Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Devon Sprint Triathlon

This was a bit of an emotional day for me. First race of any kind I have done since being diagnosed Type 1 diabetic on September 7, 2011. I won't go into a lot of detail about my struggles and complications since then (it's all in my blog), but it has been a long road back to say the least.  It took a long time for me to get back to any activity and when I did it was like starting all over. Happy to say however that after nearly two years of living with this disease I am beginning to get a handle on how my blood sugars react to different situations and sports.  A big thing for me has been trying to take it in stride and deal with the lows and highs when they come.  I will never be able to avoid it from happening so need to learn to deal with it on the spot if needed and adjust expectations.  Acceptance has been a hard thing but definitely something I continue to work on. It has been worth all of the trial and error! Having my insulin pump made the journey to the start line possible.  For me, being able to adjust my basal rates has been an invaluable tool.

The breakdown:
Swim 750m: 15:12
T1: 2:04
Bike 20km: 42:39
T2: 1:20
Run 5km: 27:52
Result: 1:29:06 - 8/29 in age group

Anyway, to the race. Got up at 5:00am and could not believe when my blood sugar was 13.9!  Figures that on the day of my race this would be the case. I corrected, packed my breakfast to go and was off.  I arrived in Devon at 6:15am for the registration and body marking.  Quick blood sugar check showed an 8.8 with some insulin on board so I had my breakfast and took half the usual bolus. My swim heat was not to start until 8:40am so I spent most of the time trying to keep warm (it was only 8C).  An hour before my start time I set my basal rate back by 50% for 2.5 hours.  I have done this in practice and it has worked well for me.  Biking and running usually send my blood sugars way down so I wanted to be prepared.  I had it set so that the basal rate would return to normal about 20 minutes from the finish to counteract the high I usually see afterwards. I set up my transition area and saw my friend off that was swimming at 8:00am. 

 (All set up and ready to go!)

Ryan showed up at 8:00am and shortly thereafter it was time to get my chip and join the other swimmers in my heat. A final blood sugar check showed 9.2 which I was happy with.  It was an outdoor pool and chilly on deck!  There were three people in my lane and we chatted to seed ourselves properly. One of the ladies in my heat had missed her earlier heat and was pretty worried as her estimated time to finish was about 25 minutes. We all agreed that passing would be done at the end of the lane.

(My pump and I ready to race)
(All ready to go)

The swim was pretty uneventful and I felt strong and consistent. The lady in my lane was very courteous and let us pass her as needed. At one point she drifted over and smacked me in the face, but nothing too major. I was up and out of the pool in just over 15 minutes and made my way to transition.  Clipped my helmet on, put socks on, bike shoes and big gulp of water.  Blood sugar was 13.9 which did not impress me.  I turned my basal rate back to 100% and was off.  I was feeling fine so was not too worried. Reminded myself that this was my first race and was to be an experiment with the blood sugars. Ran with my bike to the mount area and away I went.

(Running out of the pool to transition)

(In transition from swim to bike)
(Heading out on the bike)

The bike portion was just an out and back along the highway. The way out was a slight incline the whole way and then the way back was slightly downhill. I could definitely have gone faster if it was not for the wind! It was ridiculously windy. A few times I felt like I was going to blow off my bike.  Most people in their vehicles were courteous and slowed down, however a few vehicles flew by at top speed making the bike a bit shaky at times. Little J performed very well however and I am super happy with her.  I remembered to unclip (this was my biggest worry on the bike) and made my way back into transition. Quickly changed into running shoes and threw on a hat. Blood sugar was at 8.8 and I was happy enough with that. I was off and out.

The run was great. Not my fastest run by any means but I just loved it. It took about 1.5kms to get my legs and I just smiled the entire way. I knew I could push harder but was just enjoying the moment. The 5kms zoomed by and before I knew it I was all done. 

(Finishing the run)

All in all it was a great first race back and I really had fun. It was good to get my first race done to show myself it can be done even though a few more challenges health wise are present.  I was very excited when I found out I had placed 8th in my age group out of 29 women!  My blood sugar after the race was at 9.4 and I bolused some insulin for the guaranteed rise I would experience. I obviously should have bolused more as 45 minutes later it had risen to 17.0! 

I definitely need to work on my blood sugar management during racing.  I had a lot of adrenalin and excitement and am pretty sure this contributed to some of the highs.  I was very happy not to suffer any lows and I felt strong throughout.  I know I could have pushed myself harder on the bike and run, but for this event I was just happy to be out there and wanted to enjoy the experience. I was very happy with my swim and know I can definitely improve there as well. 

I have loved my training and am very happy with my new bike.  Having Ryan there to cheer me on and to make sure I was doing okay diabetes wise means the world to me.  He is my biggest fan and I cannot imagine doing any of this without his support.  I have another sprint in two weeks and then a half marathon in September.  Onward and upward!


  1. This was great to read. I still find it so weird to think about doing a triathlon swim in a pool. Apparently I'm spoiled with all the open water in my neck of the Canadian woods.

    Congratulations on a great race. And your blood sugars were pretty darn good. Room for improvement of course but you did three sports in a row and dealt with pre-race jitters and lots of unknowns without going low or ridiculously high (for too long anyway). I'm guessing it will be even better in two weeks when you do your second one.

    Congratulations on your first foray back into the racing world :)

  2. Yay! That's so exciting. Congratulations.