The road to Rebecca’s Private Idaho – part 1

These are my hi-lights of the summer getting ready for RPI part 2 will be the race report.  I wanted to write about them as I went but well, you know, life.

I just returned from Sun Valley, Idaho.  A place I never imagined I’d visit, knew about or thought about. It is a place where the sun always shines, the people are happy and unicorns prance around freely.  This is what I love about racing and training is that  I get to see places that I would never have known about.  This year I got to visit St. Louis, Emporia, Kansas; Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, Washington; and Sun Valley, Idaho.  I discovered Seaside, Oregon an area of beautiful little cottage homes and a ginormous beach.  I also got to see the haystack rock, and the Columbia gorge.

Beautiful Sun Valley

Sun Valley Idaho

 

 

Haystack Rock after Hood to Coast

Haystack Rock after Hood to Coast

 

The Columbia Gorge

The Columbia Gorge

 

The week after Kanza was the Tour de Cure a recreational ride where participants raise money for the American Diabetes Association. I raised over $2,000 dollars.

Tour de Cure ride for American Diabetes Association:

This  year our team made the ride in honor of my best friend Katie. If you have read previous posts you will know that Katie passed away in March from a rare cancer at the age of 33.  A lesson to us all that life is short.  Don’t live with regrets get out there and do what you love! We called our team Team Katie Cyclemonsters.  My dear friend Katie always made an effort to help out the diabetes cause  and it was also the event of her first long endurance ride.  We were all so very proud of her.  It was bittersweet to do it this year since she would not be there for it but it was nice because we had so much support from friends and family either who did the event or donated money.  Some of my diabadass girlfriends (a secret sisterhood of girls with T1 diabetes) even flew in from out of town for the event.    Katie’s boyfriend and my good friend Chris Navin helped organize fund-raising efforts and also selflessly gave his time to the ADA. We had a lot of fun working with Bill Nedza and David Gibbs doing some course recon and filming the route!    Chris and I both raised over $1000 and became ADA Champions.  We also appeared on the CBC morning news where we were interviewed by Derrick Young.  It was so great to see all the pictures they posted of Katie as well as helping to spread the word about the benefits of exercise to diabetics.

And I did an interview for ADA social media talking about the red rider program.  A program started by Mari Ruddy to help honor those that ride with diabetes.  Check it out here:

I also enjoy this event because it is one of the few events that my boyfriend and I do together.  He is not a huge biker but every year he signs up to do it and rides 60 miles on his huge heavy clunker bike. After Kanza this was a nice slow easy ride with lots of rest stops!  I would encourage everyone to sign up for this great event which starts and ends at the two brothers roundhouse brewery in Aurora!  Yum.

If you want to join our team for next year please do so at:

Team Katie Cyclemonsters

ADA Ride - diabadass girls and Derrick Young

ADA Ride – diabadass girls and Derrick Young

 

Overall my training for June included 540 miles on the bike and about 35 miles of running. Why running?  I started my 3rd year as a marathon coach for FFC.  This year we are coaching a great bunch of Team 2 End Aids athletes. I was also planning on running the Chicago marathon until this:

http://www.medtronic.com/globalheroes/our_heroes.html

I applied in June to become a GLOBAL MEDTRONIC HERO and my application was accepted.  I was one of 25 individuals from across the globe, chosen for this and I could not be more proud and humbled.  Again, I think it is a great program to help spread the word about the benefits of exercise even if you use a medical device to help you.   So I get an all expenses paid trip for me and Tom to fly to Minnesota and run the marathon!  I also get $1,000 donated to a charity in my name. Unfortunately it is a week early so my already short training schedule will be cut even shorter!

Despite all the great things that were happening, July was a very hard month for me emotionally.  Work was nutty and the reality of Katie was very heavy on my heart.  I did a lot of long training rides on my own which I typically don’t mind but I think some distraction might have been useful.  I really went through a tough time.  This is when my coach Mike stepped up and helped me through the tough times.  He is truly part therapist part athletic coach.  I guess that is the sign of a good coach. He is the best.

10,000 5,600:

My next event (training event) was this puppy:  http://ridetenthousand.com/  I was signed up for the long course 10,000 feet of climbing over 124 miles on July 12th.

http://www.strava.com/activities/165159732

It just wasn’t my day.  I rarely do not finish up a day until my goal has been met and I rarely give in.  This race I did.  In my eyes I failed.  At the long-course cut off point I just decided that I did not want to be out there for 12 hours on that course.  My bike was off and was squeaking incessantly, I had lost a contact near the start, I had gotten a flat early on, there were a million bugs in the air.  With the humidity and the lost contact I couldn’t see for shit and I was barreling down gravel roads without a clue as to where I was or what was in front of me. I was also carrying far too much food and water.  I had two bottles on my bike, two bottles in my hydration pack and a full 3L bladder.  It weighed a ton.  My back was killing me from the start.  I think being diabetic makes me over prepare and over concerned about running out of food and water.  With no SAG at this event and only 1 place to get water I thought more was better.  Mike and I were the only VQ members doing it and we had both agreed that since there was no SAG we would wait for each other in case either of us needed help or needed to be picked up.  The race organizers were fairly adamant about the lack of aid in their advertising.  Had I gone on I would have been lucky to have finished by 7pm.  I was not going to have Mike wait that long and with the way I felt it was the right thing to do regardless of how it made me feel.  I rarely make the best decisions in the world because I’m so stubborn but this was the right thing to do.  It still ended up being 75 miles with 5600 feet of climbing and took me nearly 6.5 hours!   I happily finished, changed and waited for the first long course riders to come in which was exciting.  I was expecting Mike to be in that bunch but turns out his day was not the greatest either and I was happy to be there for him when he arrived.   Due to Dexcom delivery issues I was without my dex but I tested less than 200 each time. Not finishing what I started was a hard pill to swallow but the right thing to do. I will back to get my revenge next year.

When I look back at the numbers now I see that I still cranked out 540 miles of biking and 66 miles of running in July.

In the meantime while working insane hours and training for Rebecca’s I was asked by my friend Aliki to join her team for the Hood to Coast relay running race.  This race is practically impossible to get into.  When I talked to Mike about it he was as excited about it as I was, which is why I think we get along so well!   The link is here http://www.hoodtocoast.com/ to read all about it. Basically a team of 12 people run various legs from Mt. Hood to the coast, who wouldn’t want to be a part of that! I ran 16 miles in total over 3 different legs.  The race was the week before Rebecca’s so the travel and coordination to make both happen was pretty interesting.  So I flew out and spent 40 hours in a van with 4 girls I didn’t know and one I did know. Why not?! What a blast! I will post a follow up on my BG’s for HTC because relay racing has its challenges in that regard.

Hood to Coast Gang Two Vans Twelve people 200 miles!

Hood to Coast Gang Two Vans Twelve people 200 miles!

Hood to Coast Van decoration . I'm so flexible.

Hood to Coast Van decoration . I’m so flexible.

So with Hood to Coast plans, marathon coaching picking up, marathon training and a trip to Boulder to spectate Ironman in between I arrived in August with some renewed motivation!

The sisterhood of the Diabadasses at the Boulder IM swim start.  What a day!

The sisterhood of the Diabadasses at the Boulder IM swim start. What a day!

Mrs. Rocks:

Next up on the training plan was the Dairyland Dare on August 9th, my last big training ride before Rebecca’s. http://www.strava.com/activities/178398244

The ride included 11,700 feet of climbing over 250k and 11 hours of cycling. I used my osprey synchro hydration pack again with 3L of hydration and I used a bento box with some solid nutrition. Carrying the 3L of Skratch allows me to skip aid stations and have plenty of the hydration mix that I like, although I was careful after the 10,000 race not to overpack.   Although this ride provides plenty of aid stations I like to try to stick with my own nutrition – sustained energy mix, blocks and skratch. The syncro appears quite big, it has a frame keeping if off your back to avoid excessive heat, over the past year I’ve been teased by a certain VQ employee about how I ride with a tent.  Here is the pack Osprey Syncro 10.  I think the straw broke the camels back was when an older gentleman on the ride asked if I was carrying a bag of rocks and from that point on he called me Mrs. Rocks. It’s true it was a bit heavy, especially in hills.   It was then that I decided at Rebecca’s I would go sans hydration pack and just go with the bottles and refill at aid stations which there were plenty of for the race.

The climbs of the ride were constant not long slow gradual climbs but relentless sharp hard climbs which were made even harder with my pack of rocks.  I felt fine until about mile 130 however those  last 20 miles felt like 100 miles.  I rode my Madone road bike and I ended up getting severe foot pain from hot feet which got harder and harder to ignore.  I tried all the tricks but it wouldn’t alleviate.     Luckily I hooked up with a few guys in the last 20-30 miles which allowed some great bitching sessions.   After discussing the ride with Mike I found out that even Robbie thought the ride was really hard. This made me feel a little better.  I had no dex readings because of the aforementioned delivery issues with the sensors. I did test the old-fashioned way and my blood sugars remained fairly consistent at least when I tested at 160.  Yes this ride was a huge struggle but as I learned last year I need to “trust the struggle”  which I feel like I have done a lot of this summer. Ride file is here:

Dairyland Dare

Overall for August I was down to 410 miles of biking and about 60 miles of running.  My mileage was down due to my Boulder trip and Hood to Coast but as I said earlier life is short and I don’t train for these events to win. Being in Boulder for Chris and Karen was too important and the chance to participate in Hood to Coast was too good to pass up and

I feel so lucky and fortunate that I have the financial means, the use of my legs, arms, body and mind to be able to participate and complete the events that I sign up for. I think Katie would agree.

Rebecca’s Private Idaho race report – Part 2 to follow

Here is a little view of what it was like:

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=733765280003183&set=vb.505215912858122&type=2&theater

 

 

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The Dirty

As I sat down to write my dirty kanza race report I noticed the familiar shake in my hands.  I looked at my Dexcom and saw 65 with a down arrow.  I don’t recall giving myself too much insulin but that’s the way the diabetes ball bounces sometimes there is no explanation. I often say that diabetes calls for a lot of on the spot doses and last minute fixes.  I dose and eat according to historical references that are filed away in my brain.  I  know that my correction factor and my basil rate (the constant base rate) are good because I have days and nights where the line on my dexcom is straight.  I’ve also had long rides with great blood sugar levels.  I love those days, when I nail it.  I’m often more worried about nailing my blood sugar than nailing a race.  Keep in mind this is just me, I know plenty of diabetics who seem to race very well without issues.  However not so many are doing 200 mile gravel races that last well over 12 hours.

If you’ve been reading my blog you will know that I signed up for and had been training for the Dirty Kanza 200, a world premier gravel race in the flint hills of Kansas.  I trained and raced with my wonderful coach and now mentor and friend Mike Peters.  I had, what I thought was a sketchy start to the training.  Work was crazy and I suffered the loss of my best friend Katie to cancer.  I was physically and emotionally exhausted at times.  200 miles seemed daunting and I often thought about throwing in the towel.  There were days where I would be riding for 5-6 hours by myself, just thinking about life and Katie the emotions were physically draining.  This is where the mentoring part of Mike kicked in.  It wasn’t just a calendar filled with miles and watts, he had this way of just saying exactly what I needed to hear to continue towards my Kanza goal.  For that I owe him a debt of gratitude. I know he will be reading this so, Mike, thanks from the bottom of my heart for your words of wisdom, your encouragement and for believing in me.  Thanks to him and the support of Tom, I got to feel what you can see in this picture.

Completely Giddy

Completely giddy and covered in dirt

I can’t even write anything that would come close to what you see here, as the saying goes this picture IS truly worth a thousand words. In the few minutes following all I could see was Mike beaming at me and coming to greet me, it was a moment that brought tears to my eyes and a moment that I will never forget .

The other person that I owe a debt of gratitude to is Tom.  Without his  support through my training I might have completely folded.  I usually introduce my zaney race ideas casually to him then secretly sign up and pretend that we talked about it and he knew that I was doing it.  Before he bats an eye we are planning a “vacation” to Emporia, Kansas.  Seriously, his patience with me is never ending.   He half joked “ so we are driving 500 miles so that you can ride 200 miles then driving 500 miles home.”  Yes, honey, that is correct.

He meticulously packed up the car with his coolers, displaying tremendous ice managing skills second to none.  We started the drive Thursday before the race and arrived in Lawrence about an hour and a half outside of Emporia where the race was.  I had sprung on him that I wanted to stop here to see Rebecca Rusch “the Queen of Pain” do a course talk and iterated that there would be prizes and free stuff.  So we arrived in Lawrence at 5 pm ate a big burger with my teammate and T1 diabetic Eric then went to the course talk.  Tom patiently endured the heat of the 2nd floor in the bike store as I listened to Reba talk about her addiction to finish lines.  It all paid off as I gleaned some great tips which I used during my ride (see my post here http://endurancediabetic.com/2014/05/30/bib-681-kanza-is-here/ ) and I won a beautiful pair of Smith sunglasses with 3 interchangeable lenses.  I had a feeling that things were going to go well that weekend.  After the talk we continued to Emporia where we checked in to the hotel.  We got the room key and entered a smelly dank room.  I’m not even sure this hotel was a 1 star.  This was supposed to be “Americas best” Inn.  We immediately heard the familiar chirping of the smoke detector, you know the one when the battery is dead or dying.  So we picked up the phone to call the front desk.  No dial tone.  The phone didn’t work.  So at 10:30 at night after 15 hours being on the road I went back to the front desk and told them.  She offered to take the battery out.  I said that didn’t sound very safe.  So we got another room, still no phone but at least no chirping, which could either be a sign of a good battery or no battery.

We unload the car and had a wee drink then hit the hay.  Friday I washed my bike and started preparing for the race.  One of Reba’s tips was to be prepared and have your bike ready, tuned and cleaned.  I figured I should wash the dirt off of it from the prior week’s race.

trusty stead

trusty stead

I rode my Trek Superfly mainly because I don’t have a decent CX bike (oh woe is me) and I had been training with it.  Overall I don’t feel like I was at too much of a disadvantage.  I could certain scream down the rocky sections like there was no tomorrow much to the envy of most of the cx bikers I passed and I easily navigated up the loose rocky sections.  I will say that I was fairly impressed with how some of the people negotiated these sections on their CX bike, I’m not sure I would have been so brave.

Friday, we picked up the race packet, went to Walmart for some provisions, picked up spare wheel set from Mike, headed to lunch then hit the course talk and the pre-race meal.  We arrived back at the hotel at 7pm and I got ready to make my sandwiches for the next day.  As I was making the sandwiches I gave Tom his instructions for his important role of being my support vehicle.  This was important because it would be my only source of refueling, water and extra tubes if needed.  Bike racing, all day events and such are so out of Tom’s element so he made careful notes of instructions for each checkpoint.  I’m pretty sure that when I told him about this race I hadn’t really articulated that he would be spending ALL day in the car waiting at each of the 3 checkpoints.  Well, bless his heart he did such a great job.  He was at each check point on time, he had the blackhawks flag (prior to them losing game 7 to LA) way up in the sky on a flagpole so I could see where he was parked and as I arrived I could see that he had taped his instructions for that checkpoint to his old green cooler.  I was so touched by this.  Like I said previously I couldn’t have done this without him.

My nutrition included the following a more detailed view of my intake is included below:

On the bike on each leg I had:

a full 3 L hydration pack with Skratch

dark chocolate and almond kind bar

a gu

4 packs of blocks

1 bottle with sustained energy and espresso hammer gel

1 spare water bottle for emergencies and/or cooling off

At the checkpoints I had:

Coke/diet coke/red bull and one coconut water

Jason’s chocolate hazelnut and banana on whole wheat low carb soft bread in halves.

Ham and cheese and mustard on whole wheat low carb bread in halves

Peanut M&M’s and other chocolate treats

I carried 2 spare tubes and 4 c02 cartritdges and some tools that I probably wouldn’t know what to do with even if something did happen but you never know.  I just kept praying to the flat god’s and funnily enough to Katie to have me not flat, I am sure she was saying gills (that is what she called me) there’s nothing I can do about that!  It wasn’t so much the racing or riding I was worried about I was more worried about mechanical issues.  It’s not that I don’t know how to change a flat it’s just that I hadn’t done it on my MTN bike before and I was running tubeless which just freaked me out a bit.  But hey, it’s not like I’m the only rider who doesn’t like flats, Lance Armstrong rode the last 10 miles or so of Leadville with a flat so I don’t feel so bad about admitting that. I ended up using the same tires I rode Leadville in, Racing Ralph 2.1 tubeless.

I had worked out my insulin requirements and set up a new pattern on my pump rather than using a temporary basil set up.  I also placed my pump in a frio pack to keep cool and had placed a spare vial and syringe in another frio pack in my hydration pack.  My basils were set up as the following:

5am-7pm 0.8 units per hour compared to 0.5-0.7 on regular days.

7pm+ 0.6 units per hour

I reduced my basil in the later hours because typically at an Ironman I will go low later on in the race. Not so much this race.

I had set my alarm for 3am the morning of the race, not to get up but to check my blood sugar.  I figured If anything was wrong it would give me 3 hours to fix it.  Sure enough I woke up and saw that I was at 200 so gave myself a correction bolus.

I woke up at 4:30 am and ate breakfast and bolused about 80% (about 3 units).  I had 2 pieces of low carb whole wheat bread with banana and chocolate hazelnut butter my go to race day breakfast.  Tom drove me to the start line .  I felt great, my blood sugar was in the 170’s when I left I had all my supplies I had my VQ kit and arm coolers I was all set.    I started back with the 18 hour crew but inched forward a bit since there was space and I didn’t want to get caught up with any bad riders.  I didn’t see Eric or any of the others prior to the start.  The temperature was pleasant and there was still a morning haze which kept the heat off.

A look at the haze that blanketed the land

A look at the haze that blanketed the land

We were led out 3 miles by the police then it turned to gravel.  I made my way through a crowd of people and settled in.  I sipped on my skratch and my hammer bottle and ate blocks here and there.  I probably should have had a more timed eating strategy but I felt like I was spacing out the intake nicely.  Well, wouldn’t you know at about 7:30 heard the familiar beep of the dexcom, I was over 300.  I hadn’t felt overly excited or nervous so I didn’t think adrenaline would have factored in but apparently it must have since nothing else I was doing or eating was out of the ordinary.  I quickly gave myself a mini-bolus of half a unit. I also increased my basil rates to 1 unit from 0.8 units for 2 hours.  Within the hour I had double arrows down which was ok because I had just been sipping and nibbling.  I took the opportunity to eat my gel which was a salty caramel gu.  The next hour I spent enjoying the scenery and looking at the beautiful haze over the land.  I felt like I was in a different country, beautiful expansive rolling hills as far as the eye could see.  Near the end of the leg was the water crossing (pictured below) where most of us got off our bikes and walked through knee high water.  It wasn’t worth thinking about, so I just plunged right in, water soaking through my shoes and socks, I came out the other side feeling like I picked up several pound in water weight in my wool socks.  The first checkpoint arrived really quickly, honestly I had barely even noticed that I had already ridden 50 miles.  I looked around and sure enough there was the blackhawks flag flapping in the wind high above all other things, it was perfect.  I rolled over to the spot and was surprised to see Eric.  Tom was busy helping him and saw me standing there and jokingly yelled at me for being early.  I had told him approx. 4.5 hours for CP1 but arrived about an hour early!  He had not even had a chance to fill my other hydration pack yet.  I wanted to make the stop quick so I hopped off my bike and ran around trying to find a port a potty, I had been dying to go for quite sometime and refused to stop on the course.  I didn’t see any so ran over to a park and went behind a sign… I’m all class.  I ran back and Eric was getting ready to leave, he said he would see if the others would wait, I told him to go on but sure enough Eric, Brett and Steve waited.  The time pressure was on.  I replaced the hydration pack and all my bottles which I had pre-made, grabbed another pack of blocks and a gu and tested ( I was 160 yay!!!). I grabbed a half banana and jason’s chocolate hazelnut sandwich which Eric decided to hold on to for me and we rode off.  I couldn’t help but notice the thick layer of reddish/brown dust that had blanketed my legs.  Pictured below, those shoes ended up in the trash!

 

Water crossing

Water crossing

 

check point 2 with my momentos

check point 2 with my momentos

The  leg 2 started off fairly bumpy and hilly. I had completely forgotten about my sandwich that Eric had.  Then I realized and took it from him.  Unfortunately the roads were so rough in this section that there was not a lot of opportunity to eat it.  The thing was turning to liquid in my hand.  So I tried to put it in my bento box.  Unfortunately after another several miles I looked down and saw that it had fallen out… no sandwich for this gal.  I ate some extra blocks and continued to sip on my hammer bottle as well as the skratch.  After sometime the boys decided they would stop and pee.  Apparently they had not done so at the checkpoint so assuming that they would catch up to me eventually I decided to pedal on.  I had already resolved to pee on the bike (I know gross, but i did use my spare bottle to help wash myself off a bit.)  I had to go to often, it wasn’t worth the effort to take off my jersey every time.  Besides there was not a whole lot of shrubbery to go behind, it was literally all grass. The scenery got even more spectacular as the day went on.  The skies turned blue and the sun came out.  We truly lucked out.  My heartrate maintained around 130’s. Miles later the 3 amigos (Eric, Steve and Brett) caught up to me.  We rode together again.  At some point Eric said he was going to eat something  I think he was going a bit low so he slowed down to eat, again I said I’d just motor on at my own pace.  Somehow I ended up riding with Steve for a while and Brett and Eric were behind.  Steve said he was going to hang around and wait for them so I told him I’d just keep going.  I figured better for me to get a few miles ahead than have to slow them down later. Besides if Eric was always behind me he would be able to help if I got a flat! Yes I had some motivation.  I never saw them during the second leg again.  At about 10 miles out I felt a little hungry and ate most of a kind bar.  I pulled into the second checkpoint, still feeling good. I had finished  the 3L bladder.    The first thing I noticed was that Tom had laid out my little momentos that I brought with me for inspiration.  The picture that Katie gave me of her a few months prior to her passing, a picture of my mom and dad and finally the stuffed Honeybadger and tequila bottle that my very dear friend Helen (aka H-fog) gave me with a little note on it.  It made me smile from ear to ear.  Then Tom told me that my niece Cassaundra had texted him to say good luck.

I inhaled two ham and cheese halves with an ice cold coke.  I swear, It was the best tasting meal I’ve ever had.  The rest was a bit longer than I wanted, it was quite hot.  The last few miles were pretty grueling and a little windy.  I had been by myself for quite some time.  I tested again – 160 ! yippee!  Considering the coke etc. I gave myself a mini bolus of 0.5 units. Mike had given us the idea of filling pantyhose with ice to keep me cool.  So Tom got busy filling this cut stocking.  It was quite humerous as the stocking got longer and longer.  I tried to put the “ice pack” on my neck but the ice slipped into each side and fell to my waste under my jersey.  I felt like I had two sagging boobies.  I decided to keep it in since it was ice after all. I saw my blood sugar creeping up so I upped my basil again to 1 unit for 2 hours.  I was just about to get started as Eric rolled up, he said that they had all run out of water, so Tom got busy helping Eric. As I was heading out I noticed that my back tire was low, oh crap.  So I took the opportunity with Eric there to go back and check it out.  He pumped it up but it still worried me… was this the beginning of a flat?  Please god no. Pray to the flat gods, pray.

I decided again to keep moving.  I had already been at the CP for 20 minutes and I didn’t want to risk hanging around for much longer.  I headed on my way and at this point recognized some jersey’s  from past miles.  There was the guy with the yellow “don’t run me over” jersey and the guy with my favorite jersey of the day “energy circle” with a donut pictured below.  I kept a close eye on my back tire… sure enough it started creeping down.  It didn’t go flat but was pretty low.  Do I put a tube in now or keep riding it knowing it was soft?  I decided to fill it with some co2 to try and make it last. I checked the entire tire for a tear or hole, there was nothing,  I did see some moisture where it looked like some of the Stan’s was leaking out. The seal appeared to have been broken.  I knew that I was losing some efficiency by riding on a softer tire but I also knew that changing it would take a long time for me.  Isn’t that just crazy?  I also thought at some point Eric and the gang would catch up.  I kept looking back but no such luck.  I continued on rolling through the fields cringing on the rough parts and the cow grates.   The sky was blue the sun was hot, the grass was greener than I ever thought possible.  We literally went miles without seeing one building.  There were several sections where the cows were actually on our path.  I took my time so as not to startle them and start a stampede.  I did NOT want to be run over by a big ass cow.  Between the cows, turtles crossing the road, armadillo shells, snakes (yes I saw a slithery snake), green green grass, blue blue sky and gravel my rear tire continued to be soft but not flat.  I kept thinking about when my nickname “the honeybadger” was coined.  It was during a Madison loop ride where I rode on a soft tire for several miles until the bike shop aid station where I had a new tube and tire put on.  Lyndsay (teamWILD) started killing herself laughing that night and saying “Gillian doesn’t give a shit if she has a flat, she just keeps on riding”.  I laughed to myself with that memory.  I also looked up at the blue sky often to speak to Katie and pictured her up there looking down at me.

I topped up the air in the tire several times with the same co2 cartridge.  Then at about mile 25 I was tearing down a hill and heard the unmistakable hiss of the back tire, it was truly flat this time.  I look again and didn’t see a hole, I spun the tire around.. even put the bike upside down and stood there.  As I stood I was passed by two girls… ugh.  25 miles to go …  I can do this.  I had lots of cartridges I filled up the tire again.. maybe the seal would re-seal itself.  I continued to ride. This is where I met “big Dave”  He started talking to him and we exchanged names.  I told him about my tire woes and he said he would help if I wanted to put a tube in and thought that I should.  I was so stubborn and this point I only had 20 miles to go, surely I would make it to checkpoint 3?!  We actually stopped and he actually got out his hand pump and started pumping….It only lasted a mile.  I got off and took the tire off feeling like a numbskull for not listening to him.  Luckily he was behind and stopped again to help.  I was so unbelievably greatful for him.  As we started to take the tire off, up road Eric, Brett and Steve.  Eric was not doing very well and was cramping up like crazy.  He was suffering from dehydration big time.  He hopped off his bike and started to help.  I said good-bye to big Dave and thanked him profusely. Eric finished changing my flat for me, we still didn’t see any damage to the tire which was a good thing.  Brett and Steve had circled back to the house about ¼ mile back with the hose to get some cold water.  Eric tried to get back on his bike and cramped.  He said he wanted to go back to the house as well.  So knowing how much he was hurting we wanted to make sure he was ok.  So we all walked back together.  We found some shade for him and told the house owner that he was going to rest.  Brett and Steve thought about waiting but Eric insisted on staying and said that he would have Tom pick him up.  So after a little deliberation we decided to march on.  We knew Eric was safe anyway.

Big Dave from Oklahoma

Big Dave from Oklahoma

Brett, Steve and I rode the last 20 miles to checkpoint 3.  It felt like 200 miles.  It was hot and a bit windy at this section and we were 130 miles in.  I honestly thought CP3 would never arrive.  Finally we turned the corner to the road and saw it like an oasis in the dessert. I asked how long they planned on being Brett said about 10 minutes, so I said I thought I’d probably take a bit longer than that.  Their support vehicle was at the front of the CP and mine was down the road further at the back end.

I felt slightly dehydrated during that last stretch and I had started to feel a little woozy during the last few miles and was getting goosebumps, so I downed the cold coconut water.  Tom had his CP3 list taped to the cooler and went through it with me.  I got my lights and decided that since I’d still have a couple of hours of day light I would put it on down the road rather than ride with the weight on my head.  I put the light in my pack.  I tested at about 160 again, honestly the same # practically every time. I ate a sandwich had a coke and some m&m’s .  I’m not sure why but I didn’t mini-bolus for this, I paid for this later. Again, I didn’t sit down.  I changed my sunglasses to my clear ones, replaced some blocks and a bar. I also put on my old Garmin that I had loaded with the course, I knew my 910 xt was supposed to last 20 hours but would it?  I had the back up just in case.  I did NOT want to get stranded in the dark! Eric had gotten in touch with Tom and said that he was getting a ride to CP 3 with someone.  I waited for a bit.  Finally he arrived in bad shape.  His heart rate was elevated and he was cramping big time.  We told them to get an EMT . An ambulance pulled up and cranked him full of fluids and checked out his vitals.  The paramedic came over to me and told me that they wanted to take him to the hospital but he refused to go in the ambulance.  So I went over to talk to him.  He was pretty clear that he didn’t want the ambulance so I said that Tom would take him.  I was finished with all I needed to do so Tom started to unpack the car to put Eric’s bike in and repack it up.  Again, Tom was just an angel throughout this ordeal.  Once I knew everyone was in good hands I said my good-byes assuming that Brett and Steve were long gone.

I really didn’t feel bad.  Yes, it was daunting to think I had another 50 miles but I just kept pedalling.  One of the things that Reba said on Thursday night was “I think how great it is that I get to just ride my bike all day”.  It was true, no computers, no cell phones, no texts etc. just you, the bike, and nature.  I just rode, fairly easy.  Eventually I started catching up and passing some people.  I also passed the two girls that had pass me earlier during the flat incident.  I was feeling good.  Enjoying the ride.  Then at around 7:30pm I hear “beep beep” … Dexcom was telling me something.  I looked and it just said “high” with a line going straight up practically.  I guess this isn’t like ironman, no lows after 12 hours, I should have mini-bolused at cp3.  Given the “high” I bolused a full unit.  For the next hour or so I sipped very slowly on my Skratch, knowing that I would still need to keep hydrated.  Eventually I came down and was able to munch on my blocks again. I was happy with my pace and was surprised that I met up with big Dave again.  He said he was not doing well so I offered him a block which seemed to do the trick as he picked up the pace again.  We rode in most of the way together with a few others.   However I was losing light fast.  I was riding with 4 or 5 others with lights which helped but eventually I was going to need to put mine on.  This was a dumb move on my part. As I looked at the map I decided I’d ride with them to the next turn which put me approximately 10 miles from the finish.  We finally made the turn and I had to stop.  I was worried that I couldn’t see where I was going and I was worried that I was going to get in trouble for not having a proper light.  I had a small one that barely let off a glow but I think it was fading.  So I stopped and I watched the trail of glowing lights ride off in the distance.  At this point it was so dark I could barely see my hand in front of me.  I took the light out then realized I needed to align the plug into the battery so I had to get my cell phone flashlight out to see. So, trying to hold my pack, my phone and my light I finally got it turned on.  It felt like everyone was passing me at this point, then I saw the one woman pass me again.  I threaded the strap through the helmet which proved to be very difficult in the dark with the Velcro sticking to itself etc….. it was the most frustrating 10 minutes.  The whole time the mosquito’s were buzzing around my ears and I was having to shoo them off.  I finally got it on put my pack on and took off.. I didn’t even do up my straps, the battery cord was in front of my face but I didn’t care.  I pedaled like mad to catch up to glowing lights in the distance.  I finally was able to catch up to everyone again, including the one female.  I rode with her and her crew for the last 6 miles.  They were from the area and had been training hard.  I wanted to break away from them but they knew the way turn by turn and it got a little confusing towards the end as we got closer to town and the university campus so rather than trying to muddle my way through I rode with them.  We got to the top of commerce drive which was about ¼ mile from the finish so 201.75 miles in we both laid down the hammer.  We were neck in neck sprinting to the end.  We finally got to a barricade with a fairly narrow entrance, I bowed out and let her go in.  I then slowed down a bit and drank in the cheers and the crowd, high fiving people as I rode in. I saw Clemens first who said how proud he was of me.  He has a son with type 1 diabetes.  Then I saw Mike running over to the biker exit with a huge smile which is where I almost lost it. I had done it and I felt great!    I was sorry Tom just missed me at the finish line as he was coming back from seeing Eric at the hospital, he literally missed me by minutes.

 

finish line photos

finish line photos

All in all aside from a few glitches my blood sugar was relatively good. Here is a general run down of my intake:   NUTRITION 1

dexcom kanza

Other Links

These and more awesome shots can be found here:

http://adventuremonkey.com/blog/dirty-kanza-200-2014-edition

My Strava file:

http://www.strava.com/activities/148774709

Results:

727 registered and 465 finished which was a record.

http://results.chronotrack.com/event/results/event/event-8568?lc=en

From what I can tell 28 women finished.  I finished 13th overall at just under 16 1/2 hours and 10th in my age group (40+),  3 seconds behind “my friend” and about 20 minutes behind the 8th place finisher. So needless to say I was pretty pleased!

Mike, although finished in time that I could never fathom did not have such a good day, with 5 flats and a couple of spills it just wasn’t his race but was in great spirits nonetheless. He has vowed revenge on Kanza and said he’d be back. I think I would actually do this one again!

I also raised over $2,000 by selling my Kanza miles for the American Diabetes Association!  It’s not too late to donate if you care to. (I promise I will stop doing this after this month !) But have to do it just in case. Click the link!

http://main.diabetes.org/goto/Gillianspage

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Bib 681 Kanza is here.

Bib 681- Links at the bottom!

gravel, green and blue

gravel, green and blue

This week was busy…. starting off with Sunday.  Sunday was my final race before Dirty Kanza this weekend.  It was a 68 mile gravel race with similar conditions to Kansas (long rolling hills and miles and miles of gravel roads through farm fields with some grass tractor roads mixed in).  Although I felt like it would be fun and there were 30 or so VQ’ers doing it I was hesitating because it has been my M.O. to not do much on race week.  That is any race.  My reasoning is that if I haven’t been on my bike for a week then I’ll be itching to go come race day!   Anyway I was so indecisive that I decided to ask my coach for advice, realizing he had already said it would be ok for me to do or not do.  I knew he would have the words of wisdom to help me.  When I received his message I was hesitating to listen because I was actually afraid that he was going to say not to do it.  I guess that should have been an indication. So sure enough he said the right thing and I did it. It turned out to be a great decision.

The race started in DeKalb at 9am.  I had just had my bike tuned up and when I say tuned up I mean I spent $600 on new drive train, rotors and brake pads!  Some people don’t even spend that on a new bike!  Anyway, it should be all set for another couple of years and I will remember to change the chain every 500-600 miles vs letting the old worn chain wear down the teeth on my cassette and chain rings! Such a better idea to spend $40 a couple of times a year vs $600 every year!  So I was anxious to make sure everything was in working order.  As we turned the corner I noticed I was in the small ring as I shifted up the entire chain fell off!  So I had to pull over almost right away to get that set up again.  Not a good start.

The race was led out by a cop car for about 3 miles or so. So it was a nice easy warm up for me vs a balls to the wall start which I hate!

I stuck with some of the VQ crowd for a while who were all on cx bikes and we sort of played cat and mouse for a bit as they went ahead then I went ahead etc.  I think they were trying to stick together.  The roads were great and the scenery and weather was awesome.  Eventually I lost the VQ’ers.  At about mile 20 something really cool happened.  I started drafting off a guy on a fat bike.  It seemed that we also were playing cat and mouse for a while so rather than expending all that energy I decided just to hang with him.  The really cool thing was that without a word we just started drafting off of each other, taking turns pulling.  I drafted off of him and as I saw him struggle I pulled up ahead, then he went and so on and so forth.  It worked really well, just having that few minutes rest between pulls was so beneficial.  Unfortunately after about 10 miles he told me he was going to have to pull off for a bit and we thanked each other for working together.

Then we got to a 5-6 mile section which was more conducive to mountain biking.  It was more like a double track.  Needless to say I zipped ahead as people commented how lucky I was to have my mtn bike. As I turned on to the road I saw Eric. Eric is that crazy biker who just got T1 diabetes 2 years ago in his 50’s.  He had spent his entire life doing what he wanted and when without thinking of his health. He had been having a hard time dealing with the disease and I’ve been helping him whenever I can.  He was sitting on the ground and looked like he was in pain. So I stopped to make sure he was ok.  He wasn’t.  He was having trouble with his saddle and sitting on it.  He had no idea why.  I stayed with him as we decided what to do.   Someone had offered to give him a ride to DeKalb but the person didn’t have room for his bike.  The 41 mile checkpoint was just 6 miles away so we decided that he would try to ride to the checkpoint to get a ride there.  We checked our sugars mine was terrible.  I’d been having a terrible blood sugar day for no apparent reason.  His was ok. We took off and I soft peddled with him as he rode standing up for six miles.  We made it to the checkpoint and made sure that he could get a ride back.  With a lot of energy I took off and motored the rest of the way.  It was funny because this is where a lot of people who hadn’t been eating or drinking properly were bonking.  So I got to pass a lot of folks who had passed me.  One section got pretty rough with huge trough like divets.  They were so deep that I couldn’t turn my pedals.  We also went through a few mud sections and a water hazard and a section where we had to get off our bikes and walk over railroad tracks.. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t legal!  At one muddy section  a couple of guys on cx bikes  stopped abruptly in front of me which caused me to nearly fly headfirst into the bushes.  Luckily I escaped with just a flesh wound.

fleshwound

fleshwound

As I rode along the last few miles on the road I passed a guy that I had been riding with off and on through the course but he had taken off ahead of me.  I yelled out, you’re pretty fast for a mountain bike!! Hell yes!

It was a fantastic day, it was hot and dry and I felt pretty parched.   The only negative was that for no apparent reason my blood sugars were through the roof.  I ate and drink everything just like in previous rides, same insulin levels, everything.  But I could not get under 200, when I got off my bike at the end my body felt numb and I felt a little dizzy.  I tested and saw that I was 396!  The only thing I can think of was that the insulin was bad.  I had used the infusion set the day before and knew that it was working.

yikes!!!!

yikes!!!!

After the race we had a beer and some pulled pork courtesy of the race organizers and I hopped in the car to head home then out to a memorial weekend bbq.  It was a long day but glorious!

Monday we had people to our house for a bbq and I had to start packing for the drive to Kansas.  Tuesday and Wednesday I was away for a work conference in Oak Brook after the 90 minute drive on Tuesday I decided to stay the night and treated myself to a short run and a short swim in the outdoor pool.   Also, as luck would have it, Ray from Bodygears360 happened to be working 2 miles down the road on Wednesday so I got up early and had a pre-race dry needling session.

Thursday we packed up the car and took off for Kansas!  I am a notoriously disorganized packer vs Tom who carefully makes a list out. I am just not a list person. But I didn’t forget the honeybadger!!!

honeybadger

honeybadger

The car is full so hopefully that means we have everything.  As we are driving South I’m looking at all the green and the fields and thinking of myself riding through the fields on Saturday and thinking about my mind and getting myself ready to dig deep.  You can prepare mentally as much as you can but nothing is like being in the moment where you have sunk so low that you cannot possibly move an inch further. But I cleaned Rocky and I’m ready to roll!

Rocky!

Rocky!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve been making some notes as I go of some quotes and things to help me through the day.  For more inspiration I packed the picture that Katie  had given me of her and I prior to her passing, I packed a picture of my mom and dad that they had given me for Christmas I also packed my Leadville medal and the special gift that Robbie and Mike had given me after the race.  I’m also going to have my niece and nephew text me or Tom throughout the day so I can get message from them.

My coach sent me this, which sends shivers up and down my spine.

Courage. We all Suffer. Keep Going.

Courage. We all Suffer. Keep Going.

 

 

I also saw this one on facebook today:

Get over being a sugar cookie and keep moving forward.

And of course I always like:

Pain is temporary quitting if forever.

And my road ID quote:

Smile and Enjoy the ride.  I still have Katie as an emergency contact.

Last night I attended a talk with Rebecca Rusch – The Queen of Pain.  She is a 4 time Leadville 100 winner and has won the dirty Kanza 2 times. She said a few things which really resonated. She is such a wonderful woman to talk to.

  • She said she hates to race but she loves the finish line feeling which is so true.   There is nothing like the feeling of accomplishing a goal.
  • She said that we are so luckily because we get to spend the whole day on our bikes! No computer no cell phones no work to stress us out.
  • She also mentioned that we should speak about our goals.  I was happy about that because I do strive to inspire and talk about our goals.

 

I’m not really afraid of failing because I had the courage to try. I was also able to raise over $2,000 for the American Diabetes Association and wanted to take the opportunity to thank everyone who donated to the cause.   Tomorrow I will think of you all!!!  Here is the link for those of you who still want to donate for this great cause!

http://main.diabetes.org/goto/Gillianspage

I’ve worked hard for this and when it gets rough out there and I’m in a deep dark place wanting to quit, when my legs don’t want to go any further I will think of Katie who soldiered on through such pain and agony even in the shadow of despair when there was less than a glimmer of hope.  She fought. I will not quit.

Katie Strong. Katie Love.

TRACKING INFO:

If you want to track me you can use this link.

https://register.chronotrack.com/event/tracking/eventID/8568

If you want to track the race checkout this link.

http://www.bluestemproductions.com/dk200/

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

2 weeks to Kanza-the final countdown!

This weekend called for two 4 hour rides.  Funny how 4 hours now seems like a drop in the bucket. Neither of my rides went quite as planned but I still enjoyed myself.

For Saturday’s ride I needed to pick up my bike at Trek store Highland Park where it was getting tuned.  From there I planned to ride to the Des Plaines River Trail, the same trail I rode just 6 days before.  I got to the trail and turned on to the path only to see a sign that said trail closed due to water.  I was trying to recall how this could happen in the last few days then I remembered the storm.  I figured how bad could it really be?  I’ve seen that trail covered in water but didn’t think it could be so bad now so I just ignored the sign.  Just a few miles in I came to my first “water hazard”  It was about a 20 foot stretch of the trail covered in water.  I decided to take my chances knowing that Kanza may have some water passes.  So I entered the water and started to pump my peddles so as not to get my feet wet, unfortunately the mud underneath got so stick that if I didn’t do a full peddle I’d stop and fall over so in my feet went into the water. Great, half hour into the ride and my feet are soaked.  I kept going.

As I kept going I saw sign after sign of “trail closed” or “underpass closed” signs.  Luckily for the most part I remembered how to get around the underpass.  There was a couple of times that I ended up riding up and down a road looking for a way in.  One time I found myself in thick 8 foot tall weeds trying to get around the water, unfortunately it didn’t work and I ended up on the road again and had to pull out my iphone to figure out where to go.  Every time I got diverted I thought oh maybe I’ll just stick to the road, but I just couldn’t divert from my plan.  I really wanted to make it to the end of the trail again.  I just kept hoping that the each following section would be better.  I approached the freeway underpass, not just a road, the actual highway – 94.  I saw the closed sign and again refused to believe that it could be that bad.  I arrived at the underpass and sure enough it was not passable however unlike the other underpasses I couldn’t exactly hike up to 94 and walk across or ride to the next intersection! So rather than going back like a normal person I decided to climb onto the embankment beside the underpass where there was about a 2 foot space clearance.  All I can say is that I’m lucky I had my helmet on because as I got a few feet in I clunked my head on one of the girders.

photo (1)

The river overflown!

The river overflown!

 

I definitely went through a lot of water on that trip.  I also did one other underpass caving expidition.  I finally made it to a stretch of about 9 miles that was almost waterless.  I ended up making it to the end of the trail albeit with soaked feet the entire time.  I rode the 9 miles back then took it too the streets.  I had had enough of the water and hike a biking. I made it back in 2 hours vs the 3 that it took to get out there!

I was really happy with my nutrition.  I stuck with the same mix – skratch, sustained energy and hammer gel mix, over 4 hours I ate a pack of blocks and one other gel.  This worked out to be about 44 g carb/hour and 200 calories per hour.  This time I left my basil rates at 100%.  My blood sugar’s were great, they dipped a bit but managed to get it back up.  I figured If I can keep that up for the race then eat real food at the checkpoints I should be good.

I was a little disappointed in that I had to get on and off the bike so much and having to ride on the road on the way home. It ended up being about 62 miles at about 4.5 hours.

Today I had volunteered to be lead biker at the half marathon downtown.  I had done this before and really enjoyed it. I figured I could ride the course a few times then continue on from there.  Well, it never really works out that way.  So I was up at 4:30 putting wet shoes and heading to the start line. As myself and Dave Athans rode back out on the course after taking in the lead runners we ended up riding home with the last racer.  Her name was Cindy,  I couldn’t just leave them despite the grueling 15 min/ mile pace.  I really wanted to see Cindy finish.  She told me that it was her first half marathon and that she had lost over 70 pounds over the past year and works with a group to promote wellness and exercise.  She walked a good portion of the last half of the race.  Still we stuck with her.  As we rounded the corner towards the finish line I saw the tears of joy coming down her face. It just made me so happy to have been a part of her race and her goal, she was amazingly strong.  Because I had been gone already for about 6 hours and not really eating very well I ate some of the race food.  I finally got back on my bike and rode for another 2 hours.  I wonder if that counts as 8 hours in the saddle?  It was definitely a long day!  I figured I did about 60 miles overall albeit over a long time!  So overall not really a quality workout today either.

Bike marshals!

Bike marshals!

Bike Marshals on the course!

Bike Marshals on the course!

 

This was really it for Kanza training so I hope I did enough. In hindsight I guess I don’t make the best of decisions training wise but I got to see Cindy finish her race. Over all I feel good and my blood glucose control has been good during the rides.

Diabetes Blog Week.

Well I made it through 3 days.  I just couldn’t find the time to write on all the days.  I did however read some pretty cool stuff including another exercise junky!

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Diabetes Blog Week – Day 3 What brings me down?

pulling hair outMy doctor once said you need to make diabetes your number 1 job.  This is easier said than done, my job is very stressful and time consuming and I have chosen to participate in a very time consuming hobby (endurance sports).  I tend to not make diabetes as much of a priority as I should.  Constantly guessing the # of carbs in a meal and what your body is doing at that given moment to determine how much insulin to take is not my idea of fun. It probably has a lot to do with the fact that the occasions where you are exactly right about are few and far between.  Who wants to always do something knowing that it’ll probably be not quite correct all the time. It will cause you to pull your hair out sometimes! I have a whole list of things that I beat myself up over because I have done them or I still do them from time to time.  They are things are mostly avoidable and I have no excuse for.

  • Sometimes I have let my insulin pump run dry because I am purely too tired or I haven’t made the time to change it. ( of course I change it at that time).
  • Sometimes at night my dexcom will be alarming that my blood sugar is high and I just ignore it because I physically don’t have the energy to get up and test.
  • Sometimes I just forget to bring emergency supplies on a long bike ride.
  • Sometimes I go high for hours and just keep dosing before I realize that maybe my insertion site is blocked or the insulin is bad.
  • Sometimes I have run out of pump supplies.
  • Sometimes I don’t make the time for follow up appointments with my doctor.
  • Sometimes I have 1 too many drinks.
  • Sometimes if I’m busy at work I don’t take the time to test even if the dexcom is asking to be calibrated.
  • Sometimes I will go out and exercise even if my blood sugar is over 300.
  • Sometimes I don’t check for Ketones when I should.
  • Sometimes I just don’t see a trend in my numbers and can’t make heads or tails out of it.
  • Sometimes I don’t speak up when I’m feeling shitty from a high blood sugar.
  • Sometimes I just completely forget to bolus for a meal.

So I beat myself up. I’ll also be the first to admit that I get frustrated with the diabetes roller coaster.  Eating when I don’t want to or not eating when I want to eat.  I did learn a valuable lesson this year when my friend Katie passed.  I learned that life is very prescious and it can be short.  So I’m trying to not sweat the small stuff and be grateful for what I have.  And I absolutely need to take care of my body and my health first.

When I get down about it, I step back and look at my life with diabetes. I was an adult, already 30 when I was diagnosed but I really had not grown yet.  I didn’t know who I was.  I was married and I got a divorce.  I can’t wonder who I would be or what my life would be like had I not gotten this disease. Would I still be married, maybe. Would I be a mother, maybe.   I have so many good things to be thankful for and these are the things I remind myself of.

  • I am in good shape.
  • I run, bike and swim.
  • I have a relatively healthy lifestyle
  • I have nice bikes.
  • I get outdoors.
  • I understand the importance of nutrition better than a lot of my athlete friends.
  • I have met and am friends with an absolutely amazing group of individuals because of this disease and for that I will be forever grateful.
  • The happy dance when you have a good diabetes day!

Would I rather race an Ironman or a mountain bike race without diabetes?  Hell yes, but that wouldn’t be me. I am Gillian with T1 Diabetes and that can’t be changed. I consider myself lucky to be able to compete at all.

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DIABETES BLOG WEEK

DIABETES BLOG WEEK

This week I signed up to participate in diabetes blog week.  Diabetes blog week was started by a diabetes blogger – www.bittersweetdiabetes.com.  Each day bloggers write about a certain topic.  I didn’t really realize when I signed up that we were given topics to write about so yesterday’s post had nothing to do with the topic of the day. Yesterday was about changing the world and diabetes advocacy.  So I’m making up for that topic today. Today’s topic is poetry. I’m not sure if I can write a poem but I’ll give it a shot.

The on-line diabetes community provides a great source of information and ideas.  When you have diabetes you have to learn to manage it yourself.  There is no pre-prescribed treatment, every day is a different story so unless you live with a diabetes educator and a nutritionist then for the most part you are on your own.  Your doctor can only see a snip it of your day/days and as most diabetics know one day can be completely different than the next.  Having the support and the experiences of others in the community plays a huge part in successfully managing the disease.

I have been blogging for a few years now albeit very sporadically. I wish I could write more and be more consistent unfortunately work and life (and training!) get in the way.  I enjoy writing but it is not easy for me and it is very time consuming.  No matter how many times I re-read what I write I’m always changing something and I worry that I am going to sound stupid.  Most of my writing is centered around my races and my training.  I started my blog not because I’m an expert in diabetes or exercise or exercising with diabetes but because I really want to make a difference somehow.  I don’t feel like I’m changing the world and whether or not I do make a difference is yet to be determined but if just one person who has diabetes reads about what I do while managing this disease and decides to try a triathlon or a running race or even just hops on their bike to go for a ride because of my blog then I have changed something.

Much like my fitness challenges, I am taking on the challenge to write something meaningful every day for 7 days while diabetes blog week is happening.

Here is my Haiku poem.

I will take a run

I will feel euphoria

Euglycemia

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130 Mile Race Practice Ride

I did it!  I rode to Wisconsin and back which also happened to be my practice ride for Dirty Kanza http://www.dirtykanza200.com/ .   My race is fast approaching (less than 3 weeks!) and I wanted to test out a few things with my nutrition and set-up to see how I would feel over 100 plus miles of riding. Plus, I’ve always wanted to cycle the route I chose.  It was win win.

I didn’t really do anything special the night before and I ate my usual pre-race breakfast of low carb whole wheat toast with almond butter and banana.  I still felt a bit peckish so I had a second banana with almond butter.  I ate about 90 minutes before heading out so bolused for about half of the carbs.

I rolled out of my house at 7:30 am. I packed up my Osprey Synchro 10 hydration pack for the day and had mapped out stops to refill the bladder.  I wished I had weighed it.  I also added a seat bag with one spare tube and tools and I added a bento box on the top tube for things I’d need to access often and easily on the ride such as my nutrition and my dexcom.  I also had a waterproof map holder attached to my handlebars.  Although Kanza will be marked they say not to count on the markings. So I was as close to race day set up as I could be minus new tires. I should have taken a picture.

Here is a pic of my food that was packed in my bag.  In addition I had a bottle with Hammer sustained energy and espresso gel.  I call it my Latte.

Thats a lot of food!

Thats a lot of food!

I was trying 3 new things with my set up: new shorts; new chamois crème and my road bike seat on the MTB.  Well I’m happy to report it worked!  I’m not sure which made it better, I suspect the shorts but the pain level in my girly parts was reduced by 90%.  If I had only known that I didn’t need to suffer so much!  I would have done this long ago.  I am so pleased!!

Unlike most of my rides this year the temperature was warm enough to wear a bike jersey and shorts with no warmers or toe covers.  This will be good practice for Kanza since I am expecting a lot of heat and wind.

The ride was 128 miles and just under 10 hours.  Here is my Strava link Strava File. I was also pretty pleased with my blood sugar levels.  Here are my dexcom readings:

dexcom readings

dexcom readings

Miles 1-10 Home to North Branch Trail

Miles 1-10 are through the city to the North Branch Trail head.  I hadn’t planned on stopping until I got to Highland Park.  Approximately 30 miles or so; however by the time I got to the trail I had to use the restroom. Not off to a good start.  It takes time to take off my pack and my jersey hit the bathroom then put everything back on again! As I’m riding I’m taking an inventory of what hurts and doesn’t hurt.  Nothing yet.

Miles 10-22 North Branch Trail to Botanical Gardens

Miles 10-22 took me through the North Branch Trail of which about 70% was gravel or dirt on the horse trail.  I was feeling good and was enjoying the ride and the weather.  I munched on a few blocks, sipped on the sustained energy mixture and sipped on my skratch.  Mile 22 brings me to the Botanical Gardens in Highland Park on previous rides I usually stop here to use the bathrooms.  Turns out today was no different, again my bladder was full.  I wasn’t sure if I was drinking too much or not sweating enough but it was annoying. I took the opportunity to test my sugar.  I was over 200 probably from the extra banana at breakfast.  I mini-bolused 0.3 units and cancelled my temporary basil.  I started to panic a bit because I realized I forgot to pack a syringe and insulin for emergencies! Of all things to forget!  I thought maybe I bumped my insertion site before leaving and it somehow got dislodged.  Still nothing hurts.

Miles 23-50 Botanical Gardens to Independence Grove (Checkpoint 1)

Miles 23-50 as I passed where I had originally planned on stopping at VQ Highland Park I felt like I had to use the bathroom again however I opted not to stop this time since I had already stopped twice and at Kanza the first check point is at 50.  I decided I’d stop at one of the parks on the route (independence grove) that I knew had a nice comfort station and water.   The path takes you through some nice wooded areas on gravel.  I was enjoying the ride immensely and noticed how extremely comfortable my new shorts were. I was amazed that I had gone so long wearing what I call torture chambers (or Mediums) on my rides when I could have been riding with so much less pain.  As I kept riding my full bladder was getting very uncomfortable.  I had taken a side route off the main dpr trail for a change of scenery and I as I was approaching the 50 mile mark I started to get worried that the side route took me past my comfort station but just as I was losing hope I turned a corner and there it was.   I got off and did my business and ate my first MOJO bar.  It tasted so good; I had felt a bit hungry earlier.  I refilled my hydration bladder which was almost empty and added another serving of Skratch.  I didn’t change out my sustained energy bottle because it was still half full and I really just use it to supplement my other nutrition.  I also tested again 103!  The mini bolus worked. WHEW!   I put the temp basil back on at 70% this time.  I am still feeling good at this point.

Miles 50-64     Independence Grove to Northern end of Des Plaines River Trail

Miles 50 – 64 I rolled out and was determined to ride the next 50 miles without stopping.  From here it was about 15 miles to the end of the DPR at the border of WI and IL.  Sure enough I arrived at the end of the path and felt that familiar pang of a full bladder.  I was really starting to think that I was drinking too much but I guess better too much than too little?  Rather than face the next 30+ miles in discomfort I just stopped and went, trying to be speedy about it.  My BG had been dipping slightly so I tried to up the # of blocks I was eating.  I’m starting to feel slight tension in my upper neck and back.

 

Miles 64-100 Des Plaines River Trail to Vision Quest Highland Park (checkpoint 2)

Miles 64-100 I calculated that if I rode all the way back to VQ Highland Park it would be fairly close to 100 which would be checkpoint 2 of the race.  I really wanted to get a feel for riding that far then having to get back on my bike for another 50.  Would it hurt?  I was still amazed at my comfort level.  As I approached mile 80 ish I started to get hungry again.  The blocks were not cutting it so I dug out my 2nd Mojo bar and ate half.  I noticed that my legs were started to feel a bit stressed.  My neck and upper back were really screaming at me.   I ate the Tandra bar.  The Tandra bar was good and it was nice to not eat something sweet for a change but it was hard to wash it down with Skratch, a nice cold coke would have it the spot!   Upper neck and back pretty sore but no low back pain which was great.  I kept trying to shift my hands in order to change my position.  My hands were starting to feel a bit sore from the constant bumping.

At mile 100 I pulled into  VQ, I was happy that I did the last leg without stopping.  I refilled the bladder again, this time with 2 servings of Skratch, I was worried that my 1-serving blend didn’t have enough electrolytes.  I lubed up my chain as it was pretty dry and squeaky.  I ate the last half of my MOJO bar and felt like I could really have used something else.  I also refilled my nutrition bottle this time I mixed the sustained energy with heed tangerine (I call it my creamsicle ) . My stop was probably a bit too long but figured during the race I’d have the bottles pre-made and a spare hydration bladder that I would have Tom pre-fill for me at each checkpoint.

Miles 100 – 128 Vision Quest Highland Park to home

Miles 100 – 128 as I headed out again my legs were pretty sore, in hopes that the protein would help I ate my last Tandra bar, which was still pretty appealing at that time.    I also noticed that although my new shorts were great on my nether regions I started to get a pain in my leg where the band is at the bottom.  I can only describe it as the feeling you get when you have elastic around your wrist that is too tight.  I’m not sure if my legs were just swelling or what but it was pretty uncomfortable.  I hope that in the next few weeks I can stretch the band out a bit.  Even now, 24 hours later that section of the leg feels a bit bruised where the band sat.  As I was approaching the 120 mile mark I really went down I could hear my dexom beeping from within my bento box I assumed I was going low again so I drank some more of my creamsicle sustained energy mix which pick me up a bit, as it turns out I was beeping because I was over 200. I always forget that I have my basil set to drop from 0.75 units /hr to 0.5 units per hour at 3 pm every day for my usual commute home from work.  So even on weekends when I’m not commuting it drops.  I need to set up a different basil pattern for weekends.   I pulled into my garage in just under 10 hours from the time I left.

Overall, considering the length of the ride, I felt pretty good just stiffness in my upper back and neck.  I immediately made a recovery shake to replenish my glycogen stores. I made it with Hammer Recoverite, protein powder, a banana, water and ice, almond butter and some spinach.  I bolused 5 units for my 246 bg and 40 g of carbs which in hindsight was probably on the light side.  After I showered my body went downhill I was having trouble moving and staying still I couldn’t get comfortable everything seemed to be throbbing.  I don’t usually take medication but I took two Advil because I really felt inflamed.  My post exercise blood sugar was not going down even after my meal bolus so I changed my reservoir knowing that the insulin that was currently in the reservoir was probably cooked from being out all day. I’ve starting to make a habit of doing this after any long training/race day.

All in all, I felt I had the other 20 miles left in me to get to the third checkpoint of the “race”.  I figured if I can make it to the 3rd and last checkpoint I can certainly pull the last 50 miles off even if it’s hell.

I do need to consider that Kanza will likely be more windy than yesterday and will be pretty much all on gravel so not completely apples to apples.

Here are the #’s of what I consumed which seems reasonable but I may want to add in a bit more protein.  I also drank about 9 litres or 300 oz of water with the skratch below.

Totals per Hour

Totals per Hour

 

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