The challenge was simple: Carry 80 dark chocolate Easter eggs up 13m of elevation. One by one. Wearing bunny ears. Why would anyone want to do the same hill 80 time, you may ask? I assumed it was for the same reason people do […]
As a baker, there is a point when you realise people are not only being polite to accept your delicacy but are genuinely, absolutely crazy about your creation. When you reach this point, don’t take it personally. Instead, take pride in knowing that you have […]
My body now has Bluetooth.
Or more precisely, my blood has Bluetooth.
I am hooked up to my iPhone with a sensor stuck to my abdominals. This sensor is linked to a small wire in my bloodstream and gives me a continuous stream of information about my blood glucose levels.
I wasn’t sure how I would feel wearing a sensor that has access to my bloodstream, but it feels.. awesome. Wearable tech that connects into me really makes me feel like I have taken the first step to become a cyborg.
How does a CGM (Continues glucose monitor) work?
- I am wearing a patch on my stomach which fits a sensor.
- The sensor connects after a lot of effort, time and warming up to an app on my phone.
- I calibrate the sensor by pricking my finger and testing with a normal blood glucose monitor.
- I can see my current blood sugar level and a chart that shows me when my insulin level spikes.
Why am I interested in my blood sugar?
I guess it was inevitable: I love data and I’ve always been obsessed with sugar.
I blame Garmin for flaming the first fixation: Data. Ever since I’ve had my heart rate on my wrist while running, I love tracking and comparing the numbers. I got very excited when Garmin put a heart rate monitor in a wearable, office-appropriate device that I could have on every day – and every night. While heart rate data has not significantly changed my life, I do love looking at my low wake-up heartrate. It makes me feel like a fit person.
Then there is my obsession with sugar. I can’t resist eating it, but at the same time, consuming sugar frightens the living daylights out of me. The fear drove me to low carb eating for years. In fact, one of my first posts were written on the topic of eating too many sweets while cycling.
But lately, I have grown more and more confused about sugar. When I was in Camp Keto, I knew sugar was the root of all evil and the worst type of food for your health. Now that I am trying to eat more plant-based, I hear that sugar is not that bad and that the problem with society is the processed meat and fat. Baffling…
I don’t know if I should cut all sugar, or even as many carbs as possible. The transition to mostly plants has been challenging enough – I am not sure I want to turn to the uber restrictive world of low-carb-vegans just yet.
The idea behind wearing a CGM
A study with continuous glucose monitors found that glucose responses are highly individual.
Some people have insulin spikes for ice cream while others have for sushi. Since these responses are individual, the only way to know which carbs keep you full is to eat them and look at your insulin response.
A simple way to do this is to prick your finger after a meal, but unless you are diabetic, you are unlikely to get the timing right to find spikes. Based on experience, I would also say it would also be challenging to summon the motivation to routinely prick your finger in the name of scientific exploration.
Lessons learn from my responses
I was already pretty sure chocolate bars are bad for me, but some other findings have been surprising.
White rice is not great but seems at least leagues better than a bowl of oats, which makes my blood sugar level plummet.
My trip to Italy was interesting since my body seemed perfectly happy with a plate of pasta but panicked by the sight of a pizza.
One of the most interesting findings was that my body seemingly prefers rich, dark chocolate cake to nutritious, vegan ramen with mung bean noodles.
I would have never guessed the chart below, but I had a much smaller insulin response from cake than from the noodles.
I will be wearing the device for 30 days and hope to learn even more interesting surprises about my blood and insulin.
During this time I’ll mostly try to make my body happy and feed it as much cake as it wants. 😉
FKT stands for “Fastest Known Time” and refers to a speed record on a popular and predetermined route. These times and routes are curated and posted on fastestknowntime.com We wanted to be the first women to record an FKT from Zurich to Zug, two […]
Was it Shakespeare who said, ‘expectation is the root of all heartache’? When I registered for three half marathons over three weekends in October, I had fully expected to be 100% Achilles pain-free. Seven weeks of heel raises, supplements and reduced running and I […]
It’s challenging to describe how dilapidated Dinamo stadium is. Like many buildings in Bucharest, its days of glory is clearly behind it. Every metal surface is rusted. The concrete is covered in peeling paint. Faded plastic chairs surround the oval that is scattered with cinderblocks and covered in prolific weeds.
The blog has been quiet. Not by lack of time to write or content, but because I am sulking.
After I left Vienna, I travelled to Bucharest to man our IT support centre. My running was going remarkably well after doing 80 km in 7 days in Austria. I hit the ground running in the capital of Romania by doing a track workout as my first run in the city. Locals highly recommended Dinamo, so within 20 hours of arrival, I jogged the 800 m between my hotel and the track.
After finding the entrance between layers of rusted fences and crumbling steps, I did my session on the deteriorating track.
The stadium might be unmaintained, but it is not underutilized. I was joined by runners of all sorts; my favourite was a girl with a Hello Kitty toy firmly grasped in one hand which she shook up and down rhythmically as she dribbled around. A speedy elderly lady and a guy on a petrol-engine-fitted-bicycle repeatedly lapped me.
I tried 12 intervals of 400 m, but distracted by all the commotion, I started out flying and then fading around half way. I also miscounted the laps, giving my all for round 11, before realizing I was still 800m short of the total distance.
This strange workout launched me into a week of epic running. For the first time, I was travelling with two pairs of running shoes to cope with the mileage.
I could not have asked for a better city to be getting out so much. Bucharest is wonderful to go for a jog. While I mostly headed to the well-trodden path around Herăstrău lake for my tempos and long runs, the city is covered in other parks and grand lanes with foliage colonnades. On Saturday I thought I had stumbled upon a race, but it seems there are just a lot of people training for the city’s marathon in October.
While it might sound like a runner’s paradise, I must point out a few caveats. A green pedestrian light in Bucharest does not mean that oncoming traffic will stop or even slow down. Instead, when the little-man-light turns green, pedestrians glance at each other to figure out who will be the brave one to step off the curb to force the constant flow of crazy light-jumping automobiles to skid to a halt and allow everyone to cross. This can make running a bit stop and go at intersections.
Another restriction in Bucharest is its worn-down appearance. If you don’t like rust, low hanging broken electricity wires and potholes, this city will not far from a utopia. Bucharest has fallen on hard times in last decades with revolutions and political woes, and the maintenance of the city (or lack thereof) shows it.
The current lack of upkeep doesn’t stop the government from shooting for the stars and planning for better times. They are currently funding the largest church in the world, right in the centre of Bucharest. When completed, the Romanian People’s Salvation Cathedral will be the biggest Orthodox place of worship by area, volume, weight and height. It will also boast the world’s largest free-swinging church bell.
The Romanians are upset (as customary) with the administration’s choice of spending money on something so ludicrous when money is undoubtedly needed for existing infrastructure.
Speaking of being upset, let me elaborate the sulking mindset that kept me from writing. I ran 57 km during my first 6 days in Bucharest back in July. I ran every day and did speed sessions and tempo runs.
Then on the 7th day, I felt a niggle in my left Achilles. I ran 2 km before calling it quits and walking to the hotel. The next day I went for a walk instead of a run.
In retrospect it seems almost too predictable: My too epic running week turned into two months of little running, sulking and general unhappiness.
While I will spare you all the details, I would like to share a lesson from my predicament. I aimed at the stars and set my sights on regularly running 80 km per week. I was spending all the time I had on hitting the pavement and almost no time on stretching, foam rolling or cross training. That is not very balanced. My calves were tight and full of knots long before I felt pain in my heels. Like the city of Bucharest, I had my sight set on building a massive cathedral while my roads were crumbling and my electrical wiring dangling in the streets (so to speak).
Forced to stop building up my millage, I am focusing on doing strength work and eccentric heel drops. Involuntarily, I am revaluating my attachment to running and the way it helps me to feel in control. Experience has taught me to be cautious with optimism, but my hope is that this unfortunate situation will help me take a step back, nurture my love for other adventures and most of all, help me to find balance.