Well, I have less than 2 months now before the big race (Ironman Coeur d'Alene)! In the past couple of weeks, I have felt things starting to come together. Mind you, if you were to ask me (as some people do), "Are you ready," I would give you a quizzical look and say, "Noooo." But I do feel like I am on target to be ready. I have the next 5 weeks or so to build up distances for all 3 sports. I feel like my biking is ahead of my swimming and running; although, I am more confident that the running will be in place. I'm still pretty scared, though! Yikes!
Last weekend, I swam (in a pool) for 3000 yards, then biked 80 miles and then ran for about 30 minutes, and felt pretty good. Tomorrow will be a bit lighter, since we have our second big race of the season on May 5. Anyway, here are some random tips & observations from my training thus far.
I have started to use my pump during my swims, with much improved results. It really helps me to avoid the post-swim highs I was experiencing before. I am still fine-tuning how much to eat and how much to adjust my basal rate. These depend on what time of day I am swimming, where my BG is at the start, and how much I have exercised in the past 24 hours. For example, I swam Wednesday morning, starting with a BG of 111. I ate one gel before getting in the pool and took a 0.3 U bolus (50% immediate and the rest delivered over the next half hour). When I tested afterward, my BG was 111! When does that happen? In contrast, this morning I started at 142, ate a gel and took a 0.2 U bolus spread out the same way. I had to eat another gel during the swim (didn't test BG but knew the signs--my splits get slower for no obvious reason). I finished with a BG of 115. I was swimming at the same time of day. The difference, I believe, is that on Tuesday evening, I had a relatively light workout (weight training in the gym) as opposed to a very strenuous 80-minute bike class + 15 minute run last night. I don't think my body had enough time to fully recover from the bike class, and so my muscle glycogen was probably a bit low. So, I need to remember to think about these things...
I tend to have few problems with low BGs on the bike. It is easier to eat than during a swim, and easier to digest food than on a run. I have been using Perpetuem from Hammer for the past few long rides. For rides 5+ hours, I mix up 6 scoops of the stuff, for a total carb count of 162g. I mentioned this previously, but anyway, the stuff is great. I drink a few sips now and then and estimate how much of the bottle should be gone every hour. Maybe I will label a bottle, or buy one that has ounce markings. It all sort of reminds me of baby formula... I keep my second water bottle filled with water, and refill it when necessary.
I am still playing with my carb:insulin ratio for the rides. The first time I tried 1U:55g and that was too high; last weekend, I tried 1U:80g carbs and that was too low (my BG's were running too high and I had to correct). So this weekend, I will try 1U:70g and see how that goes. I may also try using the 1:80 ratio but take the insulin over a shorter time, since I usually don't need any additional insulin after about the 3rd or 4th hour of riding. I like to keep some basal rate going, though.
Also, I usually supplement now and then with a Hammer gel or some snack, like Sharkies (my new favorite energy food, aka fruit snacks for athletes). The only problem with Sharkies is that they don't always make it to my Saturday rides... I don't know how they keep disappearing!
I have been running since I was diagnosed with diabetes, and feel most comfortable managing this sport. Still, running after swimming and biking for hours is relatively new for me. At least, running after biking >100 miles will be completely new. I have a tendency to drop low on the run for half-Ironman distance triathlons, and for brick runs after a long bike ride. I'm not sure yet what the best approach to prevent this is. I may need to be more aggressive about reducing my basal rate, perhaps up to an hour before I get off the bike, and perhaps eating a bit more food 30 minutes or so before I expect to finish riding. So far, I have been able to recover on my runs, as long as I am not taking Symlin (which I never do for my long workout days). I'm not sure yet how I'm going to manage my BGs for the marathon after the Ironman swim + bike. I would love some tips from anybody out there on this...
Normally when I run first thing in the morning, I don't have to eat or reduce my basal rate, and my BGs will remain practically flat. If I'm running a bit longer, this is not ideal because I get hungry and don't run as well. I've been trying to eat more and at the same time trying to figure out how much to bolus without causing a crash but preventing a high BG. Usually, my approach is to just eat within 10-15 minutes of beginning exercise.
Next weekend I will get to test some of my new diabetes approaches, as well as my physical fitness in my first attempt at the Wildflower Triathlons infamous Long Course! I swore to myself for the past 3 years that I would never do it! What happened?
Here's a picture of the transition area and swim course from last year's race.