Monday, June 28, 2010

What a day!!!!!

Full race report to follow later in the week; but the cliff notes version, great swim, awesome bike except for an insulin mistake at mile 60 that I had to recover from and a run that I was able to compete in for the entire 26.2 after I fought off a nasty low where my blood sugar dropped 90 points in a 2 mile span and then sky rocketed 220 points in the next 2 miles.  All in all couldn't be happier, 12:42 was a bit slower than what I was dreaming of but in the end I was able to compete the entire day.  Great course, great day, lots of fun!  Talk to you all again after a few days of eating unhealthy and drinking some beers!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Follow & Support Me at IMCDA!

It's time to dance with the devil again!  In 11 short days I will stand on the beach at Lake Coeur d'Alene about to embark on my second dance with the Ironman.  Since Lake Placid I've retired the orange and blue spandex to proudly wear the Triabetes Race Kit.  I am as proud to wear Triabetes across my chest as any jersey I have worn before.

The goal of Triabetes and its parent organization, InsulinDependence, is to revolutionize blood sugar management.  With enough support and research we can shift the paradigm of how type 1 diabetes is managed.  In racing in my Triabetes kit I seek to raise awareness for the organization's mission and would be honored if you could support our cause with a tax deductible donation to InsulinDependence at

On June 27th you can follow my pursuit of my second Ironman at and type in bib number 439 to the athlete tracker.

I'm not sure it's possible to be more excited to wake up at 4am to workout for 11 to 13 hours!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Super Cool Company - Endurance Conspiracy

Some of my favorite things are fun and funky art work, t-shirts with fun and thought provoking prints, companies that "do good while doing well," and triathlon.  So when I came across Endurance Conspiracy last week I was psyched that they were a firm that combined all of those characteristics.  It is always wonderful to find companies like Method who incorporate the environment into their value proposition; Endurance Conspiracy is also one of those firms.

EC is owned and operated by Tim and Tony DeBoom; Tim is a two time winner at Kona and one of America's best professional triathletes.  The DeBoom boys have always been into sports and art so EC was a perfect way for them to share their passions with the world.  They describe their company in this way:  "We are a new athlete owned and managed company inspired by endurance sports and our love for the environment. We are dedicated to creating a unique line of apparel of the highest quality while maintaining and promoting the utmost ethical and environmental best practices." 

Rather than focus on developing a logo that goes on every t-shirt; the EC t-shirt's are an artistic representation of what those of us who love endurance sports think about.  They are also committed to sourcing and producing their shirts in the most responsible way possible, a methodology that is becoming more common but still miles away from being the norm.  

I've ordered two t-shirts so far and am dying for the one below to get in stock - for me EC represents alot of the things I believe in and they produce a pretty sweet product.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!

When my workout calls for a day of avoiding hills I normally head out to Sugar Hollow on the edge of the Shenadoah National Park to get my rides and runs in.  Sugar Hollow runs right along side a gently moving creek/ river so in one direction it has a slight decline and in the other a slight incline.  I'm pretty sure that there is not one stretch of actual flat road in all of Charlottesville, so this is the best I have.

I've been out in Sugar Hollow at all times of day, yesterday I headed out there with my road bike to get in an hour of spinning in zone 1 - 2 starting around 4:30 pm.  It was an overcast day in the SV so the normal car traffic that heads into the Park from Sugar Hollow was absent.  For the first 35 minutes of my ride I didn't see another soul.  Then on my last loop of the ride I saw something that will be etched in my mind forever - A FREAKING BLACK BEAR!!!!!!!!

As I came around a turn in Sugar Hollow about 300 yards from me I saw what I first thought was a very, very big dog. I slowed to a stop and realized that this was no dog - it was an awesome, furry and totally cool black bear just hanging out smack in the middle of the road!  I unclipped one foot and stood there for a moment looking at the bear, half smiling because of how cool I thought the sight was and half wondering what the heck do I do if this thing charges me.  

The bear looked at me for what felt like 10 to 15 seconds and realized he was no match for my quads and scurried off into the woods.  I'm now satisfied that my training is coming to an end in VA.  I think bears are pretty awesome so seeing one in the wild is something I'll never forget.  So this will go down as the best recovery ride I've ever had.  As I returned back to my car I passed another rider, held my hand up to have him slow down and said "hey just so you know there was a black bear hanging out in the road just before," he responded, "cool," yes, yes it was.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

That's a bit more like it!

After a day off Monday to rehydrate and recover it was back to work yesterday to continue my build to peaking for CDA.  On tap for Tuesday was an hour long swim with a main set of 4 x 300, a 300 kick and 6 x 50 at "relaxed speed."  More on my mind was a 40 minute run with 20 minutes of zone 4b running. Although I was 99% sure that Sunday's run disaster was due to a major dehydration issue as almost any athlete will tell you, confidence doesn't come back until you prove it on the field. 

When I go to UVA's pool I shared a lane with someone who was obviously a hard core swimmer.  This girl was about 5'10 with an unmistakeable swimmer's build.  Her looks weren't the most remarkable thing though, as I stretched on the deck I noticed that she had  written pace times on her kickboard.  At first I didn't pay much attention to it until I saw a 100 in 1:06 - I thought wow that's pretty fast for a 100 freestyle, not super fast but pretty fast.  Then I looked a little closer and realized it was for 100 breast!!!!!!!!!  Are you kidding me a 100 breast in 1:06!  The UVA pool record is like a 1:04 or a 1:02.  At one point we happened to start a set at the same time - me, freestyle her, backstroke.  With her doing flip turns and me doing my oh so remarkabley athletic grab and turn our pace was identical at what appeared to be a pretty moderate pace for both of us - insane.  I'm continually amazed by how effortless the hardcore swimmers at the UVA pool make swimming fast look.

Then in 80 degree temps with thankfully pretty low humidity I headed out to Sugar Hollow for my 40 minute run.  My legs are still shaking out the lactic acid from six months of strenuous workouts but they felt way fresher yesterday than they had in some time.  I set off at a 9 minute pace to warm up and was happy to see a heart rate in the low 140s (right where it should be).  I gradually built up to an 8:30 pace in zone 3 then at the 15 minute mark it was time to hammer out 20 minutes of zone 4b running. 

The big issue in Sugar Hollow is that the road runs along a river bank; in one direction it's a slight downhill, in the other a slight uphill so one direction is about 15 seconds per mile faster for me than the other in the same heart rate zone.  But in zone 4b my times were solid, unlike Sunday where a 10:40 pace had my heart racing to more than 165 bpm, I was holding steady at a 7:30 pace on the flats at 162 to 164 bpm.  My speed varried a bit depending on the terrain, averaging just under 8 minute miles for the 20 minute stretch - I'll take it!  It's not as fast as I was running prior to California in late March, but much faster than I had been running in the VA heat and humidity.  As my legs continue to come back to me my pace should continue to slowly build over the next couple of weeks.

The peak period is going well, today is a nice hour long chill bike ride, Thursday and Friday are test days.  Miles to go before I sleep but the big day is getting close!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Bad Insulin + Bad Infusion Site + Humidity = Dehydration

It all started on Wednesday night as a reward for a solid brick consisting of a 1 hour trainer ride with 4, 5 minute, 5a efforts followed by a 90 minute run at a 3 - 4a pace (10 minutes of a cool down) I ordered some chicken fried rice and tofu in green pepper sauce for dinner.  At first my blood sugar seemed to respond perfectly well to the 140 grams of carbohydrates I assumed were in the meal.  But then my glucose levels started to rise slowly; after giving myself an additional 12 units of insulin I should have realized that something was up but of course I just went along with it knowing that chinese food has a tendency to play tricks with blood sugar.

I woke up on Thursday with a blood sugar in the mid 180s and fought off his for the rest of the day and for boluses it seemed I needed 1.5 times the amount of insulin I normally would take in.  On Friday when I woke up in the 200s I kind of figured my insulin was going bad so I took my new vile out of the fridge and switched infusion sites.  When I inserted my silhouette site I felt like the canula didn't go all the way in, but like an idiot didn't pay much attention.  My blood sugar finally dropped below 90 so I assumed that the site was in perfectly fine.  After swimming Friday night I had grilled chicken on a split sprout tortilla - a total of like 30 grams of carbohydrates with a very low glycemic index.  Since my blood sugars had been so whacky I bolused up for this meal with 5 units of insulin (normally i'd have a bolus of 2.5 units for this meal); my blood sugar continued to slowly rise, after giving myself 6 more units of insulin with no blood sugar response I felt my site and realized the canula had totally come out - ugh.  A quick infusion site change had my blood sugar totally come back into range.

Saturday was my big workout for the week a 3 hour ride followed by a 1.5 hour run - done at approximately Ironman pace.  The preceding night I had gotten kind of dizzy a couple times but assumed it was just because my blood sugars were running so high, when I woke up on Saturday I felt a little off but thought it was just due to my 6am wake up.  My bike started off great, even in 80 degree heat and 80% humidity at 8:30 am (that's alot of 8s!).  I took my Mavic Cosmic race wheels off so I get more of a speed boost on race day and swapped in my much heavier training wheels.  Even with the training wheels I was holding a solid 23 mph pace on the flats and climbing comfortably in upper zone 3, low zone 4.  At one point during the ride I stopped to pee and when it came out bright, bright yellow I probably should have realized I was in a bit of trouble.  I bought some more water and had a gatorade low calorie at the country store and finished up the last hour of my ride.

I took in some gatorade at my apartment, tossed on my fuel belt and headed out for a run.  12 minutes into my run my entire body started to tingle, my hands went a little numb, I could barely see straight and my chest felt like someone was stabbing a knife into it.  I quickly found some shade and had to brace myself against a tree to make sure I didn't go down.  I drank a fuel belt bottle and waited, and waited, and waited for my heart rate to get into a recovery zone.  Normally stopping my run for 30 seconds will have my heart rate quickly drop below 120.  Standing in the shade, braced against a tree my heart rate wouldn't drop below 144!  WTF!!!!  I stood in the shade for what felt like an eternity until I could see without blurriness and set back for my apartment at a 10:30 pace.  Even at a fat man shuffle jog my heart rate was in the upper 160s.

Finally back at my apartment I pounded 30 oz of low calorie gatorade and collapsed on my floor with a bag of ice on my neck.  Once I finally cooled off a bit I started drinking bottle of water after bottle of water.  After 100 oz of water I finally peed again and it still wasn't clear!  Quickly googling the symptoms of dehydration I realized that the water level in my body was down somewhere between 5% and 8%; not good.  The combination of an intense workout on Wednesday, high blood sugars in the 48 hours preceding Saturday and insane humidity on Saturday had me in a bad spot hydration wise.  I made the smart choice by cutting my brick short on Saturday and at this point whatever fitness I have is the fitness I have for CDA, it's much more important to stay healthy than to push through a dangerous wall.  It was also amazing how much more "ok" I was with having to cut a workout short for something other than blood sugars.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Ready To Start

"True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice." ~ St. Francis of Assisi

Last weekend was my last HUGE week of hell as dictated by Coach Orton; from Tuesday to Monday I trained for just about 20 hours including a monster 112 mile bike ride and a 20 mile run in heat and humidity that would have made a sauna feel comfortable.  For the past several months I've been pushed like I never have before and through it all I've only cracked once.  Unlike the preparation for my first Ironman this time around I've just enjoyed the ride.  The first time I had a host of questions I needed to answer about myself, I needed to figure out what my diagnosis meant, what leaving NY for my MBA meant and really what direction my life was going.  This time around it hasn't been about answering any questions of my capabilities or desires, this time around it has been about relishing in the opportunity to be a triathlete and realizing how much I love putting my body through hell for no other reason than I have alot of fun doing it.  This time around it hasn't been about overcoming doubt, it's been about pursuing dreams.

The 112 mile ride I did on Saturday didn't have the amount of climbing that my rides through the 7 gates of hell on the Blue Ridge Parkway has.  However, Coach Orton wanted me to do the second 56 on a hillier route than the first 56.  So at mile 80 I climbed Afton Mountain (the back way not on 250) and gained a whole new respect for the riders on the Tour.  The 2.53 mile stretch up Afton ascends just about 1,000 feet and has twists and turns the entire way up.  How guys like Contador and Armstrong do climbs way steeper, and way longer 20 days into a Tour is flat out incredible; I'll blame it on the fact I'm on a time trial bike.....

I finished the climb and finished up my ride and felt fantastic.  When I got home I had a flashback to my first few centuries training for IMLP in 2008.  I remember that some of those rides took me more than 7 hours, I remember having to stop every 30 or 40 miles to stretch, I remember being frustrated and remember trying to learn how to climb, how to descend and how to push flats.  I remember not having the confidence to ride within my ability and continuously wanted to exceed what my body was ready for.  On my past few long rides none of that occurred.  At a relaxed pace and heart rate I finished the 112 in around 6 hours and felt like I could have ridden for 100 more.  This time around just going with the plan I've made progress without even realizing it.

Sunday was a bit of a recovery day, my legs were filled with lactic acid and I just had a 40 minute run.  Monday was the big test - 20 miles, temperatures in the 90s and humidity above 70%.  I had set my alarm for 6;15 am hoping to get at least part of the run in before the furnace that is Virginia really had a chance to heat up.  My alarm either never went off or I turned it off as soon as it went off so I didn't wake up till 8:15 am and didn't get on the road till 10:30.  So my run was done in the sultry heat (next week I'll have some cool Dexcom data to share as to how my blood sugar responded to this).  During my run I went through over 3 liters of water and had to take a couple shade breaks to cool down.  At mile 11 I had perspired so much that I had to take my socks off to ring them out - yeah kind of nasty.  But in the end I got through the 20, dehydrated, sore and ready to pass out on my feet but I made it.  In the lead up to Placid I was never able to train for more than 16 miles; in the past few weeks I've run 20+ miles in a 24 hour period on 3 separate occasion and now a 10 mile run feels like a jog in the park - 3 years of progress.

Tuesday I was supposed to swim a 10 X 200 after a pretty strenuous warm up.  After  the 3rd 200 I was spent; normally I'll swim a 200 at a medium pace in the 2:55 to 3:10 range; I'm pretty sure it took me close to 4 minutes to swim that 3rd 200.  At that point I realized that I was toast; 20 hours of workouts in a 6 day period was all I could handle.  I hopped out of the pool, more mentally and physically tired than I had ever been so I went home and ate a pizza.  The pizza was followed by 2 hot dogs, which was chased by some pasta.  I may have been in a bit of a carb hole, Wednesday was a very welcome day off and the first true day off I had, had in over a month.  A slight crack in an otherwise amazing stretch of workouts, I'll take it.

Through it all I realized that this whole triathlon thing is about gentle perseverance.  Sometimes you need to grit down and bear it but other times you need to shut it down.  Success in triathlon all comes through having the trust to listen to your body and having the confidence that you'll be ready for whatever race you're about to do.  Like everything else in this sport the longest distance you cross is between your ears.  When you look back on a year's worth of training and realize how all this progress occurred just by putting in the work and not worrying about the destination you realize that the starting line can't get here fast enough.  Just over three weeks and it's time to dance with the devil again, CDA here I come.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

For 11 It Begins

Today marks the start of the Triabetes 2011 Ironman Captain's Training Program in preparation for the 2011 Ironman St. George.  I have the distinct honor and privilege to be the managing director (aka Oracle) of the 2011 program and am so excited for the journey that these 11 incredible type 1 diabetics will face in the coming months.  For me the opportunity to coordinate efforts to support these athletes in their journey across the finish line at IMSG is a dream come true.  Not only do I have the chance to give back to a sport that has given me so much but I am also able to help other type 1 diabetics chase their dreams, one of my goals when I was diagnosed some 3 years ago.

During my oversight of the program I will be responsible for reviewing the annual training plan put together by Coach Andrew and establishing a network of medical experts to support the athletes in any way that they need.  I hope to use my experience creating a team of doctor's that fit my specific needs to help these athletes have the best experience possible.  I mainly had to learn the ins and outs of triathlon training through trial and error; it is my hope that through shared experience and coordinated efforts that the path to safe, healthy and fun training is filled with far fewer peaks and valleys than mine was!  I will also get to feed my hunger for data analysis as each of the Captains will be reporting blood sugar and carbohydrate intake information.  Our goal is that in the future this data will serve as the platform for analysis that will revolutionize how blood sugars can be managed.  At present I'll be sharing that data with Coach Andrew and the network of experts to adjust training plans and nutrition intakes accordingly.

Most importantly my goal in overseeing the training program will be to provide the support necessary for the Captains to relish in how amazing an organization Triabetes is.  As I have become more involved with Triabetes over the past several months the pride I have when I put on my race kit or wear my t-shirt around town has grown.  Although we have athletes who want to achieve great things, like qualifying for Kona, our focus is on creating a community of support for living a healthy active lifestyle.  Whether running your first 5k or breaking the tape at an Ironman, Triabetes and Insulindependce "inspires people with diabetes to set personal fitness goals, educates them on adaptive management strategies through hands-on experience, and equips them to explore their individual capacities."  Peter's vision for Triabetes is incredible and I am thrilled to help turn that vision into reality in 2011.

So to the Captains - good luck!  And to my readers, please check out the blogs of the 11 captains; their journey and experience is sure to be an amazing one.