Monthly Archives: June 2013

‘Ohmygawd! I just peed my pants!’

Warning: In case you didn’t notice from the headline above, this post may be TMI for some. You have been warned.

At about 7 km into Sunday’s race, my brain took a trip down memory lane, to a time when I was seven years old, walking home from school, wearing one of my favourite corduroy dresses. I was just a few blocks from home, less than 10 minutes. I had to pee, like really had to pee, my bladder was so full it was sore. I tried squeezing it in, tried walking with my legs crossed over, but the feeling wouldn’t go away, and my super skinny, short, little legs wouldn’t move fast enough. I knew there was no way I could make it. I looked to my left. I looked to my right. There was no one. I squatted, I peed, Ahhh, relief.

I wish I could say I had the same relief on Sunday…

I’ve hemmed and hawed for awhile about writing on this topic, but after Sunday’s race, I felt it was high time to once again show the real side of what pregnancy can do to your body. If you were following my blog throughout my pregnancy last year, you already know that I didn’t exactly enjoy the experience, there was no happy glow hovering overhead, but rather a long list of side effects; a list waiting to be laminated of reasons why never to get pregnant again! Today’s post is a huge point on that list.

At 7 km into Sunday’s race I was slapped with a burning sensation of mortification. Ohmygawd! I just peed my pants! Ohmygawd! Is it running down my leg! Ohmygawd! I’m peeing my pants again! Ohmygawd! STOP!!!

I went to the washroom twice prior to the race, and nowhere in that run did I feel I had to pee, it just happened. And it’s not the first time. I’ve sneezed and felt a trickle. I’ve laughed and felt a dribble. And yes, for quite a few runs, there have been drips – but all of which I was able to stop at a drop or two. But Sunday, there was no stopping it!

To all you women out there, hear me now when I say this is 100 per cent the result of carrying an 8 pound 10 ounce baby in my belly – there is NO doubt about that. Things that were once properly positioned, that fit perfectly to my body, no longer seem to be. And just as I had to realign my hips post pregnancy, it seems I need to, ahem, reconfigure other areas as well.

Sure I’ve been doing Kegal exercises, maybe not as diligent as I run and do my strength training, but, you know, when I remember I’m all over them. And I thought things were getting better, I really did, in fact, it was just this past Saturday when I told Coach NZ that I thought I’d finally curbed that nasty assed problem, and I truly believed it. It had been some runs ago since I last had a, ahem, dribbling incident. But then Sunday, with my feet burning up from the pounding, my calves throbbing from the exertion, and my breathing laboured, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, BOOM! There she flowed!

And point 46 on the Reasons Never To Get Pregnant Again list struck again!

130623race2
Both Little Ring and I were none to pleased by the incident… good thing I packed a blanket for the ride home!

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 5 a.m. BG before: 4.6
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 2 shot blox (16g) no bolus
  • Distance: 5.17 km – 10 steady/15 tempo/5 cool down
  • Time: 30 minutes
  • Average pace: 5:46 min/km
  • 6 a.m. BG after: 8.9

You win some and you lose some, and with this run I was majorly in the losing category. My legs had nothing in them. I was supposed to be pulling a 5:00-5:15 pace for my tempo, but couldn’t seem to get below 5:30. Boo.

MEC 10 km: Personal best!!!

Soooo, hey, I sort of, kind of, totally raced my butt off yesterday morning! Hehe 😀

130623race1

Beyond a couple tweets, I pretty much kept my participation in the Mountain Equipment Co-op 10 km race hush-hush. I didn’t want to put a huge amount of pressure on myself, I didn’t want extra stresses on my brain, or to feel like I’d be less if I didn’t meet my goals. This race wasn’t necessarily supposed to be about getting a great time, but more about getting my body, belly, blood sugars and brain used to racing again. My goals were simple: Run hard. Don’t give up.

I thought it was a good plan. Coach NZ thought it was a good plan. My competitiveness, however, did not. Saturday night I pulled out my race pace calculator, just out of curiosity, you know, to see what kind of pace I’d have to go to get 55 minutes, 54, 53, 52 – all of which seemed doable. That’s when I knew this would be more than just a hyped-up training run! That’s when I knew I’d be full-on racing!

The MEC race was a super small event with just 86 of us running the 10 km portion. And because it was only $15, there was no souvenir shirt, no medal, no swag, which I was totally okay with. But there was also no timing chip system. Instead, there was a big clock (that was started for the half marathoners) with volunteers jotting down the bib numbers of the runners as they crossed the finish next to the time on the clock. Everyone had the same start time regardless of where they were positioned in the cue. Not exactly the most accurate system, which is why I’m going with my Garmin time.

The route was an out-and-back, which I’m not generally a fan of, but along the dykes of the Steveston waterfront, it was freaking gorgeous! I had the water next to me, the mountains in front of me, and airplanes flying not so high above as they descended towards YVR.

130623MECphoto
From MEC

I started out too strong, but had settled in by the second kilometre. By the fourth kilometre, I was struggling with a stitch in my side, and the group I had been running with pulled forward. “Don’t give up.” I focused on the rhythmic sounds of Beastie Boys in my ears, and started gaining speed again, reeling in a couple of the early speedsters. “Keep going. Push.” I ran past the 5 km turnaround. FREAK! “Don’t give up.” My feet were starting to burn up. “Keep going.” Just 2 km left to go. “You can do this. Come on, faster!” Oh no! I did the math wrong. There were still 3 km to go. FRIDGE! “Don’t give up.” I spotted the blue shirt of a girl I’d been eying for a few kilometres now, I wanted to pass her, I was so close, I was practically next to her, just a couple more steps. “Go! Go! Go!” We passed by a group of volunteers, they cheered, hooted and hollered. The blue shirt girl surged ahead, but my legs suddenly became elephant legs. “Don’t give up… keep going… you can do this… forget the watch… forget the time… just run… dammit, run!”

With about 600 metres to go, I spotted Big Ring and Little Ring, and suddenly my legs were like those of cheetah. I surged, I sprinted, I pumped my arms, I gave it my all! And when I crossed that finish line, my gawd, my legs could hardly hold me up they were shaking so bad! And those, my dear blog-reading friends, are legs that got me a PERSONAL BEST!!!

130623race3
The volunteers were awesome; super loud cheers and mega-watt smiles!

TODAY’S RACE:

  • BG before: 9.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: Vega pre-workout energizer (16g) with bolus and BG correction 20 minutes prior
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Average pace: 5:34 min/km
  • Time: 55:40!!!
  • BG after: 5.4

My previous PB 56:01 – 21 seconds faster today! Wahoo!

Spanish Chorizo and Lentil Soup: cooking 101

May 29, 2013
Cook’s Illustrated – March/April 2013
Spanish Chorizo and Lentil Soup

130529soup“To achieve authentically deep, complex flavor in this hearty soup, we had to turn down the flame.” ~ David Paz

Sometimes you’ve just got to have faith… at least, that’s what I told myself when I gave Big Ring the keys to my 12 Months of Cooking Challenge. For May’s challenge, I plopped a stack of magazines in front of him and told him to choose my next recipe. The only perimeter I gave him was that it had to be a proper meal – no other limitations – and I was fully aware, and freaked out, of the consequences this could present. What if he picked pork? I do NOT eat piggies*

Big Ring, to his credit, took the challenge seriously. He told me he didn’t want to pick something super easy, or super hard for that matter, just the right recipe to hone my skills, give me a challenge, but not send me into a flurry of F bombs. The result: Spanish Lentil and Chorizo Soup.

130529recipe
*I know what you’re all thinking: sausage, that’s pig. No it’s not, neither is ham 😉

Big Ring picked well; this recipe was full of Cooking 101 lessons. I learned NOT to stand so close to a pan of spitting, angry oil, but only AFTER having my arms, chest and cheeks painstakingly charred! I learned that unless I want eyeliner streaks staining my cheeks, I must invest in a pair of onion goggles. And I learned the definition of simmer, a term I’ve thought for years meant to cook over the lowest temperature. But nope, that’s not it at all.

Simmer [sim•mer]
verb (used without object)
To cook or cook in a liquid at or just below the boiling point

I only looked the definition up because I wasn’t 100 per cent confident in my understanding of the word, and because I want to follow these recipes to a tee, I felt it imperative to get out the dictionary 😀

130529onion
That’s a cup of tears right there!

I also learned a new technique – Sweating Out The Veggies – that’s not so 101, but maybe a wee bit more advanced dare I say 😀 Sweating out involves cooking the vegetables super slow to produce a “sweet, vegetal taste” that wouldn’t overpower the entire dish. Big Ring thought this technique would be the hardest  for me, probably because of my tendency towards impatience, but it was actually quite easy. I just had to keep an eye on it, and make sure it didn’t brown, or goodness forbid, BURN!

All in all, I kind of liked this recipe. Even though it was time consuming as hell chopping and measuring all those dang vegetables and sweating them out, and prepping the lentils, and sauteing the spices into a “fragrant bloom,” etc., etc., when it finally came together, it was a thing of beauty in my mouth. (Who ever thought I’d say that about my cooking!!!) The melding of the flavours, the stick-to-your-bones lentils, the juiciness of the sausage, it warmed my belly with pure happiness. And the next day, oh man, the flavours were so much more intensified. It was not only Princess approved, it was Big AND Little Ring approved too!

There were a couple challenges however. We couldn’t find proper Spanish chorizo, so we used kielbasa instead, which the recipe said would be fine, but I think the intensity of chorizo would have been better. The second issue was my blood sugars. They did NOT like this recipe at all! Because there was no real way of measuring the carbs in the lentils, given it was combined with the veggies and sausage, I pretty much had to guesstimate my insulin dose – to which I failed miserably 😦

Ingredients:
1 pound (2 1/4  cups) lentils, picked over and rinsed
Salt and pepper
1 large onion
5T extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Spanish-style chorizo sausage, pricked with fork several times
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch pieces
3T minced fresh parsley
7 cups water, plus extra as needed
3T sherry vinegar, plus extra for seasoning
2 bay leaves
1/8t ground cloves
2T sweet smoked paprika
3 garlic cloves, minced
1T all-purpose flour

1. Place lentils and 2 teaspoons salt in heatproof container. Cover with 4 cups boiling water and let soak for 30 minutes. Drain well.
2. Meanwhile, finely chop three quarters of onion (you should have about 1 cup) and grate remaining quarter (you should have about 3 tablespoons). Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add chorizo and cook until browned on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer chorizo to plate. Reduce heat to low and add chopped onion, carrots, 1 tablespoon parsley, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft but not brown, 25 to 30 minutes. If vegetables begin to brown, add 1 tablespoon water to pot.
3. Add lentils and sherry vinegar to vegetables; increase heat to medium-high; and cook, stirring frequently until vinegar starts to evaporate, 3 to 4 minutes. Add 7 cups water, chorizo, bay leaves, and cloves; bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low; cover; and cook until lentils are tender, about 30 minutes.
4. Heat remaining 3 tablespoons oil in small saucepan over medium heat until shimmering. Add paprika, grated onion, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper; cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 minutes. Add flour and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute longer. Remove chorizo and bay leaves from lentils. Stir paprika mixture into lentils and continue to cook until flavours have blended and soup has thickened, 10 to 15 minutes. When chorizo is cool enough to handle, cut in half lengthwise, then cut each half into 1/4 inch thick slices. Return chorizo to soup along with remaining 2 tablespoons parsley and heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt, pepper, and up to 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar to taste, and serve. (Soup can be made up to 2 days in advance.)

Serves 6 to 8

Previous 12 Months of Challenge Recipes:
• February 1, 2013: “Impossible” Ham and Cheese Pie
• March 20, 2013: Easy Asparagus Tart
• April 17, 2013: Chicken and Rice Soup
• April 20, 2013: Braciole

Diabetes experiment: FAIL

I knew when I got pregnant having a baby would be expensive. I knew we’d have to make sacrifices, trips would be postponed, hair appointments wouldn’t be as regular, and my obsession with expensive jeans would have to be put on the back burner. But what I didn’t realize is how much of a struggle it would be living on a maternity leave pittance with a take home that is more than 50 per cent less than what I’d be making if I were working.

Every month I feel like I’m struggling, I feel poor, like I’m on the edge of living out of a cardboard box. But, in reality, I’m not. It’s just Big Ring and I refuse to live off credit cards and lines of credit, and we’re not wanting to dip into our travel fund or savings accounts, but rather live within our means. And because of that we are always on the lookout for new ways of creating savings. We’ve been clipping coupons like nobody’s business, using cloth diapers instead of disposables, getting new (to me) winter and summer wardrobes at clothing swaps where all clothes are free, switching from super expensive shampoo, face wash, and makeup to cheapo brands, etc..

And recently, I stepped up the savings – with diabetes! On average, every two months, I spend over $1,000 on supplies, which I get back 100 per cent, but off the hop, it’s a HUGE hit to the bank account. The majority of that cost is my infusions which are $330 for a box of 12 that lasts about a month.

Since getting the pump, I’ve been pretty diligent about changing my infusion every 3 days, but I’ve read about how other bloggers let theirs go for 5 or more days. They fill the pump’s reservoir to the brim, and let their insulin dosage dictate when they change out the infusion. And so, I figured hey, why not give it a go.

My reservoirs (which cost around $70 a box) hold 200 units of insulin. After loading the cartridge, and priming and filling the canula, I’m left with around 185 units. My total daily dose averages around 22.71 units a day. Simple math tells me that I can get 8 days out of that reservoir/infusion give or take. How about that for savings 😀

Yeah. Simple math was on board with the savings cause. My body, however, not so much.

130617infusions
Infusions, canulas and test strips = the most expensive parts of this disease.

A couple months ago, Little Ring discovered my insulin pump, and unlike his little buddies who also discovered it around the same time, he doesn’t just punch the buttons, which would be no big deal as he’d have to go through a bunch of steps before the insulin is administered, nope, my boy likes to pull on the cord – attached to my body! Ouch! After a few painful tugs, I decided it high time to change the infusion location from my belly to my legs.

However, I’ve had issues in the past with accidentally ripping the infusions out of my legs when I’m either changing or going to the washroom, and so I knew I’d have to be extra careful, I knew I’d have to remind myself not to whip my pants down with no regard. I thought I could do it. But no, four hours in when changing into my running gear, the cord was yanked and half of the infusion sticky came up off my leg. But the infusion itself was still inserted.

I had 2 choices here: I could either change the infusion and waste money, or get out the good old medical tape, and hope for the best. I chose the latter. The infusion stayed put, it was in that leg for days, and the insulin seemed to be working just fine. But gradually, I began to see blood in the canula, the site became itchy, then red, then angry. By the time I finally took it out, the location had swelled on my leg, there was blood, there was puss, and the canula was bent to beat all hell! Oh freak 😦

130617canula

I guess there’s just some things my body refuses to go on the cheap with. Diabetes experiment: FAIL!

TODAY’S SPEED INTERVALS:

  • 5 a.m. BG before: 11.1
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with bolus and BG correction
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 5.09 km 5′ warmup/5x 200m with 1’easy/3x 400m with 1’easy/5′ cool down
  • Average pace: 5:39 min/km
  • Average interval pace: 4.33 min/km
  • 6:15 a.m. BG after: 12.4
  • Temp. basal: +50%

 

Endurance training and baby

I knew that when I got pregnant with Little Ring, our lives would change huge. We would no longer be able to go out at the drop of a hat, traveling would become more challenging, $200 jean expenditures less frequent, etc., etc.. And that was okay. But the one thing we were both adamant we would not do was become gluttonous couch potatoes. We would not give up touring the outdoors via our sneakers, hikers and bicycles. We would not stop doing what we love.

130611loves

Keeping that promise, however, has required some serious ingenuity.

We don’t have a babysitter. Big Ring’s family lives in Onterrible Ontario and mine live across the pond, and because most of our friends are outside the New West area, we don’t have a pool of trusted sitters to draw from. (Really hoping to change that soon!) But instead of throwing our arms up in defeat, we took it as an opportunity to try new things, learn to share our time, learn to love early mornings, and think outside the box.

Because I’m not a huge fan of running with BOB, and because it’s not always logistical to get my proper runs in with BOB, I’ve taken up running at 5 a.m. most days. And you know what? I’m actually really enjoying it. (Shocking, I know!) Seriously, there’s hardly anyone else on the road, which gives me the perfect opportunity to focus on form, pace, and breathing without distraction. And for hours after, I’ve got major endorphins shooting through me, which is super awesome! Big Ring then goes for rides in the evenings and on Sunday mornings with his cycling buddies. And Fridays, well, this past week, we developed a super awesome tag-team system 😀

I was scheduled to run 7 km. Big Ring wanted to ride a bunch of kilometres. We also wanted a day together. What, oh what to do? We headed to UBC! The university district is a beautiful area to run, ride and eat. And so, after mapping out a route, Big Ring dropped me off just outside the university, and while I went for a run, he and Little Ring hung out on the sands at Spanish Banks.

130611beach2

We designed the route to end at Mix Baker, one of our favourite post-ride/run lunch spots in the area. I highly recommend the Tuna Waldorf sandwich – it’s so good, it’s dream worthy! And when lunch was done, Big Ring pulled his Lapierre off the top of the car and tagged me in for Little Ring time.

130611reflection

It worked out so perfectly. We got me time, us time, Little Ring time – all of which we love. And while we’ll have to tweak it somewhat as our respective distances increase, I am sure this was the first of many more tag-team adventures to come!

130611tag

TODAY’S SPEED INTERVALS:

  • 5 a.m. BG before: 7.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with bolus
  • Distance: 6:30 km – 10′ warmup/10x 1′ fast 1’easy/8′ cool down
  • Average speed pace: 4:35 min/km
  • Time: 36:49
  • 6 a.m. BG after: 8.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent 1/2 hour

If you have a child, how do you find ways to fit in endurance training?

With fingers crossed

Dear PoP friends,

I must confess. I haven’t been entirely honest with you all. I haven’t been lying either, but I’ve also not been offering up full disclosure. And some of you have noticed.

I’ve fielded more than a few inquiries lately as to whether I’ve taken a running hiatus, whether I’m now leaning more towards cycling… it seems you guys notice when I write about running and when I don’t 😉

Well friends, I am now writing to assure you that I am not giving up on my running, not taking a break from it, not even thinking of such a thing. It was just a momentary rest is all.

A few weeks ago, on the last stretch of an hour long run (seriously, 5 minutes from home!) I was motoring down a hill, in the zone, had Lady Gaga telling me baby, I was born this way, when BAM! my right foot went down hard into a where-the-hell-did-that-come-from dip in the pavement! I kept running but was constantly doing a check: how is my heel, how is my arch, how are my ankles, etc., etc.? Everything seemed fine.

However, later that morning, Big Ring, Little Ring and I decided to spend the day at the Vancouver Aquarium which involves about 7 km of walking to and from the skytrain station, as well as a couple hours hanging out with the fishies. Instead of wearing sensible shoes, I wore flats. Big mistake.

On the walk back, I started to feel a stretch in my arch. I tried adjusting my foot, adjusting my walk, flexing my toes, but nothing would alleviate it. It felt as though the ligaments were being stretched out like a 25-cent sticky hand. Oh freaking crud.

I iced. I advilled. I elevated. I rested. For a week and a half I stayed out of my running sneakers. My first run back last week was 3 km. I didn’t concentrate on pace, didn’t fret about distance, I just wanted to make sure everything was okay. The arch seemed fine on the run, but I still questioned whether or not I was feeling a dull ache during other parts of the day. Two days later, I tried 4 km, again not worrying about pace, but more focusing on form. It felt good. Two days later, I upped the distance to 5 km. Still good. Two days later, 7 km. And today, 9 km. All good.

130610joy
Let these feet fly…

TODAY’S – SUPER-EARLY!!! – RUN:

  • 4:45 a.m. BG before: 7.0
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: 2 shot bloks (16g) with bolus
  • Distance: 9.02 km
  • Average pace: 5:37 min/km
  • Time: 50:34
  • 6 a.m. BG after: 9.1

I’m still not 100 per cent sure if it’s fully healed. I still question achy twangs throughout the day, I still fret if there’s something there or if it’s just in my head. For the most part, I think it’s okay, and when I’m running, I know it’s okay. It feels perfectly great in running form 😀

And so, with fingers crossed, I continue to massage and ice the hell out of it, and hope I’ve nipped the jerk face in the bud!

So there you go, we’re back to full-disclosure blogging.

Sincerely,
Princess

My Birthday: National Running Day

I have long believed June 5 was the greatest day of all. Forget Christmas. Forget Valentine’s. June 5 is all about me. One hundred per cent me. And well, I kind of love me 😀 so obviously I love this day and I always will regardless of the new age that approaches.

Thirty five for those keeping track!

But the thing is, this year I had to share my birthday with another super special day: National Running Day. (Held on the first Wednesday of June.) I’m no stranger to sharing my birthday; with my brothers’ birthdays 3 and 10 days apart from mine, we’ve shared our celebrations for as long as I can remember, and I’ve always loved it that way. And so, when I discovered National Running Day would this year land on my birthday, I didn’t cry about it, I didn’t gripe about it, I didn’t shun it. Quite the opposite. I lovingly embraced it.

130605runday
5 a.m. baby!!!

BIRTHDAY RUN:

  • 5 a.m. BG before: 6.9
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (18 grams) no bolus
  • Distance: 5 km
  • Time: 29:01
  • Average pace: 5:44 min/km
  • 5:50 a.m. BG after: 10.2
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent

130605Garmin
Guess who got a new PRETTY Garmin for her birthday!!!

Today was a near perfect day. There was running. There was strength training, including gruelling sets of 35 pushups (instead of birthday bumps :D). There was free Starbucks. There was walking and laughing and loving with my boys. And yep, there was DQ ice cream cake too… a 25-year tradition started after I was diagnosed with diabetes; one of the only good things to come of this disease!

130605cake
Love birthday!!!

Are you an embracer or an avoider of birthdays?