Tag Archives: Tiffany’s

The robin’s egg blue fondo

I’ve got two words to describe my very first fondo: No pressure.

Unlike my running races, I wasn’t filled with nerves souring my belly, there weren’t anxious butterflies keeping me up all night, no stresses, no worries, nothing. The only goal I had going into the Living the Dream Fondo was to not be the last person to cross the finish line.

Sure, I hadn’t ridden 56 km in nearly two years, and sure, my butt would likely suffer as a result. Sure, I had never ridden in a pack before, and sure, I’d seen the nasty mash-ups on big-time races. Sure, I had absolutely no confidence in changing a flat tire, even with the Tire Repair session I recently attended. And sure, maybe the concern in Big Ring’s eyes should have struck a flurry of worry in me when he handed me his patch kit and I, with my own bewildered look, replied: What the heck do you expect me to do with that? But no, there was none of that.

This fondo was all about having fun!

130516start3“I don’t know mama, you might want to rethink this 56 km business.”

I arrived at the start about a half hour early to send off my favourite hill-training hero for the 100 km distance. This chick is freaking amazing. Not only does she kill hills, she’s also Queen of the Bike too. Pretty sure she was the first of her group to cross the finish with a 3 hour 10 minute time!!!

130511hillhero1Holy super speed legs!!!

130516start1All smiles!

For the first few kilometres of the ride, I held back. I wasn’t sure how this whole grouping thing would go and I wanted to gauge the other riders before I started making any moves. I soon hooked up with two other girls around the same pace. I figured, seeing as how I don’t know how to read maps, had no cell phone access, no idea where this course was going, and was sure, knowing my history, I would get lost, it better to have three sets of eyes checking the signs to ensure I get to the finish line.

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Photo (mid clip-out) courtesy www.livingthedreamride.org 

At about 15 km, we approached the first rest stop. This was not your typical rest stop. Yes there were bananas and bagels, but there was also pineapple and chocolate, hand sanitizer, Advil, and even, ahem, feminine products. There was a red carpet upon approach with the sign You are Oscar worthy 😀 And in the port-a-potties, a huge bouquet of flowers in the urinal, and on the door … GEORGE!!!

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Sure George, I’ll go for a swim with you… but, uhm, maybe not here!

The 25 km distance from the first rest stop to the next one was where the hills came out to play. And while I love hills for running, I’ve never been a huge fan of them for cycling. I always feel like I’m going super slow, and that it takes forever, and that my lungs are going to heave right out of my chest! And so, when I saw the long, winding hill on approach, I was like, okay, here we go, see you later girls, hopefully I’ll be able to catch up…

But wait, just hold on a second here, my legs were moving at a good clip, my Garmin speed wasn’t dropping down to a near standstill, I was climbing that hill, I was passing a couple of the cyclists ahead of me (two of them dudes!), I still had my lungs intact, so much so, I was able to encourage a girl who had paused halfway up the hill and was trying to get started again. (Never do that!) I felt great. And you better believe I gave Holly Goquickly a loving pat, knowing her carbon-fibre goodness was hugely responsible!

When I crested that hill, I felt like I was on top of the world. All around me was a spectacular view of trees, mountains and luscious farm pastures. And I so wished I was more courageous on the bike, brave enough to pull out my camera and snap a photo of that beauty, but alas, with the wheels still moving I knew there was no way my shaky confidence would attempt such a thing 😦

130511viewPhoto courtesy www.livingthedreamride.org

Coming out of the second rest stop, I got caught behind a super long line of vehicles making a right turn. And because there was no shoulder, and I’d already seen a jerk-face driver, I felt more comfortable holding back. Unfortunately, because of doing so, I lost my cycling companions. I thought for sure I’d hook up with them again shortly, given that it wasn’t that long of a wait, but I never did. At the time I thought, holy hell, they must have majorly jacked up their speed, but I later learned they made a wrong turn and significantly cut short their distance! And so, for the remainder of the ride, I was alone.

It wouldn’t have been a huge deal had there been more signage, and for that matter, more volunteers, but there were not. The signs of earlier, which seemed to be positioned every mile or so had pretty much fallen off the map. I saw one sign on a long country road (Keep on moovin’!) and that was pretty much it.

When I spotted the third rest stop, I figured I’d keep going. I felt great and I was pretty sure I only had about 10 more kilometres to go. Big mistake. HUGE mistake. Remember that statement about my tendency for getting lost? I got lost! I ended up at the approach for a highway and started to think I hadn’t seen a sign in a really long time, and surely they wouldn’t want me to get on a highway would they… would they? I pulled out the map for the course, that I thankfully had packed at the last minute, which listed all the street names on the back. And yep, sure enough, I was on the wrong bloody street! Apparently I was to loop around the rest stop – not go straight through! Oh crud.

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The straight line just past the No. 5 sign is where I went wrong.

My confidence was now shattered, and with the lack of signage, the lack of cross roads, the lack of any other cyclists around, and just a long lonely road ahead, I kept stopping every two seconds to pull out the map, which did me absolutely no good without any cross roads for reference. After what seemed an eternity, I finally came to the end of the road, and discovered that I had been going the right direction after all. I turned left and seconds later I was making a hairpin turn – where my bestest cheerleaders were waiting for me!!! – down into the finishing corral.

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A ‘ring’ sandwich 😀

Another red carpet welcomed me at the finish, with a group of firefighters, who were actually in uniform (this is where NWM goes wrong) handing me a pretty, white ribboned, robin’s egg blue box!!! Best medal EVER!!!

130516Tiffany

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Prettier than my NWM necklace 😀

FONDO DETAILS:

  • 7:50 a.m. BG before: 10.8
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: none; had breakfast one hour prior
  • Distance: 59.90 km
  • Average speed: 23.5 km/h
  • Time: 2:27:38
  • 11 a.m. BG after: 7.9

Stay tuned for my next post on the diabetes aspect of the fondo.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: And then there were two

Remember a month ago, when I teased you all with a BIG ANNOUNCEMENT on the horizon, and then I pretty much didn’t say a word of it since. Well folks, we just needed to make sure all our ducks were in a row, tests were done, no false alarms, everyone healthy. And now, our news is finally ready to be revealed (eeeeeeeeeee!!!) and I am so stinkin’ excited! Are you ready for it? Like really, really ready? Okay, here goes 😀

Just when Big Ring, Little Ring and I were starting to get into a groove, we were hit with a pleasant surprise. The dynamics of our family, dear friends, is again changing.

Little Ring is getting a Little Sister!!!

130408ultrasoundbikeYup, that’s my belly with a bike inside. Hehe 🙂

In late February, The Rings and I went to the Vancouver Bike Show, which was a huge game changer for me. Not only did I enter my very first fondo there – Women’s Living the Dream Ride – which finishes with a Tiffany’s necklace (I seem to have a history with these, hey ;)), I also fell head over heels in lust with a sleekly styled black and purple carbon-fibre Giant bike.

The ride home, I kept thinking about this bike. I had wanted a new bike for some time; the relationship my Zing and I had was no longer the love it once was. Could this beauty of a Giant be my new ride? She had a good price, a pretty spectacular price. But she wasn’t a Bianchi, and I’d been drooling over Bianchis for ages. Could I possibly be happy with something other than Lady Bianchi? She was, however, carbon fibre. She was way lighter than Zing’s aluminum frame. Did I mention she was a good price, like a really good price? But why was she such a good price? Was there something wrong with her?

All evening my brain battled back and forth about this bike. The next day, with my mind still full of lust and uncertainty, I posted both my Zing and my foldy on Craigslist and Kijiji, and figured I’d let fate be the decider. Within two days, they were both sold! Seriously, who signs up for a fondo and then sells both her bikes???

I needed a new bike!

Big Ring looked more into the Giant’s specs, and did further research into other comparable bikes. We looked at Trek, Felt, Specialized, Scott, Devinci, and Fuji. (Women’s Bianchis (my first choice) are not sold in Canada 😦 ) While I had fallen in love with Felt four years ago, and Scott two years ago, this year’s models didn’t have the pizazz I was looking for. And my issue with Trek is that everyone has Trek, which was also one of the issues I had with Giant.

I looked at the bikes, I rode the bikes, but nothing, in my opinion, was comparing to that Gorgeous Giant – and yet, I still had reservations about her. I didn’t want to be getting into a bike that I would want to replace the very next day. I didn’t want to continue pining for Lady Bianchi. I wanted a bike that was more than just lust. I wanted a bike that was baby love. I wanted a bike that would be my forever bike. And as much as I lusted after the Giant, I just wasn’t 100 per cent sure she could be that.

And then, my eye caught the twinkle of a Tiffany blue and white bike, one fateful Sunday afternoon, and my heart instantly leaped. Ohhh, she was a beauty. Her Shimano 105 components were more upper class than the other bikes I’d looked at. Her colours – TIFFANY BLUE!!! – were perfect for my complexion. Her price, a sale price at that, was a bit higher than I had intended, but my goodness, the moment I saw her, there was NO thought of Lady Bianchi. None.

I want, I gushed.

The only problem: she was last year’s model, and a frame far too small for my build. The shop had no others. Oh man, I felt like crying. How could the universe be so cruel to tempt me with such a love and then just stomp down on my heart so easily like that. Big Ring tried comforting me, but I was left silent with despair.

But, hours later, hope was back on the horizon.

Big Ring knew of a local dealer for the brand and went on their website, hit the link for the closeout bikes, and found my beauty. There were two listed – and one in my size! Eeeeeeeee!!!

Big Ring practically had to tie me down to prevent me from throwing my jacket and shoes on and rushing out there. It was Sunday evening, he reminded me, the shop was closed. So, we fired them an email stating our interest and asking them to hold the beauty until the following Friday when we could both go.

Big Ring warned me not to get my hopes up; she still might not be the perfect fit for me, he said. He suggested I ride both Gorgeous Giant and the new girl on the same day and decide from there.

First up: Gorgeous Giant. Oh she was smooth alright. I felt good riding around West Van with her under me, she looked good, I looked good. Could this be such an easy decision after all, I wondered. Could I be in just as much love with Gorgeous as I was with new girl?

No. The moment I saw my girl, it was bike motherly love like no other. And the second I got on her, I knew she was mine. We rode the streets of False Creek, I gripped her bars, hugged her frame, patted her bottom. I told her she was a beauty. I told her all the places we would go. I told her she was my girl.

And now, I present to you, my dear, sweet, beautiful baby girl: Holly Goquickly!!!

130408bike1
2012 Women’s Cannondale Synapse 5

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Love. Love. Love.

Any guesses why I named her Holly Goquickly?

The silver diaversary

Twenty five years. Wow. That’s most definitely worthy of a Tiffany’s bracelet, don’t you think … say, one that looks like this 😀

I still remember it as though it were yesterday. It was my sister’s 18th birthday, and I was super excited for the black forest cake (her favourite) we’d surely be having later that day. What kid with a sweet tooth like mine wouldn’t be excited?

But first, I had a doctor’s appointment. I’d been dealing with a nasty flu virus that just wouldn’t go away. Everyone else in my family had had the same virus, so my parents didn’t think much of it – at first – and given that I’d always been a sick kid, the fact it was taking me longer to overcome the flu nasties was no big deal – at first – but I was losing a lot of weight, I was skin-and-bones, and yet, I was eating and drinking like crazy! As the story goes, I ate half a roast and drank a jug of lime Kool-Aid in one sitting while looking like a malnourished Ethiopian kid! It soon became apparent something was most definitely not right.

My parents were both at work that day and so my uncles offered to drive me to my mom’s office in the community next over. They loaded me into the back seat of the car, and we were off. Not even five minutes in, though, we made a pit stop at the side of the road for one of my uncles to, ahem, relieve himself (hey, I lived in the country, this stuff happened). And because my doctor’s appointment wasn’t until later in the afternoon,  my uncles decided we’d make a second stop at my auntie’s who happened to be hosting an afternoon barbecue.

As soon as we got there, I flopped onto the couch in front of the TV. My body felt heavy, my eyes were droopy, I was tired, oh man, was I ever tired. There were people around, chatting, laughing, running in and out of the house, but I could barely lift my head to acknowledge their existence. My auntie (one of the best bakers EVER) swung out from the kitchen with a plate full of sweet treats in her hands. There were cookies, beautiful looking cookies, cookies I would have snatched up in a heartbeat in past outings, but that day, I looked at them, longing for one, desperately wanting one, but knowing my belly would not sustain one. With the saddest puppy dog eyes I could muster, I shamefully shook my head.

Maybe something in me already knew my sweet life would forever be changed that day, maybe it was preparing me for the restrictions that would soon come my way, maybe it was just being damn evil, I don’t know, but to this day, 25 years later, I am still bitter as hell for not taking that last cookie, essentially my last supper – pre-diabetes.


Children’s became like a second home…

Today is the 25th anniversary – diaversary if you will – of me being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. I wasn’t sure if I should celebrate the milestone or punch and kick the walls in absolute fury of being dealt this hand. Twenty years ago, I rebelled against this disease. Fifteen years ago, I feared I wouldn’t survive this disease. Ten years ago, I for sure would have thrown an epic tantrum at having this disease. Today, while it still pisses me off to no end that I never got that cookie and that I never had that beloved slice of black forest cake (even though there have been many others since … thank goodness the once stringent rules of diabetes have grown slack over the years) I am still proud of what I’ve overcome and done with this disease.

But no, I will not celebrate this disease, not today, not any day. Today, I celebrate my big sister, who I love to the moon and back, and whose birthday I stole 25 years ago. So Jules, I think it’s high time we go have that cake, don’t you 😀


Clockwise from top: My sister and I on opposing dragon boating teams; Jules overcoming her fears and ziplining (next to me) at Grouse for my bachelorette party; 1987, the summer I was diagnosed.

And this is my big sis cheering me on and chasing after me at the 34 km mark of last year’s Run for Water marathon, which makes me giggle every time I see it 😀


To read about my last year’s diaversary, click the link: Happy – uhm – anniversary

For the love of bling

It wasn’t Tiffany’s, but it was bling.

As I stood in the cool Juneuary air with my moms, my favourite running chick and Miss Speedy next to me, a smile washed across my face while listening to the event organizer talk of the reasons why we had all congregated at Thunderbird Stadium that morning: “We wanted to stay fit, keep active, bond with other women,” she said. But my favourite running chick, she knew we were there for other reasons. She leaned over towards me, soft giggles exiting her mouth as she whispered, “I’m here for the bling!”


Indeed.

Saturday morning my moms and I walked the 5 km Starbucks Run for Women, while my favourites ran the 10k.


Favourite Running Chick and Miss Speedy.

It’s always a risk signing up for first-time events, knowing that they can’t possibly live up to the glory of well-established runs, but hoping they won’t completely bomb (ie. run out of water, run out of fuel, have no spectators, have unenthusiastic volunteers… I’ve been burned on this in the past). But this run, for its first time in Vancouver, was so well organized, it didn’t feel like a small run at all! It had great volunteers, an awesome motivational speech by Canadian Olympian Jen Heil, who also ran in the 5k event, and coming into the finish line, all our names were announced by none other than John Stanton – just like in big time events!

I couldn’t have asked for a better morning. It was a gorgeous setting through the trails of UBC, and great mother-daughter bonding time for me and my moms.


Heart!

This was the first time my moms and I have participated in an organized event together, and let me just say, she’s a little motorer. There was only one time, early on as we climbed a hill, that she had to slow me down, telling me that she didn’t quite have the fitness in her legs that I’ve got built in mine. But as soon as we crested that hill, it was as though she had a fire chasing her legs. I kept asking her, how she was, if we needed to slow down, and with a lovely smile on her face she kept telling me she was doing great.


When we crossed the finish line, we were rewarded with a specially designed Foxy bracelet; the only thing missing were the firemen to hand them out 😉


Moms showing off her bling…


Favourites showing off their bling!

And the cameras, my gawd, they love the thumb-sucking alien baby bump! I swear I’ve never before had so many pics taken of me by event photographers! And yes, I did “borrow” these … Thanks My Sports Shooter!


And this wasn’t even all the pics taken of me!

Total mileage this weekend: 18 km; 3 km shy of a half marathon!


And that’s the smile of ice cream cake visions about to become reality in my belly 😀

The Tiffany Report

No one said the robins’ egg blue road would be an easy road. I knew there would be hills, massive hills; I knew I’d likely feel that familiar nausea at some point in my lungs; and  I knew I’d probably face the inner turmoil of whether or not to continue to run or cave in to an early walk break.

But I was NOT prepared for a run akin to trying to run through Metrotown – BC’s largest shopping mall, featuring the most ignorant shoppers who walk at a snail’s pace 5, 8, and 10 across blocking any which way around them or through them.


The early morning start.


Me and my running chicks.

This year’s NWM had 22,500 participants; 22,000 of who I swear were walkers. And these weren’t racing walkers, oh no, there was no walking etiquette with them whatsoever. They walked on the right, they walked on the left, they walked dead centre, and they walked 5, 8, and 10 across, some in multiple rows.

Can you imagine how difficult it was to try and race through that? (And yes, I did try!) My finish time was a walloping 23 minutes SLOWER than my fastest half marathon just five months ago, and I had close to an extra kilometre on my Garmin from all the weaving! Every split I had, was significantly slower than it should have been. My first 5 km was 5 minutes slower and my first 10 km was almost 10 minutes slower. Not cool.

I tried going fast, I really, really did, but there was no getting around these people. Most of them were Team in Training walkers (it was like running through a sea of purple) and so I tried not to get annoyed or frustrated with them in the beginning, I mean they were out there for a great cause and all, but after awhile, it was just bloody ridiculous. My body may or may not have barged squeezed through their ranks a few times.

One of the walkers actually yelled at us runners not to weave around them as we were climbing up one of the hills alongside a cliff that was quite narrow near the top. She said it was dangerous … apparently them coming to a dead stop to snap a picture of the Golden Gate with runners coming up behind them wasn’t dangerous at all though.

Speaking of hills, there were a lot! I tried counting, but lost count after like the sixth hill. There were big hills, long, winding hills, short, rolling hills, never-ending hills, hills, hills. At first I was doing great, running the entire length of them despite the walkers in front trying to circumvent my efforts. But by the time I reached the big hill at 14.5 km, I was feeling the evil nausea in my lungs and had started to hear the devil on my shoulder telling me to walk. I made it halfway up that hill, before caving in.

Even with the uncouth walkers and the disappointingly slow finish time however, this race had a factor in it, beyond Tiffany, that I know will have me going back for more. Its beauty. This was honestly the most beautiful race I have ever participated in. The scenery, from start to finish, was oh my god, jaw gaping  and oohs and ahhs escaping between the wheezing gasps of breath – especially at the top of those hills. We had optimal views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and on one of the long descents, we were coming down around a corner and all of a sudden you were high above the beach with waves crashing below and the Golden Gate off in the distance. Beautiful.


The Golden Gate was featured quite prominently along the run.

When I saw the windmill in Golden Gate Park with just about 1 km left to go, the motivation fired up in my belly and despite the pukey feeling in my throat, I pushed hard, and by golly I finished that race with a glowing smile on my face … could have had something to do with the tuxedoed fireman handing me that coveted blue box 😀

TIFFANY’S RUN:

  • 6:45 a.m. BG before: 10.3
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 21.77 km
  • Average pace: 6:27 min/km 😦
  • Time: 2:23:33 😦
  • 10 a.m. BG after: 11.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (2 hours)

Next time, rather than race it, I’m running the half, and documenting the beauty around me, NOT racing it.

The necklace has the line ‘I run to be…’ What word would you insert after the ellipsis? 

Ready or not…

Ready or not, here I come NWM!

Yep, you guys called it, I will be trying to race on Sunday. My plan is to go out and see how I feel and if I feel great off the hop, I’ll keep going and trying to go as long as my legs and lungs will push me. At this point, there is nothing, no injury, no pain, no nigglyness, nothing holding me back. Whether that holds true for Sunday, only time will tell.

All I know is that if I don’t try, I’ll end up kicking myself in the end. I’ve got to try. It may not be my best run, it may not be my best race, but then again, it might be. When I ran Toronto, I was in a similar situation coming off injury and I totally rocked that run; my best run. (Mind you, I think I was back up to decent mileage by that time, but whatever, I still had inury to contend with.) What can I say, when it comes to me and my running alter ego, I’m competitive as hell!

And if it does go sour on me, I’ll slow my pace, I’ll walk it out if I have to, I’ll change my plan.

Plan B: Enjoy the beautiful San Francisco scenery all around me. And if that fails, Plan C: Picture them firemen at the finish… topless 😀

TONIGHT’S AJ:

  • 5:15 p.m. BG before: 5.6 (1/2 small box of raisins)
  • Temp. basal: -100 per cent (1 hour)
  • Time: 30 minutes –> hard!
  • 6:15 p.m. BG after: 5.4
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1/2 hour)

I pretty much had the lane to myself at the pool tonight, aside from another girl  swimming laps in the shallow end, which was awesome. So, I decided because I was in a crunch for time, I’d stick to the deep end and go hard for a good 30 minutes. And I did go hard, oh man did I ever. I got proof: Foot cramps and leg cramps a plenty! Yay!

Well folks, it’s back to packing I go – I hate packing and procrastinate for as long as possible – so this is where I sign off. See you next week – post Tiffany 😀

San Francisco: stairway to heaven

The hills were unavoidable.

It didn’t matter how much I tried to block my eyes, avert my eyes, shut my eyes, in San Francisco, I was surrounded by hills. And not mole hills. Oh no, these suckers were straight up, stomach in your gut, oh my god, what I have I gotten myself into hills.


Lombard Street: One of the world’s crookedest streets featuring eight tight switchbacks, which were designed out of necessity as most vehicles in 1922 could not ascend the 27% grade!

On most occasions, I am not a fan of knowing the route of my races or even my long runs before heading out. I don’t want to know if I’ll be having to run rolling hills, or descend down stairway to heaven hills, I don’t want to know if one of my running partners has picked a route that I hate or a route that bores the hell out of me. When it comes to my running, I live in a world of ignorance where everything comes at me in surprise. And I like it that way!

Now, that being said, it probably wasn’t the wisest thing to book a trip to the city of an upcoming race – two weeks before said race! Especially if that city is San Francisco.

I knew when I signed up for the Nike Women’s Half Marathon that there would be hills. And I knew they would be significant hills. But it wasn’t until we drove into the city, and I saw those cable car hills (straight up, oh my god hills!) that it suddenly hit me. Oh freaking crud.


The stairs of Telegraph Hill: 800 steps of straight up stunning beauty, sculpted gardens, art-deco buildings, beautiful homes, and even wild parrots.

I love hills, we all know that, but these hills, I was sweating just looking at them. Seriously, I was on my tip toes just walking up them, I couldn’t even imagine having to run them, let alone descend them. I hate running downhill!

It was at this point, Mario suggested I go against my number one rule and actually look at the route, get a feel for what I’d soon be getting into. Thank heavens for smart husbands.


Mr. Smartypants.

One click of Google and my apprehension had been cured. The NWM half-marathon route shows NO cable car hills, and in fact, only two real hills to contend with. The first hill is between the 10 and 11 km mark and has an approximate maximum elevation of 290 feet. The second hill is between the 13 and 14 km mark and has a max elevation of 345 feet. I still have no idea how high that is, and quite frankly I don’t want to know … I can’t change all at once you know 😉

Further Google searching had me discovering this race route will also feature a beautiful, eclectic mix of urban, ocean and forest views AND a glimpse of the Golden Gate Bridge too. I love bridges!


Sooo, just wondering, is it normal to start belting out the Full House theme song every time you drive across the Golden Gate Bridge? Because that’s exactly what happened to me 😀

In one week, my friends, I will have completed a race I have dreamed of for more than a year now, and I will have received my Tiffany’s ‘finisher’s’ necklace, handed to me by a San Francisco firefighter. Oh yum.

Now what the heck was I being all trepidatious about anyway? 😀

And that completes my California Trip No. 1 backlog of blogs, which is a good thing given that I’ll be leaving for California Trip No. 2 this Thursday! Eeeeeeeeeee!!!