Monthly Archives: March 2010

Miracle therapy or desperation?

I think I may have typed too soon, or maybe I was just dreaming, or maybe, as one of my co-workers so frequently likes to tell me, I’m just delirious. But you know the other day, when I was practically dancing in the streets about being pain and fancy free? Well, today, that’s so not the case at all. Oh no, I’m like a freaking claw all clenched and hooked over with burbles of pain roiling through my neck, down my lower back and in and out of my hips – my pain nemesis!
And I say BAH! to you pain. I’ll show you … with positivity!

I mean, seriously, how could I possibly let the resurfacing of the pain get to me, when, on my way home from work tonight, I frantically had to stop off at my brother’s house to use the washroom (I was only a quarter of the way through my hour-long commute) and my three-year-old nephew greeted me with a handful of hugs … literally, he held out his little cupped hand and said there was a big hug inside it just for me … anddddd I so felt a little of my pain disappear right there. And then when I arrived home, and there was a very spring-like bunch of purply-yellow irises perched on the table, even more of my day’s pains were lifted.

So, do you remember that evil orange plastic ball? Well, turns out it was nothing but a further pain in my butt!
When I told my physiotherapist about it, he didn’t even bother to hide his amusement. He burst out laughing, he was laughing so hard, he almost fell over. And then there’s me, lying on the table, face as red as can be … luckily I like the guy 🙂
In between his gasps of laughter, he did, however, suggest that rather than torturing myself with a rock-hard ball, that he said would only bruise me, not cure me, I should invest in some miracle balls – two balls the size of grapefruits that are much softer (but still somewhat firm) than the evil orange plastic ball!

And seeing as how I’m pretty much desperate to get back to my running, I immediately ran out and got me some.
While Mario was out mountain biking with friends, I figured it was a perfect opportunity to get started. I read through the small book that comes with the balls, and was instantly encouraged when it said there was no visualization or meditation involved – my brain is far too active to focus on imaginary crashing waves, which, in my opinion is the worst thing about yoga. Maybe it’s the inner demon in me or my self-diagnosed ADD. Who knows.
The first 30 to 40 minutes was focused on mastering my breathing, making an S sound when I exhaled to ensure I was breathing out as thoroughly as I was breathing in … after awhile it felt like I’d been sniffing Vics vaporub for a few hours.
I flipped to the chapter on hips and legs and followed all of the exercises, of which there were only five, but it still took me over an hour to complete them … very time consuming. But if it works, I won’t be complaining, I’ll be running.
So worth it!

Princess fruity goodness

Oh man, I was so happy to change my infusion site this morning. I did NOT like having it set up on my butt cheek at all. I kept worrying every time I changed my clothes, or went to the washroom, or even when I was just sitting down, that I was gonna somehow rip it out again. And when I did pull it out, the canula was all munched up and bent over like a twisted up tree! So yeah, I’m thinking I’m gonna be sticking with the belly sites for awhile, and hopefully I’ll be able to figure out a way to make them work with my cycling.

So the other day, when I was at one of the health food stores nearby, I bought two Whole Food Vega Vibarancy bars on impulse (yes, I am one of those shoppers … I used to drive my mom nuts throwing things into the shopping cart, and now I drive Mario nuts picking everything up while standing in the checkout lines). I was really hoping that I wouldn’t fall in love with the bars as they’re like $3.50 a pop, but I did, oh-my-goodness did I ever! They were sooooo tasty, even better than my chocolate-infused granola bars, and not much beats chocolate in my world. When I bit into the first bar, for my mid-morning snack yesterday, it was all wholesome fruity goodness, no artificial flavours, totally raw, superfruits, yummmm! AND it kept me full right until lunch, which rarely ever happens. But again, $3.50 a pop! After looking at the ingredients, though, I figured hey, I could probably make my own version of fruity goodness. How hard could it possibly be?
Not very hard at all.

Store bought fruity goodness vs Princess fruity goodness

Princess Fruity Goodness
• 1/4 c. flax meal
• 1 1/2 c. fig paste (I didn’t have dates, so I made it from figs, and I love figs so it worked out perfectly for me)
• 1 c. chopped figs
• 1 c. chopped dried turkish apricots
• 1 c. almonds
• 1 c. hazelnuts
• 1 c. pumpkin seeds
• 1 c. flax seed
• 1/2 c. agave nectar
To make fig paste, put about 12 dried figs in a bowl of boiling hot water, set aside for about 45 minutes to an hour.
Chop nuts and seeds together in a blender.
Mix all ingredients together except the flax meal.
In a 8.5″ x 12.5″cake pan, sprinkle bottom of pan with half of the flax meal. Pour mixture evenly into pan. Sprinkle remaining flax meal on top of the mixture. Press down firmly.
Chill for 1 hour. Cut into bars.
Wrap bars in Saran wrap.
Keep refrigerated.
And yum!
*** An estimated 15-17 grams of carbs per bar ***

Picture perfect

For the first time in a long time, like since October, I didn’t feel any pain today – nothing! My hips felt like how I imagine a normal 31-year-old, non-runner’s hips would feel, and dare I say even, a 20-something-year-old’s hips. My knees felt like they could dance for hours and hours and not be plagued by twangs of sharp, shooting pain. My feet and ankles felt like they could be propped up in heels for days. I don’t know what I did. I don’t know if it’s the new yoga routine, or the fruit-based recovery drink, or the resurfacing of cycling, or the strength training or the miracle-ball therapy (not the orange ball, but miracle ball … more on that later), but whatever it is, I’m liking it. Loving it!

On Saturday, after a 75-minute yoga session in the morning, Mario and I headed out to UBC with our bikes in the afternoon.

• Route: 34.9 km
• Trip time: 1:32:57
• Average speed: 22.0 km/h
• Max speed: 48.4 km/h

(The map isn’t 100 per cent accurate, as it double-backed a couple of times, and after struggling to erase and erase and erase, we finally gave up fixing it … but it’s pretty close) Does anyone know how to incorporate the actual map into a blog? I’ve tried, but I keep failing. How-to tips would be much appreciated 🙂

View Interactive Map on

It was pretty hard to figure out what to wear. The sun was out, but it was cloudy and breezy, and by the water it would surely be even more breezy.
So, I layered.

All along the ride I kept thinking oh I could take a picture of that or that or that, but didn’t because if I stopped I probably would never have caught up to Mario again; he’s quite the speedy one. So, had I been on my own, you might be viewing pictures of the Dr. Seuss tree that I so love on 3rd Ave, or Juliet’s, the restaurant that Mario and I, and our friends, Grant and Jacques, went to after I successfully completed my first half marathon, or the engineer students competing in a sling shot tournament, or the pretty pink flowers that I do so love this time of year. But then again, had I gone on my own, I likely would have gotten lost, and never found my way home (yes, I am directionally challenge) and the pictures still would never have been posted.
I wasn’t exactly sure where we were riding to, but I didn’t think we’d be doing one of our long rides, given that it was only my second ride of the season. But then when I saw us approaching Blanca Street, my stomach lurched a little. No, no, no he’s not taking me down there is he??? Mario gave me this evil little smile as he looked back at me and said “Ready?”
Oh crap!
Blanca Street is steep, so steep that I’ve gotten some of my fastest speeds going down it, but going down Blanca means that I would also have to climb Jericho coming back, which is also a massively steep street. As soon as we hit Spanish Banks, I was non-stop in the pep talk:
You can do this. You can do this. You can do this. YOU DID IT!

Post-ride granola bar, yum!

Second chances

Have you ever had that split-second feeling where just as you’re doing something you realize, oh crap, I so should not have done that?
I have – just as I was ripping my insulin pump infusion set right out of my body!
How, you ask? Well, the other night, at the insulin pump information session, I asked Jonny White, the cyclist, where he put his infusions to best avoid blood filling the canula, like what happened to me last week when I was cycling. And he said that he usually inserts them into his abdomen (where I had mine) or the fleshiest part of his butt cheeks.
So yesterday morning, when I was changing my site, I figured I’d give the ol’ butt cheek a try. We were planning on going for a ride that afternoon, so I figured it was the perfect opportunity. It was a little awkward inserting it, twisting my body trying to see exactly where the needle was positioned, but it seemed to work nonetheless.
But not even two hours later, as I was looping my thumbs into the waistband of my pants and pulling them down, to change into my cycling clothes, I pulled the infusion right out of the skin – OUCH!

Seriously, these things are not exactly the cheapest items ($178 for just 10 in a pack), can’t really be wasting them like that.
However, had I fully listened to the cyclist, maybe that would never have happened. He also suggested using Skin Prep, which is supposed to keep the tape tacked onto your skin better … obviously, I ignored that suggestion. I didn’t like Skin Prep when I tried it early on in my pump days – it dried my skin right out, and I struggled getting the needle through the skin, which I did NOT like at all! I mean, seriously, how much would you like trying to jab something through and it ain’t going through? Not fun at all.
But, given what I had just gone through, and given that I was going for a bike ride later on, I figured I’d give my butt cheek and the Skin Prep a second chance (I still had one left over from when my pump nurse gave me a couple to try when I first switched over to the pump).

So far, so good. It’s still in 24 hours and a bike ride later, but I’ve worried about it every single time I’ve gone to the washroom or changed my clothes. Maybe I need to post a list of things NOT to do on my bathroom mirror in big black ink as a nice little reminder.

More on the bike ride tomorrow …

Tales of the evil orange plastic ball

Have you ever been friends with a non-runner and seen the looks they give you when you tell them about the kilometres you’ve logged, the pain you’ve endured, the crazy things you’ve done to continue in your love of this amazing sport?
I have, every day.
My husband is one of those non-runners who view us runners as weird – and probably rightfully so. I mean, seriously, how many of you can honestly say that you haven’t done something so crazy, so oddball, so totally whacked out just for this sport?
I can’t.
Today, I plopped my buttocks atop the “evil orange plastic ball,” otherwise known as a road-hockey ball, and rolled around on it for three minutes – all in the name of running. I noticed the other day, in yoga, that my hips were out of alignment again (I kid you not, my left leg is like a big toe shorter than my right) which explains the excrutiating pain in my rear.
Hello tight piriformis, I so have not missed you.

So, in comes the road hockey ball, which I read is supposed to help loosen the tightness up (tennis balls and lacrosse balls are apparently also good tools) Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with road hockey balls, they are hard, practically rock hard, so hard I’ve seen Mario’s limbs turn almost black after being hit by one in road hockey. And to quote him, “that mother [insert choice word here] hurts!”
And so rolling around on one, when your butt is already in pain, is not exactly the most comfortable, nor sane, thing to be doing. I was grimacing and cursing and holding my breath the whole time. And I’m pretty sure, had someone walked in on me, they either would have burst out laughing, or would have turned and walked away as fast as they could thinking oh geez, that girl should so be locked up in a rubber room with her rubber ball.
And yet, the road hockey ball isn’t the craziest thing I’ve done … stay tuned for my review of the Vibram 5 fingers, often mistaken as costume stolen from the Waterworld set.

What’s the weirdest thing you’ve done?

It’s a small world after all

At some point today it dawned on me that the summery pink shirt I was wearing was the same shirt I bought the very first time I went to Portland like four years ago (yes, it’s undergone some repairs over the years, but I love it so much I just can’t give it up) and with it brings great memories of my most favourite American city – the same city of the marathon I’m gearing up for! Eeeeeeeee! So exciting!

Portland Pink

I haven’t yet registered for it, and I probably should to make it more real, but I’m always scared of registering for races, because the last two times I’ve signed up for half marathons, I got injured both times. The only time I completed a half was a self-organized half with me as the only participant.

The Claustrophobia Half

Last night I went to a Medtronic-organized presentation featuring Canadian cyclist Jonny White, who’s also a type 1 diabetic on the pump. When Mario and I registered we thought it was just going to be Jonny speaking on his experiences cycling the Tour D’Afrique, 120 days and 12,000 km of pure cycling from Cairo  to Cape Town. But unfortunately it was more of an information session on Medtronic (I’m on Animas ) and Jonny only spoke for about 15 to 20 minutes, and didn’t really go into much detail about his experience as a cyclist and a diabetic, which was too bad … I did, however, learn that it’s not the end of the world if you travel overseas and forget your insulin at home (who does that?) apparently Jonny does! He forgot his insulin, and had no problems getting supplies in Germany … I’d so be freaking out if that were me!

Taken from Jonny's blog

The cool thing about the night was the people sitting at our table. Across from me was this woman who looked really familiar, and the guy next to her sounded really familiar. But you know when you think you know someone, but you’re not sure, and you don’t want to sound like an idiot asking them if they’re so and so? Well, I took the risk. After awhile of staring and eavesdropping, I finally leaned over and asked the woman if she used to work at Children’s Hospital (where I spent many of my young years) and she did – she was my dietician! And the guy sitting next to her was my favourite doctor! It’s been like 14 or 15 years since I last saw these people and I was  so excited. Oh, oh, oh and the doctor gave me some handy pointers for when I want to eat out. He told me to find restaurants with their menus online and figure out the carbs before going out, and then later on use those same guides for other restaurants that don’t have their menus online.
So, the evening ended up being worthwhile after all … although, maybe not so much for Mario – he doodled dinosaurs and parachute men and chubby Kyle Wellwoods (hockey player for the Vancouver Canucks) the whole time!

Is that an iPhone I see in my future???

Wow! It’s not even April and the temperatures in the Valley are already soaring above 20 degrees, the daffodils are blooming brightly, and the rat-a-tat sound of the bugs meeting their demise as they pelt into my windshield is non-stop  – I love that sound! I love spring!
Last year, we celebrated the new season with the purchase of our loft; this year, we’re celebrating with a trip to the NYC!
The last time I was in New York it was in the thick of summer, the week before the Twin Towers went down, and truthfully, it was not my most favourite trip. In fact, I was quite disappointed with it, given that I had been dreaming of New York ever since I was 14, when I first decided I was to become a world-famous journalist (still working on that). But it was sweltering hot, and smelly, and I was with a group of girls who had been several times prior and really didn’t think the things I wanted to do were the best things to do – like walking across the Brooklyn Bridge!
Shocking, I KNOW!
This time, though, is going to be different. Spring in New York is supposed to be gorgeous; Mario and I are the perfect travel companions; and the price was too good to pass up – $1,500 Canadian total for the both of us! And I get to see one of my most amazing girlfriends (and fellow blogger who I haven’t seen in what seems like forever.
I am, however, concerned at how well I’ll fare with all the eating out and figuring out the carb ratios to calculate my insulin dosages. I’m still fairly new at the whole carb-counting methodology (yes, I’ve had diabetes for 24 years, but when we all learned it, I was only nine years old, and relied heavily on my parents to tell me how much insulin to take, and then as the years progressed I just became real good at guessing, which worked probably 85 per cent of the time) and so, restaurants intimidate the hell out of me … but I did do real well when we went for Mexican with friends last weekend, so who knows maybe I’m on the upwards swing. 🙂
Breakfast shouldn’t be an issue as we’ve rented an apartment and I can pack away my tried and true breakfast of oatmeal and nut butter, and then acquire some fruit while down there. And as long as I can stick to a sandwich-based kind of lunch, I should also be okay there, as one slice of bread is usually 15 grams of carbs, which equals one unit of insulin. But dinner and dessert (my favourite meal of the day) could be scary.
I’m guessing the calorieking book, that my pump nurse gave me when I first switched over to the pump, will finally come in handy (it’s American-based, so the restaurants listed in it don’t really apply for us in Canada) – or maybe, this is just the start of an excuse for me to invest in an iPhone that has carb-counting apps … hmmm …. 😉