Friday, March 6, 2015

Flexbar

We played 6 games of golf while we were away.

Six games of golf...in 7 days.

Before every game of golf, we went to the practice range and hit balls. A bucket of them.

In 7 days (I'm guessing here) I swung my golf club 1000 times.

Considering the fact that the last time I golfed was October, that's kinda like not running for four months and then easing back into things with a hilly half marathon.

So it should come as no surprise that my body responded with an 'I'm not very happy with you' message.

My elbow started hurting in a way that it has never hurt before and got steadily worse at the games went on. It began to hurt every time I gripped the club in my right hand it and hurt when I then tried to lift my arm while holding the gripping club.

I carried on figuring it was only a few more days and then I had at least two months to recover before golf season in Canada began.

Well I've been almost two weeks since my last golf game and my elbow still isn't happy whenever I try to pick something even remotely heavy up with my right hand.  I have to force myself to lift my water bottle with my left hand to avoid the now-familiar twinge.

So I decided to research 'golfer's elbow' to see what the deal was.

Turnsout I don't have golfer's elbow. I have tennis elbow. Which golfers can get too apparently.

Anyway, I read all about treatment and prevention options and most articles I found kept leading back to the same thing.

This:

 Introducing the Thera-Band Flexbar

Apparently the key to fixing and avoiding a recurrence of tennis (or golfer's) elbow is to strengthen the muscles in your arm that become irritated. Doing so is difficult using regular exercises but this little baby does the trick. Check out this article about it in the New York Times if you're interested.There is also photos and a short video to show the move you need to do to strengthen the affected area.

So I texted my friendly neighbourhood chiropractor to get his thoughts and then, with his approval, ordered my very own. It should arrive on Monday and, if it's anywhere near as good as it is touted to be, I should be feeling much better and stronger by the time I swing my clubs again.

Which is a good thing because I plan on spending a lot of time this summer swinging my clubs.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Vitamania

One of the best things about road trips, in my opinion, is getting to listen to all sorts of interviews on the radio while we drive. Interviews that I would not normally have time for, often on topics that I wouldn't naturally gravitate towards. Whenever we hit the road, Doug and I switch back and forth between CBC Radio One and NPR depending on our moods and the topic of the hour.

Last year when we drove to Florida and back I heard several authors interviewed and came away with a list of books that I wanted to read. I downloaded them all and, over the year, have worked my way through them. This year, I had my notebook and fountain pen ready and was not disappointed. I now have 6 more books on my 'to read' list.

The one that I wanted to read first was a new book that just came out called Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection. It's written by Catherine Price. She was interviewed for almost an hour and we listened with fascination while she explained what vitamins actually are, what they do and how we have been convinced that we need megadoses of these things in order to be healthy. She talked about the history of vitamins and how devastating it can be if someone is deficient (scurvy anyone?). She talked about how dramatic vitamins could be and how having something as simple as a few oranges could miraculously bring someone back to robust health.

She also talked about how it's not yet clear how much of any of these vitamins we really do need to consume and what the long-term risks are of getting too much. She also talked about how unregulated the production of vitamins is and some of the risks associated with taking pills when we don't know for sure what they contain.

Oh, and she has type 1 diabetes too boot which upped the coolness factor by a few notches.

So I got the book and I've started reading it. We heard that interview last week. Since then I have read an article about her in the National Post and I have seen mention of her book on Diabetes Advocacy Facebook pages. It sounds like she's reached the 'tipping point' (which by the way is another interesting book) and I'm guessing you'll be hearing a lot about this book if you haven't already.

On a personal note, I've been interested in nutrition as long as I can remember. I read everything I can get my hands on about it. Over the years, I've learned that the world of nutrition a slowly evolving one where things like fats, carbs, protein, vitamins, omega 3s and other things come in and out of favour as our knowledge increases. It can seem frustrating as the messages change (I've lost track of whether eggs are good for me or not) but I take comfort in the fact that the messages change because we are learning more.

So I will read Catherine's book with fascination and add what she says to my knowledge base. I may not clean out my vitamin cupboard but I expect I may pare it down a bit and spend a bit more energy trying to get what I need from my diet rather than my pharmacy.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

February Roundup

I'm a few days late but here is what February looked like in terms of exercise and activity. 

February is a short month to begin with. Add a few snow storms in there and a two-week vacation and it didn't add up to as much activity as I would like. But it does add up which is always better than not adding up. 

So, for better or for worse, here's the report. 

Cycling
Because of all the snow I did have to sacrifice two runs and hop on the trainer instead. So I cycled 5 times in two weeks which is more than I usually would do. I covered a total of 83km in just over 4 hours. 

Running
I only managed to run 5 times which is a lot less than I normally do in a month. I ran twice at the beginning of the month but the constant snow made it too treacherous to do any more than that outside. I did run three times in Florida which was great but then didn't run at all during our second week of vacation. So the grand total is 52km in 6 hours. 

CoreFit and Tabata

2 sessions. That's it. Just two. Two were cancelled due to weather and then I missed two weeks while I was away. Sad. I did do a bunch of weights on the weekend when we got back and was shocked to see how quickly things fall apart. Oh well, March is a new month! 

So my total distance covered this month was 135km. 

In January I covered a total of 216k which, when you string them all together, took me from my front door to Barrie. Add February's distance and I'm now just north of Parry Sound, Ontario. 

Regina, Saskatchewan is still 2,396km away but, with half marathon training coming up, golf season almost here and outdoor cycling fast approaching too, I'm pretty confident that I can cover that distance in the next 10 months. 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Road Trip 2015

Hi!

I'm back!

Back from a two-week road trip. Back from several thousand kilometres of driving. Back from palm trees and golf courses and stores that sell guns and ammo (and craft supplies!?!) and lots of 'how y'all doing?'.

We went to get a brief break from a rather tough Canadian winter. We went to visit our friends. We went to revisit some of our favourite places in the United States.

Here are a few of the highlights for you.

We learned how Floridians protect delicate fruit such a blueberries when the temperatures dip below zero. Cover them in ice. 

We discovered a beautiful golf course called Providence (not in Rhode Island Jeff!) and I posted my best golf score ever! 

We went to Bay Hill to play a game and ran into its very famous and very charming owner and designer. (In case you don't recognize him, his name is Arnold Palmer.)

We spent as much time photographing the Bay Hill golf course as we did playing it. Such a beautiful place. Oh, and I got a par on the 18th hole. Which will make it fun when we watch the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March and I get to see how the pros tackle that same hole...from a few feet further back than where I hit from. 

After Florida, we drove to Pinehurst, North Carolina for a few games of golf but the weather had other plans. So we gave up on our golf games and photographed the snow and explored the charming little town instead. 

The very old and very famous Pine Crest Inn where we stayed. We even got the same room we did last year. 

We headed north to Washington DC, one of our favourite cities for two days of exploring. First stop, the Udvar-Hazy Air and Space Museum.

Stealth Bomber

I spent a lot of time checking out Discovery. Such a beautiful old gal. 

It was nice to see the Canadarm standing guard beside her. 

Discovery looking very Stars Wars-like from behind. 

We also explored the Museum of American History and the Museum of Natural Science (my favourite!). We saw Archie Bunker's chair, Dorothy's ruby slippers, Julia Child's kitchen and THE Star Spangled Banner. 

We're home and pretty much back to normal. Laundry's done, groceries are restocked and we got our first snowy run in.

Tomorrow: my February workout report.

Friday, February 13, 2015

A Bientôt!

This has not been a stellar week of blogging by any means and for those of you who check in every day, I do apologize. I try very hard to write something from Monday to Friday but there are weeks when life simply has other plans.

That being said, it's going to be pretty quiet at Running on Carbs for the next two weeks.

Doug and I are heading south in the morning for another one of our wonderful road trips. By the time we get back we will have explored five different states, played at 7 or 8 different golf courses, run through orange groves as well as by the US capitol buildings.

I have managed to squeeze clothes for every possible temperature into my suitcase.

We have a carload of healthy snacks and I have made a double batch of Glo Bars to keep us happy.

I have packed a ridiculous amount of diabetes supplies because, well, you never know how many rogue doorknobs I may encounter.

We're going to museums, gonna check out some rocket ships, explore some charming towns and drive all over the place.

I'm guessing we're going to have some pretty tasty food too.

No promises on my blogging frequency but I do promise to take all sorts of photos along the way and share some of my favourites with you.

Talk to y'all on the other side.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

A Canadian in Winter

The piles of snow at the end of our driveway are making it hard to see my car.

The state of the roads on my drive home every day dictate whether I will be running or cycling the following morning. My regular running days are no more. Now I run when I can and I cycle when I can't. 

Despite a near-obsession with hand cream, my hands are dry, my nails are brittle and my skin continues to beg for more more more moisture. 

I wake up every morning with a dry hoarse throat that cries out for a drink. 

Every Friday night I crawl into bed a few hours after our curling game, still half frozen from being out on the ice. 

Every pair of pants I own seems to have salt stains on it from once again leaning up against my filthy car. 

It's winter in Canada and everyone I talk to seems to be grumbling about it. 

I, on the other hand, think it's lovely. 

The bright white snow makes everything beautiful. 

The wind howling at night brings a strange sort of comfort. 

The cold makes me feel alive. 

The smell of smoke from wood stoves as I run by houses in the early morning hours reminds me of childhood camping trips. 

The extra daylight in the evenings brings with it the promise of spring even as it lights up the snow with a golden glow. 

It's a wonderful time of year to be a Canadian! 

That being said, this time next week I will be happily settled into our adventure in Florida. We will probably have played two games of golf, spotted more than a few gators in the water hazards and seen more orange groves than we can count. 

And I'm quite ok with that. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Winter Heart Rate

Sometimes, in hindsight, we end up looking pretty smart.

I decided a few weeks ago to start running using my heart rate as my guide rather than my pace.

In hindsight, deciding to slow down my running speed smack dab in the middle of yet another Canadian winter was a pretty smart idea.

I would have had to slow my pace anyway. Depending on the day, the damn streets are covered in snow, ice, slush or, lately, all three. For the past few weeks I couldn't have sprinted even if I had wanted to. It's just too treacherous to do anything but run at a steady, sure-footed pace, always scanning for icy patches and keeping away from the painted lines on the road.

Deciding to slow down in May, when the air is warm, the birds are singing and I'm finally running in shorts again would have been pretty tough. I'm hoping by May that I'll be back to running at my usual pace again...with a lower heart rate.

These days, I head out on cold February mornings, take one look at the slippery streets, and have no problem convincing myself to just settle into an easy pace and run for an hour or more.

Two Saturday's ago I ran 13k easily, without stopping, at a very comfortable pace.

This past Saturday, I did the exact same thing. I changed my route up a bit but, otherwise, it looked pretty much the same. My heart rate stayed fairly steady in the zone that I've been trying to keep it in. My energy held up the entire time. My legs didn't complain.

The strangest pattern I've noticed to date is that my pace goes up and down by about 1 minute per kilometre even while my heart rate holds steady.

Guess we'll have to wait until the snow melts and the roads are clear before we can know whether the unsteady terrain has anything to do with the fluctuations.

In the meantime, I'm liking my new running routine. I'm enjoying the fact that I can run for 90 minutes, eat, shower and feel like I could do it all over again.

Also, even though I don't think this has much to do with heart rate, I just want to mention that I woke up on Saturday morning with a blood sugar of 4.4. I ate two dates and two clementines. I ran for 90ish minutes and was 4.4 at the end. I love runs like that.