Monthly Archives: May 2010

Winning the cat-and-mouse game

A feel-good, race-of-the-year recap:

So, you know how I said I was gonna treat Sunday’s race like a regular Sunday 10k easy run? Yeah, that didn’t happen. My competitive juices boiled over right from the get-go; I bolted out of the gate with a 5:15 pace! I tried slowing down, believe me I did. I kept telling myself to reign her in, race your race. But no matter how hard I tried, my pace just would not brake. And I felt great – I LOVE RACING!


  • 7 a.m. BG before: 10.2 (Gu energy gel, no bolus (wouldn’t normally take one of these for a 10k, but my blood sugars dropped two points in a matter of 20 minutes, so just to be on the safe side I took one) –> -50% temporary basal rate
  • Distance: 10 km (10:1 = run 10 minutes, walk 1 minute)
  • Chip time: 57.47
  • Average Pace: 5:43
  • 8:30 a.m. BG after: 10.0

I think I’d actually forgotten the joys of racing. The last “official” race that I did was the Vancouver Sun Run two years ago. I’ve trained for three half marathons since then, but got injured for two, and held my own “unofficial” race in October along the busy Vancouver Seawall, but it’s just not the same as the real racing deal. I had butterflies fluttering all through my belly starting on Saturday night; I kept chanting over and over ‘You can do this. You’re going to be great. You’re going to kick that run’s butt.’; I tripled checked to make sure I had everything I needed before going to bed, and then got up one more time to quadruple check. The alarm went off at 5 a.m. (ouch!), I got dressed, ate breakfast, and we were out the door by 6 a.m.

The nerves hit me again as I was shivering at the start line, waiting for the gun to go off. I positioned myself about three quarters of the way back (at this point I was still thinking it was just going to be an easy 10k jaunt) and waited for the gun.

Woh butterflies!

The starting point for the race was located in the mall of an affluent North Vancouver neighbourhood. We had to weave around the outskirts of the mall parking lot, before hitting Ambleside Park, along the water, which is where the crowds started to break apart.

The race started so darn early, I couldn't even keep my eyes open!

I looked at my Garmin. Holy Crap! I was doing a 5:15 – where the heck was that coming from? My Garmin started beeping at me, telling me that my first 10 minutes was up, it was time to walk a minute. So I started walking, but people were passing me, I couldn’t let them pass me, so after about 30 seconds I started running again, which caused me to instantly berate myself for not running my race. I am a firm believer that the 10:1 system is a kick-ass racing strategy, that leaves you with much-needed energy at the end of the race, and doesn’t really cut into your time at all. I promised myself to do better the next go around. And It didn’t take long for me to reel in an older fellow, who had passed me on the walk break, and was going at a nice clip – he became the mouse, while I was the cute little kitty, ready to pounce! Every walk break, he would surge ahead, but once I started running again, I always managed to catch up, and I even passed him a couple of times. By about the 8k marking, though, my energy was starting to wane. Oh crap. The loud, pounding feet of the guy behind me became irritating, the rabid swinging arms of the woman ahead of me was driving me insane, and the unleashed dogs jetting out in front of us racers was just flat out pissing me off. But then, at the side of the path, just a little ways ahead, a woman volunteer was jumping up and down, high fiving the racers, urging them on, shouting at them to keep going, “It’s for the kids!” she yelled.

My energy was back. I was in this race. I surged forward, I found my mouse, I passed my mouse! And with about 700 metres left to go, my shoulders dropped down, my abs clenched, and my legs sped up. You’re in the home stretch now baby! I could see Mario and his camera standing just past the finish line. I thought of pulling down my shirts, making them look all pretty like for the picture, I thought of showing off my pearly whites, I thought of correcting my form, but then, with another female runner just ahead me, my competitive juices kicked back in. Ahhh, screw it, I thought, speed was way more important! I beat her 😀

I so felt like I was gonna puke once I crossed that line!

And the best part of all, my foot didn’t give me any troubles at all, and it actually seems to be feeling a lot better today – maybe a good race is all it needed 😀 I can’t, however, say the same about the rest of my body. My calves and abs and shoulders are so tight, it hurts to laugh! A good race indeed!

What do you do to keep your energy strong throughout the whole race?

Foot rubs and dirty hippies, what the heck is next?

To be clear, I do not like feet, never have, never will. It doesn’t matter if you claim to have the most beautiful, pristine feet in the world, I will find fault with them. I mean, seriously, just look at them. They’re long and spindly, or fat and wide. They’ve got bunions, and calluses, and blisters and toe jam and jaundice-like discolouration and yeah, they stink too. And as such, I’ve never really been one to enjoy a good rubbing of the feet, and don’t even think to ask me to touch your grody foot matter. But that being said, desperate times call for desperate measures.

Hello plantar fasciitis, I so have not missed you!

So, the overstretched feeling in my right foot did turn out to be a flare up of that not-so-welcomed plantar fasciitis I suffered two years ago. I tried living in denial, thinking it would go away, but it did not, oh no, it seems to have gotten a bit worse. And with race day fast approaching – like, tomorrow – I don’t have time to wait for it to heal on its own. So, on the urging of my soap gal – who’s as much a foot hater as I am, but is also a recently reformed pedicure lover – I called up my mom’s yogi yesterday morning, who also does reflexology, and she fit me in for the afternoon. I was totally freaking out about it all day. I so thought I was gonna boot her in the face the second she touched me … did I mention I’m super ticklish!

When I got to the studio, mom’s yogi asked me if I was interested in partaking in some sound-light therapy, while undergoing the reflexology. Now, I’ll be honest, when my mom first mentioned this sound-light therapy thing, I just sluffed it off as being another one of her peace, love, happy hippie endeavors. But I figured, hey, I’m allowing someone to touch my feet, I might as well try and find my inner dirty hippie as well!

In search of my inner dirty hippie!

The theory behind sound-light therapy is it’s supposed to result in a full body – mental and physical – relaxation. The blinding blue circle lights flashing at you from inside the goggles (I wasn’t aware, at first, that I was supposed to shut my eyes, oops!) combined with the soothing sounds coming from the headphones, is supposed to reduce anxiety and induce a deep mental and physical relaxation. The stimulation is also supposed to increase the release of dopamine, serotonin, acetycholine, norepinephrine and endorphins, all good things for a calmer state of mind – oh man, this is so hippie.

Sound-light Therapy Benefits:

  • Increased relaxation
  • Decreased tension
  • Improved memory
  • Increased ability to focus and concentrate
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Increased IQ
  • Increased creativity

I tried fighting it at first, as I’m not much for relaxation. The room was dark; mom’s yogi was firmly digging into and kneading my feet (turns out I had no need to worry about a soft tickling effect, this was not soft at all!); and I was staring at the bright lights, silently mocking the treasure box I was supposed to put all my worries and stresses and bad people into. But then I shut my eyes, and oh man, from that point on, I was a goner! Even though I was fully awake, it seriously felt like I was asleep. My breathing wasn’t the quick short breaths that I’m used too, but rather the full diaphragm breathing that my yogi always tries to get out of me. My jaw was lax, and my mouth was open a smidge just like it is when I’m out for the night. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t force my eyes back open. And for the life of me, despite hearing the voices, I had no real awareness of what they were saying.

Mom’s yogi told me that the therapy induces the REM state of when you’re just about to doze off, and that the 40 minutes of therapy I had was equivalent to four hours of REM sleep – now that’s something I can get behind. Bring on the dirty hippie!


  • 9 a.m. BG before 6.0 (granola bar with 1/2 bolus of .50 units)
  • 75 minutes yoga
  • 10:30 a.m. BG after 4.8

With the race tomorrow, my plan is to go into it like it’s just a regular Sunday 10k jaunt. I don’t want to overdo it and make things worse with my foot … but, then again, when I see all the people around me, my competitive side may very well show her face 😉

What sort of remedies do you use to fix/ease plantar fasciitis?

Racing for those sweet little smiles

Why is it every time I sign up for a race, even one on impulse, do I always seem to feel the sometimes new, sometimes familiar pangs of pain? Today’s posting was supposed to be an excited, happy, endorphin-filled entry, but alas, it seems some sprigs of worry may be seeping their way in. Bah!

At about 2 this afternoon, I was checking out the Twitter tweets of the day, and spotted one from Impact Magazine about the 10 km West Vancouver Rotary Seawalk Run for this Sunday. So I clicked on it, just to check it out, and something in me, I don’t know what it was, told me to register. It’s not a big race, in fact, I think there’s only like 137 registered runners so far. And it’s early, good golly is it ever early, starting at 7:30, which means I’ll probably have to be getting up at like 4:30 or 5 – Gack! And, Mario and I are going to a *wine festival* in Abbotsford the night before which probably isn’t the best kind of night-before hydration to choose from, hey!

But, it just so happens that I was planning on doing a 10 km run on Sunday anyway, and I figured that this would be a nice, little boot out the door. And the route is a beautiful, scenic route along the West Vancouver waterfront, and away from the New West hills. But the thing that really clinched it for me, is when I realized that this run is a charity run for Canuck Place, a hospice for terminally ill kids that is supported by the Vancouver Canucks – my favourite hockey team.

Since 1995, Canuck Place has been providing world-class healthcare for children and teens with life-threatening illnesses in a home-like environment. It was the first of its kind in North America when it opened, and is now recognized globally as a leader in pediatric palliative care.

Approximately 27 per cent of the funding for the centre comes from the B.C. government, 20 per cent from the Vancouver Canucks, and the remaining 53 per cent through fundraising activities like the West Vancouver Rotary Seawalk Run.

I’m thinking it’s a pretty darn worthy cause – seriously, those kids just melt your heart.

The video’s a little outdated, but it tells the story of Canuck Place just the same.

Now, I haven’t been doing much running in the last little while (my last run was on Monday) so I figured I needed to get a couple of runs in before Sunday just so that my legs aren’t feeling all lead-like for the race. But as soon as I started running on the treadmill, the arch of my right foot felt like it was being abnormally stretched; not really the most comfortable feeling in the world. But it wasn’t a new feeling. I first started feeling it when we were walking all over Brooklyn last week, but I didn’t really think too much of it, I just thought my foot either needed a really good stretch or a manly massage. And when I ran on Monday, I didn’t feel it on my run, I did feel it afterwards, but not on the run, so again, I didn’t think much of it. But tonight, I was really feeling it for probably the first 10 or so minutes of the run. What the heck? It’s like as soon as I register for a race, something in my body rebels and tries to beat me down – but hear me now, body, you will not get to me this time, I refuse to let you!

I’ve had the plantar fasciitis before and I don’t think that’s what this is, because when I had the plantar fasciitis, it was like my feet were being ripped apart with every step I took. This, it’s just a niggling irritation is all. So I’m staying positive … trying to at least.

been rolling my foot on this for a couple of days now ... it seems to work pretty good.

But rubbing my foot on the steps is by far the best remedy ... it digs deep!

And besides, what’s a little foot irritation when you look at what these kids have to go through at such a young age! On Sunday, I’m running not for me, but for those amazing, heart-melting, brave, little kids! There’s still time to sign up for anyone who’s interested 😀

* While searching through the Canuck Place website, I just discovered that the wine festival I’m going to on Saturday night is also a Rotary fundraiser for Canuck Place … kismet!


  • 6:30 p.m. BG before: 6.0 (2 Stone Wheat Thins with pumpkin seed butter, no bolus)
  • Distance: 3.4 km treadmill running plus five minute walking warm up and three minute  walking cool down
  • Time: 25 minutes
  • Pace: 7 minutes per km (if I figured out the math right)
  • 10 minutes stretching
  • 7:30 BG after: 3.3

Squeaky princess gets her software

Dear Animas,
Thank you so much for listening – finally!
A formerly pissed-off princess

After months of phone call complaints and email complaints with Animas Canada (the provider of my insulin pump) and forum rants and blog postings too, regarding the company’s faulty claims that its ezManager Max software (which enables pump users to download their BG readings and insulin dosages from their glucometres and pumps) was compatible with Mac operating systems, despite NOT being compatible at all, the company finally did something about it.

A priority mail envelope was left on my desk at work today and inside was a replacement disk for the Animas ezManager Max software, as well as a letter from the company:

Dear Healthcare Professional, (apparently I’ve moved up in the world :D)

We are contacting you to make you aware that the ezManager Max software you previously received will not function with an Apple computer. DUH! I’ve been telling them that since January! … The compatibility issue has now been resolved to meet system requirements as specified …

As you can imagine, I was a little skeptical given that every time I called the company they kept telling me that their software was in fact compatible on my computer, despite me telling them that it wouldn’t load. And their only solution was to send out yet another disk, which was the same as every other disk they had already sent me that wouldn’t work in my computer.  But still, the letter was a first, it was reason for hope right?


The software downloaded no problem, as did the BG readings from my glucometre. But as exciting as it was to see all the numbers listed in a log, divided up into coloured pie charts and line charts and statistics, it was also a little disheartening to see the most recent results. I’ve been really struggling to get my blood sugars back in line since I got back from New York. They were already all over the place when I was down and out with a cold two weeks ago (illness affects BG), and then when I was traveling through New York and basically guesstimating my carb counts for every meal, that didn’t help the BG range either. But now that I’m home and healthy, I really don’t have an excuse as to why they’re still all over the place. And that blood red hue filling up the pie chart really does shine a bright light onto my BG misgivings.

Green is the best colour to have. As you can see, I haven't had much green lately!

Readings that are even just 0.2 over the range I like to be in (5.0-6.2) get a bright red stamp of disapproval!

I'm a perfectionist! I like my BG to be between 5.0 and 6.2.

Nevertheless, though, I’m quite pleased I now have this tool at my fingertips. And, hey, it may just be added motivation to kick serious butt with my BG. Now I’ve just got to figure out how to download the information off of my insulin pump itself, which will chart my insulin dosages, total daily insulin and other pertinent insulin-related information. The only thing is, I have no idea how the infrared communication screen on my pump is supposed to magically connect with the infrared communication screen on my computer???

Lesson of the day: It doesn’t hurt to complain and complain and complain until the company you’re dealing with gives you what you want. Squeaky wheels do get the grease 😀

NYC Part 4 of 4: Blisters, Band-Aids, and Brooklyn

I used to be a sensible traveler – “used to be” being the operative words! I’ve traveled across Canada, been to several places in the States, embraced my French side in Paris, and hit up the fashion runways of Italy and Spain. And every time, I packed sensible shoes: sneakers, trainers, hikers. But for some reason, in preparation of my second trip to the NYC, I got it in my sweet, naive, little head that I couldn’t possibly walk the streets of New York in hiking shoes, oh no, that just would not do. I mean New York is home to Carrie Bradshaw and Anna Wintour after all – fashion was a must!

So my comfortable hiking shoes stayed in the closet and out came my so-called “good for walking” Hush Puppies. Lies, lies, lies! By day 2 of the trip, my right foot was cut up to pieces from the leather rubbing against my skin (oh how I longed for my Body Glide, which was stored in the bike room closet at home, not in my suitcase. Lot of good it did me there :(). By day 3, I was starting to feel a bruise forming on the top of my left foot, right where the Mary Jane strap sat. By day 4, there was a full on bruise. We were walking through Brooklyn (fell in LOVE with Brooklyn) and maybe 10 steps off the subway I was looking around for a shoe store. My foot was in excruciating pain, it didn’t matter if I loosened the strap, or if I walked with a limp, the pain was not going away. So, we stopped in a shoe store to see if I could find something a little more comfortable … by this time my feet were so bandaged up, I was pretty embarrassed taking the shoes off to try on another pair. But my feet wouldn’t allow much wallowing, they wanted a new pair of shoes, and they found a pair. We walked out of the store and after just a few steps, I looked over at Mario with the biggest smile on my face. “Freedom,” I sighed. “My feet have been liberated!”

The liberation lasted all of two hours. We walked through Brooklyn Heights, down the Brooklyn Promenade, had lunch at the Heights Cafe (which was to die for) and just as we were about to head over to the bridge, I felt those familiar twangs of pain … it wasn’t a bruise this time though, just rubbing – a lot of rubbing. Off to the pharmacy I went for yet another box of Band-Aids – never have I used so many Band-Aids in my life as I did on this trip!

Band-Aids should so give me stocks in the business!

By the time we got to the bridge, my feet were covered in blisters, skin torn off, and cramping, and yet, I was still smiling. I was, after all, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, an act I’ve dreamed of doing since I was a young, impressionable teenager.

Mario says I'll remember the experience more because of the pain I endured walking across!

But seriously, if I ever get it in my head to choose fashion over comfort again, please just shoot me … or, at least, remind me of this posting!

And that concludes my New York recap. It was an amazing trip that I wouldn’t trade for anything … well, maybe I’d trade the blisters, but other than that, nothing. I saw amazing sights, ran through an amazing park, visited with amazing friends, and left with an amazing smile 😀


  • 4:30 p.m. BG before: 11.1
  • 20 minutes elliptical trainer
  • *10 minutes stairmaster
  • 5:30 p.m. BG after: 9.4

* Because I have a school board meeting to cover tonight, I figured I’d hit up the gym near my office to do some strength training. I’m not overly familiar with this gym, but from what I hear, it’s a pretty good one. So I got there and warmed up on the elliptical trainer before moving over to the weights … only thing was there were tons of machines, none of which looked like my trusty familiar machines. I walked up and down the aisle of machines, looking for the ones I know what to do on, and then I stood blankly staring for a good couple of minutes, before the intimidation took over, and I ran to find comfort on the stairmaster … well, as much comfort as you can on those machines.

What weight machines do you use to offset your running?

NYC Part 3 of 4: Running free in Central Park

I had every intention in the world to complete two runs while in the NYC but unfortunately for me, my blood sugars got in the way. When I awoke to the intruding sun beaming through the apartment’s windows and the car horns blasting from the streets of the Upper East Side on Wednesday morning, Mario was already in the shower, and normally I would have stuffed the pillow over my head for a few lasting minutes of shuteye, but a run was on the brain. I got up, pricked my finger, and waited for the five-second count down: 5-4-3-2-1. The number that shot up from the screen, though, was not a happy number. 2.1 – YIKES! I grabbed some orange juice, wrapped myself in a blanket, and lost all motivation for a run.

Thank goodness Thursday was a much better day. I woke up with a BG of 4.8, which is a bit lower than where I like them to be for a run, but I was running out of days, I had to go for a run. So I chowed down on a Brazilian Nut Taste of Nature Bar (16 carbs) that I didn’t bolus for because of the blood sugars, and I inputted a temporary 50 per cent less basal rate on my pump, and by 7:30 a.m. Mario and I were out the door heading towards Central Park.

Testing my blood sugars post run = 10.7

I felt a bit of a bruise forming on the upper part of my left foot from my so-called “great-for-walking” Hush Puppies – right where the laces sit. So as soon as we hit the park, I re-laced my shoes, loosening up the laces a bit, which seemed to take the irritation away.

I didn’t do the full loop around, just 7.57 km, which was about two kilometres less than the full loop. I was a little unsure at how well I’d do, as I’d been sick the week prior and hadn’t been running in about a week and a half. But I felt great. My legs at first were a little fatigued, which I suspected was due to all the walking I’d been doing, but after the first three kilometres, they were fine … or I had just forgotten about them, as I was too busy checking out my new surroundings.

I was surrounded by other runners, and cyclists with their fancy schmancy bikes, and cars too. And the whole time I kept thinking, wow this is so much easier than running Vancouver’s seawall which is almost always packed with runners and walkers and cyclists and roller bladers, and chit chatters, and yappy little dogs on extendable leashes (which was the cause of one of my injuries) and teens walking arm in arm, five by each. Central Park’s path, though, is nice and wide. Yes there were lots of people to share the path with, but they were spaced out quite nicely. I only saw one near mishap where an oblivious runner jetted across the roadway right in front of a cyclist, resulting in horns and yelling and a surprised, shocked look on the runner’s face. Now, that all being said, I went out on a Thursday morning, not a Saturday morning, which I hear can be quite chaotic.

The great thing that I discovered on this run is that while I may have lost some of my speed demoness,  I didn’t lose my kickass hill climbing skills. People who had passed me earlier, I so smoked on the hills!

Today, I decided to run around Burnaby Lake, but unlike my Central Park loop, I was tight and heavy footed and fatigued. And it didn’t help that I got lost on the trails (or at least thought I was lost on the trails) and had to call Mario up on the cell, which slowed my time down massively as I ended up walking and talking for about 10 minutes, hoping that he would be able to help me find my way out of there … mind you, when he asked what I was around all I could tell him was “Trees!”

Mario was literally on the phone with me minutes prior to taking this trying to help me figure out where the heck I was ... turns out, I was real close to the end!


  • 9:30 a.m. BG before: 10.0 (temporary basal rate of -50 per cent)
  • Distance: 9.38 km
  • Average Pace: 6:58
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 4.3

Where are your favourite places to run?

NYC Part 2 of 4: Reuniting the Katies

Day 2 in New York was quite liberating for this directionally challenged princess. While Mario went to check out the Museum of Modern Art and a bike art show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (check out his blog about it at, I hopped on the subway – ALONE – and made my way up to SoHo with no mishaps! I had a lunch date at 1 p.m. with some old friends, but arrived in SoHo at about 10:30 a.m. What to do? What to do?


I didn’t want to hinder my recently discovered directional abilities, so I kept it pretty simple and strutted down Prince Street, and meandered up and down all the side streets along the way. It was a miserable day, buckets of rain AND gusty side winds (my umbrella totally bit it, as did many others) so I may have looked like a bit of a drowned rat going into these closet-sized boutiques like Pinkyotto and Calypso St. Barth and Sample, but I didn’t care – I was on a mission to find a new pair of jeans to add to my collection. Sadly, I did not find those jeans. I did, however, find a stylish New York designer top from baby blue Line.

As soon as my watch hit 12:45, I booked it over to Dean and Deluca where I was to meet Katie and Caitlin. I was so excited for this meeting; it had been eight years since I last saw these girls. I was a bit early waiting for them, so with my eyes darting back and fourth across all four spots of the intersection, my stomach filled with fluttery butterflies. As soon as I saw Katie crossing the street, my face lit up.

Best reunion EVER! Drinking lotsa chocolatey things at MarieBelle

I first met Katie and Caitlin 10 years ago when they were young, impressionable 13 year olds, and I was a somewhat lax camp counselor at Camp Kippewa for Girls, located in Monmouth Maine. Our last summer together was 8 years ago, and it was that summer that our friendship truly began. Caitlin had nicknamed me “Grapes” due to her love of pelting red grapes at me, and I had nicknamed her “Evil One” for obvious reasons. For Katie and I, it was “Mini Me” and “Big Me” she was like the miniature version of me from our names to our music interests to our tastes in TV and so many other things, and to this day, I still see so many similarities between the two of us.

Caitlin (left) and Katie (right) helped make my time at Kippewa a happy time.

Katie started as my camper, then became an amazing friend, and is now my blogging mentor. Check out her awesome foodie blog:

Over the years, I have watched these girls grow from being awkward teenagers to beautiful, intelligent, young women. Heck, I was even there for one of their first kisses, and may have even documented it on film – sorry Katie 😀 And although we hadn’t seen each other in eight years, we’ve kept in touch through email, and snail mail, and blogs, and they’ve told me, in great detail, the tales of their high school graduations, and university graduations, and European travels, and I have told them, in great detail, the tales of Mario and our courtship and our wedding and my job and my European travels too. We went from being camper and counselor to amazing friends. And the second we sat down together, it was like no time at all had passed. They were, bar none, the highlight of my trip!

We went to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch and upon the recommendation of both Katie and Caitlin, I tried the restaurant’s Brunette Butter, which is basically Nutella without the chocolate – and ohmygawd, I fell in love with it. I was planning on buying some, but totally forgot, and spent the rest of the trip trying to find another outlet, but came up short. Boo 😦

While perusing the menu, I noticed that there were calorie counts for everything, which Katie pointed out was a New York rule for chain restaurants. Unfortunately, the calorie count doesn’t really help me, but a carb count, well now that would have been a great idea! All throughout the trip I had issues figuring out the carbs of meals, and was basically guessing (my purse is too small to carry the Calorie King book with me …well, actually, it would have fit, I just didn’t want to carry it). I was pretty good over the lunch meals, as I tend to typically stick to sandwiches for lunch, but dinner was a bit harder with eating pasta and Ethiopian and eggplant dishes and Hagen Daz too! And as a result, I was forced to do A LOT of BG corrections over the course of the five days.

For all you diabetics out there, how do you carb count when traveling?