Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vineman 70.3 or maybe 70.8

A couple weeks ago I did the Vineman 70.3 race up in Sonoma County. This course is nearly identical to Barb's Race, which was my first half-IM distance event in 2005. I did Vineman 70.3 in 2006 on a hot, difficult day, and came in much slower than my Barb's Race time of 6:01. So, this year, I was wondering, would I beat that time? Could I come in under 6 hours? The race was exactly 4 weeks after IMCDA and I thought it would also be a good test to see if I'd recovered.

I've had to keep my basal rates lower after IMCDA even though I am about 5 pounds heavier right now. I don't get it but that's how it is sometimes. So planning out insulin for the race was a bit of a guessing game. I decided to really amp up my swim/early bike basal rate, from 0.9 to 1.3 U/hr. I was going to take care of that bike spike once and for all! A couple hours before the run, I would lower it to a level I though would keep me steady. After reviewing my IMCDA basal levels, I settled on a rate of 0.2 U/hr.

We were staying close to the start, so, on race morning, I meandered to the transition area about an hour before my wave went off. Soon enough I was swimming, not sighting too well, but happy to come out of the water with a few minutes' improvement over most of my 2007 swims. I hopped on the bike and, after about 15 minutes, checked my blood: 155. Great! I felt good and was happy to have some overcast skies. I noticed that neither my cadence or speed were getting picked up. That meant I would not have mileage either. I decided to just go by heart rate, targeting heart rate zone 3 for the bike and run.

I tested a bit later and was surprised to see my BG climbing fast, again. Hmmm. I thought my 1.3 basal would have taken care of this. I checked again a bit later and it was still rising merrily into the 300's so I took a small bolus to knock it down a bit. I backed off on the calories but still did drink a little Perpetuum because I was getting hungry. Around mile 25 or so, I pulled out my meter to test and somehow dropped my velcro-laden lancet. I kept riding. There was no way I was going to stop to get it. Bah! I kept riding some more and then my reasonable mind reminded me that I still had a long way to go, and that my BG's were not stabilized yet. I grudgingly peeled off to the left to turn and look for it. I had a nice comment from one of the riders, who called out, "Once isn't good enough for you?" I had words for him but muttered something and rode past the spot where I had dropped it. I slowly rode back up the road, eying the ground for a gray lancet with red velcro. I couldn't find it. Well that was time well spent! Oh well. I figured I could test by just squeezing my fingers hard enough to make them bleed. I usually bleed from a couple spots when I test, anyway! (The problem is, I don't seem to bleed from multiple spots unless I prick a new one!) I was able to test one more time and then just went by feel and past experience. I figured I would start to come down, and assumed this was the case when I started to feel better.

I had no idea of my mileage or average speed, but was familiar enough with the course to think that I might be able to break 3 hours. For most of the ride, I felt good and was enjoying riding on familiar ground. My heart rate was on target and the weather was pleasant. After the one big climb at Chalk Hill, I knew the end was in sight. I kept pushing through the end and was happy to see 2:59 on my watch. Fun! I was glad my little lost lancet incident hadn't pushed me over the edge.

Once on the run, I discovered my BGs were not only high but rising from my end-of-ride food fest. I had finished off the Perpetuum and eaten another 25 g of carbs in anticipation of my usual drop at the beginning of the run. I had also lowered my basal rate a bit earlier and a bit lower than I did in Coeur d'Alene. All of these factors, as well as not being able to test, contributed to another spike over 300. I waited a bit to see if it would fall; it didn't and I took another small bolus. After several additional miles, it seemed to be settling around 250 and I decided to leave it there. I felt so much better not being on the brink of a bad low all the time and it gave me energy and confidence to push the pace a bit. My heart rate was theoretically in zone 2 so I guess I could have pushed even harder; still, it felt like the right effort-level for the distance and conditions. I guess it would have been good to nudge the BG to somewhere below 200 but I was stable, felt good and, with an hour to go, just left it alone.

Although it got a bit warmer when the sun broke through, I tried to hold my pace; I didn't have to do 2 loops, after all! (That was the theme of the day: only one loop for each leg! yay!) I was pretty excited to see that I would likely be able to finish in under 6 hours, and pushed the pace through the finish, for a finishing half-marathon time of 1:57 and a total time of 5:56. And the cool part was that my average heart rate was 165 compared to 178 three years ago with a time that was 5 minutes slower. Yay for progress! And it was a great relief to realize that, unlike last year, my recovery was going well, and that I would be able to continue to train well for IM Wisconsin. And speaking of IM Wisconsin, I can't wait for that race, where I will not only have spare lancets but spare meters out on the course. Fantastic! In the meantime, I think I'll try some string as a back-up to velcro.

1 comment:

Lyrehca said...

Fascinating and congrats on bettering your time. I've yet to try testing while biking (I'm so sticking to sprint tris) but I'm impressed you do it all the time.