Tuesday, September 2, 2014

August Workout Update

Another month has flown by and just like that the summer is over and all the kids are back in school. Which means I had better drive extra slowly to work this morning to avoid getting a dreaded back to school speeding ticket.

August was a pretty good month fitness-wise. Here are the final numbers:

Strength and Core
I only managed to squeeze in one of those core/strength workouts that I discovered in July. Not impressive by any means. On a positive note (I think?!?) I was convinced by a few of my super fit friends to join them on Tuesday/Thursday evenings for a corefit class. They promised me pain but the kind of pain I would enjoy ('like intervals or long runs' they said). They keep mentioning 'twisties' and then laughing maniacally. Being a fan of new challenges, I signed up. The first class is on September 9th. Stay tuned for updates.

Another rather abysmal cycling month. Because of family commitments and birthday celebrations I only had one Sunday free to join our cycling group so I put a total of 28k on my bike. Sigh

Swimming has picked up again and I managed to get a bunch of workouts in. Seven as a matter of fact, for a total of 17,700m of swimming. The pool is closed now for a week but I'm signing up for the fall session which starts on September 8th.

I managed to golf a grand total of 9 times in August. Three 9-hole games and 6 18-hole ones. I walked a total of 59.5k which took just about 24 hours. That's a lot of walking out in the fresh air. Maybe that's why I'm feeling so frisky.

The first month of half marathon training is done and it went well. I ran 12 times in August and covered 105,6k in 11 hours and 45 minutes. I also managed one hill workout and one interval workout.

In a month of 31 days, I managed to do 30 different workouts. Some days doubled up and some days were workout-free but, overall, things are humming along nicely. I've probably got another 6-8 weeks of golf left, corefit starts in a week and curling ramps up again in October. It's just a revolving door of activity.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Four Days of Oatmeal and Hallucinations

Hi folks!

Sorry about yesterday. Doug and I were off adventuring, got home late and, well, I just didn't have time to write anything. Life comes first right?

I'm back.

All sorts of things have happened since we last spoke.

- I dropped my golf handicap by another stroke. Woot!

- I had a no hitter day. That's a day when my blood sugars don't hit the high or the low threshold I have set on Rose. No buzzing. No beeping. Just a nice easy up and down ride between 4 and 10. The best part? I wasn't even trying.

- I tried a new oatmeal. I usually make slow cooking rolled oats when I'm craving oatmeal but, a while ago, I found a cereal that has those plus 7 other fun things. Like flax seeds and quinoa flakes and other fibre-filled tasty goodies. I made it the other day, topped it with raspberries and blueberries and a bit of almond milk and voilĂ ! Delicious, nutritious and 10 grams of fibre to boot.

I have been forty for four days. In those four days I may have:

1. hallucinated that my shoulder was covered in ants. They may have also been real. I was watering my parents' garden, looked over and noticed there were about 50 of those big black ants crawling all over my left shoulder. I freaked out, brushed my shoulder so vigorously that they all disappeared and then I freaked out more and hosed off my entire shoulder. I then spent 10 minutes wondering how they got there in the first place, if they were real or imagined and whether the neighbours think I have lost it.

2. forgotten more than a handful of words and said the complete opposite of what I had in my head out loud more than once. As in "it's crazy how much colder it is on this side of the building when we are sheltered from the lake". "Did you mean warmer?" "Yes, yes I did."

3. developed mild carpal tunnel in my left wrist after playing two golf games over two days.

4. discovered that I have been looking over and under my actual glasses when trying to look at something up close for a while now. I tried to fill my new insulin reservoir and noticed that I can't do it unless I don't actually look through my glasses. Do I see bifocals in my future? I also can't read small print while wearing my contacts. I'm going to become one of those ladies with three different pairs of glasses in her purse.

5. found a grey eyebrow hair. I wasn't even looking. It was just sticking straight up one morning. How does that happen?

Like it just grew two inches overnight? Really??

And how do ants just mysteriously appear on your shoulder. I was not standing under a tree, they were only on my left shoulder and nowhere else and there was like an entire colony of them.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


I'm a huge fan of radio stations like CBC and NPR. I'll take fascinating interviews on subjects both familiar and foreign over music and commercials any day.

Some of my favourite interviews to listen to are interviews with authors. They introduce me to fascinating people I have never heard of and also give me book suggestions to help feed my insatiable reading appetite.

Last February, Doug and I went on a road trip and spent many hours listening to the radio as we drove. By the end of the trip I had five new books downloaded on my iPad ready for reading. As I also had a pile of books on my nightstand and armfuls of magazines to work through, I'm still reading my way through those books I first heard about as we were making our way down through the Eastern United States.

The other day I started one of those books. It is called the Once and Future World. Being a huge fan of the Once and Future King (it's about King Arthur and, if you haven't read it, please drop what you're doing and start) I was immediately drawn to someone who would pick that as their title.

The book is about nature which appeals to my biology-loving side. The author talks about the idea that the state of nature as we know it is the state that we use as a basis of comparison. In other words, the number of birds singing in the trees when I was a child, the volume of the frog chorus in the nearby pond and the diversity of plants and trees in the forest when I grew up is, to me, the way nature should be.

My 'normal' would shock the people who lived there two generations earlier and their normal would shock the people who lived there two generations before that. Our world is slowly but steadily loosing richness and diversity but, in many cases, it's happening too slowly for anyone but scientists to really freak out about it.

He talks about how there are efforts all over the world to return natural areas to an even more natural state but that there is great debate about what that natural state actually is. Do we want to return our forests and prairies to what they were before 1492, when Christopher Columbus arrived? Or earlier than that, when it was even richer and more diverse? And, if we really are committed to this, what does that mean for the animals that used to be here that we might not want to have walking around? Like elephants in North America? And large members of the cat family (think lions only bigger)?

I'm only a handful of chapters into the book so far but it already has me thinking a lot about our ideas about what nature is and what value we put on it. And how our age and where we grew up plays a huge role in how we feel about the state of things today.

Thank you NPR for yet another thought-provoking book suggestion.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sweet Sixteen

Half marathon training is predictable in its distances but unpredictable in terms of how the body will do on any given day.

There are all sorts of ways to train for a half and all sorts of long run schedules you can follow. I've followed a predictable training schedule for the last bunch of races and it works. Just in case though, I do a little voodoo dance, spin around twice and toss chicken feathers over my shoulder in the hopes that it keeps working.

Here's what my Saturday long run distances look like:
10k easy week
10k easy week
race day

Build up for two months. Get three runs in that are 20k or more. Taper back down for the last month. This routine works for me and leaves me feeling relatively confident for race day.

Race day is still a long way off so I'm at the beginning of this schedule. On Saturday, I ran 16k. It went surprisingly well. My body, my energy and my blood sugar did what I wanted them to do the entire time. I even managed to shave a few seconds off each of the last few kilometres instead of add seconds like I usually do.

As I finished the last few hundred metres, I thought to myself, 16k is my favourite long run distance.

It really is.

12k and 14k usually feel a little harder than they should as my body struggles to get used to ramping up the distances again. It's both a physical and a psychological struggle. By the time I hit 20k, I'm in survival mode. By that I mean that I have to run 2+ hours, I've been doing this for almost two months and I'm getting tired.

But 16k is that sweet spot. It's far enough to feel like an accomplishment and yet it's not so far as to feel overwhelming. In fact I could happily head out for 18 holes of golf after 16k. Nothing really hurts. A good shower and a warm lunch is all I need to bounce back and I walk around all day with a nice post-workout glow rather than a desperate need for a nap.

Seven more weeks and I get to do it again!

Friday, August 22, 2014

A New Decade

I'm writing this post as a 39-year old.

When Monday's post goes up, I will be a woman in her 40s.

I'm not particularly bothered by the idea of turning 40 but I am rather shocked at the idea. How is it possible that I've been on this planet for four decades when it feels like yesterday that I was reading Anne of Green Gables, watching Thundercats and playing with Legos??

I still remember when my father turned 40. Vividly. I was almost five years old at the time and now I am as old as my father was then. And since that is his first birthday that I actually remember, I am as old now as the youngest version of my father that I remember.

He is 75 now and, if I am even close to being as active, fit, well-read and hilarious when I'm 75, I'll be doing just fine thank you very much.

It's important on the dawn of a new adventure to take a moment to look back.

Ten years ago I was standing on the precipice of 30.

I had been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a mere 22 months before and was still struggling with the day to day of it all. I carried juice boxes in my purse, was on multiple daily injections, had a glucometer that took 30 seconds to count down and flat out refused to even consider an insulin pump.

I had no idea what a blog was and, if asked, I probably would have said that bloggers are ridiculous. Who would read them anyway?!?

I had yet to discover running and could not have even guessed at how long a half marathon actually was.

I did not own a road bike and had no idea there were pedals that people clipped their shoes to.

I was 7 1/2 years away from my first attempt at swimming for fitness.

I was not an athlete by any stretch of the imagination.

I was a vegetarian and had been for almost 18 years.

I had short cropped hair.

I did not own any makeup other that perhaps a lip balm of some kind.

I drove a rusty old Nissan Sentra.

I lived alone in a small apartment.

I had yet to meet either of my brothers in law. 

I had no idea how wonderful it would feel to be an aunt.

I would never have imagined the life I have now. The life I love with a man I adore. A life full of adventure, of activity, of challenges, of family and of friends.

I love my life. I love the people in my life. I know very well how lucky I am and I try to take the time to appreciate what I have.

As I stand on the edge of the precipice, forty is looking pretty wonderful so far.

See you all on the other side.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Hole In One

Perspective is everything.

A gentleman who swims at the pool every morning one day collapses in the locker room and does not survive.

Some people ask how that is possible since he was so active. Some people wonder if all the exercise put too much strain on him and caused the heart attack.

Others wonder how many years the swimming added to his life and think about how much time he may have given himself by taking the time to add fitness to his routine.

A woman was a long-time friend and yoga instructor to a man who, recently, committed suicide.

The instructor wonders why they weren't able to help them.

I wonder if they unknowingly helped add years to his life simply by being a friend, by giving him a quiet place to calm the voices in his head and unconditionally loving him.

A family member passes away and the funeral mass is packed with family and friends.

I could wonder why some people were not there.

Or I could marvel at the effort made by the ones who were and spend the next few hours catching up to cousins not seen in decades.

In every organization there are many many employees who are competent, fun to work with, inspiring and committed. There are a handful who are the opposite of that.

We can choose to focus on supporting to folks who move things forward...

...or we can waste hours of frustrated energy on the few who don't.

On a 9-hole par 3 course every hole is technically within striking distance from the tee.

I can cross my fingers and hope I hit a shot that isn't too bad.

Or I can try every single time, week after week, to get a hole in one.

Life is a journey we cannot predict nor control.

How we respond to life's events, large or small, has a huge effect on what the journey feels like.

I think the man at the pool added years to his life by going swimming every morning and it inspired me to continue my own efforts to be active and healthy.

I think the yoga instructor helped her friend in ways she will never understand and may have save his live many times over without ever knowing it.

I am grateful I was able to attend my uncle's funeral and have time to spend with cousins who last saw me when I was in high school.

I choose to support the folks who try to move things forward and make this world a better place.

And I try on every single par 3 hole I play, at every golf course I play at, to get a hole in one. When I don't, I'm extra motivated to get it on the next one.

One day I will.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

T-shirt Troubles

There is something odd that happens when running in a t-shirt.

Actually, I should probably clarify that a bit.

There is something odd that happens when running in a t-shirt if you have type 1 diabetes, wear an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM).

And you're me.

The t-shirt running season for me is usually fairly short. In the winter I run in winter running clothes that have nothing to do with a t-shirt. In the early spring I switch to shorts but keep a long-sleeved shirt for a few more weeks. Then it's shorts and a t-shirt but only until it's just barely warm enough and then I switch to my tank top that I wear all summer. Then reverse everything I just wrote as winter rolls back in again.

Last spring, I wrote about how running in a t-shirt seems to dislodge my insulin pump site and/or my CGM. I figured it was the back and forth flow of the t-shirt that did it since my tank top and my winter running tops are all snug and don't move. I wrote about how I was having to run home from work to change a leaky infusion site or having to re-tape my CGM back on because it was barely holding on. Then I stopped writing about that during the summer because it stopped happening.

Yesterday morning it was just cold enough that I put on my t-shirt. Not even thinking.

I ran 7k.

By 2.5k, the shirt had rubbed my CGM to the point where it was barely hanging on and no longer saveable. Since it had already lasted 9 days, I was ok with the sacrifice. Anything under 7 feels like a loss but anything over feels like a win. Still though, 15 minutes of running and my CGM, complete with extra adhesive, fell right off? That won't do at all during long runs and races when I rely on that to tell me what my blood sugar is doing.

I got home, tested my blood sugar and prepared to bolus for breakfast. At the last second I remembered that my site would often leak after running in a t-shirt to I lightly pressed a tissue against it while the insulin went it. I pulled it away afterwards and there was a tiny wet spot that smelled suspiciously like bandaids (insert bleh noise here).

I decided to push the infusion site rather than change it too and it did well all day - no unexplained highs but it did leak a bit with each bolus.

Surprising what one 7k run will do when there is a t-shirt involved. It cost me an $80 CGM site and almost another $20 infusion site. I should take that money and see if I can find a t-shirt that fits like my tank top.

Because I've been reminded that the t-shirt thing just doesn't work for this type 1 gal.