Sunday, April 15, 2012

Big Rock Olympic Distance Triathlon Race Report

First, I need to thank Cliff Scherb. With his nutrition plan I was able for the first time to actually be confident going into a race about my diabetes. While diabetes is never a "problem" in my life, I've experienced trouble in many races with high blood sugars because of my fear of bolusing too heavily for the morning meal. I won't go into detail about his plan but I can say it worked! As I told him on the phone today "you gave me the confidence to bolus what I needed to bolus in the morning". Thank you Cliff.


Secondly, thank you Jamie for putting up with my crazy training. I know I'll never be a world class athlete but you always let me train because you know what it does for me. Also to my parents, thank you for the love and support.


That's a lot of thank you's for "just a normal race" but while on the run I thought about what this year means to me doing Ironman for the first time so they needed to be said. 


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Alright, on to the race;


Going into today I didn't fully know what to expect. Jamie, my always trusty sherpa wasn't at this race because she was coaching her water polo team up in Santa Barbara. (They won by the way and will be going to Nationals in Florida!) The weather on Friday was terrible, pouring rain and even thunder (very odd for Southern California). For awhile I thought the rain would ruin the event then I realized the issue would be the cold. 


When I woke up on race morning the temperature was a miserable 39 degrees at Lake Perris, site of the race. Despite worrying about the rain and temperature the night before I planned as if I was going to do the race, even if in the back of my mind I thought something would be cancelled. I found that I know the people in my life well because I asked three people their advice knowing what response I would get from each.


Dad; Do what is best, you will make the right choice.
Jamie; Don't hurt yourself, if it's pouring it's fine to skip it. 
Blair; Do it. Once you step on the start line you have to commit.


I went to bed with perfect blood sugars and a loud child at the hotel in the room above me jumping up and down for hours. I woke up, ate my carbs and injected a huge bolus that I never have done on a prior race day. Then... I couldn't find my wallet. Stress! I stayed calm but I still had a blood sugar surge. I gave a small amount of insulin that would lead to a minimal crash later but luckily I found the wallet (more stressful because I needed $10 to get into the park).


Off the race. 


Set up transition. Wait....


6:30am: Blood sugar, falling on Dexcom, check; 79. Carbo Pro around 30 grams.


7:10am: Blood sugar, 95, obviously going up.


Go down to beach start, so cold. Feet start to hurt it's so cold. It's just me, the wet suit and the bottle of carbo pro.


Delay, getting buoy's set up. 


7:40am: Down the carbo pro


7:45am: Gun goes off.


Swim
In the water. I panicked to start, people kicking, getting hit. I stop, get my bearings. Two lap swim. Heading to the first buoy is rough, really rough. Then I finally calm down and get it together. 


It doesn't seem to be going well. Sighting is hard rounding the first turn but I stop for a second time. Alright, figure out something to sight. The lifeguard tower, golden. 


I round the next set of buoy's for the second lap. Bam, into the group of sprint participants. Half of the group is panicking. Wow, I'm glad I'm not like this swimming anymore. Trying to get around them. 


The wake is choppy. Winds are blowing around here. It's hard to get through. 


Home stretch, end of the second loop. It seems like it has been forever. My time must be over my sub-30 goal. 


I get up, left hamstring cramp. It's fine, it's fine, two long strides. Look down, 26 minutes. Wow, under my goal, can't complain about a PR! My last Olympic distance triathlon was a 31:31. I made up five minutes on my swim. 


T1
It's a long, long run up to the bike. Probably about 1/5-1/4 mile. Everyone's time is slow... I get 4:38. The wet suit was slow to come off the feet but I hop on the bike.


Bike
We are in the fun zone now. Flying. Holding the amount of power I want down on the hammer. Following what Cliff has instructed I take my first swig of Carbo Pro. "I feel good I think". 


I start to wonder what my blood sugar is. I take out my dexcom from my back pocket, almost ripping off my omnipod thinking it is my dexcom. 275! What that can't be!


Thank god I decide to check. The best decision I've EVER made in a race is checking this blood sugar. I get out my cheap meter from the other back pocket and check while cruising on the bike. This is on the first uphill so I can sit up. 127! WOOOHOOO Thank god I checked. No more dexcom readings for the race.


Haul up the hill. Back down, take my second swig of pre measured carbo pro along with a salt tab. 


Police officer let's a car through a controlled intersection! Hit the brakes, the gentleman next to me yells at the cop. We move on.


Then another cop let's two people walk across the street! I swerve to avoid. Almost hit a car making a turn. I yell! This rattle's me. I calm down and realize it's all okay and keep hauling. 


Back up that hill again on the second lap. Blood sugar; 190. Good to go. 


I swig my last sips of the bottle right before getting off the bike.


1:12:08... 20.7mph average.


I'm happy. Another PR. Again 5 minutes faster than my last Olympic and what I would say is a similar course. I felt like I faded a little in the second half of the bike. Next triathlon this won't happen. My power was slightly lower than I wanted but that's fine. 


T2
1:07. 20 seconds slower than my last Olympic. Dusting the cobwebs off this season. Next time taking the Lance Armstrong approach and sitting down to hook the shoes on.


Run
Drop the meter right after crossing the timing map! UGH! Go back, great guy flips it to me. Probably lost 20-30 seconds.


Ouch, ouch. Started a little fast. Let's dust off the bike legs a little.


The first mile and a half is hard; up and down on a swerving bike trail near the lake. Who ever designed this bike trail was obviously intoxicated. 


Looks flat the rest of the way. My feet are so cold they hurt! They warm up after two miles.


Four to go. Grab water, just sip. Take my blood sugar one last time. 189. Flat line. No more nutrition.


My legs hurt, my heart rate isn't as high as I'd like but left hamstring is tight. I come to terms with holding this pace. Since the Sunday prior my runs have hurt, even when they were easier for the short taper. Just keep pushing.


47:53, 7:42 pace. 


Not as fast as I'd like and not a PR, about 40 seconds slower than last year but everything can't go great. 


Result
Overall: 2:32:43. 


My goal time was under 2:30 but I honestly can not complain! 


Swimming four times a week either with Master's or with Jamie has obviously paid dividends. That feels really good. Those hard Wednesday morning bike sessions and long weekend rides have obviously paid off as well. I feel good on the bike. 


My run could use work but heck, I know that is the training I'm most likely to neglect. I know that. I need to keep up the t-runs on the long weekend rides and be very disciplined about the tempo runs during the week. 


You know what really worked? My diabetes. About half way through the bike I thought, "o my god, this is what it feels like to be 'normal'". I spoke with Cliff for about 20 minutes after the race, I told him how I hadn't had a bad blood sugar for 48 hours prior to the race or during. His response was perfect; "it changes your whole body chemistry so all that work you put in pays off". Prior to this, any bad blood sugar from/before a race was just some stupid random freak out from worrying about going low that would lead to a high. 


It felt good, I feel good. 

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