Friday, February 28, 2014


A funny thing happened on the way back from the washroom.

It was almost a year ago that I was in Israel to visit my little sister. We have lots of wonderful memories of that trip but there is one that we laugh about every so often. It's the story of the bat shit crazy girl in the washroom.

I had to go. My sister didn't. So I headed into the public washroom at the mall and my sister waited outside. As I was washing my hands, a young woman came up to me, pointed to my insulin pump and started speaking in Hebrew. I quickly raised my hands in the air and told her, in English, that I only spoke English. She kept speaking excitedly, pointing to my pump, and saying the odd word I recognized like 'diabetes'.

Finally, I lead her out of the washroom, walked her over to my sister and said "what is she talking about??".

The girl explained to my sister that I had diabetes (yep, we knew that already) and that her father had a cure for diabetes. She wanted me to come with her right away so he could cure me.

All I could think was "I wonder if my sister knows the Hebrew word for 'cinnamon'? If not, she's about to learn it".

I told my sister to tell her that there was no cure for Type 1 diabetes but thank you very much for her interest. The girl kept insisting that I go with her. We kept insisting that I wasn't going with her. She finally smiled, shrugged as if to say 'your loss honey', and left.

We laughed all the way home at the craziness of it all, I mean if a man in Tel Aviv had the cure for type 1 diabetes, I wouldn't be hearing about it in a public washroom.

Bat. Shit. Crazy.

So you can imagine my surprise when I read yesterday about a researcher from the University of Ben Gurion in (you guessed it) Tel Aviv, who has come up with a promising treatment for type 1 diabetes. One that involves an anti-inflammatory drug treatment designed to help our damaged beta cells regain the ability to fight inflammation and protect them from our body's overactive immune responses.

B.S.C. girl in the washroom tries to drag me to see her father who had a cure for type 1 diabetes.

One year later I read about a man in the same city who has developed a promising treatment (I hesitate to use the 'c' word) for type 1 diabetes.

There is probably a picture up in his office of me right now with the words 'non-believer' written underneath.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Road Trip - Pinehurst

Last stop: Pinehurst.

Wednesday morning, we rose early and repacked the car. We were heading north again with one more stop between Florida and home: Pinehurst, North Carolina. A place I had never heard of until I met Doug. A golf lovers mecca of sorts.

When we drove south, five days earlier, there was a blizzard in North Carolina and it was -5 in Pinehurst. By the time it was over, they ended up being buried under an inch of ice and a foot of snow.

Five days later we were back. It was 23 degrees and they had just reopened the golf courses two days earlier. There had been so much snow that it had not yet melted completely and we laughed as we walked past piles of snow while wearing sandals and shorts.

We had two days in Pinehurst. The goal was to fill it with golf games and strolls through golf history. And fill it we did. 

We played the Pine Needles course - designed by a women, with women golfers in mind. It was lovely and felt very much like camping in northern Ontario with all the pine trees and pine needles underfoot.

After that game we headed into the club for lunch where we caught the end of the Women's Olympic gold medal hockey game. Canada versus the US. Tied 2:2 and in sudden death overtime. Several nail-biting minutes of stress followed by a very muffled but still audible whoop of victory as Canada scored the winning goal. No one else in the club seemed to echo our excitement so we kept our Canadian citizenship quietly tucked away and tried not to grin too broadly.

I learned all about Payne Stewart, his victory at Pinehurst and his tragic death. 

I learned about the famous Putter Boy of Pinehurst.

And I was introduced to the biggest pro shop I have ever seen. They had everything, in every colour. 

Hard to believe a snowstorm had blown through only a few days earlier. 

Pinehurst, as Doug had promised, was a beautiful, quaint little town. Quiet sidewalks, tiny shops, history oozing out of every corner. It was a wonderful final stop on our two-week journey. 

The final drive home was twelve hours long and took us the better part of Saturday. We drove through  a mountain range and five states. We watched the temperature slowly drop from the low 20s when we left and finally settle at 3 degrees when we crossed the border. The speed signs changed from miles/hour back to kilometres/hour and the five-dollar bills went from green back to blue. And funnily enough, as soon as we left the customs officer and began the final stretch of the journey on Canadian soil, Blue Rodeo came on the radio. 

We were home again. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Road Trip - Florida

Our third 'car day' was the easiest by far. Instead of 8 or 10 hours of driving, we only had about 5, including a Starbucks stop, gas refill and lunch break.

The best part of that drive was watching the temperature change by the minute. Doug's car shows the outside temp. When we left Jekyll Island around 10am, it was hovering around 5 degrees. We watched it climb slowly to 6, then 7, then 8, then 10. Then it went kinda looney tunes and, by the time we arrived, it was in the mid-twenties and I was complaining of the heat in the car.

Florida was the longest part of our trip and we had five days to fill with sunshine, golf games, dinners out and les Olympiques.

Here are a few of the highlights.

The Salvador Dali gallery in St. Petersburg. I went there about 20 years ago with my grandmother when it was is a tiny, nondescript building. Things have changed a bit. 

We went to New Smyrna Beach for the day. When I was little we used to go there every summer and it was pretty neat to visit all the old haunts. 

Walk on my old, familiar beach. 

We explored

and explored some more. 

Played golf

Lots and lots of golf. 

Chased birds with cameras

And strolled along the boardwalks. 

We also managed to squeeze in a 20k run surrounded by the delicious smell of orange trees. 

Every day was sunny and warm and every day got a little sunnier and warmer. After so many months of Polar Vortices it was surprisingly good to feel the sun again. The days were packed but not frantic and we enjoyed long hours on the golf course, lazy afternoons and plenty of time to explore. 

We also, thanks to Doug, were able to stream Olympic coverage from his laptop to the television and watch the Canadian men and women battle their way to the curling finals. 

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Road Trip - Jekyll Island

We left Washington DC on Tuesday morning and headed south as quickly as we could. We had a long drive to Jekyll Island, Georgia and we were excited to experience a bit of warmth. We had left temperatures of -15C in Canada. Washington had not been much warmer. In fact we were downright frozen at times as the wind blew and the temperature hovered around zero.

Georgia, we figured, had to be better. Plus Jekyll Island is less than an hour from Florida. The land of palm trees and orange groves.

Before we reached Jekyll Island, we had to drive through the beginnings of the winter storm that was bearing down. It didn't take long before we saw a few snowflakes, then a few more. And finally, we were driving down the 95 in weather that could rival any Canadian storm. I drove and Doug stalked the weather channel. We could see from the radar map that, just before Savannah, the snow would turn to rain and then, by Jekyll Island, it would all be over.

As we headed south, we passed fleets of snow removal trucks and hydro trucks heading north, ready to help. And when we stopped for lunch at a little restaurant, people were taking pictures of the weather that they were just not used to seeing...or driving in.

We made it to the island just before the sun set. It was not exactly the balmy weather we had hoped for but it was dry and safe which was, by that point, much more important. The weather network over the next two days told us how lucky we were to get out when we did. The capital was shut down. Cities ground to a halt under an inch of ice and a foot of snow.

We had made it safe and sound and we had a day and a half to explore. So explore we did.

We found the famous driftwood beach.

We visited the Georgia Sea Turtle Centre where we learned that the cold weather we were in the midst of was causing all sorts of turtles to experience cold shock. Cold shock is like hypothermia and the turtles become so cold that they can't move. They just float to the surface of the water. If they are rescued in time, they can be rewarmed and saved. Three large turtles were arriving at the centre later that day. 

We had a lovely lunch at the famous Jekyll Island club. 

And we braved the elements to flex our photography muscles. 

Thursday morning, we got up and headed out for our second run of the trip. A 12k run took us on a loop of about 3/4 of the island. Afterwards, we packed up the car and headed to our third destination: Haines City, Florida. 

It had to be warmer there. 

It just had to. 

Monday, February 24, 2014

Road Trip - Washington DC

Hi folks!

We're baaaaaack.

5000 plus kilometres. Weather that went from -15C to +28C. A winter storm that shut huge parts of the country. Eight states. And all sorts of adventures.

We left Canada at the crack of dawn on Feb 8th and headed straight for Washington DC. Nine hours later we were checked in, unpacked and strolling to Georgetown for dinner. Doug had been to DC many times before but this was my first experience in the capital. To prepare, we had watched Season One of House of Cards and Season One of West Wing. So I was all set to go and fully expecting to spot Frank Underwood or President Bartlett on every street corner.

We went to Whole Foods to stock up on a few things. We also went to Trader Joes. I had heard about this store but never been to one. I'm definitely a fan. All sorts of health foods, delicious snacks AND a decent bottle of red wine for $2.99. Sold!

Sunday morning, we got up early and headed out for a run. Doug took me on a route that took in all the major sights. It would have been too cold to walk it all but exploring at a running pace was quite comfortable. Not our fastest 10k ever but certainly one of the most interesting and historic.

The Capitol Building

The Canadian Embassy. 

The White House - which really is a lot smaller than it looks on TV. 

From the front. They were preparing for the arrival of the French President (without his wife) and all the local papers were a twitter with the scandal of it all. 

On our run we also saw the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the reflecting pool ('member that scene from Forest Gump where he and Jenny run through the water?), and all of the museums in the Smithsonian. 

We spent the afternoon exploring the Museum of Natural History (my choice!) and Doug did a fabulous job of listening to me natter on about genomes, mammals, marine creatures and how to tell if an animal is a predator or a prey based on where their eyes are positioned on their head. 

The marine exhibit. All my marine biology knowledge came flooding back as we explored. 

Remind me never to take on a great white shark. 

The three special exhibits at the museum. There was so much to look at that we never made it to any of the ones they were advertising. 

Monday, we were up early and, having mastered the subway system, were making our way back downtown. Doug had booked us a tour of the Capitol Building. We joined a tour group, made our way from room to room and I learned all about the House and the Senate. I think I may have actually figured it out. 

This room had paintings of historic moments around the walls as well as statues to represent each of the 13 original states. 

The ceiling could rival (almost) the Sistine Chapel.

The details were exquisite and everywhere we looked we spotted more intricacies. 

Rosa Parks - the latest statue added to their collection. 

After the Capitol Building tour we headed across the street, by way of an underground tunnel, to explore the Library of Congress. 

And at night? Well we headed to the Verizon Centre to watch the Georgetown Hoyas take on the Providence Friars. My first NCAA basketball game. 

Washington DC was as wonderful as I expected it to be. We could easily have spent a week there. Sadly, and yet happily, we had many more stops on our journey. We also knew that a major winter storm was brewing and scheduled to hit the Eastern US on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday. So we packed up, headed to bed, and planned to get out early Tuesday morning to beat the snow. 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Road Trip

Running on Carbs will be off the grid for the next two weeks. Doug and I are heading off on a much-anticipated two-week road trip. We will be meandering our way down to Florida with stops in famous cities, historic golf courses, quiet islands and sunny beaches.

We've packed our winter clothes and our summer clothes. Dress clothes and hiking clothes. Our cycling, running and golf clothes plus matching shoes. Camera bags. Laptops. Breakfast foods and snacks galore.

And I have a rather large bag filled with insulin pump supplies, Dexter supplies, test strips and emergency carbs.

I'll post stories when I can and I'm sure we'll have lots of photos and stories to share upon our return.

In the meantime, stay warm and enjoy Les Olympiques.

Vas-y fort Canada!!


Oh, and, if you have a moment, would you mind wandering over to the Canadian Blog Awards site? I just found out that I have been nominated for Best Sports Award. It's a pretty nice honour and every vote counts.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Ship Sans Capitaine

Tuesday night we went to bed knowing that a monstrous snow cloud was heading our way. It was supposed to start snowing around midnight and go all day Wednesday.

I packed my swim bag for the morning not knowing what to expect. I also pulled out my cycling clothes just in case I woke to find my car buried.

As I tend to do when things aren't clear, I spent most of the night half-awake as my brain wandered through all the options of what might happen at 4:50am.

I could wake up and there might be no snow. Go swimming.

I could wake up and there might be a ton of snow. Stay home and cycle in the basement.

I could wake up and there might be a middle of the road amount of snow. Enough to get through if I really wanted to but enough to also cause my cell phone to start beeping at 7am with 25 people wanting to know if they had to come in to work or not. Do I go swimming and therefore ignore everyone's questions until 7:30am? Do I head down to the basement so that I can answer the phone while cycling?

Yep, these are the things that keep me tossing and turning.  I got up at midnight and looked outside. I got up at 2am and looked outside. I was still tossing at 3am and sternly told myself that I had figured out all three possible options, knew how I would respond to whatever I saw at 4:50 and to just go. to. sleep.

I woke at 4:40am to see Doug staring out the window. We had snowy streets and a dusting of snow on the car. Not enough to do anything other than slow my drive to the pool and not enough to cause anyone to wonder if work would be closed.

I went swimming.

I arrived on deck at 5:30am and was the only one there. All lanes were empty, as was the locker room.

I slipped silently into the water and swam 50m. Another girl showed up. I swam another 50. More people showed up. By 5:40, four lanes were full of Masters swimmers. There was a lane packed with a high school swim team and the other three lanes were overflowing with lane swimmers.

You'd never know it was snowing.

The only thing missing was a coach...and a workout.

We asked and were told they were going to give our coach another 20 minutes and, if she didn't show up, the would then post a workout. So everyone started suggesting workouts. Let's do 100m drill/swim. Let's do some kicking. Let's do this, let's do that.

Twenty people, all of whom got up and made it to the pool for 5:30am and no little list of what to do to guide us. Some of us were swimming. Some were doing drills. Some were kicking and some were standing around at the end of the lanes.

Just after 6am, a workout was posted. Nothing crazy. Nothing overly strenuous. In fact, we laughed because the things we were told to do didn't add up. For example, we had to do 3x800m and each 800m was made up of different things (pulling, kicking etc). The first 800m worth of stuff added up to 1000m.

So we laughed. And then we started swimming. Because it doesn't really matter what we do, as long as we know what to do. As soon as that little list was put in front of us, we moved in unison, swimming up and down the lanes, crossing one thing off after another until we finished the list or until we had to go.

Swimming has the potential of being the most boring kind of workout. There is no scenery, no music, no videos. Just back and forth along a black line, turning around every 25 metres. It's mind numbing.

Add a little purpose to the activity and suddenly it becomes a lot more exciting.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

My Purse

I have a pretty big purse. And it's pretty packed with stuff. All of it stuff that makes sense, at least in my head, to have on hand.

I have hand cream (two hand creams actually but one is almost finished so I'll be down to one again soon) and a handful of lip balms (I like variety). A collapsible shopping bag (ok, two collapsible shopping bags). Sunglasses and, in the off chance I actually need them in the middle of winter, my contact lenses. I have a ziplock bag full of fruit chews, Dex 4s and other emergency carbs. I have my fountain pen(s), my rollerball pen and my clickie pencil. Ink refills for my pen because I write a lot. A hairbrush and a pick (not sure why I need both but they're in there). A CPR pocket mask. My glucometer. Batteries for my pump and my glucometer. Face cream (just a small one). A mirror (just a small one). Hair elastics. Hair clips. A mangled Larabar. My emergency glucagon. My wallet. My change purse that I no longer use since I got my new wallet but it's still floating around at the bottom of my bag anyway. A nail file (ok two nail files). My green moleskin notepad.

What I do not carry on a normal day is a new infusion site for my pump. I also don't normally carry a back-up needle with insulin.


Because I already carry a ton of stuff.

Because I work two minutes from home and, on most days, can easily leave the office to pick up what I need should I need it.

Because my purse is already packed with stuff, most of which I actually want to carry. I don't want to take any of that stuff out to carry more things that I really don't want to carry.

Because I rarely run into problems that I can't easily fix.




Anyone want to guess what happened?

Yep. I needed some stuff that I didn't have and was nowhere near my home at the time.

It all started on Sunday morning. I woke up to a beautiful flatline on Dexter. I had slept well all night and spent over 8 hours with a blood sugar between 5 and 6. I love waking up to flatlines.

I showered and went downstairs for breakfast. My regular breakfast. Which I bolused my regular insulin for. I ate it, said bye to Doug and hopped in the car to drive to Toronto for a sister-visit.

By the time I hit Burlington, Dex was singing the high notes. I was surprised to see that I was 17 and climbing. I doubled checked on my glucometer and it said I wasn't 17, I was 18. It made no sense. The only thing I could think of was that I hadn't exercised that morning and my sugar was higher than it should have been. I bolused. Dexter sang. I bolused again. He kept singing.

By lunchtime, I had managed to get my sugar down to 11. Still crazy high but at least I was dropping.

We ate. I bolused 20 minutes before we ate and took twice the dose I should have. Within 30 minutes of eating, I was 17 again. We walked around Toronto a bit more but then I said I had to head home. Something was wrong.

I got in the car and I was 18 and climbing. I dialled in a 5-unit megadose and hit 'go'. I immediately felt wetness on my skin and smelled insulin. Fabulous. My site was compromised, I was 75 minutes from home and I had no other insulin-injecting device available. It explained the problem but I had no solution.

There was nothing I could do but drive. Every 15 minutes I checked Dexter and every 15 minutes he confirmed that I was 17.5 and holding steady. Not the kind of flatline I wanted to see.

By the time I got home I was exhausted, dehydrated, headachy and starving. I changed my pump site and took a megadose of insulin. We waited 40 minutes until I dropped back down below 11 before we ate our 100% carb-free dinner.

I should have carried a site change in my purse. I should have had a backup system. I should have at least had something in the car in case I needed it.

I know.

I know.

I know.

I just don't really want to feel any more like a traveling hospital than I already do. I just wanted to spent the day in Toronto with my sisters, pretending we were famous. Walking into stores and looking at the beautiful vintage clothes we can't afford to buy. I just wanted to giggle and tell stories and be the big sister.

Not the sick sister.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Training Peaks Thoughts and Workout Summary

Yesterday I did my monthly goal update. This keeps me focused and keeps me honest. Plus it's fun to look back on the month and look ahead at the rest of the year.

Today you're getting my thought in my first month using Training Peaks - a workout logging website that I started using on January 1st.

I used to log all of my runs in a spreadsheet and I didn't keep track of my swimming or my cycling at all. That has all changed now and I'm documenting every swim, run and bike session.

It's important to note at this time that I'm using the free version. There is a paid version I can upgrade to should I choose (Doug uses it) that would all me to see more analyses of my workouts, add training plans and set workout targets among other things. I may upgrade down the road but I'm still getting used to it all and am pretty happy with what I've seen so far.

What I really like is the ability to see how much time I've spent each day, week or month doing physical activity as well as the distance I've done in each sport. What I don't like is that there are some workouts that don't fit nicely into a time/distance breakdown and I lose some of the work I've done in the monthly distance totals. For example: last month I did three Bending Crank Arms cycling workouts that were just under an hour in length but I spent about 20 minutes of each workout off the bike doing squats. So I've logged the time but the resulting pace looks pretty pathetic. Also, I did one swim workout that involved cords and buckets. So I worked really hard but my overall distance was impossible to measure.

So here are the numbers for January 2014:

Total time:
Cycling - 9 hours and 11 minutes (10 workouts)
Running - 8 hours and 47 minutes (7 workouts)
Swimming - 12 hours and 15 minutes (9 workouts)
Rest days - 5

Total distance
Cycling - 166.62km (plus 950 squats for good measure)
Running - 78.2km
Swimming - 25km (plus one cords and buckets workout)

I'm pretty happy with that.

Things I've noticed:
I've cut my swims down to two days per week from the three days per week I was doing in 2013. Even so, I spent more time swimming in January than I did running or cycling. I miss my thrice weekly swims but I'm happy that I've been able to get more cycling in. It's all about balance.

My running doesn't seem to have suffered too much despite fewer runs that usual. I should have completed 13 runs in January but I only managed 7. That's just over half. I'm not happy with that but relieved that I've managed to get the distance in for my half marathon in March.

I'm loving spending more time on the bike and I have already noticed that I'm stronger than I was. Stronger in the tough gears and better at spinning in the easier ones. I can't wait to see what that will do once we hit the roads again in the spring.

Monday, February 3, 2014

January Goal Update

It's February!!

The month of red roses and chocolates. The month that starts off cold and dreary but with a promise of spring by the end. The month when I start seeing the sunshine again during my early morning workouts. February holds so much promise.

It's also time to look back on January and see how the first few steps towards meeting my 2014 goals have gone.

Running goals

I've set my sights on the Chilly Half Marathon the first weekend in March and so far so good. Despite a frightfully cold January, I did manage to get all of my long runs in and logged the oh so important 14k, 16k and 18k runs. For some reason, the worst of the weather always seemed to happen on weekdays so my shorter runs suffered but my long runs did not.

Swimming and triathlon goals

I'm keeping my training up for the summer triathlon season but obviously I haven't met any of those goals yet. In fact, I have yet to even register for a triathlon, let alone compete in one. My little sis is getting married at some point this summer but has yet to firm up the date. Until that happens I won't be registering for anything beyond March to ensure I'm not double-booked. Stay tuned, I should know more by the end of February.

Other goals

Learn to braid my hair - I'm getting better at French braids and I make myself do them at night while we're watching golf or at work instead of an easy ponytail. Someday, I may actually post a picture.

Learn how to make proper Israeli hummus - I bought the dried chickpeas. And that's about as far as I've gotten in that department.

Improve my golf game - well, you can rest assured that, if it's too cold to run, it's too cold to golf. While I haven't actually held a golf club since October, I have found three other friends who are interested in forming a weekly ladies golf foursome once the weather improves. I also bought my first pair of proper golf shoes (note: they are wickedly cheap in the middle of January!). Finally, Doug and I are heading on a two-week road trip on Saturday (more on that later) that involves several golf games at some pretty sweet courses. So I'll have a head start on the season.

Diabetes Advocacy - well, I announced in January that I wanted to do more in this department and moments later I was asked to be the keynote speaker at a diabetes conference in April. I'm super excited and will start working on my presentation in the next few weeks. Who knows where it might lead...?

Twenty-fourteen is starting off just swimmingly.