Monthly Archives: December 2014

Photographic evidence: death by hills

She was sick! Sick! Like seriously sick.

She had a cold.

She had a flu.

She had a fever, chills, nose red raw from wiping, stomach queasy, lungs feeling as though the weight of the world was standing on them. She had been bedridden for days and was only just recovering. And STILL she came out for a run.

“Katie needed me,” she said.

Wow. That is not only hardcore, it’s a big, huge slap in the face to the flu gods saying eat this jerk faces! And it was seriously pretty freaking awesome for me too! It was very much the kick in the butt I needed to get me and my sneakers out the door.

I am LOVING my new running chicks!

These are my new regular running chicks; both pretty freaking awesome!

These are my new regular running chicks; both pretty freaking awesome! Note: this pic was from a few weeks ago; Miss Hardcore on the far left was not so keen to get a pic last night with her face red raw from sickness. Understandable 🙂

6 p.m. BG before: 5.4
Carbs: 1/2 banana, no bolus
Temp. basal: -100 per cent (too much)
Workout: 8 x 75 second hill repeats with 2.5 minute jog down after each.
Time: 45:44
Distance: 6.02 km
Average hill pace: 5:45 min/km (started 5:12, ended 5:58)
7:15 p.m. BG after: 10.3
Temp. basal: +100 per cent (2 hours)

I’m not gonna lie, this run really kind of freaked me out. Two weeks ago I had done a set of hills that had included a few 75 second repeats. By the second set, I was ready to keel over and die. I don’t know if the grade of the hill I chose was too steep, or if it was because I chose to do the hills in the a.m. rather than the p.m. like I was use to, but 75 seconds was just pure, freaking evil. And it was after those hills that I did something I rarely ever do – I looked ahead to future weeks of the running program to see what was coming next. Big mistake. Seriously, for like 2 weeks I had been fretting these hills. EIGHT consecutive repeats of 75 seconds, holy freaking hell, I was sure I would die.

The foreboding darkness of The Hill.

The foreboding darkness of The Hill.

But if a sicky could get out there and give it her best, even with minimal lung capacity, then by golly, I was NOT going to be a bloody wimp. I was not going to cry over a little hyperventilating at the top of the first set. I was not going to slow my pace in the face of bright lights oncoming traffic midway through the third set. I was not going to pause to hurl following the sixth set. I was not going to listen to the bricks in my fatigued legs climbing the seventh set. Nope. I waited ’til I made it to the top of the eighth before I finally allowed myself a good keeling over.

Photographic evidence: Death by hills.

Photographic evidence: Death by hills!

One run done, three more for the week to go. Thank you to everyone, whether on the blog, or other mediums, for keeping me accountable! You guys rock!

Happy New Year 🙂

Seeking accountability

Dear readers,

I need your help. I am in desperate need of accountability – verbally, writtenly, kicking in the buttly.

The holidays, they have kind killed me, or, at least, my running consistency. Last week, I was not so much a leader (sorry run study!); I was not the example to follow; I did not hold up my running values; I did not put running first. Not by a long shot. Nope. I was the girl snuggled in slippers and flannel pj’s; extendable waist as far as it could go.

Normally on Thursday I run with the UBC run study girls, but because Thursday was Christmas Day, the group run was cancelled. I had every intention to get that run in. At first I was trying to motivate myself with an early morning run that would end with waffles on my plate. That didn’t work. I was feeling pressure in my inner left knee and started second guessing whether I should be doing tempo intervals. I spent the day foam rolling and proceeded to plan for a make-up run Boxing Day morning. But then, the morning of Boxing Day was grey, dark, wet, ugly. I thought, okay, I’ll hold off, I’ll do a run later. That didn’t happen.

I did not run. I didn’t get my Friday run in either, and while I did run on Sunday, it was likely because I had people counting on me. But this week…


I have no one. One of my regular Tuesday partners is heading out of town, the other I have yet to hear from, and Thursday’s run is yet again solo because it’s New Year’s. And I’m freaking out! I fear another Thursday like last week will happen ALL week this week. There will be excuses, there will be ugly weather, there will be phantom aches and pains, there will be more days spent run free than running.

I do NOT want that.

So, I’m hoping with me putting this out for all to see it will force me to keep up with my runs. Tomorrow, I am to run hills, 8 x 75 seconds; Thursday I am to run speed intervals 6 times 3 minutes; and Friday an easy 50 minutes. Alone. By myself. Completely solo.

No excuses.

Get me out of here!!!

“Get me out of here!!!”

8:45 a.m. BG before: 7.2
Carbs: 1/2 banana (no bolus)
Temp. basal: -40 per cent (2 hours)
Workout: 100 minutes alternating 20 minutes easy, 5 minutes half marathon pace (5:10-5:35 min/km)
Time: 1:41:13
Distance: 16:10 km
Average pace: 6:17 min/km
Average cadence: 86 spm
BG: @30 minutes: 6.0; @70 minutes: 5.7
Fuel: 2 x 2/3 (400mL) homemade sports drink, 2 shot blocks
11:30 a.m. BG after: 9.3
Temp. basal: +80% (2 hours)

The necessity of the evil bugger

Leaving Garmin at home is NOT an option.

Following my last post, I had a couple people suggest I leave Garmin at home and run free of technology. I’ve heard this a few times over the years, especially last season when I endured some of my most troublesome times in the sneakers and was fast losing motivation. They told me I was putting too much pressure on myself, I had to let go of the numbers, just run for the love of running. They blamed Garmin. They said Garmin needed to have a rest.

Which is all well and good for short runs. I’ve had no problems some runs leaving Garmin behind and opting to feel my pace rather than see it. But for long runs, I will fight tooth and nail, no matter how frustrating that bugger can be, to keep her latched to my wrist every single time.

Garmin is about more than just keeping time and pace. She is my notification for checking blood sugars and she tells me when I need to take in more fuel. Without her, I would have no clue. My internal clock does not have a blaring alarm to alert me, and by the time you’re hungry, that’s generally the first sign it’s too late.

Liquid fuel (homemade sports drink) needs Garmin like I need Garmin.

Liquid fuel (homemade sports drink) needs Garmin like I need Garmin.

So, when she does crap out like she so inconveniently did Sunday morning, I am at the mercy of my fellow runners. (Thank GOODNESS I have found fellow runners!) These girls were my lifeline, being that alarm, every 15 minutes notifying me of the time. I’m not sure they realized just how incredibly beneficial that was. I was able to test my blood sugars right on the dot at 30 minutes in. (Side note: This was the FIRST time I have ever tested, while running, no stopping – and I didn’t fall flat on my face!!! Success!!!). I was able to start the process of taking in fuel as directed. I was able to get through the run without any mishaps, diabetes or run related. Huge, Huge, HUGE thanks!

Garmin Ladies!

Garmin Ladies!

5:50 p.m. BG before: 5.6
Temp. basal: -40% (1 hour)
Carbs: 1/2 banana (15g)
Time: 59:57
Distance: 9.85 km –> 14 x 2:00 at 5 km goal pace with 1:00 walk in between each set.
Average interval pace: 4:43 min/km
7 p.m. BG after: 8.0

I’ve got to say, I’m really enjoying looking at my stats following these kinds of runs. Not only are they at a good clip, they are a consistent clip – 14 times over! That’s pretty freaking awesome! Now bring on the Christmas Eve rouladen 🙂

Purple = greater than 95 steps per minute. Blue = between 70-95 steps per minute.

Purple = greater than 95 steps per minute.
Blue = between 70-95 steps per minute.

A Garmin Beat Down

Alright 610, you little heathen, you better be ready to put your dukes up and defend because I am going to have my way with you, and I promise you, when I am done, you will be worse for wear than Edward Norton in Fight Club. And don’t be thinking your good looks will be saving you this time. Nope, that card’s run dry.

Oh sure, there was a time when you had glamoured me with your blue-strapped beauty, slim, sultry curves, and modern sophistication. A time when I gladly turned my back on my loyal, but weathered and somewhat unrefined, 305 in favour of you. YOU were my apple.

And every day since I’ve been paying the ultimate price.

In the Battle of the Garmins 305 sadly lost.

In the Battle of the Garmins 305 sadly lost.

You are a turtle, a slug, a sloth; you take forever connecting to the satellites, and I know you’re doing it on purpose, dawdling to my breaking point, laughing as I frantically jump around doing the satellite dance. I thought I could get around it, outsmart you if you will, I thought I could run while waiting for the satellites to connect, but no, you couldn’t let me have that either, could you? Nope. Totally messing with my pace stats, and if I’m on the trails, completely stalling out, not connecting at all. Jerk face.

But we don’t stop there, do we? Nah, that would be too easy.

You like to screw with my programs too, making me think their set up properly, only to completely mess up mid run. Or, how about that overbearing pull of yours, keeping my fingers clear away from the lap button when I should be lapping. Or the way you shrink your screen to a dot, blurring the numbers, only when I’m running, and especially at night. And what the heck is up with that back light of yours anyway, seriously, how on earth is anyone, even someone with bionic eyes, supposed to read tha screen with a half a milli-second of light whilst in the pitch black darkness? Jerk face.

And then there was that last run of ours. You know the one. The one where I had everything perfectly programmed. The one where I had made sure to turn you on for the drive out to the starting location to ensure we’d capture those satellites in good time. The one where I couldn’t be blamed for a thing. The one where everything was perfect – except you.

The one where your screen completely froze two seconds before starting the run. I couldn’t turn you on. I couldn’t turn you off. Nothing. And when you did finally turn on well into the run, you were not budging to give me those satellites. I had nothing. For the entire run!

That was the ultimate jerk face. Time for a serious Garmin beat down!

You will NOT win this battle 610!

You will NOT win this battle 610!

8:45 a.m. BG before: 11.6
Temp. basal: none
Carbs: none (b/c of BG)
Time: 90 minutes (75′ easy pace; 15′ 5km goal pace)
Distance: Approximately 15 km
Average pace: ?
Average cadence: ?
Fuel: @30 minutes BG: 4.8 (turned pump off) 2 shot blocks and 1.5 4oz bottles homemade sports drink from 30′-75′
11 a.m. BG after: 9.6
Temp. basal: +100% 2 hours

Glutes on fire

I’m not sure doing hill repeats 34 hours before speed intervals was the smartest idea I’ve ever had; in fact, my glutes, who I’m thinking are probably still very much annoyed with me, were screaming and cursing at me for hours after. But my mind felt as though it was freed from the negativity of the last few days, and that, my friends, was well worth the gluteus maximus scolding I endured.

Happiness is my sneakers.  (Don't mind the crazy eyes; we were all a little possessed last night :) )

Happiness is my sneakers.
(Don’t mind the crazy eyes; we were all a little possessed last night 🙂 )

Oh. And my stats, they have me feeling like a bit of a rockstar!

Here’s the breakdown of the intervals: :30; 1:00; 1:30; 2:00; 2:30; 2:30; 2:00; 1:30; 1:00; :30 at 3 km goal pace with a 1:30 walk break in between each. For me, my 3 km goal pace is approximately 4:50 min/km. You will see below just how intensely I annihilated that projected pace. Yes, I am totally gloating!

I screwed up the timing for the first 30 second interval, but check out

I screwed up the timing for the first 30 second interval, but check out intervals 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, and 19. Not too shabby!

5:50 p.m. BG before: 9.1
Temp. basal: -30 per cent
Carbs: none
Time: 49 minutes
Distance: 7.3 km
Average interval pace: 4.34 min/km
7:30 p.m. BG after: 12.1

Thank you all for your warm wishes and kind thoughts during this tough time for my family and I. It meant an incredible amount. Thank you.

Hill repeats: in the moment

Running chick @IamSamandIrun on Instagram had the right idea with this visual description of this week's hills.

Running chick @IamSamandIrun [Instagram] had the right idea with her pic following this week’s hills.

I want to puke.

What was I thinking?

Why am I doing this?

I’m not even halfway through.

Ohmygawd. I can feel it. I am so going to puke.

Stop! says my legs.

Stop! yells my my lungs.

Are you freaking kidding me?

How the hell am I going to get through another one and three quarters of these?

I’m not.

That’s it.

I can’t do it.

I should just give up.

Call it quits.

The loft is just over there…


Eff you hills.

Eff you lungs.

Eff you legs.

Eff you brain.

Keep going.

Don’t you dare quit on me.





You can do this.

You’re not a quitter.

One more.



Effing freaking GO.

And done!

8:30 a.m. BG before: 9.6
Temp. basal: none
Carbs: Breakfast 2 hours earlier
Hill repeats: 3 x 75/60/45 seconds
Time: 40 minutes
Distance: 5.41 km
Average hill pace: 5:04 min/km
9:30 a.m. BG after: 3.9

Pretty sure I found my near puke threshold in that 75 second one. But man did I ever need that release, and man did I ever feel pretty freaking awesome for not quitting at the top of the second set like I so desperately wanted to.

Thank you hills.

June Mohan Dipalma 1931-2014

Dear readers,

I write to you today with great amounts of sadness, grief and bewilderment filling my every finger stroke. I don’t know how to write about this, I don’t even know if I should write about this, but for me, writing has always been an outlet, and so today I let my fingers guide my emotions.

June Mohan Dipalma June 15, 1931 - Dec. 15, 2014

June Mohan Dipalma
June 14, 1931 – Dec. 15, 2014

Yesterday evening my Grandma passed away. It came as a shock.

She was 83 years old and had been having a few issues the last year or so that were slowing her down. Still, it was a shock. She had called an ambulance at 3:30 in the morning Saturday; she couldn’t walk. Still, it was a shock. I visited her Saturday afternoon, I saw the frailness of her thin stature lying in the bed and heard her intermittent struggles for breath. But still, it was a shock.

She was talking, her mind completely intact, she had moments of smiles, especially when her eyes crossed over Little Ring and Big Big Brother, and man, she still had a fire in her, bossing the cardiologist around, griping about this person and that nurse, and chiding me for teasing my big brother, a known favourite of hers, with that “grandmotherly tone” I had come to know MANY times in my existence.

I didn’t know how sick she was. I didn’t know how pained she was. I didn’t know the daily torture of living was far worse than dying.

Grandma had COPD. She chose to die.

For 48 years she was a smoker. For 24 years, she has been a non-smoker. (She quit  the year her first great grandchild was born.) It didn’t matter. Her lungs were shot.

Grandma used to be an active woman. She regularly worked out at the local recreational facility; volunteered for the hospital auxiliary, which was conveniently located next to a chocolate factory she did so love; she taught herself how to drive in her 40’s on an old beetle stick shift; worked at Vancouver’s long gone Eaton’s department store; was always in and out of her two-storey house, with the steepest down slope driveway I’ve ever encountered, well into her 70s. A few years ago when she moved into a penthouse suite, not even 10 minutes down the road from me, she kept moving – regularly walking up and down the Quay, visiting the fishies, of which she knew exactly which type they were, climbing the overpass multiple times a day with her Ginger dog in tow.


Then, she stopped.

At first, she started going around the overpass to areas with slightly less incline, but that too stopped. I started seeing my uncle more and more with the dog on the overpass instead of Grandma. And spotting her while mid-run on the Quay, which used to be a regular occurrence, grew to never.

It was too hard. She couldn’t breathe.

I knew that my grandma’s lungs had been affected by the smoking, but I didn’t know she had COPD.

Today, I’ve been doing a lot of research on what it’s like to live with COPD: constantly being hungry for breath, feeling as though you’re swallowing shards of glass with every molecule of oxygen filling the trachea, your body, your heart so weakened from the exertion of mere breathing, knowing no matter how bad this episode, the next will inevitably be worse and worse and worse.

When I got the call at 6:55 p.m. last night that she had died, I didn’t understand. Even with the earlier call telling me that as of 3 p.m., she was refusing treatment, including oxygen, the urgency of it, the seriousness still didn’t register.

Made it last night; didn't get to deliver it in time.

Made it last night; didn’t get to deliver it in time.

My Grandma was a strong woman. Mentally and physically strong. She was intelligent, independent, maybe to a fault, she had a will about her, a stubborness, and a way that you didn’t dare cross. I am not going to lie, we butted heads more than a few times over the years.

She was not the type of person to die.

I understand not wanting to live that way. I understand the strength in her choice. But I don’t understand the pain I am feeling today.

Little Ring, just days old, lapping up the crazy love of his granny and great granny <3

Little Ring, just days old, lapping up the crazy love of his granny and great granny ❤

Goodbye Grandma.