Thursday, September 18, 2014

The 20k

Saturday morning I had to run 20k. Not only did I have to run 20k but I had to run 20k on time to get home, stretch, ice, shower, eat and look bright-eyed and bushy tailed enough to run a training session at work at noon. On top of that I had to run 20k on a morning that was cold and damp and calling for rain an hour into my 2-hour run. Did I mention I was also kinda sore from CoreFit week one?

So I got up early and headed out the door lickity-split. I was 4k in when the first drops started falling. Even in my long sleeves I was chilled. Damn! Keep moving!! The drops stopped falling and I kept moving. I wondered if I should stop to drink and stretch around 8k. My brain answered before I could even process the question.

Don't you dare! Just keep moving. You can stop at 10k quickly to drink and stretch and check your blood sugar but we're talking like two minutes tops.

And I kept moving. At 10k I did stop. I drained my bottle knowing that Doug was meeting me at 13k with more. I checked my blood sugar which was a little low so I quickly ate some fruit chews. The drops started falling again and I was getting chilled so I picked it right up and kept moving.

At 13k Doug was nowhere to be seen but I was ahead of schedule and he had a few things to do before meeting me so I wasn't worried. I'm sure I could have just waited at the 13k mark for him but I kept moving. I wondered if I could get to 15k before he showed up. I sped up a bit as I ran down a long straight country road. My watch beeped 14k and no black car appeared on the horizon. Just as I approached 15k I saw his car at the corner. At exactly 15k he reached me.

I refilled, ate a banana, reapplied lip balm (which feels so damn good on a long run), waved goodbye and headed off for the last 5k. I was feeling the pressure of time, I was pretty chilled and I was also feeling the rain clouds gathering and wanted to beat them if I could.

I lopped along for the last 5k. I didn't stop. I didn't slow down. I just kept moving right along until my watch beeped about 500m from my front door. I turned it off, slowed to a walk and strolled home.

Suddenly it hit me. I just ran 20k. I ran it well. I ran it fast. I was so busy trying to do it that I didn't actually notice I was doing it. Does that make sense? It's like, where there is no time to stop and walk my body doesn't ask to stop and walk. It just keeps running because there really were no other options.

I ran 20k. I beat the rain storm by about 15 minutes. I didn't hurt during or after despite the CoreFit madness earlier in the week. And I got to work right on time and we had a wonderful training session.

Twenty-two kilometres this Saturday and then I will have already finished the longest runs of the training. Time flies when you're running well!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Tabata

Ever heard of Tabata?

I had no idea what it was. All I knew was that the Thursday night CoreFit class was a Tabata class.

Tabata, as it turns out, is like CoreFit on speed.

The class is broken up into 4-minute segments. Before each segment we are explained the four things we are about to do.

Each segment seems to have a cardio thing (like jumping jacks), an arm weight thing (like bicep curls), a core thing (like side plank) and an ab thing (like lie on your back and then raise and lower your legs). You do each activity for 20 seconds and then immediately move on to the next and the next. When all four are done you immediately repeat the entire set of four. 

The entire segment takes 4 minutes. 

Then you sit panting on the mat while the instructor quickly explains the next four moves. Repeat this until you have finished 8 complete segments. All the while there is a recording of a guy counting down the 20 second sets and playing wacky music in between. 

It's fun. It's fast. It's hard. And it's manageable because, no matter how hard something was, you only had to do it for 20 seconds.

I laughed a few times because all the other ladies were sore from Tuesday as well and every once in a while a collective groan could be heard as the move we did used one of the sorer muscle groups. It's bizarre how comforting it is to share pain with others. 

I crawled home again on Thursday night hoping my body would have enough time to recover before my 20k run on Saturday morning. 

I have to say that I am impressed with the classes and pleasantly surprised at how the first week went. It will be interesting to see how far I get after 15 weeks of this. At this rate I'll be able to bench press a car by Christmas.

A small car mind you.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Run

Thursday morning, 36 hours after my first CoreFit class, I dragged my screaming body out of bed. Everything hurt. Abs, back, legs, glutes. In fact, the only muscles that didn't hurt were my arms.

I really need to grab heavier weights next week. 

CoreFit part two was Thursday night and I was a little worried about how sore I was. I didn't want to go to a second class if it meant sacrificing my Saturday 20k run because I couldn't move. So I made myself get up Thursday morning and go for a 5k run. Just to make sure I could.

I stood at the end of my driveway in the cool, dark early morning with my finger poised over my watch. Ready to hit start and head off down the road. Ready? Hit the button CĂ©line. C'mon girlie hit the button.

Just.

Hit.

The.

Damn.

Button.

BEEP!

I willed my butt muscles into gear and headed off. After the first ten seconds of awkward fumbling while I tried to remember how my legs worked, it felt ok. Not run like the wind ok but I think I'll survive the run ok. I was slower than normal but I was moving and nothing really hurt very much. Just stiff and really achy.

I warmed up for 2 1/2 kilometres and then figured I should stop and stretch a bit. I did and it felt really good. Then I tried to start running again. I almost laughed out loud as I felt my butt muscles quiver in fear and do their best to help propel me forward. It was a little more of a lurch than a lunge but I was moving again and ran the second half without incident.

I made it home and felt better knowing that I could indeed run.

Looks like I would be going to Thursday's class and looks like I would be running 20k on Saturday after all.

Monday, September 15, 2014

CoreFit

Last Tuesday I tried my first CoreFit Class. I had never been to a class like that before. 

I knew it would be hard. 

I knew it would be good for me. 

I knew I would probably curse in my head a few times, perhaps curse out loud once or twice but, at the end of it, I knew I'd probably want to come back again. 

Thankfully I had a friend with me who was a veteran of the class and could show me where to put my equipment and explain why exactly we needed to grab two cloths in addition to the weights and balance balls.

The class started off with a warmup that had me feeling incredibly grateful that my mother and I used to go to step classes together. Being rather uncoordinated and often unable to make my arms and legs follow instructions at the same, those almost forgotten step class moves miraculously reappeared, allowing me to almost keep up with the warmup. 

The warmup ended with squats. Lots and lots of squats. Plain squats. Squats with weights. Squats that you hold while standing on your toes. Squats that have you shaking so badly that when you a finally allowed to stand up again you're not sure if you actually can. 

The squats were followed by planks. And more planks. And side planks. And planks with weights (who knew that was possible??). Planks where you slide backwards and forwards (now I know why we needed those cloths!)

And abs. And more abs. And abs with your legs in the air. Abs while balancing on balls. 

Finally arms. Lots of arms. Arms, as it turns out, were my favourite. Probably because I grabbed weights that were too light which made me feel super strong. Probably also because my arms are much stronger than they used to be thanks to all the swimming and it made me feel kinda badass. 

By the time we were ready to cool down, I was shaking so much I wasn't sure I could stand up for the cool down. I did. And I was grateful to see that most of the other women were looking as exhausted as I was. 

I stumbled home and into bed. I felt great for having done it but I knew I was going to be in for a few days of sore muscles. What I didn't realize was how quickly that soreness would appear and how sore I would be. By Wednesday morning I could not sit up in bed without using my arms and by Wednesday afternoon I could not lower myself down into a chair or stand up from a seated position without a deep steadying breath and some pretty major arm action. 

The first time is always the worst and I was still looking forward to the following Tuesday to do it all over again. 

Problem was that there was another class on Thursday and I wasn't sure I'd be able to climb into my car let alone survive part two. 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Monday it is Then

So I was supposed to have a blog post for this morning talking about the Corefit classes I tried this week.

Problem is that I got back from Thursday night's class and barely had enough energy to wrap myself in a blanket before collapsing on the couch.

Looks like you'll have to wait until Monday for the scoop.

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The ?!? Factor

The other day someone posted a link to an article that talked about some of the factors that can affect blood sugar. None of these factors were new to me. I have either already been told about them by medical professionals or I’ve experienced them firsthand enough times to reach my own conclusions.

The list included the usual suspects:

- Carbs make it go up
- Stress makes it go up
- Hormones make it go up, except for all the times when they make it go down
- Exercise makes it go up or down depending on the type of exercise, time of day, length of time spent doing it and how long it's been since you did it
- Alcohol makes it go down unless you’re having sugary drinks in which case it sorta makes it go up and down at the same time

And so on and so forth.

I read this article while sitting on the couch. I had just returned from my first CoreFit class (more on that tomorrow), was sipping red wine and enjoying two chocolate chip oatmeal cookies. I had had kinda stressful work day. I had already run that morning.

That paragraph alone shows that there were at least five different factors at play at the same time. All of them pulling my blood sugar in one direction or another. All of them making my best laid plans seem laughable. How much should I bolus for those cookies? When I think about all the things pulling me up and down the answer is to take my best scientific wild ass guess at it.

So of course, after reading the article, I spent the next day playing a game with myself. How many variables are at play at any given time when I am making insulin-dosing decision?

Breakfast

I didn’t swim because, well let’s be honest here, I was too sore from the CoreFit class (more on that tomorrow). So no early morning workout means extra breakfast insulin and slightly higher blood sugars all day. But I did have the CoreFit class the night before which was a) hard, b) an unknown exercise as in I have no idea what it will do to my blood sugar over 24 hours and c) it was my first evening workout in a while which means all the stuff I do for morning workouts probably won’t work. So I took 0.20 more units that I normally do and crossed my fingers.

Lunch

I bring my own lunch to work 99.9% of the time because a) I know what’s in it and b) it’s much less expensive and c) it is usually much healthier. Yesterday, a group at work that I’ve been meeting with for five years decided to bring in Chinese food to celebrate our half decade anniversary. So the lunch variables were a) I hadn’t exercised that morning and b) I was eating unknown food( for the record I tried to compensate a bit by ordering a veggie dish with no rice to at least keep the carbs to a minimum). On top of that I had a massage booked two hours after lunch which typically lowers my blood sugar. Typically. Except when it hurts a lot and then it brings it up instead. And since my muscles really hurt from CoreFit (more on that tomorrow), I was expecting pain. On top of that I was meeting Doug for golf right after the massage which usually drops my blood sugar. 

So four more variables to consider. 

Keep in mind we're not even talking about the internal things going on (hormones, stress, fatigue and other fun things that are harder to identify and account for).

I didn't take much insulin at lunch and was holding steady at 7.0 before my massage. I panicked a bit and ate four candies en route because I was afraid of going low. I spiked up to 14 before the first half hour was done so I bolused two units to tackle that mistake. I was 11.0 when I left the massage and 9.0 by the time I got home. I ate 20 carbs en route to the golf course only to learn that we weren't going to be able to play since there was a huge rain storm coming. We hit balls for 15 minutes and then had to head home. My pre-golf snack had been unnecessary and I was now climbing back up to 11 as a result.

By that point in the day I had completely lost track of how many factors I had to keep in my head and we haven’t even reached dinner yet.
So I stopped counting. It's just easier to manage it all without actually thinking too hard about all the things I have to manage. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

I Can See Clearly Now...sort of



When I was a little girl, my father wore glasses. My mother didn’t. Not because of vanity but rather for the simple reason that she did not need to.

Then, about 30 seconds after she turned 40, she needed glasses.

When she got back from the optometrist, she said he told her the 40 is like a magic year when it comes to vision. If you didn’t need glasses before, at 40 you suddenly do. And if you did have glasses before, you suddenly need bifocals.

It didn’t mean much to me, at 15, other than the fact that I had to get used to seeing my mother in glasses. Now I can hardly remember her without them.

I got my own glasses when I was in grade 12. I guess that would put me at about 17 years old. I needed them for distance because I could no longer read what was written on the chalkboard.

I’ve never needed glasses for reading. In fact, I usually read by either taking off my glasses or, typically, simply looking up over or down under the lenses. I hardly notice I’m doing it but I know I do it all the time.  

Actually, I should say that I hardly noticed I did it. Suddenly, I seem to notice. I notice that things I used to be able to see clearly through my glasses are suddenly not quite so clear. Suddenly things I used to be able to read easily without my glasses now take an extra second or two as I find just the right distance at which to hold them to bring things into focus. Heck, last weekend I was editing photos and was horrified because they all looked slightly out of focus. Not a good thing considering it was a family photoshoot. I pulled my laptop a wee bit closer and suddenly everything looked crisp and focused – just as it should have. Thank goodness!

Looks like my mother’s optometrist was correct all those years ago. Forty is the magical age when it comes to vision. I expect my fall optometrist appointment will have me walking out with my first prescription for bifocals.

Sigh. 

I guess the silver lining on this latest discovery is that a new prescription is an excuse for a fun new colourful pair of glasses.