Monday, May 05, 2008
Race Report: Wildflower Long Course 2008
My friend Jill and I both noticed how unusually calm we felt before the swim start at this year's Wildflower. It was her first time doing the Long Course, and my second, but I felt relaxed (although my pre-race BG would indicate otherwise). Since our target races were still a couple months away, and we didn't really taper (by doing a 92-mile ride and a 16-mile run the weekend before), the pressure was not too high for this race. The weather looked good, with clear skies, decent winds and warm to hot temperatures. Given the possibilities, we were in for a good day.
Matt and I had figured out a strategy for using Levemir instead of my pump for basal insulin, and I had my pump hooked up with zero basal rate for any boluses I might need along the way. We had only had a few days to work out the Levemir dosing, and I had never tried it in any long workouts. Given my recent problems, though, I felt it was worth a try. But you should have seen the arsenal of GU's I had on both the bike and run! People were wondering why anyone would carry so much food.
I took my 6 units of Levemir at 6 AM and ate my breakfast--a chocolate brownie PureFit bar (yum!) plus a banana. I took a nice 3 unit injection + 0.5 unit bolus (just to make sure the pump cannula was filled prior to the race) in anticipation of eating a bit more, but decided to wait. As I saw my BG shoot up to 423, I was glad I hadn't eaten any more. I had practiced this breakfast the day before and my BG had stayed in a great range. These pre-race "anxiety spikes" really get to me. My BG slowly came down but I wanted to eat a bit before the swim (GU + some Vitalyte) and nudged it a little with 0.3 units. I came out of the water around 180, and started the bike. I waited until I was confident I wasn't going to shoot into the 300's, and began my nutrition plan of 250-300 calories per hour in Perpetuum, Luna Moons, and GU.
The first 15 or so miles are fairly hilly, and then it levels out to long, mild grades for another 20 or so miles. About 40 miles in there is a steep and long climb, fabulous descent, and then some mild rollers and a couple hills before the last mile downhill. The wildflowers were, indeed, still in bloom for the race, and it was a beautiful ride. I ate my food as planned and felt strong for most of the ride. Compared to last year, when my BG spiked above 400 in the first hour of the ride, I was happy to see readings in the 200-250 range. I thought about nudging it downward with a small bolus but wanted to see how it would play out during the run.
I started to feel pretty sick during part of the ride and was pretty miserable for the first 5 miles of the run due to my favorite kind of cramps (that only a woman can appreciate). I backed off the pace and concentrated on my hydration during those initial miles and started to feel better once I hit the trail portion of the race. The run course is one of my favorites--it starts on the road but a significant portion is on well-maintained trails along the lake, through trees or through open fields. I felt stronger as I went on and was able to keep my BGs afloat on 3 GU's and a swig of Gatorade at nearly every water stop. I would also take a couple waters--one to drink and one to dump on my head. Towards the end of the run, I was surprised to see my BG creeping up into the 200's. I'm not sure if that was an insulin issue or if I was taking in more carb's than necessary. I also had been increasing the intensity, which can cause an increase in BG, at least in a non-depleted state.
My unexpected mishap for the race was forgetting to put my timing chip back on after the swim. Yeah, I know it is not necessary to take it off after the swim but I was having a tough time with my wetsuit! I realized it was off about 5 miles into the ride and there was no way I was going back for it. I was almost to the run start timing mat when I realized that, yet again, I had forgotten my timing chip. This time I did go back--I had been so happy with my quick transition! I was a little worried whether I would get an official finishing time but that worked out. My bike time on my bike computer was 3:26, which did not include a 5-minute bathroom break. I was happy with my finishing time of 6:46 compared to last year's time of 7:03.
In the Dexcom plot below, you can see my breakfast + anxiety spike climbing after 5 AM. There is a gradual drop-off and then a steeper decline during the swim, which started at 9:15 AM. On the bike, the glucose levels climb a bit and then there is a gradual decline at the beginning and another increase at the end of the run. I was happy with the outcome, especially since this was a big experiment with the Levemir. Next time I'll try to get those levels down into the 150-200 range perhaps.