First Tri of the Season!

Millerton Sprint Triathlon Race report 4/21/12
First race of the season, prep race for Wildflower Olympic distance

My motivation for this race was to get in my first open water swim, and practice transition and fueling for my big race in 2 weeks: Wildflower Olympic. Not to mention, the race was local and I got to race with a number of my club mates from TC3 (Triathlon club of central California).

Leading up to the race:
I suffered a major training set back last month when I came down with the flu and got a sinus infection at the same time, which led to a 2 week struggle with bronchitis. Overall I stopped training for about 3 weeks. I only started training again last week. In an effort to simulate race fatigue I trained hard Thursday, Friday and raced Saturday. Thursday I did my first brick of the season with a 42 mile ride with about 2,000 feet of elevation gain and a 2 mile run with a few minor hills. Friday I swam 2,400 yards in the pool (Jarrod: I was following the training plan, but forgot my cheat sheet at home and missed a couple of the 100 yd stints). My pre-race carb-loading meal consisted of 2 chicken thighs, mozzarella cheese and crackers, salad, tabouli, pasta and about 3 glasses of water. Carb count for the meal was approximately 68g of carbs.
I wasn’t paying attention and didn’t start packing for the race until about 9:30pm. Earlier in the day I had made a nice packing checklist divided up by race section and transitions. As I gathered each item, I’d check it off the list, and finally when packing it away in the bag, I placed a second check mark. For someone who is normally the furthest thing from a type A personality, this was a major victory. I went to bed confident I had packed/laid out everything that I needed. I also thought to pack my own post race “lunchbox”. That way I knew there’d be the exact amount of protein and carbs that I was looking for, with a juice box for potential hypo and a liter of water for hydration. In the past I have forgotten to pack water for the ride home and have been extremely thirsty post race.
As far as sleep goes, Thursday night I got about 8 hours of sleep. Race day I had about 6 hrs of sleep. Last night I also programmed my basal rates on 4-exercise (animas one touch ping) to decrease to -50% (calculated) one hour before race start, then -40% 30 minutes prior to race start (to coincide with being on the bike and starting to take on carbs again), then -25% 30 minutes into the race and back to normal rate 1hr after the start of the race. I wasn’t quite sure how long the race would take me, but knew I’d for sure be done by 2 hrs.

Race morning:
I woke up at 4am (race started at 8am) with a blood sugar of 110 mg/dL and had a bowl of oatmeal with ½ a banana and some milk with a full bolus (carbs: 55g), and went back to sleep. I woke up at 5:30 got dressed, had a cup of coffee and a glass of water and hit the road with a BG of 109.
Today was an absolutely gorgeous morning. I haven’t been awake at 5:45am in a while and was happy to see that it’s relatively light again at that time again. As I was driving to Millerton, I vowed to start running in the morning before work again. There’s nothing better than watching the sun rise while on a run. It makes me feel productive and that I’m one up for the day.
I arrived at the site at 6:45, registered and got my body markings, and set up transition. This is my 3rd triathlon in the last year, and setting up transition is finally starting to feel like a routine and is no longer giving me anxiety about possible items forgotten. Plus watching a number of youtube videos on the subject helped tremendously. After setting up, I struggled into my wetsuit cursing, having forgotten how ridiculous I feel in the stupid thing. At this point my BG was 110, I ate a clif shot (24g of carbs) and headed down to the water about 30 minutes before race start and swam maybe 150 yards to warm up and adjust to the cold water.
At this point I’d like to take the time to give a shout out to my coaches at TeamWILD (We Inspire Life with Diabetes), especially Coach Marcey. It’s because of Marcey that I felt 100% confident heading into the water with a BG of 110. I had all the puzzle pieces in place: I ate breakfast super early and had no insulin on board, I had practiced my basal rate changes, training told me typically I don’t drop more than 20-30 mg/dL while swimming, and was confident that the gel would put my BG where I really wanted it to be prior to race start. Last year when I really started getting into triathlons again, I remember waiting for the Boulder 5430 sprint to start with my last known BG at 120 and I remember having major anxiety about whether it’d be enough or not. The fear of going hypo plagued me for the entire swim, making the swim absolutely horrendous. Today there was no BG anxiety! I know if I keep practicing what I was taught, I’ll have a similar experience in two weeks at WILDflower. I’d also like to thank Coach Jarrod for his wonderful tri training program, which I don’t always follow. (I know that if I followed it to the letter I’d be stronger than I am now.)

The Race: Overall time: 1:33
It was a mass start for both the sprint and Olympic distance and my first time getting kicked and almost run over. I tried to maintain a moderate/easy pace to start, and picked up the pace a little about half way through. I came out pretty far back in the pack, and a little concerned that my shoulders were feeling tired after such a short period.
In transition (T1) I had a BG of 138. Success! I’m also happy to report I remembered my gloves and sunglasses unlike my last triathlon, and headed out of transition feeling decent in my legs. In retrospect I think I may have pushed harder on the bike than was ideal. I got into the mode of trying to keep up with and pass people. There were a couple of good sized hills, and had a nice burn going for most of them. I ate 1 clif shot (24g of carbs), drank about 6 oz of Gatorade (~15g of carbs), and drank about 12 oz of water during the bike.
In transition 2 (T2) I threw on my amphipod running belt and shoes. When I went to test my BG, my meter wouldn’t turn on. I suspect I may have gotten it a little wet in T1. I was a little frustrated and it threw my rhythm off. I decided to test while running with my other meter, which was stashed in my running belt. I got about 100 yards outside of T2 before realizing I didn’t have my race belt and number on and had to run back to transition. My BG, when I finally got it read, was at 148. About this time I started asking myself: what is it about triathlons that I think I like so much?! A bike to run transition is nothing short of torture!
The run was half trail, half road, ie half hell, half purgatory. I made it up the first hill without walking, but by the second I had to start walking up the hills and running down them. This I kept doing for the steeper sections of the trail, and was grateful when I finally hit the pavement and was able to start running consistently at that point. It was also starting to get a little hot (in the eighties). On the run I was having trouble trying to drink water because I had to pee really bad. Water or Gatorade just didn’t seem desirable! Overall I drank about 2 oz of Gatorade (6 g of carbs), and about 5oz of water. I didn’t take on any other carbs during the run. I finished feeling hot and with a BG of 109 and a time of 1:33.

Thanks for the detailed report! These are really great reads and are helpful to read through, just to consider how to approach things!

Thanks AR! I like to write them because it helps me analyze my BGs/performance and also adjust my perspective on the race. Looking back on the day, I didn't really need to change my basal rates so many times for such a short period of time, but I was in the mindset of doing things as exactly as I will be for Wildflower in two weeks. That race will take me *crossing fingers* around 3:45. Do you have any events planned this season?

I have a 1/2 050612 and another one 0602 or 0603 and am signed up to run the Chicago Marathon again. There's a local 1/2 in early September I'll probably do again as I had a good run. Or maybe not? Since I had a rough marathon (started out too fast, got horrible cramps in my calves, BG was ok...), maybe I should skip the "tune-up"? We'll see! It's probably a lot easier doing stuff around Chicago, where the elevation is _+/- 50' (overpass?) most of the time? Those events in the Sierra Nevadas must be challenging!

Great race report Megan! And way to ROCK the BGs there! That is awesome. Wishing you luck w/ Wildflower next wknd! I raced the 1/2 there a few years ago and it was definitely a tough course for me (had not done early season hill training and was not ready for all of the gravel/dirt elevation gain/loss on the run) BUT, the whole experience out there at the campsite is a BLAST. I think you'll have an awesome time!!