Friday, July 29, 2011

Small Changes Equals Fewer Changes

Diabetes is anything but predictable.  Everyone who has it reacts differently to insulin, carbs, exercise, hormones, weather, moods, stress, illness (shall I go on?).  An even bigger pain in the pancreas is that each person's reaction to all of these factors (and more) changes too.  What works this week might not work next week etc etc ad nauseum.

Sometimes, these changes are frustrating. Exasperating. Cause for mini-meltdowns in the kitchen. 

Other times, they're kinda neat.  And occasionally, they even save me money.

Today was pump changing day.  My pump woke me in the middle of the night with its lovely singsong voice.  Boop beep boop.  Only 20 units of insulin left.  I thanked it for the warning, acknowledged it by pressing the right combination of buttons and rolled back over for a few more hours of sleep.  Before breakfast, the pump changing routine started.  I took the insulin vial out of the fridge, pulled out all my supplies from my diabetes cupboard and layed everything out on the counter.  Strange - it felt like it had been longer than usual between pump changes.  I thought back on the last time I had changed it and was shocked.

Typically, I change my pump every four to four and a half days.  Which means that if I changed it on a Saturday morning, I would either change it again on a Wednesday morning or, at the latest, on a Wednesday evening.  That's been the pattern pretty much since I started pumping. 

The last time I changed my pump was on Saturday morning, right after my long run.  It's Friday today.  Somehow, I got an extra day and a half out of the insulin supply I had in there. 

Coming from someone who has changed a lot of pump sites - that's a pretty significant difference.

I can guarantee that I did not put any more insulin in there than usual because I always fill it to the max.  So I'm using less - way less - than I normally would. 

What's up with that?

I figure it's one of several things. 

I'm exercising more regularly and for longer periods than I ever have in my life.  Hardly a day goes by when I'm not doing something.  This regular, consistent activity is probably keeping my blood sugar levels a little lower so I'm not taking extra insulin to correct for highs. 

I've also been having, on average, less lows than I usually do which means I don't have the rebound highs that often accompany lows.  Which means I don't have to correct with extra insulin.

It's summer and I typically need a little less insulin than I do in the winter.

Doug and I are making an effort to eat even healthier than we normally do.  I'm eating more veggies which don't require insulin and they are probably crowding out things that do like pasta and bread.  Not that those things are bad, they're just taking up a little less room on my plate.  Which means I'm having less insulin with meals.

Small changes that resulted in my insulin supply lasting an extra day and half. Crazy.

Between the pump supplies and the insulin, I'm guessing that it costs about $30 every time I change my pump. If I get an extra few days out of each change, that adds up after a while. If this pattern holds, the money I'll save on pump supplies can go towards a new pair of running shoes. 

Which is good because I seem to be going through those at a rather alarming rate.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jacob Two-Two and the 800m intervals

Ever have one of those dreams that feel so real you don't realize you're asleep? 

I don't have those very often.  My dreams tend to involve strange creatures, super powers, and such bizarre plot lines that I never really think they're real.  I just go along for the ride. 

This morning's dream was different. It felt so real that I'm still a little shaken to find out that it wasn't.

Here's how it went.

I woke up at 5am, pulled on my running clothes and headed downstairs.  I felt full of energy (that should have been my first clue).  I checked my sugar: 5.0 (perfect!).  I had a gel and two dates and headed out the door.  Today's run was interval training and I had emailed Benny yesterday to ask what we had to do.  Ten times 800m with a 2k warm up and a 2k cooldown.  So I trotted along for 2k to get to the subdivision where we run our 800m intervals.  I felt good.  The sun was coming up.  I did all ten reps - they were hard but I felt strong through all ten of them. I grabbed my water belt and headed home again. As I was running over the bridge, just a few hundred metres from home, I was nuzzled awake by Doug.  I glanced at the clock.  It said 4:58am.

What?!?  Seriously?

I have to do it all over again.

I crawled out of bed for real this time.  I pulled on my clothes and stumbled downstairs.  I was groggy and tired after three days of getting up at 5am.  I checked my sugar: 10.8 (sigh).  I had a gel and took 0.4units of insulin to give me a little something to fight the high.

I ran an easy 2k, took off my water belt and prepared myself mentally to run 800m.  Fast.  Ten times.

The first time I brought Scully out to do these, I told her that it was four minutes of hell.  Truth be told, it's actually about 4 minutes and forty five seconds of hell.  The first trick is to push yourself at a pace that you can sustain for the entire 800m.  The second trick is to push it at a pace that you can sustain for all ten reps.

I ran the first one in 4:42.  It felt pretty good.  The next four were 4:40, 4:39, 4:38 and 4:35. 

I'm nothing if not consistent. 

Doug, Klari and Barb showed up at 6:30am.  They meet every week as part of their training for the Simcoe Shores Ultra Distance Relay (more on that craziness in an upcoming blog).  I chatted for a few seconds and then continued for rep number 6.  They started after I did but are much faster so they caught me in the last few hundred metres.  Klari pulled up beside me and something possessed me to sprint like a maniac for the last 200m.  Pride?  Stupidity?  Whatever it was, I did that interval in 4:24.

The next two were ok (4:35 and 4:40) but I was tiring quickly.  The final two were 4:53 and 4:55.  I was done. 

I waved goodbye to the others, pulled on my now empty water belt and headed home.  It was slow - I walked the last few hundred metres over the bridge and down my street. 

If you count the ten reps I did before I even woke up this morning, I did 20x800m and ran just over 24k. 

If you insist on only counting those that are officially registered on my Garmin, I did 10x800 and ran just over 12k.

Either way, I've had quite the workout and am now enjoying the endorphin high that comes after a great run. And I'm crossing my fingers that tonight's dreams involve flying whales and purple pandas.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


I like running quotes.  I like funny running sayings on t-shirts and bumper stickers.  I like statements that inspire and make me feel proud to be a runner.

One of the best ways to know that a big race is coming up is by checking to see how many of my Facebook friends post running quotes on their Wall and change their profile pics to something to do with running shoes.  We're not close enough yet to marathon time for the quotes to start flying but I did stumble across one yesterday that got me thinking.

"In the first half of the race, don't be an idiot.  In the second half, don't be a wimp." 

Taken from Scott Douglas - Running Times' Senior Editor.

I like that one.  It works for any distance - from a 1k spring to an ironman. 

How many of us have gone out too fast at the start only to die before the end?  (that's me over there waving my hand madly in the air)

I can train to run a half marathon at a 6:30 min/km pace and then suddenly, on race day, I start out runnning 5:50s.  I have actually convinced myself that I could sustain it for then entire 21.1km.  It feels so easy, I feel so strong...for the first ten minutes.  Then I slow to 6:00 and feel bad about slowing down (seriously?).  Then I slow even more to 6:30, which should feel ok but still feels hard because I idiot.  Then I crash and end up running 7 minute kilometres for the second half of the race.  It all evens out by the end and I finish pretty much at the time I predicted.  But seriously folks - I've gotta stop doing that!

So I like the quote.  Start off slow. Don't be an idiot.  Have a plan and stick to it. 

In the second half, it's going to feel hard.  Really hard.  Don't be a wimp about it. 

Everything sounds so much simpler when it's wrapped in quotation marks doesn't it?

My all-time favourite quote, which isn't really about running, is:

"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're probably right." 

Henry Ford said that.  I like his attitude.  I'm working on developing my own. 

Right now, my attitude feels kinda like resignation.  Not in a bad way - I've just entered a mode where every run is just the next run.  Do it, and get it done.  Don't panic about the distance.  Don't worry about the hills.  Don't even think about it (if necessary, insert fingers in ears and sing lalalalalalala).

Just do it. 

I think it's a protective mechanism - if I freak out now when I have to run 22k, how the hell am I going to cope with 32k?  Or 42?

Point two.

So I just think I can and I'm probably right.

And if I'm not? 

We'll just cross that bridge if we get to it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Faerie Gifts

The last few days have been filled with experiences that seem almost magical for their rarity. 

First of all, I woke up in the wee hours on Sunday morning to a sound I haven't heard in weeks and weeks.  It took a few moments for me to register what was happening but finally the fog lifted and a picture formed.  It was...


The rain fell hard and showed no signs of stopping.  I listened to it for a while and then floated back to sleep wrapped in blankets and contentment.  Rain.

The next morning, we opened the door to a fresh clean world.  The temperature had dropped a few degrees, the world smelled like earth and everything looked shiny and new.  As we cycled through St. David's, past the cherry trees and peach orchards, the whole world seemed to be singing.

This morning I had another magical experience.  I opened the door at 5:30am, all set to run 10k and beat the heat (my new favourite phrase).  I walked outside and something felt different.  I couldn't quite place it.  Eveything looked the same as it did yesterday. 

Then I realized what it was. 

I felt comfortable.

I walked outside and did not walk smack into a wall of heat and humidity.  I walked outside and felt cool and comfortable. After last week's craziness, my body sighed with relief. 

It was a beautiful morning.  We've lost a few minutes of daylight since last week so I started the run in the dark.  Ten minutes in, the sun was peaking through the trees.  Today, the sight of the sun wasn't cause for concern or of panic.  It was just so beautiful to watch it come up.

Funny what a five degree drop in temperature can do to our physical and mental health isn't it?

Monday, July 25, 2011

Humbled by Hydration

For me, blogging is about sharing stories, thoughts, adventures and lessons learned in an effort to entertain, enlighten and educate anyone out there who might be interested.

So, in order to save yourselves the trouble of going through this on your own, here are a few lessons learned from Saturday's run. 

Saturday's 22k was looming and the hot humid weather that was hanging around all last week was not showing any signs of letting up.  So I began my preparations on Thursday.  I drank and drank and drank water in an effort to stay as hydrated as possible.  On Friday, I alternated between drinking lots of water and sipping eload because I knew electrolyte balance was also going to be a factor. 

A few of us who decided to start the run at 6am rather than 7 in an effort to beat the heat.

I went to bed early and slept well. 

So far, so good.  I couldn't think of anything else I could do to prepare.  On a whim, I stepped on the scale before breakfast to check my pre-run weight.  167.0 pounds.

On Saturday morning, I went out with three water bottles on my belt instead of two.  I also brought 10 eload tablets with me, in addition to my regular diabetes paraphernalia.  My belt was really heavy but I didn't want to be caught out there unprepared.

It was hot when we started but not awful. 

I drank water regularly.  We had two fabulous support people en the route (Chris and Marge) who seemed to show up exactly when I needed them with ice cold water and a sympathetic smile.  I refilled my bottles often and, by the end of the run had finished at least nine of them (I lost count).  I also had 6 etabs.  

The run was hot and humid.  Thank goodness we went out early.  The first hour was ok, the second hour was really heating up and, by the last five k, I was done.  It was a slow crawl back to the store but I finished the run feeling pretty good - just really really hot. 

22k in 2 hours and 30 minutes.

I finished the run completely soaked.  Much more so than usual. My clothes were dripping wet and I actually wrung them out before getting into the car.  We headed home and, during my stretching routine, I drank a can of coconut water, a large glass of chocolate milk and a large glass of water. 

An hour later, I was ready to shower.  That's when it occurred to me that I had taken in a huge amount of water and other beverages and yet I had absolutely no need to pee.  Nothing. 

I stepped on the scale.  164 pounds. 

I lost three pounds during my run - even though I had had a full breakfast, drank non-stop during the run and had three large drinks when I got home. 

I was starting to feel like this...

I had two more glasses of water, hopped in the shower and then drank some more. 

Folks, the first time I peed was around 3pm.  It looked like apple juice. 

Thankfully, by Sunday morning, my weight was back to normal as was the colour of my urine.  But it took hours of drinking to get it there. 

I spoke with Chris and Janice - two running friends and marathon veterans.  I explained my problem.  They suggested salt tablets.  Apparently, salt tablets help with hydration, they help keep all your electrolytes balanced and Chris, a kindred spirit in the sweaty runner department, said that they make a huge difference for him in this kind of weather.

Anyone out there tried salt tablets?  Any thoughts?

And more importantly, any suggestions for how to stay hydrated in this heat?  I thought I was doing well but apparently still have a lot to learn.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Nature Girl

Every time the seasons change, I always have the same thought:  "I wonder what people who have just arrived in Canada will think of the next season?".

We live in a pretty dynamic country and our seasonal changes are extreme.  Every twelve months, we go through a shocking cycle of change.

Right now, our runs look like this. 

In six months, they will look like this.

I was told once by our running coach: "if it's minus forty or plus forty, we don't run".  That leaves a pretty incredible range in which we do run.  And run we do.

But back to new Canadians for a moment.  When the leaves start to change colour and we pull out our sweaters, I always wonder what people who have never experienced fall will think about the process.  Will they find it beautiful...or sad?  Will they appreciate the sounds of Canada geese honking or be horrified by the shortening days?  Do they have any idea how delicious apple cider and pumpkin pie are?

What about people who arrive in the middle of our winter?  Do they think that it will never end?  Do they believe us when we tell them that the snow will stop falling, the winds will warm, the trees will leaf and the sun will set at 9pm instead of 4:30pm?    And wait until they discover fresh summer strawberries and tomatoes!

Anyone climbing off a plane this week will laugh at the idea of Canada being a land of ice and snow.  Yesterday, according to the Weather Network, we were hotter than Houston, Mumbai and Tel Aviv.

I have a completely different appreciation for our seasons than I did even a few years ago. I used to love winter for the pretty snow, spring for the warm winds and the smell of earth, summer for bbqs and fall for the colours.  Simple things that completely defined a season for me.

I've always been a nature girl - happiest when outside, in the woods chasing moose or on a boat chasing whales.  Nature for me was all about what I could see, hear and smell.

Running has changed all that.  Well, not so much changed as enhanced.  

Now, I notice and respond to every five degree change in temperature.  I notice the changing amount of sunlight in terms of minutes, not hours.  I feel subtle variations in the wind and in the angle of the sun.

Now, I'm in tune with the air, the temperature, the wind, the light.

I love that.  It sounds completely cliché but I feel so much more alive and I feel like I am part of nature rather than an enthusiastic observer.  Winter is no longer cold and dark.  I've learned that there are all sorts of different kinds of cold. And dark. And different kinds of hot.  And windy.  And humid.

They're all wonderful in their own way.  Truly.  Even days like yesterday that cause me to wilt.  They are all part of the Canadian cycle of seasons.

Damn - we are so lucky aren't we?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

To Hell and Back

Day three of the heat wave from hell. 

Up at 5 - ready to head out the door at 5:30am. The Weather Network said that it was already 27 degrees out and that it felt like 35 with the humidity. 

I opened the door and walked into a shimmering, vibrating wall of heat.  Bloody hell.

There was no sign of the sun yet although the sky was already bright.  Today was not the day to enjoy a peaceful run.  It was a day to plug in the music and finish the hill training as quickly as possible.  I was not racing to beat my time - I was racing to beat the sun.

I trotted over to Rodman hill and down to the bottom to start the telephone pole routine.  Run up the hill for a distance of three telephone poles.  Run back down.  Run up for four telephone poles.  Run back down.  Up for five. Six. Repeat until dead. 

I stopped after every second climb for some water.  It was sweltering.  There were no birds.  No signing coming from the trees.  No squirrels.  I felt like I was running in the twilight zone. 

At the eighth telephone pole, I turned around and saw the sun.  A huge, red orb climbing up through the trees. 

"Omigod! Run for your life" are the exact words that erupted in my head at the sight of it. 

My response was so visceral that I might as well have turned around and come face to face with a T.Rex. 

Well, maybe not quite as bad as ol' Rexy but I felt a deep down fear that kept my legs moving despite the struggle for air. 

Two more climbs up and two more trots back down.  Done!  All I had to do was put on my now empty water belt and do one last climb up and out of the valley and back home again. 

Scully, I took the other hill.  The crazy steep one that almost killed us last time.  I did it in your honour and made it to the top alive and still running.  I missed you out there today.

Blood sugar report - I woke up at 7.8.  No basal change. I had a gel but did not bolus for it.  I finished the hills and was 9.1. 

I think I'm getting the hang of these early morning runs. 

Stay cool folks.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Peaceful Panting

Day two of the wake up at 5am to beat the heat routine. 

My body is loving it.  I actually woke up a few minutes before the alarm.  Who does that at 5am?

Today's run was only 30 minutes so I took my perfect 30 minute route.  It's a nice big loop with one hill thrown in.  I ran through quiet suburbs and marvelled at all the things that happen at that hour of the day. 

At the beginning of my run, I had a weird feeling of being followed.  By a small red car.  I memorized the license plate (that's what they do on TV non?) before I realized that the frequent stops were simply due to the early morning delivery of the Globe and Mail. 

Yesterday, there seemed to be cardinals everywhere.  This morning - not one.  Perhaps I was in the wrong neighbourhood.  Higher taxes and all that...

I saw a couple sitting on their front porch drinking coffee together.  At 5:30am. 

I saw people arriving at 97.7 HTZ-FM for the 6am shift.

I smelled a skunk and had a brief moment of panic.  I forgot those little guys are out in the early morning.  I actually worked through what I would need to do to cancel today's big meeting should I get sprayed.   Luckily there were no sightings - just a lingering odor in the air.

It's a weird mix of feelings when I run at that time of the day.  My blood is pumping, my breath is laboured and yet I feel an absolute sense of peace at the same time.

Sitting on the porch afterwards, dripping in sweat and waiting for the breeze to cool me off, I stretched my achy legs and sipped my water.  It was still so quiet.

Mornings are nice.

Really nice.

Tomorrow's run is supposed to be hills.  So, as the sun is rising, there will be a lone girl panting and gasping and smiling her way up the hill.

Keeping one eye out for skunks.

And feeling very grateful to be able to get the run in before the temperature hits the predicted 45 degrees with humidity.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Pretty Dark... 5am. 

The sky is a rich, deep, dark blue.  The moon, which was full last Friday, hangs suspended.  There are no cars.  No noise except the birds and the sound of my shoes hitting the pavement. 

The heat and humidity are not yet ridiculous.  They are, in fact, quite tolerable. 

Why the hell didn't I do this weeks ago?

I have been running at 5pm - as soon as I got home from work.  It has hardly dipped below 30 degrees (+ humidity) in weeks now and runs have not been pretty.  I got them done but they were tough.

This morning, the thermostat read 23 degrees.  Seventy percent humidity.  After what we've been running in, that was almost chilly.  In fact, when I turned into the wind on the way home, I found myself covered in goosebumps. 

It was lovely and 10k went by almost too quickly.  I wouldn't have minded doing a few more. 

The biggest challenge this morning was what to do about eating and blood sugar management.  Normally, I would have woken up an hour and a half before a run to change my basal rate and have breakfast.  Today, that would have meant a 4am wake up call.  Even I am not that crazy.

I decided to gamble a bit.  I set the alarm for five, planning to be on the road by five-thirty.  There would be no basal reduction this morning.  I figured that it's all about having the right amount of insulin in my body.  So, if I'm not going to reduce my basal, I'm going to drastically reduce my bolus to make up the difference. 

I would never attempt this on a 20k run but my instincts told me that it would be ok for 10k.  I trust my instincts.  They have saved me countless times already. 

So I got up and checked my blood sugar - it was 12.2.  I had a low in the middle of the night and overcompensated a bit.  I was high but not awful.  My pump and I chatted.  He told me that I should take 1.6 units to bring the 12.2 back down to a 5-6.  Then I consulted my instinct.  It told me to only take 0.6 units.  So I did.  It also told me to have a gel but no dates (I had planned on having two).  So I had a gel...and I headed out the door.

I started off slowly, feeling the gel sloshing around in my empty stomach.  There were a few minutes around kilometre two when I wondered if things might take a turn.  I kept running and everything settled down.  I found my groove and got a little faster with every kilometer.

I watched the moon disappear.  I saw the sun rise.  I learned that cardinals are very very active at 5:30am. Robins - not to much.  I saw the world wake up.

I got back home around 6:40am and checked my blood sugar.



My instinct deserves 100% of the credit on this one.

Now the next trick will be to find a way to stay awake at work today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Coppertone Baby

Here we go again.

It was a nice while it lasted but the easy week is rapidly fading away and I'm gearing up for round two in the marathon training marathon. 

The next three weeks are going to be tough and they get tougher as they go. A quick glance as my training program (which is posted at my desk to keep me focused) tells me that I'll be running 22, 24 and then 26k over the next three Saturdays.  Hill and speed training on Thursdays. And don't forget the 10k runs on Tuesdays (which go up to 13k in two weeks) and the 30 minute recovery runs on Wednesdays. 

Oh, and cycling on Sundays.

You know what the craziest thing about all this outdoor activity is?

The tan lines.

I am beginning to look downright ridiculous. 

At the moment, I am sporting a very Picasso-like tan that is making it difficult to pick out clothes to wear on non-running days. 

I have a sock tan which looks stunning on the days I wear sandals.  Well, maybe not stunning but certainly shocking.

I have a running shorts tan line which is just the right height to peek out when I wear my non-running shorts. 

I also have a tank top tan line which, if the shoulder straps were spaghetti straps, would probably look ok but they're several inches thick so it looks ridiculous if I try to wear any top that has a remotely low neckline.

I'm dreading the day that someone invites me for a swim.  Put me in a bathing suit and I'll make the front page of the Enquirer.  'Girl with strange skin pigmentation disorder spotted in St. Catharines'

A few short weeks ago, I looked just like the computer programmer. Now, I look like the roller blader minus the elbow and knee pad lines.

Over 100km of running in the next three weeks.  That means over 100 hours of running outside.

Can't wait to see how crazy I look by the end of the summer.

All this from the girl who can go to Mexico for a week and come back with nary a tan line. I'm not a sun-lover by nature and I typically avoid it when I can.  I prefer the foggy, misty, wild rainy weather of the East Coast or of Scotland.  But a runner does what a runner needs to do so I run in all weathers.  This is the darkest I've been in years...

...and it's only July.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Change of Pace

I try really hard to be open minded about things.  I try not to assume that I'm right and 'they're' wrong.

Sometimes though, I get a shock because something I took for granted suddenly gets blown apart. When something that seems so obvious that it's not even worth thinking about turns out to be wrong - well, it messes with my head.

Geoff messed with my head.  He is my chiropractor who regularly saves my legs when they start acting up.  I went to see him yesterday.  I told him that I had been running well and virtually pain free for a few weeks.  Then, on Tuesday, things flared up.  Tight calves, shins, ankles, feet - the works.

We talked about what it could be. I told him that I had a great 20k long run last Saturday.  I confirmed that, as instructed by our coach, I slowed my pace by about 20-30 seconds per kilometre.  He smiled.  Ah ha!  That's probably the problem.


In my world - the one full of rainbows, faeries and wizards - it makes complete sense that when you take it easy on a run, it's easier on your body.

It's a no brainer.

So I thought.

Geoff said that the slower a person runs, the longer their feet are in contact with the ground.  Therefore the more pressure on the body with each step.  In my case, it may have caused a flare up.


So my fall back plan of running more slowly when I'm hurting could actually be hurting me?

My world is shattered.

What else have I been doing ass backwards?


Moving on to cycling for a moment - has anyone been watching the Tour de France?

It has become an evening ritual and Doug and I sit glued to the television every night watching the race.

When it comes to running - I have been amazed, impressed, humbled and any other word you can think of when watching elite runners keep a pace for two hours that I couldn't sustain for 2 minutes.

But I know that, given the right motivation, I could hit their pace - even for a minute or two.

Cycling is different beast entirely.  These guys sustain a pace for hours that I can't even hit.  The other day they were cycling at 55km/hour.  For hours.  I don't even know how a human does that.  I've exerted myself to what feels like my max and can't hit 35km/hour - even for a second.  I barely hit 50k/hour on a downhill.

It's incomprehensible to me how they do it.  

And don't even get me started about how horrifying it is to watch them ride down a mountain at 80+km/hour.  Going around hairpin turns.  With no barricade to separate them from a horrible death.  It's normally at that point when they nonchalantly reach into their back pocket, grab a power bar, rip it open and start snacking.

I would be curled up in the fetal position by the side of the road crying - please don't make me ride down that mountain.  I'll die!

Lesson for today?  I need to run faster.  I need to cycle faster.

Someday I'm going to find myself a sport where going slowly is the objective.

Wouldn't that be a nice change of pace?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Deathly Hallows

Some days you just gotta do what you gotta do.

And today I just gotta write about something other than running and diabetes.

Harry Potter is calling my name.

Harry Potter has been in my life since 1998 when I read the first book.  I was hooked from the very beginning.  I watched Harry, Hermione and Ron grow up and they kept me company through the roller coaster ride that has been my life.  No matter how many twists and turns my life took, my Harry Potter books were along for the journey.

After the third book came out, I had an idea.  I work with adults who have a developmental disability.  They had all heard about the Harry Potter books but many of them were not able to read.  Or not able to read well enough to handle those books.  So I started a Harry Potter book club.  Every day at lunch, I read out loud to a loyal group of Harry Potter fans.  Every day, I arranged my schedule to make sure that I was there to read.  They ate their lunch quickly to make sure they didn't miss any of the story. Together, we cheered at quidditch games, fretted about Harry, laughed at Ron and were amazed that Hermione time travelled just to take more classes at school.

I discovered later that some of the staff made excuses to hover outside the door at lunch just to listen in.

Harry is the official hero of the series but he's not mine.  The character I resonate most to is Hermione.  She is one tough cookie. She's brilliant and she's not afraid to show it.  She is a problem solver, she's down to earth and she's resourceful.  I know I should say that she's a great role model for young girls but I have to admit that she's been a great role model for this not so young girl.  I first met her at the age of 24, when she was only 11. She taught me all sorts of lessons in strength, perseverance and confidence.  Thanks Hermione!

Ron has made me laugh out loud more than anyone else. There were parts of the books I could hardly read out loud because I kept dissolving into giggles at his awkward antics.

Harry didn't really inspire me or change my life but it was fun to watch him grow up and cheer him on as he grew into his own.  He's pretty cool and I'm sure he singlehandedly helped thousands of boys get into reading.  So thanks for that Harry.

Dobby - I grew to appreciate your annoying loyalty just on time to seriously mourn you when you died.

Neville - you should be proud of yourself.  You are so much stronger than you know.

Snape - I wish someone had given you a hug or told you that you were doing the right thing.

Mad-eye - man you were just way too cool.

Hagrid - omigod you made me cry and laugh and want to smack some sense into you.  You had some strange animal friends but you were loyal to a fault.  That is a rare trait these days.

J.K. Rowling.  Thank you for creating an imaginary world that was so rich and full that people of all ages wanted to be a part of it.  Parents and children connected through your stories.  New friendships were made and bridges were built.  A group of people who do not read and who have trouble focusing came together every day and sat in rapt attention as they listened to your stories.

I will wait in line to see the last movie and then I will join the hundreds of thousands of fans who will mourn the loss of an era and the loss of their wizard friends.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stronger Together

Being in tune with my body is something that I've always done (as far back as I can remember anyway) but I've certainly honed my skills since becoming a person with diabetes. 

One thing I've always been amazed by is my body's ability to hold on when it needs to hold on and then utterly collapse when it has the opportunity.  

I remember pushing my body beyond its limits during exams in university.  I did not get enough sleep, I did not eat as well as I should and I was mentally and physically exhausted.  My body held on but I knew I would pay for my sins.  My body seemed to know exactly how long it had to hold strong - I literally handed in my final exam, sneezed once and hardly made it back to my room before being overcome by a horrible cold that held on most of my Christmas vacation.  

My body seems to do the same thing with running.  Last week, I put a lot of mileage on my legs.  On every run, they felt strong and I did not have any shin pain, calf tightness or other discomfort.  Even after running 20k, they felt great.  

Last night, I had to pull off an easy 40 minute run.  


Tight calves and ankles.  Sore shins.  Even my feet acted up.  

My body holds up when I really need it to but as soon as it hears the words 'easy week' it falls apart. 

Every easy week results in a predictable body breakdown but, ironically, the fact that it's an easy week makes it ok.  Geoff will take care of things on Thursday.  I am supposed to take'er easy on this week's runs so I'm not bothered when they don't go well.  

My body needs a break - it's going to get a break.  

The only way that this marathon is going to happen is if my body and I work together.  It does what it needs to do when I ask it.  I have to do everything I can to take care of it - with an extra bit of TLC on the easy weeks. 

Alone we are strong.  Together we are stronger. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Spontaneous Predictability

I like predictability.

I like spontaneity.

Most days, those two don't play well together.

Predictability makes diabetes easier to handle.  Meals happening when they're supposed to.  Consistent serving sizes. Easy to anticipate schedules.  These all help keep the diabetes monsters in check.  Those pesky monsters never behave like perfect gentlemen but predictability helps keep them in their cages most of the time.

Spontaneity is fun.  A last minute decision to jump in the car and head off somewhere different for the day. A cancelled run because a good friend popped by. An extra hour added to a Sunday bike ride because it's nice out and we took a detour.  Spontaneity increases the odds that the diabetes monsters will come out in full costume, ready to roar, beat their chests and refuse to follow orders.

Life is easiest when there is balance between the two extremes.  Go too far in one direction and I get too comfortable there, making it hard to swing the pendulum back in the other direction.

It has only been three weeks of marathon training and I'm already feeling the irresistible pull of predictability.  The training schedule is such that I have very little room for spontaneity.  Three nights a week I have to run.  So three days a week, I eat very carefully, control my schedule and keep things predictable so that I can run without a hitch.  Weekends revolve around running and cycling.  I know how far and how long I have to go and I can adjust accordingly.  Fridays I'm too tired to do very much and Mondays are the only real day off so I predictably sit on the back deck after work and just enjoy some quiet time.

Spontaneity has taken a back seat for the moment.  Unless I do something about it, it will take a back seat for the next four months.  

I know myself and I know that this is not good for me.  If I get too entrenched in routine I have a hard time getting out of it. I get so comfortable that any hint of unexpected change causes stress.  I fall back on my time-honoured tradition of making excuses for why I can't do things.

There are other times during the year when I find myself with a lot more free time on my hands.  During those times, spontaneity becomes the norm. I say yes to everything. I have people over constantly.  I buy clothes and purses (trust me, this is really really really out of character).  I try crazy recipes and I research exotic locations for my next trip. These tend to be expensive times.

Tonight, after only three weeks of being up to my neck in predictability, I could feel my tension begin to mount.  We were talking about the upcoming weekend.  It's shaping up to be full of fun, food and family.  Because of my easy running week, my running schedule is a bit more flexible and I can do my 'long' 10k anytime.  Friday, Saturday, Sunday - it doesn't really matter much.  Several of us might go for a bike ride on Saturday.  We might stop halfway for lunch and then ride home again.  All of these things sound fun.  They are fun and I'm looking forward to them. And yet, I felt my shoulders tense up because of all the variables that I can't plan for when too many things are left up in the air.

I'm not worried that I won't figure out this weekend.  I'm sure that will be fine.  What worries me is how quickly I've become entrenched in the comforts of predictability.

I may have to liven things up a bit just to keep me on my toes.

Maybe I should dye my hair?  Get a new tattoo?  Change my running route. Make a plan for dinner and then kibosh it and go out for pizza at the last minute.

Even though it's more uncomfortable and it brings out the diabetes monsters - spontaneity is good for me.

Now I have to figure out how to schedule some in.

Monday, July 11, 2011


There are many ways to train for a marathon.  Or a half marathon.  Or a 10k.  There are all sorts of programs to follow - some are pretty moderate, some are intense and some are downright looney tunes.

The way it works at Runners' Edge is that we go hard for three weeks and then take an easy week to recharge our running batteries.  Then we go hard again.  Then rest again.  For a half marathon, we did this cycle three times.  The first and second round, we kept building up our mileage - from 10k to 22k.  The third cycle, we tapered.

With marathon training, it's pretty much the same thing except we have four cycles.  Our shortest long run was 16k and, between now and race day, we're building up to 35k and then tapering.

Sunday, yesterday, marked the official end of the first cycle.  We have finished our first three weeks of training.  We have built up to 20k on Saturdays, and conditioned our bodies to run four days a week (plus a Sunday bike ride).

After yesterday's 45k bike ride, our rest week has officially begun!

I'd do a happy dance for you but I'm busy lounging on the couch.  How about a lazy wave instead?

This week, we only run three days. Forty minutes on Tuesday and Thursday and then 10k on Saturday.

C'est tout!

My body is ready for a break.  It's been holding up quite well so far.  Runs have been good and the only problems I've encountered have been diabetes-related rather than running-related so that's good. My shins are behaving, my energy is holding up and I'm recovering well from long runs.

Still though, I'm feeling tired.  Tired of trying to fit everything in.  Tired of getting up earlier on weekends than I do during the week.  Tired of being busy most nights of the week.

I'm looking forward to this week.  To lounging around. To less loads of laundry. To having evenings that seem to stretch on forever because they start at 4:30pm rather than 7:30pm.

Join me in a toast to taking care of our bodies and having a little extra time to spend with our loved ones.

On a different note, for those of you who have been following the Saturday morning long run blood sugar saga - I have an update from this weekend's run.

For those of you who don't know, my last two long runs did not go well.  Let's just say that blood sugars in the 20s make for challenging runs.

This Saturday, I tweaked things a bit.  I lowered my basal to 50% rather than 40% and I took a wee bit more insulin with breakfast.  Not much, probably about 0.4 units.  In an effort to stave off any highs, I also checked my sugar more often than I normally would.

At 5k, I was 10.3 (so I had a gel - 24 carbs)
At 9k, I was 8.6 (so I had one date - 15 carbs)
At 12k I was 12.3 (I'm good with that)
At 16k I was 11.4
At 20k I ended the run at 8.6

Those numbers make me a much happier runner.  I got to have a gel which helps with energy, a date which kept my stomach happy and I didn't have all the awful symptoms that come with highs. So apparently the new trick is dropping to 40% basal for evening runs but only 50% basal for morning ones.

My next challenge will be to figure out what to do on race day.  We need to be on the bus at 7:30am, we start running at 10am and I'll be running, most likely, until 3pm.  Figuring out when to eat and how to adjust my basal and bolus is going to be a bit of a challenge.

Any tips my running friends?

Friday, July 8, 2011


I run alone more than I run with people.  In fact, even when I run with other people, I often run alone.

I like the peace and quiet.  I settle into the groove, put one earbud in, turn my music to just the right volume, and run.

When I run, I am aware of my surroundings.  I keep one ear and both eyes open for cars.  I scan the road ahead for debris, cracks or dog poop. I stop at stop lights and I look both ways before I cross the street.

I am a respectful runner.

I move out of the way for cars and bikes and, while I do run on the road, I stay to the far left and always yield.

Last night, during my very respectful 10k run, two assholes drove by, screamed some obscenity that I could not make out and proceeded to hurl a full bottle of pop at my head.

Luckily, the thrower lacked aim in addition to lacking brains and he missed.  But not by much. I heard and felt the projectile whiz by my head.  He missed by inches...if that.

He could have caused some serious damage.  A full bottle of pop hurled from a moving vehicle is indeed a projectile.  I know how serious a head injury can be. I don't want to think of what could have happened if his aim had been true.

I prefer to think about what I would like to say to them given the opportunity.

They have made me afraid.

Well, maybe not afraid but they certainly caused a heightened awareness. I was running alone but I was running down a fairly busy street at 5:30pm.  What the hell were they thinking??

They freaked me out but they also really really pissed me off.  I did nothing to them.  They know nothing about me.  There is no excuse for what they tried to do.  It may have been a prank or it may have been downright malicious.  Either way, it's a crime and they could have seriously hurt me.

I don't need to know why they did it.  I just don't want them to ever try that again - to anyone.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Five Seconds In Three Months

I decided back in April that I should start logging my runs.  Keeping track of mileage, pace, blood sugars, kilometres on my shoes etc etc.

I figured I had three options: I could develop my own spreadsheet, I could try to find one online or I could ask my marathon man what he uses.

I chose option three (of course) and have been dutifully logging every run into my shiny new spreadsheet.  It's pretty cool.  I alternate between two pairs of shoes and it keeps track of how many kilometres I've run on each of them. It keeps track of long runs versus intervals, races, recovery runs, easy runs or tempo runs. It figures out my pace, my weekly totals, my monthly totals and even how much further I have to run before I've run around the world.  I can even track how close I am to running to the moon.


Imagine how cool that blog post will be.  I've run to the moon!  Expect to read that one some point in 2064.

Anyway, after last night's easy run I entered the data and then started playing around the spreadsheet a bit to see what other cool things there were.  I found a section that figures out your average pace, per month, per type of run.  So I told it to figure out my average pace for tempo ones.  Tempo runs are the Tuesday and Thursday night ones when I run 10k and push my pace.  Scully, in case you're wondering, that does not include the hill and interval trainings we did on those Thursday nights.

So for my Tuesday, Thursday night tempo runs, the results were pretty cool.

In April, when I started the spreadsheet, my average pace was 6:17 per kilometre.

In May, it was 6:16.

In June, it was 6:12.

Not a significant change to be sure but the pace is moving in the right direction. Particularly considering that my monthly mileage has increased every month and will continue to do so.  So I'm running more AND running faster.

I remember when I started training for my first half, my pace was 7 minutes per kilometre.  As the training progressed and I dutifully did my intervals, my hill training and my long runs, my pace stuck to 7 minutes per kilometre. For the next year - my pace seemed stuck at 7 minutes per kilometre no matter what I did.  After about a year and a half of running, it began to change.

Slowly, ever so slowly, it picked up to 6:50, then 6:45, then 6:30.

And then for some reason, over the past few months, my pace went crazy.  I went from 6:30 to 6:12 in the past six months. What's even more surprising is that it doesn't feel like I'm working any harder.

I don't know if I'll be able to sustain this new pace as the training progresses but it's pretty freakin' cool for now.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A Rogue Run

Anyone out there an X-Men fan? I am. Big time.

I watched the cartoon as a kid, read the comics as a young adult and have seen every movie released. I just think the premise of the story is so cool. Regular folks like you or I who suddenly discover that their body has mutated and they have some crazy new ability. They can control the weather, change their appearance, read minds, heal themselves or shoot laser beams out of their eyes.

I studied evolution in school. It was one of my favourite subjects. What I learned was that individuals don’t evolve, species do. I will not wake up one day with gills, wings or the ability to climb walls. But, over thousands of years, humans slowly change and adapt to their environment. If having gills will help us survive, we may evolve them. But not in my lifetime.

So X-Men is not based on sound science, but it is pretty cool.

Last night’s run got me thinking about the X-Men. You see, a running friend of mine, Brian, describes a great run as a Superman run. I like that. It works and I can immediately picture how well the run went. I like Superman, he’s a cool character with neat abilities. But I don’t gravitate to him the way I do the X-Men. So I’m stealing the idea of a Superman run and calling my great runs Rogue runs.

Rogue is, in my opinion, the coolest of the X-Men.

She’s also the most tragic.

Her ability is that she can absorb the power of anyone she touches. If you can fly and she touches you, she can fly. Pretty cool. Problem is that she quickly absorbs everything from you – your abilities, your memories and, if she holds on long enough, your life. She can’t turn this power on and off so she wears an outfit that covers every part of her but her head.

She can’t touch anyone without causing them great pain. As you might imagine, this becomes problematic when romantic relationships are involved. Hence the tragedy.

Still, I really like Rogue. She’s a bit of a loner. She’s tough as nails and doesn’t put up with any nonsense from anyone. She has crazy hair, a southern accent and an attitude that I admire.

So, I’m calling my kickass runs Rogue runs from now on.

Tonight, it was 30+ degrees with the humidity. I ran at 5pm, a few hours before it started to cool off. I was tired, sore and lethargic as I tied up my shoes. I fought the heat and the wind. I ran out of water at 8k. Despite all of this, I managed to pull off a 10k run in 1 hour and 1 minute. That’s the closest I have ever come to breaking the elusive 60-minute barrier for a 10k.

Oh, and there is another reason why I call it a Rogue run. 

By the time I got home, I was red-faced, dripping wet and downright disgusting. No one wanted to touch me either!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

16 Ounces

It has taken me over three years of running, six half marathons, a few duathlons and a commitment to running a marathon but I did it!

I have lost one pound.

One entire pound.

Sixteen ounces.

0.4539 kilograms.


I know, I know, being healthy and having a healthy body image means throwing the scale out the window.  It's not about pounds but about how you feel. In my case though, I do think it's kinda funny.  Here's my story.

When I started running, I weighed 170 pounds. My weight was very very steady and I fluctuated between 169 and 171 all the time, no matter what I did, or didn't do.  Like all runners, I started running expecting the pounds to drop off.

As my running increased, my body changed.  I became more toned and muscular.  I actually look like a runner girl now.  But no matter how much I ran, my weight stayed steady, never swinging farther than 169 to 171.

My mother finds it hilarious and will often ask me how much I'm running and whether I've lost any weight yet. We laugh and joke about how big I would get if I were to stop running. The honest answer - I probably wouldn't change very much at all. 

The food I eat is relatively consistent whether I'm running 40 minutes three times a week or training for a marathon.  Sensible breakfast, lunch and dinner with reasonable portion sizes. 

It's all the other food I eat that's the problem. As a person with diabetes, I don't always have a choice about whether or not to eat.  In order to keep my blood sugars in a safe zone, I often have to eat before, during and after runs. I try to keep it to a minimum but it's still calories in versus calories out.  After longer runs, I'll often have low blood sugars later in the day so I need to eat for those too.  Bad lows can take two or three juice boxes followed by bread with Nutella to resolve.  Do the math on the calories and tell me if that sounds like a sensible snack to have an hour after lunch.  It's not and it can be really frustrating to have to eat when you're not hungry.

On the other hand, when I'm not running as much, I don't have as many lows and I don't need to eat before during and after runs. 

The more I run, the more I feed the diabetes gods and the less I run, the less they demand.  It's actually a pretty good weight management tool.

That being said, I got on the scale last week and I saw 168. I stared slack-jawed for a moment. The number looked so foreign that it took a second to register. 

Being the sensible, logical person that I am, I figured I was dehydrated.  So I drank extra water all day, ate my regular stuff and got on with my day.  Next morning - 168.

The morning after that - 168.

It's been steady there for a week now.

I think I've lost a pound.

At my rate of 1 pound every three years, I'll be 49 years old by the time I lose the other four.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cross-Training Epiphany

People actually do know what they're talking about...

...well sometimes they do.

When it comes to cycling and the wonders of cross-training, it took me a long time to become a believer and to jump on the bandwagon.  Now I'm firmly on, have pitched my tent, and am not going anywhere.

Less than two years ago, I bought myself a road bike during the annual clear out the summer stock fall sale.  It was mostly on a whim as I had not really thought about wanting to cycle until I saw the flyer. I walked in to the store, saw a very pretty blue and white bike and the only one left was in my size. I'm not one who believes in fate - I tend to believe more in faeries - but the signs were all leading me to my Trek.  A few days later, I was learning how to clip in to my new pedals and, within a week, I had made it to the top of Rockway hill without falling off, walking, or suffering some other form of embarassment.

I was a cyclist!

My avid cycling friends, most of whom were seasoned marathoners, had told me that cycling was a great form of cross-training.  It helps to flush the legs after their Saturday long run and, apparently, cycling uses different muscles so you can still have a great ride even if you're exhausted from your run. 

For the few months I had left in my first cycling season, it was all I could do to keep up.  I trailed behind the group, panting along the flat parts and gasping on the slightest incline.  It was hard.  Just as hard as running - although different.

The second season wasn't much different.  I had learned how to make the gears work for me, wasn't afraid of hills and no longer doubted my ability to finish a ride.  I was not signing up for the Tour de France but I did sign up for two duathlons. 

Yesterday, in the middle of my third season of cycling, I finally got it. I finally saw how cycling and running are made for each other.

On Saturday, I stretched for almost an hour after my run.  And yet I was still limping around the house for most of the afternoon.  My hips were tight, my ankles had lost their flexibility and my knees hurt.

Sunday, I groaned as I swung my leg over the crossbar and got on the bike.  Someone mentioned that we were cycling up the big hill by Niagara College and I silently cursed everyone I could think of.  Wasn't an 18k run enough for one weekend? 

I told myself to suck it up, it was only 75 minutes on the bike. 

It turns out that the ride was exactly what I needed.  It was hot and humid out but the breeze on the bike was refreshing.  The heat limbered up my tight muscles. The hill was long but gradual and I just kept pumping my legs until I got to the top.  The long stretches of flat road worked wonders on my legs - flushing out all the crap from the run the day before. 

I creaked and groaned when I got on the bike but I was an entirely different person by the time I got off.  Everything had loosened up, my hips worked properly, my knees were fine and I felt energized again. 

Apparently there is something to this whole cross training thing.

In fact, my spontaneous bike purchase on that random fall day may be what ends up saving me this summer.

Who knows - I may run this damn marathon because I cycle on Sundays.

Go figure.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Experimental Error

It helps, I think, that I’m a scientist. Trained in the art of developing experiments and studying results. I’m not so hot with statistics but I do understand that you don’t always get what you want on the first try. In fact, you don’t always get what you want…ever. It’s all about asking the right questions.

My question after this week is: “what the hell happened!?!”

Week two of marathon training has come to a close.

Our long run was 18k.

We have changed the start time of our runs from 8am to 7am in an attempt to beat the heat. Being a good little diabetic - that means that I set my alarm for an hour and a half before the run so that I could change my basal rate. Five thirty am on Saturday mornings seems particularly cruel but I do what I need to do.

I’ve been reducing my basal insulin to 40% before runs and, except for that crazy high I had two Saturdays ago, it’s been working well. I’ve also started increasing my basal to 150% for an hour after a run to avoid the post-run highs. So far, so good.

This Saturday, I did the usual basal reduction and had my usual breakfast with my usual bolus reduction.    

Week one of the great long run experiment. My goal: to figure out a plan that works well for long runs. I want to keep my blood sugar not too high and not too low and I want to be able to eat during long runs. Not a twelve slice pizza or anything but I get hungry when I run so I want to be able to have dates, raisins or something to keep my stomach happy and my energy up. I can’t eat with high blood sugars though so it’s a tricky balance to work everything out.

The plan: check my blood sugar after an hour of running (probably at about 9k). Bring dates for a snack. If blood sugar is where it should be (around 10), have a date. If lower than that, have two. If higher than that, adjust based on how high I am.

In order not to mess up the data, I decided not to have a gel before the run.

The first 8k went well. My pace was good, my shins warmed up and felt strong and Benny complimented me (twice!) on looking good. Yay me. 

Between 8k and 9k, my ears began to feel like they were being stuffed full of cotton balls. Not a good sign.

I pushed it to 9k and then checked my sugar. I knew I was high. I was not sure what to expect but I did NOT expect to see 20.4 on my glucometer.

Insert random expletives here.

I was so pissed off.

Damn it, I’m trying to work things out so that I don’t get numbers like that. Work with me here diabetes gods. Just give me a little something to work with ok?

The problem now was that a) I was hungry but couldn’t eat anything b) my energy was flagging but I couldn’t have a gel and c) my blood sugar was over 20.

My pump told me to take 3.5 units of insulin to correct for the high number. I had another hour of running so taking that much insulin would be insanity. So based on intuition and years of practice, I took 1.2 units, crossed my fingers and resumed the run.

I headed back to the store, my ears feeling full of cotton balls, my breath laboured, my strong pace markedly slowed. I guzzled water, refilled thanks to Kevin (he saved me today), guzzled again and carried on. I checked again at 13k and I was 13.4.

That’s better. I was starving and still low on energy so I ate one date (15 carbs).

I soldiered on.

I got back to the store and checked again – 10.3.

I should know better by now but I let the unexpected high get to me. I was pissed off, emotional and fighting tears. Thank goodness for sunglasses. Doug took me home, I stretched on the back deck and drank water until the cotton feeling went away and I felt better – physically and emotionally.

Experiment number two will be taking place next Saturday. I running twenty kilometers but I’ll be damned if I see a 20.0 on my glucometer again. And there is no way I’m running for over two hours without food or a gel so, diabetes gods, you have been warned.

Don’t piss me off again.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Have You Tried The Poutine?

In Canada, it’s ok. It’s ok to be who you are.



Big Boned.


It’s ok.

Yes, there are people out there who will make issue with who you are but they are few and far between.

The other 99% of us won’t care. We’ll come up to listen to your band, march in your parade, and support your cause. Worse case scenario – we won’t come but we won’t protest either.

Just be who you are – it’s ok here.

We are 144 years old now. We’ve grown up, filled out our clothes and figured out who we are. And we’re pretty amazing. We’re open-minded and accepting. We love the arts and the sciences. We have four distinct seasons and wines that pair beautifully with each of them. We are flat, we have mountains, lakes, oceans, loons, bears, moose, icebergs and Anne of Green Gables.

Have you tried our poutine? 

We have authors, musicians, actors, singers and thinkers who can compete on the world stage and win. We also have dogs who join half marathons and get a medal at the end. 

Patio is a season. It’s the one that follows Roll up the Rim.

CBC rocks. 

So does Sudbury. 

GBS has been around for 18 years (did you know that?) and they still have the power to make ballads cool. 

We are strong. Beautiful. Capable. Strong. And Free.

Oh Canada.

There is no place I would rather be.

And when I travel, I’m going to sew your maple leaf on to my backpack because it’s the fastest and easiest way to make friends. 

Happy Birthday.