Monday, April 20, 2009

Charlottesville Marathon - Oh Technology!

I can now add Marathon finisher to the list of endurance races I've completed! On Saturday I completed the Charlottesville Marathon in 4 hours and 26 minutes; 26 minutes off my goal time but over an hour faster than my Ironman Run time and at a faster pace than during Mooseman last year. So the good news, I'm showing progress in my training and ability, the bad news - a ton of stuff still went wrong and I failed to reach my goal. As I continue my evolution to becoming an endurance athlete I await the day that everything comes together and I perform the way I know I can perform.

Two major issues occurred during the marathon, both of which I should have been able to correct on the fly. In each case I continued to trust technology which ultimately cost me a good bit of performance on race day. The first major issue that occurred and will be of greater relevance to readers of this blog was the unbelievable inaccuracy of my Abbot Freestyle Navigator.

This was the first competition I was utilizing my Freestyle Navigator for, during training runs the accuracy of the CGM wasn't spot on but was close enough for me to have confidence in my nutrition plan. I started the race with a blood sugar of about 220 - right where I wanted to be; through mile 5 my blood sugar was in the mid 180s according to the CGM and I felt as if I was going to have a great day.

My blood sugar dropped about 10 points per mile over the next 3 miles on the Navigator. Instead of testing manually I trusted technology and took in about 1/2 a fuel belt bottle of nutrition (that equates to 55 to 60 grams of carbohydrates). My blood sugar continued to drop on the Navigator and like an idiot I didn't manually test and took Gatorade from a water station. My blood sugar stagnated in the mid 130s but I began to feel very sick during the run. At mile 14 I finally decided to slow down to test - my blood sugar was above 400!!!!!!!!!!

How can a CGM be considered even marginally useful if there is a discrepancy of over 250 points of glucose!? This is dangerous and points to a huge quality issue which makes the device nearly useless. Should I have tested manually at some point earlier in the race? Absolutely! But there is also no excuse for the device to have performed this poorly.

At this point in the race I took in .3 units of insulin and knew I would no longer be able to take in nutrition for the rest of the race. For the next 12 miles I only had water as I tried to fight off the effects of my very high blood sugar.

The other technological snafu I had was my Polar RS800 was off by .06 miles per mile. At the end of the race my running computer indicated I ran 28.4 miles at a 9:38 pace - when in actuality I had run 26.2 miles at a 10:11 pace. This means that all my training runs were off pace and that when I started the race at my goal pace I was actually running slower than indicated. I should have calibrated my foot pod prior to the race but neglected to and that cost me dearly.

So in the end I'm happy to have finished a very hard marathon (see profile below) in a pretty decent time. Only 4 runners broker the 3 hour mark, and I finished right in the middle of the pack. I continue to show improvement and continue to learn how to manage my blood sugar on the fly during these events. I just hope everything comes together someday soon!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Time To Run.....

The Charlottesville Marathon is finally just over 12 hours away and I can't wait to start this race! I'm really excited to race with some of my Darden friends who are doing the half, and to have some awesome support from classmates who plan to run part of the race with me. Kim, my Mom, my Dad and of course Moose are all here to cheer me on - unlike the anxiety inducing lead up to the Ironman, this has been alot of fun. I'm confident my blood sugar management will go well, confident in my overall nutrition plan and confident in my training - so really the only thing left to focus on is having a smile on my face mile after mile (yeah right - like its possible to smile running up the hill known Free Union Rd.!)

After the race I'm having a big BBQ at my apartment where my classmates will get to hang out with my girlfriend, me and my dog - should be a blast and I'll get to reap the rewards of training and racing by dominating triple cheese burgers! I'd really like to break 4 hours tomorrow, but if I don't that's ok too, the motto of 2009 is to apply the lessons learned in 2008, perform on race day and most importantly have fun. The Charlottesville Marathon presents a really difficult running course, but what fun would it be if my legs aren't burning for 26.2!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Time To Taper

All the training has been completed so now I'm firmly in my taper for the 2009 Charlottesville Marathon. I'm shocked at how different my mindset is going into this marathon versus my mindset prior to IMLP. I guess after you complete a full Ironman in the pouring rain while over coming a blood sugar that dropped into the 30s you realize no matter how painful the race is, you can gut it out.

I reached all my pacing and blood sugar goals during training, so I have more confidence in my endurance knowledge versus IMLP. The big question that remains is how my knees and hamstrings will hold up on the hills in Charlottesville. If there are no major snafus breaking 4 hours is a reasonable goal, if my body breaks down or if the blood sugar demons attack, 4 hours and 15 minutes is a reasonable goal.

I'll be wearing my Freestyle Navigator during the race which should also give me some better indication of how to manage my blood sugars. Additionally, I think I finally dialed in the amount of sodium I need during a race - I really would like NOT to visit a port-a-john on Saturday! I turn 30 and run a marathon all in the same week, should be fun.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Today Marks Two Years

Anniversaries are funny, they make us recall all the emotions when something first started. Whether the anniversary commemorates a positive event like a wedding, class reunion, or birthday or a negative event like the diagnosis of a disease, accident or worse emotions are stirred and memories are hard to ignore. Today marks the 730th day that I have known I have juvenile diabetes.

Over the past 730 days I have accomplished more while managing this disease than I could have ever hoped to accomplish without it. I completed my first Ironman Triathlon, gained acceptance into a top MBA program, found a tremendous summer internship in an unbelievably tough economy and managed to fall in love. I know with certainty that the first and fourth things on that list would not have happened without diabetes and while diabetes will never define who I am, the disease has given me the motivation to fight for a cause.

I will never forget the shock and fear I was struck with when my diagnosis was delivered, but I will also never forget the resolve I felt to combat this disease when my diagnosis was delivered. Over the past two years I have been determined to spread my message that a chronic illness does not define who you are. I have been given an opportunity to inspire others and have tired to take full advantage of that.

My desire to continue spreading this message is as strong as it ever has been. I hope to start Ring The Bolus foundation, become a Medtronic Global Hero next year and complete a second Ironman in 2010. On this second anniversary of my diagnosis I feel a passion to help improve the medical technology that helps us manage our disease but a comfort knowing that the available tools are far superior to anything offered in the past.

While managing my blood sugars has now become habit, I will never forget the daily struggle it took to get there. I can only hope I accomplish as much fighting this disease over the next 365 days as I have over the past. Thank you all for the support