Tuesday 25 June 2013

Race Report ~ Spartan Sprint North Vancouver

The more time that passes before I finish these race reports, the less likely I'll be able to remember which race was which... Just kidding, I've completed 4 races in the past 2 months, but 2 were road races and 2 were obstacle races, and they were all different distances. A pretty well rounded collection actually!

The Spartan Sprint on June 1 was my first Spartan Race of 2013. The "king" of obstacle course racing, Spartan is the original OCR organization and they've really set the bar for the various other mud and obstacle races that have appeared in the last few years. Definitely my favorite race series, Spartan races are all about strength, speed, agility, balance, grit, and in the longer Spartan distances, endurance. Competitors are fierce, well trained, determined, and adventurous.

Personally, I  thought the entire race was amazing. Package pick-up was the day before, so there was no messing around with line ups on race morning. Racers were divided into decent sized waves, so traffic was good getting to the race itself and into the starting corral. I raced in a group of 5, 3 women, 2 men, all of somewhat similar fitness level.

As for the course itself, it was typical Spartan, with one major unforeseen issue causing a number of last minute course adjustments: snow. June in Vancouver is usually warm, and the majority of snow has typically melted from local mountains by late May. But not this year. The course was essentially a bent figure 8, consisting of two loops which intersected in the middle. We started at the base of the "Mystery" chairlift, and followed one of the intermediate ski runs up to the top of the chairlift, and back down a different ski run almost to the start line, before veering off to the left and down to the lower half of the course.

The top half,or first loop, of the course (approximately 3k) was 100% covered in snow, about calf-deep, making for some interesting running! Obstacles faced in the first loop included over/under fences and barbed wire, pulling a 30lb cement block for about 40 feet, a sandbag carry up and down a hill, and even a little a bum-slide in the snow. We speed walked up the hill, ran down, and completed the first loop in decent time.

Loop 2 was where they had placed most of the obstacles, because it was snow-free. First up was the monkey bars, where I, far too excitedly, leaped out onto to the bars, my swinging legs following. In fact, my legs swung so far forward, my hands let go of the bars and I fell the 10 or so feet to the gravel below, landing entirely on my lower right arm. While I attended to the blood gushing from my arm, my teamates split my 30 burpee penalty (for failing to successfully complete the obstacle), and we continued on. Other obstacles in leg 2 included climbing up and over cargo nets, down and up through a steep muddy ravine, crawling through mud under barbed wire, up over walls, a javelin throw, a rope climb, traverse wall, tire toss, fire jump, and gladiator fight. There may have been a couple more that I've forgotten, too.

We kept up a good pace throughout the race. There were a few times the team stopped and waited while teammates completed burpee penalties or made it up hills, before finishing together as a group, in a time of 1 hour and 12 minutes. Could I have completed the race faster? Definitely. Am I happy with the time? Totally. I didn't go into the event with a goal to finish as fast as I could, I wanted to run it as a group and have fun. And that's what we did :)

Tuesday 4 June 2013

"Failed Batt Test"

That pesky warning that pops up when we change batteries in Dylan's insulin pump, and perhaps one of my most hated diabetes phrases. Why, you ask? Shouldn't changing a pump battery be a simple, straightforward task? One would think so, but in our case it seems to always be anything BUT simple.

I honestly have no idea how often the pump batteries should be changed, or how long they're "supposed" to last. I guess it depends on what kind of batteries are used, and maybe how frequently the pump is accessed. Alarms, night lights, bolus reminders, do they use extra battery life? Probably. Regardless, it doesn't matter in our house, where batteries, especially AAAs and AAs, have always been more sought after than toilet paper.

With the amount of battery-requiring electronics, one would think that we had a surplus of spare batteries lying around, but that is far from the case. One would also think that as a parent of a child with an insulin pump, I'd have extra batteries reserved exclusively for pump use. That would certainly make sense, but, again, would be incorrect. Well, kind of. I buy batteries for pump use, but no matter how explicit I am about their purpose, they get snagged up by kids and used in other devices - toys, remote controls, video game controllers, etc.

Case in point: about 6 weeks ago, Dylan's pump was nearly out of batteries, so we took out the old one and went to pop in a new one, but couldn't find one. The next step was to take a partially used AAA our of an electronic device in the house, yet every one we tried failed the pump's battery test. We literally lined up batteries on the kitchen counter, testing one after the other. We'd put it in, tighten the cap, and wait. "Failed Batt Test" would appear on the screen, over and over. Finally, after over a dozen attempts, we found one with enough life to pass the battery test and power the pump.

It was mayhem; an absurd and unnecessary amount of panic and stress, after which we swore we would NOT got through again. So we hid a battery where only my hubby or I could find, so that we would have a spare no matter what.

Last night, while we were changing Dyl's infusion set, I noticed that the battery bars were empty, so I took out the old one and went to my "hiding spot" to grab the spare. Only it wasn't there. WTF??? I asked my husband, "do you know what happened to that spare battery we set aside for Dyl's pump?" "Oh, yeah, I think it's in the clicker for the Blu-Ray player," he responded. Hmmm. After a few muttered expletives, I grabbed the clicker and took out the two batteries, placing one after the other in the pump. "Failed Batt Test" on both. Are you friggin' kidding me?? I didn't even bother testing any others, as I know from last month that a AAA can have enough power to operate a remote control, but not enough to power an insulin pump.

At 10:00pm I drove to the store, bought an 8-pack of AAAs, took one out for the pump, and locked the rest in the glove compartment of my car. No, not really, but lets hope the next time we do a pump battery change there are some left!