Monthly Archives: July 2010

A baker’s bliss

Ahhh the sweet smells of baking, one of the best scents in the world. As I sit here typing this entry, the smell of fresh tarts is wafting all through my condo, and is hovering most noticeably right under my nose. I love baking, but I’ve always been the kind of baker who, uhm, doesn’t exactly have much patience. Although, after going green in the face and sour in the belly a few too many times, I no longer lick the mixing spoons, or full on eat chunks of raw cookie dough. But now, I’m like a five-year-old next to her easy bake oven peering through the glass, watching it rise, watching it bake, drool dripping…

We’ve got a group of friends coming for dinner tomorrow, two of which traveled all the way from New York just to see us (okay, maybe not just us). So I decided to put on my best Martha Stewart hat and go to town. However, I was faced with a dilemma, what do I bake? I don’t like to brag (okay, that was a lie, yes I do) but it turns out I’m a pretty awesome baker! And I had a few requests for past concoctions that included the Juniors’ cheesecake I made last month, and also a German plum tart that I made last year. But I had my eyes set on making a summer fruit lavender tart, which I’ve never made. So, what did I decide?

German PEACH tart ... this was taken before going under the broiler!

I also made one of the remaining two options, but ran out of time to complete it for a photo before watching a movie: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo = sooooo good! Aside from being like 5 hours long … I’m sure you’ll hear more of my distaste for movies beyond 1.5 hours as the blogging continues. I know I could just tell you what I made, but what would the fun be in that? You’re just gonna have to wait for me to post a photo of it in my next blog 😉

And now, I’m watching the clock, counting down the hours before I can start gobbling them down. Just around 19 more hours left to go. Salivating … yum!

It wasn’t just sweets that I was cooking up today, though. I started out making a batch of from-scratch pancakes, but they weren’t breakfast pancakes, oh no, they’re running pancakes. After last Sunday’s washroom debacle, I decided I needed to try something new, and so, I’ve taken the plunge into my massage therapist’s (who’s a crazy intense runner himself) suggestion of taking along sand-dollar-sized pancakes.

One or two for tomorrow, and a whole bunch in the freezer for later.

A non-running taste test scored majorly high marks from both Mario and I. They tasted like yummy biscuits that you’d only find freshly baked at grandmas! Here’s a link to the recipe I used, but because I have a slight allergy to milk (or maybe it’s just a major disgust of milk) I switched out dairy milk for soy milk. I’m hoping they won’t spike up my blood sugars, and that once I’ve run say 15k, I won’t look at them like I do bananas at the same distance – with a feeling of puke climbing up my throat. Fingers are crossed.

What’s your favourite summer dessert?

The 25-mile ‘cycling’ diet

It’s days like today that I love my job and couldn’t imagine doing anything else. I mean, seriously, what other job lets you bomb around on your bike all afternoon – and actually calls it work?

For the past two years, Slow Food Vancouver has hosted a Slow Food Cycle Tour in Chilliwack, and I figured, seeing as how it’s fast approaching, I’d do an advancer story to let people know all about it. But rather than just call the organizers up on the phone (what fun could there possibly be in doing that?) I figured I’d ride around for a first-hand experience. But who wants to ride alone, right? Not me. Nope. No way. And seeing as how today just so happened to be Mario’s day off, it was kismet he join me 😀

Slow Food Vancouver, which puts on these events all throughout B.C., is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life. And the purpose of the Slow Food Cycle Tours is to foster a connection between local producers and urban consumers, and to reignite an interest into the food we eat, and where it comes from, how it tastes, etc., etc.. Last year, in its first year, Chilliwack attracted more than 1,000 cyclists to the event, many of whom came all the way out from the city. Impressive indeed.

Just a little country couture.

I didn’t exactly have a proper route to follow, as the organizers are a bit stingy in providing a map for those who don’t pay for registration, so I figured out a route of my own based on all the stops. Thank you mapmyride.com. The tour has 15 stops in total, but because it wasn’t the actual tour, and because many of the farms on the tour are private farms, not all of them were open for viewing. But that didn’t hinder my experience, oh no.

Cycling in farm country, with or without  food, is an experience in itself.

One minute you’re mooing at the moo cows, or gushing over the billy goats, or in awe with the heron hovering over the corn fields, and the next you’re battling with road-hogging feed trucks or grannies with caved in bumpers who can barely see over their steering wheels, or the smell. Ohhh that smell. It’s a funny smell, kind of smells like poo. But ask anyone who lives out there and it’s like their smell sense is turned off when it comes to the poo. What are you talking about? It doesn’t smell like poo. Hate to break it to y’all, but yes it does. Majorly!

Look! I learned how to ride no hands, something I've been trying to do since practically the first time I climbed onto a bike! The beauty of a nice, quiet, country road.

And hey, I did score some foody bits: I got me some fresh ripe tomatoes right off the vine (yum!) and a refill of the natural blackberry honey I do so love (double yum!). However, when we arrived at the Home of the Black Angus and I saw the fields full of oh-so-cute moo cows my heart sunk a little knowing that one day those big, burly beasts, who were so interested in grabbing our attention, and had all herded over to the fence just to see what we were doing, would someday be someone’s dinner. 😦

Loving the free tomatoes.

TODAY’S RIDE:

  • 2 p.m. BG before: 5.6 (nectarine, no bolus)
  • Temp basal -50 per cent
  • Distance: 38.76 km
  • Average pace: 20.6 (Hey! It was a slow tour ;))
  • Time:  1:50:58
  • 3 p.m. BG: 4.6 (4 Dex tablets)
  • 4 p.m. BG: 7.1 (1/2 larabar + tomato)
  • 5:30 p.m. BG after: 11.1 (1.50 BG correction)

Where do you most like to ride? In the city? the country? the middle of nowhere?

It is I! Super Katie!

I’m seriously considering changing my name, just slightly, nothing too major. I mean I do love my name, but I’m thinking it needs a touch of oomph added to it, something along the lines of Super Katie! said in exactly the same way as Super Grover says his name. It’s a worthy name I think, I do have super powers after all – I mean, I am the conquerer of all hills! So what do you guys think? 😀

I know I’ve said it before, but given that last night was the start of hill training, I feel compelled to say it again. I LOVE HILLS! And I know I’m a bit of an anomaly, most people hate hills, and rightfully so. They’re fricken hard, they force every ounce of oxygen out of your lungs, have you huffing and puffing, like you’d been smoking five packs a day for 30 straight years, even long after surpassing the hill, and sometimes they just seem to never end. And I’m not saying that I haven’t experienced the loathing of hills, because I have, I’ve called them nasty names, have thought of feigning injury just to be able to stop, and have made deals with the devil on my shoulder to get me to the top. And yet, the second my feet feel the incline of a hill, any inhibitions with my form are suddenly gone, and any inhibitions with my energy are also suddenly gone – somehow I surge up hills like nothing. (SUPER POWERS!) And when I cross the peak, huffing and puffing to beat all hell, I’m not thinking about hating the hill, quite the opposite. I’m feeling a bit like, I don’t know, Wonder Woman? Nope. She-Ra? Nope. Super Katie? Oh yeah!

Super Katie!

And on a competitive note, there is nothing better than passing someone on a hill 😀

The hills for this clinic are different from previous clinics. Whereas before we were doing these super long, straight up pavement hills that would seriously take forever to power up (that’s when Bon Jovi started playing in my head) and would kill to run down (while I love going up, I absolutely hate going down) this time around we’re doing our repeats on a short, but massively steep hill on a trail run that loops so that you’re not going down on that same steep hill and you’ve got more recovery time over a flatter strip of trail.

Easier on the joints + more recovery = makes a happy runner out of me and you!

The name of the game: run as fast as you can, practically on the verge of puking, and run through the hill, not just to the top of the hill.

Playing a little game of "Catch Pete" (in the lead) who's a crazy fast runner.

The only issue I had with this hill was with the trail being so dry that my shoes slid over a couple of sticks on the incline, causing me to lose position, and almost bailing on my knees once. But standing at the top of the hill, our very own drill sergeant hill coach, kept barking encouragements at us and telling us to run faster until we made it to the top and beyond, which actually helped. Although, I got to say, I really hated it every time she’d tell me how great my form was and how awesome I was doing because then I felt obligated to keep doing repeats – even when I was gagging for air! But I guess that’s the price you pay when you’re a super hero like me 😉

Trail running = majorly dirty shoes 😦

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 6:45 p.m. BG before 13.1 (my BG was 6.9 an hour and a half before the run, but I had a Quaker granola bar that I didn’t bolus for … guess I’m gonna have to refigure out how to work those back into my training regime. Did a .60 unit BG correction, not the full 1.50 unit it required)
  • No temp basal
  • Distance: 8 km
  • Average pace: 6:48 (recovery)
  • Time: 54:32
  • 8:30 p.m. BG after 4.6 (probably could have used a slight temp basal)

What do you love/loathe about running hills?

WARNING: Trotting to the toilet

Man was I ever feeling like crud the last few days, and I was debating whether or not to blog about it as it is a bit of a sensitive subject, but given that it’s a running-induced sensitive subject, blogging I shall do.

But first, I must warn all you non-runners, and all you with the squeamish little bellies, and all of you who are easily grossed out, stop reading now. If you continue, you are too blame. I take no fault for any accidental upchucking or cringe-induced wrinkles or nightmares that may result from what lies below.

This condition I am about to discuss is a condition that no runner likes to talk about, and likes even less to experience. Are you ready for it? Okay, here you go: Runner’s Diarrhea, also known as the trots, poopy pants, sore bum, and ohmygawd find me a toilet now, even a port-a-potty would do!

Yep, I happen to be one of the “lucky” 20 to 50 per cent of distance runners who suffer from such poopy torment. Oh joy.

I used to think I had a stomach of steel when it came to running. I’d hear all these stories about how people couldn’t eat before they ran, or how their gels couldn’t get them to the washrooms fast enough, or how even the smell of food would turn their stomachs. I’ve even seen pictures of runners who didn’t make it, if you know what I mean. But none of it ever seemed to phase me. I had no problem with gels,  electrolyte drinks,  granola bars, not even with a hearty oatmeal breakfast before a run. And because I’m not a runner who can go without eating like some, I was quite thankful to have no horror stories of my own. But it seems, the times, they are a changing.

For about a month now, I’ve been waking up the day of a long run with a knotted stomach, and have been forced to make a “pit stop” somewhere along the 45-minute drive to the Running Room … heaven forbid the stomach gods let me actually take care of it at home! And because of the knotted stomach (which by the way doesn’t go away after the pit stop) I’ve been feeling a bit queasy waiting for the runs to start. But after that, I’ve been pretty much good to go, no further problems, aside from a bit of cramping in the last two or three kilometres, so I just thought it was nervous belly. Nothing to be overly worried about right. Wrong.

This Sunday started out the same as the others, except about halfway through the run, nausea was added to the mix. And let me just say, when you’re required to suck down your second, thick, none-to-pleasant GU gel that already makes you want to hurl, add to that real nausea and yeah there was some regurgitation going on in my esophagus!

But because I made it back to the store I figured everything was okay. That is, until about 20 minutes into my drive home, when the gurgling, burbling and all-out volcanic eruption started waging a war in my belly. Oh no. I’ll spare you the gory details, but let’s just say that it couldn’t have been a worst time for a nonsensical traffic jam on the bridge. I spent the next 30 minutes clutching my stomach, squeezing my innards, gritting my teeth, spewing out a few F bombs, and even trying to telepathically move the traffic along.

When I finally got home, the elevator was on like the 7th floor and took forever to get down to the lobby. Why not take the stairs, you ask. Well, first off, I’m not sure the added motion would have been all that good, and second, after living here a year, I still have no clue how the stair system works – we’ve tried every key and none seem to unlock the doors. Thank goodness no one else was around; I was doubled over with one leg crossed over the other swaying my body back and forth trying to calm the evil going on inside me. Thankfully, and by god shockingly, I made it to the loo in time. Phew. Crisis averted.

Thank GOD this was not my outcome!

SOURCE

And because I’d prefer not to go through that again, especially given that my system has been majorly out of whack ever since (hence the feeling like crud) I’ve had my nose buried in sports nutrition books and websites that focus in on the ol’ trots business. But what I found was not exactly encouraging. Pretty much, I could be hooped.

POTENTIAL CAUSES:

  • The jarring up and down motion of running could be shaking up the bowels
  • The flow of blood to the intestines is being rerouted to your working muscles, which may trigger the cramping and/or diarrhea
  • Nerves
  • Dehydration

HOW TO PREVENT:

  • Avoid eating for at least 2 hours before exercise (nope, can’t do that!)
  • Avoid warm fluids as they can speed up the movement of wastes through the intestines (I froze my water bottles, but when you’re out for hours in the raging hot sun, they do tend to get warm)
  • Limit high fibre foods ie. fruit, veggies, whole grains (well there goes breakfast!)

The only things that I’ve really changed from when I was training for the halfs is my oatmeal and energy bars. Whereas before I was eating instant, reduced-sugar oatmeal, along with half a banana and a smoothie, I’m now chowing down on steel cut oats, yogurt, banana and smoothie. Back to the cheapo less filling oats it is. And I’ve also switched from Quaker granola bars to actual energy bars that have less ingredients but more fibre … hmm, seems the more healthy I try to be, the more I screw myself, or should I say, the more I poop!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • BG before: 10.1 (had a Quaker granola bar an hour and a half before, BG was 7.1, didn’t bolus)
  • Temp basal -50 per cent (not sure what I was thinking, I probably should have only reduced it by 20 per cent)
  • Distance: About 5 km (I think)
  • Hills: 4 plus 1 warmup hill
  • Time: ??? I don’t know, I did something different with my Garmin and I screwed it up
  • BG after: 15.8 (proof of a bad basal rate)

Have you ever been sidelined by Runner’s Diarrhea? How did you get through it?

The land of the crazies

I practically ran to Timbuktu yesterday … okay, maybe not Timbuktu, but it might as well have been. I mean 23 km is practically around the world and back isn’t it?

That’s right 23 km – my longest run ever! And I’m not gonna sugarcoat it; it was fricken tough. At about 17 kms, I was seriously re-evaluating my sanity. My calves were fatigued, my thighs were throbbing, my hip was … well … it was kind of screaming. But all that was nothing compared to what was going on in my head: Math. For those of you who don’t know, I’m not exactly one to go out of my way to do math, but when you’ve already been running for close to two hours, your formerly sweet little head starts doing nasty little things like math equations.

I’ve got how many more kilometres to go? Six? Are you kidding me?

And the crazy thing is, for a marathon, I’d have only been a little over half way done. I’m thinking it’s high time someone called up the Rubber Room; I am certifiably insane! Lucky for me, though, I’m not the only one.

We've all got the crazies! ... pardon the blur, I was running while taking the picture!

We started the run at 8:30, which we all agreed wasn’t early enough, given that not even five minutes in some of us (okay just me) were already complaining about the sun burning its rays through our oh-so-sensitive skin. I think we hit about 30 degrees inland. My clothes, as wick genius as they are, were so soaked with sweat by the end of the run, I could’ve filled up a wading pool wringing them out. And my goodness, I could not chug my water and electrolyte drink fast enough. Thank goodness we have clinic leaders one step ahead of the game:

At 13 km = sheer brilliance!

Oh so very, very grateful!

The route took us to almost every spot of the Valley, some of which was deja vu from my ride the afternoon before. And as I passed some of those same areas, this time with tired, throbbing thighs, it became pretty clear that it probably wasn’t the wisest idea to go on a deceptively hilly ride less than 24 hours before embarking on a first-ever 23 km run! Lesson learned.

And yet, despite the tired body aches and the grumbling body fatigue, and the flaming hot sun and the desperate need for more water, a smile (a crazy smile albeit) somehow found its way across my face. I just ran 23km, I thought – and I’m still alive! Bring on the 26 😀

Ohhhhh chocolate milk, how I do so love you!

YESTERDAY’S RUN:

  • 8:15 a.m. BG before: 5.6 (granola bar and 3 Dex tabs before)
  • Distance: 23 km
  • Average pace: 7:18 (LSD)
  • Time: 2:48:05
  • Fuel: after 40 minutes: GU gel. After 80 minutes: GU gel. After 120 minutes: 2 bites larabar
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 12.0

What’s the longest distance you’ve run and how on earth did you survive?

Tree trunks, yes please

Ahhh sleep, how I’ve missed you so. But fear not, my dear friend, you will once again be a vital part of my life come tomorrow. Today, July 24, 2010, marked the end of the 97th Tour de France. And you know what that means: No more 3:30, 4:30, 5 a.m. alarm clock wake-up calls. No more squeaky office chairs and tapping keyboards in the wee hours of the morning (although, he did stop sitting in the chair and did stop Google-searching once he realized it impeded my sleep). No more bright TV lights. And no more excited husband waking me up an hour before I wanted to get up to watch the two-second time difference bruhaha between Contador and Schleck. “I thought you’d want to see it too,” he said, far too excited for any human being at 7:30 in the morning. I so could have waited for the PVR thank you very much.

And yet, I do have some pangs of sadness with the closing of the Tour, not being able to regularly see my Alberto Contador and sexy Andy Schleck and even cocky Mark Cavendish (I love his cockiness, of which he has every right to be – fastest cyclist alive!). And I know that Mario will tell me I can always watch other races on the Internet with him, but as much I do love drooling over the boys, I love my sleep way more!

After watching the time trial stage yesterday, Mario and I headed out to the Valley to do a time trial of our own … well, more like a turtle trial actually 😀

Decked in my Garmin-Slipstream jersey in honour of BC boy Ryder Hesjedal who finished 7th overall in the Tour!

I’ve always thought that my thighs would have been perfect for speed skating; they’ve got a nice thick consistency to them, good muscle tone, perfect for the ice. But seeing as how I can’t skate worth crud, they should be just as good for speedy cycling, right? Wrong. After watching Fabian Cancellara give her in the time trial, completing 52 km in just 1:00:56, I was inspired. But alas and alack my thighs are not quite the tree-trunk thighs of Fabian Cancellara. In the same amount of time, I completed just 22 km.

The one and only time you'll ever catch me wishing for tree trunk thighs.

It was a bit of a rough ride, which wasn’t much of a surprise. The route starts from my parent’s house in farm country and I’m quite familiar with it. And even though it’s not a long route, just 45 km, it’s a deceptive route that looks like it should be flat, but is so not flat at all – it kills me every time, especially in the last 5 km! And let me just say I much prefer the short, medium and long hills (even the nasty steep ones) that you can actually tell are hills to those damn roads that don’t look like hills at all. One second I was going 36 km/h and then the next I was down to like 15 km/h thinking what the hell, why can’t I go faster, I should be able to go faster, I’m not on a hill. Oh but I was.

This one was a killer!

I also had a bit of drama on the airstrip. Mario was a ways ahead and something in me just didn’t feel right, so I stopped (I figured he’d turn around at some point when he realized I was no longer behind him, especially given that I was more familiar with the route, and he did). I tested my blood sugars and they were 2.6 – yikes! Into my mouth went a few sugar pills and half a larabar, and a whole lotta water. Turns out I forgot to temporarily decrease my basal rate. Oops, my bad.

Not happy with my blood sugar mishap.


YESTERDAY’S RIDE:

  • 1:30 p.m. BG before: 7.7
  • Distance: 45:14 km
  • Average pace: 21.1 km/h
  • Fastest pace: 60 km/h (thank you Gladwin hill that goes down into the flats.)
  • Time: 2:07:34 (not even double the time got me up to Cancellara’s time!)
  • 4 p.m. BG after 5.6

Kidnapped at the brewery

When I got up yesterday morning, I had every intention of posting a blog, but as the day progressed my plans were foiled. And it wasn’t my fault, nope, not all. I was kidnapped.

My annual eye appointment was first thing yesterday morning right in the heart of Vancouver, which meant I couldn’t even sleep in on a day I wasn’t going to work. Every time this appointment rolls around I always chide myself for booking it so early, but it never fails, when they ask me what time I want to come in next, I always pick the earliest slot available. Why? Because for the first 20 years of these appointments, I would inevitably be holed up in the opthamology clinic for at least four hours.

Despite envying the eye glass wearers of the world (yes, I really do … what can I say, I love the way I look in glasses!) I have perfect 20-20 vision. But because I have diabetes, and because eye disease is a major side effect of diabetes, I have had to go to these appointments for as long as I have had this disease. The first specialist I had was an old crawdad with stinky-assed breath, who was practically on death’s door 23 years ago, and who I swear was secretly a child eater! Right up until I officially became an adult, the guy would grunt and growl at me every time I went in to see him. He scared me so much I used to make up the letters I saw on the screen, even if I couldn’t see them, for fear of what a non-answer would bring. And I don’t know if he overbooked himself, or if he was just so damn old that he couldn’t move fast enough, but regardless, my appointments were always in the air of three to four hours.

As the years progressed, I somehow trained myself to embrace the seemingly endless appointment, by grabbing a hot tea and a magazine before walking through the doors. And even though, the old curmudgeon transferred his files over to a much younger, more efficient specialist three years ago (he’s still alive and kicking though, doing research projects) my mind is still trained into thinking it’s going to be a four-hour appointment. Quite the opposite, though. I was in and out in 30 minutes, with my tea still steaming hot.

The prognosis: I seem to get better with age. For the last few years I’ve had a small blood spot on one of my eyes, which is quite common with diabetics, but the specialist told me the size of it was nothing to worry about. Well, this time around, she told me it was gone! And, my lazy eye is not so lazy anymore.

Those are the eyes of perfect vision

After the appointment, I met up with my girlfriend Charly for an early lunch,. We haven’t seen each other in what feels like forever, and yet the moment we sat down, it was like no time had passed. I love those kinds of friendships. And after lunch, as we were walking up to her house continuing our catch-up session, she stopped mid step and asked me what I was doing later. And because I had no plans, she told me flat out that she was kidnapping me.

She and her boyfriend took me over to R&B Brewery, where every Friday a group of their friends gets together for an after-work beer(s) at the Brewery. Well hey now, if this is kidnapping, feel free to kidnap me any day 😀

The Brewery

The Beer

I sampled (and by sample, I might mean three glasses worth ;)) the kristallweizen, which was so smooth, and tasty, and perfect for the blistering hot day that yesterday was. On the R&B website, it’s described as a filtered wheat ale that’s brewed with Canadian wheat and barley, as well as German hops. It is a light-bodied and flavourful beer, easy drinking without compromise to its quality.

And it gets a great, big, huge thumbs up from me. It was the most perfect, refreshing way to start off the weekend!

Best kidnapping EVER!

How do you like to start off your weekend?