August is done. I’m ready to taper.

Well, well, well. We just finished another month, which this time around coincides nicely with the end of the biggest block of training in my Ironman plan.

It was some pretty intense training. In fact, it was so intense that I wasn’t able to finish it exactly according to THE PLAN. I had some pretty good workouts, and I also flirted with over-training. Fortunately, I felt confident enough to dial it back a bit on a couple of days. A week ago, I did my longest training run ever—20 miles over three hours—and I did it after riding my bike for 90 minutes. The next day I was supposed to ride six hours. It was raining, I was tired and a bit grumpy, and I just couldn’t hit my target heart rates, despite having a high resting pulse when I awoke. I was 20-ish miles in when I got to a “T” intersection. If I went right I would start a 3-hour loop. If I went left, I could be home in 15 minutes. I chose the shorter route and have no regrets.

I can’t say the same thing for one of the other workouts I cut short. Last Sunday, I was actually feeling really ready to do my second “do-it-yourself tri,” which would be my last big workout before my 2-week taper. Following it I would lower my volume significantly to be ready for the Ironman on September 13. Unfortunately my infusion became dislodged during my swim, and during the bike I saw the highest numbers ever on my BG meter. I was halfway through my three hour ride, when I saw a 490 mg/dL (27.2 mmol/L). I retested. Only 430 (23.9) the second time. I finished my ride feeling a bit miserable and retested: 550 (30.6). This is dangerous territory, especially since the insulin and cycling weren’t lowering me at all. Dehydration, disorientation, and diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) could follow along with a ride to the hospital in the back of an ambulance. No running for me. Call it an “aquabike” if you’re feeling charitable; a “DNF” if you’re not. I took some insulin by syringe before leaving the lake, went home, changed my infusion set, took a shower, and had a bit of a meltdown.

Fortunately, Lisa was there to remind me of something I had realized earlier in the week: At my current level of fitness, I have somewhere around 3-5 hours of buffer for diabetes shenanigans. (Also for “OMG-it-hurts run/walk shenanigans” and “difficult conditions on the bike or swim shenanigans.”) That’s a lot of time to fix a bike or high blood sugar, wait out low blood sugar, or walk the marathon. Finishing the Ironman isn’t a gimme, but it looks more likely than not at this point. (*touch wood*) I’ve gone through a lot of good swim-bike-run training and difficult mental bouts over the last five-and-a-half months, and I’m starting to feel ready. I’m not quite excited; right now I’m still anxious. But the excitement will come, and I’m looking forward to finishing.

Here’s what this last, challenging month looked like:

  • Swim: 13 times, 11:50, approximately 36,000 yards (20.3 miles, or 32.7 km) — The pool has been closed for the last two weeks, so I’ve been doing a lot of open-water swimming.
  • Bike: 15 times, 26:34, 445 miles (716 km) — The longest this month was 94.6 miles. The most fun was climbing Mount Wachusett after coming back from Wyoming.
  • Run: 15 times, 18:47, 123 miles (198 km) — I had my biggest week of running ever, logging 41 miles.
  • Hike: My mom and I took a 3-mile hike (at 9,000 feet) to the Big Horn Medicine Wheel, which was quite special.


Oh! License plates. My travels took me far and wide last month, and I saw a bunch of license plates. In fact, I saw all of the states and DC . . . except for Delaware. Congratulations, Delaware, you’re the big loser of the month. I also saw BC, Québec, Nouveau Brunswick, and Ontario.

This entry was posted in Cycling, Diabetes, Reluctant Triathlete, Running, Swimming, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to August is done. I’m ready to taper.

  1. Scully says:

    I can’t wait to read all the accounts of IM wisconsin from the diabetes triathletes.
    That hellish high sounds downright terrible! I really feel for you there. I would have literally fallen off my bike in a puddle of tears, pain and nausea long before that so major kudos for you to even ride that far while being that high. Subsequently not being able to take in any fuel to boot which just adds to the fire.
    I can only imagine the meltdown. I love that you have Lisa to talk you down. She is so full of wisdom. Our loved ones have such a different perspective on what we go through that sometimes it’s refreshing for their advice.
    You’re going to be great! you’ve put the training in so trust that. Especially during the awful “taper” which really just aims to play mind games on an athlete.

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