Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Healthy Travels - Day Two

Day Two of my hectic week and so far so good.

I managed to get myself into bed by 9pm. Didn't sleep straight through but did well considering I was away from home in an unfamiliar bed. I was up by 5:15 and downstairs at the hotel front desk by 5:40 asking for the key to the Fitness Closet. No one else was in there at the time so I hopped on the treadmill for 45 minutes. It took me a while to figure out the pace I needed since I'm not much of a treadmill runner but, once I found that happy balance between not going too slowly and not flying off the back end, I was golden.

5.4 seems to be the magic number - whatever that means.

By the end of the run I had burned 485 calories and run 3.85. I'm assuming that is 3.85 miles because that would be a rather embarrassing number of kilometres to cover in that time. 

I hopped off, spent a few minutes stretching and doing ab work on the fitness ball and then headed upstairs. We were meeting for breakfast at 7:45am so, at 7:30am, I bolused for my 5-minute oatmeal and heated it up in the microwave. I added my pomegranate seeds, dried cherries and spices and headed downstairs to join the others.

We ate and chatted and, by 8:15 I was heading back to my room to get ready. Rose started buzzing and I figured I was going low because of my run and pre-meal bolus.


I was 10.5 and climbing with double arrows up. Bah! By 8:30am I was 15 and still climbing. 8:45am I was 14.8 and steady but not dropping.

No site issues that I could tell. No miscalculation of carbs since it's a breakfast I am familiar with. Plus I ran for 45 minutes right before. I should be low if anything.

Anyone ever see a spike in blood sugar from running on a treadmill rather than outside?

I took a few conservative boluses plus a few rage ones to get me down to 5.6 before lunch. I bolused extra for that and yet, within 20m minutes, was double arrows up again heading for 15. I managed to bolus it back down again before dinner but this is not something that is usually a problem on a day when I exercise first thing. Very annoying.

Dinner was at a local pub so I chose the healthiest of the options. I also went for low carb since I wasn't in the mood to chase my blood sugars all night. Lots of water and no bedtime snack should hopefully help those nighttime numbers.

Wednesday morning's plan involves another trip to the Fitness Closet. I may try the elliptical this time since I haven't done that in about a decade. I may also hop back on the treadmill and see if I can beat my numbers from yesterday.

The gang decided to go out for breakfast because they thought the hotel breakfast left something to be desired. So much for my 5-minute oatmeal plan.

The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry don't they?

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Travel Healthy-style

Day one of work travel is complete.

On Monday I worked for a half a day and then headed home, loaded the car and drove 200+ kilometres to my new home for three days.

I did not exercise before work but I did eat a healthy breakfast (see 5-minute oatmeal for details)

Every two weeks we have a soup lunch at work that members of our soup lunch club take turns preparing. Yesterday was lobster bisque which was delicious although not entirely nutritious. I planned ahead and brought veggies (celery, carrots and peppers) for a mid-morning snack and limited myself to one reasonable-sized bowl of soup for lunch and two pieces of baguette bruschetta. Plus yogurt and pomegranate seeds.

Dinner was supposed to be at Swiss Chalet (sigh) but I knew that ahead of time so I googled their menu and made my decision before leaving my hotel room. I checked out their healthy menu options and compared their nutritional info with that of a quarter chicken dinner with veggies instead of fries, and no special dipping sauce. Quarter chicken dinner won hands down. Way less sodium and calories that the salads. (No wonder people get confused trying to figure out what healthy options are).

The good news was that we decided to head into town and try our hands at a local Italian restaurant instead of Swiss Chalet. My eyes headed straight to the pesce salade on the menu. Spinach, kale, roasted turnip and sweet potato, quinoa and two lovely pieces of grilled salmon on top. It was delicious!

I checked out the fitness closet after dinner. They managed to squeeze in a bike, treadmill and elliptical into a room the size of my bathroom. I double-checked to make sure that the treadmill worked, crossed my fingers that no one else will be venturing in at 5:30am and headed upstairs. I checked out the neighbourhood but there is no easy way to run outside unless I hop in my car and drive somewhere. All the roads within several kilometres are busy with no sidewalks or shoulders. I'll try the indoor treadmill and see if it drives me batty or not. I may end up running outside before this is over.

I had a pre-bed snack of pomegranate seeds, chia seeds and kefir. I prepped my 5-minute oatmeal and tossed it in the fridge and set my alarm for 5am for my pre-breakfast workout.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Travel Plans

I'm leaving this afternoon and will be away for work until late Thursday afternoon. I do this probably twice every year. It's a great experience and one that I enjoy doing but these weeks tend to wreak havoc on my body and my blood sugar.

The days are long. As in 7am-11pm long.

The food is often not so healthy. As in we eat a hotel breakfast. Take out lunch. And restaurant dinner. For three days in a row. And finding a restaurant that suits all tastes usually means Swiss Chalet or Kelsey's-type food rather than the Korean, Thai or Sushi I often vote for.

I typicaly come home exhausted, with unhappy blood sugars and a rather crappy overall feeling due to lack of exercise.

Having done this several times now, I've learned a few tricks.

I called the hotel to find out what is in my room. I have a fridge and a microwave. Bonus. 

I asked what was in their fitness centre. They said an elliptical, a treadmill, a yoga mat and a fitness ball. Sounds more like a fitness closet to me but, whatever, it's something.

I have packed three changes of fitness clothes. One outdoor running outfit which I probably won't use because the hotel is on a highway-type road and the only time I can run is in the pitch black morning. Pitch black highway running on unfamiliar roads is not my idea of a safe and happy run but I'm bringing my stuff just in case. I'm planning to do something every morning before our 8am meetings and will probably end up doing it in the fitness closet. Treadmill run. Elliptical. Mock CoreFit class (oooh! maybe I should toss my weights in the car). Whatever. I'm moving my body every day.

I am bringing healthy food options. I have a container of pomegranate seeds, bananas and apples. I have a full container of kefir, some chia seeds, nuts (almonds, cashews and walnuts) as well as larabars. I plan to scout out the hotel breakfast and then bring my own stuff to the table to increase the health quotient a bit. I also packed some rolled oats and almond milk in the off chance that I can make my breakfast in my room and then meet up with the team afterwards for coffee.

I will still come home tired and worn out but I'm hoping I'll also come home feeling better than expected because I ate well and made time to move my body a bit.

Wish me luck!

(oh, and don't be surprised if I don't write much, if at all. It's gonna be one of those weeks).

Friday, November 21, 2014

5-Minute Oatmeal

As a gluten-eating, carb-loving, salt and sugar-craving carnivore, I sometimes find it a little odd how much I love the blog called Oh She Glows.

Oh She Glows tends to post recipes of the gluten-free, refined sugar free, sodium free, vegan kind. And yet I own her cookbook and have made more recipes from her blog than from most other online recipe sources.

She just has a way of creating ridiculously healthy dishes that look appealing, taste delicious and leave you completely satisfied. Plus, as an added bonus, she seems to gravitate towards one-dish meals you can eat from a bowl. The only utensil needed is a spoon.

My kinda cooking.

The other day she posted her latest recipe. It's called 5-minute oatmeal and it appears to have been inspired by the time-restricted routine of being a new mom and the fact that she no longer has time in the mornings to make a decent breakfast.

I am not a mom but I do know all about time constraints in the mornings.

I am also a huge fan of oatmeal.

So the other night I dutifully mashed a banana into a bowl. I measured out my rolled oats, my chia seeds, my almond milk and my cinnamon. I gave it a few stirs for luck, put plastic wrap on top and went to bed.

The following morning I woke up to a congealed version of the previous night's concoction. I poured it into a pot and heated it up. Took about three minutes to go from cold to hot.

I poured the mixture into a bowl. I tossed a little ground ginger, allspice and cinnamon on top. Added a few pumpkin seeds, some pomegranate seeds and raspberries.

Five minutes from fridge to table.

Super easy. Delicious. Nutritious. Guaranteed to keep you satisfied until lunch rolls around. And all sorts of other things like vegan and gluten free and whatnot.

Neither of these cell phone pictures do it justice but I was too busy eating to care about taking a better photo. 

Trust me. Click on her recipe (above) and go make yourself a bowl tonight to enjoy on Saturday morning.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Live Tracking

I've been doing half-hearted research for the past year or so. I'm looking for my next running watch. I had no plans to buy one. I was just doing the research ahead of time so when my on its last leg current watch kicks the bucket I won't have to waste any time researching what to get next. 

It seems, my friends, that I'm getting a little cautious in my old age. 

Tuesday morning I headed out into the coldest day yet this winter for my 7k run. It was -7C (-18 with the windchill). Nowhere near the coldest day I will run in but not something I was quite ready for. I had two long-sleeved tops on under my coat. I had my running pants from last year. My toque. I should have been fine. 

I was frozen. Legs screaming from the cold, toes going numb, face aching frozen. When I finally turned out of the wind for the trip home I felt little relief. The biting cold had my backside for breakfast and it was crying in pain by the time I turned onto our street with an audible sigh of relief. 

I got home at exactly 6:30am. Doug was in the kitchen and asked if I was ok. "Five more minutes and I was heading out to pick you up" he announced. 

I was home right on schedule but I'm guessing the howling wind and freezing temps put a bit of fear in his heart as he waited for me. 

Back to my watch research. 

I was having trouble deciding whether to go with a running watch or a multisport watch. I have never worn a watch in the pool and don't particularly care to. I like having it on the bike but mostly use it for runs. It would be nice to have a watch that I can wear from one end of a triathlon to another but for the 4-5 times per summer I would need that, it's not the primary goal. 

I think Tuesday morning's run tipped the balance and I'm now looking at a running watch. 

One of these actually.

It's the Garmin 620

It has lots of great features, some of which I'll actually use. 

It has a touch screen. 

It weighs about half what my current watch does and actually looks watch-like.

It's orange! 

Most importantly, it has a live tracking feature which means that, when I'm out on my runs, Doug can check on me from the comfort of his laptop. He can see where I have been, how far I am away from home and whether or not I'm actually moving. 

Peace of mind for him on cold snowy mornings.

Peace of mind for me on every single run I ever do because the list of things that could go wrong is too long to actually let myself think about. And while I sure do like my independence, I also like knowing that I can be found should something happen. 

Here's hoping this orange beauty goes on sale on Black Friday. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Not So Tough Anymore

The human body is amazing.


I have been doing CoreFit and Tabata classes now for 11 weeks. Technically 9 since I missed two weeks due to travel and being sick.

The first week of CoreFit and Tabata was shocking in its difficulty. I barely survived the class and then I limped around for days afterwards as my muscles protested. The next few weeks were still pretty brutal but a little less so because at least I knew what to expect.

I missed two weeks and then the first week back was pretty tough.

The last two weeks though, something happened at Thursday evening's Tabata classes. I actually surprised myself by thinking 'this really isn't that hard anymore'. In fact, last week in the middle of the class I thought 'this really isn't challenging enough'.

I can hold the side planks. I can lift the weights. I can lift the weights while holding the planks. And at the end of it all I can drive home, have dinner, shower and not feel an overwhelming desire to collapse into bed.

I love these classes and I think they have really helped me get stronger in ways that my other workouts were not able to.

But I no longer walk into the class hoping to survive. I now walk into the class excited for a good workout followed by an evening luxuriating on the couch with a good book.

It's amazing what the human body can get used to isn't it?

What about Tuesday's CoreFit you ask? Well that class is another kinda beast entirely and still leaves me shaky-limbed and exhausted at the end. Gonna be a few more weeks yet before I write about how 'easy' CoreFit is.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Twelve But Barely

I'm fighting my way back to longer and longer running distances now that my cough from hell is almost, but still not quite, gone. I haven't yet signed up but I'm still working towards running the Boxing Day Ten Miler. Which means I need to get my body used to running more than 60 minutes again.

Two weeks ago I ran 10k for the first time in over a month. That was tough but ok.

Two days ago I ran 12k for the first time in about 6 weeks. That was tougher. A lot tougher.

I set out planning for 12k but willing to settle for 10k if things derailed. Based on the route I was taking, I needed to decide at 5k if I was going to head home for a total of 10k or do the extra distance to add up to 12k.

At 4k, I felt good.

At 5k, I still felt good so I headed down one more country road to add kilometres 6 and 7.

At 6k I felt ok.

At 7k I felt not so ok.


I faded quickly after that and my run became more of a run with walk breaks. Run 2k, walk 2 minutes. Run one more k, walk a minute. Run 500m, stop at red light (thank goodness for red lights), run 500 more metres. Breathing was laboured. I was a bit lightheaded. My ears started plugging up. Bleh.

My blood sugar behaved through the run so I couldn't blame the diabetes gods. I was 5.0 before I started. I had eaten two dates and I was 8.5 when I finished. Nothing wrong with that.

Looks like I'm still not quite back in fighting form after being real people sick.

Did I mention that being real people sick sucks?