Thursday, July 11, 2013

Olympic Triathlon Basal Profile

Tomorrow we leave for Gravenhurst...and my first Olympic triathlon attempt. I have a packing list ready for tonight, a nail polish colour picked out and lots of emergency carbs and site changes packed. 

I also have a special basal profile entered into my pump - ready to be initiated on race day morning. It's like a basal profile sleeper agent - laying in wait for the secret password to trigger the execution of some high profile politician. 

(On a side note: Doug and I started watching Homeland last week...)

The Welland sprint tri a few weeks ago was my first attempt at a special race day basal profile. It worked but not as well as I has hoped. It kept my blood sugar between 8-10 the entire time which is great but it didn't allow me the flexibility of having a pre-run gel which I really wanted. 

My goal is to find a basal profile that keeps me safe and yet gets my blood sugar low enough after the bike ride that I can have a gel without worrying about spiking too high. 

Here's what I worked out based on what I know about how my body reacts to swimming, cycling, running and race day stress. 

We have to be on the boat by 8am. The race starts at 8:30am and I plan to have a gel right before jumping off the boat into the lake. My goal is to have a second gel in the transition zone before the run. 

swim 1.5k: estimated finish 9:00am (total time 30 minutes)
bike 40k: estimated start 9:05am, estimated finish 10:35am (total time 90 minutes - including run to transition and transition)
run 10k: estimated start 10:40am, estimated finish 12:00pm (total time 75 minutes - including transition)

Based on that, my basal profile is: 

7am 60% basal rate
9am 150% basal rate (to deal with the pre-swim gel and the fact that my blood sugar is probably high after the swim)
9:30am 60% basal rate
11:30am 150% basal rate (to prevent the post-race spike and deal with the fact that I'm probably a little dehydrated and climbing at this point)
12:30pm 100% basal rate 
2:30pm 60% basal rate (to deal with the post-race low)
5:00pm 100% basal rate and resume regular basal profile (based on how the BGs go, I may reduce my basal for longer than 2.5 hours or lower it overnight). 

Races involve a lot of planning. 

Triathlons involve a ton of planning - three sports in three and a half hours is a lot to think about.

Diabetes + triathlons = a notebook, a calculator, a huge bag of supplies and backup plans for my backup plans. 

Three and a half hours. That's my realistic estimate based on my current running ability and the fact that the bike and run course are hilly. If I cross the finish line anytime before noon I will be pretty damn proud of myself. 

As always, I am not a doctor. Diabetes is crazy and unpredictable. What works for me will probably not work for you. Feel free to learn from my experiences but please play at your own risk. 


  1. Have a great race this weekend! Do let us know how the basal plan works out.

  2. Good luck! Can't wait to hear what the results are!