Tag Archives: Hiking

Endurance training and baby

I knew that when I got pregnant with Little Ring, our lives would change huge. We would no longer be able to go out at the drop of a hat, traveling would become more challenging, $200 jean expenditures less frequent, etc., etc.. And that was okay. But the one thing we were both adamant we would not do was become gluttonous couch potatoes. We would not give up touring the outdoors via our sneakers, hikers and bicycles. We would not stop doing what we love.


Keeping that promise, however, has required some serious ingenuity.

We don’t have a babysitter. Big Ring’s family lives in Onterrible Ontario and mine live across the pond, and because most of our friends are outside the New West area, we don’t have a pool of trusted sitters to draw from. (Really hoping to change that soon!) But instead of throwing our arms up in defeat, we took it as an opportunity to try new things, learn to share our time, learn to love early mornings, and think outside the box.

Because I’m not a huge fan of running with BOB, and because it’s not always logistical to get my proper runs in with BOB, I’ve taken up running at 5 a.m. most days. And you know what? I’m actually really enjoying it. (Shocking, I know!) Seriously, there’s hardly anyone else on the road, which gives me the perfect opportunity to focus on form, pace, and breathing without distraction. And for hours after, I’ve got major endorphins shooting through me, which is super awesome! Big Ring then goes for rides in the evenings and on Sunday mornings with his cycling buddies. And Fridays, well, this past week, we developed a super awesome tag-team system 😀

I was scheduled to run 7 km. Big Ring wanted to ride a bunch of kilometres. We also wanted a day together. What, oh what to do? We headed to UBC! The university district is a beautiful area to run, ride and eat. And so, after mapping out a route, Big Ring dropped me off just outside the university, and while I went for a run, he and Little Ring hung out on the sands at Spanish Banks.


We designed the route to end at Mix Baker, one of our favourite post-ride/run lunch spots in the area. I highly recommend the Tuna Waldorf sandwich – it’s so good, it’s dream worthy! And when lunch was done, Big Ring pulled his Lapierre off the top of the car and tagged me in for Little Ring time.


It worked out so perfectly. We got me time, us time, Little Ring time – all of which we love. And while we’ll have to tweak it somewhat as our respective distances increase, I am sure this was the first of many more tag-team adventures to come!



  • 5 a.m. BG before: 7.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: granola bar (14g) with bolus
  • Distance: 6:30 km – 10′ warmup/10x 1′ fast 1’easy/8′ cool down
  • Average speed pace: 4:35 min/km
  • Time: 36:49
  • 6 a.m. BG after: 8.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent 1/2 hour

If you have a child, how do you find ways to fit in endurance training?

Hiking the vacation away

Well, that time has come. The holiday is officially over and tomorrow I am back at work, and a long day at work at that 😦

I’ve got to admit, going into this holiday, I was a little concerned it would be a bore; it’s the first holiday Big Ring and I have had where we haven’t traveled anywhere … we like to consider ourselves jet setters 😀 But we made a pact to try new things, get outside, not sit at home. And the weather was perfect.

Belcarra: Trying to smile when you’re huffing and puffing is no easy task let me just say!

So, while I didn’t tour the Amalfi Coast, or eat Neopolitan pizza in Naples, or drool over Mark Cavendish while watching a live stage of the Giro D’Italia – I did tour several hiking trails of the West Coast (10 hikes in 2 weeks to be exact!); I did eat wood-fired funghi pizza at Nicli Pizzeria in Gastown, of which the owner was born in Naples, and imports ingredients from Italy; I did watch Cavendish fly to his third win in Stage 13 of the Giro – on the computer mind you; and I did eat the most delectable rhubarb (made with fresh, organic rhubarb!) ice cream bar, covered in dark chocolate – oh yum!

(My apologies for the crap quality… damn compression!)

So no, it was not a bore of a holiday, it was a gloriously rich one. But still, my mind has been working in overdrive these past two weeks planning our next European adventure 😀

Hike of a lifetime

These two weeks weren’t supposed to be spent at home. Before thumb-sucking alien baby made its presence be known, Big Ring and I were a planning a vacation touring the Amalfi Coast and other such European destinations. It’s been three years since we were last in Italy, an adventure we both fell in love with, and wanted to experience again. While we weren’t planning on visiting the same destinations this go around, we were planning on falling in Italy love all over again.

Gelato, how could I not love Italy?

But alas, the responsible one in this marriage (take note, that is not me) decided it best if we hold off on the trip for a bit, and instead paint our loft and put our savings towards baby accoutrements. Damn his responsible nature 😉

Painting chaos… thank goodness I spent the weekend at my parents!

Still, Italy has not been far from the brain … especially with all the hiking I’ve been doing lately. And so, today’s post is a journal entry I wrote (and later published to Facebook, long before I was in the blog world) on Day 9 of our Italian tour.

Day 9: Cinque Terre:

Oh-my-god! My legs are shaking like a 7.0 on the Richter scale, my heart is beating like a jackhammer beats cement, and my skin is soaked with the taste of a salt lick as my body teeters on the narrow cliff-side trail.

I look down, all I can see is open air with nothing but a blue dot representing the Mediterranean hundreds of miles below. I hear the waves raging war on the rocks, I imagine my own body crashing against those same rocks like a limp, little rag doll; my bottom lip quivers. There’s no barrier, no guardrail, no nothing to prevent me from losing step and crashing down to my death.

The self motivator in my head tries to reassure me: “You can do this,” she says. But I’m dubious. Everything inside me tells me to stop, turn back, don’t do it. I say her words aloud: “You can do this,” a little too weak. I repeat: “You can do this,” this time my fists clenched in determination.

Fear will not stop me. A force far more powerful pushes me forward: Beauty. The beauty of Cinque Terre.

Already I’ve seen every hue imaginable blooming around me: hot pink, orange, yellow, magenta, blood red. I’ve seen butterflies, powder-blue, pink, orange and yellow butterflies, dancing before me, and honeybees, twice the size of North American bees, buzzing full of nectar. I’ve seen lemon trees with lemons the size of baseballs, olive trees and vineyards interspersed in amongst the cliffs, lizards scampering across the trail, brooks babbling, and red-orange poppies growing like wildflowers – it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a real live poppy.

Something inside me tells me there’s so much more to see.

Cinque Terre is an area made up of five villages along the coastline of the Italian Riviera: Riomaggiore, Manarola, Corniglia, Vernazza and Monterosso al Mare. Although this area has been built up for centuries, it seems to have turned its back on modern-day developments. Cars can’t access the villages from the outside – only footpaths, trains and boats connect them. It’s not a world I could regularly live in, but my god, for a day it was so primitively amazing.

When Big Ring first presented the idea of spending a couple of days in Cinque Terre as a break between all the sight seeing and busyness of Florence and Barcelona, I was in – especially when he told me it would be a hiking trip. I was pretty sure that my body would be in desperate need of some intense exercise by that time, given that I knew I’d be mowing down on mondo amounts of gelato, pizza and pasta in Florence.

But Cinque Terre was nothing like the stairmaster I used to be obsessed with at the gym, nor like the Grouse Grind that I have a love-hate relationship with. It was 5,000 times more intense, 5,000 times better!

The brochure told us that the hike in total would take approximately five hours to complete; it took us eight. And not because of my slow-moving legs, oh no, I was moving just fine. Mario’s feet, however, were rather sluggish due to the fact that his finger was glued to his camera’s snapping trigger – he took 200 pictures that day alone.

But could I really fault him? No.

No place before – not the Vancouver Aquarium, not San Miniato al Monte, not even Sacré Coeur – has ever taken my breath away (figuratively and literally) like Cinque Terre did.

We set off at 10 in the morning for the first trail out of Riomaggiore: Via dell Amoré “Lover’s Lane.” It’s a fairly easy trek with a wide path and railing almost the entire way – deceiving, I would soon learn.

A chain link fence at the start of the trail is covered in padlocks. The story goes that if you lock a lock to that fence, your love will forever be intertwined … we didn’t. Oops.

The second path towards Corniglia is a bit more hilly, forcing us to climb rocky stairs, some with one step that should have been more like three steps, and others with hardly a spot to fit your foot into. We cross shaky, suspension-style bridges, squish our backs up against the mountain and suck in our tummies at spots to let those coming from the other direction safely pass.

A flight of stairs, consisting of nearly 400 steps, welcomes us up into Corniglia. Some hikers are huffing and puffing, even leaning over in exhaustion, but not me, I’m in Grouse Grind mode, says Big Ring – I fly pass them all until I reach the top where I vigorously fist bump the air!

Corniglia is like something from the ‘20s. The locals all seem to know each other, waving and exchanging Italian pleasantries, helping the older women up the stairs, hanging their laundry high above the winding streets, letting it flap in the warm breeze.

We sit on the stone steps, watching in wonderment.

We walk down to the fisherman’s dock – another crazy flight of stairs down and then back up again. I kid you not, if you were to calculate all the ups and downs we did that day, I’m sure it would have easily amounted to the Grouse Grind four or more times over!

By the time we hit Vernazza, the next village, I’m soaked in sweat (thank goodness I chose to wear a black tank top that morning) and cursing the girls who are confident enough to walk around in their sports bras and bathing suit tops. Mind you, it was usually those same girls who were wearing flip-flops – this was NOT a trail to take lightly in flip-flops.

When we spot the beach in Vernazza, neither of us care that we are without swimsuits. We rip our hiking shoes and socks off, and plod right into the Mediterranean. I was only planning on dipping my toes in, but within seconds I’m wading in further and further, loving the waves crashing against my calves, knees and thighs, swaying my body from side to side. I squish the wet sand between my toes, over my feet, around my ankles. All my worries, all my stresses, instantly disappear.

The last trail from Vernazza to Monterosso al Mare is by far the hardest. We climb hills, we descend hills, we jump over creeks, we maneuver our bodies through narrow stretches. It’s also the most exciting.

We don’t see too many other hikers on this trail … could be the fact that they knew a storm was brewing, or maybe the fact that there was a rescue chopper flying not too far from where we were. But we do see two cats basking in the sun on a picnic bench a quarter of the way through the trail. An orange bucket nearby is filled with stale white buns. A sign on the bucket reads: Please feed these cats who are homeless and unloved. We give them love.

Finally at 6 p.m. with weary eyes and slowing legs, we descend the final stretch into Monterosso al Mare. We were planning on celebrating with a beer in the village but all the shops are shutting down their patios, bringing everything inside. We look behind us and see a black cloud fast approaching. We forgo the beer and hop onto the train instead.

Descending the last steps.

That day was probably the cheapest day of our entire trip, just 5 euros to hike through the villages. The best five euros I have ever experienced, and by far, the most memorable!

For a photo slideshow of the trip, click on the link: http://www.roadhockey.net/cinqueterre/

Deja vu

Today, Big Ring and I celebrated holiday week number 2 with a 2.5 hour hike around Lynn Valley; it was my 7th hike since last Saturday. And my goodness, it’s like deju vu every time I put on my hiking shoes.

And not because I’m trekking around the same routes – in fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. I’ve hiked Buntzen Lake, Westwood, Lynn Valley Loop, and today’s 9 km Lynn Valley Loop with a Headwaters Trail extension added to the mix. Nope, it’s blood sugar deja vu I’m experiencing.

It doesn’t matter whether I’m on old terrain or never before hiked terrain; it doesn’t matter if I’m hiking with Big Ring, or my favourite hiking chick; it doesn’t matter if I start early in the morning or after lunch – my blood sugars are pretty near identical every time I go out at every point I test. Perfectly identical.

I test before the hike and they’re generally around 9 or 10, which is not perfect for most times, but before a hike it’s perfect for me, and purposely made that way (by half bolusing at meal time) because I know they’ll drop down lickity split when on the trails. I test one hour into the hike and five of the seven hikes I’ve gone on, they’ve registered in at 4.4, and the other three hikes they’ve been within .1 or .2 of that 4.4. I chase that reading with a Zbar, which I do not bolus for to ensure the BG does not bottom out. And at the end of the hike, no matter how long the hike, my readings are almost always 5.4. Perfection!

We like BG perfection!

I told you thumb-sucking alien baby loves the hiking 😀

As do Big Ring and I!

Cooking up a baby hiker

As many of you know, Big Ring is convinced we’re having a cyclist, not just a thumb-sucking alien baby, but a world-class cyclist, like a baby Mark Cavendish, or Andy Schleck, or Jeannie Longo kind of cyclist. But me, I’m pretty sure we got a hiker on our hands.

Here me out on this.

I had to stop running early in the pregnancy, because the activity, no matter how tempered or short it was drastically dropped my blood sugars to near comatose state. I took up the walking, much to my chagrin, but still, no matter how boring that snail’s pace activity was, my blood sugars almost always bottomed out with that one as well. (Maybe the kid was so bored, it had to add some low BG excitement into the mix.) So I pulled out Mr. Foldy, figuring not only would I be sprucing up my athletic pursuits, but surely he couldn’t do much damage to my BG. Oh how wrong I was. One huff-and-puff up a hill, and I was having to guzzle back OJ and sugar cubes.

Hiking, though, it seems, thumb-sucking alien baby and I have no problems with that activity! It doesn’t matter how laid back, how steep, or how long a hike, my blood sugars have stayed intact every single time … during the hike that is 😉

After my first hike (since pregnancy) a couple weeks ago, I’ve been hiking up a storm. I’ve done small hikes:

Around my parent’s acreage… which I might add, seemed to be a lot bigger when I was a little kid!

I’ve done a repeat up Westwood with my favourite hiking chicks:

And just today, on my first day of holidays, Big Ring and I trekked around Buntzen Lake:

Here I thought I had bears to be scared of, you see that fallen tree behind me, the one with the eyes, legs and antennae, it was actually the largest tree bug I’ve EVER seen!

It’s funny, last night when I suggested to Big Ring we hike Buntzen Lake, apparently he thought it would be a half hour stroll – not 9 km! He didn’t say anything, and I had no idea he had no clue, especially given that he had dressed in his hiking clothes. But about 30 minutes into the trek, he started making these shocked comments: ‘You actually ran around here;’ ‘Wow, this is a good workout;’ ‘So, uhm, when does it end?’

Two hours and 10 minutes, that’s when 😀

We went about an hour after lunch, which meant I halfed my lunch-time bolus to account for the exercise. I started the hike with an 8.7 BG, which is higher than I like them to be, but I knew they would come down. I didn’t give myself a temporary reduced basal, because that seems to be giving me more trouble than it’s worth during this pregnancy. And so, a little over an hour into the hike, my BG was at 4.4. I ate a chocolate chip Z bar without giving myself a bolus, and continued on. I was getting worried near the end of the hike that they were starting to bottom out as my legs were feeling rather jelloish, but I think that had more to do with three hikes in three days, because when we got back to the car, I was sitting at a comfortable 5.0.

Too bad they didn’t stay that way. An hour after the hike they were clinging to an unsettling 2.3 😦 But hey, they didn’t go low on the hike, which is great! Now I’ve just got to figure out post-exercise BG stability, and we’ll be golden. Oh happy day!

A happy hiker makes for a happy pregnant chick!

Hunchbacks of Diabeticland

Hiking, that’s the cure to my current state of boring, pregnancy approved exercise. While walks bore the heck out of me, and cycling is a little more challenged figuring out good solo routes from home, hiking, it’s golden.

I went on an hour and half hike up Westwood yesterday with a couple of great girlfriends who I haven’t seen in forever. I was a little nervous at first as we met first thing in the morning, right after breakfast, and I wasn’t sure how my blood sugars would handle the exertion. The first 25 minutes were straight up hills, and oh man, while I was huffing and puffing (and believe me, I was) I loved it. I felt free, like I haven’t felt since my last truly good run. I could feel the endorphins shooting through my veins, I could feel the muscles in my calves contracting, working, pushing me up further, and the sweat on my brow, it was sweat I have missed for so many months now.

AND, there was no blood sugar drama. Woohoo!

However, while I loved the hike, my ever growing boobs did not. Squished in a possibly too small sports bra for more than two hours, lets just say they were very, very angry by the end of the day. Yes folks, my breasts are growing and it doesn’t seem like they’re stopping anytime soon – much to my chagrin.

Early on, my six-year-old chest used to drive me mad – when all my girlfriends were budding growths and I was still flat as a wall; when the boys would chase the girls to snap their bras, and they’d catch me, only to discover there was no bra to snap; when I’d forget that I’d stuffed my bikini top with Kleenex before jumping into the pool – but as I grew older, I discovered the perfection of my smallness:

  • no breasts smacking into chin when running (which is a good thing!)
  • can fit into nearly any kind of top without looking slutty with obnoxious cleavage
  • no aging sag
  • and a more voluptuous look is just a padded bra away

This pregnancy, however, is majorly changing things. The lovely A cups have been replaced by freaking huge knockers! (By my standards that is) I can’t fit into any of my old bras, and have already outgrown two new ones which were purchased within the time of thumb-sucking alien baby’s growth in my belly. Not cool.

What the???

And they have absolutely no benefit to me. I thought maybe they would, maybe finally I could hide my insulin pump in the crevice of my large breasts like I hear so many other much more endowed type 1s doing. But nope, it seems they’re just not quite large enough to do that – not unless I want to start a new trend of square boobs!

Which sucks for dress-wearing season. Normally I wear my pump on my waistband or latched into the front pocket of my pants, and have no problem with that. But for dresses, without large breasts, there’s no where to discretely hide it, other than latched to the top of the dress, under a cardigan – leaving me a good ol’ type 1 hunchback!