March Madness!

It’s been too long since I last wrote, so I thought I would jump back into the swing of things with a March recap! With races and weary legs, March was a “fun filled” time… For the most part!

The beginning of the month brought the Golden Ears Half Marathon. With a bib kindly given to me by a great friend, I headed out for my first race without my running entourage. (Sniff sniff!) It was a beautiful day for a run, and I did bump into a couple of familiar faces, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit lonely at the start. The race started and we headed out in the usual herd – I really enjoy listening to the chatter and footfall of the other runners at the start of a race. Generally, I find it to be a bit more positive than the last 5K!! I didn’t have a great start, and found that it took longer than usual for my legs to warmup. During the first 6K or so, I felt like I wasn’t even wearing shoes… Yes, time for new shoes!! I chit chatted a bit with some women running my pace, and it soon felt my legs start to wake up. My friend Dave, had lent me an old Garmin watch of his to try out, and I found it really useful. It became like a life-line for me, and by 17K I was surprised to see that I was well within my target finish time. My previous half marathon time was just over 2 hours (a personal best by 16 minutes), and I was stubbornly pushing for a sub-2hr finish time. At 18K the inner mathematician in me woke up, and I quickly realized that if I kept it up, I would meet my goal!!! With a good song on my playlist and an ‘Eye of the Tiger’ mentality, I ran faster (I would have jumped over other runner’s corpses to get to that finish line!) – the thoughts that ran through my mind seconds from the finish lines were as follows:
1. Run bitch! RRRUUUNNNN!
2. Please Jesus, don’t let me trip over the finish line…
3. Sub 2! Sub 2!
4. I’m an athlete! Now somebody make me a sandwich!

Admittedly, I practically clawed my finishers medal out of the volunteer’s hands!

Body Betrayal. I think we can all agree that sometimes you feel strong, invincible, a real force to be reckoned with. There are those days… and then there are the days when you feel like your body is not playing for the same team. In fact, not only are you not on the same team, but your body is standing over you, beating you with a stick!! Coming off the high of my recent personal best time, my body was TIRED!… I had pushed myself really hard, and now my legs were pushing back!! I didn’t have any specific or localized pain, but there was an overall fatigue that I just couldn’t shake… Boooo!! My legs felt like dead trees, and I was really struggling to maintain an ‘acceptable’ pace. With the constant self-monitoring that comes along with my Diabetes, I am pretty good at listening to my body – my body was telling me to “pack it in Lady”! Begrudgingly, I took 2 running days off, and miracle of miracles…. Voila! My legs felt 100% better – for the first time in 2 weeks, I didn’t feel like my legs had been dipped in lead! If there are 3 things I could recommend as ‘maintenance tools’, it would be a roller, a squash ball, and the good sense to know when to take a break!!

To round off my month, I found myself on Cypress Mountain, volunteering at the Yeti Snowshoe Race Series. At the beginning of the year, I decided that I would try a small trail run at some point in 2014. Never having been exposed to trail runs, I thought I would get to know some of the people involved, and what better way then to volunteer?? I would like to point out that volunteering is a bit more pleasant when the weather is nice and warm! 🙂 It was a lot of fun, but wow was it COLD!!!! Underneath the smiles and hot dog costumes (yes, hot dogs…), there were frozen toes and blue fingers! But…despite the cold, I still think I may enjoy getting out on a couple of trail runs this year….dry weather only of course…preferably with proper toilets…. No hats! 😉



Learning to Run… Sort of!!

While training for a full marathon I generally throw in a 4th run during the week and I am fortunate to have a good friend who comes out to push me!! Dave and I were out for our Friday run when we passed a large group of newbie runners. These groups are usually quite large around New Year’s-full of new aspirations and goals. While there was definitely some heavy breathing, everyone looked enthusiastic and hopeful – hopeful that one day, they would be able to run longer than one minute!!

This immediately launched our conversation about our own beginnings. What was my first run like? Did i remember those first runs??? Well maybe just a little bit… I first stepped through the Running Room doors in September of 2011. I started with the Learn to Run group, and that is literally what it was…

I distinctly remember walking through the doors, wearing my ‘safe’ yoga pants and old runners (2 years isn’t old, is it??)…and I was appalled by what I saw: matching shoes and jackets, a sea of people adjusting their HUGE watches, and those scary, sleek running pants!!! Oh, the horror!!! I immediately felt like I had made a big mistake. I felt like a fraud…after all, weren’t these the same people I had smirked at for all those years as I sped past in my car? Well, I gulped and took my place with the other newbies at the back of the room.

Introductions went around the group (I think I even got a name tag), and the first 2 people I met that night, continue to be one of the biggest reasons I have stuck to running…enter Maureen & Kevin. Maureen was the leader for the LTR clinic and she absolutely made it for me. She is encouraging, hilarious, and along with Kevin (her husband & fellow clinic leader) have provided me with support and friendship literally EVERY step of the way! LOVE!!

So off we went…. Now, if there is one thing that as ever made me feel more completely ALIEN and ridiculous, then I don’t know what it is!!! I felt like a complete IDIOT…. Imagine being out on the sidewalk, and every car that goes by is full of people screaming with laughter…well, that’s what I felt like. “Are people laughing at me?” “Do I look as completely idiotic as I feel??” The answer? NO NO NO!! And here’s why: people do NOT CARE!! Even when I smirked at runners, it was probably more about a green eyed monster that lived inside of me! Most people want to be more active, they just haven’t been brave enough…yet!

I think most people have dreams of being as graceful as a jungle cat, but I looked more like a drunken giraffe… I can’t speak for others! But I do know that when we were going around the block and Maureen called out things like “Pole!”, “Garbage can!!”, and the horrifying “”BENCH!” there were more than a few close calls… So, let me get this straight; I have to run for 2 minutes, jump on and off the curb, and now I have to navigate obstacles?!?! This is crazy!!!! I felt like I was trying to pat my head and rub my belly – totally ridiculous!

I made it home that night, a little sore and ALOT proud. I had done it! A pox on those doctors who told me I shouldn’t! Curse those years of complete uselessness! I was a frickin’ ATHLETE! Ok, not an athlete yet, but a whole 2K closer!! Even now, nearly 3 years and hundreds of kilometres later, I still check my form out in shop windows – “do I still look like a drunk pelican? Do I still breath like a monster?” Sometimes!! Running is a source of great happiness for me, as are the friends I made when I started. And every time I see a new group of LTR’s, my heart swells with a feeling of excitement for them and what they’ll accomplish. Embrace those sleek pants, ask Kevin to set your Garmin, and please…

“Watch out for the bench!!”

– Marijke


A new year, new shoes, new set of goals

So it’s been a while since I last posted anything, so I figured new year, new shoes, new goals! I’ve never really been one for New Years resolutions, but somehow I felt compelled to set a few for this year…

1. “Step away from the chocolate!” As I have mentioned before, I love my chocolate! It has never posed a problem for me (insulin taken responsibly, of course) except that it DOES make weight loss a bit more tricky. I wasn’t very well behaved this Christmas, and I started to feel like a cat chasing its tail…except it was a needle, not a tail! So, it’s time to put the Caramilk down, and show my poor pancreas a little bit more respect. I think I can actually feel a couple of my fellow T1’s giving me a slap across the face! 😉

2. Cover some new ground! Although I will still be participating in a couple of my favorite road runs, I would like to step out and try something new. Many of my running pals are avid trail runners, and I’ve been feeling the pressure to hit the dirt (figuratively speaking)… There is the largely popular 5 Peaks trail series in BC, so I think that may be a good place to start. I will probably start with one or two for the year, as I have a suspicion that the trails may chew me up and spit me out!!

3. Vancouver BMO Full Marathon. Drumroll please!!! Although I have other races planned, this is my big goal for this year: 4:45! Now I realize this may not sound awesome, but I wasn’t very happy with my Surrey Full 2013 time, so this is my race to prove to myself (& only myself) that I am capable of better. It’s a beautiful course, I’ll be with my awesome running crew, and I’m soooo excited!!!

So there they are, my 3 resolutions for 2014. There are, of course, other things I would like to accomplish this year – like going to Mexico, taking my horse to the park more frequently, and maybe even getting my husband into a pair of running shoes! Ha ha! My husband does not share my love of running (to put it mildly), so that could be a stretch! 😉 Looking forward to a great year!!

What kind of goals have you set for yourself this year? What new things will you try??


– Marijke


Beast Streak – Day 20

I’ve been participating in a November streak challenge which has been titled “the Beaststreak” (pretty positive it’s a hockey reference, right Solana?). We have to run at least 3K every day in November, and so far my legs aren’t wildly complaining. I did start the challenge one day late, so this is only Day 19 for me…

Ive had some minor stumbling blocks along the way:

1. Business Travel = treadmill, treadmill, treadmill….i wasn’t really comfortable running outside in the dark in an unfamiliar town, so the hotel gym was fine with me!

2. Time Crunch. There have been 2 days that I pretty much ran out of time, so my poor little dog had to suffer through an extra long, speedy walk.

3. Motivation!!! Last Friday I could barely summon the will power to pull on my socks, let alone run by myself… So I called in a favor and ran with a great ‘Learn to Run’ group – my legs were VERY happy with the shorter intervals and walk breaks!!

The whole purpose behind the streak is just to get moving every day, so I’ve been combining my shorter runs with some weights and elliptical work at my gym. I’m looking forward to a ‘break’ in December, but we all know that cross training is important, so it’s always good to fit in some weight training and various other activities – my ‘other’ is riding my beautiful horse 3 days a week. 🙂

– Marijke



Tips & Tricks – Roger Hanney

Being that I have only been running for a little over 2 years, I figure I will give myself a little more time before a take on the Beast. The “Ultramarathon”. The Ultra is any sporting event involving running and walking longer than the traditional marathon length of 42.2 km’s. Does that sound crazy to you, cause it sounds like lunacy to me!! I have a number of friends that participate in these events on a fairly regular basis, and I’m happy to join them – at the sidelines, waving bags of candy for encouragement… Ok, potato chips if that’s your preference!

As a T1, I admit that the prospect of running this type of event still scares me silly, so I am always inspired by stories that others of ‘my kind’ have chosen to share. One such fellow T1 is Roger Hanney. Roger is an Ultra-marathoner from Australia, and he is the first endurance runner with Type 1 Diabetes to complete the 4 Deserts Grand Slam. Seriously, if you want to know what insanity looks like, check this series out:

Now, while I have not yet made the switch to an insulin pump (I still use creepy needles!), I think Rogers’s video is a fantastic example of the extra challenges faced by the diabetic athlete. Thanks Roger for sharing this!!!

– Marijke

Hobbit Pancakes?!?!

When you’re trying to stick to a workout plan AND stay on top of your blood sugars, travelling for work can be a real pain in the butt!! I’m in Kelowna for the week, so I have to get creative…

My hotel is attached to a Denny’s, so that is generally where I eat my breakfast. Being a diabetic, I do try to eat sensibly, but what am I supposed to do when I’m faced with ‘Hobbit Pancakes’?!?!… I’m a big advocate of oatmeal for breakfast, but how does one turn down pecan and maple pancakes, smothered with butter and syrup??… “The Middle Earth Awaits You”?! You’d better believe it does, but instead of trolls and orcs it’s maple butter and bacon waiting to drag you away….

How did I do it? How did I slay that dragon?? Well, I picked something ‘sensible’ as quickly as I could, and ended up with a wrap filled with egg white, spinach, salsa, turkey bacon and a sprinkle of Swiss cheese – DELICIOUS!!!

Fortunately, exercise has been less of a challenge on this trip. I’m pretty much on my own in the evening, so the hotel gym beckons! I ran and did some light weights on both days so far, and I will be running with a friend on Thursday. My only complaint here is that treadmill running can be really BORING!! Unless I’m really inspired (ahem, where are those pancakes??) I can only manage 5K or so before I want to put myself out of my own misery…

Despite the challenges faced with business travel, I seem to be coming out OK… Perhaps tomorrow can be a pancake day….waffles??

– Marijke


THE Goal for 2014

This isn’t much of a ‘post’, but I think this video speaks for itself. I have participated in the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon two times, and I am so excited to run the Full Marathon in 2014!!! It makes me feel like a little kid at Christmas, waiting for my turn to sit on Santa’s knee!

“I think I can, I think I can”

So I went for a quick 5K this evening, and it was NOT awesome! Seriously, my legs were so stiff that I’m pretty certain my cat could have done better… I know that we all have the occasional crappy run, and that it just makes the good ones feel that much better, but it still sucks!! So on that note, I thought I would share one of my favorite ‘garbage runs’.

A while back, I went for a run near my house, exploring a new 15K route I had put together. I was having a great run – legs felt strong, beautiful weather… Until I began to head for home. Now, common sense would dictate that after you have gone down a hill, sooner or later you may meet that hill again. So why was I so surprised when I looked up ahead to see this hill (actually, it looked more like mountain made of asphalt)?? Where did it come from? It didn’t look so damned steep in the car!!! Bah! After heading straight to the base with all of the positive mantras I could think of, I began the assault… “I think I can, I think I can”… ??? After a few moments, I did what many quitters (in the best sense, of course) have done before me… I WALKED!! Booooo!

Now, I’m an advocate for 10 & 1’s on longer runs, so I was only annoyed that this hill had gotten the best of me… that is, until the unthinkable happened… As I trudged, a man in his 70’s (wait for it…) with ONE LEG passed me!!!! This man and his aluminum leg passed right by me…seriously?!?!?! Well, you’d better believe I kicked my ass into gear and ran the rest of the way up that bloody hill!!

Looking back on it, I suppose this wasn’t really a ‘garbage run’, but more of a lesson… Any time I’m feeling less than inspired, or my legs are being argumentative, I think of this particular run. I think we all hope that our runs will make us feel energized and strong, but the reality is that sometimes you come in feeling like you’ve been lapped by a one-legged man! 🙂

– Marijke

Words of Wisdom

Halloween!!!! Now, I have no particular fondness for the costumes (the attached picture may say otherwise), but I love the scary movies, the jack o’lanterns….and yes, the candy!!!!! I have always loved my candy and chocolate – NO, that is not how you ‘get’ diabetes!!!!

When I was first diagnosed, I was very well behaved and just looked at the goodies longingly, with my face pressed up against the glass…yes, there may even have been some drooling… But over the years, those bits of heaven snuck back into my life – OH THE HORROR!!! A Type 1 Diabetic that eats candy?!?!?!

So what did I do? How did I face the gauntlet of Caramilk and chocolate cake? I did what most T1’s do – I increased my insulin to accommodate. Is this ideal? No of course not, but I am not a perfect diabetic who carefully measures out their broccoli…

I have a wonderful specialist, who shared a ‘secret’ with me once:
“Marijke, you can eat what you want AS LONG as you take your insulin APPROPRIATELY! Just remember: Diabetics get fat, just like everyone else”

Enter the running – yes, you could say that I run for chocolate. I prefer to say “health”, but either would be correct!



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