Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Carrots and Hiccups

Anyone else out there get hiccups every time they eat raw carrots?

This has happened to me ever since I was a very young child. Carrot sticks = hiccups is just part of my routine. Celery sticks do not cause hiccups. Nor do any other fresh veggies. Grated carrots don't either. Nor do cooked ones. But one bite of a raw carrot has me reaching for the water for my get rid of hiccups quick trick that I mastered decades ago.

Most people think the whole carrot hiccup thing is odd.

My mother does not.

Because she has the exact same issue with them and has as long as she can remember too.

No one else in the family does. Just the two of us. So we laugh and take comfort in the fact that, if we're crazy, at least we're crazy together.

The other day I cut myself some carrot sticks and celery sticks for an afternoon snack. One bite of the carrot stick and the hiccups started. I got rid of them with my drinking water trick and then headed off to the couch with the rest of my snack. It occurred to me as I reached for my iPad to continue my magazine that perhaps I should do some internet research to see what's up with this whole carrot hiccup thing.

Guess what I learned?

1. I learned that there are a whole bunch of people out there who get hiccups from eating raw carrots. No other veggies. Just raw carrots. And by a bunch I mean like a whole bunch.

2. I learned that there is no obvious answer as to why this happens. It is not a carrot allergy - that much I concluded. A few websites said that we are eating the carrots too quickly but I know that, for myself anyway, even when I pay attention and chew slowly, I still get the hiccups on the first bite. I know I am only an n of one but there were others who seemed to think that this hypothesis was horsepoop too.

3. I also learned that one woman started a website as a support group for people who get hiccups from raw carrots so that they could feel less alone. I read through the comments and every single person wrote something along the lines of "Omigod I thought I was the only one".

So guess what I did?

I called my mom of course.

And told her that we were not crazy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An Unexpected Pace Bunny

Saturday morning I headed out for my easy 60 minute run that caps off my easy running week. The snow had melted just enough that the main roads were clear. The sides ones (ie. mine) were not and navigating them was a little tricky but, once on the main roads, it was a lovely day for a run.

I set off with no plans other than to enjoy a comfortably paced run and that is exactly what I did for the first few kilometres.

That is until I spotted one of my running friends off in the distance.

I guessed that she was less than a kilometre away but more than 500m. Close enough to know it was her but not close enough to yell.

She is a faster runner than I am and seemed to be going at a good clip. I knew I couldn't make up the distance to catch up to her unless she stopped to tie her shoes. Instead, I decided to see if I could hold on and not let her get any further ahead.

So I sped up.

A lot.

Like at least 40 seconds per kilometre faster.

And the chase began.

I knew that my route was taking me by her street so I figured she was heading home. I also know the route enough to know that we had about 2.5 kilometres until her street so I was going to have to hold this pace for at least 15 minutes.

The pace felt brisk but surprisingly manageable. Probably because I was rested after taking it easy all week. I listened to my breath, took constant stock of how I was feeling and watched her like a hawk to make sure she didn't pull ahead.

She didn't.

Once she got to her street I no longer had a bunny to chase. But I was feeling good and enjoying the push so I kept at it to see if I could sustain it for the last 3k home. I held it easily for 2 of those 3k but the final kilometre derailed completely as I turned back off the main roads and onto the snow and ice covered side one.

Such a fun run!

I headed out for an easy 9k and ended up running three different runs. I ran 2k on treacherous snowy roads, 2k at my expected pace and then tucked in the middle I had a lovely 5k gallop that was completely unplanned and totally fun.

Monday, December 15, 2014

An Israeli Supper

Two years ago we were getting ready for my sister to come home for Christmas. While she was here, she and I planned my big adventure to go visit her in Israel the following March.

I visited, ran the Tel Aviv half, gorged on hummus, halva and baklava, drank my weight in pomegranate juice, travelled from one end of the country to the other and, in the process fell madly in love with Israel.

This past weekend I was flooded with memories of that wonderful adventure and decided that, if I can't go to Israel, I can bring Israel to me.

Or, more precisely, to my kitchen.

So I pulled out my beloved Jerusalem cookbook and set about making my first batch of from scratch traditional Israeli hummus.

I soaked the chickpeas overnight.

Sunday afternoon I boiled them and removed as many as their skins as possible.

I tossed the mushy mess into the food processor, added tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, freshly crushed garlic and iced cold water.

I blended until absolutely smooth.

I put it in a bowl under plastic wrap to let it 'settle'.

A few hours later, pour souper, I spread the hummus on a plate and drizzled olive oil and lemon juice over it the way they did it for us in Jerusalem. Topped with pan heated pine nuts and fresh parsley = delicious!

Fresh pitas ripped by hand and crunchy veggies were used for dipping.

And, for dessert?

Pomegranates and baklava of course!

Just a little hummus teaser for you.

Friday, December 12, 2014

One Snow Fall = Lots of Reactions

A wee bit of snow fell in my neck of the woods.

It started on Wednesday evening as I drove home from a dinner with friends. Thursday evening, as I wrote this blog, it still hadn't quite stopped. I lost track of how many centimetres fell but it was enough to completely transform the landscape from the dark colours of late fall to the glorious white of winter.

The runner in me peeked out the window on Thursday morning, saw the snow and decided to hop on the bike instead. A few years ago I would have pulled on my yaktraks and toughed it out. Now I am a little more protective and weigh the pros and cons before heading out in nasty weather. Is a 5k run with a high risk of fall or injury really worth it? Not when I am not training for anything AND I have a perfectly good bike in the basement.

The driver in me saw the snow and thanked the driving gods that I only live a kilometre from work AND have winter tires. I looked out my office window all day watching car after car slip and slide their way up and down the street.

The outdoorsy part of me did a little happy dance as I got to shovel not once but twice. In the dark early morning hours the snow was falling, the wind was gently blowing and the world was still and quiet. After work, the sky was blue, the kids were playing in the park across the street and the air was fresh and clean. Snow shoveling is my absolute favourite chore.

The Tabata part of me was sad that the class was cancelled. I sort of got over it after driving home and experiencing how bad the roads were. Suddenly driving across town in the dark was not at all appealing. I completely got over it after a solid hour of shoveling heavy wet snow. A complete core workout that was probably a little easier thanks to all of the Tabata and CoreFit I've been doing.

The homebody part of me looked forward to my first evening on the couch is almost a week. An early dinner, chores done, blog written - time for a few magazines, a glass of wine and some quiet time.

Ready or not folks, winter has arrived.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Play the Course the Way You Find it

Sunday night we were watching the Canada Cup of Curling final. Team Jacobs versus Team McEwen. Team Jacobs was predicted to win but they were struggling a bit.

The announcers, bless them, were trying to figure out their problem.

Well, they didn't play yesterday so that could be it. They lost touch with the ice.

Plus the ice is different during the final game because there are fewer teams playing which affects the ice temperature.

And there are more people in the audience which heats up the building, also affecting the ice temperature.

Oh, and they are convinced that one of their rocks is a 'cutter' meaning that it doesn't rotate the way it should.

I turned to Doug and announced "curling is just like diabetes!".

"How so?" he asked.

"What worked yesterday probably won't work today and there are so many variables that can affect the game that it's impossible to be 'perfect' for more than a few moments."

"Diabetes is like golf too" countered Doug. "Every day the course is different. And the only way to cope is to play the course the way you find it. Not the way you remember it from the day before."

"Wow, I should write a blog about this!" I said.

"Well, fire up your laptop and get on it" replied Doug.

"Oh, and I have one more nugget of wisdom that you could use to wrap up your blog" he said with a grin.

"It's the same ice for both teams."

"Thanks baby" I said as I fired up my laptop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bolusing for Baklava

"Need anything out of the kitchen?" Doug asked.

"I'm hoping I can have baklava but not yet" I replied after a glance at my pump.

I had bolused a little earlier but no sign that I was dropping yet so there was no way I was touching that high carb treat.

Evenings are a juggling act on my side of the couch.

I like a little post-dinner treat but I've learned a few important lessons over the years.

1. Bolus early and do not eat the snack until it's very clear that blood sugar is dropping as it should.

2. Eat early enough so that I know if I'm in a good spot before going to bed - otherwise Rose will wait until I'm sound asleep and then start alarming like a madwomen. I may be high. I may be low. But I'll be something. And no one wants to eat four fig newtons at midnight after already having a high calorie treat before bed.

3. Do not have a post-dinner treat if dinner was a high carb meal. Otherwise there won't be enough time to know what the blood sugar dinner gods will do before I call in the blood sugar snacks gods. Usually they have a big ol' fight in the middle of the night. See number 2 for more details.

4. Do not rage bolus after 7pm unless absolutely necessary. Without fail I will be eating a snack that I do not want to eat at 3am. Guarantee.

There are nights when I have bolused for chocolate, put it on a plate, studiously ignored it for an hour and then put it back in the cupboard with a sigh because, by 9:00pm, I still wasn't low enough to eat it.

There are night when I have bolused for chocolate, enjoyed the chocolate without waiting for my dinner numbers to drop, gone to bed high, bolused extra and then had to eat two more snacks during the night because of lows.

"Need anything out of the kitchen?" is always tempting but I'm slowly learning to say yes when the stars align and to say no when they don't.

I value my sleep too much to jeopardize it unnecessarily for a piece of baklava - as delicious as it is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Too Focused To Pay Attention

For the five weeks, I have been running with two goals in mind. Recover from my autumn cold and increase my weekend long runs to 15k so that I can run 90 minutes without too much difficulty.

Five weekends ago I ran 10k which was demoralizing after having been off for a few weeks. 

Four weekends ago I ran 12k which was pretty tough. 

Three weekends ago I ran 14k which was tough but a little bit less so. 

Two weekends ago I ran 15k and also went back to my much hillier route which meant added distance and difficulty. It felt surprisingly good and I was pumped. Runner girl was back! 

This past Saturday I did the same 15k hilly route again. The hills and the first 10k went quite well. Then I turned into a nasty headwind for 3k which sapped my strength and slowed me down. I persevered and finished but was exhausted by the end...and for the rest of the afternoon. I also had some foot and shin pain which seemed a little odd because I had stretched and iced right after the run and hadn't experienced any problems up to that point. 

Later that afternoon I entered my run into my online training program (Training Peaks) and I looked at how my mileage was adding up. 

That's when the first of two things hit me.

CĂ©line, you've been so focused on getting your running fitness back that you forgot all about recovery weeks. 

I have been running for five weeks without a break - increasing the mileage every single week without slowing down to let my body recover. 

So, ready or not, this week is an easy week - 5k runs in the morning before work and 10k on Saturday. C'est tout! 

Then the second thing hit me as I limped around the house all afternoon. 

How old are your running shoes anyway? 

Because I had not been training for anything official since early September, I wasn't paying close attention to the mileage on my shoes. Thankfully, Training Peaks tracks that for me too. I did a little checkie-check and discovered that my 'new' shoes had actually been purchased in June (June!) and had 719k on them.

I usually trade them in at 500k to avoid injury. 

How does one run an extra 200k without noticing? 

My mathematical prediction? 

Easy week + new shoes = an extra little bounce in my step.