Sunday, October 30, 2011


Defining Sherpa-Betes.... Lessons from Climbing the Summit.

"A member of a traditionally Buddhist people of Tibetan descent living on the southern side of the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal and Sikkim. In modern times Sherpas have achieved world renown as expert guides on Himalayan mountaineering expeditions."
-The Dictionary

Soma Triathlon Video

We need to learn to set our course by the stars, not by the light of every passing ship.
Omar N. Bradley

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Soma Triathlon Race Report

I'd like to start this race report by stating that I am one lucky individual. I have the best supporters on the planet. First, I really hit the parent lottery when I was born. My parents have been more than supportive of all my athletic goals through out the years and have always understood how it helps my diabetes. From baseball when I was twelve to doing triathlons as an adult. Second, my fiance Jamie is far more supportive than I could ever ask for.

This last weekend my Dad was able to fly into San Diego to drive with me to Tempe for the upcoming triathlon. It was more than awesome to have one of my best friends in the world come to town to do the long drive with me through the desert where we were able to see my Grandpa (Dad's father) before this triathlon. Not only that but Jamie, who had a wedding on Saturday night, flew to Phoenix on Saturday evening to be there for my race. Now both my parents have seen me race and Jamie has hardly missed any. Believe me, I know how lucky I am.  I am truly blessed.

Setting up race nutrition.
I was worried about this race in the weeks leading up to it. I knew I didn't rest enough after my last triathlon then racing the Denver half-marathon was a too much.  Honestly, in the back of my mind though none of that mattered as long as I could get another long course triathlon under my belt, having more experience with diabetes management during such a long race. Ultimately giving me the tools for Ironman Arizona next year.

Just as with the Orangeman Triathlon I created a full nutrition plan, including my diabetes management. This time I had more about hydration and sodium intake, the two areas I failed at last race. Everything leading up to the race seemed to the work well and I wouldn't change any of it, all easily digestible carbs and healthy proteins.

During the race I again planned to use a small dose of Levemir as my basal rate then bosul with the insulin pump. For any questions regarding diabetes I now have a "betes 101" here.  

Race Morning
After setting up transition.
Woke up with a high blood. 303 to be exact. Ugh. Double ugh. I couldn't believe when I took my blood sugar. I felt good, going to the bathroom was even good (normally I can just tell in the morning with this), I was shocked. My Dexcom sensor stopped working the night prior and I hadn't brought another. I could go into the long list of reasons why I think it was 303 (after going to bed with a perfect 103 blood sugar) but either way, it was high and I had to fix it. I waited to eat before seeing it go down, 45 minutes later. Mistake, waiting to eat would cost me later.

Either way I had my morning meal (45 minutes late) and we were off to the race. Set up transition, Ensure drink 30 minutes before the swim then off to swim start.

The swim took place in Tempe Town Lake, the same place as Ironman Arizona. It was a warm 73 degrees, luckily the wetsuit never got overly warm, the water was nice. This was very different from the ocean swim triathlons along the coast in San Diego. Instead of a beach start, this was a floating start, we would be in the water when the gun went off.

Just before getting in the water my blood sugar was on par, going down still and seemingly level. We got in the water, swam to the first buoy ... bam, gun went off before we even got to the buoy. We were off.

Right away I got dunked. I freaked out.  Looking back, I knew I should have stopped. I just didn't feel good and I wanted to fight it.  Right then I started to worry about the day. My arms felt heavy, it felt like I wasn't going anywhere (which I wasn't). I kept going, getting bumped a few times, swallowing more water than any of my ocean swims. It felt like I was back at swimming 101.

I didn't "get my stuff together" until 3/4 of the swim was over when I finally started to count my strokes. This got me to calm down because it didn't allow my mind to think about anything else other than the counting. With only 1/4 of the swim to go I got it together.

Time: 46:52
Over six minutes slower than my last half one month ago.  Disappointing.  In a lake none the less.

Transition 1
Wet suit off....struggle... wet suit off finally.  Chug 10oz of water.  Go

Time: 2:39

Bike Course
After about ten minutes on the bike I was able to check my blood sugar. 158. Awesome. About fifteen minutes into the bikes my sea legs were gone and I was off.

It was a mainly flat course with one major hill and a ton of turn arounds.  Four total turn arounds, meaning twelve in all during the three laps. Two of them without time to really get up to speed. Overall it was a good course, a nice course in which all of the riders could see a lot of Tempe with the mountains in the background, downtown Phoenix off in the distance and the ASU football and baseball stadium right there.

More than anything else I wanted to have a good bike split. In the end I hit my goal of keeping my average above 19, averaging 19.4 mph.

I took my blood sugar around six times on the bike, more than normal but for some reason I kept thinking to check it. Each time it was between 105-150.  Excellent.... kind of. Because it kept going up then back down I kept fueling.  I had too much "insulin on board".  I drank all my formula (Accelorade, a protein-carb mix) then had to start with what the aid stations had, basically powerade.  Mixing these would lead to my gut issues. The triathlon gods would teach me a lesson on the run.

Time: 2:53:08

Transition 2
Off the bike, on the run.  Not super quick but quick enough.

Time: 1:27

You know that feeling when you're really full after thanksgiving or when you went to the buffet and had too much food? That's what the start of my run felt like. My gut issues were bad as soon as I got off the bike.  My stomach was so heavy and upset I couldn't take on anything else. While I never once cramped during this race, I knew I would become dehydrated if I couldn't keep taking on water and electrolytes.

I needed my gut to feel better.

That was it. Decision time.

To throw up or not to throw up?  I did it.

I stuck my finger down my throat and made myself do it. My stomach was slightly better after this. While my stomach still hurt, no where near as bad as it did before. This was 1.5 miles in, after some serious run/walk. Checked the blood sugar, 89.

O no, needed fuel. I knew I couldn't possibly take a gel, it would come up. In my tri top I had a gel flask filled with maltodextrin and coke. It was only to be used for emergency. This was it.  I took half, probably 50 grams. Yuck.

The heat was starting to become a factor, wearing white heat sleeves was the best decision I made all day. This kept me cool while putting ice in my hat at each aid station.

I felt terrible though. I was in the darkest place I had ever been in a race. It lasted the whole run. Normally the dark place comes and goes, it never went away. As I couldn't take on much fluid I just kept getting deeper in dehydration. My heart rate started to become higher and higher, even at a slow pace.

Then came the turn around. I hugged Jamie and she ran with me for about 3/4 of a mile. It was what I needed. Seeing her and my Dad throughout the race kept me out of the dark place I had been in since the swim but I needed it now more than ever. She ran with me and reminded me that my body was just tired from the last month but it was almost over, I only needed to go six more miles in little over an hour to make my six hour goal.  Just "pump your arms and keep going" she reminded me. It was exactly what I needed.

Finish Line
I kept my heart rate where I knew I could and as my blood sugar kept sinking I took the rest of the gel flask, ate oranges at each aid station and tried to pace off people in front of me.

It was also getting hotter, I was going to a darker place. I had to dig deep. Hydrate whatever I could and get in carbs to keep my blood sugar up. I was even becoming dizzy, I started to worry.

With about a half mile to go I realized I would make my goal time.

Run Time: 2:11:39

Total Time: 5:55:46

Dad and I post race

 Post Race 
It was awesome to have both my Dad and Jamie at the race. While it was a super painful race, I hit my goal so I can't complain. After doing a little bit too much over a short period of time it's time for a rest.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Four days until the next race

Four days until the last race of the season, the Soma Triathlon, another half-iron distance race.  This one is particular exciting because my Dad will be flying into town then we will drive over to Tempe, AZ for the race.  Jamie surprised me earlier this week by saying she will be coming to the race.  I thought she wasn't going to be able to come because of a friends wedding she is attending on Saturday.  She bought a one-way ticket which is really awesome.  I'm really happy she will be there with me along with my Dad.

I did my race nutrition plan tonight.  I left what worked (nutrition) and fixed what didn't (hydration/electrolytes) during the Orangeman Triathlon.  I was able to get some advice from Vic Kinnunen, another Type-1 diabetic that just finished the Kona Ironman.  Vic supplied me with just the advice I needed.

I've been a little sore lately but will hopefully be well rested before the race.  I've felt I've maintained good fitness over the last three weeks but a nice light taper this week will be nice.  After the race I will take some time off then work on building my swim and cycling base while taking some time off from running.

"What you do today can improve all your tomorrows."

Ralph Marston

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Jamie's First Olympic Distance Race

I've said this to a few people more as a joke but actually this is true.  I realized Jamie and I together are basically are Mr. Berg or Mr. Mirr.  What does that mean you ask?  Growing up they were the crazy people, Mr. Berg rode a $4,000 bike 100 miles on the weekend and Mr. Mirr was a marathon runner, running Boston a few times.  "He rides 100 miles on the weekends" people would whisper.  It's easy to forget that other people find riding a bike a long distance on the weekend very odd when one surrounds themselves with like minded people.

What brought on my thoughts about Mr. Berg and Mr. Mirr?  This weekend I couldn't have been prouder of my fiancĂ© Jamie as she crossed the finish line to her first Olympic distance triathlon.  As she stated in her blog (click here) after my half-ironman, we are a team.  I couldn't ask for a more supportive partner.  Not only does she put up with my crabbiness during a high blood sugar but she also let's me drag her out for three and four hour rides on Saturday mornings.  She is Bonnie as I am Clyde.  

The first time I dragged her out for a ride apparently Blair and I (yes Blair, you're totally getting blamed here too) didn't tell her much about riding. Jamie rode the whole ride, which was over 30 miles, without shifting once.  When our friend Alex, who just happens to be a professional cyclist, found out he couldn't believe it.  It shows the will of Jamie, still hanging in there with us on her first ride without one complaint while I didn't even totally explain everything.  Now every time she goes out for the Saturday ride I can tell her cycling endurance increases.  

In her first Olympic Distance Triathlon this weekend, Jamie dominated the swim, out of the water with the elites.  Then she then did wonderful on a tough bike and run course.  For having only started cycling a few months ago she really crushed it.  While at the finish I heard a few of the elites complaining of the tough course, being such a tough first race I've even more proud of her.  

While most people probably think we are nuts just like Mr Berg or Mr Mirr, I wouldn't have it any other way.  Be ready, I might make you run a 10k before our wedding. (Okay okay Jamie, I won't take it that far.  But seriously, just in case you get the invite you better start training.)  Congrats on the race this weekend Jamie, I couldn't be prouder.  

"The world belongs to the energetic."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Denver Half Marathon Race Recap

Snow, snow… but I live in Southern California now!  Okay, okay so it didn't snow on race day but it snowed in Denver the day before the race so I got a little worried.  Luckily race day held up just fine, a little chilly but still fine.  

I was in Denver for the Insulindependence Regional Event.  People with diabetes from across the Rocky Mountain region all got together to volunteer at the aid station on mile 20 of the marathon course, to attend a few events throughout the weekend and to enjoy the race.  While at the event I decided to race in the half-marathon, only two weeks after doing the Half-Ironman and two weeks prior to another one.  

Over the weekend my blood sugars were running a little high, mainly from what I learned was a bad infusion site in the days before the race.  Not even following my own preaching I wasn't using long acting insulin and suffering from a bad pump site with high blood sugars.  Finally taking the site out on Saturday afternoon I was able to stabilize the sugars, use long acting insulin and get my blood sugars to a good point for the race. 

Race morning I bloused a little high which I would later pay for with lows during race.  Running the half-marathon I ate over seven GU Gels, equaling about 175 grams of carb total.  It must have done something right though because I felt good during the race.  Despite the altitude, I was able to hold the exact pace I wanted to (goal race pace 8:10, pace ended averaging 8:09).  

The first half of the race was rough, getting some of the kinks out from the Half-Ironman still but the second half felt great.  I ended with a time of 1:46:42, proving I'm in much better running shape than I was during the January Carlsbad Half.  Only being about a minute slower despite the race being hilly, at altitude, being sore from the half-ironman and slightly dehydrated from the high blood sugars.

"Blaze with the fire that is never extinguished."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Video and Denver Half

A little work trip coming up this weekend.  Insulindependence's Denver Marathon weekend, I'm going to challenge myself a little by running the half.  Training has been sluggish this week; the ride yesterday was good, swimming has been a challenge and no running. Rain tonight so I'm on the bike trainer tomorrow morning, add a few intervals.  I haven't ran (since Sunday) because I am going to run the half-marathon this weekend and have wanted slightly more recovery this week coming out of the big race.

Blair gave me the film from the "GoPro" camera from the Orangeman Triathlon; I edited it and below are the results.  

A few changes to the blog, hope everyone likes the "cleaner" look.  I stole the look from Blair's sister Alison.  Thanks Alison.  

"Fatigue is a disease and I don't want it." 
John Marino

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recovery Week

The good news is I wasn't nearly as sore as I thought I would be.  The even better news is that the "runner's high" lasted nearly three full days, unreal.  My insulin sensitivity was through the roof during this time.  Typically, even after a night where I have a hard run I have near a normal bolus the next morning but not this time.  Low insulin usage and exceptional blood sugars the days after the race have been appreciable.  

I took Monday-Wednesday off then rode the bike trainer for 30 minutes on Thursday as a slow recovery ride to get some of the heaviness in the legs to go away.  Swim Friday then 22 mile ride on Saturday.  It was challenging to get moving on Saturday but once I did it was all fine.  

I will start to get back into it as much as possible this next week but am traveling for work.  My goal is to simply keep the fitness I have for the Soma Half-Distance race the third week in October.  After that race I'll take a little more of a break before trying to build into long course.  

I'd like to say good luck to Vic Kinnunen, a fellow Type-1 who will be racing at the Kona Ironman Championships this next Saturday.  I wish him all the best.  

Also, I added two new sections on the left side of my blog; about me and race results.   

"What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do."