Monthly Archives: September 2014

Vancouver Eastside: a smile of a race

If my Vancouver Eastside 10k effort is any indication, I could very well be the perfect prototype for reverse psychology

For weeks leading up to this race I went through a range of emotions. I feared it, didn’t want to race it, didn’t think I’d do well. My training had suffered over the last month, I’d missed runs, or had had super crummy runs. And so, the week of, I decided I wouldn’t race it, I’d run it. No expectations. No pressure. (Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself!) Even when Coach NZ told me the day before that I’d “smash” the run, I despondently shook my head. Nah, I said, I don’t think so.

And then, the night before, with that dammed missed insulin issue, it almost solidified in my head, this was not going to be my race. I was sure I’d be spending the evening wrestling my blood sugars; not a good recipe for race-day speed.

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But wait, the blood sugars shockingly didn’t go all super crazy. Yes, they were high when I finally noticed the memory blip, and yes, they required not one, but two insulin corrections to bring them down prior to bed, but they didn’t bottom out. At 3 a.m. they were 4.9 and at 5 a.m. they were 5.6. There were no interventions required; I could work with those digits.

And wait, the run was set under almost perfect conditions. In its second year, there were, I think, 1,500 runners – not over-populated, and not yet over commercialized. The morning was bright and sunny, but still cool. It was a 10 km loop, but because we were running into the blinding sun for the first half, it didn’t feel like a loop. The route had us running through some of the more under-appreciated parts of the city. An area populated with lower income and homeless people, as well as the upper echelon, it was pretty incredible and heart filling to see that mix cheering us on. I’m still blown away by it.

When I crossed over the start line, I’m not going to lie, my head was still filled with bits of misery, questioning my abilities, questioning why I was there, but with all those positives surrounding me, there really was no way those thoughts and feelings could last. The energy of the people running with me, and those watching on the sidelines either purposely or by happenstance, was a drug.

I rarely looked at my watch. I took in the sights, the buildings, the people, the old Woodwards W circulating high above, the bricks, the cobblestones, my music. I was still not intending to race.

But, step by step, the racing engines started to fire. I didn’t stop at any of the water stations, I didn’t take it easy going up the hills, if someone passed me, I didn’t over-react and chase only to burn out seconds later, but rather kept a steady, fast-twitched pace, never forgetting their face. When I approached the finishing chute and saw the bright red emblazoned numbers of 5 followed by 3 on the timing clock, I charged. Coming in, I was the autobus of the group, finishing, I was close to the sprinter’s lead out.

Chip time: 54:18!!!
Female 35-39: 29/114; All females: 198/769; All runners: 607/1731.

Holy wowzers!!! That is the fastest – official – 10 km time I have ever managed. Given the strength my muscles had at the end, I probably could have gone faster, but the thing is, I pushed myself hard enough – for me. I achieved a personal best and by golly I was SMILING doing it!

I needed that race!

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VANCOUVER EASTSIDE 10k:
8 a.m. BG before: 7.6
Carbs: 1/2c applesauce 1T PB, no bolus
Temp. basal: -50% 1 hour
Distance: 10 km
Chip Time: 54:18!!!
Average pace: 5:23 min/km
Average cadence: 88 spm
9:30 a.m. BG after: 11.1
Temp. basal: +50% 1 hour

And I was NOT the only one racing…

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Memory lapsed F bombs

Diabetes frustration No. 5,061:

When I went on the insulin pump almost 5 years ago, my biggest fear was that I would forget to administer the insulin. Taking needles, you don’t forget. But pressing a button, that seemed all too easy to forget. And yet, for almost five years, I rarely, if ever, forgot – until this last month or so.

I don’t know what is wrong with me. I don’t know why I keep forgetting to take my insulin. But there’s something not clicking in my brain. I test my blood sugars. I calculate the carbs. But I don’t input them into my pump. Some weeks, it’s happening multiple times. What the fricking hell?

This is an issue, a major issue, I need insulin, I survive on insulin. Without it, my blood sugars go through the roof, my energy goes down the drain, and my attitude, let’s just say it’s a get out of my face if you know what’s good for you kind of attitude.

Friday evening, at about 8 p.m., just as I was about to start thinking about an evening snack, the F bombs started flying. Are you fricking kidding me? I forgot – again??? Unlike other times, this one had the potential for the worst no-bolus disaster.

I had a race Saturday morning.

My pre-race preparations are always calculated. The week leading up to a race, I am normally so careful about what I ingest, the types of runs/exercise I do in the week, how much sleep I get, the times I’m taking my insulin, and the insulin itself. The day before, those calculations are elevated even more, all mostly to ensure I have optimal blood sugars the day before, the night before, and the morning of a race.

But a missed bolus, in the evening, not remembering for two hours post dinner, not having much time at all for a correction and then no time for re-correction after they finally bottom out, which they inevitably do, is, oh what’s that word, a cluster freaking $%*#!!!

Arghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

This close to flushing the little Jerkface!

This close to flushing the little Jerkface forever!

I’ve been stressed lately. I’ve had some major life changes. But for 27 years, it’s been me and Dear Diabetes. That doesn’t change just because life changes.

Race report coming in the next post…

Chasing lows not miles

You know that old adage, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? That’s exactly what my last long run emulated.

I had plans to run the Seawall; it was the perfect distance. From Waterfront Station to Granville Island is 19 km start to finish. I woke up first thing, dressed in my short shorts and tank top, grabbed my fuel belt and hopped on the Skytrain.

The weather was perfect in New West. It was grey, not too cold, not too warm. But in Vancouver, it was a completely different book. It was black clouds, biblical rains, gusting winds, and cold, man, it was blow-you-over cold. I stood in the shelter of the Convention Centre, waiting, hoping, praying for the rains to subside.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

10 minutes; 20 minutes; 30; 40. What the? It was not stopping.

Normally, rain isn’t a huge issue for me , I mean, it’s a challenge getting out into it, but once you’re out there, it’s usually pretty decent and oftentimes quite fun – IF you’re dressed for it. Recall: short shorts, tank top. I did NOT want to be slogging through puddles for 19 km, shivering, miserable.

At 60 minutes, I cut my losses, grabbed a hot tea and boarded the train for home. Miserable.

The whole ride, I could see glimmers of blue sky trying to peak out from the grey towards New West, towards Richmond, even in Burnaby. But I didn’t want to run in those locales, I didn’t want to battle traffic, exhaust fumes, lights and other nuisances, I just wanted the beauty of Vancouver’s waterfront.

When I got home, it was crystal blue sky – both in New West, and, if the webcams were accurate, Vancouver too! No black sky, no rain, not even a droplet of evidence of the earlier storm – it was full sun, blue sky.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Most people probably would have continued to cut their losses, slogged through a run in an area they hadn’t intended running, or forgone the run entirely, but not me, nope. I wolfed down a PB and banana sandwich, kissed my Rings goodbye and hopped back on that skytrain 🙂

Look at that sun!

Look at that sun!

And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

I’d love to say it was a wonderful run, that it was worth the effort of three Skytrain trips, but annoyingly, that was not the case. I had two huge impediments bringing me down.

First, I was completely overdressed. Despite the webcam showing blue sky, I hadn’t forgotten that cold breeze of the hour earlier, and thought surely it couldn’t have warmed up that significantly. I was wrong. Dressed in two running shirts and knickers, I was completely overheating. I ended up taking off one shirt and tying it around my fuel belt. Still, my legs were on fire the entire distance.

The shirt didn't stay on long... and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!

The shirt didn’t stay on long… and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!

Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed unless I switched my route to Wreck Beach instead.

Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed, unless, of course, I switched my route to Wreck Beach!

Secondly, my blood sugars. Like most long runs lately, I was chasing lows the entire time. Eating every 20 minutes trying to prevent bottoming out rather than elevating my energy scores, which, in the end, had me heavy footed, turtle-paced, lethargic. I know it was diabetes getting in my way, but there was still that inner demon berating, hating, judging me.

Stop. Before you consider chastising me for those thoughts, think about it, think about something you truly enjoy doing, maybe it’s running, and think about how you would feel if you consistently failed in your efforts, or consistently had something holding you back from being at your best. Think about it. How would you feel? I know I don’t do this for a living, but I do do it for gratification and endorphins. If I’m not getting either, what’s the point?

19 KM DETAILS:
1:30 p.m. BG before: 6.3
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 2 dried apricots
Distance: 19.17 km
Average pace: 5:54 min/km
Time: 1:53:13
Fuel: @20 minutes, BG 5.7: 3 shot blocks
          @40 minutes, BG 4.3: 3 shot blocks, 2 dried apricots
(At this point, I turned basal insulin off, which I never do.)
          @60 minutes, BG 4.2: 2 shot blocks, 4 dried apricots
          @80 minutes, BG 4.6:
(I didn’t eat anything, starting to feel ill, saw they were coming up, took chances)
3:30 p.m. BG after: 5.7

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

New beginnings

More than a week has past and it’s finally begun to sink in. I am not on holidays, not on temporary leave, I won’t be returning – I am no longer a working journalist.

Last Thursday, this is what I was doing:

Reflecting on and saying goodbye to a career I had loved.

Reflecting on and saying goodbye to a career I had loved.

All that remained was my Wall-O-Post-Its; I refused to take them down.

All that remained was my Wall-O-Post-Its; I refused to take them down.

As hard as it was to come to this decision, and as much as I know I will miss the great parts of this career, I cannot dwell on the past, I must move forward. And so, in what may have been the shortest retirement known to humankind, on Tuesday, this is what I was doing:

First day of school; the first in almost 15 years!

Back to school – princess backpack and all!

New beginnings start now.

TWO infinity and beyond!

(This post is a couple days late…)

From this:

Just a few weeks old; but a feather in my arms.

Just a few weeks old; but a feather in my arms.

To this:

12 months: cherishing the moments.

12 months: cherishing the moments.

To this:

24 months: No time for mama's arms, too busy playing in the sand and riding your beloved bike.

24 months: No time for mama’s arms, too busy playing in the sand and riding your beloved bike.

I don’t know how it is possible you are already two; I clearly remember just yesterday being the day you were born.

So many changes the last year, heck, the last three months. Your undying love for your bike; your game of playing helmet with papsy’s helmet; your own give-mama-a-heart-attack version of Road Bike Party; your insistence on dressing up in mama’s sweaty running gear the moment she walks through the door; the new sentences exiting your mouth every day; your off-key, super loud singing (makes mama proud!); your desire to help that more often than not turns into more work for us; your recital of Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late, usually done while making a “big piece” on the potty; your go-go-goness from the moment you wake up to the moment your head hits the crib at night – all fill my heart with giddy wings of butterfly happiness.


Singing Happy Birthday with added lyrics about cake… you like cake… a lot!

Every day is better than the last because of you ❤

“For dinner on my birthday, shall I tell you what I chose? Hot noodles made from poodles on a slice of garden hose. And a rather smelly jelly made from armadillo’s toes. The jelly is delicious, but you have to hold your nose!”
~ James and the Giant Peach