Monthly Archives: February 2013

Couch to 5K Challenge Days 5 and 6: Science Experiments


Since I was diagnosed only a year ago, people frequently ask me, “Is your blood sugar regulated yet?” I’m not sure how to answer them: I’m always regulating my blood sugar. In fact, each day I perform a string of science experiments on myself in order to keep my blood sugar in range as much as possible.

Take Tuesday, for example. I spent my first full day at my assigned high school for Practicum: I taught all three of my mentor teacher’s English II classes. When I teach, I get a surge of energy that seeps out through my toes and into the carpet as soon as the period ends. I also get a surge in my blood sugar. But I only checked my blood sugar twice during the course of the school day: once before the school day started and once right before it ended. Between the adrenaline and the lack of an early correction dose, my blood sugar climbed to 375 mg/dl, which I believe may be the highest number I have on record.

Experiment #1: Correction dose, water, and a nap, followed by a low carb supper and another correction dose.

The result: A crash about 3 hours later, resulting in a blood sugar in the 50’s.

Experiment #2: 12 grams of Nerds followed by a 50% reduction in my basal rate in order to keep my blood sugar steady during my jog in an hour.

The result: Beautifully steady blood sugar numbers during the jog, followed by an annoying 200-something right before bed. Grrr.

Today, I decided I was tired of simply accepting that stress was going to through my blood sugar out of whack every Tuesday and Thursday morning I spend at Practicum, and I decided to do something to keep my numbers more even

Experiment #3: 20% increase in basal rate throughout the morning

The result: 160 mg/dl after breakfast and 129 mg/dl before lunch. A little high, maybe, but much much better than the 200-somethings I’ve seen every Tuesday and Thursday morning since I started my Practicum.

As I got ready for my evening jog, I checked my blood sugar and wasn’t exactly happy with the number: 256. Time for another experiment.

Experiment #4: Reduce basal by 50% an hour prior anyway. Check for ketones. Drink water. DO NOT TAKE INSULIN, as having active insulin in my system would cause me to drop much too quickly.

The result: Despite the reduction in insulin intake, I still dropped 121 points in 45 minutes.

So, no. My blood sugar isn’t regulated.

[Tuesday’s] Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 118 mg/dl

The workout: 5-minute warm-up. 5-minute warm-up. Alternate 1:30 minutes jogging with 2 minutes walking. 4 minutes cool down. 31 minutes total.

Post-workout blood sugar: 107 md/dl

Today’s Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 256 mg/dl

The workout: Same as Tuesday

Post-workout blood sugar: 135 mg/dl

Time for a new goal!

I’ve made it through two weeks! My new goal is to stay on target for two more weeks.

The carrot: Some new exercise pants would be nice.



What Diabetes Looks Like: When life hands you avocados…


I walked into my room Monday night to find this sitting on my desk…

When life hands you avocados, EAT THEM. They do help tough weeks. Scientifically PROVEN.

When life hands you avocados, EAT THEM. They do help tough weeks. Scientifically PROVEN.

Avocados are right up there with chocolate, but are much easier on my blood sugar. In case you were wondering, I have the best roommate EVER.

Couch to 5K Challenge Day 4: Mountain Road




When I met my first goal on Thursday, I didn’t feel like celebrating. I can’t think of anyone who feels like celebrating with 13 papers waiting on their desk to be graded.

But today, I feel like celebrating. I have not only met my first goal, but also kept on track with my routine even though I’m out of town this weekend visiting my grandparents. There’s as little-used road that runs past my grandparents’ house in the mountains. It was a little harder than running on a flat track, but the view made up for it. The air was cool and misty and smelled like fresh greenery and woodsmoke. I’ll let the view speak for itself, although iPod pictures can’t quite do the Blue Ridge mountains justice.

Today’s Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 200 mg/dl

The workout: 5-minute warm-up. Alternate 1:30 minutes jogging with 2 minutes walking. 4 minutes cool down.

Post-workout blood sugar: 140 mg/dl

I’m quite pleased with my blood sugar results this workout. I started my temp basal 60 minutes prior to beginning my workout this time. I also ate lunch right before going out. The timing wasn’t the best, but I cut back my lunchtime bolus and made sure I had some Nerds in my pocket before I headed out the door in case my blood sugar plummeted during my jog. As you can see, it did drop pretty fast, but it stayed fairly even considering  the amount of insulin I had in my system.

Also, I feel like I speak a new language now that I have diabetes. Probably because I do.

Couch to 5K Challenge Day 3: Cool It, Little Britches


Remember how I said on Tuesday that I needed to blow off some steam? Today made Tuesday seem like nothing. Don’t get me wrong: I had a good, productive day. But I had so much to do that I felt like a coiled spring by 5 pm. Finding a whole section of papers that I had forgetten still needed grading didn’t help. Man, I needed that jog. I plugged in my iPod using my new earbuds…

athletic earbuds


…and headed it out to the tracks, listening to “The Bare Necessities” as I warmed up. As I headed out, I remembered something:

I met my first goal!

Life is good.

Today’s Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 118 mg/dl

The workout: Same as the last two days.

Post-workout blood sugar: 75 mg/dl

I’m thinking that I need to start my temp basals an hour ahead of time so I don’t go down quite so much. Overall, I’m happy with how steady my numbers have been.

The Bare Necessities

Reasons why I love this song:

  • It’s a jazzy song that has a banjo in it.
  • A song about “bare” necessities sung by a bear? Very punny.
  • For such a light-hearted song, it’s got a lot of truth in it. Why worry about something you can’t change? Cool it, little britches.


Couch to 5K Challenge Day 2: Running Off Some Steam


Today I taught my first lesson for my teaching Practicum. The lesson went well and my students were fairly well-behaved and attentive for a bunch of 15-year-olds who would rather be anywhere but in English class. But I’ve been nervous about this lesson for days, so by the end of the day I needed to run off some steam.

Today’s Workout

Pre-workout blood sugar: 111 mg/dl

The workout: Same as yesterday–4 minutes warm up, alternate 1 minute jogging with 1:30 brisk walking, followed by a 5 minute cool down. 30 minutes total.

Post-workout blood sugar: 88 mg/dl


  • Confession: my jogging playlist consists entirely of Disney music.
  • Another confession: while I listen to these songs, I analyze them for literary elements. Is that weird?
  • I used the same temp basal rate that I used for my summer workout routine: a 50% reduction beginning half an hour before the workout and lasting half an hour after. It seems to be working today–my blood sugar went down, but not too fast and it was back until the 100’s by the time I ate supper at 5:45.

Loosening Up

I’m in the middle of grading the second batch of Freshman English papers this semester, and it’s killing my back (like everything I else I do).  During a grading break on Saturday, I found a great YouTube video of posture exercises. These exercises are simple, easy to remember, and (the best part) narrated by British people. Enjoy!



Couch to 5 K Challenge Day 1: Truth or Dare


The Truth

I started the Couch to 5 K program back in August. By October, I was only 3 weeks into in the program. I then quit the program to try the Willy-Nilly Jogging program. While I’m stronger than I was in August, I’ve lost a lot of gains.

The Dare

My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to begin the program again, follow through, and still get my grading done. Here’s my game plan:

  • Jog three times a week–Tuesday evening, Thursday evening, and on Saturday.
  • Write a brief blog post after each workout for some accountability, noting my pre and post workout blood sugars.

I’m a firm believer in rewards. I know I should be motivated to follow through just by the health benefits I’ll receive, but sometimes stuff is more motivating. In addition to the accountability of blogging, I plan to keep myself on track my setting short term goals and rewarding myself for meeting them. These rewards will be something that I will use while exercising, giving myself further motivation to stick with it. My reward for starting is a much needed pair of athletic earbuds:

Here’s my first short-term goal:

  • Finish the first week on schedule.
  • Reward will be a new exercise shirt. A cute one.

Day 1

Pre-workout blood sugar: 131 mg/dl

The workout: 4 minutes warm up, alternate 1 minute jogging and 1:30 brisk walking, and  5 minutes cool down. 30 minutes total.

Post-workout blood sugar: 68 mg/dl

My thoughts:

  • I can tell I’m stronger than I was when I first started this program back in August. I felt invigorated when I finished rather than tired.
  • I decided to buy the earbuds while jogging. The standard Apple earbuds are really, really, really annoying while jogging.
  • I’m hungry.
  • I need to start grading….





The Best Valentine’s Day Present


I’ve not gotten many Valentine’s Day presents, but I’ve gotten some memorable ones. Like the “boyfriend” my childhood best friend sent me my sophomore year of college.

William Charles Alexander Bearington III: He's chocolate-scented and he's from Oxford. He's also available, ladies.

William Charles Alexander Bearington III: He’s chocolate-scented and he’s from Oxford. He’s also available now, ladies.

Last year was my first Valentine’s Day with diabetes. Chocolate wasn’t off limits, but I was newly diagnosed and had no desire to look even look at sweets at the time since I had only just gotten that galling high blood sugar sweetness off my breath. My boyfriend (this one a boy, not a bear) gave me something better than chocolate.

He took me shopping for “diabetes stuff.” He bought me glucose tabs and juice boxes and peanut butter and whole wheat saltine crackers and cheese sticks.

pb crackers

It was exactly five million times better than chocolate. And that’s saying a lot.

Wondering what you will do this Valentine’s Day? Considering donating to Life for a Child. This Valentine’s Season, a coalition of diabetes bloggers is trying to raise support for Life for a Child through their Spare a Rose, Save a Child initiative. Buy one less rose this Valentine’s Day and donate your savings to Life for a Child.