You can do anything…sort of.


Diagnosed at 4 years old, my parents, as most proud parents do, always told me I could do anything I wanted.  Diabetes wouldn’t stop me.  Well, it turns out that I can’t fly a commercial airplane in the US, which is a bummer.

And after 35 years of Type 1, I’ve found that there’s a lot I can’t do unless I’m up for a bigger commitment than most.  For example, I can run a 1/2 marathon or two but it doesn’t happen the same way as a typical runner.  There are the obvious differences like the fact that I run with a continuous glucose monitor implanted beneath my skin, I run with an insulin pump implanted in another spot under my skin.  My running belt is full with GU, a blood glucose monitor, strips and a lancet.  And those are just the obvious things.

The not so obvious differences are the needs to do the following:

  1. train at the same time as the race if possible.  My blood sugar goes up in the morning all by itself (annoying over-achiever), so in order for me to know exactly how much insulin and carbs I need to run 13.1 miles, I need to practice at the same time.  Can I train at other times of the day?  Of course, but that’s one thing to add to the list of things to adjust if necessary.
  2. decrease basal rates on my pump enough so I don’t bottom out during the race but not so much that I have to start running with high blood sugar.  If you are starting your day running a long distance, and you don’t do that every day, you need to make sure that your steady flow of insulin is decreased if you want to make it across the finish line.
  3. eat right before I run.  If I eat earlier, the lowered basal rates cause my blood sugar to shoot up followed running with what feels like a hangover. If I don’t eat at all, I’ll be treating lows while I’m running.
  4. Watch the CGM while running to make sure my blood sugar isn’t dropping too fast.

It’s enough to make you just sit on the couch and watch someone else run on tv.  But I can’t do that.  I can’t do that because my whole life I’ve been told I can do whatever I want.  So I will continue to prove that I can do whatever I want despite type 1 diabetes.  Here’s a good list:

  1. Jump out of a plane – check
  2. Bake on a reality cooking show – check
  3. Start a cake business (common for the average person, but a diabetic cake baker, weird)
  4. Run a 10 miler twice, and two half marathons – check
  5. Write a world famous diabetes blog and have my own segment on the Today Show…still working on that one🙂

I guess my point is that we diabetics really can do whatever we set our minds to.  We just need to commit and follow through because if you try to half-ass it, things could get really bad, really quick.  Be proud when you commit.  And try again when it doesn’t work.  This shit is really hard. (sorry for the bad word but I can’t express it any differently)

Gus – Why a Service Dog?


I’ve been a diabetic for 35 years.  When I was diagnosed they didn’t have blood glucose monitors.  Ok, maybe they had them but we didn’t have one until a year or so after I was diagnosed.  That was 1981.  Now, I’m able to test my blood sugar, use a pump, even inhale insulin if I want (I don’t want to).  The technology and cost to be a healthy diabetic has grown tremendously (that’s for another day) and I’m lucky enough to have access and the ability to take advantage of the tools that I need.

I started pump therapy about 12 years ago and started on a continuous glucose monitor about 4 years ago.  So, why a dog?  Why now?

It kind of happened by accident.

We decided to get another family dog last summer and since our last one was a lab we decided on that too.  A friend recommended a breeder and mentioned that he also trains diabetic alert dogs and happened to live 10 miles from where we live.  Within a week we had little Gus in our home and started having conversations about training a service dog.  The only thing I ever really knew about service dogs is that they cost about $20k and you don’t “get” them until they are a year old.

It turns out, there are many ways to utilize and train a service dog and our trainer Steve, let us know that the process could be tailored to our needs so we agreed!

Gus was home with us for almost a year and then took residence at Steve’s farm for just short of 3 months.  It took that amount of time to “imprint” the scent of me when my blood sugar is low.  For months, every time my blood sugar was below 50mg/dl, I would swab the inside of my mouth with a cotton ball and freeze it in a test strip container.  I delivered about 35 of those to Steve when we dropped Gus off.  Gus was then trained to find that scent and rewarded every time he did it correctly.  It’s like a game for him and he loves to play it.

He’s been home for about 3 weeks and is successfully alerting.  As far as taking him places with me, that is a work in progress. He is still a puppy and has a lot to learn and will be in weekly training for a long time.  I don’t really need to take him everywhere though.  I need him mostly at night and for running.  That’s why this way of having a service dog in our family works really well.

Gus is doing what he was born to do. I have one more tool to keep me healthy (I feel bad referring to my dog as a tool).  And we have the sweetest addition to our family that makes us complete.

Stay tuned for Gus’ Instagram account🙂 This is him at 2 weeks old! He still has that white superhero stripe <3 guspuppy



We are picking Gus up tomorrow!  I’m excited and nervous.  It’s weird to say that I’m nervous about picking up my dog that’s been away for 3 months, but I am.  Having an alert dog is awesome.  It’s also a big  responsibility.  Gus will no longer be just a pet and part of the family.  He’s going to have a job that requires him to let me know when I’m low.  For the last 35 years, I’ve been the only one responsible for that.  Sometimes irresponsible for that.  It’s a big new chapter and a bigger commitment.  No more being careless, no more not paying attention.  I have someone else keeping an eye on me now and I don’t want to let him down.  Tomorrow is a BIG DAY!  ps…his picture above is from a  year ago…but he’s still a little guy at around 55lbs!

I don’t have time…

Eat the time

There’s never enough time in the day.  Kids, work, sports, homework, playdates, laundry, dinner, oh, and diabetes.  Ugh, diabetes.  It’s the easiest thing to put on the back burner when the mac and cheese and baseball uniforms need to take priority.  Yet, it’s probably the most important so that the mac and cheese and baseball uniforms can be attended to long-term.

I repeatedly stretch myself too thin.  My husband actually cheered earlier in the school year when I wasn’t picked to chaperone a field trip and I grumbled out of disappointment.  I don’t like missing anything.  I don’t like feeling left out.  And I have a very hard time saying no.  To anything.  These habits often put me in the predicament of rushing and running around and forgetting important things like bolusing and changing pump sites.

You know, the things that are essential to my, well, staying alive.

What to do.  The schedule is not going to get any less crazy, I’m not getting rid of any of my children, and the diabetes is certainly not going anywhere.  The next step is to implement more resources and  more structure.

When I was diagnosed, I was 4 years old.  There were no insulin pumps or CGM’s.  There wasn’t even a decent (if you can call it that) blood glucose monitor until I was 6 or 7 years old.  So each day I woke up took the same amount of insulin (after being chased around the house and pinned down) ate the exact same amount of food, and peed on a test strip at the same time.  And so on, and so on.

Blood glucose monitor.  1986.0001.01.
She’s a beaut!

As technology advanced and more things were available to be attached and inserted, life got more flexible.  Too flexible.  I’m realizing now that maybe the way of the 80’s was not so wrong after all.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trading my pump for the cream colored contraption pictured above and perfectly measured portions of green beans, but what if kicking it old school has a little merit. Eating a similar amount of food at the same time each day has got to be easier than the guessing game of constantly changing it up. Right?

Let the planning begin!  My goal is to have an A1C of under 7 by September.  Game on, people.  Let’s go back in time.  I’ll keep you posted.



It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here and there’s a few reasons why.  First, the site is called Type 1 and running and only 50% of that is currently true.  I’m still a type 1 diabetic so don’t get too excited about the 50% that’s false.  Somewhere between deferring my Broad Street Run registration in 2015 and right now, I lost my motivation.  So 10 weeks out, I’m making my commitment to the blog-o-sphere that it’s game time.  This race is what started it all.  It gave me confidence.  It showed me that it was ok to give up in order to keep going.  It introduced me to a world of supportive people who wanted to see me succeed for no other reason than the fact that there are really great people in the world.  I’ve missed you, great people and I hope you are still hanging around.

In addition to my commitment to get off my ass, we have a new family addition that is very relevant to the world of complicated pancreases (I’m not sure if that’s the plural, but it made me laugh because the end sounds like asses).  I’d like to introduce Gus! He joined the family in August of 2015 and will start training as a Diabetic Alert Dog (DAD) in the next month or so.  As you can see in the photo, he enjoys eating sand and doing nothing right now, but soon he’ll be a hypoglycemia mastermind able to detect low blood sugar with a single sniff.  He can’t run long distances yet, but our goal is to run a long race together sometime in 2017 and I will award him with a finisher medal made out of a dog cookie🙂

I hope all is well in the world of T1D’s …I’ve missed y’all!

Dear John Burk, Let me introduce you to a guy that really cares about people’s health…

inclusion5kToday I listened to the viral video of the military guy yelling about, well, everything.  And it just seemed like an opportunity for him to stand shirtless in front of camera for millions of people to see.  So I saw an opportunity to introduce my friend Nic DeCaire.  He is the owner of Fusion Fitness, a passionate motivator and cares about wellness.  FOR EVERYONE.  AND he doesn’t yell.  This is how you motivate.  This is how you make a difference.  This is what needs to go viral. Make it happen, people.

Click on the link to see Runner’s World’s coverage of the first annual Inclusion Means Everyone 5k held in Newark, DE in July.


Why I’m doing it again…


The 10 mile Philly Broad Street Run is popular. Like 40,000 runners popular. Registration is by lottery and runners will not find out if they are in for another week. In hopes to channel motivation and a little luck, I thought I would post one more revised version of my 2013 experience in hopes that I can write a 2015, more successful version in May.

Sometimes the only way to win a race is to stop running.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes shortly after my 4th birthday. I don’t have a clear memory of a day that wasn’t filled with blood glucose testing and carbohydrate counting. And while I try to look at this disease as somewhat of a blessing for keeping me health conscious, I’ve also spent the majority of the last 33 years trying to avoid it. As a teen, I rarely tested my blood sugar, I guessed insulin dosages and ate whatever teens eat. I blatantly ignored a relatively serious medical condition that can have serious complications. I was lucky enough to have suffered very few consequences, but luck only gets you so far.

And then I grew up. (Well, I meandered through my 20’s and THEN I grew up). I met the man of my dreams, married him, and recognized a newfound motivation to self-manage. I made the leap into insulin pump therapy, got pregnant (2 weeks after the wedding, much to our surprise) and starting managing my diabetes like an NFL defensive coordinator manages his linebackers. Every carb counted, every basal rate adjusted, every blood sugar recorded and analyzed extensively, nothing was breaking through my line. I was a professional diabetic with attention to every detail except for one. I still didn’t want anyone to know. I wanted to be normal. I wanted to be in control and avoided the acknowledgement of limitations at any cost.

As a mom of two kids, I wanted to be perfect but cold sweats, shaky hands and low blood sugar is not perfect. More often than I would like to admit, my husband forced me to sit down and drink orange juice after I would irrationally melt down over spilled milk (literally). That feeling of defeat is unmeasurable. Not only did I spill the milk, but I didn’t acknowledge that I needed help. I didn’t stop.

It took me until May 5, 2013 to truly realize that I was doing it wrong. The Philadelphia Broad Street Run is a 10 mile race and deemed the most popular in the country with upwards of 40,000 runners. The course starts and finishes on Broad St. cutting straight through the middle of the city. It’s the most energized race I’ve ever experienced. The Temple University football team cheers in full uniform, the United States military high-fives the finishers, and local church-goers take a break from service to clap and wave. It’s the most impressive representation of Philadelphia, in my opinion, and I was going to be a part of it. And I wasn’t alone. My best friend had agreed to run with me.

This was the my longest race to date and the first time I was running with a continuous glucose monitor or CGM (a subcutaneous sensor that monitors blood sugar trends and transmits data to a handheld receiver). After a 5am wake up and assembly at the starting line, I soon realized that my training regimen was not good enough to avoid a pre-race high blood sugar. Running with high blood sugar is comparable to running with the worst hangover you’ve ever experienced, minus the awesome party. As we waited in the masses and shimmied closer to the starting line, I continued to inject insulin via my pump to lower my blood sugar to a comfortable level for a long run. At the starting line I was relieved to see the arrow on my monitor pointing down indicating that my blood sugar was heading back to the normal range. At mile marker 3, I could see that my blood sugar was continuing to fall too quickly. I had over-treated the high and caused the opposite complication. After four running gel packs (a total of 88 grams of carbohydrates), there was no change. Panic was starting to set in, but not panic that I was going to pass out in the midst of thousands of runners, it was panic that I would fail to finish. More importantly, my potential to fail was a result of this stupid disease. Jenn knew what was happening and was keeping me calm despite her concern for my well-being. As we approached mile marker five and City Hall, there was an ambulance parked just before the bend and I was asked one of the most difficult question I’ve ever had to face as a diabetic.

“Do you want to stop?”

No, I didn’t want to stop. I wanted to be in control. I wanted to finish. I wanted the diabetes to go away. But just as quickly as those emotions pushed me to keep going, I realized that the only way to finish was to stop. The only way to beat this 31 year nemesis was to face it head on and admit that I do have a limitation. One that I can control and one that will not keep me from living a normal happy life. But only if I am accountable for it.

So we stopped.

I told the paramedic that I was a Type 1 diabetic, that my blood sugar was dropping, and that I HAD to finish. After an official glucose reading of 45 mg/dl (normal is 80 mg/dl), more glucose gel, and half of a bagel from Dunkin’ Donuts (that my best friend ran to buy during a race, by the way), I was given the ok to keep running.

That last 5 miles was not only the finish to my first long race, it was the first time I had given in to my disease and gotten stronger. The first time that I felt legitimately in control. It was also the first time my best friend had gone into a donut shop during a timed race, which I love her so much for.

We crossed the finish line together after 2 hours 1 minute and 4 seconds. Without a doubt, 2 of the most significant hours of my life.

I have since run two half-marathons and several shorter races and hope to run Broad Street again in 2015.

This time without the bagel.

7 days until runners are notified…stay tuned

Back to Broad

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It’s been awhile.  Life sometimes takes a little more time to attend to and the things that you love like running and writing end up in the back seat temporarily.

But today I headed back to the gym feeling very out of shape and very out of sorts…Since I was last at the gym, they have built a new wing and moved the treadmills to said wing.  So, not only am I out of shape but was totally busted when I had to ask where they were!

Have no fear, though, I quickly hopped on, set the machine to a slow pace and started moving.  I started with a blood sugar of 268 and 2 miles.  Remarkably, I felt pretty good after the run and my blood sugar was down to 174 upon workout completion.

Most importantly, I once again realized that  running fits right into the “riding the bike” category.  Except for the fact that I really don’t enjoy riding a bike, which is weird but true.  You’ve probably also heard that running is mental.  For me, working out in general is mental.  I have to get over the anxiety of going back to the gym after it’s been so long.  For the record, everyone at the gym is super nice and helpful, but I’m still self-conscious and feel like I have to explain myself and ultimately end up saying something self-depricating to make people laugh.  It’s my thing.  And I always think people are looking at my butt while I’m running, not in a “Hey girl, nice butt.” kind of way, but more of  a “whoa she has not been on a treadmill for awhile” kind of way.

And while I ran my slow two miles, I decided that I’m going back to Broad.  Lottery entries start February 1st.  In 2013, I spent the majority of the race chasing after my blood sugar with a short ambulance stop, but I finished. This time, assuming I get in, I don’t want to just finish, I want to conquer!  So I hereby declare today the start of training and I’m psyched to cross that finish line again.

There are some very specific goals I have for this race that I will share as I go.  Finishing without dying will remain number 1, but this time, I’m doing more.

Lucky for you, I need accountability, so you get to read all about it!  Stay tuned, people.  I have a lot of work to do!

Cut The Cheese – Part 2

Awhile back, I blogged about “cutting the cheese”. It was my most-read post and it was a very simple concept of being a little more snobby about the cheese when you indulge. Let’s face it, the cheese at McD’s is less than appetizing, we just eat it because it’s there and always has been. Like most quick drive-thru treats, we never question the way they are put together, we just pay at the window and move along. And for the record, I’ve never heard someone comment on the exceptional flavor of that rubbery, orange square of questionable dairy product.

So, I’m going to attribute our lack of standards to habit. We all have them, good, bad and otherwise. Habits can make us or break us. The orange cheese habit is definitely a breaker. Whether you are trying to lose weight, gain more energy, lower blood sugar, or all of the above, cutting the cheese is still a good habit to get into. Not entirely, of course, I think cheese is wonderful and should be enjoyed in moderation. But it needs to be respected.

I thought I would share a habits that I’ve gotten into that have helped me avoid the mediocre and enjoy the exceptional.

1. Anytime you are ordering fast food (not exceptional but sometimes necessary), skip the cheese. It’s typically the most expensive part of what you are ordering so fast food joints are always going for the cheapest option. So, not only are you getting a ton of calories, fat and preservatives, you’re also getting crappy taste. It’s not worth it. And while you may be immediately thinking of a hamburger vs. a cheeseburger (duh), I’m thinking more along the lines of a fast food breakfast sandwich. DD’s has flatbread wraps that are pretty good and they will leave the cheese off for you (in my experience). Eliminating the fat and keeping the protein from the eggs will help you digest smarter, make you feel better and save you from regret!

2. Switch the cheese out for something else. On mornings when I have time, I make myself a breakfast sandwich. It consists of an english muffin (Thomas’ plain, not low-fat or whole grain, I will not lower my english muffin standards under any circumstances), 2 pieces of Boca breakfast links, (before you turn your nose up and saw “ew, no way”, you have to try them. I’m not typically a veggie product fan. I don’t like the mushy texture of a lot of those products, but I hate the grizzle and mystery textures found in regular sausage links, not to mention the fat, cholesterol, calories, etc.) You have to cook the hell out of them (I microwave from frozen for 30 seconds and then pan fry them), but you get all of the flavor and none of the mystery or guilt, so just try them. And to be clear, I have a strong allegiance to bacon as well (NOT turkey bacon), so I won’t just switch out a breakfast meat arbitrarily. Back to my sandwich. English muffin, 2 Boca links, 1 fried egg, a little butter on the muffin and hot sauce. This kicks the egg mcmuffin’s rear end any day of the week. And what’s missing? The cheese! Try swapping out the cheese for hot sauce for 2 weeks. And if you don’t like spicy, there’s plenty of hot sauce that isn’t that hot. I typically use Frank’s Red Hot. It’s not expensive or fancy and brings a new flavor that is so much more impressive than melted cheese. And guess how many calories are in a teaspoon of FRH? Um, zero. Guess how much fat is in a teaspoon of FRH? Um, zero. I put hot sauce on almost everything and will probably start carrying in my purse soon.

3. I made this point in my previous post, but you really need to consider upping your standards when it comes to cheese. Just like chocolate, you get what you pay for. And there’s no reason to subject ourselves or our kids to the processed non-cheese cheese that we were all forced to eat as kids. I’m not talking about a full out transition to imported Manchego (even though it’s incredibly delicious with a glass of cheap Spanish wine), but maybe just a small jump from American to Muenster? My kids call it Monster cheese which is fun and at ages 5 and 8 they can recognize that Muenster actually has flavor, just like Gorgonzola and Gruyere. Am I creating cheese snob monsters? Maybe. But I’d rather start them early in learning how to appreciate food instead of just eating it, even if it does cost me a few extra bucks. Also, cheese with more flavor may be more expensive, but thanks to the flavor part, you can typically use less.

4. Whenever possible, make it at home, from scratch. The frozen meal packages in the grocery store are super-convenient just like the food in the window, but all too often, we have the time to do it ourselves. I will guarantee that even if you make the EXACT same thing in your kitchen, it will be better for you. Use a copycat recipe if you want to get it as close to the original but you will still be using real butter and real vegetables (I hope), and meat that hasn’t been preserved with weird chemical things. Unless you are heading out to a fine dining establishment that prides itself on farm to table and fresh ingredients, most quick service restaurants are going to use what is most cost-efficient. Ingredients that fill that list are not usually healthy (i.e., vegetable oil instead of olive oil or shortening instead of butter). I would also be willing to bet that you will enjoy it more. Not only because you made it, but because fresh stuff tastes better. It’s a fact. This will take more time and probably more planning but not as much as you think. I’m the worst when it comes to planning dinners for the week and somehow I manage.

I love to eat out, I love cheese and I don’t really like to cook all that much but the fact of the matter is that there always needs to be balance. If you take responsibility for what you are eating and make a change here and there, you will see changes without having to turn your life completely upside down. Live like a diabetic now so you don’t become one later!

When Life Trumps Bolus…


My last post was about the kids going back to school and having time to brunch with the ladies and organize myself into neatness oblivion.  Well, then we had an 8 year old with a salivary gland cyst and inevitable surgery, an unexpected visit to a cardiologist due to a benign heart murmur, and a gazillion things in between that made brunches and neatness seem oh so far away.

The kids are fine and healthy (thank God!)  and the craziness distracted me from how much I miss them at school.   It also made carb counting and blousing seem so unimportant and secondary.  My kids are the most important thing in my life, but that same life depends on that bolus.  The bolus that I would love to push aside when things are crazy.  It seems that the times when I would love to ignore the diabetes are the same times when I need to pay the most attention to it.  I can’t care for a post-op child when my blood sugar is low.  I can’t have a conversation with a cardiologist when I’m dehydrated and irritable due to a high.

So when things feel out of control and life seems like its working against my A1c, I go back to basics.  After 33 years of type 1, I sometimes get the idea that I don’t need the basics.  I can just guess because I’ve been doing this for so long.  I can figure it out later, right now I just need to eat.  And EVERY time, every singe time, I’m proven wrong.  EVERY time, I’m reminded that I need to stop for just two minutes and do it the right way.  And I’m not complaining or feeling sorry for myself.  I’m simply stating the obvious.  I’m a diabetic.  I have a responsibility to myself and every person that loves me, to stop, for two minutes and do it the right way.

No excuses.  Back to basics.  2 minutes.

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