Tag Archives: Seawall

Chasing lows not miles

You know that old adage, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? That’s exactly what my last long run emulated.

I had plans to run the Seawall; it was the perfect distance. From Waterfront Station to Granville Island is 19 km start to finish. I woke up first thing, dressed in my short shorts and tank top, grabbed my fuel belt and hopped on the Skytrain.

The weather was perfect in New West. It was grey, not too cold, not too warm. But in Vancouver, it was a completely different book. It was black clouds, biblical rains, gusting winds, and cold, man, it was blow-you-over cold. I stood in the shelter of the Convention Centre, waiting, hoping, praying for the rains to subside.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

10 minutes; 20 minutes; 30; 40. What the? It was not stopping.

Normally, rain isn’t a huge issue for me , I mean, it’s a challenge getting out into it, but once you’re out there, it’s usually pretty decent and oftentimes quite fun – IF you’re dressed for it. Recall: short shorts, tank top. I did NOT want to be slogging through puddles for 19 km, shivering, miserable.

At 60 minutes, I cut my losses, grabbed a hot tea and boarded the train for home. Miserable.

The whole ride, I could see glimmers of blue sky trying to peak out from the grey towards New West, towards Richmond, even in Burnaby. But I didn’t want to run in those locales, I didn’t want to battle traffic, exhaust fumes, lights and other nuisances, I just wanted the beauty of Vancouver’s waterfront.

When I got home, it was crystal blue sky – both in New West, and, if the webcams were accurate, Vancouver too! No black sky, no rain, not even a droplet of evidence of the earlier storm – it was full sun, blue sky.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Most people probably would have continued to cut their losses, slogged through a run in an area they hadn’t intended running, or forgone the run entirely, but not me, nope. I wolfed down a PB and banana sandwich, kissed my Rings goodbye and hopped back on that skytrain 🙂

Look at that sun!

Look at that sun!

And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

I’d love to say it was a wonderful run, that it was worth the effort of three Skytrain trips, but annoyingly, that was not the case. I had two huge impediments bringing me down.

First, I was completely overdressed. Despite the webcam showing blue sky, I hadn’t forgotten that cold breeze of the hour earlier, and thought surely it couldn’t have warmed up that significantly. I was wrong. Dressed in two running shirts and knickers, I was completely overheating. I ended up taking off one shirt and tying it around my fuel belt. Still, my legs were on fire the entire distance.

The shirt didn't stay on long... and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!

The shirt didn’t stay on long… and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!

Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed unless I switched my route to Wreck Beach instead.

Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed, unless, of course, I switched my route to Wreck Beach!

Secondly, my blood sugars. Like most long runs lately, I was chasing lows the entire time. Eating every 20 minutes trying to prevent bottoming out rather than elevating my energy scores, which, in the end, had me heavy footed, turtle-paced, lethargic. I know it was diabetes getting in my way, but there was still that inner demon berating, hating, judging me.

Stop. Before you consider chastising me for those thoughts, think about it, think about something you truly enjoy doing, maybe it’s running, and think about how you would feel if you consistently failed in your efforts, or consistently had something holding you back from being at your best. Think about it. How would you feel? I know I don’t do this for a living, but I do do it for gratification and endorphins. If I’m not getting either, what’s the point?

1:30 p.m. BG before: 6.3
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 2 dried apricots
Distance: 19.17 km
Average pace: 5:54 min/km
Time: 1:53:13
Fuel: @20 minutes, BG 5.7: 3 shot blocks
          @40 minutes, BG 4.3: 3 shot blocks, 2 dried apricots
(At this point, I turned basal insulin off, which I never do.)
          @60 minutes, BG 4.2: 2 shot blocks, 4 dried apricots
          @80 minutes, BG 4.6:
(I didn’t eat anything, starting to feel ill, saw they were coming up, took chances)
3:30 p.m. BG after: 5.7

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

Waiting out the low

Last Friday, I hated Dear Diabetes, like really, really hated it. If I could, I most certainly would have kicked it in the teeth. Most certainly.

It all started minutes before I was to go on my long run. I always test my blood sugars before a run with the rule of thumb that any reading below 7.5 gets a dose of carbs, anything above I wait until my first walk break. But Friday morning, when my BG read 5.7, I did not feed it with carbs – all because I trusted BLOODY technology over my own knowledge of my own body.

I recently got myself a Dexcom G4 Continuous Glucose Monitoring system, which, for those of you not in the diabetes know, essentially shows the trend patterns of your blood sugars. And so, just before my run, after testing, I looked at the CGM and it showed a slanted upwards green arrow meaning my blood sugars were on the rise, and given that I’d already ate a couple figs an hour earlier, without insulin, I put my trust in CGM. I down dialed my basal rate 50 per cent and was on my way.

About 25 minutes in though I started to feel heavy, drowsy, unfocused, a sign that maybe my blood sugars were descending fast. But because I had done 1 km speed intervals the morning prior, I just cracked it up to tired legs. At 30 minutes, I checked my CGM: 4.0. I pulled out a couple figs, but before I could even finish the first bite, my insulin pump started incessantly vibrating and beeping the tone of death (the same you hear on Grey’s Anatomy when the patient’s heart stops) alerting me of my low. I pulled out my metre: 2.6. Oh freaking hell!!!

Two figs were not going to cure this. Into my mouth went a handful of sharkies and a chocolate bliss ball on top of those figs. And down onto the cemented curb of the Seawall went my butt. There was no way I could keep running at that point. I had to wait the low out.

I even had to turn my basal off, which I’ve NEVER done prior on a run!

It took about 20 to 25 miserable minutes for my blood sugars to get back into a good zone. And by that time, thanks to the surge of sugar in me, I was now feeling nauseated as hell. I still had 1.5 hours to go. Frick.

Every walk break, and then some, I was testing my blood sugars making the breaks way longer than one minute and waning my motivation to continue. There were several times throughout the run where I contemplated bailing out, calling Big Ring asking him to meet me at a new locale, but I didn’t. I don’t know what kept me going, I felt like I was running slow as hell, every time I looked down at my Garmin, I cursed the numbers staring back up at me, my ankles were tightening up, I was stopping prematurely, sometimes doubled over with pukiness, but I did keep going.

Common sights on the run: blood and figs.

And when I finally reached the meet-up point where Big Ring and Little Ring were waiting, I had two options: I could have been the glass empty or the glass full girl, and if I’d chosen empty, no one could have blamed me, I hated diabetes with everything in me, and yet, in spite of it, in spite of all those nasty obstacles it presented me, I finished that run. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful route. I didn’t get lost. And I had two of the bestest smiling faces waiting for me at the end… how could I not be smiling in return 😀

It was most definitely a glass full finish.

But Dear Diabetes, you do that to me again, and oh man, you won’t know what hit you. Revenge goes both ways JERK FACE!


  • 9:50 a.m. BG before: 5.7
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (30 minutes) -100 per cent (1.5 hours)
  • Time: 1:53:26
  • Distance: 19.16 km
  • Average pace: 5:55 min/km
  • Average cadence: 88 spm
  • 1 p.m. BG after: 10.7
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (2 hours)