Monthly Archives: May 2013

9 months: ‘Happiness is a warm puppy’

Dear Little Ring,

Over the last 9 months, we have called you Silly Goose, Gooey Duck, Magoo, Bug-a-Bug, and other loving terms of endearment, but these days, my darling boy, I’m thinking the best nickname for you is Rover. As in, my little pup.


Early on I spotted puppy like characteristics in you. Your snoring, snorting and tooting was so akin to a pug it made me giggle every time you did it. I thought those characteristics would subside, or at the very least be kept at bay. But now, my goodness child, people are going to start wondering if we’ve got canine in the family line! Every day, it seems, we are faced with a new doggy like characteristic in you 😉

As soon as you mastered your green army man crawl, it was as though you were the metal and the toilet bowl the magnet. I swear if you could get yourself up, your tongue would be lapping that water like you’d just run a marathon!

And forget teething rings and toys – our socks and shoes are your favoured chew toys.

And the wind, oh what a magical thing it is for you. Walking head on into a breeze, or even just when your mama’s blowing in your face, you get the biggest smile, and with your blissed-out eyes squinting upwards, your tongue lolls out in sheer ecstasy.

And your wide-mouthed kisses, one of your most special gifts, wouldn’t be complete without that final, loving component of a wet, sloppy lick.

And the moment your eyes catch that of a dog, a small dog, medium-sized dog, huge dog, it’s as though humans are nothing. Your eyes sparkle and your voice box goes into overdrive babbling, and shrieking with glee.

But the kicker, oh this is a good one, is the day you started barking. Seriously, you bark. You bark when you’re happy, you bark when you’re excited, you bark when you’re frustrated, and full-on growl when you’re mad.

And we don’t even have a dog!

But your giggles, my dear boy, even the ones when you’re sleeping, oh my goodness, no pooch could ever compare. They are the sweetest, most beautiful, infectious sounds to ever grace my ears.

“And Peter laughed, and when he did, all the devils grinned, because Peter’s laugh was a most contagious thing.” ~ JM Barrie, Peter Pan

My favourite’s fight

You all know her as my favourite running chick. But this woman is SO much more than that!


Yes, she is my beloved running partner, but she is also a cherished friend, a confidante, an honourary auntie to Little Ring, an amazing mother to two incredible young adults, (one of who is also a good friend) and a soon to be grandmum to a baby girl. She is one of the strongest, most caring, loving women I have ever been fortunate enough to be in the presence of.

The Triplets of Runnersville at NWM San Francisco 2011

And today, my dear friend needs our strength as she undergoes surgery to rid her body of an evil cancer invading it. I beg of all of you to keep her in your thoughts, and send as much strength, well wishes, positive, happy, healthy vibes as you can.


I love you favourite running chick. And I promise you, we will be kicking the pavement with our running sneakers in no time.



UPDATE: The surgery went well!!! The next steps: pathology report, chemo, recovery, and beyond. Thank you all for your thoughts, prayers, well wishes, and everything else. Huge hearts!

Forbidden fruit

Damn you bananas, you vindictive, nasty, evil, loathsome fruit you! I’ve figured you out, oh yes, I have. It wasn’t the apples causing women everywhere mayhem. It was you that was the slithering snake temptress! It had to have been, there’s no other explanation. None. You come off looking all healthy and then BAM you stick your sugary sweet daggers into my veins and shoot my blood sugars right into oblivion!

Seriously, what the hell is up with this fruit? At first glance, it looks to be a pretty awesome fruit, especially for us athletic folk needing it for muscle recovery and easy digestion. Just look at its stats: A 7-inch banana has over 400 mg of potassium, which is great for nerve and muscle function helping to prevent cramping after exercise, it’s loaded with vitamin C, is an excellent source of B6 and manganese, which is great for bone health and a good-functioning metabolism, it’s got loads of fibre to keep you fuller longer, and is probably the most natural energy booster around.

And yet, I eat one, and I’m regretting it for hours after!

As a rule, my breakfasts generally consist of steel cut oats with a cupboard full of mix-ins (cinnamon, goji berries, nut butter, flax seed, chia seed, Greek yogurt, etc., etc.) and a half apple side. But lately I’ve been craving 12-grain toast, thickly slathered with smooth peanut butter and slices of banana on top. Yu-um. It’s perfect really, whole grain bread, banana, peanut butter, what more do you need? It’s tasty. It keeps me full for hours. Win-win.

Seems like the perfect breakfast…

But then I test my blood sugars.

The first morning I had this, three hours later my BG was in the high 14s!!! I thought maybe I forgot to hit the GO button on my pump, but nope, my history showed the insulin had been delivered successfully, so then I thought, it was an infusion issue, but again, nope, the infusion appeared perfectly fine. At that point, that banana was looking pretty darn guilty.

However, I still wasn’t 100 per cent convinced. I’d been struggling for about a week with higher than usual blood sugars three hours post breakfast (I know 2-hours is the usual gauge, but I generally wait until snack time before checking), nothing like 14+, but 8 and 9 mmol readings. And so I thought maybe my insulin resistance was all out of whack. Over the next few days, I dropped my insulin-to-carb ratio, and also increased my basal rates for the morning hours.

I then went back to that irresistible banana peanut butter concoction. I made sure to measure the banana on the scale for an accurate carb count (previously I had used the general rule of 15 grams per 1/2 banana), and I used measuring spoons for the peanut butter to ensure accuracy there as well. Three hours later, I was registering a BG in the 13s. Are you freaking kidding me?

And, you know, when you have a high like this and it makes you feel absolutely crummy, like you’ve been hit by the Bubonic Plague, the last thing you want to do is wait it out, which generally means, you’re spending hours rage bolusing, which then results in hours of post-high lows. Ugh.

You’d think, after two experiences like this, I’d give up on the breakfast altogether right. No. Call it stubborn. Call it persistence. Call it stupidity. I wanted to try again, not so much because I was craving it this time, more because a) I wanted to master that evil banana, and b) I needed a picture of it to go with this blog 🙂

And you know what happened the third time? That stupid banana threw me for a loop. Instead of skyrocketing my blood sugars this time, it kicked them to the curb! Three hours post breakfast, I was registering 3.5.

Seriously, what the hell is up with this fruit???

I will conquer you!!!

So yesterday, I got the biggest, dustiest, slice of humble pie handed to me by Big Ring and his bike; admittedly, I kind of deserved it.

I wanted to show Big Ring how awesome Holly Goquickly was on the hills. And I could have shown him respectfully, but no, that’s not me and my silly competitive way. In the first 5 km of the 60 km ride, on the second giant hill of the day, I was coming up quickly on his heels. In good fun, I shouted out “Come on pokey, what’s the hold up?” The next hill, I got up on my pedals and kicked them into overdrive. As I swept past Big Ring and Lapierre, I shouted out “Eat my dust sucker!!!”

Big Ring eating my dust 😉

But the thing is, you don’t challenge Big Ring in his element and expect not to be challenged back. For the remainder of the ride I was eating his dust! But I didn’t let it break me, nope. Every time he became but a dot in my peripheral vision, I’d get the voice of Jens Voigt in my head – “Shut up legs! Do what I tell you!” – and I’d speed up until I was back on his wheel again. Coach NZ, you would have been so proud 😀

For our ride, we opted for farmland instead of the city.


While we spent the majority of the day chasing llamas, cows, and breastfeeding foals, climbing tree-lined hills and zooming down into gulleys, it was the final hill of the day that had all my focus. It’s a hill I know well; a hill I spent many of my elementary days walking and cycling to and from my childhood BFF’s house; a hill Big Ring climbed on our wedding day; a hill that nearly killed me the last time I tried riding up it; a hill we call Killer Hill!

But yesterday, it never once occurred to me that I would not conquer this hill. I had confidence. I knew Holly Goquickly’s capabilities. I knew my capabilities. I knew I could get up that hill. And as soon as we turned onto the street of Killer Hill, I started chanting my mantras loud and strong:

I will kill you Killer Hill!
I will conquer you!
I will get to the top!
I will be on my bike!
I will not stop!

As we drew closer, I slowed my pace, my fingers twitching at the ready to shift into the lower gear. I started climbing. Straight up, it got tough real fast. I stood on my pedals, my torso curved forward, my head and chest so far over my handlebars, I had no idea how I was not going over them. I started zigzagging, felt like I was on the Alpes D’huez, I was doing it, I was climbing, I was breaking that hill, the negative thoughts were nowhere to be found. Six hundred metres to go, 500, 400… and then, it happened. I had zigzagged too far left, went into the other lane, thought oh crap, probably shouldn’t do that given the winding road and the blind spots, and the fact cars coming the other way would not see me in time, I pulled my handlebars right, a little too right, I was headed straight for the ditch, I couldn’t pull myself back – OH CRUD! Note: I said something far worse and far louder than that when my shaking feet unclipped inches from the ditch and I knew there was no getting back on that bike. I had just 3-400 metres to go. Are you freaking kidding me 😦

With Holly Goquickly under me, I waddled up to my childhood BFF’s house where I climbed back on (cursing the entire way) and completed the hill.

I so wanted this photo to be a victory fist bump in the air photo, but I had to opt for my best Thomas Voeckler tongue out impersonation instead.


  • 10:30 a.m. BG before: 6.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: Zbar 1/2 hour prior, no bolus (18g)
  • Distance: 60.37 km
  • Time: 2:50:25
  • Average speed: 21.3 km/hr
  • Fuel (no bolus): @11:15 (4.3) 2 peanut butter and honey quarters and half a tube of Pocket Fuel nut butter. @11:50 (6.4) half a tube of Pocket Fuel nut butter. @12:45 (5.2) 2 peanut butter and honey quarters.
  • 3 p.m. BG after: 4.2

Killer Hill, I will one day conquer you!

Thai and oysters, oh my

It wasn’t Paris, Florence, Ghent, or Berlin. It wasn’t even Sonoma County. But it was an adventure!

Last week Big Ring and I went on our very first vacation with Little Ring. This was a huge deal for us. We had no idea how Little Ring would fare away from his regular routine, or for that matter how WE would cope. And as much as I had longed for Europe, tried my best to convince the more financially sound person in this marriage (take note, it’s not me) that a trip to London, the Amalfi Coast, and Amsterdam would be the best thing we could do, even manipulating Christmas into a travel theme (guess who got a new suitcase, fancy leather  ID tag, passport holder and travel books under the tree!) But alas, with me on a maternity leave pittance, that just wasn’t in the cards for us this year. Instead, we opted for Seattle.

I’ve never really viewed Seattle as a getaway, not with it being just a few hours drive away. But, I tell you, this trip changed my mind. Seattle is chock-a-block full of cute neighbourhoods, unique alleyways, great boutiques, and a spectacular waterfront that had me feeling like we really were on a proper vacation. Plus, it’s also home to the flagship REI store, which was pretty awesome!

And just like seemingly all our other trips, this one also had us discovering new cuisines. In Paris, we discovered a chorizo sausage and chicken pasta that makes for a great winter meal; in Florence, it was Margarita pizza, and a Mediterranean meal of chicken with rosemary and a side of angel hair pasta with a sprinkling of olive oil and Parmesan that has become my regular dinner before a long run meal. In Barcelona, it was paella. And in Berlin, for me, it was Bratwurst. Eating is a HUGE part of our travel adventures!

130524travelfoodFrom right to left: Paella in Barcelona; Cheesecake at Versailles; Funghi pizza in Florence.

Just a block away from our hotel (The Maxwell Hotel, which, for a hotel, was super cute… almost as good as the Inn at Northrup Station in Portland) there was a Thai restaurant that had the most succulent smells wafting out its doors every time we passed. There was just no way we could walk away.

Not knowing anything about Thai, I asked the server what he would recommend. And unfortunately, he confused me more than anything. Every question I asked, he’d throw a question back at me. Seriously, my head was spinning with confusion. Out of desperation, I opted for a red curry dish with pumpkin and chicken. I figured I liked pumpkin, so why not go for it. He told me medium heat wasn’t hot at all; he lied. My eyes were burning, my nose was dripping, but other than that, ohmygawd, it was freaking amazing! Seriously, I kept thinking about it for days after!!!

The next day, I ticked oysters off my to-try list. I don’t know what got into me, but I swear, almost as soon as we arrived in Seattle, I had a hankering that just would not go away. And so, we hit up an oyster bar at happy hour, and while Big Ring was more conservative with his choice of calamari, I went all out with oyster shots.

130524oystersOysters slithering down my throat one by raw one.

They were good, but, I don’t know, I didn’t see the greatness in them, they weren’t something I would dream of, or for that matter go out of my way to try again. If they were in front of me, sure I’d suck them back, but to order them again, nah, there’s far better things I’d much rather eat.

And so, there you go, another tasty vacation on the books 😀

Peanut butter…and honey!

Peanut butter and honey! That my friends is the magic elixir for kicking diabetes butt on a 60 km bike ride … at least it was for me 😀

I wasn’t sure how to fuel myself for the Living the Dream Fondo. I’ve never used gels on my recreational rides and I knew I wouldn’t be all out racing (ha!) but I’d been listening to others around me talk about gels, sports bars, jelly beans, etc., and I started thinking, ah crud, should I be doing that for my rides too? I wasn’t too keen on the idea given my past belly revolting issues with gels, and I knew 60 km wasn’t a huge distance, it shouldn’t warrant such a requirement. Still, I threw a couple into my suitcase for just in case.

And then I remembered a local sports radio dude, a couple years ago, talk about his triathlon fueling strategies, gushing about his love for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the bike; how easy they were to eat when in movement, and how easy they were to digest. Super win-win. But the thing is, I’m not really a fan of jam. I love honey though! Why not give it a go.


I wasn’t sure what kind of bread would be the best. I know that white bread causes an instant shot of sugar into the blood stream and that normally whole wheat is the better option as it’s more fibrous, takes longer to digest, etc., but then, that there could be a problem. What if I couldn’t digest it? What if it caused the same problems the gels have caused me over the years? The last thing I needed was a belly in turmoil when wearing spandex – you can’t get them shorts off fast enough!!!

I opted for my tried and true Dempsters 12-grain, and lathered on a good layer of peanut butter, and a generous dollop of honey. I cut the sandwich into four quarters and put it into a Ziploc bag for safe keeping. I also packed a baggie of raisins and a Clif Zbar into my jersey pockets in case of lows. The gels stayed in the suitcase!

For hydration, I filled a water bottle with lemon-lime Vega electrolytes, which I had never used before (probably not the best time to start!) but which I had become incredibly enamored with when I discovered they were sweetened with Stevia – not sugar, nor other sweeteners that could wreak havoc on my belly. And, well, it just tasted really good 😀

So how did it all work? Fabulous! There were no belly issues; no cringing from the grossness of the taste and or thick texture slithering down my throat; and – HUGE! HUGE! HUGE! – no blood sugar dramas!

At the first rest stop, my BG was sitting at 8.0, down 2.8 mmol from when I started. I ate one quarter of the sandwich, and downed some electrolytes; no bolus. The second stop, they were down to 7.8, so I ate two quarters of the sandwich, as well as a pineapple chunk; no bolus. The pineapple, however, (I should have known) was my downfall. I’ve always struggled with pineapple shooting my blood sugars up, but because my BG had dropped at both stops, I got concerned. (The last thing I wanted was to go low on the road, especially seeing as how I’d forgotten my RoadID and hadn’t written any of my medical info on the back of my bib!) And so, by the third rest stop, after getting lost and doubling back for directions, my BG was up to 10.0. Shoot. I took a slight insulin correction, didn’t eat a thing, and continued on. By the finish, they were down to 7.9!

Diabetes success!

130516FinishGreat ride, great blood sugars. great friends. great family, great Tiffany’s equals ALL SMILES 😀

Hmm… could peanut butter and honey sandwich quarters work as running fuel too?

The robin’s egg blue fondo

I’ve got two words to describe my very first fondo: No pressure.

Unlike my running races, I wasn’t filled with nerves souring my belly, there weren’t anxious butterflies keeping me up all night, no stresses, no worries, nothing. The only goal I had going into the Living the Dream Fondo was to not be the last person to cross the finish line.

Sure, I hadn’t ridden 56 km in nearly two years, and sure, my butt would likely suffer as a result. Sure, I had never ridden in a pack before, and sure, I’d seen the nasty mash-ups on big-time races. Sure, I had absolutely no confidence in changing a flat tire, even with the Tire Repair session I recently attended. And sure, maybe the concern in Big Ring’s eyes should have struck a flurry of worry in me when he handed me his patch kit and I, with my own bewildered look, replied: What the heck do you expect me to do with that? But no, there was none of that.

This fondo was all about having fun!

130516start3“I don’t know mama, you might want to rethink this 56 km business.”

I arrived at the start about a half hour early to send off my favourite hill-training hero for the 100 km distance. This chick is freaking amazing. Not only does she kill hills, she’s also Queen of the Bike too. Pretty sure she was the first of her group to cross the finish with a 3 hour 10 minute time!!!

130511hillhero1Holy super speed legs!!!

130516start1All smiles!

For the first few kilometres of the ride, I held back. I wasn’t sure how this whole grouping thing would go and I wanted to gauge the other riders before I started making any moves. I soon hooked up with two other girls around the same pace. I figured, seeing as how I don’t know how to read maps, had no cell phone access, no idea where this course was going, and was sure, knowing my history, I would get lost, it better to have three sets of eyes checking the signs to ensure I get to the finish line.

Photo (mid clip-out) courtesy 

At about 15 km, we approached the first rest stop. This was not your typical rest stop. Yes there were bananas and bagels, but there was also pineapple and chocolate, hand sanitizer, Advil, and even, ahem, feminine products. There was a red carpet upon approach with the sign You are Oscar worthy 😀 And in the port-a-potties, a huge bouquet of flowers in the urinal, and on the door … GEORGE!!!

Sure George, I’ll go for a swim with you… but, uhm, maybe not here!

The 25 km distance from the first rest stop to the next one was where the hills came out to play. And while I love hills for running, I’ve never been a huge fan of them for cycling. I always feel like I’m going super slow, and that it takes forever, and that my lungs are going to heave right out of my chest! And so, when I saw the long, winding hill on approach, I was like, okay, here we go, see you later girls, hopefully I’ll be able to catch up…

But wait, just hold on a second here, my legs were moving at a good clip, my Garmin speed wasn’t dropping down to a near standstill, I was climbing that hill, I was passing a couple of the cyclists ahead of me (two of them dudes!), I still had my lungs intact, so much so, I was able to encourage a girl who had paused halfway up the hill and was trying to get started again. (Never do that!) I felt great. And you better believe I gave Holly Goquickly a loving pat, knowing her carbon-fibre goodness was hugely responsible!

When I crested that hill, I felt like I was on top of the world. All around me was a spectacular view of trees, mountains and luscious farm pastures. And I so wished I was more courageous on the bike, brave enough to pull out my camera and snap a photo of that beauty, but alas, with the wheels still moving I knew there was no way my shaky confidence would attempt such a thing 😦

130511viewPhoto courtesy

Coming out of the second rest stop, I got caught behind a super long line of vehicles making a right turn. And because there was no shoulder, and I’d already seen a jerk-face driver, I felt more comfortable holding back. Unfortunately, because of doing so, I lost my cycling companions. I thought for sure I’d hook up with them again shortly, given that it wasn’t that long of a wait, but I never did. At the time I thought, holy hell, they must have majorly jacked up their speed, but I later learned they made a wrong turn and significantly cut short their distance! And so, for the remainder of the ride, I was alone.

It wouldn’t have been a huge deal had there been more signage, and for that matter, more volunteers, but there were not. The signs of earlier, which seemed to be positioned every mile or so had pretty much fallen off the map. I saw one sign on a long country road (Keep on moovin’!) and that was pretty much it.

When I spotted the third rest stop, I figured I’d keep going. I felt great and I was pretty sure I only had about 10 more kilometres to go. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. Remember that statement about my tendency for getting lost? I got lost! I ended up at the approach for a highway and started to think I hadn’t seen a sign in a really long time, and surely they wouldn’t want me to get on a highway would they… would they? I pulled out the map for the course, that I thankfully had packed at the last minute, which listed all the street names on the back. And yep, sure enough, I was on the wrong bloody street! Apparently I was to loop around the rest stop – not go straight through! Oh crud.

The straight line just past the No. 5 sign is where I went wrong.

My confidence was now shattered, and with the lack of signage, the lack of cross roads, the lack of any other cyclists around, and just a long lonely road ahead, I kept stopping every two seconds to pull out the map, which did me absolutely no good without any cross roads for reference. After what seemed an eternity, I finally came to the end of the road, and discovered that I had been going the right direction after all. I turned left and seconds later I was making a hairpin turn – where my bestest cheerleaders were waiting for me!!! – down into the finishing corral.

A ‘ring’ sandwich 😀

Another red carpet welcomed me at the finish, with a group of firefighters, who were actually in uniform (this is where NWM goes wrong) handing me a pretty, white ribboned, robin’s egg blue box!!! Best medal EVER!!!


Prettier than my NWM necklace 😀


  • 7:50 a.m. BG before: 10.8
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: none; had breakfast one hour prior
  • Distance: 59.90 km
  • Average speed: 23.5 km/h
  • Time: 2:27:38
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 7.9

Stay tuned for my next post on the diabetes aspect of the fondo.