Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Ironman Arizona

Sometimes having diabetes SUCKS! This is what 10 year old triabuddy Ryan said at the Triabetes documentary premiere on Saturday. It was a phrase I kept thinking to myself as I couldn't get a handle on my blood sugars for half of the day. I'll try to make this short, but no promises. This blog will probably make sense to someone with diabetes, again no promises to those of you without.
I change my insulin pump site Saturday night around 7 or 8pm, I open a new bottle of insulin. I put an extra site in, just in case. I go to bed with a bg of 189,(normal 70-120) I bolus 2 units take half a Unisom(pre-race ritual, if I ever hope to sleep at all before a race like this)and hope for at least 4 solid hours. What I did not know was that I had a kinked cannula, for those of you without the betes, that means I was not getting any insulin delivered to my life line. To make matters worse, when I wake up my reservoir is no longer in my pump, it's dangling at my side, so naturally I blame my 430 Bg on this, not knowing that I also have a kinked cannula. What are the chances, welcome to my life, seriously, 2 people in my family commit get the point, this is my luck. I bolus 8units and know my breakfast of a bagel, banana and Boost will have to wait. 30 minutes later accucheck is 360, I bolus 4 more units, I have hope. 20 minutes later hoping that I will be able to eat, 410. OK, WTF, I blame adrenaline, 2 more units. I'm already feeling like sludge is running through my veins, in reality it's lots of sugar not being able to be utilized by my cells. We head to the race, blood sugar never goes down, I'm still blaming adrenaline and being without insulin all night for my resistance. So stubbornly stupid. I feel happy and excited to start this race, Miley Cyrus comes on my Ipod and I sing and laugh. There's a party in the USA, I change the words, There's a party in Tempe today. Life is good despite these crazy sugars.
There is a table set up before the swim start where we will be able to leave our pumps and accuchecks, Sarah another athlete, diabetic, friend and volunteer for Triabetes is there. She suggests that she give me 2units via injection so that we know it will work. Good plan, 2 units in, Bg still 400+ but since I now took what I thought was another 2 units, I feel confident to eat half a banana. Who starts an Ironman race with some Diet Coke and half a banana....that would be me, the diabetic idiot. Swim goes well, no hyperventilating for once in a mass of 2200+ athletes. Imagine I'm worried about going low thinking I have all this insulin on board that is bound to start kicking in when I swim. I swim with Skittles in my wetsuit sleeve and 2 Gu's that Anne gave me, because my morning dry clothes bag ripped and I lost some stuff out of it, yeah that's all that great luck again. I realized later the reality was that I only had 2 units from about 7 or 8pm the night before, surely ketones were starting to kick in, that would explain the constant peeing in my wetsuit, never had a cramp, never got too cold, just kept warm by peeing. Despite their bad reputation, ketones ARE good for something. I exit the swim 1hr and 40minutes later, bg is 263, I feel confident that sugar is on the right track , I drink a Boost at transition and bolus(so I thought) 2 units. 30 minutes into the ride I am not feeling right, I notice my breathing is way off, sugar check 330, eff, I take 6 units and increase basal to 150%, this is Ironman and I need to start pounding some calories. A year ago my body would not respond so poorly to these high sugars, but this year is different, my body now reacts poorly to highs. I drink lots of water and decide to add some electrolyte tabs to it, I'm in the desert, gatorade is not an option with a sugar like this, nor is any more calories until I can get a Bg less than 200. I start thinking about Ryan's statement, "Having diabetes sucks", yes sometimes it does, especially today. I have trained all year, spent tons of money to get here and this is how it's going to end. I start thinking about different scenarios, I entertain myself with my horrible blood sugars. I am convinced I will be the dumbass Triabetic out on the course that goes into DKA. Surely, Peter will want my certificate that says, "Master in Diabetes", back! What a joke I am. I try to stay calm, the nausea sets in, surely ketones. This ridiculousness goes on until mile 45, I keep bolusing, sugar is constantly above 300, I keep stopping to pee. At about mile 40 when it is evident that my site or insulin is not working, I am not sure which one at that point, I try to switch to my spare site. IT DOES NOT CLIP IN, the connection won't work.Yes, all my great luck again. This has happened to me before, it is like a piece is missing and you can't click it together. I start to really get nervous, I am almost halfway through this freakin bike with no nutrition and now definitely no insulin. I have no backup plan. I realize I have had exactly 2units of insulin since 8pm. DKA here I come, UNLESS I can find a Triabetic out here that still injects...Bill or Kevin are my only immediate hope. Well at about mile 45, Bill sees me on the side of the rode trying to connect to my spare site, still with no success. He asks me if everything is OK, I am sure I look panicked, I was craving insulin, any diabetic knows that feeling. My body needs it, my muscles feel heavy, I am nauseous and I neeeed freakin insulin. I will never be without a syringe again, tough lesson after 24 years with this disease. He kindly stops, anyone who does not know Bill... Bill is fast and he slows for me, he is my superhero, he gives me a syringe with 15units, I take 9 and save the rest for later. My race is saved, this Ironman thing will surely happen today. Bill is my hero. He was my hero before, for all of his accomplishments, he was the first type 1 diabetic to do an Ironman back in the 80's. Now he has saved what feels like my life, surely my race. By mile 56 at my special needs bike bag...where I should have placed an extra site change, I am in the high 200's, I decide to drink my Boost and say goodbye to my frozen Snickers, my sugar is still high but coming down quick, I need the electrolytes in the Boost and I only have 6units in a syringe, I must choose nutrition wisely. This is where having diabetes does suck, not a moment goes by that you don't have to calculate the after effect. I really wanted that Snickers, but I sadly said goodbye to it. Still nauseous anyway, but just throwing a Snickers away, is so wrong. The cool part of this story is that at the final turnaround my Triabuddy Delaney was there, who happens to be a Minimed pump user also. She has a extra infusion site. It's not one that I've ever used so she helps me insert it. How cool was that, this great 12 year old is able to help me. John Moore is there also, another fellow Triabetic,diabetic Ironman and he gives me his bottle of insulin, so cool,now I know I have no more insulin worries. My people have saved me. Any other race their would not have been tons of diabetics on the course racing , volunteering or spectating, but this race was special, it was why I was there. My day was saved by diabetics all over the course, how amazing was that. I think my dad and brother must have been looking out for me too, they were not going to let All-e and I go down without a fight.
Unfortunately, Delaney's infusion site was not long enough to stay in a meaty girl like me. I try some "hockey tape," yes that is what a rest station gave me when I asked for medical tape to try to save the pump site, but sugars were never an issue again, and with a syringe and insulin, my mind was at peace. 19 miles before the end of the bike as I am ready to head back out, I see Heather approaching the last turnaround, I stay and wait for her and her meter has broken, so now it is my turn to help another diabetic out on the course. We laugh, curse and talk the last 20 miles in, life was good. As we head onto the run together she has a quicker pace than me, I tell her to go, it will be a long 26 miles and at that moment I needed to be slow. I catch her at mile 7ish, we run about 7 or 8 miles together, then we separate. My sugars are never an issue again and I only need to take 2 more units the entire race. I cross the finish line not nearly in the time I wanted, but as my friend Nick says..."It's not about your time, it's about the time you have while you're out there." Delaney is there with flowers, Aaron is there with his smile, gosh I love that smile. My day is complete. I have completed my fourth Ironman. This was a great race with other type 1's all over the course, I got to run and ride with a friend who I call my diabetic sister. Until this this year I never had a support system of other diabetics, now I have what feels like family. Anne gave me her Gu's, Sarah gave me an injection, Bill gave me a syringe with insulin, Delaney gave me a insulin pump infusion set and flowers, John gave me a bottle of insulin, and who I call my diabetic sister, Heather, gave me her friendship out there on some lonely miles. I know I have said this before but I must say it again, Triabetes has changed my life, it has changed the way I manage my diabetes, I no longer see renal patients in the hospital and think I might be one of them someday. I now have the tools to avoid all the complications of diabetes. When I think I'm doing a good job managing my diabetes, all I need to do is hang around other type 1's to realize I can do better. I love this organization for what it has done for me, it's ironic that one year ago I had poorly managed sugars and not many tools to change how I managed it, and my last race with all the other Triabetic captains would start with these crazy sugars with no workling pump sites and end at a perfect 92, with Bill's extra syringe, Delaneys help and John's insulin, more tools than I needed. The irony of life I suppose. I think it was just a reminder from up above that even though this race is over, I need the diabetic community in my life, they are my people and always will be. We are a little different than the rest of the world, I guess just a bit sweeter.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


She is the strongest woman I know, she's a survivor. She is my mom, that's why I named my bike after her.I may have lost a brother and a dad, but she lost a son and a husband to suicide, far more deep than what I went through. My brother and dad called her All-E, short for Auline. Back in January she says to me she wants to buy me something I love, a bike. After many issues with a team Kestrel, I decided that a tri bike was not for me and that I would be better off on a road bike, so in August I design the bike of my dreams on the TREK Project One website. Due date beginning of October....reality...this past Sunday, my bike came to life. I can't stop staring at her, she is a new furniture fixture in my living room. I have learned patience waiting for this bike, but she is so worth it, when I picked her up from Bicycles Unlimited I knew she was worth the wait. We were meant to be together! She is dreamy, she is pink, black and white, tough, but yet feminine. Tough like my mom, tuff like me. My mom is in a good place in her life, she has overcome obstacles that most should not have to go through. She has come out on top, I'd like to think I am like her in many ways. She is strong, independent and tough when she needs to be. I am lucky to be her daughter. Although she won't be at this Ironman race, she will be with me every moment, especially on that bike. Me and All-E tearing up that Ironman course(or at least surviving it).
I can't wait to take her on her first Ironman journey. I leave next Wednesday, race is Sunday. I am hoping for the best knowing it is a long day and anything can happen during such a long race. There will be ups and downs, just like life. Breathe, move, repeat x 140.6 miles.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

So I'm suppose to be blogging consistently since I'm a Triabetes captain...but I have not. It's been over 2 months since my last blog, and it is almost 2 months until Ironman. I have time to redeem myself. Summer recap, IT WENT FAST. No racing for me since the Black Bear, just lot's of training. Probably won't be doing any races until Ironman. The cost of Half's and Olympic's is just ridiculous, Triathlon has gotten big, and they can charge whatever they want and races still fill up. So I've just been doing lots of training, it's free, which keeps peace at the Ricci house. Which brings me to a training weekend I did 2 weeks ago. My best friend Sinibaldi asks me if I want to go up to New Paltz to train on some hills, yeah sure, I suck in hills and would love nothing more than to go torture my legs for a day. We head up at 5am on a Sunday with our friend Mark. We will be training on the SOS adventure triathlon course, because they will be doing this race in 2 weeks. Little did I know that I would be training with them as if I were doing the course. For any of you who have never heard of SOS, it's a adventure Triathlon, it does not follow the same format as most tri's. It starts out as a 30 mile bike, followed by a series of 4 runs and 3 swims. The unique part is whatever gear you start with after the bike, you must finish with. So what that means is you have to run with your wetsuit and swim with your sneakers. The run is a bit over 18 miles and the swim over 2. You can be as creative as you wish and swim with a dry bag, or just tough it out and run with wet sneakers. Well I knew the race was wacky but I didn't realize we would be training as if it were the race!!!
Here's how it goes 5am wake up, meet Sinibaldi grab a bagel and coffee and head to meet Mark. We get up to New Paltz and are riding by 9:45am. Mark tells us we are going to be riding the bike course plus an additional 14 miles. OK, this is what I came for, let's roll. I suck in the hills, downhills and uphills. I brake way too much going down and can't pedal fast enough going up. Yup I suck at hills! Ride is going well, we are 6 miles from finish and Mark tells us its ALL up from there. OK, F-in great 6miles of uphill, here's where the cursing begins and does not end until the day is over. I think of Mt. Lemmon I stay in my lowest gear and ride, I try to talk to Sinibaldi, but breathing is an issue, so that ends quickly. We finally make it back to the parking lot where I believe that we will be able to leave our wetsuit, goggles, nutrition, accucheck etc. Oh no, I'm quickly informed that whatever I will need to swim and run I need to bring with me. OK, I remind the 2 crazy people I'm with that I did not sign up for this race. I'm just training for a normal Triathlon(imagine..calling Ironman normal) so here is where I learn I will be running with my wetsuit and swimming with my sneakers if I want to continue to hang out with my friends. I'm in the middle of nowhere, what the heck else was I gonna do. Here it goes, I figure what's 6 miles of running with a wetsuit aound you, maybe a lot of chafing, but I'll hack it. Then Mark informs us that we will be, running around 10 miles. OK seriously, WTF I have to carry my wetsuit for 10 miles and after I swim I have to carry it wet. Just great. I decide I'm going to wear it like a cape and leave my goggles around my neck since my GU's and accuckeck took up all the space in my fuel belt. So here we are running through these beautiful hilly trails looking like a bunch of freaks, we get to this hill its apparently called cardiac hill, are they serious? In a loving manner I continuously curse Sinibaldi. Three miles in I learn we will be dumping anything that's not waterproof, thank god I have my insulin pump and my accucheck, we hang it from my pink fuel belt in a tree so that we can see it when we are swimming back. We are trekking through some deep brush and I'm convinced I'm getting chiggers, poison ivy and ticks, I figure this will just be the icing on the cake. (It was all in my head, I didn't get any of them.) We run about a mile around the lake where we learn that you can only swim in designated spots or you will be ticketed. Great, now my insulin pump is hanging on some tree in the middle of nowhere. Oh well, I need to just go with the flow, who would seriously steal a insulin pump? Especially not a waterproof one(Do u hear me Minimed?). We swim at the designated area for about 25 minutes, the water is chilly and I'm glad I have my wetsuit, UNTIL its time to run again. This time I decide I will try to tie it around my waist instead of the super hero cape format I was running with. We take a different trail to go find my insulin pump and I decide running with a wet wetsuit is abnormal and it sucks. We find my stuff and by this time I've been without insulin an hour and my bg is 245. Its funny how just last year I'd be content with that number, now I know I need to get it down. I dual wave bolus and start running. Mark informs us the next few miles are all uphill , he promises the views are worth it, they are. He also promises us the few miles after that are downhill. I find out quickly he has lied. The run continues he is much faster than us so he goes ahead and waits for us at turns. It winds up being one of the most beautiful places I have ever trained, as much as I wanted to kill Sinibaldi for making me run with my wetsuit, it was definitely one of our most fun memories. The run comes to an end at the twelve mile mark and Dunkin Donuts is our reward. Before that day I'd sworn to Monica that I'd never sign up for that race and now I'm thinking it is a race I must do someday. Tri is always teaching me something, that day it reinforced, never say never, and that I'm capable of doing things that I thought not possible. It will be fun someday to attempt that race as a type one diabetic, trying to keep insulin, and an accucheck dry.

So this weekend was their race, this weekend was also a heavy training weekend, my 20 year reunion and my 38th birthday. Saturday comes and I have a 4 hr bike ride 30 minute run, followed by 20 year class reunion, and then a midnight drive to New Paltz. The reunion went fast and it was nice to see everyone after 20 years. I pound 5 diet cokes and prepare myself for a long night/day. It's weird how those four years stay with you for the rest of your life. Looking back it all seems so insignificant and life is so much better now, but even after all those years it feels like just yesterday I was a teenager trying to "fit in." I think how far I've come, I'm now running around trails with wetsuits wrapped around me, far from normal behavior. It definitely doesn't matter to me anymore if I fit in, because the beauty of age is that we realize who we really are. And the people that we surround our self with, accept us for all of our good, and not so good qualities.

On the drive up I am singing and happy. I am happy that this is my present, I had just left the reunion, my past, but this is my present, and there is no place I'd rather be other than driving up to see my bff race. Yup, at that moment, Life was so good. I arrive at 2:15am and Sinibaldi is awake, we stay up till 4am giggling like a bunch of teenagers, then sleep for an hour. Funny 20 years ago I had sleepovers with long lost friends I had just seen, and now every race away from home brings more sleepovers. Triathlon makes you feel like a kid again, swim, bike, run and hang with your friends, yes it's the greatest.

The race starts at 7am and Mark's wife and I navigate to find them at different transitions. These people are tough, Sinibaldi is tough, the cold mountain lake water causes most to cramp, they are crawling out of the water. It inspires me, what makes us do this torturous stuff to our body, out of our own free will? Anyone who has participated in endurance sports knows the answer. It's the mental toughness you feel when you are done. The sense of accomplishment is like no other. Some day I will sign up for this race. Sinibaldi finishes and we head home, she is my hero, tough as they come. I'm in bed by 10pm and CRASH. The next day is my 38th birthday, I wake up knowing I have a 6 hr bike to do followed by a short run. I head onto the bike feeling so content. I'm 38, a diabetic for 24 years and I can ride my bike for 6 hours, I am lucky. There was no place I'd rather be. The weather god was out in full force, the sun was shining my sugars were perfect what better present could I ask for. I think of my dad and brother, why would they commit suicide? I still don't get it, I work hard to stay healthy, I mean real hard, and they just give in. As my training days get longer and I push through hard workouts, I think of them a lot more. Not a ride or run goes by, that I don't feel their presence. I wonder if they can feel my pain during the workouts as I push through, are they up there thinking "Yup, that's our girl, she sure is tough." Well that's what I like to believe they are saying, and it is sometimes what keeps me going. Nope I will not be a quitter in life like them. The way I lost them has affected me more than I'd like to admit, I miss them everyday. Sometimes I wish I could forget, bury their memories far away, I can not. I'm a 38 year old women that wants her dad and brother back, I can only hope they are watching over me proud, especially since I had my best hgb A1C ever, 7.3! Still not in the 6's but a far cry from where I was last year! "TRI on my friends! I'm off to swim!"

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Last night I had the chance to meet 7 more Triabetics. This time though, instead of everyone being spread out across the country they were all local, or somewhat! (Within an hour and a half driving distance). We got to enjoy a short run through Central Park, followed by sushi and lessons on how to eat with chopsticks. The thing is, I always seem to learn something from other Triabetics. I always leave more inspired to train, race and take care of myself, and maybe I'll even try to eat with chopsticks again. Triabetes has just changed the way I manage my diabetes. No doctor in 24 years has ever been able to inspire me the way other Triabetics do. That's powerful stuff. My husband doesn't get it, he says I was just lazy before, anyone that knows me, knows I'm not lazy, but maybe I just needed the right tools and inspiration to take better care of "the betes" and Triabetes has been it. Years of being a nurse and watching the horrors of what this disease can do to your body if you allow it, was not good enough. It doesn't make sense to me either, but I know meeting other Triabetics has been key for me. Amputations, non healing wounds, blindness, kidney failure, nope not good enough. Go figure. So when I say Triabetes has been powerful, I really mean it.
Anyhow, once again last night, there was instantly a unique bond, one that I hope grows as the East coast Triabetes Team trains and races together. Being a captain of the team puts a little pressure on to keep this thing growing, it's a welcomed pressure though. Maybe it's the start of a strategically planned coping mechanism for myself. I've already started thinking about how sad I will be after Ironman AZ in November, coming down from a Ironman is hard enough, but coming down from one of the most amazing years of my life... I'm not looking forward to it. After Ironman AZ, will the 15 captains NEVER be together again. Reality tells me that is probably what will happen, the delusional side of me likes to think that we will all be able to meet up a few times a year. That's why I feel responsible to keep our East coast team connected and growing. If each captain can help make this team grow to inspire better diabetes management through exercise and continue to learn from each other, then we all will have done our job to make sure Triabetes is around forever. I remember feeling envious with the bond that Peter, Bill, Anne, Heather etc already had when I first met them in November. It did not take long to develop the same connections. I feel like I've known a bunch of them for a lifetime. After meeting some of the East coasters last night, it was clearly the same bond. As a team we are responsible for keeping this alive, I know I am captain for the New England region and if I was wealthy, (I'm not, see 3 blogs below....) I would love to train and race in New England. Recently, on Phrendo one of the New England members said they felt the region needed a boost. I had guilt over that comment, like I wasn't doing my job as a captain, the truth is we can all reach out to our local members and commit to making this team be well known in the triathlon world. There are 100 + members on the team now, and it is only growing. The New England region will meet at the DESA conference this weekend and I hope they can form a bond also. I hope in years to come, I will be at local tri's and see Triabetes jerseys all over the course. (Well at least a few-I guess asking for hundreds of diabetic triathletes in one race is a little optimistic) But seriously, I think we all owe it to ourselves to put the time in to keep these Phrenships alive ;) Jen had an idea last night that we all TRI to get together to meet at least every other month. I'm so on board with that. We have so many opportunities, to train and race together in this region and every region out there has the same opportunities. Life, time management it's all hard sometimes, it's easy to make excuses but I promise, these phrendships will be worth it. I don't ever want to be without my Triabetic friends. As I've said before, I need them in my life, they have motivated me with diabetes management, beyond what I ever thought possible. Who would've ever thought I'd be taking Symlin, Lantus, and wearing a pump, just to have better blood sugars! So thank you Becca, Kerry, Jen, Mark, Jason, Rob and of course Peter, looking forward to seeing you all again in the near future!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Black Bear

Well,I did my first Half Ironman in over 2 years. I kind of forgot how long a half really is. I almost disrespected the distance until I was in it once again! After doing a full, you get this mentality that "Oh it's just a half." Come race day, weather is perfect, chilly start, but it warms up to the 70's with some kicking wind. Like the hills on the bike were not enough, we had to add wind to the mix. Swim went great, after my near drowning experience at Irongirl I was a bit nervous to get out there again, in fear of another freak out moment and 160 heart rate. Surprisingly,I felt great and kept heart rate 130-140 entire swim, time was 45 minutes, right where I wanted to be. Need to cut off 5 minutes to have the 1:20 Ironman swim I would like. Still 5 months to go, should be possible.
The bike was a different beast. Hardest bike I've done to date, I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I'd thought I'd be done in a little less than 3 hours. Nope 4:05, I guess I under estimated the hills in the Poconos. It was sure a beautiful course though, one minute you were going 40 mph, than you were doing 5 I stopped at the bottle exchanges and poured my fluid into my Triabetes water bottles, I could not BEAR to throw them on the ground in replace for some Black BEAR labeled bottles. I'm sure I lost 30 seconds there:)My cleat broke the last 10 miles of the race and I had to ride with one in and one out, no big deal though, if this stuff has taught me anything, it's that there will always be some sort of glitch in the day. I wish I had put my compact crank back on though, I sure could've used it. Actually I was proud of myself that I could get up the hills without it, I know a few years ago, it would not have been possible! If anything it was a great training ride, it brought back memories of climbing Mount Lemmon with my Triabetes teammates!
Run went good, I was hoping for a 2:15 but had a 2:23, it was a beautiful trail run. I felt really great during the run though and talked to anyone who would talk back, I kept my heart rate below 150 the entire time(it was into the 170's during the bike-YIKES). Funny thing was, I kept looking at my Polar thinking, there is noo way this is right I am running faster than almost 11 minute miles, well Polar was dead on! Funny how I was convinced I was faster, can't even blame it on hyper-hypo glycemia, cause sugars were near perfect all day! That was the best part! Well maybe that was the second best part... I see my BFF on the run, now I'll rewind the story a bit. I gave her this race as a birthday present, and she winds up in the ambulance with a minor eye injury on the bike, but she carries on as she always does. So I see her and she is not looking very happy with me, I give her a big sweaty hug and say my usual "Love ya Sinibaldi." I love being at races with my friends, THAT is the best part.
On the ride home she is driving and says "You're going to need to drive", because, she has once again made herself "race" sick. We get a little farther and here it comes, she pukes her guts up. It sounded like everything she could have possibly drank the entire race, even her 6am coffee. That's why I couldn't Twitter on the ride home! At least she can now proudly wear the red headband I bought her at Irongirl that says, RIDE TILL YOU PUKE! Happy Birthday girl-- It's just a bonus birthday gift that I had to share that story with the world!

Inked up and ready to go

Now that warm weather is here, it's been easier to get out on the bike...except now that I'm following a training plan, the bike workouts are harder to follow from the saddle instead of on the trainer. High cadence, low cadence, 4 minutes at 95, stand up, sit down, max heart rate, moderate heart rate, blah, blah, blah! My friend Monica who is, oh so clever has come up with a great way to follow the workouts, we write them on our arms with a marker, much easier than following a piece of paper. I think it's a fabulous idea that works well, and I'd thought I'd share it with you all. If you're like me and don't shower for hours after a workout, you'll get lots of weird looks and "What's that on your arm?" but, nothing about this sport seems to be normal anyway! Angelina Jolie has nothing on us with all her tattoos, at least our ink has purpose!
Oh yeah, one more thing, now that the warm weather is here, for any of you that like solid food on long bike rides, cut up salt bagels in bite size pieces in Ziplocs work great. Of course, that was my idea because it revolves around food. Just my 2 cents for the day!

Sunday, May 17, 2009


Well I'm on the plane returning home from Irongirl where I thought I was going to have my best race ever.... Instead it was close to one of my worst. If triathlon has taught me anything in life, its just to hold on, keep tri-ing, move forward, breathe, and that all the training in the world does not guarantee you for a good race. Life is so unpredictable, all we can do is learn from our mistakes and TRI to become a better person. Pretty valuable lessons in life. Those lessons were what got me through the entire week and the horrible race I had. One week ago I would not have imagined the week, or race unfolding the way it did. Since I'm a pretty honest person, and I tell it like it is, I'll share this with whoever is reading. The day before Irongirl my husband finds a credit card bill-one he does not know I have.( OK... so I said pretty honest) This is not my first cc incident in our 13 yrs of marriage-so needless to say he is less than pleased, I get it -I own the bad spending behavior-just have not figured out how to change it, YET. He asks me if I have a secret life that I am spending all this money on-yeah, but, it's no secret-it's called TRIATHLON.Triathlon gear-triathlon race fees-triathlon hotels-triathlon travel expenses, 35 bike jerseys, you get the picture. Now, this all happens the day before I leave for my race. I have to fight for my marriage before I leave, I'm emotionally exhausted, I'm embarrassed that he has found out that I have done this once again. Much more comes out of this conversation, I need to start being less absorbed in triathlon if my life as I know it is going to survive. In that moment my focus changes to just getting through the weekend, the race seems so unimportant -all of a sudden triathlon seems so unimportant. All the training I've been doing seems pointless, if I lose my family.

I arrive Thursday I have a entire day to chill by myself, a lot of thinking goes on-I realize triathlon is important-all the training-it's what's allowed me to survive 2 suicides and still be a really happy person. It is a lifestyle I never want to give up. You are surrounded by this minority of people who really take care of themselves and it's inspiring in our unhealthy world. I also realize I miss my family when I'm gone and I need a way to balance it all. I will go home and find a better way to manage it all, to have it all, there is no other option, triathlon is what makes me, me but I can't neglect my family or our savings account because of it.

Hanging with all my diabetic buddies this weekend makes me realize that I want to always have them in my life too. That I NEED to always have them in my life. They continue to encourage and motivate me to take care of "the betes." I know I am doing a better job than I ever have in my almost 24 years with it, but it's still not good enough. When I'm with them and I want to be lazy about it, they won't allow it! They remind me, "You are a diabetic Ricci, go get you're meter." I can't talk back to a bunch of diabetics.... because I know they are right. They are my inspiration.

As I'm on the plane coming down from this fantasy weekend that Polar provided, I think about all the work ahead of me, kind of an overwhelming thought right now, but as I've said before, I'm no quitter. Nero called out to me in the airport, "Keep your head up Ricci." NO WORRIES, ALWAYS. (despite my 52 minute swim LOL)

Hey and as far as a race report....Let's just leave it at, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas." My husband says it's Karma....karma sure is a bi---!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Cover it up!

I know I'm suppose to blog about my diabetes, but what can I say it's there, it's with me, I deal with it, but this issue I'm about to expose is something that a 14 year old kid might write about, not a girl pushing 40, but I'm gonna tell you about it anyway, cause it cracks me up. I don't know where it came from, but it's there.

OK, so I know I have a lot of issues but, one just keeps coming up lately, over and over. Since, I've been swimming 3X a week, I'm in the locker room at the YMCA way too much for my liking. Now this is the silliest thing ever, and I don't even know how it started, but I can't get past the fact, that people actually walk around the locker room... FULLY NAKED. What do they think it is, a locker room or something? They stand there and talk-naked, sit on the benches-naked, walk out of the shower-naked, hang out in the sauna and steam room-naked...WTF , cover up your junk, but nooooo they are walking and talking with all of it hanging out. My friend and I get changed in the shower stall or bathroom, NEVER out in the open, we'd be mortified. I'm not sure why I have this issue, or why it's even an issue but it tortures me!! My best friend and I are like two school girls hiding our heads and giggling. She'll give me "the look" as seen in the picture above, it's the "What the F Ricci" look, once I see that... I know there is a naked person lurking around. She swears they stalk her out and talk to her on purpose. She is even worse than me with this issue, but at least she blames her years of attending an all Catholic girl school. I don't know where my issue with nakedness came from. For goodness sakes, I'm a nurse I see naked people all the time at work and think nothing of it, I insert tubes into holes where tubes don't belong, but, "gosh forbid" a naked person is standing there talking to me in a locker room, yuck-yuck-yuck! Freaks me out! For those who know me, they know I live in a sports bra and running shorts, I'm half naked all the time, my car doubles as a changing tent, so I feel a bit hypocritical, but jees, you'll never find me getting naked with a room full of strangers. I want to scream to these people, "COVER IT UP PLEASE!"

The other day it was like we were being punished, we are both sitting in the sauna in our bathing suits, of course, and this older lady comes in, HOLDING her towel, while she is full blown naked. I'm praying she will put the towel around her because I know we will have to leave the sauna if she doesn't. She doesn't. Instead, she proceeds to sit her naked ass on the bench next to Monica across from me, and she starts lifting up flaps of skin and scrubbing herself dry as we sit there in our swimsuits and try not to laugh, all of a sudden, I get "the look" and it's inevitable the giggles start and we can't stop. I try biting my lip, it does not work. We try to compose ourselves, with no luck! We decide to exit, it's unbearable for us both. No words are said until we exit the locker room, then we bust out laughing, we are so much alike, something so silly, that freaks us both out. That is one of the reasons why I love her so much, thanks to triathlon our paths crossed and I got a best friend!

Well I'm headed off to bed now, so that I can get up and swim, AND see naked people again in the morning!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Longest Day

As I sit here on the spin bike at 2:30 in the morning, adding in an extra ride that's not on the training plan, I can't help but think of the upcoming adventure I just agreed to. Last year a group of 7 of us did a 208 mile ride from the tippy top of NJ to the bottom of it, called, The Longest Day named after the summer solstice. Up until 3 days ago it was still up in the air whether or not the team was going to reunite to pull it off again. Secretly, I was OK with the fact that it might not happen. It was truly one of "The Longest Days" of my life. It has been the only event thus far that I puked my guts up afterwards. Possibly, the potato chips on the ride home were not such a good idea- but, they were so yummy at the time. Anyhow, potato chips... officially off my list for post race recovery food.

I'd rate the ride as hard as Ironman, being on the same muscle group for thaaaat long, proved challenging, OR maybe it was the bike seat? I guess just the combo. On Monday I saw the strongest rider of our team at the pool, soooo it's.. game on. I guess we are all suckers for this endurance stuff. As most endurance racing teaches you something, I learned a lot about myself and our team that day. It is definitely not a race I am willing to let slip by, as I still have so much to learn, plus it's another weekend to hang out with my bff. It was a awesome adventure that bonded you with your team mates, and they became like family by the end of the day. An amazing experience in my book of life. Everyone had their ups n downs and we worked as a team to get through the physical and mental challenges of the ride. Pushing yourself like that is the greatest feeling out there. There were many laughs along the way. My most priceless memory was my best friend eating a Snickers bar in the Porto-john..that was just NOT RIGHT, but we still laugh about it.
I'm not sure what coach Gordo will say about my newly added adventure, but I have decided I will whine again if need be! There will be no squashing of this idea.

Happy to report bg currently 160, heart rate 135 and only an hour and a half more till I get to swim AGAIN! WHAAAT THE........

Sunday, April 5, 2009


So here is the highlight of my week...Gordo Byrn calls my cell phone and I get to talk to him for about 30 minutes!!!!:) Here's how it happened. I needed a training plan, so a friend recommends Endurance Corner,...with that comes a phone call from Gordo and emails!!!!! Yippppeeeee, or so I thought.

I was planning on doing the NJ Marathon 6 days before the Irongirl Triathlon in Vegas. Well, he squashed that idea. Didn't even want me to do the half marathon, but said it would be OK to run the 1st 10k at a snails pace, and race the last seven, so that's my new plan. I feel bad, I talked friends into doing it and now I'm bailing. Oh well, I won't miss long runs. I also will not be wearing my timing chip. My polar will tell ME all I need to know.
Squashed idea #2-the training plan has me swimming 3 days per week, doesn't he know I got into the pool 3 weeks before Ironman last year! I've already been swimming 2 times per week since January, that is HUGE for me. I explain this to him, and basically ask him to adjust the plan so that I can have a extra ride or run workout instead of the swim. OK, who do I think I'm talking with, for goodness sake he's a pro and I'm telling him what I, Denise Ricci want to do. Yup, well, you guessed it, squashed that idea too, so last week I made it to the pool 3 times. Maybe this isn't going to be so much fun.
Squashed idea #3- I tell him I want to do longer rides and runs, I have friends training for CDA and Lake Placid, I want to go on long rides with them. He doesn't necessarily say I can't, but pretty much warns me, that I'll be burnout out by the time it gets to my long training if I start going long now. Makes sense, but it's hard adjusting because for the past 2 years my A race was in July so we were starting to amp up the training right about now, but instead, all I'm doing is base. Well I'm just gonna rearrange my thoughts and be happy for the extra time I have right now. Long workouts will be here before I know it.
So reflecting on our conversation, I'm like a whiny child, "I don't want to swim three times a week, I want to ride and be with my friends,I want to do the marathon." I can only imagine what Gordo was thinking. It's good I get to talk to him again next month, I promise myself I'll behave better.

It's been a little over a week now, that I am following this training plan. It feels good to be on a schedule instead of just randomly working out, doing whatever I felt like doing. It feels good to be paying attention to heart rate zones, and even better to be training in zones 1 and 2. Who wants to go fast and hard anyway. (Who am I kidding, I never go fast.)
Well I gotta get to bed, 6am swim in the morning, and I can't wait... NOT!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

No fear!

For many years, I would turn my pump off when I ran, with the fear of going low. I thought that was the way to do it. Until November, when I first met my teammates. So, since then I've been learning. I've been doing really good with my sugars, testing and leaving my pump on during training since I got back from DTC. Until today, I don't know how it happened, I woke up with a bg of 80, didn't have anything significant for breakfast(or so I thought), but started sipping on some energy drink and maybe nibbling on crackers topped off with peanut butter. Two hours go by, I forget to bolus and wham mo, 510!!! OMG, I have not had a sugar like that in a really long time, I was horrified. So I use my bolus wizard(sorry Peter, I'm a bolus wizard lover now)and it tells me to take 6 units. I do. One hour later 450, another 4 units. Half hour later dumb, dumb decides it is time to go running, bgm 364.
The training plan only called for a 75 minute run, so I figure I'll be safe, even with so much insulin on board. Every 25 minutes I was to increase my heart rate by about 10 bpm, so that would mean I'd be increasing my pace. Easy,breezy until at 25 minutes I check my sugar, 111, Sh-t,that dropped quick. I take 2 gels, then another 25 minutes, feeling kind of weird bgm 43, 2 more gels finish the run feeling OK. Ending sugar 57. Cost of run, 4 bucks! So I guess I'm still learning, but until today, I've been doing awesome. Here is what I was proud of the most today, I never shut my pump off. It was only at 30% basal, but I realized that shutting it off would not make a difference for such a short run, and that it might set me up for a "high' later. Until camp, and even at Ragnar I was still shutting it off, but I feel like I've come a long way! Hooray!

Water bottle saleman of the year!

So for those of you who don't know, the Triabetes Team is selling water bottles. I was so overly motivated at camp, that Myself and a few other teammates decided to sell 2 boxes(100) instead of opting for one(50). Well I had all this great ambition, but what I have found out is that I'm no salesman. I like to give and hate asking anything from anybody, even if it is for a good cause. So how many water bottles have I sold...I'm not even going to answer that one. I have given plenty of them to friends and family to sell for me, I guess the easy way out. But hey, I'm training for Ironman! Now here is the real surprise in the story, my Fred, who is a diesel mechanic, not a salesman or business person, sold 40!!! Who sells 40 water bottles, being a mechanic! I'm not surprised actually, he is good at whatever he puts his mind to, I'm the screw up in our family, and he's the wise, responsible one! To make me feel more like a loser, his boss told him to bring more into the shop and he'd sell them. Go Caterpillar!!!!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Step Back!

Well, the past 3 weeks seemed to finally catch up with me. I was living pretty sleep deprived since I left for Ragnar and DTC. I figured once I returned home I'd be able to catch right up with sleep. That DID NOT happen. Having a bit of OCD with housework and working nights does not help. I am happy to announce though, that other than a minor catastrophe with the dishwasher that ruined our new floor, the boys kept the house tidy and miraculously figured out how to do wash. (Although they seemed to have forgotten already!) Anyway life continued to race on, work, friends, workouts, housework blah, blah, blah. Then my son came to me the other day and said "Mom, you still haven't seen my mountain bike track I'm building." Truth is, him and his friends have been building it since before I left and not once had I gone back to look at it.(It's only behind the house) My priorities once again out of balance. I was clearly feeling exhausted and I'd partially neglected my mom role. So I'm proud to say, as a friend reminded me that life is not about luck, it's about choice, I skipped 3 days of workouts, slept 20 hours in a row and made it out to the back yard!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Back to the ER

Well I'm headed back to the ER tonight to do my first shift down there in over 1 Year. I have many mixed feelings about that place, and I'm feeling a bit anxious to return there. Many of my great friends have left and work elsewhere, its a whole new place, and sometimes I long for the old days back. (Although, it was my New Year's resolution to work on not wasting time wishing for moments back that are far gone, I'm obviously still working on that.) I worked down in the ED from the age of 25 to 35, and I became a different person. I suppose I would have changed no matter where I worked you seem to really find out who you are during those years, and working ER only helped to move that process along. It gave me a greater appreciation of life, it turned a naive girl into a wiser woman, it taught me to not be so judgemental that we all make mistakes and everyone has their story, it gave me the ability to laugh at myself and not take life so serious. Most of all it made me treasure now, because that is seriously all we ever have, not a minute ago and not a minute from now, just NOW. Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, no matter how big or small the challenge,because you only get one life,one now. Be happy for every moment you are here. I think sometimes we all have to remember that.
So if the ER could make a person believe all that then why on earth would I leave? Well, ER did not come without sacrifice, it burned me out. I remember thinking I'd work down there forever, I found my niche. It was the perfect place for a person that thrives on being pulled in 10 directions, but that came with a cost. I found that I brought that same pace to my every day life and one day I just wanted to slow down, I didn't want to race through life anymore, UNLESS it was a triathlon. I no longer wanted to deal with tragedy on a daily basis. Most of all I could no longer deal with suicides, nasty drunks and drug addicts. It was like constantly pouring salt in a open wound, and I just couldn't deal with it anymore. I left a little over a year after my brother's death, I just couldn't handle it anymore. Sometimes I feel ashamed like I should've been able be stronger, but I can now go days without feeling sorry for myself , in the ER it constantly brought my families painful past back to me. So it was the best decision I made, to leave when I did. So tonight, I will enter that ER with caution and not get caught up racing through life again. Wish me luck :)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Well, I've been meaning to blog all week since I returned home from Arizona, but life just seems to get in the way. What can I say except it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. David said it best, like a fraternity. Now I wouldn't know what that feels like because I attended a community college, but if I could imagine, this would be it. Hanging around other type 1's is just, so waaaay cool. Who would've thought. All my life, I tried to hide my diabetes, never wanting to "be different." I still think it's cool when someone says to me, "I didn't know you were a diabetic." As one of my nursing supervisors said last night. I guess they are my own issues to deal with. One of many!!! I learned more than I could have imagined in just a weeks time, and I want to thank all of my new Triabetic friends out there for that, and of course Dr.Matt.
Well I'm off to get ready for work and I can't stop but think that 1 week ago I was descending from MT Lemon! AAAHHH memories!!!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ridiculous behavior from a bright red Northeast tomato!

I decided to tell you one quick story, Today I decide that I don't want to be the only ghost white person in Arizona, so I'm gonna go tanning! Haven't done that since my late twenties, too many wrinkles, skin cancer risks, but captain dumb dumb decides to go anyway, what could 10 minutes in a tanning bed do?? So if anyone out there is watching the Ragnar relay and you see a bright, bright, red tomato go by, that will be me! Brilliant move on my part, my stomach is glowing red and I need to put a new infusion site in. I think I might actually try my big ole' Butt for the very first time, the thought of jabbing that needle in my stomach is terrifying me!! I'm sure I'll have much more dumb behavior in the next 10 days so stay tuned....:)
I have now added sunblock to my luggage!

Thanks Fred and Aaron!

Well I guess it's going to be another night without sleeping, I'm pretty used to it because of working nights for so long. You see, I have a 4am pickup to Philly airport and it's 2am already, why bother sleeping now, it will only make me feel worse. Might as well get one last blog in before I go!
I'm really excited, anxious, and guilty about my upcoming adventure.. a 10 day trip to Arizona to do Ragnar Relay with a bunch of other type 1's, and then off to Diabetic Training Camp, where it's a chance of a lifetime to learn from Dr.Matt and all my other Triabetic teammates, who seem to have this thing figured out so much better than me. Then off to Trifest sponsored by Trisports, one of our very cool Triabetes sponsors! So of course I'm excited about all of that. Then comes the nervous part, I was up 29 hours from Monday afternoon until Tuesday night. Now this morning by the time I get on the plane, I'll have been up 26 hours, then Friday will be Ragnar which I didn't plan to sleep at all, but I think I might have just sabotaged my plan. If only I didn't wait to pack until tonight!!! Thank gosh for caffeine!
Now the guilty part, do you know any mom who doesn't have guilt?? I'll be leaving my son and husband for 10 days, by far the longest I've ever gone without being with them, I feel pretty guilty over this, but they are both so supportive and always encourage me to be my own person, not just a wife and mom. I mean how lucky can I get? I have friends who will ask, Is your husband really OK with you going on all these triathlon trips? Yup, he really is, and without him I couldn't do it! My son is 15, but I know he will secretly miss me terribly, as I will him. So thanks boys, for eating canned soup and frozen meals for the next week, while I'm hanging with my diabetic people!!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Spring Fever!

So today it was 63 degrees out! For the second time this week I was able to get a 30 mile ride in followed by a 5 mile run. My friend and I were so happy to be able to be doing a brick workout that didn't include the spin bike and dreadmill! Well since it's only been the second time on my bike since..well awhile..I thought I just was having a bad bike day, 5 miles into it I had no power. Half hour before the ride sugar was 117 so I had a banana and turned my basal to .15units/hr--about 1/2 hour into it sugar was 44-ate about 50 gms carbs 20 minutes later sugar is 59 ate another 25 gms carbs and finished with a sugar of 120. Second half of bike felt much stronger, it's amazing how your blood sugar affects everything. Before run I eat 2 handfuls (big handfuls) of chocolate chips, turn basal back to 0.7u finishing sugar 326! What did I learn, chocolate chips...not such a good idea!
16 days till I leave for Ragnar Relay and DTC camp, I feel like a kid counting down for Christmas!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

I guess I've been fortunate, other than a mountain bike wrist fracture, I've never had to deal with sports injuries...until now that is. I've watched my training partner and bff(that's her and I in the picture) deal with hip flexor, knee and achilles problems, followed by hours of physical therapy and I HAD been spared of these. Until last Sunday, we ran 13 miles on Saturday, 9 miles on Sunday with no problems, then Sunday afternoon... Wham it hit me I could barely walk, the outside of my knee felt like someone stabbed it with a knife, or pulled a Nancy Kerrigan on it! I did the old rice (rest, ice, compression, elevation..well maybe not the ice) on it and hoped for the best. Yup, and then what does captain dumb dumb do on Monday...I realize that Ragnar Relay will run right into Diabetic Training Camp so I call and tell them to count me in. Maybe it was my personal way of fighting back against my aging body, maybe it was my natural self destructive behavior, or maybe it was that I just couldn't pass up such a fun adventure. Camping, running through the night, hanging out with other type 1's, nope, definitely couldn't pass this up.
Lately when I look in the mirror I realize I'm getting older, wrinkles, sun spots, grey hair, facial hair, knee pain, it's all there right in front of me! The problem is my mind still feels 19, but once again, the mirror and my aches and pains, unfortunately tell the truth. I did start to lift weights 3 weeks ago after a 15 year hiatus in order to prevent injury, guess I was a little too late. Well, I still believe age is just a number! And hey, I've earned everyone of those wrinkles out riding and running for hours. I have a friend who has a botox addiction, it's a good thing I have a triathlon addiction because I can't afford both!
So anyway, I took it easy through the week with running and ventured back into the trails on Thursday, now with a knee brace on. So far so good, it's still a bit sore and doesn't feel quite right, but I'm back on the glucosamine and a stretching routine and will hope for the best. Today a bunch of us did a run called the fat ass run, very appropriate name these days, they must have known I was coming when they thought up the name. When it started it was 5 degrees outside and WARMED up to 15, LOL. My knee made it the 16.5 miles("thank you knee"-maybe if I thank it , it will leave me alone) and only feels a little sore, my accucheck on the other hand was acting a bit wacky in the cold, maybe it takes after it's owner!