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:

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:  I was signed up for the long course 10,000 feet of climbing over 124 miles on July 12th.

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 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.

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:




About Gillian

I am a type 1 diabetic diagnosed at the age of 30. I run marathons, participate in bike races , ironman triathlons and everything in between.
This entry was posted in Diabetes Education, Motivation, Race nutrition, Race Reports, Training, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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