Monday, June 16, 2008

Taper + Recovery = Basal Rate Blow Up!!!!

Last week I spent as much time struggling with my basal rates as I did searching for Tarpon to cast at in the Florida Keys. Since I'll be insanely busy with my coursework at Darden over the next couple of years I wanted to spend some quality time with my Dad before school started. We headed down to Islamorada to fish with Capt. Barry Hoffman in the search for Bonefish and Tarpon. Unfortunately, the conditions were pretty awful for sight fishing and the wind played havoc with our casts so we weren't able to prove our skills as anglers. But what proved more frustrating than landing one of the most prized game fish was seeing my blood sugars in the mid 200s consistently throughout the week.

Prior to the Mooseman Half Iron my daily basal rate totaled to 6.1 units of insulin; today my basal rate totals to 9.1 units of insulin and I'm not positive that's enough. I'm not exactly sure what happened on that hot and humid day in New Hampshire but it may have killed the rest of my islet cells. Or going from about 20 hours of exercise a week to 8 or 10 hours of exercise a week has really affected my insulin needs. Each day I've performed a different basal rate test and each day I met with disappointing results. Hopefully, I'll finally be able to avoid a 250 or 300 on my meter around 2 pm today. The day after the Half Iron was when things really became bizarre as my blood sugar was 450 some 3 hours after breakfast! My highest post diagnosis blood sugar yet.

This wrench in my nutrition is wreaking havoc on my recovery as I still don't feel "right". The higher blood sugars are keeping me dehydrated and haven't allowed my muscles to be fully repaired from the beating they took at Mooseman. I think this basal rate change could have also played a role in the cramping issues I had at Mooseman. While my numbers showed that I was on target with my nutrition the blood sugar readings may have actually been caused by a lack of insulin rather than proper carbohydrate intake. Therefore, a reading of 185 may have been 300 had I not been exercising.

Coach Egg and I are now revamping our ideas behind a taper and recovery week for me. Going into Lake Placid I can't have my blood sugars bouncing all over the place. So instead of the traditional two week taper that most triathletes have going into an Ironman we're working up to almost the day before the race. I won't be running much in the days leading up to IMLP but I'll be biking and swimming intensively so that we can take as many variables out of the equation as possible. It is going to be really interesting to watch what happens to my basal rates as my exercise gets ramped back up starting Wednesday.


Anne said...

this is a pretty typical scenario for me after a race. It takes me a few days to realize that I just need a lot more insulin. After Ironman last year I had to basically double my insulin, even though I was still trying to be somewhat active. The changes seemed to happen immediately (like the day after). There is some thought that muscle might become insulin resistant when it is damaged but I don't know what the science behind this is.

TrainingtoTri said...

Hi Ed - just found your blog. I met you in LP, I was Kim's friend, I am going to add you to my daily blog reads! Lucky you :) Go Ed, Go!

PJ said...

Couple of things that you probably already know but I’ll point out things I’ve learned with respect to myself.

1. I’ve stopped messing with my basal rates for races. I’ve found that it’s much easier to control something when you leave the constant a constant. That way one has only short-acing and food to deal with/factor into the equation. This might be troublesome for the full Ironman, when one doesn’t want to eat in the later stages of the race, but I’d rather deal with that than deal with that than chasing my sugars all over the place.

2. The 450 post race/morning blood sugar: When you’re racing at high intensities, your body uses glycogen for fuel. I presume a lot more when it’s almost 100 degrees and you’ve been out there for a long time. You need insulin to replenish that glycogen in your muscles (probably along the same lines of what Anne was saying). The day after my first marathon, I found that I needed almost 4 times the amount of insulin for that entire day.

3. 1-2 days after taper starts, I’ve found that increasing my basal 1 unit a day (not sure how that equates to the pump basal rate) helps, along with taking about 2-3 times as much bolus to cover the food I eat. This remains the same during recovery but the day I start training again, the basal rates jump right back to where they were before.

Hope you start bouncing back soon. High sugars are not fun!