Thursday 30 June 2011

Training Schedule Week of June 27th to July 3rd

Post half-marathon this week, so I'm forcing myself to take a bit of a much needed break. Hoping to squeeze in a hike somewhere over the long weekend too!

Monday ~ REST DAY
Tuesday ~ Trail walk 60 minutes, moderate
Wednesday ~ Yoga 60 minutes, easy
Thursday ~ Run 30 minutes, easy
Friday ~ Cycle 60 minutes, hills 
Saturday ~ Run 60 minutes, pace
Sunday ~ Cycle 4-5 hours, easy

Team Diabetes and the Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon Race Report

Sunday, June 26th, marked the 13th annual Scotiabank Vancouver Half-Marathon, and my first half marathon in 6 years!! Yup, that's right, 6 years. Has it felt like 6 years? Not at all; at least not until the race started...

16 weeks ago I decided that it was high time I ran another road race, so I began training for a half marathon. But you know how it is - things get in the way, life gets busy, blah, blah, blah, and those missed training runs here and there suddenly start to really add up. This was the case for me this spring. I manage to do most of the short distance training; I usually ran at least 2 days per week, but some of the runs were on the treadmill (which I find doesn't prep the body for the wear and tear of the road in the same way that actually running on the road does) and others were short and sweet. Not to mention, I've been spending so much time training on my bike, that my running time has suffered as a result. Lately, if asked if I'd rather run or ride, 9 times out of 10, I'll choose the bike in a heartbeat.

So when Friday's race package pickup day arrived, I figured I'd run anyway, even though I wasn't really as prepared as I should have been. I had already paid the race fee, right? And I am in pretty good shape, so I honestly thought, what the heck? I'll take it easy, aim to finish the race with no time goal in mind, and set a baseline to improve on for next time. Then I went for far too long of a bike ride on Saturday, when I probably should have been sitting at home resting my legs for the 21.2km run that was to take place bright and early Sunday morning. And still, Sunday morning I woke up at 5am excited to run.

I have always been a solo runner. Over the years, I've tried various clinics and running groups, always to return to my preferred style of running alone, but for this race, my sister-in-law and I decided to run it together. We had never run together before, but seemed to both be equally unprepared and thought we could keep each other motivated, or at least moving towards the finish line. We arrived at the start a full hour early, which gave us lots of time to use the washroom, stretch, and take in the atmosphere. When the gun sounded, we started off at a comfortable pace, armed with a plan to run for 4 minutes/ walk for 1 minute, and repeat the intervals for as long as we could.

When we passed the 5km sign, and my watch said 34:00+ minutes, I knew it was going to be a long run, but we both felt good, so we stuck to the plan. The kilometer markers slowly crept behind us as we made our way out of the University of British Columbia campus and down the hill to the ocean. 8km, 10km, 12km, 13km, each uneventfully went by while we plugged along. Just after the 13km marker there was a slight uphill from Jericho beach and my legs started to feel the lack of distance and road running in my training. By the top of the hill, my upper quads were so sore, I had to stop briefly to stretch. 14km marked the "goo" station, where we quickly refueled and started off again. 15km, 16km, 17km passed. My legs were definitely sore, and my feet were swelling with the heat and the distance, but by this point we had 4km left to go! Easy peasy, right? Think again. 

For many inexperienced or first time half-marathon runners, 18km can bring the "wall" or the exhaustion phase. I wasn't quite there yet, but I was close, and we were about to tackle the toughest part of the run: the Burrard Street bridge. I can't count how many times I've run over this bridge in various races, but it's ALWAYS a struggle, even on a 10km race. Add that on this course it's near the end, when the legs simply don't have the energy left to go uphill anymore. A few supporters held up motivational signs as we neared the bridge, "Stop reading, keep running," "Your legs will forgive you," and my personal favorite, "Your feel hurt because you're kicking so much ass!" Hey, a little smile goes a long way when you're tired.

Earlier in the run, we had discussed walking the entire uphill portion of the bridge, then running the downhill section, but once we started the climb, we decided to run 2 minutes/walk 2 minutes. Before we knew it, the bridge was behind us, we were at the 19km mark, and the finish line was well within reach. The sidewalks were getting more crowded with supporters, some of which had run themselves and returned to the front lines to cheer on their fellow athletes, others there to support loved ones. It's amazing how a few words of encouragement, even from a complete stranger, can keep you going!

Finally Stanley Park, and the finish line, was within sight. We picked up our pace a little bit, even though my legs were screaming at me to stop. Then I heard one of the most encouraging things I had heard all morning, from a runner standing on the side of the road. "100 meters to go ladies!" he screamed, and all of my pain and exhaustion slipped away as I focused on the only thing that mattered: crossing the finish line.

All in all it was a successful race. My official "chip" time was 2:34:13, by far the slowest time I have ever had in a half marathon, and a full 40 minutes slower than my PB of 1:54:09 from 2004. But this race was different. For the first time ever, I hadn't gone in with any expectation or goal for time. I simply wanted to cross the finish line, and complete the race strong enough that I would want to run another one in the next 6 months.

So would I do it again? Definitely. But I think next time I'll train a lot more, rest the day before, and be ready to shave some serious minutes off that 2:34:13 chip time. Until then, I have other races to complete!

Wednesday 29 June 2011

Saturday Snapshots ~ Summer Solstice Squamish Ride

Weekend exercise is something I look forward to all week and last week was no exception. With a long ride Saturday and a half-marathon Sunday, last weekend was an exhilerating, exercise-stuffed two days that left me feeling gratified and sore.

Just north of Vancouver, on the Sea-to-Sky highway, is the town of Squamish. Touted as the "Outdoor Recreation Capital of Canada," Squamish is home to some of the best hiking, rock climbing, mountain biking, and snow sports BC offers. It was also the cycling destination for this ride, approximately 70km north of my house, along a very hilly section of highway. A beautiful journey, and a great training ride for the Cyclebetes National Relay beginning August 13th, along this same stretch of road.

A cultural journey it is indeed.

I started out at 10:45am, joining a group of riders that had set off from downtown Vancouver. The first section of ride was uphill, followed by long, windy, rolling section through West Vancouver, passed the Horseshow Bay ferry terminal to Lions Bay. The weather was ideal for this kind of ride; overcast and cool, with a chance of showers. And shower it did. Our first rainstorm hit just past the village of Lions Bay. Heavy rains fell for about 2-3 kilometers, before the sky opened up again and sunshine streamed down on us as we rode through Porteau Cove to Furry Creek. A quick stop to regroup and wait for other riders to catch up turned into a full shower as severely heavy rains poured down. By the top of the Furry Creek hill I was completely drenched. With water pouring down my face and sloshing around in my cycling shoes I finally reached the summit of the last big hill, just north of Brittania Beach, and began my much-earned descent into Squamish.

A nice relaxing lunch at the Howe Sound Brewing Company ensued before I rushed home to begin prepping for Sunday's half-marathon and dinner party. What an awesome day and a ride I will definitely be doing a few more times this season. Below are a few pics of the views along the route, plus an elevation map of the ride (I started about 18km in, at the base of the first big hill.

Looking southwest from Lions Bay

Looking west, from just south of Porteau Cove

A stunning early sunset

Elevation map of the full ride

Thursday 23 June 2011

You Can Do This ~ From One Type 1 Parent to Another

When I first heard about the "You Can Do This" project initiated by Kim Vlasnik's of Texting My Pancreas, I thought wow, what an awesome idea. And as I started to read the incredibly moving and witty vlogs and blogs created in response to the project, I was overwhelmed with respect for these brave souls who were barring their souls to share their individual diabetes stories with the world. Immediately following was an equally powerful feeling of pride as I realized, for the umteenth time, that the DOC is one of the greatest communities out there and that I am SO proud to be a part of it. With these feelings, however, came a sense of intimidation as I wondered how I could possibly add my two cents to these formidable accounts. I came up short, until last night, when I suddenly realized what this project means to me.

Last night was Dylan's end of year band concert at school. He, along with his 5 fellow "junior band" (grade 5) members, performed 4 pieces, followed by the "continuing band" (grades 6 & 7) performing 4 pieces as well. I have seen numerous school band concerts in the past, and trust me, they are not always pleasant. Listening to a group of kids who have just learned how to play musical instruments can sometimes sound more like chaos than music, but this was different. I was absolutely dumbfounded by the skill and progression this small group has made. Last September none of them could play a single note; Dylan could not even get his saxophone to make noise, let alone music! And yet here they were playing Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven and Grieg. It was one of my proudest moments in my near 15 years of parenting, and one I will never forget.

The focus and determination on Dylan's face as he played was so intent, that I suddenly knew what I had to offer this project. Not an account of what I've faced and overcome as a parent of a child with type 1, but an overview of what Dylan has done, in spite of diabetes. He played soccer for 3 years, from grades 2-4, and took karate at the same time, working his way up to his orange belt, before giving up the martial art due to time restraints (and he would like to resume both of these activities as soon as his schedule permits). He has taken countless sets of swimming lessons, and is headed to his third diabetes camp this summer. We also regularly go camping, hiking, cycling, walking, skiing, and geocaching as a family. He is on the school honor roll and for the past 2 years he has been part of the "gifted" program in his school district, which means that for a 1/2 day per week he goes to a different school with other "gifted" children to do more abstract challenge projects. And this past year he took up perhaps the scariest of all team sports, ice hockey, which he adores. All of this, combined with the youth ambassador work he does for JDRF, and a large group of school friends that he cares passionately about. Diabetes has accompanied us on family vacations to Las Vegas, Disneyland, Puerto Vallarta (twice), and many local destinations. With each new activity, we have faced new challenges, such as whether to suspend the pump, run a temp basal, switch to syringes, or simply remove the pump altogether, but through it all, Dylan has been positive and happy, and, to date, we have never had an A1C of over 9.0, so we're doing okay.

Dylan has done so much since being diagnosed with diabetes 5 1/2 years ago. And, more importantly, he will do so much more. He is a truly amazing child and doesn't let anything hold him back, including diabetes. Sure, it has certainly caused problems here and there, and is a constant worry on my mind, but to him, it's just life. It is a part of him, like anything else. Perhaps this is because he was only 4 when he was diagnosed; he does not remember life without diabetes. But I think that more likely it's because of his attitude. He truly believes he can accomplish anything. And he will. His career goal? To be a doctor, so that he find the cure for type 1 diabetes.

So to everyone affected by diabetes, take it from Dylan: You Can Do This!

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Oh yummy ~ Tangy Barbeque Beef

Wow, this recipe is delicious. Between the savory aroma wafting through my house all aftenoon yesterday, and the sweet and spicy combo created by the fresh mango and hot sauce, this recipe is amazing, and super easy to make. Perfect for a busy day; simply throw the ingredients into the slow cooker, heat on low for 10 hours, and enjoy. Leftovers may be frozen for up to 3 months too! Mmmm.

2 tablespoons chili powder
1 teaspoon celery seeds
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 3-pound fresh beef brisket, trimmed of fat
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 cup bottled smoke-flavored barbecue sauce
½ cup beer or ginger ale
8 large sandwich buns or Portuguese rolls, split and toasted
Bottled hot pepper sauce (optional)
Mango slices

1. Combine the chili powder, celery seeds, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture onto all sides of the brisket. Scatter half of the sliced onions in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place the brisket on the onions, cutting the meat to fit the cooker, if necessary. Scatter the remaining onions on top of the brisket. Stir together the barbecue sauce and beer or ginger ale. Pour over the brisket and onions.
2. Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 10 to 12 hours or until meat is fork-tender. Transfer meat to a cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes. Halve meat crosswise. Using 2 forks, pull meat apart into shreds. Return meat to sauce mixture in crockery cooker. Heat through using the high-heat setting.
3. To serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer beef and onion mixture into the buns. If desired, season to taste with bottled hot pepper sauce. Top with mango slices.

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe 8. Calories 442, Total Fat 11g, Saturated Fat 3g, Monounsaturated Fat 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat 2g, Cholesterol 98mg, Sodium 971mg, Carbohydrate 41g, Total Sugar 17g, Fiber 3g, Protein 41g, Vitamin C (DV%)16, Calcium (DV%)9, Iron (DV%)28. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

I found this recipe on Better Homes and Gardens website, at

Monday 20 June 2011

Training Schedule Week of June 20th to 26th

This week my training changes up a bit, as I am doing my long ride on Saturday so that I can run the Scotiabank 1/2 marathon Sunday morning. Friday I am accompanying my daughter's class on a field trip, and then working until 9:00pm, so it will be much needed rest day!

Monday ~ Run 45 minutes, pace
Tuesday ~ Cycle 60 minutes, moderate
Wednesday ~ Run 90 minutes, easy
Thursday ~ Hiking 5 hours, moderate, Cycle 60 minutes, easy
Friday ~ REST 
Saturday ~ Cycle 8 hours, moderate
Sunday ~ Half-marathon road race

Sunday 19 June 2011

Sunday Snapshots - JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, June 12th, 2011

Last Sunday marked our family's 6th time participating in the JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes in Vancouver! TEAM DYLAN was there in full force, sporting our "Pumped for the Cure" team t-shirts and walking 5km around the Stanley Park seawall to raise money and awareness for this awesome organization and cause. The walk itself is a day that Dylan looks forward to all year. The showing of support by family and friends is so great, there are always diabetes related vendors with really cool new gadgets, and the atmosphere is one of hope, inspiration, and camaraderie.

This year, our local walk changed venues, and we had the pleasure of walking in Vancouver's Stanley Park. This huge downtown park is so beautiful, and on a sunny Sunday is packed with families, picnickers, runners, cyclists, walkers, rollerbladers, and sight seers. The weather could not have been better too, what a great day it was!

Sadly, I got so caught up in the moment and the excitement that I didn't take nearly as many photos as I usually do, but here are a few highlights of the special day.

Bob Brown Bear (Vancouver Canadians mascot) at the stage

The walk begins

beginning continued

2 young pipers play as we begin walking

View of the Burrard yacht club

Glimpse of walkers through the trees

View of the city, via northeast side of Stanley Park seawall

Another peek-a-boo view

Marina view

Enjoying a quiet morning of fishing

This mermaid is a Canucks fan!

Lord Stanley himself, welcoming guests to his stunning park

Even Lord Stanley himself has Canucks fever!

View of the many walkers, from a distance

And again...

And again!
And a special thanks to Dana, for letting me use some of her photos!

Monday 13 June 2011

Training Schedule Week of June 13th to 19th

This week is shaping up to be very busy, but I am hoping I can fit in all of my workouts this week! The weather is supposed to be pretty good too!

Monday ~ Cycle 60 minutes, moderate
Tuesday ~ Run 45 minutes, pace
Wednesday ~ Cycle 3 hours, moderate
Thursday ~ Hiking 5 hours, moderate
Friday ~ Run 45 minutes, pace  
Saturday ~ Run 90 minutes, easy
Sunday ~ Cycle 4 hours, easy

Tuesday 7 June 2011

Sunday Snapshots ~ Ride and Roam Fundraiser for the Ride to Conquer Cancer

This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of attending a Ride to Conquer Cancer fundraiser and a wonderful group ride that was planned around the fundraiser. Starting at the TELUS World of Science, we rode through Vancouver, Burnaby, Port Moody, Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam, Pitt Meadows, and into Maple Ridge, where the fundraiser took place. Following the event we rode back via Langley, Surrey, and New Westminster. All in all the ride was 92 kilometers, or 57.5 miles. I've posted a few pictures below.

Brief rest along the Trans Canada Trail & a peekaboo view of the North Shore.

Crossing the Pitt River bridge, view to the north

Crossing the Pitt River bridge, view to the south.

Crossing the Golden Ears bridge, view of Mt Baker to the southeast

Crossing the Pattulo bridge, view to the south

Crossing the Pattulo bridge, view to the north

Vancouver has a lot of bridges, and they provide great spots for a quick photo stop! For a detailed view and description of Sunday's ride route, click here. That is the basic route we took, plus a few miles exploring the new bike trails in Tynehead Park. Gorgeous route!

Training Schedule Week of June 6th to 12th

Got some great workouts in last week, and am hoping for more of the same this week! This Sunday, June 12th, is the 2011 JDRF Walk to Cure Diabetes, so no long ride this weekend, but a super-fun walk for a great cause!

Monday ~ Run 30 minutes, pace
Tuesday ~ Run 45 minutes, pace
Wednesday ~ Cycle 3 hours, moderate
Thursday ~ Hiking 2 hours, moderate
Friday ~ Run 90 minutes, easy  
Saturday ~ Hiking 2 hours, moderate
Sunday ~ Walk 60 minutes, Cycle 2 hours, easy

Thursday 2 June 2011

Silent Auction & Ballon Pop Items

Saturday, July 9th, 2011 ~ 6:00-9:00pm
Seymour's Pub, North Vancouver, BC
All proceeds donated to JDRF
More info here

Silent Auction Items
VIA Rail ~ All-inclusive return first class trip for 2 from Van to Jasper. Value: $3500
North Shore Pilates Now ~ Card valid for 5 drop-in visits. Value: $106
French Lalique Crystal Ring ~ Value: $300
Taraxca Jewelers Sterling Silver Pendant & Chain ~ Value: $200
Cypress Mountain, 2 Adult Lift Tickets ~ Value: $140
Kumsheen River Rafting tour ~ Value: $129
Seymour Golf & Country Club, Round of golf for 2 ~ Value $160
Gusto di Quattro, Dinner for 2
Daniel le Chocolat Belge gift basket ~ Value $75
Laserdome Plus ~ 3 games, 8 people. Value $160
Original Painting by Gigi Hoeller ~ Value $350
Maritime Musueum Book & Family Pass ~ Value $75
Oh Brothers Pottery Serving Platter ~ Value $70
Kids Fun Pack, Mini Golf at Eaglequest Golf & Bowling at ZBowl ~ Value $120
Men's Spa Products ~ Value $130
Cartwheels Fliptastic Birthday Party ~ Value $196 (2)

Current Balloon Pop items
Ladies perfume (multiple varieties)
Mens cologne
Black Bear pub gift certificate
Hurricane Grill gift certificate
Old Spaghetti Factory gift certificate
Richmon Go Karts ride vouchers
VanDusen Gardens day passes
Assorted Chocolates
F440 Racing gift certificates (2)
Kidsbooks gift certificate
La Scala hair salon gift certificate
iPod speaker system
Genesis Athletic Club 1 month fitness memberships (5)
Perform Art Studios gift certificate
Tomahawk Restaurant gift certificate
Musqueam Golf & Learning Academy gift certificate
Daniel le Chocolat Belge 500g box of chocolates
Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Garden day passes (2)
Capilano Suspension Bridge day passes (4)
Maritime Museum Family Day Passes (4)
Troll's $50 Gift Certificates (2)
Epicure Selections Gift Basket
Hanging Garden Lamp
Starbuck's Mugs

* Updated July 6th, 2011 ~ list is incomplete & subject to change

Wednesday 1 June 2011

Training Schedule Week of May 30th to June 5th

Hoping for some more dry weather this week, so I can get outside for my training! The beginning of the week will have some shorter, intense workouts, followed by some longer sessions at the end of the week. This is due to my fluctuating work schedule.

Monday ~ Run 30 minutes, pace
Tuesday ~ Run 45 minutes, pace
Wednesday ~ Cycle 40 minutes, vigorous
Thursday ~ Hiking 2 hours, moderate
Friday ~ Cycle 60 minutes, moderate  
Saturday ~ Run 75 minutes, easy
Sunday ~ Cycle 5-6 hours, easy

I'm also going to be adding some strength training sessions this week.