Wednesday, July 29, 2009

An FAQ About How I Handle Workout Related Stuff

Since its about a month to my last race and writing about interval training isn't all that interesting or entertaining I thought I'd take the opportunity to write an FAQ about how I handle diabetic related equipment issues when working out. Several people have left comments over the past couple months asking how I handle testing while swimming, what I do to keep my pump in place and how I keep my infusion sites attached while sweating heavily. So here's my best attempt at answering those questions; if you have any more just leave them in the comments and I'll update the post accordingly!

1. How do I wear my pump during running and biking?

This took some time to figure out; I've dealt with cuts from the little plastic piece that attaches the pump to the tube; skin burns from the pump clip rubbing against my skin and tremendous fright as my pump has flown off my bike shorts to slap against the side of my bike frame. But through it all I figured out two ways that let my pump sit really comfortably on my body during exercise.

When biking I take my pump and put it inside my bike shorts with the clip outside my shorts on my left hip. For some reason my pump seems to fit perfectly against my left hip and doesn't interfere with my pedal stroke at all. Also, in the event of a crash, having the interface side of my pump against my hip makes me feel somehow safer.

Running has two options of pump wear, but in each case I use as much cloth/ material as possible to hold the pump in place. When running putting my pump against my left hip doesn't work as well as it seems to put pressure on my hip during my stride. So if I'm not wearing my fuel belt I clip my pump to both my shorts and spandex (although I just got a nifty pair of running shorts with a liner so we'll see what I do now!). If I'm wearing my fuel belt, I clip my pump to both my fuel belt and shorts/ tri shorts - this normally keeps my pump firmly in place. During intense efforts I'll normally clip my pump right above my butt as it seems to jostle around less during tempo runs.

2. How do I prep my Minimed Infusion Site area to ensure the site doesn't become disconnected?

Really I just dry the site well, use IV Prep and the Minimed gun. For whatever reason the Minimed infusion sites seem to really work on me, possibly because they go in at an angle rather than straight, and have a crap load of tape for the weight of the infusion site - way better design than the Navigator sites if you ask me. If I'm doing a long race or a long swim I will occasionally add IV 3000 for extra security. During the Ironman I kept a spare infusion site in my bottom just to be safe.

3. How do I adjust my basal rates prior to exercise?

My basal rate reduction is variable and can have alot to do with the time of day, heat and the active insulin in my system. If there is too much active insulin in my system then no amount of basal rate reduction will allow me to workout. My baseline for running is to reduce my pump to 40% an hour before exercise, for swimming the baseline is 60% and for biking 50%. Biking on the trainer requires a lower basal because of the extra intensity (environmental and pedal stroke) the trainer provides. For lifting I reduce my pump to 75% about a 1/2 hour prior to exercise and remove the pump for an hour lift.

4. What steps have I taken to try and keep my Abbott Freestyle Navigator attached?

I have tried everything from IV Prep, IV 3000, Athletic Tape; I've thought about trying crazy glue or stapling the damn thing to my skin but I thought that would be a stretch. My 2 biggest complaints are the cannula isn't long enough and the tape isn't wide enough to support the weight of the sensor. I've tried to speak to Abbott health about this but the people on the phone don't seem to understand my dismay. I'm going to try Matisol next!

5. How do I test when I'm swimming?

Last year my testing equipment would side nicely in a plastic bag with a "swimmers towel" at the end of my lane. This year I've been a bit less neurotic and usually just keep my testing equipment in my locker. I've taken to swimming early in the morning so that my IOB doesn't affect me as much as it did last year in the water. I still freak out when I swim; and yesterday I ran out of the water to test, and was surprised to see 200 on the meter. I still have problems knowing the difference between fatigue in the water and low blood sugar and am extra cautious because I don't really trust the life guards at the pools I've swam at.

6. Where do I keep my testing supplies during exercise?

During runs of less than an hour I rarely bring my testing supplies with me. I now have enough experience to know that with the right starting blood sugar point and the right nutrition protocol a run of an hour has a minimal chance of bringing me critically low. On runs of more than an hour I have either my 2 or 4 bottle fuel belt with me where I keep my testing supplies in a pouch I bought for the fuel belt. The sound of the test strips bouncing around drove me crazy so I normally stick some tissue in the canister to "lock" the strips next to the wall.

On the bike I keep my testing supplies in my back jersey pocket and pull over to test. I'm way more comfortable when that pocket has a zipper, but that seems to be rare on bike jerseys so I usually keep the meter in a separate pocket from the strips and lancet for security. I still don't trust myself enough to test while riding but that is something I need to work on!

7. Some of the dumbest mistakes I've made with diabetes stuff while exercising (but learned from!)

I learned the hard way that a drop of water on one's nose is a test strips biggest enemy. I ruined at least 150 test strips during the early days of triathlon training because I would forget to dry my nose or the end of my hair before testing. I now also hold the canister sideways when removing a test strip so that sweat doesn't ruin all the test strips.

I've learned that having dried nutrition on your hands can totally screw up the reading on your meter and that testing in the rain is next to impossible. I've learned that a small adjustment in your basal rate can go a long way in correcting a blood sugar during exercises. And I've learned that I can eat an amazingly large quantity of food in an attempt to raise my blood sugars for exercise; without throwing up. All that came with practice and was alot of fun!

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Just Keep Moving Forward"

Were Coach E's instructions to me before the Musselman Half Iron. If something went wrong, if there was some blood sugar issue, if there was any correction, just keep moving forward.
Normally, race day photos leave something to be desired but I can think of no other race day photo that captures the utter mess I am on race day and the extra steps a diabetic has to take during a race than this one:

That's me headed out for the 13.1 mile run adjusting the settings on my pump. Pretty cool to have the pump, triabetes kit and race day all in one photo.

ps - congratulations to all who finished IMLP yesterday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Road ID Elite!

It is about time for me to retire my trusty old Road ID. After wearing the ID for just about every workout over an 18 month period I think I should donate it to science for research; the bacteria that has developed from my sweat may unlock some of the mysteries to the universe!

Knowing that my old blue training partner was on its last legs had me thinking about ordering a flashy purple road id. However, during the Tour de France, the Versus commentators are sporting the new Road ID Elite!

The rubberized wrist band is durable enough to be washed, doesn't have Velcro which will get ruined from sweat and is sporty enough to wear to the bar after a hard work out. Really, it solves all the issues the old road id had while maintaining the safety and security that the old product delivered. I'm really excited about getting one - maybe a black one for training and orange for race day!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Break On Through - Musselman Race Report

On a day that forced me to dig deeper and fight harder than any previous triathlon I have done I improved my Half Ironman time by nearly 30 minutes against the 2008 Mooseman triathlon, posting better splits for each discipline! The race did not disappoint, running through my undergraduate campus brought back a swell of emotions and I was able to continue my streak of throwing up during every sporting event I have ever done in Geneva, NY!


On one of those weird upstate NY days in which the weather would go from balmy one minute to frigid the next, the swim was choppy and overcast. Prior to getting into the water I was running around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to get in my warm up and receive my timing chip.

Although packet pick up was the day before the race, the timing chip pick up was the day of the race. Unbeknownst to me score-this scans the bottom of your bib to lock in your timing chip; however I usually rip off the tags on the bottom of my bib (my short legs need as much room as they can get!). The first time I went to pick up my chip they told me I needed my bib, the second time I showed up with my bib they told me they needed the bottom part to scan (this was 12 minutes before the start of the race!) The woman saw the look of fear on my face and entered my race # into the computer to authenticate my chip but warned if I lost the chip they wouldn't be able to record my race time; for someone trying to qualify for worlds that might be a problem but for someone just trying to get better and raise awareness I wasn't too concerned.

With just over 10 minutes until the race start I jogged over to the water to get in a short warm up. The water was choppy but warm so freaking out in cold water wouldn't be a challenge. I was anxious to swim open water in something other than a glass smooth body of water though. We were corralled at the swim start where Kim's blogging friend Amanda saw me where we both wished each other luck.

Amanda rocked out the race coming in 2nd place in the female 25-29 age group, knocking my good friend Sarah to 4th place in the age group - kind of cool to know 2 of the better racers in that age group! I also need to apologize to Amanda for rushing by her and Kim prior to the race as I was trying to get my timing chip.

We made our way into the water, and I positioned myself as close to the right buoy as possible. The gun went off, I put my face in the water and swam. I haven't trained huge yardage in the pool yet so I was interested to see how I would handle 1.2 miles.

From Musselman

Amazingly, I kept my stroke the entire time; maintained a good sight line and had an unbelievably solid swim. In fact I continued to swim directly into the boat ramp we were using as the water exit, head first! The volunteer had to tap me on the shoulder to let me know my swim was over (good one Ed) I exited the water in 34 minutes 47 seconds good for 297th overall - by far the best swim I have ever had in a race. Exiting the water rather than having the bewildered look I have on my face of how the heck did I just swim that slowly I'm looking pumped and excited as I strip out of my wetsuit:

From Musselman

Swim Grade: A, I moved from drowning rat category to 3rd grade champion - improvement is the name of the game!


Coach E had told me if I encountered any blood sugar issues to just keep moving forward, waiting in transition wasn't going to help anything. With that in mind I didn't loose my cool (as I did in Mooseman last year) when I tested my bs in T1 to find a blood sugar of 128. I took a clif shot gel, slowly put on my bike gear and left the transition area. My plan was to test again after mile 10 on the bike and take the first mile and a half slowly to let the gel digest. Once I made the turn onto route 96 I could feel my blood sugars rebounding, found my legs and was off. Over the next 8 miles on the bike my pace was in excess of 23 mph while I sang the Hobart fight song (ok I'm a big of a dork). After mile 10 I pulled to the side of the road, tested my blood sugar and was thrilled to see a bs of 140 - race salvaged, I can continue!

For the next 20 miles I had an incredibly strong bike, I finished the first 30 miles of the bike in under an hour and 1/2 - meeting my pre-race plans. Throughout the first 30 miles we passed by some Mennonite families on a horse and buggy ride. Annoyingly one of my fellow competitors thought it would be fun to have a freaking bell on his bike and rung it every time he would pass someone (competitor, spectator, volunteer, metaphysical reality), which was funny the first 10 times but after about 100 - seriously dude!

Around mile 26 I started to feel a strange twinge in my hip, by mile 33 the twinge was a freaking jack hammer attacking my lower back and right hip. I could no longer generate any power out of my right hip and my pace slowed from 23 mph to 16 mph. Every few miles or so I would have to coast to try and loosen up my hip and back. The pain at one point became so bad I was sick to my stomach and had tears in my eyes - if someone were to ask me was I "hurt or injured?" my answer would have been a resounding injured. However, being in Geneva brings out my meathead ways and I refused to DNF on a race in that freaking town.

Up the big hill after the Amish furniture store the shooting pain in my inner thigh that has plagued me struck, so I had to get up that huge hill basically using just my left leg; shortly after that that shooting pain struck my left inner thigh. I basically felt like I was getting the cr*p kicked out of me on my bike, my right hip, lower back to both sides of my groin all felt like they were extras in the movie Hostel. I'm not sure if my body just wasn't prepared to go 56 miles on the bike, if my bike fit is off or if I'm just an old man but I can't recall a time on the bike that I had to dig deeper. With a grimace and a grunt I finished the 56 miles well off my target time but happy that I simply continued to move forward, with an average pace of 18.5 mph - better than Mooseman and Placid. I know that going forward if I can get some of these physiology issues solved my times are going to improve starkly.

Bike Grade: B-, I'm getting extra points for the ability to push through the wall of pain but a 3:03 bike split doesn't put me at the pace I'm capable of.


Once off the bike I was anxious to test my blood sugar and ensure I'd be able to continue. I started feeling pretty sick towards the end of the bike and was worried I had gone low again. With great focus I tested my blood sugar and was relived to see 248, a bit high but better than a low:

From Musselman

Nothing could have prepared me for the emotions I felt on the run, the run course went up the trail we used to walk home from the bars in our drunken stupor. I swear it was way easier to get up the hill after a few too many then on nothing but carbo-pro and EFS! But man, did that hill bring back memories, from almost getting in trouble with the cops on my recruiting trip to Hobart, to having to carry half my friends up it - it was freaking great. The course continued past my old fraternity house, past my first dorm room at Hobart and down through the backside of campus. Once we made the turn onto St. Claire Street it struck me, holly s***** We are going to run on the backside of the football practice fields and Bozwell stadium!

I had totally forgotten the run course went onto St. Claire and had to hold back tears as I ran by the field, knowing that one of my closest teammates and best friends had made his way up to the race to support me made it that much more special. And yes to all those who wondered (mainly the Train This crew) I did give a huge fist pump as I ran by the field -

Raise the Orange & Purple High
Let Us Shout the Colors To the Sky
Hip Hobart! Forever....
I went out slowly on the first part of the run, maintaining a zone 3 pace. Something was seriously up with my stomach and my body was breaking down. I walked each aid station to take in water and cool off with a sponge. My spirit was lifted twice on the course as two female competitors each talked to me about Triabetes as they ran by; pretty cool for people to notice the kit during a race and ask about it - Peter really has set up an amazing team!
At mile 7 I started to feel a bit better and began to up the pace, from mile 8 to 11 I maintained a pace of 8:45 to 9 minute miles, but then at mile 12 I totally broke down. My sweat had soaked through my blood sugar meter so I was no longer able to test, but I could tell something was up, with a mile to go I knew I was either high or low, but I wasn't going to quit.

From Musselman

With a look of determination I just held on to the finish. My goal of breaking 2:10 on the run was within reach until mile 12, but when I blew up I just had to hold on. I had to scrap and claw a 12 and a 1/2 minute final mile to be able to finish my second half-ironman. In Hobart's town I'm not sure I would have had it any other way. My amazing girlfriend Kim, ran me in cheering me on every step of the way, I gave it all I had, about 30 seconds after I crossed the finish line I threw up whatever was left in my stomach and collapsed on a rock. Barely able to stand, barely able to see straight I was proud, I was proud of how far I had come to get to this point, proud of breaking 6 hours, proud of fighting through what easily could have been a DNF, proud of where I'm about to go and proud of all those who have supported and helped along the way.

Run Grade: B+, Fought through alot, threw up at the finish but having a goal is having a goal, just off the pace keeps me from getting the A.

5:57 isn't a time that is going to set the world on fire, it's not a time that will place in an age group and isn't a time that anyone will really take notice of. But for me it signifies improvement, perseverance, grit and determination. Musselman to me highlighted what is possible with a tremendous support network, an amazing family (who will dress the Moose in a Ring the Bolus T-shirt) and a passion to overcome obstacles. No, that time won't get noticed but it lets me know little bit by little bit it is all starting to come together.

Final Race Grade: A-

Friday, July 17, 2009

Musselman - Why This Race Is So Special To Me

I first learned about the Musselman triathlon a few years before I even bought my first bike and immediatley was excited to eventually do the race. Having spent three of the greatest years of my life in Geneva, NY the town is incredibly special to me as Hobart & William Smith Colleges (HWS) had a huge influence on the person I've become. In the classroom I learned how to become an independent thinker and on the football field I learned how to lead and how to believe in myself. Coach Cragg, Coach Walsh and the rest of the staff were instrumental in providing the extra pride one needs in themselves to strive to always be proud of the "man in the glass". The friends I made on the football team are like brothers to me, one will be there to support me during the race, while another will be at home with his new born daughter! But more than anything running through the HWS campus will remind me of how far I've come while recharging the pride I have in my roots.

While at Hobart I'm not sure if the grocery stores in Geneva could have stocked enough beer for my friends and me. I was a beer swigging, pizza box stacking offensive lineman who would walk around the college bars with a pitcher of beer in each hand. I worked my butt off in the weight room, ran sprint after sprint and probably focused much more on the gridiron than the classroom. At the time I didn't know how to harness my intensity and passion as I was still learning to become a well rounded, adult. But most importantly I had a coaching staff and a group of friends who believed in someone 5 or 6 inches shorter than any of his fellow offensive lineman and had the confidence in him to let him lead. Although that didn't help me develop the humility I would later need for professional success, it did give me the confidence that I could face any challenge I'd be encountered with.

So on Sunday when I run through the HWS campus during the last stretch of the race I'll be reminded of how far I've come, but also how without Hobart I never would have been able to face diabetes in the way that I have. That 245 lbs offensive lineman still lives somewhere deep inside me and comes out to say hello every few months but I'm a much more mature, humble (although some of my friends will laugh at that) individual than I was back then. I will think of some of the great professors I had at Hobart, I will be reminded of how they taught us to form our own thoughts, question everything and develop our own way of doing things. I will be reminded of friends from the past who all had a hand in my development.

But most of all I will think of the fall Saturdays on Bozwell field and how special it felt to be part of the football program's progress. I was the starting center on the first Hobart football team to make the NCAA D3 playoffs. I will never forget how much we all believed in each other during the 2000 season, how incredible the leadership on that team was and how motivated we all were to reach a common goal. I will be reminded that without the hot summer days preparing for that season; without throwing up on my Dad's shoes when I would ask him to make me run sprints on 90 degree July days; without playing through games with a separated shoulder; without ever having had the number 62 be so special to me and without raising the orange & purple high I never would have been able to face this disease the way I have. HWS always has and forever will have a very special place in my heart.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Musselman Media Guide

A month or two ago I received an e-mail from the PR director of the Musselman Triathlon expressing some interest in profiling me in the 2009 Media Guide. I didn't think much of it at first and replied to him with all the requested information, a link to my blog and a little bit more detail of why I got into triathlon and what I'm trying to accomplish with Ring The Bolus. Then on Monday evening I received another e-mail from CD Henderson with the 2009 Musselman media guide - and holy freaking cow I have a full page feature in it!!!!! I'm pretty psyched about this and a little intimidated all at the same time; so far this is the coolest non race-day thing of my triathlon career!

Here's the feature:

"Using Sweat As A Weapon

When former Hobart College football player Edward Liebowitz returns to Geneva to compete an athletic event for the first time since 2001, he will do so in an attempt to inspire others like him. Liebowitz was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes two weeks before his twenty-seventh birthday in 2007.

"Rather than use my diagnosis as an excuse to avoid physical activity, I decided to use my disease as a platform to inspire others with chronic illness – and prove that a disease does not have to limit what a person is physically capable of."

Liebowitz began training for triathlon in earnest, at the same time creating a blog,

"Shortly after my diagnosis I noticed that there was a dearth of information on the web about how to live an active lifestyle with juvenile diabetes. Most of the information on the web and in literature seemed to be geared towards young children."

"Last year my blog focused on the training I did for the 2008Ironman Lake Placid; I knew that the hours of sweat and training would be well worth it if I could inspire one person, especially a child with the disease, to go out for a run, or even just a hike."

Liebowitz, who eventually hopes to turn his blog and efforts into a foundation for people with juvenile diabetes, says that his experiences with the illness have lead to many positive interactions with others suffering from the same.

"Last year I got to meet some incredible people, and was thrilled with the number of athletes and parents of children who contacted me to ask my advice about training, or just to offer support," he says. Liebowitz credits such support for much of his success."

"Getting across the finish line at Placid could not have been accomplished without an amazing support network, including my sports nutritionist, Lauren Antanucci, and my coach, (2004 Musselman winner) Marry Eggers. Also, the constant support of a handful of type 1 diabetics who had completed an Ironman helped a lot."

In fact, Liebowitz has teamed up with others with the illness for 2009. "This year I am racing as a member of Triabetes, an incredible organization which is seeking to increase the knowledge base for diabetics competing in athletics. The captains of the team will be racing at IMAZ this year," says Liebowitz. He will be unable to join them, however, as the race conflicts with his continuing education at the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia.

Liebowitz hopes to continue to use his efforts, and his blog, to inspire others. "The goal in 2009 is to apply the tremendous learning experiences I had in 2008 to achieve consistent and fun races – while continuing to spread awareness about athletes who battle chronic illness."

He is particularly excited about returning to Geneva as part of his efforts. "Geneva holds a special place in my heart for the amazing years I spent here, and I can’t wait to run through (the Hobart & William Smith Colleges) campus during the race."

Pretty cool!!!! And nothing like a little added pressure for Sunday's half Iron!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Just Off The Mark - Vincentown Sprint Race Report

Before I get into my race report I want to give a HUGE congratulations and virtual high 5 to my girlfriend, Kim, still the best looking triathlete I know for her SECOND PLACE AGE GROUP finish at this past weekend's race! Kim had a great race and seeing the smile on her face when she read the results made swimming through a mud pond and fighting through hours of traffic to make more than worth the drive to Vincentown! Great job Kim!

The drive down to Vincentown was frustrating, we had to run some errands before leaving Boston so our 1:30 departure time was delayed to almost 3:30; this was made all the worse by an awful accident on the NJ Turnpike. The accident caused a full road closure and delayed us another 2 hours, so we didn't make it to our hotel until after 9pm - not the best thing the night before the race. Thankfully a Macaroni Grill was close to our hotel so we both were able to get some whole wheat pasta for our pre-race dinner.

Pre-Race Nutrition:

Since this triathlon was just a sprint I decided to change up my pre-race eating plan a bit. I knew I wouldn't need the full carbohydrate load I normally take in, so instead of toast with almond butter, a pre-race nutrition drink and a clif bar, I opted for a pistachio muffin and 1/2 my usual pre-race nutrition drink. This had me start the race with a blood sugar of 235, probably on the high side but just about where I wanted it.


The swim was in one of the muddiest ponds I had ever seen. Growing up my parent's pool would often be on the receiving end of a mud slide after a bad rain storm. This pond made all those memories come back! I felt bad for the women who had to swim after the men. We kicked up all the mud and they all came out of the water looking like they grew hair on their face and chest!

Since the swim was only 400 yards I opted not to wear a wet suit; although I decided to have my tri top on for the swim. For whatever reason I just can't find the same comfort level in the open water that I have in the pool. My 500 yard swim test was finished in 8 minutes and 30 seconds, yet the 400 yard swim on Saturday took me 9 minutes (including a 200 yard jog to the timing pad). I'm not sure if it was my tri top coming unzipped creating extra drag, not fully digesting my pre-race nutrition or pre-race dinner or just plain not being that good at open water swimming that hurt my time; but fact is 9 minutes isn't close to good enough.

The huge positive though, is that for the first time EVER I didn't freak out at the start of the swim, and used my stroke the entire time. Coach E wanted me to warm up in the water, so I swam about 200 yards and that seemed to take all the freaking out, out of my system.

Swim Time: 9:01
Swim Grade: C, I'm happy that I was able to swim the entire time without pausing, changing stroke or freaking out, but that time is just WAY TOO slow for me to be close to happy about.

My T1 time was awful, as usual. It took me over 2 minutes to put on my bike shoes, grab my helmet and head out to the course. Perhaps next time I should take a nap, read War & Peace and try and solve The Proof of Fermat. I need to train for transition just like I do for the other disciplines, something I plan to address pronto.


This was the big goal for my race, to post one of the best times of the day. I wanted to see how fast I could be on the bike, I wanted to see if the big gears I can push in training would correlate to race day success. The answer to that is yes and no.

My bike split was good for 44th best on the day and not much separated the 44th rider from the 25th rider; but my goal was to exceed an average pace of 24 mph - that didn't happen. I wasn't as fast up the false flat that started the bike course as I should have been and that cost me my timing goal. This was the first time I was racing with heart rate, heading up the false flats my heart rate was creeping towards 170 so I knew I had to settle down a bit. The few miles I rode at a 19 mph pace cost me my time goals. However, I rode towards the front of the pack on the bike, and when I asked my legs to push for the last 4 miles they had enough juice to exceed 26 mph. So my pacing strategy was pretty good but I needed a little extra speed on the false flat to top that 24 mph goal. I also honestly believe I'm faster on my training wheels than my race wheels, but thats a conundrum for a different day.

Bike Time: 40:31, 22.2 mph avg
Bike Grade: B, I was fast but didn't achieve my goals, I set forth the 24 mph goal in full belief that I could achieve it, but I fell short. My time is nothing to be upset about, but it also wasn't the really good performance I knew I could achieve.


I wasn't sure how I would do on the 5k run. At the Darden Cares 5k I broke 23 minutes and was really hoping I could rival that performance. But the truth is, I've never run all out on a brick; not in training and not in a race so this would be a new experience. I left transition at a 7:20 pace but knew I couldn't hold that so I slowed down to a 7:50 pace and felt pretty good. Somewhere between mile 1.5 and 2.5 my legs started to wobble and I had to ease back on the pace a bit. I believe I had some pre-race hydration issues that cost me some valuable time on the run.

Overall I came in 97th on the run which is pretty disappointing. The official race time has me at an 8:12 pace but the actual course may have been slightly longer than a 5k. Regardless, I've broken an 8 minute pace during a 5k in the past and wanted to do that again in Vincentown. It wasn't training or effort that slowed me down, I believe it was pre-race nutrition and hydration.

Run Time: 25:23
Run Grade: C+, I've been faster in both training and racing then what I showed in this race. Hydration and nutrition is a huge factor in this and I need to learn from that lesson

Overall: 67th place, 1:18:17

I know that the above race report is pretty harsh, but I had some high expectations coming into this race. I finished the race in the top 33% of racers and am pretty happy about that. However, I'm training hard, believe in my Coach's system and want to do better. At the same time I need to remember I'm still a novice in this sport and really this is my first season of "racing." Last year I had to learn how to handle an entire new way of living and an entire new type of athletics where this year is the first time I'm actually striving to get much faster. But I'm pretty competitive and want to do well, and tend to take disappointments to heart.

I came away with some great insight from this race, showed tremendous improvement even from Mooseman and knew I gave the course just about all I had (I was exhausted at the end!) I had a blast racing and am so freaking happy for Kim. So yeah, the race was positive and I did have alot of fun but I'm still giving myself a B- for this race. That grade is based on performance and not on the learning experience or how much fun this small race was.

Moving forward Sunday will be a huge test as I'm racing in the Mussleman Half Ironman. That will be my last "C" priority race for the season. When I return to Virginia in August I will have races with some real performance goals, including a second half Ironman in October in South Carolina. I need to keep refining my nutrition plan, working on transitions and figure out how to continually improve my performance. This is a long process but each step of the way provides new insight, new challenges and more opportunities to have fun while challenging myself.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Sprint To The Finish

This Saturday I will be competing in my first sprint triathlon - EVER! The Bear Mountain triathlon was supposed to be a sprint, but turned into a duathlon due to poor water quality so I guess that one didn't really count. So Saturday in Vincetown, NJ I'll swim 400 yards, bike 15 miles and run a 5k; I'm super psyched about it. My meathead ways have been craving an all out hammer fest for quite some time and this race gives me that opportunity.

I'll be bombastic about this, there is no reason for me not to do well in this race. The bike course is totally flat, the run course is short enough where I shouldn't have nutrition problems and the swim while disgusting will be short and warm. If I don't do well on the bike the only person I can blame is myself, a 15 mile flat bike course is suited perfectly for my strengths on the bike and my goal is to post one of the best times of the day on the bike leg. Last year the fastest bike split averaged about 24 mph and given weather conditions I think I can top that. This is the first race I'm going into putting actual performance pressure on myself - in all my previous races my goal was to do well but more importantly manage blood sugars and have fun. In this race my goal is to obliterate the bike course, a totally different mindset and one that has me really, really excited for the race.

I'm sure Kim will tell me before the race like she always does, "don't hammer." But to be honest, on a 15 mile flat bike course I can do nothing but! I love hammering on the bike, I love riding my bike fast and most of all I freaking love flats. There is something magical about feeling your quads push out huge watts on a big gear while the wind rushes into your face. Half the time I feel like a dog chasing down cars on flat roads, its just alot of fun. So yeah I can't wait to test and push myself on that bike course while I hammer away - this is what I do all that training for!

On a separate note, many people left a comment about not eating while my blood sugars are super high. While normally I would take that course of action when I'm in for a long training day after a long training week its not as easy a choice. Last year Lauren Antanucci did a metabolic rate test on me which showed if I did nothing but sit in a chair all day I'd need something like 2,000 calories to maintain my weight. My sweat rate rivals the sweat rate of a melting ice cube so that combination can lead to dangerous consequences if I don't take in electrolytes and protein during my workouts. Given that, I try and reduce my nutrition intake in those situations but can't abandon it entirely because of other nutritional consequences.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Error 5 - Error 5 - Error 5

That was the message I kept seeing on my Ulta Mini on Tuesday. Although unlike the time this happened in Costa Rica, I didn't panic as I knew a CVS was just a short walk away. Amazingly, my glucose meters seem to last longer than my Ipods do; but I honestly feel like I can never have enough of them lying around. During the summer move I stupidly left my extra meters in my Charlottesville apartment so this meter's failure cost me $20. Unfortunately, CVS only had the silver one in stock, I really wanted to get one of the blue or purple ones so I just might splurge on a second come next week!

What was much more frustrating is the mystery of the lost lancet that occurred on Sunday. I've taken to keeping my testing supplies in the center console cup holder of the new Zoom Machine (my Mazda 3). On Sunday before my ride I reached down to grab my meter, test strips and lancet only to have my lancet disappear while I tried to grab it. Apparently there is a small hole in the center console, as necessary as a third eyeball, that leads to the depths of the underworld. As my bear paws and sausage fingers were trying to bring the lancet out of the center console I pushed the lancet device into the hole and it disappeared forever - there's no way to get to the underneath part of the console without removing it!

A frantic google maps search on my blackberry showed a Rite Aid just .7 miles away, so I donned the bike gear and rode over. Once there I bought an Accu-Check meter so I could get my favorite lancet (softclix) for less than what it costs on the internet! Kim was shocked as I ripped through the package, removed the lancet then left everything else behind. She asked "ummm, don't you need the rest of that stuff?" To which I replied - "nope my test strips don't work in that device and I don't have a prescription for those, but that company makes my favorite lancet and this is the cheapest way to get it." She's getting quite the diabetes education this summer

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

300 to 1

On Sunday that's how I felt during my 3 hour ride/ run brick combo. Since eating at a 4th of July BBQ, my body and stomach just felt off. My blood sugar was low for a good portion of the night on July 4th, which usually happens after eating way too much protein (but how can a guy turn down ribs!) but sky rocketed throughout the night and into the next day. I went to sleep with my blood sugar up around 190 and woke up with my blood sugar in the 200s, no amount of insulin seemed to want to bring that number down.

I set off on my hour and a half ride in Ipswich, MA with a blood sugar of 270, throughout the ride I experienced some pretty bad stomach cramps so I took in about half the nutrition I normally would while taking in twice the amount of water. After the 25 mile ride my blood sugar was 280 as I set out for my 90 minute run.

I downed my 2 fuel belt bottles of nutrition during my run but I could tell something just wasn't right. My stomach was killing me, I felt lethargic and basically just wanted to lay down in the grass and take a nap! I pounded my 2 fuel belt bottles filled with water, put my head down and ran - there was pretty much no other option to get back to my car since I was in the middle of nowhere. When I finished my run my blood sugar was 350.

For the rest of the evening Kim, who had her own traumatic experience on the 5th witnessing an awful car accident, took great care of me. Once she realized how sick I was on the couch with a blood sugar that didn't want to go below 300 she did everything she could to help me out - basically keeping the TV at a low volume and helping me find a food that would help settle my stomach while being easy to bolus for. I decided on a grilled cheese sandwich and some soup, about 12 units of insulin later my blood sugar finally started to decline and I happily went to sleep with a bs of 90.

I think the combination of dehydration, too much protein, perhaps insulin that had been out of the fridge for more than a month and a lack of sleep combined to create an army of blood sugar gremlins. I had once had a dream that if the world ran out of insulin, all type 1 diabetics would have to live in hamster balls, constantly running to keep their glucose levels in check. Unfortunately I found out on Sunday that my hamster ball theory just doesn't hold true.