Monday, April 30, 2012

Qu'est ce que c'est 'easy'?

Saturday morning I woke up knowing that there was a mere 20k run standing between me and my easy week.

My body was more than ready for an easy week so, of course, the last 20k run was anything but. I could tell as soon as I headed out the door. My legs were in good shape but they were just plain ol' tired.

The little voice in my head kept up its singsong chanting as I fought the headwinds and the hills:

'only 18k until easy week'

'only 12k until easy week'

'only 5k until easy week'

'only 300m until easy week!!!'

I made it but every step was hard-fought and I was ridiculously relieved to spot our purple front door. What a difference from last year though. I didn't walk one step of the 20k and my finishing time was a very respectable 2 hours and 8 minutes. It's pretty neat to see that even when I'm tired and fighting, I'm still stronger than I was a year ago.

So now it's easy week.

When I was a one sport wonder, easy weeks were pretty simple affairs. Drop the weekday runs to 30-40 minutes of easy running and run 10k on Saturday. C'est tout.

Now I'm a seven day a week, three sport wonder. What exactly does easy week mean now?

Saturday evening, I sat at the kitchen bar, a platter of cheese, crackers and paté in front of me, a glass of wine at my side and a t-bone on the barbecue. "What would you do?" I asked Doug.

"I'm not a good person to ask" he replied (he is not a big fan of easy weeks).

We worked it out. Swimming is a pretty easy workout for me but it does tire me out because of the early hour I have to be up. And, unlike running, it's not worth it for me to do a shorter swim. So I'm going to drop the frequency and only swim on Wednesday morning.

Cycling - I'll cycle on Sunday because it's a great way to recover from a hard run but that's it for the week. No basement adventures trying to bend crank arms for me this week.

Running - I'll do a short run on Tuesday and then run my 10k on Friday since I have a sister date on Saturday and we like to meet up bright an early to squeeze as much into the day as we possible can.

Seven workouts down to four.

I'm feeling more rested just thinking about it.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Week Ahead, The Month Ahead

Happy Friday folks!

Time to wrap up a week, settle into the weekend and look ahead at what's on the horizon. And it's looking like a pretty cluttered horizon.

Today after work, Doug and I are hopping on the highway and heading to Toronto to meet up with my cousin and her fiancé.  They are getting married in July and asked the two of us to be their wedding photographers. So we're scouting out the church and the reception hall and planning out the details for the big day. Doug and I love any kind of photography and we have worked together on things before but never a wedding. I'm looking forward to seeing how we do as tag-team wedding photographers.

Saturday morning means a 20k run. To be honest, when I created my training schedule for the Niagara Falls Women's half marathon, I wasn't sure how far I would get. When I entered 20k into the schedule, I was still only running 30 minutes. The thought of running for over two hours seemed completely foreign. I might as well have been planning out the details for a trip to the moon. An ambitious goal to dream about but not feel defeated if I didn't attain it. A mere two months later, here I am sitting at my laptop laying out a 20k running route for myself. On one hand it's pretty unbelievable. On the other, it feels perfectly natural. I think that's the part that makes me happiest. Running 20k tomorrow almost feels like no big deal.


Two months ago, I announced that I would be working from home for the month of March. I would be sitting at my kitchen table updating our agency's entire policy and procedure manual. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men...often go awry. So I sat at my kitchen table for two months - and got them half done. Policy writing - as it turns out - is a ridiculously slow process. Particularly when there are many cooks...

On Monday, for better or for worse, I'm headed back to the office. There are other responsibilities on my plate and policy-writing will no longer be my only priority. Heading back to the office, to constant noise and people and interruptions and distractions will be a shock to my system after two months of absolute quiet, homemade coffee...and yoga pants.

In other news, on Monday night I will be meeting some new friends. A bunch of people in Niagara have formed an online type 1 diabetes group. Monday night will be our first live meeting. Nothing major - just a Starbucks date to introduce ourselves and plan a potluck dinner. Still though - it will be pretty neat to meet some local T1s and sit at a table where everyone just 'gets it'.

Wednesday night, I'm meeting up with a friend I never see enough of. We'll sip wine, laugh our heads off, catch up on all the gossip and I'll feel so much better for it. Wednesday cannot come fast enough.

I'm finding it a little shocking that it's May next week. Wasn't it just Christmas a few days ago? May, according to the calendar means lots of running, outdoor cycling, sister dates in Toronto (we're going out for octopus salad!) and the Cabot Trail Relay Race. It's going to a busy four weeks - full of things that make me happy, motivate me and inspire me.

The Cabot Trail Relay Race is four weeks away. I'm looking forward to the race but, even more, I'm looking forward to seeing the ocean again.  I'm an ocean girl and I never get enough of it. I cannot wait to smell the salty air, perhaps spot a whale tail on the horizon and feast on lobster and scallops. For those of you who know me - being by the ocean is as close to heaven as is possible for me to get.

Four more weeks...

Thursday, April 26, 2012


I ran out of test strips the other day which is very out of character for me. Usually I keep a spare canister (of 25) in my purse and never need to use it. The odd time I dip into the spare canister but always pick up extra strips before it gets close to empty.

This time though, I was running kinda low on Saturday but it was cold and rainy out so I dipped into my purse stash rather than venture out into the elements. On Sunday, the pharmacy was closed. By Monday, I was down to a few strips but it was cold and rainy again so I didn't leave the house. My fault, I fully admit but it was REALLY cold and rainy...

...AND windy too.

Anyway, I ran out of test strips.

Luckily, I had my old glucometer in my diabetes cupboard so I pulled it out. There were 15 strips left - perfect.

Now, I have gone through several glucometers in my diabetic life. Every few years I get a new one and I never ever use the old ones again. I don't get attached to these things - I just toss them into the diabetes cupboard and move on.

I got my current glucometer around this time last year. It was love at first sight:

Sleek. Purple. What's not to love? 

When I pulled out my old glucometer (which, by the way, felt perfectly modern last year), I was a little disappointed. 

Oh well, it's only for one day. I popped in the test strip and used the old lancet to prick my finger. 


Bloody Hell! That HURTS!! 

It was like a mini cannon going off and I swear it went right through my finger down to the bone. 

A huge drop of blood formed courtesy of the lancet from hell. Enough blood to fill three of my current test strips. I held the test strip up to my finger and it sloooooooowly sucked up allllllllllll the blood. Every last bit. Like a vampire. 

Then it beeped!

I had forgotten about the beeping. 

It counted down five seconds and beeped again. 

That's annoying. 

So for the rest of the evening, through the night and the next day - huge drops of blood were sucked up by an old-fashioned beeping glucometer. At least I had enough sense to stop using the lancet from hell and go back to my Delica. 

And I thought the rate at which Apple updates their products was fast. What a difference a year makes in diabetes land. Almost pain-free lancets, minimal blood required, quiet and fast. It's enough to make me never run out of strips again. 

I mean really - as cool as this was in its day

It just can't compete with this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bending Crank Arms

I had no idea what crank arms were either so don't feel bad.

I asked Doug and got a physics lesson in cycling. And levers. Not to mention speed, leg length, tricycles and the proper definition of a 'crank'.

Crank arms are these things:

The levers that your bike pedals attach to. 

Who knew!?

Anyway, on Monday night, it was freezing cold and raining out. So, I decided that I would attach my bike to my trainer (which I haven't used all winter) and get my legs back into cycling shape. After all, I will be doing triathlons this summer and that means that I have three sports to get better at.

Our house is a very lovely little house, if I do say so myself. It suits the two of us and our lifestyle very well. One of the most interesting (notice I didn't say 'lovely') features of our house is the basement. Our basement is what you would call 'unfinished'. It has stone walls - the old-fashioned kind that feel sort of tomblike the further back in the basement you go. It has low ceilings, made even lower by hanging pipes and ducts and things. It has, no joke, about 10,000 spiders. You can access it from outside but you can also pull up a trap door in the living room closet and climb down a ladder to get to it. It feels very Wizard of Oz-ish and I think we would be very safe down there were a tornado to hit the Niagara Region.

Our bikes get stored in said basement.

Last winter, we had spinning classes at our running store so we would drag our bikes and trainers there every Sunday. This year, they didn't happen and I was too busy swimming to worry much about it so Sundays became the day of rest.

This was my first real workout on my bike since October, my first time on the trainer since last April and the first time on my bike on the trainer in the basement...ever.

It was, how shall I put it?


Doug had set up the laptop on the work bench and I chose the Spinervals workout video called 'Bending Crank Arms". This particular video is designed to build leg strength - although I would argue that there is no human out there with enough strength to actually bend their crank arms so, technically, it's false advertising.

People say that running helps your cycling and cycling helps your running. And the only way to get better at swimming is to swim.

Well, I don't know who these people are but I'd like to have a little chat with them. See, I chose 'Bending Crank Arms' because I have been doing so well at running that I figured I must be a better cyclist by default.  (yes, yes, I realize that I haven't been on a bike since last October).

Down the trap door I went in my shorts and t-shirt. "It's freezing down here!". I debated putting on my helmet to prevent the spiders from landing directly on my head but figured I'd feel more ridiculous wearing a helmet on a stationary bike than I would if I freaked out because a huge spider fell on my head. So, freezing cold and bare-headed, I climbed on the bike - careful not to knock my head on the ducts.

I was dripping wet by the end of the 'easy warm up'. I had droplets of sweat running down my glasses and off the tip of my nose within fifteen minutes. Coach Troy kept yelling at me to 'push HARD!!" and "keep it up - only three more minutes to go'. I could hardly catch my breath before the 30 second rest periods were over and he had us trying to bend the goddamn crank arms again. And technically I didn't even do the full workout - I didn't stand up on my pedals during the sprinting parts because the ceiling was too low for me to do that.

I think the worst moment was after I got off the bike, hung it back up and put the trainer away. I stood at the bottom of the ladder and looked up. Does climbing a ladder with trembling, post-cycling legs count as brick training? Cause man that was harder than it should have been.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Country Roads...

...take me home.

To the place

I belong.

Nope, not West Virginia.

Effingham Road actually.

Last Friday night I sat at my laptop to map out Saturday's 18k route. I wanted a circular route and I wanted to go out into the country. The problem that quickly became apparent was that there aren't that many country roads out there and, therefore, there wasn't a obvious 18k circular route from our house.

There was a 16k route. A 17k route. A 19.5k and a 21k route.

Here's how I work. I do NOT like doing a route that gets me close but not close enough to my required distance. I hate looping around my neighbourhood trying to get another kilometre or two in. When I see the house, I'm done. I also don't like adding too many kilometres in a week so going from last week's 16k to 19.5k wasn't going to happen. And I HATE out and back routes so I wasn't having any of that either.

So I decided to drive to work...on a Saturday. I work 2.4k from home (I know this because I run by my workplace every time I head out into the country). So I drove to work and parked there. That cut just enough off the start of the run that I could head out into the country for my beloved circular route.

I mean really out there. I ran up up up the escarpment for the first time since last August. I had forgotten how much of a climb that was. But I hadn't forgotten my horses that are always hanging out at the top. I waved and I think they winked back. Six k done. I turned right and discovered a really strong headwind (did I mention it was cold and raining?). I had 6k to run straight into the wind and run it I did. A heron flew overhead partway there and I gave a wave to him too. Pretty sure he tipped his wing in salute. Turn right out of the wind for the last 6k home. I had also forgotten how hilly St. Paul Street is at that part (apparently my brain is extremely efficient at forgetting about hills). I ran down down down knowing I was immediately going to be running back up. Thankfully, just as I headed down the hill, the shuffle gods handed me the absolute best song on my playlist and I actually clocked a faster uphill pace than I did on the flat section I had just run.

I trotted home, cold, wet and feeling pretty damn proud of myself. No pain. No major struggle. Fairly well-behaved blood sugar.

Two more long runs and then the pre-race taper begins.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Wind Chill

When the temperature outside is 5 degrees, with a light rain, and it's a running day - I wear tights, a very thin long sleeve top and a vest. No gloves, no toque, no jacket. Within minutes, I've unzipped my vest and I'm comfortable for...hours.

When the temperature outside is 5 degrees and it's a cycling day - I panic a little bit.

There's something to be said for windchill. It rips through everything and, unlike running, you just don't ever warm up.

Our spring/summer/fall cycling group scheduled its first ride yesterday. An easy 25k to get our legs back into it. The weather, at 6:30am, was calling for 5 degrees with sun and clouds. So I brought out the big guns. I pulled on my running tights and then yanked my cycling shorts over top. I put on my thin running shirt, a t-shirt, a thicker running shirt and my -30 degree windproof running jacket that I haven't worn running once during the past two winters because it hasn't been cold enough. I put my toque on under my helmet and put my cycling gloves on over my running ones.

We pulled the bikes out from the basement, filled our water bottles and Doug asked "is it raining?". "Nope" I replied with naive confidence "it's not supposed to rain."

Apparently the weather gods don't always ask the weather network folks before they edit the script.

It WAS raining. And windy.

We cycled the 2k to Runners' Edge. Vince was sitting in his vehicle, his bike still attached to the back. "What the hell?" was his greeting. Klari pulled up on her bike, having cycled the few kilometres from her house. "What the hell?!?" was hers too. Erin pulled up in her vehicle "Are we riding?".

"No" was the unanimous decision.

We cycled the 2k back home again. I was so cold I could hardly pedal and the pain in my finger tips was excruciating. The faster I tried to go, the colder it got. That, my friends, is a painful catch 22.

We made it home, tossed the bikes back into the basement without a word.

I checked my sugar - it was 18.9.  Guess that's what happens when you adjust your basal rate for cycling, eat breakfast but only bolus for half and then cycle 4k in 26 minutes. Switched my basal rate from 60% to 140%, took a correction bolus and called it a day.

A hot shower and a cup of coffee later, we were warm and feeling sane again.

Guess we'll try again next week.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Everything But Diabetes

Ever get sick of reading about diabetes?

I get sick of writing about it sometimes.

I get even more sick of having it.

Nothing I can do about having it but I can sure do something about writing about it.

So today, in celebration of Fridays and weekends and long runs and leisurely morning coffees, I'm going to write about fun things. Non-diabetes things.  Basically, I'm going to ramble for a bit if you care to join me...

I got a delivery from Amazon on Wednesday night. Inside the box were two identical copies of this book:

Have you heard of The Bloggess? Have you read her often hysterical, sometimes heart wrenching blog? My favourite story and one of her most famous is the one about the metal chicken. It's Friday, go on, give it a read. You'll laugh.

The Bloggess announced months ago that her first book was coming out. I immediately ordered two copies; one for me and one for my youngest sis. We're going to read it at the same time and text incessantly about the hilarity of it all. She and I still can't talk about Bridget Jones' Diary or Bossypant without succumbing to hysterical laughter - I'm guessing this won't be any different.

I'm getting my hair cut tonight. And coloured. I started colouring my hair last November and I discovered it's a very fun two hours. They give me lattes, we share stories and compare life adventures and I leave feeling like a glamour girl. The fact that I will wake up the next morning and take my perfectly straightened hair, tie it back in a ponytail, yank on a hat and sweat for two hours doesn't take away from the experience one bit - although I'm sure they might cringe and perhaps take a bit less time with the straightening if they knew...

I bought a new sports bra the other night. (Is it a sports bra if I only use it for running or is it a running bra?) Either way, I went in to Runners' Edge and complained that, during the last few runs, my current bra left some pretty horrible chafing. The ever-helpful Christina immediately replied "well, that's because you lost weight and it's too loose". Makes sense.

Then she asked how long I had it. "Um, three or four years?"  "Honey, these things have a lifespan you know. Based on your current mileage - you might get eight months out of a bra."

Oh good lord! I have to replace my running shoes every three or four months. Not my sports bras too?

Apparently bouncing has a positive effect on some things and negatively affects the life span of others...

So I have a new sports bra - and it's pretty comfy. And I'm really excited at the thought that I might not chafe on Saturday when I head out for my 18k run.

I also got a new running belt.  Mine is years old and it's a little too big now. So I got a new one with a big enough pouch to carry all the stuff I need to deal with emergency (for reasons we're not talking about today) situations. I like pink but opted for the blue one because, well, I don't always like pink. But I always like blue.

I ordered a new camera bag the other day. We're flying out to Cape Breton at the end of May for the Cabot Trail Relay Race and I needed a carry on that could carry my camera, my (we're not talking about it today) stuff and my snacks, reading materials and lip gloss. I wanted something that could work as a camera bag but ideally also work as a big purse-type bag for trips. I had no idea what to get so I asked Doug. He immediately opened a bookmarked website was perfect. (Is there anything this man doesn't know?)

This should arrive in the mail in a few weeks:

It's orange with a purple interior. It's like a huge purse that can handle lots of professional camera equipment and still has tons of space. Her name is Libby. Kelly Moore makes her and all sorts of other fabulous camera bags if you're interested. 

I can't wait to meet her. 

Other than that, I've been drinking my water, eating well, feeling strong while swimming and running, making time for family and friends and getting my sleep. I can consistently swim 20m underwater now - five more and I can officially swim across the pool underwater!

Thanks for checking in. Have a great weekend and I'll see you all on the other side!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Race Ready

Last year, I put all my racing eggs in one basket. I decided to train for a marathon and so, other than the Welland Duathlon in early June, I didn't sign up for any races during race season.

Because I was training for. a. marathon.

Well, I certainly saved money on race entry fees but my pile of medals didn't get any higher because, you got it, I was training for. a. marathon.

This year is shaping up a little differently.

I've signed up for the Women's half marathon the first weekend in June. I've signed up for the Welland Try-a-tri (or super sprint as they call it) in late June. Doug is now suggesting that we go to Binbrook the weekend after the women's half for their duathlon/triathlon races. If I agree, that will be three races in four weekends. Is that crazy?

I'm a little torn about Binbrook - mostly because I don't know what to sign up for.

Option one would be the duathlon (run 5k, cycle 30k, run 5k). I like duathlons and, since I'm trying my hand at tri's this year, it might be my only chance for a du. Problem is that it's the weekend after the half marathon so I'm not sure if my legs will need a bit more time off after all the pounding.

Option two would be the try-a-tri. My first triathlon. Problem is that I signed up for the try-a-tri in Welland two weeks later because that was going to be my first triathlon. With my little sis. We were going to tri it together.

I guess I'll have to figure out what I want to do in time to register to get the t-shirt. They don't hand out medals at du's and tri's (sadness) so I damn well better get a t-shirt.

So, I have a few questions for all you medtronic (i.e. not waterproof) pump-using triathletes out there. I'm not sure how many of you elite folks visit Running on Carbs so it might come down to you Jeff.

1. Typically, at races like this, you have to vacate the exchange zone 20-30 minutes before race time. Since the swim is the first event, I need to take my pump off. If I take it off and leave it with my stuff, it will be off 30 minutes before the race even starts and then another 20 minutes or so for the swim. That feels like a long time to be sans insulin. I'm thinking about asking my parents to stand by the side of the water so I can disconnect moments before the swim and reconnect the minute I get out. Basically, the thought of my pump being anywhere other than attached to me makes me uncomfortable - even in the trusty hands of my folks. Any other ideas I should consider re where and when to disconnect?

2. I'm planning on wearing tri shorts and a tri tank top for the entire event (no wetsuit for this girl!). That means that, when I get out of the water and reconnect my pump, I will be dripping wet. I'm sure I'll dry off a lot during the bike ride but the fact is that my pump is not water proof and putting it in a plastic baggie just doesn't seem quite enough protection from the water that will be running off of me. Any suggestions? Do you use a waterproof case of some kind?

3. Any other triathlon/pump tips in general that you've learned (perhaps the hard way)?

Gotta get my game plan organized!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Arm Wrestling With Demons

I had an arm-wrestling match last night...

...with diabetes.

For a while there, it looked like diabetes was going to win. He's a stubborn sonofabitch with a wicked nasty sense of humour sometimes.

Luckily, so am I.

Here's how it went.

Last night, I was working until four pm and I wanted to have my running shoes on and be out the door for my 9k run by 4:15pm.

The pre-run planning started at 2:30pm.

I lowered my basal rate to 50% like I always do for my afternoon runs.

I checked my sugar to make sure it was falling back down nicely after my 12pm lunch.

It wasn't.

It was 15.6.

Damn. I didn't want to take my full correction dose because I was running in less than two hours. But I couldn't stay that high for another 90 minutes. I took half of the suggested correction dose and crossed my fingers.

At 3pm I was 16.

At 3:30pm I was 17.

I prefer a subtle approach to my diabetes management. I try not to take too much insulin because I hate the roller coaster that often follows. Instead of rage bolusing, I tend to baby bolus. Little boluses with frequent checks to see what's happening.

My baby bolus approach wasn't working and my running time was fast approaching...and I wanted to run dammit. So I took a full correction dose at 3:30pm despite my impending run.

At 4pm, I was 16.9. No drop yet but at least I had stopped climbing.

I was faced with two options:

1. Don't run. That, my friends, would be the sensible option. That is probably what the doctor would tell me to do and is probably what you should do when your blood sugar has been high for a few hours for no apparent reason and you have several unit of insulin floating around your system, just waiting for something (like a run) to kick start them into action. Exercise, with high blood sugar, can be pretty risky. With too much insulin in the system, running could cause it to drop like a stone. Or, the insulin could continue to be ineffective and the exercise can cause the blood sugar to climb. If it climbs, that it very very bad, and very very dangerous. Ketones can start being produced as your body starts breaking down fat for energy because it can't access the glucose it needs. Ketoacidosis is the next step and that is dangerous at best and fatal at worst.

2. Run. Take a risk. Take a chance that the exercise will cause my blood sugar to drop. Of course, if it drops too much, we're in an even more, and immediate, dangerous situation.

I decided to try to arm wrestle the diabetes demons into submission.

Of course I had no idea which one of these arms wrestlers was going to be me and which one was going to be the demon. But I had a hunch and diabetes management is as much about instinct and witchcraft as it is about science and predictability so I went with my hunch. 

I headed out with a blood sugar of 16.9 and 3 units of insulin in my system. 

I ran 9k (in 53 minutes thank you very much). 

I made it home alive, in one piece and feeling better than when I left. 

My blood sugar? 5.2

Running dropped me from 16.9 to 5.2 in 53 minutes. 

I poured myself a cup of chocolate milk and sipped it while I stretched figuring my sugar was going to keep dropping but not wanting to spike it back up again. An hour later, I was 9.0 and ready for dinner. 

I will never win the war but it's sure nice to win a battle every once in a while. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Stomach Rules

Standing in the kitchen on Saturday morning at 5:45am, staring down two dates and a chocolate mint gel, I couldn't help but think "man, swimming is a heck of a lot easier than running".

My stomach is usually fairly well behaved but it does have a few rules that are best to follow. One of them is that it prefers to ease into breakfast rather than be force fed. It does NOT like to be rushed. And preferably no food before 7am if possible.

That makes 6am workouts a little tricky but it seems the level of trickiness varies with the activity.

Six am swims are easy. The most I ever have to eat, if anything at all, is one date and that's only if my blood sugar is below 6.0. I can nibble on it and sip my water while I get my shoes on and my stomach is perfectly happy with that arrangement. Breakfast happens at 7:30am when I'm back from the pool and by then I am READY to eat.

Six am runs are a little different. I need to eat before a long run. It's too hard of a workout to do on an empty stomach plus my blood sugar would tank and I'd end up in a heap on the side of the road. I prefer not to eat a lot because lots of food + 1 1/2 hours of running = a bad case of the nauseas.

So I need high carb, high energy, low volume food (i.e. dates and gels)

Back to Saturday morning at 5:45am. My blood sugar was 7.2 so I needed two dates and a gel to get me into a safe running zone. I lined them up on the counter and started eating as I got ready. I got half a date down before my stomach started whining. I felt like a little kid staring down a plate of boiled mushy carrots. "Just eat it!" "I don't wanna!!" "Eat it!" "NO!!"

Twenty minutes, and a few suppressed gag reflexes, later I managed to eat everything and was ready to hit the road.

Man, if I were swimming I would have gotten up, gotten dressed, driven to the pool, showered, hopped in the water and swum a few lengths in the time it took me to eat two dates and one gel.

That, my friends, is just sad.

But it works.

I set off at 6:15 and, after giving my stomach a few minutes to settle in, I felt great the entire time. No nausea, no shin pain and lots of energy. I ran 16k - the longest I've run since last October. Doug met me at 8k with water, my glucometer, half an orange and a big grin. My sugar was a lovely 12.2 so I ate part of the orange, a few edisks and guzzled a bunch of water. I made it home with a negative split and a blood sugar of 5.2.

AND, I ran 16k in 1:38:00 (not counting the BG stop). My fastest time before that was 1:45:00 and it took two friends and the promise of a medal to get me to run that pace. This time, I just ran, watched the sun rise, listened to the birds and, what do you know, a 7 minute PB!

So guess what I did when I got home?

I signed up for the Niagara Women's half marathon. Because, if I can run 16k pain free in April, chances are I can run 21k by June 3rd.

And that, my friends, is just plain wicked!

Monday, April 16, 2012


The concept of choice is one that is fraught with all manner of pressures, both internal and external.

In my line of work, choice is something that we often give people. In my humble opinion, it's often given in a way that is unfair and that restricts their right to (real) choice. Asking: 'do you want to stay home or go to Tim Hortons for coffee?' is not the same as asking 'what would you like to do today?' Asking: 'do you want pizza or pasta for dinner' is not the same as asking 'what do you want for dinner?'.

But I don't want to talk about work today - I want to talk about choice.

Today is Boston marathon day. There are very few things in the running community that compare to today. Runners have trained, sometimes for years, for the opportunity to simply qualify to run Boston. That alone is a feat few of us will ever accomplish. Once qualified, runners begin training for the race. Being a spring marathon means that runners train over the winter. Runners living in cold climates must run 3+ hour runs through the cold, the wind, the snow and the ice. Through is all, they dream of joining the ranks of those who have run before them. When they head home after the marathon, they will be the owners of a blue and yellow Boston medal and they will most likely have a bag of Adidas running clothes that bear the logo and the recognizable colours that signals to other runners that yes, they have run Boston.

This year's race is a little different.

The weather is calling for heat. Thirty degree heat. In April.

Because of the predicted heat, on Saturday, the Boston Athletic Association made an unprecedented announcement. Runners, should they chose, can opt out of racing and defer to 2013. In order to do this, they must pick up their race bib in person (i.e. they can't have already dropped out for injury or other reasons and use the heat as a way to get into Boston next year), they cannot run the race (or part of it) and they must let the BAA know they are deferring.

Can you imagine?

Before the option of deferral, runners had two choices: run the race or not. If they chose not to run, they might never have another chance at Boston.

Now they have two different and (I believe) more difficult choices: run the race or defer.

Some people argue that runners, real runners, should be able to run through anything. It's wimpy to drop out because it's hot. Suck it up princess. Be a man. Run the damn race or move your sorry ass out of the way to let the real runners through.

I argue that it's that kind of thinking that gets runners into trouble.

Running is a hard, uncomfortable sport. Every run we do pushes us into an uncomfortable zone and we have to push back and keep moving forward. We get used to pain, to discomfort, to heat, to cold, to nausea, chafing and all sorts of other things that seem ridiculous to non-runners.

The trick is knowing when it's time to push through and when it's time to back off.

Most of the time, the answer is to push though. But sometimes, the answer is indeed to back off.

Boston would not offer the option of deferral if the weather were calling for high winds, driving rain or snow. Runners run through that stuff and they suck it up. Heat is different. Heat can be deadly.

Most Boston marathoners are elite, hardened athletes. Most of them will run the race today and be fine. There are 5,000+ runners in Boston who are not seasoned marathoners. They got in the race for reasons other than qualifying - they raised money, they were given entry bibs etc. Many people will take 5+ hours to run. Many people have medical conditions. Many people are not conditioned to running in extreme heat in the middle of the day. Many people probably shouldn't run.

Last Friday, if they chose not to run, they had to walk away from their Boston dream. In other words, without the option of deferral, many people would chose to run, whether they should or not, because it might be their only chance.

On Saturday, that changed. Now they could make a decision based on knowing their fitness level and their ability to run a marathon in the heat. And they could decide knowing that there will be another chance to run Boston.

Personally, the thought of training for four months and then not running is heartbreaking. I trained for 3 1/2 months before I was forced to drop out of my marathon - and that broke my heart and nearly broke my spirit along with it. Imagine sitting in a hotel room in Boston yesterday trying to decide if you should run or not? Imagine wondering if running a marathon is worth the risk to your heart? To your body? Imagine going home and having to tell everyone you decided not to run after all? Imagine having to train all over again next year?

Most of the 25,000+ runners will be out there today despite the heat - and I will watch with respect and awe.

A few runners will have made a conscious choice not to run - and part of me will respect them even more than I respect the runners who are running. They chose their health over a race, the race of all races. They chose for themselves despite the little voice in their head saying 'suck it up it's Boston'.

To all Boston runners - those who are running and those who are not. You are all heroes today.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Swords and Books

I started watching Game of Thrones this week.

I know, I know, I'm a little behind the times but trust me, I doing well.  Usually I discover shows about four years after they've gone off the air. I'm only a few months behind this time. Part of my excuse for taking even that long is that I wanted to read the book before watching the show. I prefer to know the story before watching, particularly for sweeping sagas like Game of Thrones (or Lord of the Rings - hello!)

There are several characters in Game of Thrones that I'm really drawn to - for various reasons. Some reasons are deep and spiritual - others are rather superficial (her hair is so pretty!)

One of my favourites is Tyrion. For those of you who don't know him - he's a compelling combination of intelligence and debauchery. I'm not sure if I'd like him if I met him in person but he never fails to make me think and I love watching him on screen. You can see his mind working away - taking everything in - filing it away for later.

There was one scene in one of the first episodes that I can't seem to get out of my head. Tyrion was sitting by himself, reading a book. John Snow (another favourite of mine) asked him why he is always reading. Tyrion replied that a knight's weapon is his sword and he must practice with it and keep it sharp. Tyrion's weapon is his mind - so he reads to keep it sharp.

It seems that, in the Game of Thrones world anyway, most people do one or the other. They train their bodies...or they train their minds. (Or they drink and eat to excess and spend way too much time in brothels but that's for another blog entry.)

It got me thinking (of course it did) about the idea of training the body and training the mind.

I spend my work days sitting at a desk typing and thinking. Or sitting in meetings, talking and thinking. Or solving problems. Or answering questions. Or writing reports. I feel like I spend a lot of my day in my head.

So I spend a lot of my free time training my body. I get up early and make time on weekends to run, cycle and swim - constantly trying to get stronger, faster, better than I am.

But here's the thing. The only way to get better physically is to push yourself. If you always run 5k on the same route at the same pace, your body stagnates there. It gets so used to it that you can hardly imagine doing anything but that route at that pace. So you have to push, change the pace, the distance, the incline - whatever.

At work, I do a lot of thinking but, to be honest, it's always the same kind of thinking. It's not easy (and it makes my head hurt) but it's predictable and I'm used to it. It's kinda like running 5k over and over.

The best way I have found to push my body is to sign up for races.

I wish there were races I could sign up with to get me to push my mind.

It feels a little stagnant.

I didn't even notice until Doug and I had a debate the other night. It was one of those academic conversations you have in university, sitting in a dorm room with a bunch of students so full of ideas that their brains are coming out of their ears (to steal a phrase from said Doug). Doug had his points, I had mine. I wanted to push my point but I also wanted to learn more about his perspective. Back and forth it went until my brain was full and my neurons were tingling. I no longer remembered my original argument and I felt like I had just run 10k.

It was wicked!

And I want more!

Apparently I need to take a note from Tyrion's book and spend as much time exercising my brain as I do my body. Otherwise one will go to mush while the other gets stronger.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Pride (rawr!)

On Tuesday, Dave Hingsburger came to St. Catharines to speak about Disability Pride.

I first met Dave around this time last year when he and his partner Joe came to teach us how to teach others about abuse prevention. I wrote about that unforgettable experience here if you're interested.

Dave is a rare soul who challenges everyone he meets to look at the world through other people's eyes. The funny thing about Dave is that, even though his blog is the first thing I read every morning and even though I've had the opportunity to meet him a few times and interact with him over email - he surprises me every time I hear him speak.

When Dave is presenting, he always get there early. In fact, he's usually one of the first people in the room. He sets himself up at a table at the front with his notes and his tea (can't forget the tea!). He sits there quietly as the room fills with people. Sometimes people come up and quietly talk with him but, more often than not, he sits alone. Sometimes he looks up, sometimes he looks down. He always looks quiet and it's honestly hard to believe that he is the presenter. Hard to believe that, in a few more minutes, he's going to move people, anger people, make people laugh, cry and gasp in horror. Hard to believe that he's going to inspire several hundred people to take a look at themselves, at how they treat others and at how they want to be treated. Hard to believe he is, once again, going to challenge everyone to change the world.

Damn it, he surprises me every time.

He moves me every time.

He always makes me want to work harder and refuse to be complacent.

And I know what to expect from the man. I've heard him speak. I've read his stories.

On Tuesday, Dave spoke about disability pride.

He told some moving stories and made some very compelling arguments about how other groups of people have pride. Ever been to the Pride Parade in Toronto? I have, several times. Don't tell me they aren't proud of who they are.

Ever been to a multicultural celebration? I have. Don't tell me they aren't proud of who they are.

Dave argues that people with disabilities should be too. No more whispers of "he has Down Syndrome", no more whispers of "I work with people with disabilities". "ENOUGH!!" he roars. "We need to own this, we need to stand strong together, make change together and fight against hatred, prejudice and bigotry together!"

He's right, of course, and he's leading the movement.

And, once again, he's convinced this girl to join in the parade.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Farther Than it Looks

Monday morning dawned cool and crisp with a beautiful sunrise...

... I think anyway. I was in the pool so it's hard to know. But it was dark when I got there and lovely and sunny when I left so I'm assuming that the transition was note-worthy.

Since I don't swim on weekends, there aren't many mornings when I have time to spare at the pool. On Easter Monday, the pool was open but I didn't have to work so I could afford to drag things out a bit.

Experiment as it were.

I swam my 80 lengths as usual but, as I neared the end of my workout, I noticed that the pool was pretty empty. Like two lifeguards, one lady five lanes over, and me kinda empty. And my brain decided for me that today's workout was going to end a little differently.

The first thing it wanted me to do was to change my breathing as I swam. Normally, I inhale every third stroke. For the last few lengths, I switched to every fifth. The switch is hard and during the first length, it was all I could do to not panic as I counted five strokes. The second length was a little easier and, by the time I finished, I was easily breathing every fifth stroke - meaning that I was breathing three times per length.

Normally when I finish my lengths, I stop at the end of the pool, remove my goggles, sink underwater for a few seconds to enjoy the feeling of a good workout, lift myself out of the pool and head for the shower.

This time, I kept my goggles on and leaned back against the wall.

I'm going to try it!

I'm going to see if I can swim the length of the pool underwater.

I had seen another swimmer do it and I've wanted to try it for months now. But I'm always in a hurry. The pool is always busy. People might look at me. And I don't want to look ridiculous.

This time, there was no one near me and I wasn't in a hurry.

Now or never.

So I took a few really deep breaths, sank underwater, pushed off the wall as hard as I could and started swimming. Stroke, stroke, stroke...

omigod I'm not going to make it...

...stroke, stroke, stroke...

omigod, I'm not even going to make it halfway...

...and lunge for the surface.

Probably about 12 metres.

That's pathetic.

I swam the rest of the way and hung on to the wall until I caught my breath. I inhaled deeply again several times, popped down, pushed off and swam. This time I decided the hell with the frog kick, I'm going to do the breast stroke arms but just kick my legs - hard.

I popped up again and, perhaps I'm being overly optimistic, but I think maybe I did 12.5m the second time. I paddled back to the side.

This is ridiculous! Now I'm eyeing the other side trying to figure out how to get there in one breath. Maybe if I don't exhale. Maybe if I hold my breath the entire way, I'll have more oxygen in my lungs to keep my body going. That could be sound logic or it could be completely crazy logic but it was worth a try.

Down I went, off the wall I pushed and off I went. I held my breath and got a few more strokes in before I beelined it to the surface. Fifteen metres maybe?

I was now eyeing those flags that hang from the ceiling. You know, the ones that tell the backstroke people when they're getting close to the wall. I wasn't sure how far they were from the end but I guessed 5m.

Let's try one more time.

Inhale, push, swim. Don't exhale, kick hard, pull hard. Must. Breathe.

I didn't get to the flags but I got a little closer. (a quick google search afterwards says that flags should be 5 yards (4.6m) from the edge of the pool). If that's correct, I didn't get to the flags but I got close enough that I"m guessing I swam about 18m underwater.

Funny how something can humble and motivate you at the same time.

I pulled myself out of the pool and headed for the showers, thinking all the while.

What do I need to work on? Is it my technique, my speed, my lung capacity, my body's ability to work in anaerobic mode? Am I working in anaerobic mode if I have a lungful of oxygen? Guess I should look that up. The fact that my legs and arms were tingling just a bit by the time I broke the surface made me think that I definitely need to get more oxygen into my lungs - or get better at using it.

Whatever I need to do - I will swim across that pool underwater dammit!

Update: I did some research after writing this blog and discovered that the trick is to glide underwater rather than kick like a maniac. It's the buildup of CO2 rather than the lack of O2 that's the main challenge so don't use muscles any more than you need to, particularly the legs. The best way (apparently) is to do the breast stroke and then glide, stroke, and then glide. Apparently that will make things easier. Stay tuned! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Process of Elimination

The other night, my blood sugar was a little high after dinner (12.9)

I had eaten out and had to guess the carbs so it wasn't a huge surprise. I took a correction bolus to bring it back down and carried on.

Two hours later, I checked again before going to bed. I was 12.2.

Very weird. But I figured I had eaten a large meal so it was probably taking longer than usual to digest. I took another correction and went to sleep. It was 11pm.

I woke up at 1am feeling worse than awful. My mouth was so dry I could hardly swallow the water I gulped and my brain was so fuzzy that it took a minute to figure out that I needed to check my sugar. I fumbled for my glucometer, fumbled with the strips and fumbled as I tried to match up the drop of blood on my fingertip with the little spot on the strip that sucks it up. After all that fumbling, the number 15.9 jumped back at me.

What the hell!??!

I took my third correction, chugged two glasses of water and lay back down to wait for things to start to drop. I ran through the options in my head:

  • I'm getting sick
  • my period is coming and wreaking havoc
  • there was an air bubble in my tube and I didn't get the insulin I thought I was getting
  • there is a kink in my cannula (which I've read happens to a lot of people but has never happened to me)

I patiently waited an hour. I didn't want to fall asleep so I lay on my back (which is guaranteed to keep me awake) and floated for a bit. An hour later I checked.

I was 17.8.


I climbed out of bed and headed to the washroom. I checked the tube for air bubbles but all looked fine. I pushed on my infusion site so see if anything felt weird. How does one know if their cannula is kinked? (and how weird does that sound anyway?)

I drank two more glasses of water and took one more adjustment bolus. I was giving it one more hour and then I would bring out the big guns. If things didn't settle soon I was going to have to change my infusion site (which still had about 5 days left in is so that sucks). I was also going to have to start using my old needle just to make sure that I was getting insulin.

I went back to bed (it was now 2:30am), lay on my back and promptly fell asleep.

I didn't wake up until 7am.

Uh Oh.

I was afraid to check - how awful was it and how many hours had I been hanging out near 20?

I checked and saw a 5.5 on my glucometer.


My pump was obviously working fine and there was no kink in my cannula.

Three boluses did nothing and the fourth brought me down to a perfect number without the horrible lows that typically follow rage boluses.

Through process of elimination I have determined that the ridiculously, stubbornly high blood sugars were compliments of...

'member him?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Risk Aversive

On Good Friday, we woke up to a bright, crisp, sunshiny day. There was no schedule to keep and the only thing that needed to happen before dinner with my family was that I needed to run for about 40 minutes.

We lounged around, took our time getting up and, by about 9am, I was ready to head out the door.

The run went well. I easily kept my pace a few milliseconds under 6 min/k and trotted happily along - grateful for a Friday off, sunshine and pretty much everything in life.

Most routes, no matter how long, end the same way. The last two kilometres take me down the same road, over the same train tracks to the street that goes by the private school and ends at our house. I like that part of the run - it's familiar and it always takes me home.

Every once in a while, I have to wait at the tracks for a train to go by. I never mind. I can practically see my house at that point and waiting a few minutes never feels like anything other than an unplanned, and often welcome, break.

On Friday morning, as I approached the tracks, I saw the lights flashing.

And I saw the train...

...sitting immobile on the tracks.

Uh oh.

I got to the tracks and looked right - towards the station. I couldn't see the end of the train.

I looked left and, about 500m up, I could see the engine. And a man walking along the tracks wearing a safety vest.

I looked at the train. How easy would it be to hop over the connection between the cars?

The way I saw it, I had four options:

  • wait for the train to move
  • run back the way I just came and go home another way
  • climb between the train cars or crawl under the one that sat fairly high on its wheels
  • run along the tracks to the front of the train and then run back along the other side

Guess which option I picked?

I set off running down the tracks.

I caught up (and spooked) the maintenance guy. He told me to hurry up because, once he got to the engine, he was going to start the process of pulling the apparently dead train.

"Ok!" I yelled and carried on. I got to the front of the train and the conductor leaned out of the window. Better get off the tracks he said. "I know, I'm just running around your train so I can get home."

I scooted in front of train and headed back down the other side. This time though, there were no tracks to run down - just uneven grass and rocks. I slowed to a walk and hoofed the 500m back to where I started. As I approached the road, the train slowly started to move.

I popped out in front of all the waiting cars, smiled to myself as they probably wondered 'where the hell did she come from?', crossed the street and headed home.

I added one kilometre to my trip and had a wee adventure in the process. I'm sure it would have been easier to bend down and clamber under the railway car but my imagination is a little too active for that. I saw myself getting crushed by the train and I imagined everyone I knew trying to figure out what possessed sensible Céline to crawl under a train?

What say you? Would YOU scramble under this unmoving train? 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Kitchen Diva

A while back, I got an email asking me if I'd like to receive a free copy of a new cookbook.


Last week, this arrived in the mail:
(minus the 'click to look inside' caption of course)
The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook by Angela Shelf Medearis

Last night, I sat down to read through it. 

I discovered that it's a pretty helpful cookbook for people who are looking for healthy cooking options and for people who want (or need) to know nutritional information. 

In fact, that was my favourite part of the entire cookbook - the fact that every recipe listed nutritional information including carbs, fibre, calories and fat. They even included carbohydrate choices and exchanges for people who prefer that route. Extremely important information for all sorts of folks, not just those with faulty pancreases. 

Some of the recipes were pretty appealing and the pictures are tempting. (Doug doesn't like cooking without having a photo to refer to so I always pay attention to the photography.) I haven't tried any of the recipes yet but I like the fact that they cover a variety of types of cooking - from Asian to Cajun and back again. And none of them look particularly difficult or time consuming to make. 

I also liked the added information that was scattered in between the recipes like 'how to prepare an eggplant' and 'how to hard cook an egg'. Also helpful were the 'quick snack fix' ideas she included with many of her recipes. There would be a recipe for a fruit smoothie that would be followed by a few quick snack fix ideas with frozen fruit that I'm sure a lot of people would find helpful. 

The one thing that I didn't like was that all the recipes that called for sugar asked for Splenda or stevia sweetener instead of white or brown sugar. I do understand that the audience for the cookbook is primarily people with type 2 diabetes and I certainly respect the need to reduce sugar in the diet.  

I, however, never cook with artificial sweeteners so I would be replacing her suggestion with real sugar - meaning of course that the nutritional information for the recipe would no longer be accurate. 

Overall I think it's a good cookbook that people who are looking for healthy, simple meals will find very helpful. It will be a great addition to our cookbook shelf in the kitchen but I think I'll stick to the main course and side dish recipes rather than the dessert ones. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Doing Just Fine

Sometimes the anticipation is totally worth it - anyone else remember being 8 years old and completely unable to sleep as you listened for the sound of Santa on the roof and tried to guess what he was bringing you?

Sometimes the anticipation is almost more fun than the actual event - anyone else count down the months, weeks, and days until a movie comes out only to discover that it really isn't very good?

And sometimes the anticipation (read: worry and planning) seems ridiculous in hindsight because the actual event turns out to be a piece of cake.

Yep, I went to the Diabetes Centre yesterday - food and blood sugar diary in tow - ready to get my blood test results and explain my ups and downs.

My doctor walked it and announced that my A1C was...

wait for it...


She announced that my kidneys are fine.

She looked through my meticulous little diary of meals and blood sugar readings (15 a day) and piles of notes trying to explain every up and down - and announced that I obviously know what I'm doing, know how to correct for highs and lows and that nothing jumps out as a problem.

She checked my blood pressure (107/69) and said that she only did it in case it was high so we could actually have something to talk about.

I grinned. She grinned.

It's nice to stump the doctor and make her struggle for something to say.

So I asked my three questions:

Can you prescribe me something to check my ketones? I haven't done that in a few years now and probably should get back in the habit when I'm sick or fighting highs.

So she prescribed test strips for blood ketone testing.

Can you prescribe glucagon? I haven't kept any on hand in years and probably should. It might save my life one day.

So she prescribed glucagon.

Can you tell me if there are any options to save $ on continuous glucose monitoring supplies? I want to use it more but can't afford it at $50 a pop.

"Doesn't your insurance cover it?" she asked.

Ummmm, I haven't actually asked (how sad is that?). I was told that no insurance covers it and it never occurred to me that this might have changed in the last three years.

"Several of them do now - check it out and I'll fill out any paperwork they might need. You're an ideal candidate for it because of all the sports you do."


I didn't ask my fourth question because the person I wanted to talk to wasn't there.

Last year, right around this time, I applied to be a Medtronic Global Hero. I wasn't chosen so I'm trying again this year. I figure if I don't grab their attention with my story, I'll grab it with my perseverance. Anyway, I can ask three people to recommend me and I thought I'd ask one of the nurses at the Diabetes Centre. She and I have a pretty cool relationship because, every time she meets someone with T1 diabetes who is struggling with their diagnosis, who wants to start running or who just wants to talk to someone who gets it - she calls me. And I email them. And another relationship is formed.

So I'm going to call her tomorrow to ask her to submit a recommendation.

I walked out of the appointment, past a waiting room full of people and thought "I'm doing just fine!"

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Easy Like Sunday Morning

On December 12th, 2011 I ran for one minute.

I have been adding time ever since.

Some weeks were repeats of the week before but I never reduced the number of minutes I ran. I just kept going up and up.

It has been motivating and extremely validating to watch the minutes, and the distance I could run, increase day by day.

Now that I'm actually following a (sorta) half marathon training plan, I have to respect the need for easy, or recovery, weeks.

After Saturday's 14k run, I started my easy week. Two forty minute runs and then a 10k run this Saturday.

Forty minutes?!?

That seemed really long two months ago - now it seems really short. Like 'what's the point?' short. 'Why bother creating running clothes laundry?' short.

Thankfully, I've trained for enough races to know what the point is. Keep the body moving but let it recover from the three weeks of increased mileage that it just completed. Not respecting recovery weeks is a surefire way to get injured.

Still though, it's going to be hard to reign it in. Particularly considering that Friday is a holiday so the pool will be closed. Two swims and two short runs are going to make this week feel very lazy.

The fun news is that, on my next easy week, I'll be running a 10k race. My little sis and her colleagues signed up to run the Toronto Yonge Street 10k race. My sis is no longer able to run so I agreed to take her bib and run it for her. Who wouldn't want to join 15,000 runners heading down historic Yonge Street? I've only run two other 10k races in my life, preferring the longer half marathon distance. Both of those 10k races took about 70 minute to complete. But I've had so many great 10k runs lately that I figure it might be fun to go on record with a 59:59 race time. We'll see...

Monday, April 2, 2012

Not Out and Back - Just Out

I ran 14k on Saturday morning.

It was wicked!

My body felt strong. Several times I looked at my watch and was surprised at how far I had already run. My blood sugar behaved thanks to two gels and a handful of raisins (9.6 before starting, 8.0 half way and 8.8 at the end). And I had a negative split (ran faster in the second half) despite turning around and discovering that the 7k home had me heading directly into a very cold headwind.

Every week since I reached 10k I've been adding 2 kilometres to my Saturday runs. If all goes well, I'll keep adding and, after a wee taper once I hit 22k, I'll be ready for the innaugural Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon in June. Fingers crossed.

What's turning out to be my favourite part of this training (other than the fact that I can actually run without pain) is that I'm slowly, kilometre by kilometre, making my way back to my old stomping grounds...., running grounds, I guess I should say.

Last summer, when I was pulling off 25+ kilometre runs, I discovered that I loved running from my house, down a long stretch of road that eventually lead out into the quiet, beautiful, Niagara countryside. It took me up and down rolling hills, past fields of horses, vineyards and woodlots. I loved it and I loved leaving home in the dark and running while the mist burned off the fields and the sun rose in the sky. The deer and foxes kept me company and herons flew overhead as I watched the world wake up.

The last few weeks, I've been running out and back runs on Saturday mornings that take me down that old familiar road. The first ten kilometre run didn't take me that far from home. Twelve kilometres had me getting one kilometre closer to the part that really starts feeling like countryside. On Saturday, when I added yet one more kilometre out, it took me to the base of the hill that starts it all.

This week is easy week (only have to run 10k) and then...I'll run that next kilometre up the Effingham hill.

The week after that - I'll be in the country!!

I'm not a big fan of out and back runs. I prefer to go on a journey so I typically run circular routes. The problem is that I'm not yet running far enough on Saturdays to start doing circular country side routes. At least not without hopping into my car and I'm just not ambitious enough to drive to run. Plus there's a part of me that like to earn that country run by running to get there.

During my run last Saturday I decided that, one weekend soon, I'm going to hire Doug to be my driver. I'm going to leave the house and just run out, not back.  Sixteen or eighteen kilometres in one direction - out past my horses, my foxes, my vineyards and my herons.

We'll prearrange a pick-up time and I can just run and run and run.

That, my friends, will be heavenly.