Monthly Archives: April 2013

No quitting allowed

I thought for sure when I set out on my run yesterday morning, I’d be leading this post off with a big fat ugly “Ugh!” By all accounts this run should have been a disaster. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong… that is, except for the run itself 😀

Because I was scheduled to run 45 minutes, I decided Saturday evening that this run would be a practice run for next Sunday’s race. I had intended to wake up at 5:15 a.m. (not as early as I’ll have to next week, but early nonetheless), down a Z-bar and some water, and be on the road by 6 a.m.. I had intended on getting a great night sleep. And I had intended on running with perfect blood sugars. None of that happened.

I had a horribly crummy sleep, waking up every hour from 10:30 to 2:30 fighting an over-active bladder and low blood sugars. At 2:30 a.m. I ate half an apple to combat the low. It was also at this time that I decided it ridiculous to get up at 5:15, I mean seriously, who was I kidding? I opted for 6 a.m. instead, meaning I would not get on the road until after 7:30, after Little Ring fed, meaning the practice run was thrown out the window. I wouldn’t be running super early; I wouldn’t be running on a Zbar and water; I wouldn’t be running with full, heavy breasts. C’est la vie, I thought. Sleep, after all, is also a pretty important component to a great run.

When the alarm went off at 6 a.m., I tested my blood sugars right away and was hit hard in the heart with a nasty high: 14.6. Holy freaking crud monkey, this was not good. I knew my blood sugars weren’t done their climbing, that they’d go up at least two more mmol, if not more, post breakfast, which they did. I left the loft with my BG sitting uncomfortably at 16.4. Damn you rebound, damn you! 😦

And maybe I should have thrown in the towel then and there, maybe I should have quit. Hyperglycemia can cause lethargy, dehydration, muscle cramping, nausea, etc.. The deck was stacked so high against me and this run. But that new mantra of mine “No Excuses” kept playing over and over in my head. I had to tough this run out no matter how hellish it would surely be.

And you know what, I am so glad I did – I had an awesome run despite the potential obstacles standing in my way. The sun was shining. The music in my ears was drowning out the sounds of my strained breathing. The cool morning breeze felt good on my face. I had not one thought of quitting. And while I didn’t go the practice run pace I had hoped for, I did surprise myself a few times looking down at my Garmin and seeing a strong 5:00 min/km and 5:15 min/km pace looking back up at me.

So there you go, just another reason not to quit before you start because you just never know when your body will push you through a super duper fantastic run! No excuses indeed 😀

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When the sun is shining, not much beats the beauty of my running routes 😀

YESTERDAY’S RUN:
7:20 a.m. BG before: 16.4
Temp. basal: none
Distance: 7.49 km
Average pace: 5:55 min/km
Time: 45 minutes
8:30 a.m. BG after: 11.9
BG correction: 0.75 units

Hypoglycemic doozies

The other night I was lying in bed and I couldn’t sleep. I tossed. I turned. I was tired, but my brain wouldn’t shut off. It took about 20 minutes of this before I decided to check my blood sugars. They were 3.4; I should have known.

For the most part our bodies are pretty good at telling us when things aren’t right, and for me, a surefire sign my blood sugars are low at night is when I battle with sleep. And yet, it’s almost always the last thing I check. As far back as my teenage years I’ve been fighting sleep the same way I did the other night. I’d stuff a pillow over my head. I’d get up to go to the washroom 5,000 times. I’d berate the sleep demons in my head. Anything but actually check my blood sugars. Nine times out of 10, they were always low.

This particular evening, however, while waiting for my BG to slowly creep back up, I got to thinking about some of the lows I’ve experienced in the last 26 years. There’s been some doozies.

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What? Did you actually think it would be an in-focus photo? Not when my hypoglycemic hands are shaking like crazy!!!

Probably the most amusing one occurred in my first year. My family and I were preparing for an evening out, for what I don’t recall, but I do remember being told to change into warmer clothes. And this is where my memory goes black… apparently I waltzed out of my room, jacket and boots on, announcing I was ready to go. The things was, all I had on was that jacket and those boots, nothing else – stark naked!!!

Fast forward a couple years and my family was no longer laughing with the onslaught of my first super scary low. I had been reading in the school library, when the first signs of a low appeared. Out of nowhere the words started bouncing all over the pages. I squeezed my eyes shut, I squinted, I concentrated real hard, but those words would not come to a standstill. I did nothing about it. I don’t remember the end of day bell, nor do I remember boarding the school bus home. But I do have flashbacks of dump trucks and semis whizzing by me on the busy farm road, and of me running back and forth across the street. The next thing I remember I was waking up in a stranger’s house with three men peering over me!

It turns out I boarded the wrong bus home and passed out in a ditch on one of the main farm commuter routes. A fellow who went to school with my sister, and who apparently enjoyed his recreational drugs a little much, spotted me and thought I was his dog run over! He took me to his house, called an ambulance and the school. When I opened my eyes and saw the faces of three male strangers over me, you better believe I jumped off that stretcher so fast and started screaming at the top of my lungs. (Moms, you would have been proud!)

To calm me down, one of the paramedics promised if I got back on the stretcher, he’d take me to my moms to which I agreed. But the thing is, the farm town I lived in, it’s a pretty small town, and I knew when the ambulance reached the 4-way stop, it had to turn left to go home, but it kept going straight. Wait a second. He told me he was taking me to my moms. My moms isn’t straight, she’s left. He lied. Anddddddd, I totally slugged the guy!!!

When I hit my extremely hormonal and experimental teenage years, there were too many to count middle-of-the-night convulsive lows, caught only by a mother’s intuition waking her up, feeling the need to check on her baby girl.

Years later, while working my first job in the newspaper industry, living in a community far from my friends and family, I also suffered several lows. Paid peanuts, I was forced to make a choice between whether I would buy food or test strips. There was one day when I knew the low was coming on fast, and so I took a swig of the honey bottle I kept stored in my desk drawer, before walking over to the nearby café for something more substantial. As I stood in line and waited, the girl behind the counter asked if I was okay. I shook my head. I walked to the drink cooler. Everything went black. And once again, the paramedics were rushing me to the ER.

Yep, doozies indeed. But none of those – NONE! – compare to the one I had just weeks after Little Ring was born. I didn’t go into convulsions. The paramedics weren’t called. I didn’t go to emergency. But I did have the worst fright of my life.

At the time, my body was still adjusting to its new state of no longer carrying a baby, and of continuously expressing energy and nutrients through breast milk. Little Ring wasn’t yet sleeping through the night and we were exhausted. There were a few nights where I propped the boy on my chest to ensure at least he got a couple hours shuteye.

One night, I woke up in a panic. Little Ring wasn’t on my chest. I whipped the blankets off, I threw my pillows, I pushed Big Ring. I couldn’t get my words out, my hands and eyes were frantically searching, my heart felt like it had a belt around it twisting it tighter and tighter. Big Ring tried calming me. There was no time to be calm. Tears shot out of my eyes. My head filled with the worst thoughts a mom could have. Had I smothered my boy? After what seemed an eternity, I finally looked over to the bassinet next to the bed and saw my sweet baby soundly sleeping.

He was not on my chest. He had never been on my chest. He would never again sleep on my chest. My blood sugars were 1.7. Worst feeling in the world!

Thankfully – knock on wood – I don’t experience much of those these days!

Anyone else want to share some of their low doozies?

Assumption kills the race

After years months of negotiation, reviewing routes, location, timing, and swag for various organized runs, Big Brother and I finally put our hats in the ring for the Vancouver BMO 8 km route to be our second annual sibling rivalry run.

By all accounts, this run had everything. The timing was perfect for both of us, it wasn’t during the height of the summer heat or summer travel, it features a beautiful scenic route around Stanley Park, and it’s for the most part a flat run, which Big Brother emphasized was important (you will recall the hill that broke him in our last run). The distance was also a compromise for both of us. It wasn’t 5 km, which Big Brother wanted, nor was it 10 km, which I wanted – a happy medium. And the technical shirts, they’re kind of, totally awesome!

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From the BMO site.

But today, I regret to inform you the second annual sibling rivalry run has been postponed 😦

The competitive ribbing was only just beginning when the whole arrangement came to a crashing halt Monday evening when I was informed of the start time –  6:30 a.m.!!! Are you kidding me? Most marathons don’t even start at that time! I had NO idea, I thought for sure it would be like other 5 and 10 km runs that start around 8 a.m. – not 6:30 a.m.!!!

Future note: do not assume, never assume!

I fired off a text to Big Brother notifying him of the horror, and not surprisingly this is the response I received:

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Now, normally I’d call him out on it, tell him it was a convenient excuse, that he was just wimping out, but here’s the thing, I’m not much of a morning person myself, but Big Brother is like death that early in the morning. And because he lives more than an hour away from the start, he’d have to be leaving his house at like 4 a.m.!!!

So no, this run will not be the second installment of the sibling rivalry run; that must wait for another day. And until then, I’ll just have to keep gloating over the photos of my first victory. Hehe 😀

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They never get old 😀

And so, while Big Brother is snoozing away in bed, I will be lined up at the start all by my lonesome at that ungodly hour! Seriously, who the hell starts a short run that early in the bloody morning? Public transit isn’t even operating that early, which is a major issue for us as we too live a distance from the site. I’m also trying to figure out what the heck to eat beforehand because unless I wake up at like 2, I won’t have enough time for a proper breakfast, just something quick, easy to digest that doesn’t attack my blood sugars. And another issue…

Take note guys, the following sentence contains info that some of you may find TMI. You have been warned.

… I am going to have the heaviest, leakiest breasts on the planet! The start of the run is a half hour before I typically feed Little Ring, and I’m pretty sure there won’t be enough time to pump – so that’s like 1,000 pounds of milk ready to burst free. Yeah that’s not going to be comfortable at all!

YESTERDAY’S RUN

  • 2:30 p.m. BG before: 4.1
  • Temp. basal: -30 per cent
  • Carbs: Honey Stinger bar; 17 grams, no bolus
  • Distance: 5.12 km – 5′ warmup/20′ tempo/5′ cool down
  • Average pace: 5:49 min/km
  • Average tempo pace: 5:36 min/km
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • 3:30 p.m. BG after: 3.5 😦

Any suggestions on a 5-10 km run in the Vancouver/Lower Mainland area that could be designated the next sibling rivalry run?

Run hard. Run fast. No excuses.

Before even finishing my run yesterday, I knew I had kicked those speed intervals out of the park, that I had gone all Speedy Gonzalez on that pavement, and that my Garmin deets would make me smile upon reviewing them later that evening. I knew this because for the first 5 minutes of the 10-minute cool down route back home, I could not for the life of me budge my pace any faster than 6:30 minutes per kilometre. I was pooped! And pretty fricken’ proud of myself underneath all that heavy huffing and puffing too 😀

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Blue = speed

The other night, when I completed my so-called shaking out the cobwebs run, and felt good in my legs, I knew I had more to offer, and I knew I wanted to offer more. I want to be faster, which means I’ve got to put more effort into my speed training. Not just 80 per cent, not 90 per cent, not 99 per cent – 100 per cent effort!

No more slowing down pace before the interval is done; no more giving into thoughts of ‘Ohmygawd, I can’t go any further,’ regardless of how badly I want to spew out my insides; no more excuses. Yesterday’s run was the first of many  to come where I gave it my all; I muscled the hell out of that run!

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The new message on my chalkboard wall.

It started off with a 10-minute warmup that included three sets of three drills – walking lunges, high knees, and butt kicks. This was the first time (in how many months) that I’ve actually fully completed the drills; I’ve been embarrassed to go through the routine in public as it can be a pretty busy boardwalk where I run, especially on sunny afternoons like yesterday’s was. But, I’m committed, so embarrassed and all, the drills had to be done. And really, it wasn’t so bad, I mean, if you think about it, most people look silly when they’re running anyway, so what’s a little added silliness to the mix 😀

Because I’ve been off running for 2 weeks, Coach NZ advised I go back to week 1 of this month’s training, which is my “easy” week, so as to not overdo it right off the hop. Yesterday’s run involved six 200-metre speed intervals with a 1 minute jog/walk break in between. Following the first two intervals, I was able to lightly jog it out, but by the third, I could feel my stomach in my throat and opted to walk the minute instead, which I actually found harder to get back up and running again as the last seconds of the minute faded away. (I have the same issues when climbing the Grouse Grind; if I stop for even a few seconds, it’s much harder to get started again than if I were to just slow my pace down.) Must work on not giving into the walk.

And then the cool down, ohhhh that glorious, glorious slow-paced cool down. Once I was able to finally catch my breath again, I was practically skipping with giddiness.

Those are runs to live for!

YESTERDAY’S RUN:

  • 5:30 p.m. BG before: 5.6
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: sample sized oatmeal raisin Clif Bar 1 hour prior, no bolus; 15 grams
  • Distance: 5.07 km
  • Fastest interval: 4:06 min/km
  • Time: 31:04 minutes
  • 6:15 p.m. BG after: 4.1
  • Carbs: Recovery drink, no bolus; 7 grams

I’m going to figure out a way of making part of this blog my computer screen saver so that I’ll see these words, these goals, this affirmation at least once – if not more – before every speed run to remind myself of the effort I must execute to become a faster runner. Look out fast twitch muscles, I’m coming after you 😀

Kicking out the cobwebs

So, today’s run. It was just supposed to be a shake the cobwebs out kind of run. I haven’t run in more than two weeks, first due to injury then illness. So when the sun spontaneously showed up this afternoon (following a cold morning/early afternoon of monsoon rain, and even flakes of snow at one point) I decided it was the perfect opportunity for a light, easy 5 km out and back. And if all went well, tomorrow I would start back with my proper training.

It was a good plan, in theory, but, well, you’ve kind of got to follow through with it in order for it to work 😉

You see, the thing is, my friends, I hadn’t run in two weeks – two weeks! And you see, I kinda, sorta have this whole second annual sibling rivalry run in two weeks – two weeks! Do you see what I’m getting at? The sun was shining. My sneakers were hugging my feet perfectly. My head was in the optimal state. The competitive juices, they were a flowing!

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The date of the second annual sibling rivalry run has been set!

Plus, I wanted to see how fast my legs would go for 5 km… they went 1 minute 12 seconds slower than my fastest 5 km pre-pregnancy. Boo 😦

Big Ring, bless his dear husbandly heart, reminded me that I haven’t run in two weeks and that I’ve been sick for more than a week, and that I’m still not 100 per cent better. And he’s not wrong; I’ve still got gooey goobers clogging my nostrils. But, well, competitive me is back, and today’s time is not the time I’m aiming for.

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This is NOT good enough.

For the most part I felt pretty good on the run. There were a couple stitches in my side, a bit of heavy huffing and puffing, and a little pukey overexertion near the end, but there was no calf pain, and I’m pretty sure my energy was not impeded by the effects of illness. And so, I know I can do better.

And I will!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 4:30 p.m. BG before: 5.6
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 18 grams, no bolus (1/2 apple with spoonful of peanut butter)
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Time: 28:30
  • Average pace: 5:41 min/km
  • 6 p.m. BG after 3.7

New goal: 5 km in 26 minutes!!!

Chicken and Rice Soup

April 17, 2013:
Cook’s Country – February/March issue
Chicken and Rice Soup

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“Too often, cutting corners in an effort to save time spoils the broth. Our version of chicken and rice soup cuts down on time but not on flavor.” ~ Erika Bruce

Well now, that chicken was a helluva lot easier – and tastier! – to prepare than the last chicken I tried. No near salmonella poisoning this time, oh no!

For this month’s challenge I had planned a completely different recipe with the intent of taking on dinner duty last Sunday. But this stupid cold got in the way, and the last thing me and my stuffed head wanted to do was spend hours cursing in the kitchen. And so, the ingredients that could be frozen were put in the freezer, and the fresh ingredients we hoped to use in other meals.

As the days past, my head did not become any less fuzzy, my nose continued to clog up with thick buckets of snot (TMI???) and my body felt like I was lugging around a ton of bricks. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any worse, on Day 5, Big Ring was struck. His eyes puffed up like he’d been crying for hours, his breathing became hoarse, his sneezes rocked the loft, and his tonsils tickled him into coughing fits for hours on end. Suddenly, there was no more time for me to be wallowing in sickness, I needed to take action.

Insert Chicken and Rice Soup cooking challenge.

You would think I’d be a tad concerned preparing this recipe, I mean, we were already sick. What if this was the recipe that actually poisoned us? And then, there was the chicken requirement – a whole chicken!

I have a bit of a history with whole chickens. You see, several months back, I got it in my head I wanted to prepare a whole chicken. I spent weeks finding the perfect recipe, and then sent Big Ring on a grocery run. I told him before he left for work that morning when he got home he’d be sinking his teeth into the most aromatic, juicy chicken he’d ever tasted. And for a guy who loves his Swiss Chalet (seriously, I do not know why) he was excited to say the least.

But that chicken, ohhh it dogged me, it mocked me, it nearly killed me – literally. After hours and hours and more hours, I finally pulled the sucker out of the oven, and started sawing off pieces only to discover – HE WAS NOT COOKED!!! A bloody beast he still was! And I swore, from that day on, I would never, EVER, roast a chicken again.

Technically, I’ve kept that promise. This recipe called for a whole chicken, yes it did, but rather then roast it yourself, it used a shortcut of purchasing a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. Brilliant! 😀

All in, I spent about an hour and a bit on this recipe, and was able to get the stock, from start to finish, completed while Little Ring was napping. The heavenly smells of sauteed onions turned our loft into a reverie of memories for me of the smells of my childhood home. And last night, when Big Ring and I slurped back that belly warming soup, it was just what the doctor ordered!

Honestly, I think this was the best challenge recipe to date. Every spoonful I took, I patted myself on the back, there was no second guessing, no I could have done this better, no complaints. I had two bowls, it was that tasty!!!

The only problem, because it called for arborio rice, a nemesis of my good diabetes control, I struggled figuring out the insulin dose required, which, with my already unhealthy state rocking my blood sugars, meant a much higher than liked BG post dinner hours. But sometimes, in the name of a hearty chicken soup remedy, a diabetic’s got to do what a diabetic’s got to do!

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 leek, white and light green parts halved lengthwise, sliced thin crosswise, and washed thoroughly; dark green part chopped coarse and washed thoroughly
2 celery ribs, chopped
1 (2 1/2-pound) rotisserie chicken, skin and bones reserved for stock, meat shredded into bite-size pieces (3 cups)
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
4 cups water
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 bay leaves
2 carrots, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup short-grain white rice
Salt and pepper
1 cup frozen peas
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley

1. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, dark green leek part, and celery and cook until just beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Add chicken skin and bones, broth, water, thyme, and bay leaves and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, loosely covered, for 30 minutes.
2. Strain stock through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, pressing on solids to extract as much liquid as possible; discard solids and set stock aside. (You should have about 8 cups of stock. If you have less, add water to equal 8 cups.)
3. Wipe out now-empty Dutch oven with paper towels and heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add white and light green leek parts and carrots and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add rice and cook, stirring frequently, until edges of rice become translucent, about 2 minutes. Add stock and 1 teaspoon salt and bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in chicken and peas and cook until heated through, about 5 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Serves 6

Other 12 Months of Cooking Challenge recipes:
• February 1, 2013: “Impossible” Ham and Cheese Pie
• March 20, 2013: Easy Asparagus Tart

I am a runner

I don’t get it. I just don’t get it.

I’ve been trying to wrap my head around yesterday’s senseless act of evil at the Boston Marathon, but I can’t. I don’t understand the mentality, I don’t understand the act, I don’t understand any of it. Reading and watching the news coverage, my heart broke for the people, the city, the innocence. And I kept asking why.

Why?

Today, like thousands of others, I stand in solidarity with my fellow runners, my fellow spectators, my fellow people. My community is in my heart.

I am a runner.

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