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.