Monthly Archives: January 2015

All struggling. All smiling.

You win some, you lose some. And yesterday’s run, much to my dismay, was very much in the loser file.

I could not get my bearings at all. My ankles felt crazy wobbly, and the upper half of me felt as though it was going all over the place too. My breathing was heavily laboured. I was crazy overheating. My stomach innards were flopping. And Dear Diabetes was being a major jerk face!

I woke up at 4 a.m.. I didn’t intend to, my blood sugars went low, and by the time I’d finished slamming back some oj, my brain had turned on, my eyes wide awake, there was no falling back into a slumber. That was just the beginning.

It seems Dear Diabetes is making a habit of getting in the way of my Sunday runs these days with her stupid hypoglycemic ways. So I thought yesterday I’d head it off before it had any chance to begin. I had a full banana, instead of half, 30 minutes before the run. I cut my basal insulin by 50 per cent starting 15 minutes before the run. Two seconds before the run, I chomped on two shot blocks. And instead of waiting 30 minutes into the run before fuelling up with my homemade sports drink, I started right off the hop. Surely that would make a difference.


Twenty minutes in they had gone from 9.4 to 5.5 (I further reduced my basal to 90 per cent at that point) and by 40 minutes in, they were 2.9. That sucked.


Four shot blocks stuffed in my mouth and every last bit of my sports drink downed in seconds. Hello gut rot.

Yes folks, if the above issues weren’t enough, the last 30 minutes of my run had me dealing with serious gut rot. It took everything in me to keep going, to focus on the running, and not the disaster that was my body. There were moments where my eyes were blurred, and maybe even a few where they were completely shut, as I tried to find my happy place, the zen running zone, the one where my pace is being pushed but I don’t feel a thing. That, my friends, is one of my most favourite places, and yesterday it was so incredibly hard to get there. But the last 20 minutes of this run, despite everything else wrong going on, was spent in that place. That’s a positive.

I may have nearly crippled myself running in that place though. Heavy rainfall the day earlier left a few sink holes along the trail. Sink holes and blind running don't really mix!

I may have nearly crippled myself running in that place though. Heavy rainfall the day earlier left a few sink holes along the trail. Sink holes and blind running don’t  mix!

8:45 a.m. BG before: 9.4
Temp. basal: -50 per cent (to start) -90 per cent (to end)
Pre-run carbs: 1 banana plus 2 shot blocks (no bolus)
Time: 1:34:24
Workout: 90 minutes: 10′ warmup; 80′ alternating 15′ at half marathon pace and 5′ 30 seconds slower than half marathon
Distance: 16.25 km
Average pace: 5:48 min/km
BG: @20 minutes: 5.4; @40 minutes: 2.9; @60 minutes 3.9
Fuel: honestly, I can’t tell you. I was just stuffing my mouth full of shot blocks and sports drink to keep my blood sugars afloat.
11 a.m. BG after: 9.3
Temp. basal: +110 per cent (2 hours)

As I’m sure you can gather I was pretty disappointed with the majority of this run. It wasn’t just the unfortunate events, it was the fact that this run, in my mind, was to be a measure of how well my training has gone the last couple months. I haven’t written much about it, but with this training program, while it’s not much harder, if at all, than Coach NZ’s program (maybe the hills) I’ve found my consistency has been near bang on, and I’ve really felt I’ve pushed myself well and seen the results in my Garmin stats. And so, with this run, given that the majority would be spent running at half marathon pace, a new speedier pace that I intend to attempt, I made this run was THE marker.

And when everything was seemingly going down hill, I’m not going to lie, there were moments where I felt I failed that marker. But, you know, sometimes there’s just one thing to do: scream at the top of your lungs, EFF IT!!! (Or maybe I did that in my head 😉 )

It was a beautifully muggy morning that felt as though I should be in shorts, not tights; I wasn’t in an area being threatened with the blizzard of the century; I was running with some of the loveliest running chicks around; I was running.

Parts of it were crummy, yes, but other parts were pretty freaking fantastic… like this moment:

Being chicked by a high school girl's soccer team and both of us thinking: Give it 10 years then let's see how fast you are!

Being chicked by a high school girl’s soccer team and both of us thinking: Give it 10 years, then let’s see how fast you are!

And this:

A mid run stripping of the layers. All struggling. All smiling. LOVE THESE GIRLS!!!

A mid run stripping of the layers. All struggling. All smiling. I LOVE THESE GIRLS!!!



The week of so-called “easy”

Easy schmeasy!

According to our running program, this week is classified “easy” week, but I think the designer of the program uses that term a little too freely.

On Tuesday, we had to run 40 minutes with 20 minutes at lactate threshold pace (for me: between 5:00 and 5:20 min/km) and the only way I can see that as being “easy” is that, unlike the previous week, we were allotted a 2-minute walk break to split the 20 minutes into two segments of 10. While I wasn’t anywhere near puking, and felt I could definitely keep the pace going, I was sucking back wind pretty good.

And then there was tonight’s “easy” run, where we ran 30 minutes with 10 intervals of 30 seconds each at 3 km goal pace (for me: between 4:30 and 4:50 min/km) with a 30 second walk between each. The goal for tonight was not to be Usain Bolt, but rather Chrissie Wellington, fast and steady for the duration. We were told fun was to be had, and that by the end we should feel good about our effort but still have enough juice to do more.

Not below. Not above. Right on target.

Not below. Not above. Right on target.

• 6 p.m. BG before: 6.0
• Temp. basal: -50 per cent (1.5 hours)
• Carbs: 1/2 banana (15g no bolus)
• Run: 10′ warmup; 30 seconds at 3 km goal pace with 30 seconds walk between each; 10′ cool down.
• Distance: 4.95 km
• Time: 30:41
• Average interval pace: 4:27 min/km
• 7:30 p.m. BG after: 6.5
• Temp. basal: +70 per cent (1.5 hours)

Well! I’ve got to say, this run was hands-down harder than Tuesday’s. Not because I was feeling overly spent, not at all, I felt I could have gone faster, I wanted to go faster, Healthy Beacon was tempting me with her carrotress ways, but I kept forcing myself to reel it in, to stay on pace, to follow the program. Pretty sure, tonight, I built up some mental toughness by way of that restraint!

And yes folks, there was fun had!

How can this NOT be considered fun?

How can this NOT be considered fun?

So fast they're flying!

So fast they’re flying!

And then there were the outtakes: I especially like the decapitated head me and the praying to the higher powers me, and the knee dance ... oh hell, I loved them all :)

And then there were the outtakes: I especially like the decapitated head me and the praying to the higher powers me, and the knee dance … oh hell, I love them all 🙂

Beer-licious birthday

Another year has passed and Big Ring is still alive!

Last Thursday was Big Ring’s birthday and we celebrated over three days: presents on Thursday; cake and friends on Friday; and my I-Only-Cook-Once-A-Year Birthday Feast on Saturday.

Because this year had beer prominence for us throughout (a craft brewery opened up five minutes down the road; several of Big Ring’s rides with his riding group this summer had beer stops along the way; and when my Belgian cousins (Hi Martin and Cristal!) came for a visit, we designed a beer tasting with several stops throughout the Lower Mainland for them to compare their top-notch beers with our local ones), I decided to make Big Ring’s birthday a beer-themed birthday.

What goes with beer?

Salty snacks. Cheeses and salamis. Chocolate stout cake. Growlers of beer. Bottles of beer. Even beer floats. Yes folks, we had beer floats! And, last but definitely not least, great friends who love great beer!150110bdayFor the finale on Saturday, I put together a pasta with clams feast. And I think it actually turned out really well, it had a nice, spicy kick, and was a heck of a lot less complicated than other meals I’ve attempted (I’m looking at you Lasagna 2012!) and something we both agreed we’d like to try again.

There was, however, a slight blip in the cooking process – just one! Midway through eating, Big Ring got a funny look on his face, and I was like, stomach dropped, oh crud, what the hell did I do? “Did you, uhm, use cilantro in this?”

That’s why I kept smelling cilantro! The recipe called for fresh parsley, but I have no idea the difference between the two, so it seems I pulled out the cilantro instead of the parsley. Oops. Good thing we both like cilantro 🙂 🙂 🙂


• 8:45 a.m. BG before: 10.8
• Carbs: 1/2 banana (no bolus)
• Temp. basal: -50 per cent
• Workout: 85′ easy, 25′ at half marathon pace (5:10-5:35 min/km)
• Time: 1:50:11
• Distance: 17.96 km
• Average pace: 6.08 min/km
• Run BG: @30′ 4.1 (turned basal off); @60′ 3.3; @70′ 4.2
• Fuel: 6 shot blocks and 2 400 mL homemade sports drink
11:30 a.m. 7.7
• Temp. basal: +100% 2.5 hours

The run was great, but the BGs sucked. My legs felt great, I felt strong, I was able to kick up my pace when I needed to and maintain it for the duration, which was fantastic. But holy hell, what the eff is going on with my blood sugars. This is like 3 or 4 weeks now where the only day they go crazy high after breakfast is Sunday Run Day and where they bottom right the eff out 30 minutes into the bloody run. I know with this run I got distracted between the 30 minutes and 60 minutes where I wasn’t drinking enough of my sports drink, but that does not account for the bottoming out at 30 minutes. And the post-breakfast highs, what the hell? I’m pretty sure I’m not stressing about these runs, so what the frick is going on? Ugh!

Nobody puts Dear Diabetes in the corner

I’ve said it before, and I don’t know how many more times I’ll have to say it, maybe forever. So please bear with me, because here we go again:

I will not, not now, not ever again, hide or disguise who I am – diabetes included.

As some of you know, there was a time in my life where I wasn’t comfortable with showing my diabetes. I wouldn’t test my blood sugars or take my insulin injections in front of people, and for one year, off and on, not at all. I would hide – in washrooms, behind buildings, bedrooms, my car – all for the comfortability of the people around me.

Doesn’t really sound like me does it?

It wasn’t always that way. Early in my diabetes days, I had no problems with it being a part of me; likely because for the first 3 years I was surrounded by an incredibly accepting peer group and school environment. But when I changed schools in Grade 7 everything changed.

That was the year I had pretty much a whole school hating me, taunting me, prank calling me, making my life the worst I believe it has ever been – no joke – all because of my diabetes. The reason, as told to my parent’s by one of the ringleader’s parents, was because I took needles in front of them. Ohmygawd! The horror! The horror!

One of the few smiling moments at that school... before Dear Diabetes and I fell into a tumult of tears.

One of the few smiling moments at that school before Dear Diabetes and I fell into a tumult of tears.

I laugh and joke about it now, but that year spawned the next 13-14 years of me being in the closet with Dear Diabetes.

Never. Again.

Ahhh, but alas, some in this world believe I should stay hidden. As evidenced today by my new biology prof, who for the most part I think I’m going to enjoy. He’s funny in an old English curmudgeonly way and he wears ugly sweaters well past Santa time! That’s solid. But he does have a personality glitch that had me shaking my head in somewhat disbelief.

Following class today I informed him of my diabetes, which I wouldn’t normally do, but because he’s all anti-technology in his class I figured I’d give him a heads up so he doesn’t accuse me of pulling out a tiny cell phone or a pager (been accused of that before) when testing my blood sugars.

He seemed cool about it and said if I needed to leave class to just let him know and there wouldn’t be a problem. I told him I wouldn’t need to leave. He said, well if you want a little privacy. I said, nope, I don’t need privacy. He said, “Well, you know, some people can be squeamish about blood…” Uh what?

YOU’RE IN BIOLOGY!!! Seriously, you dissect rats, you untangle a hairy web of regurgitated owl food, you’re dealing with all sorts of blood samples – how is a droplet of my blood worse than that??? Are you freaking kidding me?

I left the conversation making it clear I would not be leaving the class and essentially if others around me became squeamish with me sucking back that droplet like the good little vampire that I am, they could leave.

Diabetes represent!

• 7:20 p.m. BG before: 7.7
• Carbs: 2 dried apricots (no bolus)
• Temp. basal: -50 per cent (1 hour)
• Workout: 5:00-4:30-4:00-3:30-3:00-2:30-2:00-1:30-1:00-:30 at 5 km goal pace (between 4:45 and 5:05 min/km) with 1:30 walk in between each
• Time: 56:27
• Distance: 9.2 km
• Average tempo pace: 4:42 min/km
• 8:30 p.m. BG after: 4.7

I felt really strong for this session of intervals from start to finish. But now I’ve got a massively tight calf muscle that has been screaming bloody murder for 24 hours now. Been rolling with The Stick and doing active downward facing dog… any other suggestions out there for loosening that sucker up?

Running roller coaster

For those of you keeping tabs, and thank you so much for doing so, the results of the run vs. sloth week are as follows:

Run: 4
Sloth: 0

While I know I am the only one who can truly get me out the door running, it helped HUGE knowing that I’d hear from a few of you if I didn’t. This week could easily have been a one or none kind of running week. There were excuses aplenty to be had: It’s New Year’s. It’s cold. I have no one to run with. I’m tired. It’s raining monsoons. But, your words of encouragement; your words of prodding; and for some of you, your commitment to get out there running with me, either alongside or from afar, meant a world of difference. Seriously, thank you.

Four runs (clockwise): I have to pee!; splish splash; death by hills; SNOW... sort of.

Four runs (clockwise): I have to pee!; splish splash; death by hills; SNOW… sort of.

Four in the pocket for the week is a fantastic way to end my three-week school holiday. Today is the first day of Semester 2!

• 8:50 a.m. BG before: 11.7
• Temp. basal: (I can’t remember if I did -30% or -50%)
• Carbs: none (mistake)
 • Workout: 85 minutes: 10′ easy; 75′ alternating 10′ at half marathon
pace, 5′ at 30 seconds slower

• Time: 1:19:01
• Distance: 12.26 km
• Average pace: 6:00 min/km
• Average cadence: 87 spm
• BG: @30′: 4.2; @60′: 2.9 – FRICK!!!
• Fuel: I ended with 3 shot blocks and 2 400mL homemade sports

• 10:45 a.m. BG after: 5.7

This run was a roller coaster of highs and lows, and not only with my blood sugars. But hey, let’s start there.

I have no idea why my blood sugars were 11.7 at the start of the run. At breakfast, three hours earlier, they were 7.2; if they had been consistent with the past couple weeks, they should have been down to at least 6.0 or less by the start of the run. Dear Diabetes was most definitely having her way.

When this happened a few weeks ago, I didn’t take any fuel prior to the run for fear of the blood sugars rising to a sickening state, and I also didn’t cut down my continuous insulin. By 30 minutes into that run, my blood sugars had dropped to 4.8. I still had the same fears for this run, so I skipped the pre-run half banana, but this time I cut down my basal to I think 50 per cent, but possibly 30. Regardless, it wasn’t enough. At 30 minutes in, they had again bottomed out. With the run three weeks ago, I turned off my insulin at this point which resulted in post-run highs that lasted for hours after, which I didn’t want to experience again. So this time, I cut it down to 60 per cent (thinking that I had only cut it by 30 per cent earlier), which was so totally not enough.

Despite sipping on my homemade sports drink and noshing on a shot block, by 60 minutes in, my blood sugars were dangerously low. At that point, I stopped running, guzzled the remainder of my sports drink and stuffed 2 more shot blocks into my mouth. Thankfully, though, 5 minutes was all it took for my BG to rise and me to be back running again.

Unfortunately the Ziplock bag did not keep the strips dry when testing... all ruined.

Unfortunately the zip-lock bag did not keep the strips dry when testing… all ruined 😦

Stupid blood sugars. Before that, I was having a decent run. It was monsooning like hell. The trails were covered end-to-end in puddles. (There’s no dodging puddles on the West Coast!). And if you stopped you were met with bitter cold. Still, for the most part, I was keeping my pace in line for where it needed to be, and wasn’t feeling exhausted on the faster portions of the run. And even after the blood sugar drama, I was still able to kick the last five minutes or so in the teeth with a super speedy finish.

Not impressed with Dear Diabetes messing with a decent run.

Not impressed with Dear Diabetes messing with a decent run.

Stupid blood sugars.

The Holidays: When will I learn?

I’ve pretty much always had a sensitive stomach. Growing up, I would complain of stomach aches day in and day out to the point of my locker companions rolling their eyes every time I mentioned it. There were instances: driving home from a friend’s, the insides of my stomach painfully exploding; attending a baby shower, holding tight to the popping bubbles in my stomach, not daring to move for fear of the sounds that may occur; a mid-shop through Costco when all of a sudden, holy freaking crud monkey, I did not think I would make it out of there, let alone home, in time. And then there were the running trots. Oh my.

Yes, I have food sensitivities; I’m sure a lot. Before diabetes, my moms was told I was allergic to milk. Post diabetes, they said she can’t go without milk, so, stomach be damned, force that milk into her. (I still hate the taste of milk to this day.) I’ve been tested for celiac more times than I can count, and apparently will continue to be tested as there’s a high likelihood Dear Diabetes puts me susceptible to it later in life. Joy.

But the thing is, while I have over the years limited a lot of trigger foods, like baguettes, potatoes, cheese, and ice cream (sigh), I am not willing to give them up whole hog. And come the holiday season, look out world, my belly is on fire.

Without fail, every Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, regardless of the knowing outcome, I look forward to the King’s feast sure to be had. The salted ham, the stuffing, the baked yams, cheesy veggies, Brussels sprouts, oh my, are you salivating like I just thinking about it?

We don't do the holidays small.

We don’t do the holidays small.

One glimpse – scratch that – one thought of the spread and my stomach bloats to the size of a baby hippopotamus. And it stays that way for at least a week, sometimes more. My shirts are snug, my pants barely button up, I struggle with heavy uncomfortableness day in and day out, my head plays games with me questioning whether it’s actually bloat, or holy hell did I actually gain 15 pounds in a matter of a day! Not cool mind, not cool at all.

Thanksgiving belly.

Thanksgiving belly.

Following this year’s Thanksgiving, it was bad, like really bad. And I thought, okay, enough is enough, I am not going to put myself through that for Christmas. Not this year. I would steer clear of overeating the scrumdiliumptiousness of it all. I would limit trigger foods – no mashed potatoes, no baked yams, no cheese on my veggies. But there was one item I just could not pass up, in fact, I don’t think I ever could. I could leave behind everything else, turkey, ham, veggies, even the gingerbread cookies, but try to take my stuffing away and you’ll have me a snarling wolf on your hands. No one takes my stuffing away.

Cue the baby hippopotamus.

Christmas belly.

Christmas belly.

Both are rather similar in size to another belly I once had:

My 17-week pregnant belly (again, so very, very sorry Archie!)

My 17-week pregnant belly (again, so very, very sorry Archie!)

When will I learn?

8:30 a.m. BG before: 6.0
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 1/2 banana, no bolus
Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 5.11 km
Average pace: 6:01 min/km
Average cadence: 86 spm
9:15 a.m. BG after: 3.2 (Yikes!)

Where for art thou Washroom?

Happy New Year from Little Ring and I.

Happy New Year from Little Ring and I.

Eep! It’s 2015, how the heck did that happen?

Big Ring and I aren’t big partiers; we rang in the New Year pretty much just like we do any other day. We did have dinner after Little Ring went to bed, which we don’t normally do, but the last day of 2014 was apparently supposed to be a special one, if social media is any kind of indication, so we figured we’d change it up. We had thought about renting a movie, but finding something via iTunes can be frustrating at the best of times (we miss video stores) and before long I had lost my mojo for watching a movie. We finally settled in for an episode of Million Dollar Listings (been binge watching it for the last week) and were in bed by 11:15, lights out by 11:30, one of us softly snoring by 11:33.

Happy New Year!!!

And so, without a raging hangover headache, or sour pukiness in the belly, or the sleepies keeping me in my pajamas and vegging on the couch all day, how’s a girl to ring in the first day of the New Year?

Go for a run, that’s how!

3:50 p.m. BG before: 9.5
Carbs: 1/2 apple and 1T PB (1 hour prior)
Temp. basal: -50% (1 hour prior) and -30% (during)
Workout: 6 x 3 minutes at 3 km goal pace (4:30-4:50) with 3 minute walk in between each set.
Time: 52:26
Distance: 7.95 km
Average interval pace: 4:34 min/km
5:30 p.m. BG after: 7.2
Temp. basal: +80% (1 hour)

Thank goodness for my UBC running chicks who stepped up this week to help keep me accountable. Mrs. Healthy Beacon and I met at Fortius for a late afternoon of speed intervals. We immediately faced a problem. It wasn’t open. Both of us drove about 20 minutes. Both of us are of the female ilk. Both of us have bladders the size of a peanut.

We had to pee!!!

The thing is, despite being in a heavily populated recreational area that on most days have washrooms aplenty, this was New Year’s Day. Nothing is opened on New Year’s Day. Even the port-a-potty we spotted adjacent to the archery field was padlocked closed.

Starting to freak out. It was freezing cold. I was not so keen to squat in the bushes and get frost bite on my butt. But at this point, what were my options? I could feel my bladder getting fuller and fuller. There was no way I could run speed intervals, pounding my feet fast and hard, with a bladder ready to explode.

We kept walking. Healthy Beacon, who used to live nearby, thought maybe the park washrooms would be open. There were cars in the parking lot, people walking about, this was promising. We saw an older gentleman walk towards the washroom, ohhhhh, fingers are crossed. Not even 10 seconds later, though, he was back out walking towards us. Noooooooo!

We did not give up. We needed to try those doors for ourselves. We neared the doors. Please. Please. Please. We put our hands against its coldness. Please. Please. Pleased. We pushed. Halleluja! Halleluja! Halleluja!

Not only was this sucker open, it was crazy heated too!!!!

Not only was this sucker open, it was crazy heated too!!!

The run was saved 🙂