Tag Archives: hill training

“Oh bloody hell”

It’s time to come clean folks. I am not going to lie. I did not want to do these hills. I dreaded these hills. Secretly, I hoped, wished, silently begged for my critter-loving running chick to have a critter-style emergency resulting in her being a no-show.

No such luck.

I first saw the agenda for Tuesday’s hills about a month ago, when I was organizing the Sunday babysitting schedule. The second my eyes drifted past the workout, they nearly bugged right out of their sockets.

What the frick? Are you kidding me? No! No! No! I am not doing those. I can’t do those. I will not do those hills. There is no way my legs, let alone my lungs, can withstand those hills. Ninety second hills should not be allowed. Eight times 90 second hills should never be spoken of.

Dear Hill, we are NOT friends.

Dear Hill, we are NOT friends.

I spent a month trying to concoct the perfect excuse, but to no avail. Basically, I am bad liar’ I have people holding me accountable; and frick, that little cheerleader on my left shoulder wanting to give the naysaying devil on my right a serious beat down.

So Tuesday, I was tired, but I laced up my shoes; I was not confident, but I laced up my shoes; I had hours of studying needing to be completed, but I laced up my shoes.

And the run, it totally kicked my ass. I felt like I was running with bricks for legs. I thought for sure I would be experiencing my very first, and subsequent, puke-induced run. And my breathing, wow, I’m honestly shocked I didn’t pass out from hyperventilating at the top. I was struggling for air so bad I was shaking my hands desperately trying to regain control. I wanted to stop.

I did not stop.

The precursor for every repeat was the phrase: Oh Bloody Hell.

Indeed, it was hell. And we survived.

Top of the last hill and we smile – because running is what we do.

Top of the last hill and we smile – because running is what we do.

7:15 p.m. BG before: 9.7
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Workout: 10′ warmup; 8 x 90s hill repeats with 3′ jog after each; 10′ cool down
Time: 48:41
Distance: 6.02 km
Average hill pace: 5:52 min/km
8:30 p.m. BG after: 11.1
Temp. basal: +80 per cent

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 🙂

The Pitchfork and the Punching Bag

Running in the darkness of night can seriously mess with your head. You can start to see things, start to think thoughts, start to wonder who might possibly be lurking around  corners, behind trees, under benches.

I’ve been here before. Mostly when running solo in the early morning hours before dawn. But tonight, for hill repeats, that imaginative mind of mine went full boar ahead, even with my new group of running chicks all around me.

It all started on the downhill, when out of the corner of my eye I saw an older fellow walking down a driveway towards us. I didn’t really think much of it at first, but that mind, oh, her wheels started turning, and fast.

This hill, while decently lit, was still fairly dark, but not so much a black dark, more like a spooky midnight blue dark with traces of foggy lighting interspersed here and there. Long driveways. Giant trees all around. And the one driveway that isn’t long is equipped with a well-used punching bag in the open garage. It’s the kind of setting you’d see in a b-rated horror flick right before the big breasted blonde gets speared by a pitchfork…

Oh freak! Wait a second! He’s carrying a pitchfork! For real. The old dude, who’s more like a monster, he’s walking down towards us, we’re heading right into his line of aim, I’m the closest to the pitchfork, he’s Hitchcock hunched. Holy freak, I’m going to die!

THIS is what I saw!

THIS is what I saw!

Good thing it was all or nothing hill repeats… pretty sure I made it up that hill in record time. Too fast for the pitchfork!

And when we turned back around for our next repeat, that old dude, now near the bottom of the hill, was sauntering with a swagger into the blue as though he’d achieved what he had set out to do.

Freak the begonias right out of me!

5:50 p.m. BG before: 9.5
Carbs: none
Basal: -50 per cent (1 hour)
Distance: 8.52 km 30′ easy, 10×20 second hill repeats, 10′ cool down
Time: 1:02:05
7:30 p.m. BG after: 8.9
Basal: +80 per cent (1 hour)

Surviving diabetes Russian Roulette

Okay, seriously, who actually carries around a backup insulin plan if their pump fails? Be honest.

I don’t.

For as long as I’ve had the pump, when I’m out, I’ve solely relied on the pump. I don’t carry a pouch with extra infusions or syringes and spare insulin for just in case (in this heat, would it really survive anyway). I guess you could say it’s almost like a diabetic’s version of Russian Roulette.

And today, I nearly got the bullet.

It was new infusion day, and as is always the routine, I changed my infusion first thing before breakfast. I also changed my CGM sensor, so I didn’t have access to an approximation of my blood sugars for two hours after doing so. It was a busy morning, I didn’t really have time to think about what my blood sugars were doing inside me until snack time three hours after breakfast. It was 8:45 a.m., I stabbed my finger, waited 5 seconds, and HOLY FREAKING CRUD MONKEY!!! They were 17.4. A second test had them at 18.1.

What the frick???

I pushed my snack aside, there was no way I could eat with the highs already shooting through me. I checked my pump to make sure I’d given my breakfast bolus, which I had. I dialed up a correction dose and waited.

I’m not very patient.

A half hour passed and they were still 17.1. Another half hour passed and they were 17.4. I walked around the block, tested again, and they were 16.9. We are now 1.5 hours into my correction dose. I have a very high insulin sensitivity rate; I should have been seeing those numbers going down fast. I did another correction dose, and again, nothing.

My fed up with diabetes tweet at 1 p.m.

My fed up with diabetes tweet at 1 p.m.

Maybe I put too much faith in my pump, probably, but I kept thinking, it’s going to start working. My new infusion site, which was located in the softness of my belly, looked fine; there was no blood, no angry redness, no protruding canula, nothing that I could see that should cause alarm. But something WAS wrong.

Because my office is an icebox, I pretty much always have a cardigan on, but the blood sugar dramas were having me feeling like I was going through menopause. I was sweating, uncomfortable, suffering ridiculous hot flashes. Finally, at around noon., I tore the cardigan off, anddddd – oh look, there’s my old infusion site still stabbed into my arm!!!

My insulin back-up plan.

My insulin back-up plan.

Again, with the honesty, I have to be one of the laziest diabetics when it comes to removing old infusion sites (and probably other things too… like throwing out blood testing strips). They’re often stuck in there for at minimum an extra day, sometimes three. Big Ring even mentioned that I’d forgotten to remove it this morning, and still I didn’t remove it.

Thank goodness!

Today, my laziness became quite fortuitous 🙂

And when my BG finally started bottoming out, hells yeah I deserved some chocolate for the ordeal!

And when my BG finally started bottoming out around 3 p.m., hells yeah I deserved some chocolate for the ordeal!

5:45 p.m. BG before: 5.6
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 1/2c applesauce and 1T PB (45 minutes before) 4 dried apricots (15 minutes before) No bolus
Distance: A hilly 5.39 km
Time: 37:23

Average pace: 6:56 min/km
6:45 p.m. BG after: 3.8

My intention with yesterday’s run was to not get lost, which meant no charging off ahead of the group, and to power up the hills, kick those hills’ butts like they’d never been kicked before! And when I came out of the trees, I was so super satisfied with the run. I didn’t get lost, even after I sped ahead for the final stretch, AND I put serious huffing and puffing effort into those hills. Good job me!

A sweaty mess following a super satisfying run.

A sweaty mess following a super satisfying run.



Today, there were goosebumps – good and bad.

On a day I found out three little boys lost their mama to cancer (a fellow runner and friend to so many I know), a day my heart was silently crying inside for a woman and a beautiful family I hardly knew, a day I hugged my family even tighter than I normally do – my heart also experienced a gush of happiness for a woman I 100 per cent did not know.

This afternoon, under the crisp, cool sun, I went for a run. I’d been trying out different routes lately, almost all that have started off with a 7-minute up hill. A couple years ago this hill would have been no problem; I loved hills. But after two years of no hill training (last season was fairly flat, and the season before I was preggers) I’ve really kind of gotten sucky at them. Like seriously sucky. And this 7-minute hill has been a killer, I want to quit right off the hop, and the last few times now, I have quit before cresting the top. So today, I told myself I had to make it up at least three quarters before stopping. And again, it sucked, really sucked, but I wouldn’t let myself quit, I didn’t care how slow I was going, I was not going to stop, and when I finally reached my target, I thought, well hey now, I might as well keep going. And I did!


That hill was NOT beating me down today!

When I turned down the next road, I came upon two female flaggers and overheard one of them congratulating the other in passing. And I had this overwhelming urge to shout out a congratulations of my own, but I didn’t, I just kept going. A wandering shoelace, however, had me stopping about a kilometre or less away. Just as I was about to start running again, the woman who was being congratulated earlier drove up in her worker’s truck and got out. And without even thinking, I shouted out “Congratulations!”

I’m not gonna lie, she looked at me pretty funny, like who the hell is this sweaty chick congratulating me, and so I explained that I heard the other woman congratulating her, and I was gonna leave it at that with a big smile on both our faces. But then she told me why she was being congratulated:

After a year of uncertainties surrounding breast cancer, and multiple biopsies, her surgeon called her earlier today to tell her she was cancer free. Both of us were gushing.



  • 3 p.m. BG before: 7.6
  • Carbs: granola bar (15g) no bolus
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 11.21 km
  • Time: 1:05:35
  • Average pace: 5:51 min/km (bit sluggish)
  • 4:15 p.m. BG after: 3.7

Julie Loland was a runner, a teacher, a wife, a mom to three young boys, the oldest born around the same time as my dear nephew (the one that made me want to have a baby of my own). Her family lost her today. Her family needs help.

To learn more, visit the Loving the Lolands Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/lovingthelolands
To donate, click on the PayPal account:


BMO, bikes butts and bits

Here we go again!

It has been just shy of 1 year and 7 months since I last set out to run a race, and while I’m not doing a marathon, half marathon, or even 10 km for that matter, this Sunday, when I snap my Garmin around my wrist and lace my sneakers up for the Vancouver BMO 8 km run, I will be racing – against the other runners on the road, against myself, against Garmin, and most importantly against those frustratingly pokey demons in my head!

Given that it’s been so long since I a) have run a race, and b) have raced a distance this short, I’m not sure I prepared as well as I should have…

I’m not sure if it was wise I ran speed repeats last Monday; one of the windiest days I’ve ever endured on a run. And even if it was okay, I’m pretty sure running my third and last set of 400/800 metre repeats straight into a super strong headwind ruined my speed confidence! I’ve already got issues with speed work, and when I saw an average turtle pace of 5:05 and 5:14 glaring up at me, I felt my competitive heart crumbling 😦

April 29 speed repeats 400:800 x 3
Not my best work.

And then there was Wednesday. I was feeling pretty down on myself coming off Monday’s speed debacle and wanted to redeem myself. And so, rather than go out for an easy run, which I would typically do in a “taper” week (do we get tapers for 8 km???) I booked it. I did NOT want to run anything over a 5:30 pace; that would not be acceptable. I wanted to know I could complete 8 km in 45 minutes, which I used to be able to do no problem. And so, I left Little Ring and BOB with my parents, and set forth on the farm roads. Only thing was, I had completely forgotten how hilly this route was. And so, not only was I speeding, I was also doing hill training. Why hello there glutes!

Post-run stretch was most definitely required.

And finally, today. After a month of nasty, cold, rainy, windy weather on Fridays, we were finally blessed with sunshine. And you know what that meant, I was finally able to saddle up on my dear, sweet Holly Goquickly – the first time!

Big Ring and I set out this afternoon on a “get to know you” two-hour ride. Within minutes, I felt the fatigue in my legs from the week’s activities, and a tightening in my upper back and shoulders from the riding position (it has been nearly 2 years since I last rode) and not to mention, ahem, my butt and bits!!! But, with the Living the Dream fondo next week, the sun shining and my moms at the ready to take Little Ring, we couldn’t pass the opportunity up.


But I refused to blow out my legs; refused to be competitive with my cycling husband who was fields ahead of me; refused to do anything but enjoy the ride. There were a couple mishaps. My blood sugars went low practically seconds into the ride. I nearly fell over a couple of times; she’s a lot lighter than my Kona was. And, well, I kinda got stuck halfway up a hill after I shakily clipped out of a pedal on a corner when a couple of cyclists coming the opposite way took my wide berth away. I tried to get back going, I tried to hold onto the rail for assistance, I tried to push through the steepness. But, unless I wanted to fall over, I was not going anywhere. And so, I did what any proper cyclist would do. I turned around, went down to the bottom of the hill, and started all over again 😀

Holly Goquickly and I were all smiles today!

Good thing Sunday’s race is only 8 km, because otherwise I may have really hooped myself!