It didn't start out that way. The night before the race, after driving to Gravenhurst, checking out the race route and having a pre-race pasta dinner overlooking Muskoka Bay, we went to bed. I woke up two hours later to a blood sugar of 13.3. I bolused and chugged water. Two hours later I was 17.4. I sighed, bolused more aggressively and drank more water. Two hours later I was 14.0. Same routine. At 5:30am, when my alarm went off, I was 9.0, dehydrated, exhausted and unsure what to do. There was no time for fiddling. I removed a one-day old infusion site and tossed out an almost full insulin reservoir. I was not taking any chances.
Fresh insulin and a fresh site, I started up my race day basal profile, drank a LOT of water and had my granola/yogurt/banana breakfast.
Being tired and emotionally spent after a night of fighting highs, we headed to the race with me feeling resigned rather than nervous. Which probably ended up being a very good thing.
I racked my bike, set up my transition area and listened to the very extensive pre-race instructions. There are a few more things to think about apparently when you take an old steamship to the start of the swim.
The famous Jason Vurma giving us our pre-race instructions.
Down at the docks ready to board the steamship
I was feeling pretty calm about the whole thing but watching my blood sugar like a hawk. I was worried about the heat and knew that my blood sugar climbs when I compete in these types of temperates. I also didn't have time to make sure the new site was working and just had to hope for the best. Three checks, thirty minutes apart showed 7.1, 7.0, 6.7. Looks like the basal profile was holding up well so far. I had a box of raisins before heading on to the ship.
Leaving the dock and heading out to the starting buoys.
A lot of the ladies in my wave were pretty nervous about the 6 foot jump off the ship. I ate my pre-race gel, gripped my goggles in one hand, and was one of the first off the ship. I wanted to get away from the nervous energy. I treaded water waiting for the start.
The two steamships unloading their swimmer cargo.
We had to swim left for 400m (past the island you see) and then swim 1100m straight to shore.
The swim was awesome. I felt good the entire way and I swam a strong but not crazy pace. I finished the 1500m swim and the run to the transition zone in 32:59.
I wouldn't normally check my blood sugar between the swim and the bike but, I was worried, so I did. I was 6.3. So far so good Mr. Basal Profile. That meant my plan was working and I could have a gel on the bike.
Heading out for the 40k ride. Most of the route was quite hilly (rollers as they were described) which meant I worked hard on the ups but got breaks on the downs. My pace was slower overall but it felt easier because of the downs.
Coming in from the ride. I still felt really good which surprised me. I haven't ridden 40k at all this year and I had already swum first. I didn't expect this feeling good thing to last much longer. I finished the bike in 1:36:10.
I checked my BG again in the transition zone. It was 7.0. Unbelievable! My plan was still working and I got to have my pre-run gel. I have never had such stellar and stable numbers in an event and never been able to eat what I wanted when I wanted.
The run was hot and there was almost no shade for the entire 10k. It was also hilly for most of the course with a few short flat sections. I didn't know what to expect but I told myself to run easy rather than hard and try not to walk unless it's a water station. I managed to do that for the first 5k and, for the first time in my running career, I passed more people than passed me.
The 5k run back was harder and I was really overheating. I took more walk breaks but, 2k from the finish, a girl in my age category passed me. Normally, I wouldn't care but this time I did. I chased her, and passed her, on the last hill. She chased back, I could hear her behind me, but then she gave up. I ran the next kilometre at a good clip but, 500m from the finish, she sprinted past me. I gave chase but had no speeds left other than the one I was running.
But I ran those last 2k really fast and finished so proud of myself. I had expected a tough tough race. I didn't expect to feel good from start to finish. I finished the 10k in 1:10:40 instead of the 1:15 that I had hoped to do.
My final blood sugar check?
I enjoyed a post-race chocolate milk. After a well-deserved shower, we had a huge lunch. A big dinner. A chocolate bar.
My blood sugar never spiked and I didn't have one post-race low.
I think that's what made the difference. I ran a race with perfect blood sugars. I ate when I wanted. I drank what I wanted. My energy stayed high the entire time. I was an athlete like everyone else out there.
It was nice.