Monthly Archives: March 2013

Gift of the gab… or not

I’m a great talker, always have been, my parents used to tease me for talking their ears off, they’d tell me to go outside and take a breath (I’m pretty sure they needed a breather from my nattering too). I love talking so much, I even entered a business where I needed the gift of the gab to get the story. And yet, when it comes to big crowds, when it comes to me standing before a class of 10, 20, 30 students (regardless of age), in front of a video camera destined for the world, and even a small wedding audience consisting of my nearest and dearest – I freak out. My hands shake, my voice quivers, my body goes into full-on sweats.

Presentation speaking is NOT my thing.

This week, however, I tried to quash those fears with a presentation to a mass communications class at the University of the Fraser Valley. The professor, a friend of mine, who we will call TV Prof (seriously, he’s a TV prof!!!) approached me last year requesting I talk to his students. I tried getting out of it, and I thought I had the perfect excuse by having Little Ring right around the time he wanted me to speak, but dammit all to hell, it seems the guy teaches the same class every semester. I tried telling him I suck at public speaking. I tried telling him about the flip book you could make of all the faces I produced in my wedding speech. I tried telling him about how “uhm” takes over my usually awesome vocabulary, being inserted into every second breath of a sentence. But that only encouraged him more.

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Just a sampling of my flipbook!

And then, he gave me a topic I just couldn’t refuse: The demise of journalism.

And so, on Monday afternoon, I stood before that class for about an hour (that felt more like 10!). My eyes twitched. My shirt went from dry to soaked. And my voice shook uncontrollably as I read from a script of talking points. I relaxed somewhat when I wandered off into tangents, which anyone who knows me knows I’m akin to do, and during the Q&A portion at the end, I almost forgot I was presenting – answering those questions from the depths of my journalistic heart.

I told them about my long-lasting love for the craft of journalism, how I had always felt I was destined for this career, how I loved getting into the heads of my subjects, hearing their stories and retelling those stories through the written word. And then I slapped them – and their dreams – in their faces with the reality of the news business, going into great detail about how the powers that be are doing everything in their means (knowing or not) to kill this business. I told them love isn’t enough to keep me going. I told them that I, like many others in my position, am working hard at getting out of this business I once called a dream.

Yeah, I’m a bit of a killjoy 😉

And with that, my friends, I share with you that as of this week I am one step closer to becoming a fancy schmancy dietitian! All the upgrading I’ve been working on is now officially complete. The final course, Chemistry 12 (my nemesis!) was completed two weeks ago, and I got my grades this week, finishing with a respectable 86 per cent!!! Holy smarty pants!!! And now, it’s off to real university courses for me – wahoo!!!

YESTERDAY’S RUN:

  • 3:30 p.m. BG before: 5.9
  • Temp. basal: none (3 crackers and peanut butter (20 grams carbs) no bolus)
  • Distance: 5.25 km – 5 minutes warmup/20 minutes tempo/5 minutes cool down
  • Time: 30:57
  • Total average pace: 5:54 min/km
  • Tempo average pace: 5:41 min/km
  • 4:30 p.m. BG after: 5.4

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A much deserved post-run Kombucha; 14 grams carbs.

This was supposed to be a tempo run with me averaging a 5:30 min/km or faster speed. And I thought, despite my legs feeling heavy and fatigued in the five-minute warmup, that I was killing it for the first half of the tempo pace… that is, until I turned around at the half-way point and was suddenly faced with a thick wall of wind. Damn you homeward bound wind, damn you!

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First shorts run of the season… and yes, I know I have Casper white legs thank you very much 😀

Wishing you all a super duper Easter weekend!

Sprinting and The Brain

Our brains, they’re funny little creations aren’t they! Or is it just mine?

While running yesterday’s speed repeats, which I totally rocked (unlike the previous week) it suddenly dawned on me that 200-metre repeats are essentially the equivalent of sprinting for 1 minute – just 1 minute – something I had been doing with my program since February, and yet, once my program switched from timed repeats to distance repeats, it was as though my brain could not comprehend such a task, causing my legs to rebel.

Last week, my legs wanted nothing to do with 200 metres. My lungs were gasping for air at just 50 metres in. My brain was saying just stop already, you can’t do this, you might as well give up. And a couple times, in my first sets of repeats, I did wimp out, cutting them short, or slowing my pace down.

So yesterday, instead of upping the distance as per my program, I opted to do the same set as last week. I wanted to make sure I could do it without wimping out. I wanted to make sure I was putting a quality effort in, not just a quantity effort.

And I don’t know, maybe it was the difference between this week’s sun versus last week’s monsoon, or the difference between the two locations, or the difference between a positive mindset and a negative one, but I tell you, it was like my legs were on fire. They swiftly soared down the stretch, my breathing was strained, but not heaving, and my vision was so clear, there were no imaginary demons sitting on my shoulder, telling me to quit. It was more like: “Go! Go! Go!”

Then I looked at my Garmin. Hmm. That was a minute, I thought. Hmm. I was doing minutes before, I recalled. Hmm. That brain, that silly, silly brain of mine, I chuckled 😀

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The question remains, was MY brain Pinky or The Brain???

YESTERDAY’S SPEED REPEATS

  • 5:15 p.m. BG before: 6.4
  • Temp. basal: none (20 grams carbs (peanut butter and 3 crackers) 1 hour prior, no bolus)
  • Distance: 5.84 km; 10′ warm-up, 8×200 metre repeats with 1′ walk in-between, 10′ cool down.
  • Time: 37:01
  • Average pace: 6:06 min/km
  • Average interval pace: 4:14 min/km
  • Best pace: 3:00 min/km
  • 6:30 p.m. BG after: 4.8

Another awesome thing noted on that run: I have finally overcome the foot bruise of months earlier. Despite getting fantastic new shoes (Dear Brooks, I love you!) I was still suffering the aches of a foot bruise, and had to bandage the area up with mole skin, padded gauze, and sport tape, which, with the warmer weather, was causing friction blisters. So I decided yesterday to give it a go without the bandages, and I had not one second of foot irritation. Wahoo!

All in all, it was a great, great run… who ever thought I’d be saying that on a night of speed repeats???

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Hehe 😀

Directionally disturbed

When I opened my eyes this morning there was lead weighting down my feet, sleep fairies blurring my vision, and every Negative Nelly excuse clouding my judgement. I had wanted to go for a run this morning, I was sure I did, and yet, when the alarm (aka: Big Ring) jolted me awake, I wanted nothing more than to roll over, stuff my head under my pillow, and go back to the land of dreams.

It’s too cold, I moaned. I’m not feeling so great, I whined. I’m tired, I whimpered. And then the negotiations: I’ll go when it’s warmer out. I’ll go when I’m more awake. I’ll go this afternoon. Translation: I won’t go.

Somehow, I don’t know how, I fought through it enough to get myself kitted up for a run, but even after squeezing into my compression tights (which by the way is NO easy task) I was still making excuses, right up to the point of lacing my shoes.

It was just one of those mornings.

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I was in almost as bad a state as this worm was with a robin pecking at it!

I don’t know what got me out the door – Big Ring’s encouragements? Little Ring’s smiles? An hour to myself with nothing but my own thoughts? – but I sure as heck am glad I did get out there. It was a freaking awesome feeling run that ended up being SIXTEEN minutes longer than it was supposed to be!!!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 7:40 a.m. BG before: 9.1
  • Temp. basal: -30 per cent (1 hour)
  • Distance: 10:61 km
  • Average pace: 6:18 min/km
  • Time: 1:06:19
  • 9:15 a.m. BG after: 5.4
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1.5 hours)

*NOTE: the post-run basal was a bit too high as I suffered a low later in the morning.

Today’s run was only supposed to be 50 minutes, and I would have done just that had I not – once again – been confused by direction. I’d love to say I’m directionally challenged, but I am so beyond that, I am directionally fugged up!

I ran out to Queensborough, a run I’ve done a few times in the past, but one I haven’t done fully in a couple years. I was pretty sure it was a route that would amount to 50 minutes give or take, but the thing is, when I got to the rail bridge, I started second guessing the route. (Why do I always do that???)  I wasn’t sure if the boardwalk would take me back homeward bound or if I’d have to turn around and come back the way I came. I thought I had done a loop in runs previous, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember exactly how I did that loop. So, after running 100 metres back, 100 metres forward, 100 metres back again (I was running just as indecisively as I was thinking) I finally decided I was better off turning around and going back the way I came – the way I knew I could get back home.

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Point of no return: I’m lost.

And you know, you would think, given the way I had started the morning, I would have been cursing to beat all hell with my directionally disturbed ways, but I wasn’t, not at all. I was out there, ice wind in my face, early morning sun blasting through my eyes, and the shadow of my running self running next to me on the road, behind me on the boardwalk, and past me on the picket fences. I wasn’t fighting my breathing, my feet weren’t dragging, and my thoughts weren’t clouded. Quite the opposite. My legs were light, my eyes were bright, and my heart was happy as a kite.

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I love watching my shadows run with me 😀

Sometimes, you’ve just got to fight through those demons, because hey, you might just be surprised with the awesome run that awaits you!

New Challenge: the chef’s hat

I’ve run marathons, ridden my bike up the seemingly never-ending hills to Horseshoe Bay, competitively hiked the Grouse Grind, have raced dragon boats, and now I have set forth a new challenge – in the kitchen!

This past Christmas, my pops (who drew my name for the family gift exchange) got me a subscription to Cooks Illustrated and Cook’s Country – both products of America’s Test Kitchen. Some of you familiar with my blog might be wondering why the heck he would do such a thing. It’s no secret that while I love to bake, I don’t like cooking, I’m no good at cooking, I cook but once a year, and frankly I’m much happier out of the kitchen than in.

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Yup, I can pretty much count how many times I’ve cooked on one hand!

But the thing is, I love cooking shows and cooking magazines. Whenever I go to my parents’ house, I drool over my pops’ cooking magazines, salivating at the pictures, reading them from front to back, not daring to miss one page, even if a recipe initially doesn’t appeal to me. It’s like cooking porn!

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Now this is the kind of porn I can get behind 😉

And when I do get into the kitchen for that once-a-year Big Ring birthday feast, despite the cavalcade of curse words exiting my mouth and stress beads streaming down my forehead, I do enjoy the planning of the event, the shopping for supplies, the challenge of not poisoning us, and the reward when if it turns out tasty.

With all that in mind, my pops figured I should have subscriptions of my own to enjoy, and he hoped that  maybe, just maybe, I’d find my way into the kitchen more than once a year (he’s a pretty fricken kick-ass chef himself, which most definitely was not passed down to me!). Shockingly, I am happy to report his plan – so far – has worked!

I have embarked on a new challenge, my friends – a cooking challenge. With each magazine I receive (12 in total for the year) I will set out to make at least one recipe from that issue. It may not be 42.2 km, or 8 hours through the Cinque Terre, but it will be grueling, it will be stressful, it will be time consuming, there will be curse words, there may even be tears, and my gawd, there may very well be moments where I want to throw myself in front of a moving train like I did for the Portland Marathon. But always one for a challenge, I promise you this, I will be sinking my teeth into this one 100 per cent!

And already, I’m two for two 🙂

On Feb. 1, I made the Impossible Ham and Cheese pie Quiche, which was super easy and super tasty. The parmesan crust was brilliant, and the smell that hung low in the loft for hours after was delectable! I’ve since made the quiche a few times more, and have even been so brave as to make my own alterations to the recipe.

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And yesterday, in honour of the first day of spring, I made the Easy Asparagus Tart. Big Ring, who was unsure if he’d like the black kalamata olives in the recipe, raved about the tart practically with every bite he took. And while I too thought it was tasty, I think it would have been much better as an appetizer cut up into smaller squares. Me and the, uhm, goat cheese, it seems, don’t really get along, not at all… let’s just leave it at that 😉

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And so, with this new challenge, I will be starting a new page on the blog that will include each recipe I try. Stay tuned for the next cooking adventure.

Ps. this is NOT the big announcement I had teased you all with a couple weeks ago; that will hopefully be revealed in just a couple weeks. Patience, they say, is a virtue 😉

speed DEMONS!!!

Finally, thanks to Coach NZ, I’ve got a running definition I can relate to.

Cadence: Run like a kid.

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Seeing as how that’s half of my running mantra – “Run like a kid. Finish with a smile.” – you’d think I’d actually like running speed intervals. But no, that definition is nowhere near as fun as it sounds. Speed sucks – large!

Back when I started Coach NZ’s program, she warned me I’d have to get over my hate for speed. If I wanted to be faster, she said, I had to embrace runs that involved high cadence and speed repeats. I couldn’t just go through the motions, I had to put solid effort in.

Up until today, however, I think I was somewhat lackadaisical when it came to building up my speed capacity. Sure I ran those runs, sure I tried, but if I’m gonna be honest, I could have tried harder, I could have performed better. But there were always excuses. I hid behind the fear of past injuries, or not understanding the cadence terminology, or the fact I was just coming back, I wasn’t ready. But not anymore. No more excuses.

So what changed? What made me want to give my all today?

New inspiration.

My Canadian-turned-Brit girlfriend ran her first marathon this past weekend in Rome (I know, right!). Not only did she cross that finish line, she crossed it with a super respectable time of 3:44:07; top 10 per cent of women and top 22 per cent overall! Holy fast feet batchick! And this chick, she suffered major feet blisters for a good portion of her training, and sports bra chafing leading up to race day. She could have just phoned in the race, no one would have faulted her that, but she didn’t. She gave it her all.

And by golly, if she can do that, surely I can suck up a few (that feel like a bijillion!) speed repeats.

TONIGHT’S SPEED:

  • 5:45 p.m. BG before: 6.9
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 1/2 apple, 17 grams, no bolus
  • Distance: 5.66 km
  • Speed repeats: 8×200 metres
  • Best pace: 3:24 min/km
  • Time: 37 minutes
  • 6:45 p.m. BG after: 8.8
  • Post-run bolus: 1.25 units

But gawd, do I ever hate them speed DEMONS? Hate them!

Green pinchers be damned

Me and my diabetes, we’re always dressed for St. Paddy’s Day 😀

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Happy Green Day to you all!

Diabetes cure: here we go again

It’s a plane. It’s a rocket. It’s a CURE FOR DIABETES!!!

No. Wait. It’s not.

I am late to this blog topic table, like really late, and quite frankly, I’m completely okay with that. You see, I am not as ingrained into the diabetes online community as maybe I should be. My blog roll isn’t bursting with diabetes-related blogs, just a handful really, and for the most part, I tune into the Twitterverse in peaks and valleys. And so, when the events of last week unfolded, with regards to a supposed major cure breakthrough, I was completely, totally, 100 per cent out of the loop. In fact, because my eyes and brain have been so focused on studying for my chemistry final (seriously, whoever thought that language up must have been on crack) I’ve even fallen behind on the blogs I do read, and so, it wasn’t until late last week that I was brought up to speed on this new revelation – The Biohub – which from what I can tell is some kind of spongy thing that mimics a pancreas.

Ask me: Did I jump for joy? Did I go out looking for more information? Did I pull up the diabetes forums? Or start leaving comments of my own? Did I call my moms? Did I call Big Ring? Did my belly fill with excited butterflies and my fingers shake with joyful tingles?

No.

I’ve been down this road many times before, and honestly, my first thought, before even watching the video was “Here we go again.” Most of us in the DOC have similar stories: there will be a cure in 5 years, they told me; by the time you’re 16, you won’t be jabbing yourself with needles no more, they said; wait just five more years, they assured me, by the time you’re 21, you’ll finally be a real girl again with no weird disease following you around.

Well folks, I am now 34. I stopped believing in a cure long before I hit 21. Diabetes is too much a cash cow for Big Pharma. Yep. I’m cynical. Can you blame me?

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This getup is not a cure, but it is the closest thing I’ve got to a pancreas.

And after watching the Biohub video, I feel I’m pretty justified in my thoughts. Honestly, it was nothing more than a fundraising plea for something that, in its current state, is hardly more than just an idea.

Nope. I won’t be holding my breath. Not for this one or the next one.