. I am so happy I am doing this, and for your support (and GENEROUS donations) as I approach the event this Sunday.
I know my family will be there in spirit, and Patrick, always at my side (that man, could I be any more grateful for his love!). My grandpa would have been so proud of me. Everytime I think I’ll want to quit, I’ll think of him, and he’d say, “Go, sis!”
Until Sunday, friends. xxoo
September 12, Oh, Sandra. If there could only be more people like you.
You see, Patrick and I looked for the perfect home for over a year. Our previous landlord sold the house we were renting, and our lease was ending quick. We wanted to find the right spot to land, and maybe we were too picky. We told ourselves it was go-time, and we had to settle on a choice. However, we continued holding out and one day Patrick walked past a realtor’s office and found a few lines about the place we now call home.
This is our third home together. As most of you know we still own our historical1895 home back in the Midwest (we just refuse to part with her, and Patrick’s brother takes such lovely care of it).
And we agree, this home right here, has some of the most beautiful energy one could imagine. We knew as soon as we walked through it the first time. So much light, a large kitchen, an amazing back yard- and it’s just peaceful.
However, little did we know that the homeowner, our new landlord, lived across the street. And we had no idea she would be one of the most kindest people we have ever met. She comes well equipped with an equally lovely husband and daughter, and sweet pup, Lucy, too! Every time we are with her, we always say, “How did we get so lucky!?!”
And to say she has been supportive of my efforts for completing my first triathlon is putting it mildly. She not only made a $100 donation early in the season, she gave us a $50 just to celebrate the success and then wrote this sweet sweet note.
“We are caught up in the vortex of Kristin & Patrick here on Summer Ave. We are proud to get to participate as onlookers for this fabulous event. We will be cheering for Kristin each step, each petal, and each stroke of the way. We’ll also remember that Patrick will feel each and everyone of those movements as his own. You will both be in our hearts on Sunday. We really are so proud to be associated with both of you. Can’t wait to hear all about it.
P.S. we’ve read ALL of your blogs. WOW! Way to go!”
We are so so very lucky to have found Summer Ave.
September 13, My knee the asshole.
It’s been trouble for a few years. And I probably should have taken my dad’s advice and replaced it with a shiny new one a couple of years ago when he suggested it. But who listens to an ortho surgeon dad?
Just as it sometimes does, I stood up at work on Monday and it went out on me. I’ve had a hard time with it since. It’s nice and swollen and offers pain by the minute. And I think I’m as irritated as it is.
So, icing every 20 minutes, and following dad’s ibuprofen dosage plan closely, I’m hoping it will chill out by Sunday.
Here’s to hoping, and wishing I could stick the ice in a big cocktail right about now.
Fingers crossed. xoxo
September 16, I did it. I really did it.
And I am too exhausted to blog about it! Haha, not really. Just a busy day at work, however, I will blog tonight and you can hear about my triathlon and all it’s glory. Until then, I’ll leave you with a picture of this hard-earned beauty!