Tri and stop me…

I know you probably think this is some Inception-like dream sequence. “Surely Harry can’t be writing a blog post, right?” Sorry to disappoint you guys, but this is not a dream, and this post has absolutely nothing to do with Leonardo DiCaprio.

Anyway, on to the good stuff…yesterday I raced my first ever triathlon. Very few things about the day could be described as “successful”, but I did finish and didn’t have to be picked up by the sag wagon, so I suppose there’s something to be said for that. I’ve been signed up for this race since January (since registration fills up very quickly), but I’ve been seriously training for the past 3 months or so. I think it is important to note that when I signed up for the race, I didn’t really know how to swim. I could tread water and keep myself from drowning, but getting from point A to point B in a hurry was completely out of the question. I’ve been biking and running for years so that wasn’t a problem, but I knew the swimming part was going to take some work. I’ve worked really hard this summer on swimming though, I even enrolled in an endurance swimming class at the YMCA. I’m still the weakest at swimming, but I’m at least at the point where I can do the 750 meters required by the triathlon course (I’ve done much more in practice, but it’s a lot different when there’s no wall to hang on to…

But enough background info…on to the race report. After getting up at 4:45am to get everything ready and get to the race site, 7:00 quickly rolled around and it was time to start lining up for the swim start. My blood sugar had been uncooperative at best all morning, but after a couple of energy gel packs in the transition area, I felt like I was at a comfortable place to start the swim. The start of the swim…that’s about where “comfortable” ended. I’ve done this course at least 4 times over the previous weeks, but somehow right after the second turn bouy, a mysterious current appeared around me in this completely landlocked lake. I swear I swam for 5 minutes and never got anywhere. I turned over on my back at one point to float and catch my breath, and somehow ended up pointed in the complete opposite direction when I flipped back over a few seconds later. I honestly don’t understand it. Anyway, I finally finished the swim, and ran to the transition area to get ready to hop on the bike. Feeling a little week after gracefully flailing in the water for 25 minutes, I thought it would be a good idea to check my blood sugar. I had practiced my transitions earlier in the week, but I failed to practice one thing: removing a single test strip from the vial with wet hands. Of course in my haste to get out on the bike course quickly, I rushed my way into an “ERROR 3 – Meter Not Ready” on the first try, so I had to start over. Believe it or not, wet test strips like to stick together, so in the end my 126 mg/dl cost me about $4. Also during this time, I grabbed my pump out of my bike shoe and started to connect back to my infusion site, at which point I noticed said site was completely dyed red with blood. I’ve been pumping for over 2 years, and this has NEVER happened. Oh well, I thought…I’ll just connect and hope that it works, since I really have no other option right now.

Heading out onto the bike course with this comforting and expensive knowledge, I actually felt pretty good. The bike course travels over many of my favorite training roads, so I was cruising along pretty quickly, knowing just where I needed to conserve my energy for the hills. Right before the first of those aforementioned hills, I was going downhill at about 30 mph when I heard one of the worst sounds in cycling…the “psssssssssssstt” of a flat rear tire (this sound is eclipsed only by the crashing of carbon and aluminum against asphalt, but luckily I dodged that bullet this time). Since I was at the worst possible spot for this to happen, I pedaled my pathetic flat tire up to the next subdivision entrance so I could pull over and change the tube. If I did set any speed records during this race, tire-changing would have to be my gold-medal category. In fact, that might be my proudest moment of the race. I still managed to finish the 17 mile bike leg in 58:42 including the tube change, so I’m pretty proud of that. The rest of the bike leg went by without incident, and before I knew it I was back in the transition area getting ready for the 5k run. The blood sugar check went a little smoother this time around, but the result was quite disappointing: 68 mg/dl. I could tell I was feeling pretty low, but for some reason it really hit me when I saw the number.

I ran up the hill to the run course, but had to stop and walk at the top to chug down another gel pack to hopefully bring up that low…I had also removed my pump at the transition, as the blood from the infusion site had worked its way back through the tubing. But judging by the 68 mg/dl, I didn’t really need it anway, so why carry the extra weight, right? Luckily the start of the run was mostly downhill, so I had a little time to recover. Don’t get me wrong, the run still absolutely sucked, but at that point I knew I was close enough to finish. And finish I did. I didn’t do as well as I had hoped, but a lot of things seemed to be working against me. As Lance Armstrong said after a rough stage at the Tour de France this year, “Some days you’re the hammer, some days you’re the nail.” Yesterday I was the nail.

Strange as it may seem, I still really enjoyed my first triathlon experience. It certainly didn’t go according to plan, but hopefully I got all the bad luck out my way for a few races. There WILL be a next time. Before then though, a few things need to happen:

  • Someone needs to develop a test strip device that dispenses one strip at a time. This system should preferably be able to be mounted on a bike to save time in the transition area.
  • I need to get a CGM that doesn’t suck ass. I thought the Medtronic system seemed like a good idea at the time, as I could have one device for my insulin pump and CGM receiver. That was before I found out the Medtronic sensor wouldn’t even last 50 meters in the pool before coming off. Really, people? That was the best design you could come up with?
  • My bike needs to stop hating me.

Oh, but the one good thing about the day? We managed to convince LT that she was not allowed to exit her mother’s womb until after the race. She held up her end of the bargain and let Daddy finish his race that he had been training for. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, bring on the babies!!!

12 comments so far

  1. Stacey D. on

    I really admire you for doing the triathalon. And especially for not giving up after the bumps in the road so to speak. You may not have done it in the amount of time you would’ve liked but it’s a great accomplishment for completing it … great job!! And now onto the next big chapter of your life – LT!!! πŸ™‚

  2. Scott K. Johnson on

    Dude! You did a TRIATHLON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    That is awesome! I’m proud of you, and inspired too. One of my biking partners is trying to talk me into a short triathlon next summer. Dunno if I can do it or not. Don’t know how to swim, can only run if there is food in front and/or danger in back, but I can push the pedals.

    You encountered your fair share of challenges, but still finished! That is an accomplishment right there! Like everything else in life, it’s a learning experience.

    Can’t wait to hear about all you learn once that baby shows up! πŸ™‚

  3. Karen on

    Wow, talk about Murphy’s Law. Sounds like you were severely jinxed. But look how awesome you did!!! You finished and you did great! I’m so proud. And I’m so glad you are going to do more triathlons. Yay!!!

    And now we are officially on Baby LT watch. Woohoo!!

  4. lindsay on

    You rock! Congrats on the triathlon! You are amazing!

  5. Kerri. on

    Dude, you kicked ass. Even with all the bumps in the road, you still did a triathalon. AND in just a few short days, you will be a dad.

    It’s a good time to be a Thompson, no? πŸ˜€

  6. Bernard Farrell on

    Congratulations on finishing. I’ve completed 2 sprint triathlons and this is HARD work, especially with the big D. I especially hate losing time to test BGs. Good for you.

  7. Gary on

    Good job… triathlete.

    Congrats on the first one. Triathlons are always an adventure and then add on being diabetic. It’s always something. I like to leave a strip out of the container and hope there’s not too much humidity to mess with the strip.

    Freakin’ awesome job on the bike! It might’ve taken me 58 minutes just to change the tire.

  8. Harry on

    Thanks Guys!

    Scott – I used to feel the same way about running. Now I actually do it for fun. In fact, I plan to do it as soon as this pesky blood sugar comes back up.

    Kerri – It’s always a good day to be a Thompson.

    Bernard – I remember reading your blog post about swimming with the Dexcom. I may have to come up with a similar system. This Medtronic business ain’t cutting it.

    Gary – That is a good idea…I actually thought of that afterwards, but was concerned about the humidity. At least I have a future in a nascar pit crew, right?

  9. stacey on

    Wow! Congratulations!! Let me know if you do it again, I’ll come by and hold out the test strips one by one.

    • Harry on

      That is an excellent idea. And since the triathlon was in Davidson, it would be really convenient for you!!

  10. Lorraine on

    Wow! I kept reading thinking there must be a punchline of something like, “no none of that happened, it was a great race, etc. “.

    Phenomenal job! Congratulations. And what an fantastic attitude.

  11. Karen on

    Leaving this comment so you know we miss you!!!! πŸ™‚

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