Category Archives: Running

hills, speed, lsd

Ironman, Princess Style

This morning I aqua jogged. This evening I ran. Tomorrow I’m riding the bike. That’s practically an Ironman!

I am IronChickie!

I am IronChickie!

Hehehe. I can just picture the faces of all my crazy insane triathlon friends (seriously, anyone who willingly gets in pools are all crazy insane!) as they read the above. And it makes me giggle.

Hey, I was wearing a running tank with my swim bottoms in the pool; that makes it even more legit.

Hehehe.

Okay, I’ll stop now.

Injury report: I am still battling the woes of my foot, hence the pool. I have endured several IMS treatments, the last ones in my back, which freaked the crap out of me – I don’t like anything messing with my back and I sure as hell don’t like needles back there, no matter how tiny! So I’m supposed to relax before the needle is inserted, but the whole time I’m fearing paralyzation by acupuncture! No joke. Dear Physio took one look at my back and told me it’s like the Energizer bunny – always activated. I smiled, until I realized that wasn’t a compliment.

Crud.

The muscles in my calf are nowhere near as tight as they were weeks ago – Progress! – but I do have major tightness in those old familiar problem spots of my butt and thighs. Ugh. And my foot alternates between nearly no pain to a fiery tightness that screams don’t you dare even think about running.

Frustrating as bloody hell.

BUT…

I am running.

Tonight's run with my run study chickies!

Tonight’s run with my run study chickies!

Not like I was, still relatively short distances, easy pace, no hills, no speed work. Last week I was granted two 4 km runs and this week two 5 km runs. I’m to get my mileage/fitness through aqua jogging, cycling and elliptical (haven’t done that one yet). I hope tomorrow’s physio will graduate me to three runs a week with more mileage. Fingers crossed!

Chain Stain: Running doesn't do this to my legs!

Chain Stain: Running doesn’t do this to my legs!

The problem isn’t with running. When I’m running, for the first 4 to 4.5 minutes my foot feels like it’s stretching out majorly, but then that feeling goes away and for the most part, I’d say 90%, I’m running pain free. It’s the post runs that are the struggle. Sometimes it will be hours after the run and sometimes immediately after, but that bloody foot tightens the hell up again. Argh.

TONIGHT’S RUN:
6 p.m. BG before: 10.1
Temp. basal: -50%
Time: 29:39
Distance: 4.83 km
Average pace: 6:08 min/km
7:30 p.m. BG after: 7.2
Temp. basal: +50% (1 hour)

T-minus 31 days until Global Hero Medtronic Twin Cities in Motion 10 Mile. I will conquer you!

Advertisements

The Pickle Ruins

Suck in, squeeze, breathe.

Suck in, squeeze, breathe.

The warm wind washing my face, freedom. The light tapping of my shoes as they hit the pavement, freedom. My thoughts, not on my surroundings, but on every movement I make, every twitch of my left foot, every second without a fiery scream, freedom.

After weeks of no running, none, and hardly any walking, today my feet were finally given permission to once again feel the security of their sneakers totally enclosing their flesh.

Freedom!

Freedom!

And the freedom, ohhhh the freedom. It wasn’t Chariots of Fire or Gonna Fly Now or even Survivor filling the music in my heart. Nope, I had full on George Michael:

For several weeks, almost as long as I’ve been absent from the blog, I have been encumbered by a foot injury. It is still unclear as to what exactly that injury is. I initially thought it was plantar fasciitis, but Miss Physio quickly poo poohed that. (Thank gawd!) My foot muscles are so tightly knotted, my ankle, calf, thigh and pelvis too, causing my foot to shift outwards and my heel inwards,  almost like a clenched claw that refuses to relax. And that’s not all. I have no core strength (no surprise there), and as such I am putting undo pressure on my hips, causing undo pressure on everything else. And it’s finally caught up with me.

The heel of my foot has been on fire for weeks. I have endured rounds of intramuscular stimulation (IMS) therapy in varying regions of my calf as well as my pelvis. IMS is acupuncture-like needles being injected into the sensitive areas to release the tightness. It feels like 5,000 bouncing Charlie horses pummelling you at once!

I’ve had deep tissue massage to pretty much all the areas listed above. And I’ve been given strict instructions on how to walk.

What?

Yep, that’s right folks, I don’t know how to walk. Not sure how long I haven’t been walking right, but my guess is about 25 years… when a boy at diabetic camp told me I walked like I had a pickle stuck up my butt!!! I blame him, because apparently that’s how you’re supposed to walk. Suck in that belly, tuck in that butt, straighten that torso, no arch, no hip sway. Jerkface!

You've got to learn to walk before you can run.

You’ve got to learn to walk before you can run.

And what do you know, as soon as I started doing it, the tension around the heel started to ease. Who knew? Oh right, everyone!

I went for my first run today. It was just a quick 4 km, 25 minute jaunt. It was hard to go a slow pace, I was so excited to be out there. It wasn’t perfect. It took a few minutes for my feet to warmup, to feel somewhat comfortable again with the motion. It wasn’t perfect. My left foot wasn’t completely at ease even when warmed up. It wasn’t perfect. I kept having to remind myself to suck in the belly, squeeze the butt, breathe. It wasn’t perfect.

But it was running.

My happy.

My happy.

Medtronic: Third Time’s a Charm

They picked me! They picked me! Ohmygawd, they picked me!

Okay folks, I have had this news bottled up inside me, desperately wanting to burst free for over a month now. I have so greatly wanted to share it, but two factors kept me from all out spilling the beans. First, I thought I would wait until it was officially announced, and second, silly me decided to take a two-part, condensed organic chemistry course over the summer, which is taking ALL my time. But with my second to last exam completed as of Friday, and my brain far too mushy to delve straight into finals mode, and procrastinating from finishing the two lab reports due this week, now is the perfect opportunity to gush. Are you ready for it? Like, really ready? Okay……..

Twin Cities in Motion and Medtronic Philanthropy chose me – ME – to represent at this year’s Medtronic Twin Cities 10 mile race as a Global Hero!!!

A Global FREAKING Hero!!!

That means: fully covered airfare for Big Ring and I to Minneapolis in October, hotel covered, race entry covered, (if Big Ring was a runner, he, too, would have been granted a race entry), meals, networking and more – all covered!!! Oh yeah, and a watermelon sized ego with the new label Global FREAKING Hero!!!

Eeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Eeeeeeeeeee!!!!

Every year, since 2006, Medtronic has selected a group of runners from around the world, sporting various medical devices, to run this race. For those of you who don’t know, Medtronic is one of the major insulin pump distributors in North America, among other things.

I first heard about this program when I was on maternity leave two and half years ago and thought, wow, what an incredible opportunity. I’m a runner, I have diabetes, I have an insulin pump, I’m perfect. It took three tries for the judging committee to realize my perfection, mind you, but given recent events, this year is surely the most perfect year of all.

I’ve never really considered myself a hero, and most definitely not a global one. I have diabetes, that’s it. I’ve lived more of my life with diabetes than without, that’s it. I’ve run marathons with diabetes, hiked mountains with diabetes, dragon-boated lakes with diabetes, that’s it. I’ve traveled the world with diabetes, climbed up and down the Eiffel Tower steps with diabetes, dipped my toes in the Mediterranean with diabetes, cycled the Belgian cobbles with diabetes, that’s it. I’ve been pregnant with diabetes, given birth with diabetes, parented with diabetes, that’s it. I’ve had a successful career with diabetes, and have gone back to school in pursuit of a new career with diabetes to help others with diabetes, that’s it.

Because I can.  (L-R-L) Vernazza, Cinque Terre; Paterberg, Belgium; testing BG in Central Park, New York; Police Challenge 10 km, Abbotsford; Little Ring; Little Ring in my belly.

Because I can.
(L-R-L) Vernazza, Cinque Terre; Paterberg, Belgium; testing BG in Central Park, New York; Sibling Show Down, Police Challenge 10 km; Little Ring; Little Ring in my belly.

But the thing is, many of those things my parents were told I would not be able to do because of diabetes.

And while I am so incredibly proud that I have done all that, and intend to do way more, life with Dear Diabetes isn’t like life without. I’d be lying if I didn’t say this disease hasn’t required incredible amounts of preparation and monitoring to make the above possible. And even with the scrutiny I put myself through daily to ensure tip-top control, it’s not always possible. The disease sometimes wins.

Like that time I climbed down the Eiffel Tower steps at about 11 p.m. at night…

Xxx

On top of Eiffel Tower

The sky was black dark but for the tower’s glowing yellow lights. My legs were becoming shaky and my vision was skipping a few steps. At first I thought I was just tired, but soon realized that nope, it was Dear Diabetes reminding me she was there.

Always there.

Dear Diabetes: the accessory of my life.

Dear Diabetes: the accessory of my life.

Yet still, she does not define me and she never will. I will continue to push the boundaries of my body with diabetes. I will continue to explore the greatness of this world with diabetes. I will continue to push pass the diabetes naysayers and their annoyingly pitiful eyes. I will do whatever I possibly can to show one of the most important boys of my life that superheroes can have diabetes too.

So yeah, I am kind of a big deal – a Global Hero big deal!

super duper...

Eeeeeeee!!!!!!!

* I’ll be running the Medtronic Twin Cities 10 mile on Oct. 4 with 24 other totally awesome, and I am sure super inspiring too, Global Heroes. This is the 10th anniversary of the Global Heroes program. Stay tuned for more updates!

The Road to Redemption

Another half marathon has come and gone; my feet and leg muscles no longer ache with every movement I make and my insides are once again hydrated… well, as hydrated as can be in this crazy assed heat. As is always the case for me post race, I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about the journey to redemption: the triumphs, the challenges, the lessons, the moments, the people.

The last 15 weeks was spent again with a select group of women, between the ages of 18 and 60, volunteering their legs for the UBC run study, which is investigating running injuries in women. The road to redemption was not only my journey but theirs also. Like the previous study, most of these women had never run a half before, many were novice, they were excited, they were nervous, some came to the first session with knocking knees. To see them grow, to see how far they had come with their running, to see them push their bodies week after week, to see them not quit, to see them with the biggest smiles on their faces post race – that was pretty freaking amazing. Seriously, my heart is still bursting.

This was our journey – most definitely emancipated from mental slavery 🙂

Redemption Song

This was not my best race, it was not a pretty race, I did not push my pace, I did not pull off a personal best, I did not have much gas in the end, and when I crossed the finish, I was weaving and swaying like a drunkard and pretty much collapsed under the closest ant ridden tree I could find. But,

I finished.

Redemption baby.

The Vancouver Scotiabank half marathon and I have a bit of a jaded history. It all started in 2008, what was to be my very first half marathon. Oh, and it was all so new back then. I had hopes. I had dreams. I had visions of the perfect race. And could only pretend to imagine that thing called post-race running endorphins. I wanted it so bad, I could taste it. I’d already had my appetite whetted several times over with 5 and 10 km races, but by then, I wanted the full meal deal.

And then, BAM! Injury struck. I had been working with a running guru who was super heavy on the speed work, and not much anything else. It was all well and good, I enjoyed cursing him following each session, but the problem was, I was still relatively new to the running scene and hadn’t build up ANY core strength whatsoever. So that fateful day on the seawall when a small, yappy dog came at me on one of those extendable leashes and swerved to avoid the little demon, my body was not strong enough to keep the alignments where they needed to be. Out went my hips, fire went my IT.

Two. Weeks. Before. The. Bloody. Race.

For a few years after, I put Scotia out of my mind. I focused on other races, and seemingly scheduled a lot of travel around that time. Totally unintentional. But then last year, I had loaded up on the races and the timing of Scotia was perfect.

The timing was perfect, not the run.

Some of you may recall the tears. The blood sugar dramas. The unfinished run. The first and only time I had ever DNF’d. The hour of sitting alone at about the 11 km mark at Jericho Beach waiting for my ride to pick me. The tears. The tears. The tears.

That sucked.

And so, when an opportunity (read: deal of a running lifetime) presented itself to register for Scotia once again, I was, admittedly, hesitant. Did I want to put myself through that again? What if the universe was sending me a signal? What if it outright killed me this time? But, I am a runner; it is in our very nature to embrace torture. So, that is exactly what I did.

Pre-run smiles with Joy from Healthy Beacon

Pre-run smiles with Mrs. Healthy Beacon

And torture it was.

The heat: Holy freaking hell it was flaming hot! I, and pretty much everyone else, wasted so much energy gravitating to every shady spot we could find. The two sprinklers out (thank you people for that) had nearly every one of us splashing through, some twice over! My liquid fuel and water were pretty much gone in the first 10 km – I never get through all my water! This was the first time I’ve ever used water stations before (another thing that surely slowed me down) and pretty much it was solely for dumping on my head, in my face, down my back, down my front. The volunteers could not keep up with the people grabbing at their paper cups.

Heading down to Jericho.

Heading down to Jericho.

The 12 km mark: Redemption Song entered my head and wouldn’t leave. It’s still making me smile.

The nausea: At 14 km, my stomach turned. This is a familiar feeling for me, but something I had hoped to tame with a bit more natural fuel source (homemade applesauce with salt and matcha) rather than just pure shot blocks. Frick. I still had 7.1 km to go, I would need more fuel, but trying to get anything into my mouth let alone down into my belly without hurling felt impossible. It took probably 10 minutes (no joke) to chew one shot block afte that. So, that was a bit of an issue.

The final push: I had none. My intent was to run conservatively at the start with the hope I’d have some gas left in the tank to crank it up for the final 5 km. Read above. The heat. The nausea. The heat. Left me with nothing. I had a couple bursts but they flamed out pretty quick. I kept trying to tell myself it’s just like training, push, push, push, you’ll soon be done. But my brain would not listen, would not let my legs charge forward.

Yep, pretty much ready to be done at this point.

Yep, pretty much done at this point.

The end: For the most part I had maintained a solid pace throughout, albeit a bit slower going up, and overall about 20 seconds less than my personal best in January. I did sprint to the finish in the last kilometre, but I was so out of it that I didn’t recognize the people cheering for me on the sidelines, I didn’t spot my rings at the 21 km mark, I didn’t even see the time clock at the finish. Across the line, I wanted to puke, I was weaving, could not walk straight for the life of me, and it was all I could do to find a tree with a smidge of shade to collapse under.

But again, I finished. I slayed the dragon. And I did it with PERFECT blood sugars. Scotiabank is no longer my rosebud.

I did it!

I did it!

Redemption baby!

VANCOUVER SCOTIABANK HALF MARATHON
• 7:00 a.m. BG before: 6.4
• Carbs: 3 shot blocks (no bolus)
• Temp. basal: -50% (started 1 hour before the run)
• Distance: 21.1 km; first 10 km: 1:00:45, second 10 km: 1:00:23
• Time: 2:01:08; 6 minutes off from my PB
• Average pace: 5:40 min/km
• Fuel: shot blocks and applesauce every 30 minutes
• 9:30 a.m. BG after: 6.3
• Temp basal: +80% 1.5 hours

And has become a post-race, we celebrated with sweet and savoury waffles at Nero Belgian Waffle House. The rocket is my favourite! Yum!

Yum! Yum!

Yum! Yum!

Retching and running

Be prepared.

That is one of the number one things on the ultimate running to-do list. Don’t forget this, don’t forget that, make sure to pack this, remember to wash that, oh and you better have a little extra of that too – running fuel, charged Garmin, clean sports bra, TP, don’t leave for a run without any of it. Preparation is key to a solid race, and a solid training run.

So yesterday morning, when I was getting my gear in order for my regular long run Sunday, runners the world over will understand why I was kicking myself. This run was not a spur of the moment, out of the blue run; every Sunday is a planned run that has been a regular staple consistently for the last 6 months at least, and something that has been a part of my life for the last 9 or 10 years. You would think I’d be old hand at it by now, but when I opened my running drawer, normally stocked full of shot blocks and post-run Larabars (chocolate peanut butter, best flavour EVER!) there was nothing but a year-old sample package of Coca-Cola flavoured Power Bar power gel shots. Insert HARD kick here!

I do not drink pop, aside from a diet ginger ale once or twice a year, and if I were to drink pop, it sure as hell would not be cola! I absolutely loathe the flavour, find it one of the most disgustingest tastes on the face of this planet. I do not understand the love for this flavour; even the smell of it makes me want to retch.

This sample pack was given to me last year during the BMO half marathon; I thought for sure the moment it went into my bag, it would never be opened. Honestly, I have no idea why I didn’t just give it back or turf it when I got home… maybe because subconsciously I knew this day would come.

I had nothing. The stores were not open and would not be open before the start of my run. I could not do this run without fuel. So what was I to do? I had to pack them… along with a leftover Halloween package of Swedish Fish, a few dried apricots, the only two shot blocks I had from last week’s run, and two bottles of homemade sports drink. And the whole drive over I begged my belly not to revolt.

I had three dried apricots just before starting the run, and then 35 minutes in I popped the shot blocks. At about 55 minutes I tested my blood sugars and they were 4.9. The time had come to brave the Coke. In my mouth they went. Do you think Power Bar could have made it easy on me? Noooo. These things were hard and chewy as hell, too big to pinch my nose and swallow whole. I was forced to suffer the cola blech taste. As soon as there were two down my throat, I popped a red Swedish Fish and guzzled 400 mL of water in the hopes of washing that nastiness out of my mouth. It didn’t work.

Not even 30 minutes later, it was all coming back up. Yes folks, cola makes me puke in my mouth.

That was, ahem, fun.

A long overdue turfing.

A long overdue turfing.

SUNDAY RUN DAY:
• 8:50 a.m. BG before: 8.8
• Temp. basal: -70% (for 1 hour of the run, plus a half hour before the run; normal for the rest of the run)
• Carbs: banana 1/2 hour before (no bolus) 2 dried apricots, 2 minutes before (no bolus)
• Workout: 100 minutes alternating 20′ easy with 5′ at half marathon pace
• Distance: 15.99 km
• Average pace: 6:07 min/km
• BG: @50 minutes: 4.9 @80 minutes: 6.4
• 11:15 a.m. BG after: 10.1
• Temp. basal: +80% (2 hours)

Even though I had a few retching issues with this run, I most definitely did not have any issues with the beauty surrounding me; so lucky to live here! These are a few the pics of the day 🙂

Ms. Healthy Beacon running one of my favourite stretches around the lake.

Ms. Healthy Beacon running one of my favourite stretches around the lake.

Always smiling. Always showing off perfect form.

Always smiling. Always showing off beautiful form.

Matchy-Matchy!

Matchy-Matchy!

Diabetes: The frienemy strikes again

Oh Diabetes. Dear, Dear, DEAR Diabetes. This was to be your day. The day the spotlight was to shine all over your youness. The day when you would think you’d want to look your best, you know, have a fresh-faced glow about you, especially in the face of flashing lights and snapping cameras. You’d think you’d want to show the world what a lowly medium, such as myself, can do with your greatness jabbed into my side.

But you’ve never really been an easy one have you, never really gone with the flow, why start now, why put on a phoney face for the reporters, hey. Nah, you wouldn’t do that.

Sure you had me fooled, weeks of cooperation, nary a hiccup to be heard. But that was your plan all along wasn’t it? I had just sat down to my desk, had just lifted my steeping cup of matcha for a quick sip before the phone interview was to begin, when you and your frienemy greatness struck once again.

There was a loud clicking noise my ears couldn’t quite detect, like the sound of an old grandfather clock when you’re trying to sleep. I thought it was coming from the bathroom, but just as I was about to get up, I felt a vibrating sensation rubbing against my back. When my hand reached around, the only thing there was your insulin pump. Before I could even contemplate what was going on, the phone rang.

And you were laughing weren’t you?

I muddled my way through the interview, talked in nonsensical sentences filled with uhms and ers, I told the daily newspaper reporter all that I had achieved athletically, was it with you, or despite you, I can’t recall, all the while wondering what the hell you were doing. You made it hard to forget what with starting to blare a high decibel alarm on top of the clicking and vibrating.

The interview lasted just shy of a half an hour. When I hung up the phone, I saw the alarm message on the pump, no delivery, call service. And I could hear that cackle of yours. I had five minutes, five minutes, to dig out my old backup insulin pump, program her, load her up with insulin and get connected to my infusion. Any other day I would have waited. Any. Other. Day.

Oh bloody, effing hell!

Oh bloody, effing hell!

But this day, this day was all about you, and the fact I wear a bloody insulin pump while running. The photographer was on his way, scheduled to be here in mere seconds, I could not exactly show off an out-of-service pump now could I?

But hey, guess what jerk face, it was actually ME who had the last laugh. I made it out to that photo shoot, my cheeks all aglow, backup pump attached, dosing away, and it was my greatness they wanted – not yours.

Photo courtesy Vancouver Sun, Nick Procaylo

Photo courtesy Vancouver Sun, Nick Procaylo

Ha. Who’s laughing now?

Here’s a link to the article: http://www.vancouversun.com/sunrun/event/Blood+sugar+levels+balance+marathon+runner/10947649/story.html

THURSDAY’S SPEED INTERVALS:
6 p.m. BG before: 7.6
Temp. basal: -50% (1 hour)
Carbs: banana (no bolus) 30 minutes before
Workout: :30-1:00-1:30-2:00-2:30-2:30-2:00-1:30-1:00-:30 with 1:30 walk after each
Distance: 7.70 km
Time: 49:54
Average interval pace: 4:11 min/km
7:30 p.m. BG after: 5.1
Temp. basal: +50% (1.5 hours)