Monthly Archives: January 2014

Goosebumps

Today, there were goosebumps – good and bad.

On a day I found out three little boys lost their mama to cancer (a fellow runner and friend to so many I know), a day my heart was silently crying inside for a woman and a beautiful family I hardly knew, a day I hugged my family even tighter than I normally do – my heart also experienced a gush of happiness for a woman I 100 per cent did not know.

This afternoon, under the crisp, cool sun, I went for a run. I’d been trying out different routes lately, almost all that have started off with a 7-minute up hill. A couple years ago this hill would have been no problem; I loved hills. But after two years of no hill training (last season was fairly flat, and the season before I was preggers) I’ve really kind of gotten sucky at them. Like seriously sucky. And this 7-minute hill has been a killer, I want to quit right off the hop, and the last few times now, I have quit before cresting the top. So today, I told myself I had to make it up at least three quarters before stopping. And again, it sucked, really sucked, but I wouldn’t let myself quit, I didn’t care how slow I was going, I was not going to stop, and when I finally reached my target, I thought, well hey now, I might as well keep going. And I did!

EAT THAT HELLISH HILL!!!

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That hill was NOT beating me down today!

When I turned down the next road, I came upon two female flaggers and overheard one of them congratulating the other in passing. And I had this overwhelming urge to shout out a congratulations of my own, but I didn’t, I just kept going. A wandering shoelace, however, had me stopping about a kilometre or less away. Just as I was about to start running again, the woman who was being congratulated earlier drove up in her worker’s truck and got out. And without even thinking, I shouted out “Congratulations!”

I’m not gonna lie, she looked at me pretty funny, like who the hell is this sweaty chick congratulating me, and so I explained that I heard the other woman congratulating her, and I was gonna leave it at that with a big smile on both our faces. But then she told me why she was being congratulated:

After a year of uncertainties surrounding breast cancer, and multiple biopsies, her surgeon called her earlier today to tell her she was cancer free. Both of us were gushing.

Goosebumps.

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 3 p.m. BG before: 7.6
  • Carbs: granola bar (15g) no bolus
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 11.21 km
  • Time: 1:05:35
  • Average pace: 5:51 min/km (bit sluggish)
  • 4:15 p.m. BG after: 3.7

Julie Loland was a runner, a teacher, a wife, a mom to three young boys, the oldest born around the same time as my dear nephew (the one that made me want to have a baby of my own). Her family lost her today. Her family needs help.

To learn more, visit the Loving the Lolands Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/lovingthelolands
To donate, click on the PayPal account:
https://www.facebook.com/lovingthelolands?sk=app_208195102528120&ref=woobox

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White rabbits

I was promised sun. I was told if I ran UP, there would be sun. Warm sun. Bright sun. Glowing sun. Big Ring had spent all Sunday morning up at the road hockey courts, and he assured me the entire game was under the watchful eye of Mr. Sun.

SummerSun

You don’t need your running fleece, he said.
You don’t need your running gloves, he chortled.
Your winter socks? Your ear warmers? Nah, you don’t need those.

It’s going to be sunny!

But when I looked out the window, all I could see was nothing. A cold, thick, creepy grey haze of nothing. The fog was so incredibly thick and unmoving, it was hard to believe any sun rays could break through that. But Big Ring assured me there was sun to be found. So, the running fleece, gloves and winter socks all stayed home. (I wasn’t yet ready to leave behind the ear warmers.) And off I went for my afternoon run.

I ran up 12th, which is a suck-bum hill to start a run on. Still foggy. I jogged over and up the Crosstown Greenway. Still foggy. I got onto the BC Parkway. Still foggy.

This fog was not lifting; if anything it was getting even more thick and creepy. For the most part I was the only person on the pathway, aside from the odd person here and there, and I started thinking about the scene. It had the tones of a b-rate horror flick! And I started thinking about those annoying characters who are running through a park, completely oblivious of their surroundings, just before unsuspectingly becoming the victim of a brutal murder. I was NOT about to let that happen. For every person I approached I started making mental notes of everything they were wearing from hat to shoes, if they were carrying a backpack, their salt-and-pepper goatees, the kind of dog they had with them – if someone was gonna try and off me, and I actually survived, they were going down!

But I digress 😀

About half way through the run I started questioning my location. It was a new route for me, and I wasn’t familiar with the area, and my gut was telling me something wasn’t right. I pulled out my iPhone, and sure enough, somewhere along the route I’d made a turn I shouldn’t have, and was way off from where I should have been. Not a big deal, not a huge deal, I’d just turn around and double back…

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Soooo, where am I???

But wait, remember that fog? It was still there. I turned around and it was WHITE RABBITS everywhere. I had no idea where I was, which way I needed to go back, where I needed to turn, nothing – and I was cold!!! Bright red, bone-chilled hands cold!

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Not even the sneakers could guide me home.

I eventually did find my way back home, and only 1.3 km off from the total distance I had intended. It wasn’t the route I had wanted, it wasn’t the temperature I had wanted, it wasn’t the distance I had wanted. But, when I was sucking back my hot tea after, and thinking about the me just a couple years ago in a situation like this, and how I would have been like infinity km off from the distance I had wanted, and would probably still be trying to find my way home. This, my friends, was directional progress: Wahoo!

SUNDAY’S RUN:

  • 2 p.m. BG before: 12.1
  • Carbs: none
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 11.31 km
  • Average pace: 5:35 min/km
  • Time: 1:03:12
  • 3:30 p.m. BG after: 3.4

Mailbag: Singing hallelujah

Please excuse me a moment while I sing what’s been bursting to get out of me ever since a run two runs ago:

HALLELUJAH!
HALLELUJAH!
HALLELUUUUUJAH!

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Not sure what was going on with the headband here!

For more than four years I have been struggling to find a suitable place on my body to store my insulin pump while running. If I clip it onto my shorts, it feels as though it’s gonna tug them right off my butt, or chafes if any skin is exposed; if I clip it onto my winter tights, it slides annoyingly from side to side, and sometimes, without any warning at all, it unclips, yanking at the infusion in my skin; if I put it in my sports bra, I risk looking like I have a third square boob, or risk bruising my breastbone by forgetting to remove the clip (yep, that happened my first run with the pump – ouch!); and if I stuff it into a waist belt under my shirt, I risk having the belt bounce if it’s not cinched tight enough or feel as though I’ve got a weight holding me back. And these are only just a few of the annoyances Dear Diabetes has provided me since switching over to the pump.

So, when I was contacted by a Brooklyn-based clothing designer last month asking if I’d be interested in testing out one of her new tanks, called Type Tanks, that is specifically designed for active woman using insulin pumps – like me! – I didn’t even need a second to think about that one. Heck yes I did!

The tank arrived last week, and I’m already two runs, one strength training session, and a full day of work in with it. (We do a LOT of laundry in this lofthold ;))

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And look the packaging matches my orange toe nails! Kismet?

Three words: Holy. Freaking. Brilliant.

With two zip-up pouches in the back, each featuring a hole inside to accommodate the tubing, as well as a third pouch up front in the built-in bra area, this tank is designed with options galore for wherever you’ve got your infusion inserted.

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In previous runs, the location of my infusion on my arm would have caused annoyances in finding a suitable location for the tubing so as not to get in the way of my arm swings.

There was no incessant pump rubbing on skin; no bouncing pump irritations; no tubing being accidentally yanked by arm swings; no cinching and re-cinching of waist belts; or nagging adjustments on my tights. In fact, if I wasn’t purposely thinking about my insulin pump, I would have completely forgotten I was wearing a pump. I kid you not, it was that good.

Seriously, I’ve been waiting for a perfect, pump-irritation-free run like this for more than four years. HALLELUJAH!

But wait, that’s not all, it is also SUPER comfortable and SUPER cute! It’s not tacky. It doesn’t look bulky. The pouches are designed in a way that’s actually flattering. No guff. And the second pouch I wasn’t using, I was able to stuff my iPhone into no problem.

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My only complaints: I would have liked for TYPE TANKS to be featured in bold on the front. A product this good should be full-on bragged about. I’d also like to see more colour options; currently the only colour listed on the website is black. And I do still have to wear an undertank when running, but I think that’s more a preference, given how bloody long my torso is, than a complaint. Other than that, brilliant!

More information on the product can be found on the Type Tanks website at http://www.typetanks.com.

Disclosure: Type Tanks sent the tank top at no cost to me. I receive no compensation for writing this post. As with all my posts, all thoughts and opinions expressed here are 100 per cent my own.

Megs Miles… and more

Yesterday, January 18, the world over ran in honour of Meg Menzies, the young American mother who was killed by a drunk driver last Monday while out on a morning run. Everyone was talking about it, social media was aflutter with responses, and runners everywhere, every kind, were tagging their miles for the day. Heck, even Big Ring told me I had to run because apparently “Lance” told him via Twitter.

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SOURCE

But unfortunately, I could not. Saturdays are generally not run days for me. It’s far too tough to squeeze in any miles with Big Ring working the day, but still, a year ago, even just a couple months ago, I would have for sure pushed my butt out the door, even if only for a quick three or four kilometres, to be a part of such a beautiful campaign. These days, though, I’m just not willing to brave it.

You see, I used to be an avid evening runner. I loved getting out in the dark, cool breeze, especially during the winter months, when there’d be nary another soul out. The sights you’d see, the thoughts you’d have, it was all just so … peaceful. But now, that’s not the case at all.

I fear going out alone at night. I fear the people around me. I fear the what ifs and the what may bes.

I HATE THAT FEAR!

It’s a fear that started in December when a young man was brutally attacked outside a nearby skytrain station, a decent neighbourhood, in what was believed to be a petty theft by a teen. The young man was taken off life support days later. A few weeks later, a middle-aged woman across the pond was also brutally attacked while waiting for her son outside a hockey arena. She, too, did not survive.

What the frick is wrong with people???

It was these thoughts, along with Meg Menzie, that filled my 8 km run today. So, while it was a day late, my run today was very much in honour of Meg, and all those – runners or not – who have been damaged by stupidity and other such evils.

One day, I hope to again be able to enjoy those peace-loving, evening runs.

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For Meg, and all others…

TODAY’S RUN – MEG’S MILES:

  • 2:30 p.m. BG before: 9.3
  • Carbs: See below***
  • Temp. basal: -30%***
  • Distance: 8.14 km
  • Time: 46:57
  • Average pace: 5:46 min/km
  • 3:30 p.m. BG after: 3.4
  • Post-run carbs: 1T honey with tea

As mentioned in a post last week, I’ve been struggling lately in figuring out my running blood sugar levels (this happens every few months or so… thank you Dear Diabetes!). I knew I’d be running not long after lunch today, so I gave myself 40% less insulin than my pump bolus wizard had advised based on the 39 grams of carbs I’d be taking in. My BG at lunch was 8.0. By the time I was ready to run, they were between 9.3 and 10.4 (I took 2 tests). I was going to set a -50% basal for an hour, but opted for a more conservative -30% as I feared they might just keep rising. They did not. Post run they were 3.4. I had some honey, and two hours later they were up to 8.0, which has me thinking I should have set a post-run basal of +30% for an hour after the run.

Still figuring it out…

Super-Run-Chick

No time constraints. No one needing me at work. No one needing me at home. No pressure. Those were the absolutes I had staring me in the face as I went out for today’s run.

I had initially planned a quick lunch run for today. I had even dressed in layers before heading to work with my running gear on under my professional wear – seriously, if I had a phone booth, I could have totally been like the running, female version of Clark Kent. Heck, I’m a newspaper journalist, I was wearing superhero tights, and all I needed to do was rip my clothes off and I was good to go. Super-RUN-Chick!

super run chick

But, a few obstacles got in the way. One of which, I forgot my lunch at home, and because I work more than an hour away, there was no going home to get it, which meant I had to grab a lunch from elsewhere taking away precious running time. So, instead, I worked through lunch, which meant an early departure for me, which meant I had absolutely no pressure tainting my run. That, my friends, is the recipe for a pretty, freaking awesome run!

I chose to run through my old, teenage stomping grounds (about 45 minutes from home). I haven’t run this route in probably more than two years now, since before Little Ring was a Little Alien in my belly. And you know what, I’d forgotten just how much I love it. It doesn’t matter how many beautiful places my feet have run (my backyard boardwalk, Vancouver Seawall, Oregon Coast, Sonoma County, San Francisco…) this route, and this area will always be dear to me.

It’s the memories route… memories of years gone by, of people who were once so prominent in my life long gone, and others who are still very much in my heart, my teenage home, friend’s houses, the homes of boy crushes, my first kiss, schools, ravine hangouts. Pretty much every stride I took had a memory or thought or wonderment filling my head. And before I knew it, the run was done.

I didn’t want it to be done. I wanted to keep going – a feeling I haven’t had in a long time with my runs. It was very much a welcomed feeling, and hopefully a trend that will continue 😀

TODAY’S RUN:

  • 3:30 p.m. BG before: 7.6
  • Carbs: none
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 7.11 km
  • Time: 39:17
  • Average pace: 5:29 min/km
  • 4:45 p.m. BG after: 1.9

Wow! That post-run blood sugar is insane, and the crazy thing, I had no idea it was that low… I’ve been struggling with lows following runs lately, but I’m working on it. Hopefully a better reading the next one.

Green, red. Tomato, tomAto

November 29, 2013
Cook’s Country – October/November issue
Colorado Green Chili

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Uhm, yeah, so, after this pic was taken, I piled like 5,000 times more cheese on top! 😀

Brrrr!!! It’s COLD outside! Like bone chilling cold, like long-John cold, like needing the fireplace rip-roaring, hot cold, like craving chili cold!

In this house, we like our chili. We like it thick, we like it bursting with poppy red vibrance, and crowded with beef, kidney beans, tomatoes, onions and green peppers – all done at the hands of Chef Big Ring. But in November, I took on the hearty chili challenge. Instead of red, I went green.

Or, so that was the plan.

The recipe I started out with – Colorado Green Chili – is not the recipe I ended up with. More like Nevada Brown Chili, a mix between Colorado and Mexico. I had no idea what Anaheim peppers were, and neither did the fruit store. Google told us they were similar to regular peppers, so we went with those – a handful of red, orange and green peppers. So long green chili.

Note: Days later we discovered the supermarket (of all places!) had a huge variety of around the world peppers, including Anaheims. D’oh!

As per the recipe’s instructions, the peppers were to be roasted, then skinned, which I found extremely tedious. But I’m sure it probably had something to do with the flavour as the end product was filled with textured smokiness. However, once they were roasted, there really wasn’t much there. And so, I figured, seeing as how I’d already veered from the recipe with the peppers, I may as well go whole hog in altering the base recipe. There wasn’t any guarantees I wouldn’t poison us along the way, but hey, where’s the adventure without a little bit of unknowing fear right 😉

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That said, I was NOT taking my chances with the jalapeños this time around. Thank heavens for rubber gloves!

So, out came the kidney beans, mushrooms, onions, green onions, tomatoes, sausage, and cheese – a LOT of cheese!

This chili was not the chili intended, nor was it the chili I’m used to, but it was decent enough. (Big Ring gave it an 8 out of 10… his is hands down a tasty, belly warming 10.) Mine, however, did have a swift kick of spice that knocked you in the back of the throat (just what you need on these cold, wintery evenings) and a super tasty hit of lime that I would never have thought to include in chilis of yore. In fact, that may very well become a staple for all future chilis.

And I did learn something pretty valuable in the cooking realm with this recipe. BROWN the ground beef FIRST to avoid food poisoning! Big Ring had a look of fear wash over his face when I asked if I was to brown the beef first or just cook it all at once. Hey! I’ve never once said I know cooking. But now, I know that 😀

Ingredients:
3 pounds boneless pork butt roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces (I used grass-fed, grain-finished ground beef from a Chilliwack farm and chorizo sausage instead)
Salt
2 pounds (10 to 12) Anaheim chiles, stemmed, halved lengthwise, and seeded
3 jalapeño chiles
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped fine
8 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups chicken broth
Cayenne pepper

1. Combine pork, ½ cup water, and ½ teaspoon salt in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, increase heat to medium-high, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until liquid evaporates and pork browns in its own fat, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer pork to bowl and set aside.
2. Meanwhile, adjust 1 oven rack to lowest position and second rack 6 inches from broiler element. Heat broiler. Line rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with vegetable oil spray. Arrange Anaheims, skin side up, and jalapeños in single layer on prepared sheet. Place sheet on upper rack and broil until chiles are mostly blackened and soft, 15 to 20 minutes, rotating sheet and flipping only jalapeños halfway through broiling. Place Anaheims in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let cool for 5 minutes. Set aside jalapeños. Heat oven to 325 degrees.
3. Remove skins from Anaheims. Chop half of Anaheims into ½-inch pieces and transfer to bowl. Process remaining Anaheims in food processor until smooth, about 10 seconds; transfer to bowl with chopped Anaheims. Pulse tomatoes and their juice in now-empty food processor until coarsely ground, about 4 pulses.
4. Heat oil in now-empty Dutch oven over medium heat until shimmering. Add onions and cook until lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic and cumin and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in flour and cook for 1 minute. Stir in broth, Anaheims, tomatoes, and pork with any accumulated juices and bring to simmer, scraping up any browned bits. Cover pot, transfer to lower oven rack, and cook until pork is tender, 1 to 1¼ hours.
5. Without peeling, stem and seed jalapeños and reserve seeds. Finely chop jalapeños and stir into chili. Season chili with salt, cayenne, and reserved jalapeño seeds to taste. Serve with lime wedges.

Serves 6

Almost famous

I’m famous! I’m famous! I’m famous! OHMYGAWD!!! I’m famous!

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That’s ME!!!

When I was contacted by Canadian Running Magazine a few months back asking if I’d be interested in participating in an article on running with diabetes, I was 100 per cent all over it.

For 2 seconds.

Long enough to breathe a second of excitement before realizing oh crud, the tables have turned. I live my life behind a pen and notepad. I live my life asking questions. I live my life nosying around other people’s lives. I’m the journalist. Not the subject. Oh crud. I swear to you, I spent a good half a day, prior to the evening interview, freaking out. Massively freaking out! What if I was a horrible interview. What if I rambled a mile a minute making absolutely no sense. What if the only words coming out of my mouth were uhm, uhm, uhm. All possible scenarios.

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Yep, I totally made a bubble chart to TRY and keep me on track 😀

The hour and a half interview (my ear was super red after!) went fairly well I think. There were a lot of uhms, nervous giggles, and nonsensical ramblings, but interspersed were also nuggets of smart bits, good stories of crazy running experiences, obstacles, achievements, joys, annoyances, and the never-ending challenge of figuring out how to carry things most others don’t have to – all because of Dear Diabetes.

And when I mentioned, “off the cuff” that Big Ring was a professional photographer, she requested photos!!! FAMOUS!!!

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That’s ME! And hey, that’s my T-1 pal and fellow blogging chick Canadian D-Gal too!

On New Year’s Eve, the magazine arrived – and there I was. ME! Front and centre. ME! Testing my blood sugars. ME! My calloused fingers. ME! Running. ME! Right there in the lede. ME! My words. My diabetes. FAMOUS!!!

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My calloused fingers. My trashy running meter.

My first reaction to the article was … undecided. I don’t know if it’s because I’m in the field, or because I was the subject, a role I’m not used to being at all, but I was somewhat critical. Hmm… would I have written it like that? Hmm… wouldn’t it have been better if she had done this instead of that? Hmm… was that the best quote to use?

But after a few reads, (yes, I’ve read it a few times!) I started to soften. Diabetes is a HUGE, complex disease. She had a lot of information to sort through and filter down into 2,000 words. That’s no easy feat. And yet, the article was both informing and personal. And hey, the lede totally had me giggling 😀

A quick glance at [Princess of Pavement’s] running blog makes it pretty clear how she feels about diabetes.
The entry, “Why I run”, features a photo of a closed fist with middle finger extended. Written vertically in capital letters on the middle finger is the word “DIABETES.” …

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FAMOUS!!!