Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Carrots and Hiccups

Anyone else out there get hiccups every time they eat raw carrots?

This has happened to me ever since I was a very young child. Carrot sticks = hiccups is just part of my routine. Celery sticks do not cause hiccups. Nor do any other fresh veggies. Grated carrots don't either. Nor do cooked ones. But one bite of a raw carrot has me reaching for the water for my get rid of hiccups quick trick that I mastered decades ago.

Most people think the whole carrot hiccup thing is odd.

My mother does not.

Because she has the exact same issue with them and has as long as she can remember too.

No one else in the family does. Just the two of us. So we laugh and take comfort in the fact that, if we're crazy, at least we're crazy together.

The other day I cut myself some carrot sticks and celery sticks for an afternoon snack. One bite of the carrot stick and the hiccups started. I got rid of them with my drinking water trick and then headed off to the couch with the rest of my snack. It occurred to me as I reached for my iPad to continue my magazine that perhaps I should do some internet research to see what's up with this whole carrot hiccup thing.

Guess what I learned?

1. I learned that there are a whole bunch of people out there who get hiccups from eating raw carrots. No other veggies. Just raw carrots. And by a bunch I mean like a whole bunch.

2. I learned that there is no obvious answer as to why this happens. It is not a carrot allergy - that much I concluded. A few websites said that we are eating the carrots too quickly but I know that, for myself anyway, even when I pay attention and chew slowly, I still get the hiccups on the first bite. I know I am only an n of one but there were others who seemed to think that this hypothesis was horsepoop too.

3. I also learned that one woman started a website as a support group for people who get hiccups from raw carrots so that they could feel less alone. I read through the comments and every single person wrote something along the lines of "Omigod I thought I was the only one".

So guess what I did?

I called my mom of course.

And told her that we were not crazy.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

An Unexpected Pace Bunny

Saturday morning I headed out for my easy 60 minute run that caps off my easy running week. The snow had melted just enough that the main roads were clear. The sides ones (ie. mine) were not and navigating them was a little tricky but, once on the main roads, it was a lovely day for a run.

I set off with no plans other than to enjoy a comfortably paced run and that is exactly what I did for the first few kilometres.

That is until I spotted one of my running friends off in the distance.

I guessed that she was less than a kilometre away but more than 500m. Close enough to know it was her but not close enough to yell.

She is a faster runner than I am and seemed to be going at a good clip. I knew I couldn't make up the distance to catch up to her unless she stopped to tie her shoes. Instead, I decided to see if I could hold on and not let her get any further ahead.

So I sped up.

A lot.

Like at least 40 seconds per kilometre faster.

And the chase began.

I knew that my route was taking me by her street so I figured she was heading home. I also know the route enough to know that we had about 2.5 kilometres until her street so I was going to have to hold this pace for at least 15 minutes.

The pace felt brisk but surprisingly manageable. Probably because I was rested after taking it easy all week. I listened to my breath, took constant stock of how I was feeling and watched her like a hawk to make sure she didn't pull ahead.

She didn't.

Once she got to her street I no longer had a bunny to chase. But I was feeling good and enjoying the push so I kept at it to see if I could sustain it for the last 3k home. I held it easily for 2 of those 3k but the final kilometre derailed completely as I turned back off the main roads and onto the snow and ice covered side one.

Such a fun run!

I headed out for an easy 9k and ended up running three different runs. I ran 2k on treacherous snowy roads, 2k at my expected pace and then tucked in the middle I had a lovely 5k gallop that was completely unplanned and totally fun.

Monday, December 15, 2014

An Israeli Supper

Two years ago we were getting ready for my sister to come home for Christmas. While she was here, she and I planned my big adventure to go visit her in Israel the following March.

I visited, ran the Tel Aviv half, gorged on hummus, halva and baklava, drank my weight in pomegranate juice, travelled from one end of the country to the other and, in the process fell madly in love with Israel.

This past weekend I was flooded with memories of that wonderful adventure and decided that, if I can't go to Israel, I can bring Israel to me.

Or, more precisely, to my kitchen.

So I pulled out my beloved Jerusalem cookbook and set about making my first batch of from scratch traditional Israeli hummus.

I soaked the chickpeas overnight.

Sunday afternoon I boiled them and removed as many as their skins as possible.

I tossed the mushy mess into the food processor, added tahini, freshly squeezed lemon juice, freshly crushed garlic and iced cold water.

I blended until absolutely smooth.

I put it in a bowl under plastic wrap to let it 'settle'.

A few hours later, pour souper, I spread the hummus on a plate and drizzled olive oil and lemon juice over it the way they did it for us in Jerusalem. Topped with pan heated pine nuts and fresh parsley = delicious!

Fresh pitas ripped by hand and crunchy veggies were used for dipping.

And, for dessert?

Pomegranates and baklava of course!

Just a little hummus teaser for you.

Friday, December 12, 2014

One Snow Fall = Lots of Reactions

A wee bit of snow fell in my neck of the woods.

It started on Wednesday evening as I drove home from a dinner with friends. Thursday evening, as I wrote this blog, it still hadn't quite stopped. I lost track of how many centimetres fell but it was enough to completely transform the landscape from the dark colours of late fall to the glorious white of winter.

The runner in me peeked out the window on Thursday morning, saw the snow and decided to hop on the bike instead. A few years ago I would have pulled on my yaktraks and toughed it out. Now I am a little more protective and weigh the pros and cons before heading out in nasty weather. Is a 5k run with a high risk of fall or injury really worth it? Not when I am not training for anything AND I have a perfectly good bike in the basement.

The driver in me saw the snow and thanked the driving gods that I only live a kilometre from work AND have winter tires. I looked out my office window all day watching car after car slip and slide their way up and down the street.

The outdoorsy part of me did a little happy dance as I got to shovel not once but twice. In the dark early morning hours the snow was falling, the wind was gently blowing and the world was still and quiet. After work, the sky was blue, the kids were playing in the park across the street and the air was fresh and clean. Snow shoveling is my absolute favourite chore.

The Tabata part of me was sad that the class was cancelled. I sort of got over it after driving home and experiencing how bad the roads were. Suddenly driving across town in the dark was not at all appealing. I completely got over it after a solid hour of shoveling heavy wet snow. A complete core workout that was probably a little easier thanks to all of the Tabata and CoreFit I've been doing.

The homebody part of me looked forward to my first evening on the couch is almost a week. An early dinner, chores done, blog written - time for a few magazines, a glass of wine and some quiet time.

Ready or not folks, winter has arrived.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Play the Course the Way You Find it

Sunday night we were watching the Canada Cup of Curling final. Team Jacobs versus Team McEwen. Team Jacobs was predicted to win but they were struggling a bit.

The announcers, bless them, were trying to figure out their problem.

Well, they didn't play yesterday so that could be it. They lost touch with the ice.

Plus the ice is different during the final game because there are fewer teams playing which affects the ice temperature.

And there are more people in the audience which heats up the building, also affecting the ice temperature.

Oh, and they are convinced that one of their rocks is a 'cutter' meaning that it doesn't rotate the way it should.

I turned to Doug and announced "curling is just like diabetes!".

"How so?" he asked.

"What worked yesterday probably won't work today and there are so many variables that can affect the game that it's impossible to be 'perfect' for more than a few moments."

"Diabetes is like golf too" countered Doug. "Every day the course is different. And the only way to cope is to play the course the way you find it. Not the way you remember it from the day before."

"Wow, I should write a blog about this!" I said.

"Well, fire up your laptop and get on it" replied Doug.

"Oh, and I have one more nugget of wisdom that you could use to wrap up your blog" he said with a grin.

"It's the same ice for both teams."

"Thanks baby" I said as I fired up my laptop.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bolusing for Baklava

"Need anything out of the kitchen?" Doug asked.

"I'm hoping I can have baklava but not yet" I replied after a glance at my pump.

I had bolused a little earlier but no sign that I was dropping yet so there was no way I was touching that high carb treat.

Evenings are a juggling act on my side of the couch.

I like a little post-dinner treat but I've learned a few important lessons over the years.

1. Bolus early and do not eat the snack until it's very clear that blood sugar is dropping as it should.

2. Eat early enough so that I know if I'm in a good spot before going to bed - otherwise Rose will wait until I'm sound asleep and then start alarming like a madwomen. I may be high. I may be low. But I'll be something. And no one wants to eat four fig newtons at midnight after already having a high calorie treat before bed.

3. Do not have a post-dinner treat if dinner was a high carb meal. Otherwise there won't be enough time to know what the blood sugar dinner gods will do before I call in the blood sugar snacks gods. Usually they have a big ol' fight in the middle of the night. See number 2 for more details.

4. Do not rage bolus after 7pm unless absolutely necessary. Without fail I will be eating a snack that I do not want to eat at 3am. Guarantee.

There are nights when I have bolused for chocolate, put it on a plate, studiously ignored it for an hour and then put it back in the cupboard with a sigh because, by 9:00pm, I still wasn't low enough to eat it.

There are night when I have bolused for chocolate, enjoyed the chocolate without waiting for my dinner numbers to drop, gone to bed high, bolused extra and then had to eat two more snacks during the night because of lows.

"Need anything out of the kitchen?" is always tempting but I'm slowly learning to say yes when the stars align and to say no when they don't.

I value my sleep too much to jeopardize it unnecessarily for a piece of baklava - as delicious as it is.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Too Focused To Pay Attention

For the five weeks, I have been running with two goals in mind. Recover from my autumn cold and increase my weekend long runs to 15k so that I can run 90 minutes without too much difficulty.

Five weekends ago I ran 10k which was demoralizing after having been off for a few weeks. 

Four weekends ago I ran 12k which was pretty tough. 

Three weekends ago I ran 14k which was tough but a little bit less so. 

Two weekends ago I ran 15k and also went back to my much hillier route which meant added distance and difficulty. It felt surprisingly good and I was pumped. Runner girl was back! 

This past Saturday I did the same 15k hilly route again. The hills and the first 10k went quite well. Then I turned into a nasty headwind for 3k which sapped my strength and slowed me down. I persevered and finished but was exhausted by the end...and for the rest of the afternoon. I also had some foot and shin pain which seemed a little odd because I had stretched and iced right after the run and hadn't experienced any problems up to that point. 

Later that afternoon I entered my run into my online training program (Training Peaks) and I looked at how my mileage was adding up. 

That's when the first of two things hit me.

Céline, you've been so focused on getting your running fitness back that you forgot all about recovery weeks. 

I have been running for five weeks without a break - increasing the mileage every single week without slowing down to let my body recover. 

So, ready or not, this week is an easy week - 5k runs in the morning before work and 10k on Saturday. C'est tout! 

Then the second thing hit me as I limped around the house all afternoon. 

How old are your running shoes anyway? 

Because I had not been training for anything official since early September, I wasn't paying close attention to the mileage on my shoes. Thankfully, Training Peaks tracks that for me too. I did a little checkie-check and discovered that my 'new' shoes had actually been purchased in June (June!) and had 719k on them.

I usually trade them in at 500k to avoid injury. 

How does one run an extra 200k without noticing? 

My mathematical prediction? 

Easy week + new shoes = an extra little bounce in my step. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Month of Numbers

I was cleaning up my home office on the weekend and spotted my Diasend box of tricks amongst the piles of documents that I needed to file.

So, while I filed, I uploaded a month's worth of insulin pump data.

Once I finished filing, my treat was that I got to pour over the numbers, cup of tea in hand, to see how things had unfolded in the last month or so.

The number of ways that Diasend lets me look at the data is almost too much. The first few times I did looked at it, I looked at everything and got too bogged down in the details to notice the important stuff.

Now that I'm a little more experienced, I look at the things that are important.

Like this:

A month's worth of Continuos Glucose Monitor (CGM) readings. The green section is my target range (between 4.0 and 10.0). The red dots are my average reading for every hour of the day. The black lines extending up and down from those dots show the highest and lowest reading I had during each hour. 

And this:

This pie graph is my favourite thing to look at. It tells me at a glance what percent of CGM readings were below 4.0, above 10.0 and what percent were within target range (4.0-10.0). According to this I was below 4.0 only 3% of the time and above 10.0 only 16% of the time. The rest fell into the lovely green section. 

The last thing I look at is a tiny little number on the last page that read: average blood glucose reading. 

For the last four weeks, my average blood glucose reading was: 7.5 

So what did I do after checking out all the stats? 

After doing a happy dance I mean. 

I increased my basal rate between 11:00 and 17:00 to try to get those higher afternoon numbers down a bit. I also made a minor increase in my insulin to carb ratio at lunch time to see if that will help too. 

Other than that, I'm not touching anything. No point messing with a good thing. 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Diabetes - What it Feels Like on the Inside (a repost)

A little over a year ago I wrote a post trying to explain what diabetes feels like to me. I reread it yesterday and decided that it's worth republishing. So here it is from November 2013 - mere days before I starting using Dexter. I wonder if I would have written it differently if I was already CGM'ing?

It's always the same and yet it's always different.

Sometimes it starts with a dry throat and a gentle headache right between my eyes. The kind that makes me squint a bit and brings out those frown lines that I get when I'm thinking hard about something.

Sometimes it starts with a yawn. And then another one. And then another one. I usually start slouching in my chair a bit or get up to make some tea in an effort to wake up.

Sometimes my elbows start to feel a little less bendy. Like the fluid in my joints is starting to solidify.

Sometimes I get a funny taste in my mouth.

Sometimes the symptoms stop there. Sometimes they get worse and my dry throat becomes a crushing thirst, my gentle headache starts to pound, my yawns flow into each other and my joints all begin to join the stiffening chorus. Sometimes my hands start to ache.

Sometimes I clue in quickly. Other times I don't.

I always clue in eventually and grab my glucometer - knowing I'm going to see 16+ on the screen.

Sometimes my lips and tongue start to tingle just a bit. The way they feel when the freezing is coming out after a trip to the dentist.

Sometimes my heart starts beating a little faster and feels like a fluttering bird in my chest.

Sometimes I start to yawn. And yawn. And yawn. I go make a cup of green tea in an effort to wake up a bit.

Sometimes my limbs start to feel light, like gravity was turned down a notch. I become a little more awkward and clumsy than usual.

Sometimes little things annoy me. Things that didn't annoy me even a minute before and things that don't normally annoy me...ever.

Sometimes I clue in quickly. Sometimes I don't.

When I don't, my lips and tongue start tingling a lot - to the point where I can hardly feel them. My heart beat gets crazier and I start to sweat. It comes on fast and furious at that point and I can easily sweat through a hoodie and a jacket as well as my jeans in minutes. The yawns progress to the point where I can hardly get a sentence out between them. The world starts to spin. I need to sit down.

What I really need to do is grab some juice.

Diabetes is a textbook disease made up of numbers. Dosages. Ratios. Units. Time.

Diabetes is often summarized on a piece a paper with pictures of people drinking water or looking pale and shaky. It comes with warnings that a person is in one of the two ends of the blood sugar spectrum and helpful suggestions about what to do.

Diabetes is all of those things. And it's none of those things.

Diabetes is the horror of waking up drenched in sweat and hardly able to reach the Dex 4s on your bedside table and wondering, through the haze, "what if I hadn't woken up?"

Diabetes is the fear of going back to sleep in case it happens again. And it's the feeling of isolation when you get to the pool the next morning, tired and shaken, and no one has any idea what you've been through and how scared you were...and how important it was to get up early anyway so diabetes doesn't win.

Diabetes is the horror of struggling to control a blood sugar of 25 with dose after dose of insulin and feeling that every minute you spend up in the clouds is another minute that diabetes is doing damage to your body. The only body you have. And diabetes is wondering if this high will be the high that puts me over the edge to the land of no return.

Diabetes is the fear of going low 1500m from shore during a triathlon swim and yet still getting in the water because the fear of letting diabetes dictate your life is greater than the fear of an open-water low.

Diabetes is squinting at the tiny air bubbles in your insulin tube, carefully priming to get them out, and then wondering if anyone will do that for you if your eyesight fails and you are no longer able to do that for yourself one day.

Diabetes is listening to people talk about other people with diabetes and all the horrible things happening to them...and refusing to let that stop you from trying to be healthy even though it's just so easy to give up and hand diabetes the reigns.

Diabetes is about doing the same thing, day after day after day, knowing it's only going to work half the time.

Diabetes is about finding a way to be proud of the fact that you test your blood sugar in public and have tubes coming out of you as you walk around the change room after your swim. Because the alternative is hiding and that's not an alternative you're willing to entertain.

Diabetes is all numbers and ratios and signs and symptoms on the outside.

On the inside, it's a never-ending battle between fear and courage. Between motivation and depression. Between the will to fight and the urge to throw in the towel.

Sometimes I'm the one on the left. Sometimes I'm the one on the right. 
Depends on the day. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Minus 12 Going on Minus 20

On Tuesday morning I got up early to run. I am a good little Canadian runner and so I checked the temperature AND the windchill before deciding what to wear.

-6C was the temp.

-12C with the windchill.

The wind was 14km/hour which didn't cause me any distress. I don't even begin to think about it until it goes above 20km/hour.

So I pulled on my pants, my long sleeved Under Armour shirt, my long-sleeve second layer with the built in mitts that I love. My vest. My toque.

I headed downstairs.

"Are you going to be warm enough?" asked Doug who was heading into the basement for a bike ride.

"Oh yes!" I replied proudly. "It's only -12C with the windchill. The wind is hardly blowing and I have three layers on. In fact, I may be too hot."

Ok, he said, studiously avoiding looking me in the eye.

I walked outside and thought "it's lovely out here". I walked down the driveway and admired the black sky and the bright stars shining. "I am so lucky to be able to run at this time of day" I though as I looked at Orion in the sky.

Then I walked past the edge of the house and felt the first gust of wind.

"Bloody hell!" I gasped. I quickly turned on my watch and started running lest I freeze in place. I had decided to change my route back to one I ran a lot earlier this year. Seven kilometres but with a few long hills to help me get my hill running strength back a bit. It is also a bit more sheltered from the wind which I hadn't thought about before but now was profoundly grateful for.

I went out faster than I normally would have with one goal: warm the heck up. My entire body was freezing to the point where I was shaking as a ran. My lungs gasped for air as my chest shook from the cold. Not a good combo.

A few kilometres in I reached the first hill. The longest but most gradual of them all. By that time I could feel that my chest was warm and glowing but the heat I was generating was not moving beyond the edge of my vest. My arms, despite two layers and 15 minutes of running, were still freezing. I couldn't even feel my legs so I assumed they weren't warming up yet either.

By 4k I was still moving as quickly as I could despite having climbed the second and toughest hill of the run. My goal now was to just get it done and, no matter what, NOT STOP RUNNING.

At 5k, I realized that I had remembered the route wrong. I knew every turn and every hill but the 7k that I remembered was turning out to be 8k instead. And no short cut option to get home faster.

There was no time to whine or complain. No time to stop and gather my energy. It was life or death out there.


I ran right to the edge of the driveway, didn't even bother stretching my calves and flung open the kitchen door with a gasp. Doug, getting breakfast ready in his shorts and t-shirt, turned around in horror.

"It's freezing! Close the door!!"

"Minus twelve my ass" was my response.

He laughed and said "I told you".

I insisted that the temperature being reported was actually incorrect. So was the one on our fancy pants temperature gauge. He smiled patiently, mumbled something non-commital about my temperature comments and suggested that I wear my jacket next time.

So did you notice anything while reading this?

I ran 8k. With lots of hills. Without stopping. Or complaining about low energy, fatigue or slow speeds.

I ran 8k at 5:30am, galloped up hills and froze my keister off. And it felt great!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Medusa

In January of this year, I set a goal to learn how to do my hair.

Do my hair as in move beyond ponytails and messy buns (thank heavens for those!) and try to learn to do lovely braids and twists and other things. Take it a notch up so to speak.

I am happy to report that I have mastered the French braid.

I am sad to report that this is all I have mastered despite having 11 months of practice.

I have watched youtube videos of ladies with lovely tresses transform themselves into Katniss-like braided sphinxes in two minutes using three bobby pins and nimble fingers.

I have watched "it's so easy anyone could do it!!" videos of first timers learning how to do updos, lovely side braids and twisty braided ponytail thingies.

All look simple.

All apparently require mere minutes and three magic bobby pins to complete and no more than one try to master.

So what the eff is my problem?

I have the bobby pins. The tiny elastics. The ability to braid.

And yes, no matter what I try, I end up looking like a tussled mess and the entire 'do begins to fall out five minutes after I finished doing it. I'm the Medusa, not the sphinx.

I admit that I do have rather silky hair which doesn't help since most braids slide right out. I have learned to embrace the every second day hair wash when possible which helps a bit to keep things together but still.

I can honestly say that learning how to golf was significantly easier than learning how to do a ponytail with a braid woven in.

Anyone want some hairstyle supplies? I have enough elastics and bobby pins to start my own hair shop. If I had the patience to start my own hair shop. Which I now realize I don't and never will.

In the meantime, I'm learning to embrace the ponytail and moving on to bigger and better things that don't drive me bat shit crazy.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

November Fitness Wrap-Up

After October's fitness failure, November was a bit of a redemption month. As my energy came back after being sick for a few weeks I was able to add a bit more activity each week. One step at a time and, by the end of 30 days, I actually covered a fairly good distance.

CoreFit and Tabata
I attended 3 CoreFit classes and 3 Tabata classes in November. The only two I missed were last week when I was away for work. That a total of 6 hours of core, abs and legs. Did I mention that I love those classes?

We're back on the ice now for our regular Friday night curling battles. I don't usually report on curling but, the more I think about it, the more i think I should. It's a tough sport. The sweeping gets my cardio up the way the bike never does and it's great for the arms. It also works on leg strength as well as balance. I curled 4 regular games in November as well as three bonus ones thanks to the Lighthouse Bonspiel last weekend. That's a total of 10 1/2 hours on the ice. Did I mention that it's freezing out there?

I managed to get on the trainer three times in November. Twice on Sundays and one nasty morning when it was just too windy, snowy and cold to run outside. I cycled 52.6km in total and pedalled for 2 1/2 hours overall.

Running was much better this month. I completed 11 runs in November which is almost three runs per week (minus the snow day when I hopped on the bike). I ran a total of 11 1/2 hours and covered 102km. My longs runs were 10k, 12k, 14k and 15k. I'm clawing my way back to being able to run 1 1/2 hours straight without needing to spend the rest of the day on the couch. This past weekend's long run was the best I've felt in about 6 weeks on a long run. So yay for that.

I do have to admit that, without golf, my overall time spent moving is down significantly. I have also been neglecting the pool as you may have noticed. I started off missing because I was off, then I was sick. then I stayed off because I was exhausted. Now I'm not swimming because, well, because I don't really feel like it. I think I got a bit burned out from all the early mornings and the rigamarole that goes along with early-morning swims. So no swimming at the moment and I'm completely ok with that. I may go back this month for a few swims. I may not. I'm definitely back in the pool in January in order to prepare for the 2015 triathlon season. Between now and then - it will be what it will be and I'm not worried about whatever it is.

At the end of December I'll report back on the last month of 2014 as well as the grand total for the year. That's always fun. I wonder if I'll meet my goal of running 1000km in 2014? That would be fun.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The Revenge of the Lighthouse

Saturday, well, I have no idea what the weather was. I have no idea if the sun shone or if the wind blew.

We arrived at the curling club just before 8am and didn't leave again until almost 6pm.

In those 10 hours we were busy.

We decorated the club with tacky but fun decorations.

Who can resist a lobster towel, orca, puffin, Ariel display? 

We turned the curling windows into an aquarium. 

Complete with octopi and clown fish. 

We put gummy whales and fishes on all the tables next to the homemade lighthouses.

We revved up the East Coast tunes on the speaker system.

By 9am, the curlers had arrived. By 9:30am we were on the ice playing our first game.

Which we won. With enough points to put us in first place. Which was pretty exciting.

A quick pot of tea (or beer depending on the team) and a bowl of seafood chowder and we were back on for the second game.

The second game was a battle of the Friday night curling titans. Team Geddie versus Team Leahy is always a fun event. Back and forth it went. Good shots, bad shots and miracle shots which, at the end of the day, weren't enough to win. We dropped from first to 6th. Sad.

Thankfully, it was time for lunch. Oysters, lobster penne, caesar salad with calamari and a glass of red wine does wonders for the pride of a team.

Game three was, well, there are no words. How would YOU describe a 6-end game that ended 12-1 for the other team. By the end all we could do was laugh and try hail mary shots in the hopes that they might save us. Our goal was to keep them from getting the maximum points on the board: 15. We achieved that if nothing else.

We dropped down to the bottom half of the standings and skulked off the ice with our tails between our legs.

I tried to redeem us in the closest to the rock challenge. While everyone agreed that I made the best fitness shot of the day, it wasn't enough to win us that honour either.

The day was fun and the feedback from the teams was extremely positive. It was fun to organize and even more fun to be a part of. We'll be back next year - without the pressure to organize the day.

Hurry hard!

Friday, November 28, 2014

The Lighthouse

Anyone remember this picture?

It's from this time last year.

Doug and I, with our two good friends, joined our first ever Friday night Geddie team curling bonspiel. It was called The Lighthouse Bonspiel and there was a wonderful East Coast feel to it.

Great Big Sea music playing on the ice.

Oysters between games.

Clam chowder and seafood pasta for lunch...

...and a very nice Skip I happen to have a wee crush on. 

Oh, and for our first bonspiel, we didn't do too badly. We ended up coming home with the trophy thanks to some fabulous playing by our team plus a bit of luck of the draw in terms of who played whom. There was also a bit of luck of the draw period (which is actually a rather fun curling joke if you know the lingo).

As they handed us the trophy we found out that the winning team is also responsible for working with the club to plan the next year's event.

Which just happens to be tomorrow.

Don't you worry though. We're all set to go.

We have our cutout sea creatures ready to be pasted to windows and walls.  Including a rather large octopus and some smiling clams.

We have a stuffed Ariel mermaid who will sit on the scoring table to keep us company. She'll get to talk to the lobsters on the beach towel she'll be lounging on while we're out playing on the ice.

We have lighthouse centrepieces and one of those tacky cardboard thingies you can put your face in and have your photo taken looking like Ariel or King Triton depending on your preference.

I'm not sure even I have enough Irish luck to pull off another win but one never knows which way the rocks will curl.

Stay tuned for Monday's report: The Revenge of the Lighthouse.

(Picture Jaws only with less teeth and a light on top that spins.)  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Healthy Travels - Day Two

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

How to Travel Healthy-style

Day one of work travel is complete.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Monday, November 24, 2014

Travel Plans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wish me luck!

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

Friday, November 21, 2014

5-Minute Oatmeal

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

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

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

My kinda cooking.

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

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

I am also a huge fan of oatmeal.

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

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

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

Five minutes from fridge to table.

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

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

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


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Live Tracking

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to my watch research. 

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

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

One of these actually.

It's the Garmin 620

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

It has a touch screen. 

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

It's orange! 

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

Peace of mind for him on cold snowy mornings.

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

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

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Not So Tough Anymore

The human body is amazing.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Twelve But Barely

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

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

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

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

At 4k, I felt good.

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

At 6k I felt ok.

At 7k I felt not so ok.


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

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

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

Did I mention that being real people sick sucks?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Women with Type 1 Diabetes

On Saturday morning I was up and on the highway before the sun came up. I was in Cambridge Ontario before 8am and had my laptop and speakers connected before 8:15am.

By 9am, the room was full of women with type 1 diabetes. Some had their pumps out for all to see. Others showed no visible sign of a pancreas malfunction but the fact that they were there bright and early on a Saturday morning leads one to assume...

I wasn't scheduled to speak until just before lunch so I listened to the speakers who went before me. All medical professionals. All with important and helpful information geared specifically for women. Pregnancy, stress, menstruation, menopause, exercise and all sorts of other fun things designed to wreak havoc on blood sugar numbers.

When it was my turn to speak, I told my story. I talked about being a person first. A person with diabetes second. I talked about the emotional roller coaster that comes with being diagnosed as an adult, the challenge of trying to go back to the life I had before diagnosis and the day that changed everything. The day that I decided to become a runner.

I made sure that I talked about how running, or any other kind of exercise, is possible if you break it down into small and manageable steps. I made sure I talked about how I was not some super-athlete. That I was just a regular girl who started small and build my strength to the point where I could stand up in front of a room full of people and announce that I ran half-marathons and did triathlons for fun. I made sure I talked about the Diabetes Online Community and the difference that finding that community made.

Afterwards, several women came up to speak with me.

I met a woman who was diagnosed at 12. She is 60 now meaning that she's had type 1 for 48 years. She looked fabulous and strong and she talked about how important it was to be tough when facing type 1 diabetes. She asked me if I would come speak to the people with type 1 in her area. I accepted immediately.

I met a woman who had been diagnosed just a few years ago. They caught it early enough that she didn't have to go on a full-blown insulin regime right away. Instead, she is living with the knowledge that her beta cells are slowly shutting down and that she will find herself on a pump in the not too distant future. She and I talked about the emotional challenge of being diagnosed as an adult. We can remember what our lives were like before. Our partners and our families remember the way we were before. And our eyes welled up as we both found solace in the fact that we understood what the other person was going through. We are no longer the people we were before. She is still mourning that loss and I tried to find the words to tell her that it would be ok. And that she would find the courage to face the road ahead and come out stronger on the other side.

I met another women diagnosed as an adult who said she was shocked when I started talking and she started crying. "I didn't realize until today how important it was for me to know that there are people out there who really understand what I'm going through."

I met a women who had a baby not that long ago. She talked about how she too was misdiagnosed in the beginning. I was told I had type 2. She was told she had depression and prescribed anti-depressants instead of insulin.

It was an emotional event for me and for many of the women there. Not sad emotional though. Good emotional. The kind where you leave feeling better for having had the experience.

Friday, November 14, 2014

World Diabetes Day

Happy Friday.

Happy World Diabetes Day.

Happy Omigod Sebastien Made it all the Way Across Canada Day.

A man with an insulin pump, a wicked french accent and a dream bigger than all of us. Run across Canada to raise awareness about type 1 diabetes and hopefully inspire a few folks along the way.

Day one: February 2 2014 - Sebastien left Cape Spear in the coldest Canadian winter in 15 years and headed west. 

Through the maritimes and Québec and Ontario

Through the prairies

Towards the Rockies 

Up one side...

...and down the other.

Sébastien set a lofty goal to run across Canada. 

To run 7500km. 

To run the equivalent of 180 marathons. 

And to finish in Vancouver on World Diabetes Day. Which just happens to be today.

Guess where he is?

Yep, Vancouver. Five kilometres from the finish line.

A bunch of my friends are out there ready to scream, cheer and shed a few tears as he finishes the last few steps of his journey.

He did it. He's a few pounds lighter and probably pretty sore but he did it. He did it not despite diabetes but because of it. He inspired everyone he saw and everyone who saw him. Saw him in photos, in videos, online or running down one long road or another through the worst weather that Canada could throw at him.

Happy World Diabetes Day folks.

If you have someone with diabetes in your life, give them a big hug today and make sure you tell them that you love them eh?

(photos taken from Sébastien's Outrun Diabetes Facebook page)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

David From All Angles

Remembering names, specific details or direct quotes is not a particular skill of mine.

Consider yourselves warned.

I read a book recently. I can't remember the name or the author. I could whip out my iPad and check but what fun would that be?

In that book was a quote that really resonated with me. Unfortunately I can't exactly remember it. But I remember the gist of it which is all a girl of my memory skills can hope for.

The basic message was: we see the past head on but we only see the present in profile.

I do better with images so let's use David to help illustrate the point.

 The famous David head on (aka the past)

Same dude in profile (aka the present)

I don't know why I found that half memorized half made up quote so fascinating but it's been bouncing around in my head since I read it. 

At first I took it to mean that we see the past clearly but we are too close to the present to see it for what it is. We can't see the forest for the trees so to speak. 

Then I thought, well just because we can see David's face doesn't mean we have the entire picture. I mean what about the back of him? That's part of the story too right? Even looking at the past head on we only get part of the picture.

And then I thought about how, if you put five people in a room for a meeting, they will all come away with a different idea of what happened. Different interpretations. Different memories. Different ideas of what is important and what is expected of them. When they look back, they will see five different David's and will sincerely believe that their David is the real David. 

What is the past? Is it a collection of interpretations? Mine, yours and the dude over there's? Is it a static thing that looks different depending on the angle at which you see it? If David head on represents the past, is it possible to walk all the way around the statue and see the past more clearly? Can we all stand in a circle around him and together see the past clearly? Or do we all see a different statue? 

That's about the time that I decided to start my next book. The title of which I haven't quite memorized yet. But it's an actual book book rather than an electronic book so perhaps the tactile experience will help solidify some of the details a little more firmly into my wee brain. 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

85% isn't so bad

Can you define healthy?

What does it really mean to be healthy?

That your blood test results come back in the acceptable range when you are tested for cholesterol, vitamin b12 levels, A1C and other things?

That your blood pressure falls in the acceptable range?

That your BMI falls in the acceptable range?

That you can run to the corner and back without collapsing? That you can run a half marathon?

That your colour looks good?

That you don't have dark circles under your eyes? That your hair is shiny? That your nails aren't brittle?

That you eat a variety of fruits and veggies every day as well as grains and legumes and kefir and chia seeds?

That you don't smoke? Or drink too much? Or overdo the caffeine or the salt or the sugar?

That you get enough sleep? Or that you don't get too much?

Is healthy about what you do?

Or what you don't do?

Or what the blood test results, the blood pressure results or the BMI results say?

I have been thinking lately about all the things I try to do to be healthy. And all the things that I don't do in order to be healthy.

I was wondering which choices have a greater impact. Does staying in bed an extra 90 minutes make more sense than getting up super early in order to exercise before work? Does sticking to one coffee a day and then switching to herbal tea really make a difference in the great scheme of things?

And does my body know how many times I crave chocolate and yet don't eat it and does that knowledge somehow help justify the times that I do eat it? Kinda like buying something expensive on sale and talking about how much you saved rather than how much you spent?

The other day I downloaded two weeks worth of readings from Rose. Insulin information, continuous glucose monitor information. Basal changes and bolus correction information. I then spent a good amount of time looking at the 40+ pages of information that was generated. I was able to look at every minute of every day to see my blood sugar highs and lows. I was able to look at charts and graphs and everything I looked at seemed to point out all of the times that my blood sugar was below 4.0 or above 10.0.

All I could seem to focus on what the times I was high and the times I was low.

And then, on the last page of the report, there was a lovely pie chart. This pie chart summarized beautifully what percent of the time my blood sugar was below 4.0, above 10.0 and between 4-10.

The results:
below 4.0 = 5% of the time
above 10.0 = 10% of the time
between 4-10 = 85% of the time

I don't know what you think but the fact that I am hanging out between 4-10 85% of the time is pretty damn fabulous in my books.

I think it's too easy to feel bad about the unhealthy choices that we make. The big ones and the little ones. It's easy to feel guilty about having that chocolate bar or going to bed too late or not getting up to exercise before work.

And I think it's important to look at the pie chart. Because while we're busy getting caught up in the unhealthy choices we make, we often overlook all the healthy ones.

And those, my friends, should be celebrated!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Sunday Afternoons

All summer long Doug and I looked for every opportunity to get out on the golf course. Most weekends involved two to three games, preferably 18 holes if we could manage it.

I loved it. He loved it.

Saturdays usually included a long run first thing, a shower, lunch and then off to the golf course. Home in time for dinner.

Sundays looked a lot like Saturdays except that the long run was traded for a bike ride.

Now that the temperatures have dropped, and our next golf game is months away, I am rediscovering the joy of having time at home.

Take yesterday for example. We got up relatively early and headed down into the basement for a cycling workout. Cycling, breakfast, leisurely coffee and a shower were done by 11:00am. Then I went to town.

I put on a pot of split pea and ham soup to take advantage of the ham bone we had left over from last weekend.

I put on a squash to roast in the oven.

I seeded four pomegranates.

I did two loads of laundry and some hand washing.

I cleaned out the linen and toiletry closet.

I cleaned up the kitchen after all the cooking, put on a pot of tea and listened to the latest episode of Serial (a very interesting podcast for anyone interested) while I painted my nails.

I wrote today's blog. I prepped for my presentation next weekend. I read Châtelaine (en Français).

All of this between 11am and 3pm.

The exact amount of time that it takes to play 18 holes of golf.

I miss my golf course and my 10k walks in the fresh air.

But it sure is nice to have those Sunday afternoons least for a while.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Progress. Slow and Steady.

Two weeks into my return to the land of the healthy and my attempt to rediscover my old, familiar fitness level.

Two weeks worth of early morning runs.

Two weeks worth of after work CoreFit and Tabata classes.

My morning runs have gone from terribly hard to kinda hard to ok fine I'll go but I'd still rather stay snuggled under the covers to yay it's 5:15am, time to get up and run.

My evening classes have gone from it would be much easier to hold this plank if I wasn't coughing so much and shaking like a leaf to having the energy to not only do the cardio but bounce while doing it to thinking that the 7lb weights aren't quite heavy enough to sure, I'll join you for mussels and a glass of wine after class.

I'm still convinced that the chronic-ness of type 1 diabetes has less of an impact on my ability to live my life than a simple cold does.

Four weeks after feeling the first scratch in my throat I'm still coughing in the morning when I wake up and at the end of the day. My energy is probably 75% and people still, lovingly I'm sure, say things like "wow, you look exhausted" at uncomfortably regular intervals.

That being said, I'm writing this after a 7k early morning run and a tough tabata class. I still have the energy to prepare a healthy dinner rather than make a quick bowl of cereal and, after my dishes are done, I'm planning to spend an hour listening to a new podcast my sister recommended.

Then I'll head to bed.

Progress people. Slow but steady progress.

Soon, I hope, I will forget what it felt like to be sick because I'll be so happy enjoying what it feels like to be well.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Let's Change the World

I had an appointment with my diabetes doctor yesterday. 

We got through the business part of the appointment fairly quickly. 

A1C of 6.6
Cholesterol: fine
Blood pressure: fine
CGM readings are good and the fact that I achieved an A1C of 6.6 while only being below 4.0 5% of the time was the icing on the cake. 

My doctor started flipping through my file as we spoke and she spotted my one page profile. 

This is my one page profile. I gave it to the nurses and dieticians at the Diabetes Centre so that they could have a sense of who I was as a person and then be able to support me in a way that made sense for me. Because I am more than just diabetes right? And I am also different than the next person who will walk into the meeting room. 

My doctor, as it turns out, had never seen it before. 

She loved it at first sight. When I explained what it was and why I created it, she loved it even more. She asked if she could share it with some of the administrators. She asked if she could share it with some of the students. Yes, yes yes!! "Share it with whoever the hell you want" is what I said to her. 

I told her that I had used it in presentation to diabetes educators and that the feedback was extremely positive. I said that I really felt strongly that the best way to support someone is to see them as a person first rather than a diagnosis. I told her that I was speaking to a group of women with Type 1 in a few weeks and was going to talk about the difference between living with diabetes and diabetes living with me. 

My doctor told me that she had started directing patients to my blog if they were struggling with their diabetes. She said that she encouraged them to read it and contact me if they had questions. I told her that we could do even better than that. I suggested that she get their permission for me to email or call them directly. That way they don't have to find the courage to reach out to a stranger. That stranger would reach out to them. All they had to do was answer the phone. I told her that I had done that before several times and that it always worked well. 

When people are struggling, I said, it can be too much to expect them to meet you half way. Sometimes they can only meet you 25% of the way. 

By the time I left, my doctor was thanking me for my time rather than the other way around. I told her not to hesitate if she had a patient who wanted to connect with me. Not to hesitate if she saw an opportunity for me to speak with diabetes educators, medical students, patients or hospital administrators. Not to hesitate if she saw a way for us to make things a little better for people with diabetes. 

"Let's help people" I said. "Let's help change the world"

We both left the room with smiles on our faces. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Cold Weather Rose

I have been running through cold Canadian winters for years now.

I have run through 6 Canadian winters wearing an insulin pump.

I protect my pump from cold temperatures by clipping it to the waist of my running pants and then making sure that my upper layers cover it. The pump still gets fairly cold but I rarely ever had problems with insulin freezing or pumps malfunctioning.

This year, I am introducing Rose to the joy of running in the cold. She survived the warm Canadian summer and did quite well on long runs in hot, humid temperatures. No problems for her at all. She has yet to experience a Canadian winter.

As of last Friday, she has been on three runs that I would say were slightly cold. As in I wore pants. Each run was about 5 degrees celsius (41 degrees fahrenheit). Above freezing and about 35 degrees away from the -30 degree runs she'll be doing in January.

Each of those three runs were between 5k and 7k. That means 35-50 minutes of running. A far cry from the 2 hour cold runs she'll be doing later on.

And yet on each of those three coolish runs, she stopped working.

When I checked her partway through the run, I was greeted by a message saying 'pump is not primed'. That means that Rose was not delivering insulin and would not deliver insulin until I unhooked her, primed her and then hooked her back up again. Not something that is easy to do when I'm running.

Once I got home and primed her properly, everything was fine.

On Friday afternoon, I called Animas. I spoke to a gentleman and explained my problem. He asked me a bunch of questions. He quickly realized that I had figured out a pattern and eliminated most other variables that may have caused the problem. He was in the US so it took us a bit of time to figure out the temperature conversion and talk in a common language.

He was not sure what the problem was and suggested that the newer pumps (aka the Animas Vibe) were likely more sensitive than the one I had used before (aka the Animas One Touch Ping). I politely asked how people in cold climates were supposed to survive the winter if the pump stopped working when it wasn't even freezing yet. He asked if it got much colder than 5 degrees where I lived. I laughed and said that it wasn't even close to cold yet.

He suggested I protect the pump when I went outside in the cold. Maybe put a sock over it. I said that I had never had to do that before with my other insulin pumps (Animas or Medtronic).

I asked if anyone else had complained about this issue and he said he had not heard of anyone else complaining. He offered to send me a new pump. I hesitated because I already had a new pump. Rose is hardly 6 months old yet and I do enjoy her company. I hate to send her back without giving her a few more test runs in the cold.

On the other hand, I can't be running 16k on Boxing Day with her not working after the first ten minutes. There is no way I can run that long without insulin and no way I'm stopping on the side of the road, digging through 3 layers of clothes to unhook her, prime her, hook her back up and hope it doesn't happen again in five minutes.

I told him I would try her on a few more 'cold' morning runs and call back if the problem continued. He said that was fine and assured me that our conversation was documented and would be accessible to the next person I spoke with at customer support. I thanked him for his time.

The next morning I headed out in 3 degrees celsius. It was raining and very windy. I wore two thin tops and a vest. I checked Rose every 2k and every 2k she happily showed me my blood sugar. She never once send me an error message and, even when I lifted my shirt to expose her to the cold toward the end of the run, she performed beautifully.

Perhaps it was the fear that I would send her back.

Perhaps her previous three error messages had nothing to do with cold temperatures.

Perhaps perhaps perhaps.

I'm not ready to believe her quite yet and I'll keep you posted as the temperatures keep dropping in Canada.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Broccoli Lentil Soup

On Saturday it seemed like everyone in my neck of the woods was freaking out because the temperature had dropped. It was rainy and windy out. A few snowflakes fell and I was alternately pelted by raindrops and ice pellets on my morning run.

It took me a few hours to warm up despite coffee, a hot shower and a comfy blanket in addition to my sweats and fuzzy socks. 

While I shivered and watched the rain fall, I was inspired to whip up something warm and healthy for lunch. Something that would ideally make me a few lunches for the week as well. 

What was in the fridge? Broccoli came to mind. Followed immediately by broccoli lentil soup. 

We make a lot of soups during the winter months. They are all delicious and full of flavour. I am NOT a fan of mild-tasting soups. I want flavour and lots of it. That usually involves plenty of ingredients, spices and lots of taste-testing to get it just right.  

Broccoli lentil soup defies all of my hard-earned soup-making logic. 

It takes about ten minutes to prepare, 30 minutes to cook, and requires only mild-tasting ingredients and no spices. 

Sounds delicious eh? 

It is. Surprisingly so. And hearty. And healthy. 

In case anyone is interested, here's the recipe.

1 onion chopped
2 gloves of garlic chopped
1 stalk of celery (I used 2) chopped 
1 large carrot chopped
1 bunch of broccoli chopped
4 cups of broth (I used one carton of Campbell's vegetable broth because it is what I had on hand. It's not exactly 4 cups but it worked just fine)
3/4 cup of green lentils

Don't worry too much about chopping the veggies into perfect sizes. They will all be blended into mush at the end.

Fry up onion, celery and carrot for 5 minutes. I added a bit of pepper at this point. 
Toss in garlic towards the end and fry that up too. 
Add broccoli, lentils and broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer, lid on the pot, for 30 minutes 
Blend as much or as little as you like (I use an immersion blender)


Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese if you're feeling decadent. Dip bread or hearty crackers in if you feel like it. 

A great way to clear out some less than perfect veggies in the fridge. 

Perfect for a cold autumn afternoon. 

Monday, November 3, 2014

October Wrap Up

It's been November for three days already. Before October fades too quickly from my memory, I figure I had better fess up report on how the month was fitness-wise.

What is the opposite of stellar? Whatever word pops into mind is probably a good one for describing how the month went.

Out of 31 days, I only worked out on 12 of them. The other 19 days I did absolutely nothing. At least nothing particularly physical.

I did not swim once.

I did not cycle once (inside or outside)

I ran 6 times for a total of 34 kilometres. It took me 3 hours and 50 minutes.

I was able to squeeze in 12 hours of golf, walking a total of 30km.

I did 2 CoreFit classes and 3 Tabata ones. So five hours of weights and core workouts.

I could blame it on my cold and my never-ending cough.

I could complain about the struggle to regain the fitness level I had back in September when I was running 20k sans problème.

Instead, I'll look at it as a much-needed opportunity to rest my body a bit after a summer of tough workouts.

We're three days into November and I've already got a run in and a hill workout on my bike (indoors).

Looks like the rest period is slowly coming to an end.

Friday, October 31, 2014

12 Years

Today is Hallowe'en.

Tomorrow is my 12-year diaversary.

Twelve years ago today, I woke up feeling awful. I woke up exhausted. I woke up thirsty. I woke up having probably lost a pound or two since the day before. I woke up craving sugar. I woke up knowing something was terribly wrong and hoping that the appointment I had made for November 1st would shed some light on the problem...even though I had pretty much figured out the problem already. I just didn't want to admit it to myself.

Twelve years ago tomorrow, I woke up in my own bed for the last time in a week. I would be misdiagnosed before noon, re-diagnosed correctly by about 4pm, in the hospital by 5 and in intensive care before dinner. I would have called my parents trying to be brave and broken down in tears before I could even say 'hi dad'. I would be put on an insulin IV and assured that insulin would make me feel better. It did. In fact by the time my parents showed up around 8pm I was already feeling better. Probably because my blood sugar was down to 20 rather than 35.

Every day has 24 hours in it. Every hour has 60 minutes in it and every minute has 60 seconds in it. Some days, some hours, some minutes have a bigger impact on our lives than others.

The day of my car accident when I was 16 years old aged me. In the hours, days and weeks that followed that horrible day, I grew up quickly. By the time I left that hospital, I was no longer the little girl who had gone in. I had grown up, matured and learned a lot of life lessons that helped me when I found myself in the same intensive care unit a decade later.

Some of the nurses recognized me from my last stay. I (thankfully) wasn't in the same room again but, as soon as those doors opened, I instantly remembered the smells, the sounds, the feeling of vulnerability and the stubborn refusal to cry no matter what happened next. At least not until my family had left the room.

That week 12 years ago was another one of those weeks where I was forced to mature quickly to adapt to my new situation. I came out of that hospital stronger and braver than I was when I went in.

I am who I am today because of many things. My ability to handle life's curveballs is due largely to that car accident and to that diabetes diagnosis. Those moments taught me how to handle physical and emotional pain with courage and how to separate the little things in life from the big ones.

I wouldn't wish either of those weeks on anyone. But I am grateful that they are part of my own history. My life would not be nearly as rich or wonderful if it wasn't for the moments that taught me what is important...and what is not.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


When I exercise regularly, which is most of the time, I look forward to exercising. On running mornings it's rare that I don't want to get up and run. On CoreFit and Tabata nights it's rare that I don't want to change, grab my mat and head across town for another crazy workout. When the little voice in my head suggests that it might be nice not to work out, the much louder one tells it to shhhh and there is rarely an argument.

Exercise begets more exercise.

For two weeks while I was sick, I did not exercise. At all.

This week, I'm back at it but only about 60%. I'm running but not quite as far and I'm back to CoreFit but only just. Swimming isn't even on the table yet.

The biggest lesson I learned is that not exercising begets even more not exercising.

The body gets used to whatever it does the most. When I exercise regularly, that becomes the norm and it is what my body knows and expects. It feels best when that pattern is maintained.

When I couldn't exercise, the first few days were tough. I felt awful but wanted desperately to go out for a run anyway. Didn't matter how long. Fifteen minutes was fine. I just wanted to move.

As every day went by, I became more and more comfortable not exercising and, in less than two weeks, not exercising became my new norm.

I knew I wanted to get back out there and run but it was my mind telling me to, not my body. My mind knew it was good for me. My mind knew that I would feel better and have more energy once I was moving regularly again. My mind knew I would use less insulin and have fewer highs once exercise was the routine.

My body was quite happy to sit on the couch after work. It was quite happy to sleep in until 6:30am, shower, eat and go to work. No 5am alarms.

I think I understand now how difficult it is for people to motivate themselves to exercise when they are not used to doing it. It's hard to get motivated. It's exhausting the first few times you do it and you're more tired afterwards. I don't think the endorphins come out to play for the first few weeks.

Only the fact that I know how good I'll feel once I get over the first few days gets me up when the alarm goes off. Only the fact that I have a vague memory of how much I love CoreFit convinces me to head out, in the dark, after work for a class.

For folks out there who are trying to find a way to motivate themselves to move more, here are my two cents for what they are worth. Use your mind to motivate you at the beginning - tell yourself all the reasons why it's important to walk, run, swim or whatever it is that appeals to you. Convince yourself of the value and talk yourself into moving. Once you get used to moving, your body will take over and motivate you to keep doing it.

Because, I have to say, it feels so darn good to be active. And the memory of feeling that good is what gets me moving again.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

My Neighbourhood Pharmacy

Monday after work, I popped in at the local pharmacy to get my flu shot.

For those of you who think I'm crazy for getting a flu shot, I don't want to hear about it. Well, actually, that's not very open-minded. Let me change that. For those of you who disagree with my choice to get a flu shot, I would love to hear your scientific arguments against it and I promise to read each and every one. 

Back to the story...

The pharmacy I chose to go to is the one I go to every year for my flu shot.

I like it there.

They are nice there.

I also like it because it's a pharmacy that is smack dab in the middle of several different neighbourhoods. Some of the most expensive homes in my city are within walking distance. So is much of the affordable housing. Doug and I live right in the middle of it all and I love that all sorts of different people live around us in a way that just seems to work. My 7k morning runs take me from one end of the socio-economic scale of our city to the other and back again.

I make a point of going to this pharmacy because it's one of those rare places where everyone feels welcome. It doesn't matter what you're wearing or how much money you have. It's open. It's accessible and nothing seems to phase the people who work there.

A rainbow of colours. People of all ages. Different accents. Tattoos. Piercings.

And that's just the staff.

I walked up to the counter and asked for a flu shot. I filled out the form and had to wait my turn behind everyone who had dropped off a prescription before me.

Two people had come in for their daily methadone maintenance treatment. They nodded at me when I made eye contact. They leaned against the wall casually waiting their turn to be called up.

A young mother covered in tattoos and piercings brought her young daughter in. She proceeded to open a chocolate bar and share it with her daughter while they tried on sunglasses, debated between Ninja Turtle and Barbie bandaids and waited for whatever it was they were waiting for. The mother kept yelling her daughter's name if she wandered too far and, instead of giving her annoyed looks, the other folks grinned at the precocious little girl who clearly had a mind of her own.

Seniors made their way in and each one was greeted by name. They looked at the little girl and then grinned at me.

University students with their strategically messy buns, pyjama pants and UGG boots were slumped in chairs waiting for their names to be called.

A woman dressed to the nines strolled in. She probably looked the most out of place. She too smiled when I made eye contact.

I choose to get my flu shot for my health and for the health of the people around me.

I choose to go to the pharmacy that I go to because it's a community that I enjoy being a part of.