Monday, November 16, 2009

It's nearly here

Holy smokes, the big show is nearly upon us. As training picked up over the past many months, blogging was dealt a blow... but so be it, not going to reflect on that.

To all of those who have provided support in this year-long journey toward the Ironman, words could not do justice to the appreciation felt. Now less than 48 hours from departing for the desert and under six days from stepping up to the beach to begin the day-long race, I am confident I've put in the hours of training needed. There will be a time or two when exhaustion will try and reign me in on Sunday, but I've prepared for those mental challenges by remembering those who have had it much tougher than me. As long as BG's hold, insulin pump malfunctions are avoided, hypoglycemic reactions are caught early, I'm going to complete the 140.6-mile race. This journey has taken me from Kona to Killington from Death Valley to Mt Elbert in the past year, over 100 miles on the bike in six different states, over 25 miles of running in seven different states. More than that, each trip has introduced me to remarkable stories from some remarkable people that have overcome the odds to accomplish so many different and varied goals. It's been the largest gift on how to live one's life that I could have ever hoped for.

This weekend is going to provide a tremendous celebration. I am eager to meet so many from the 2008 Triabetes team, so many of the 2008 Triabuddies, to catch up with my Triabetes teammates that I spent a remarkable week with in March 2009, to hear about my Triabuddy Parker's trip to the Channel Islands and how to live an active life with Type 1 diabetes, to meet all the peers he will be introduced into beginning tomorrow night, to see the premier of the Triabetes documentary on Saturday, to catch up with so many friends, family and supporters of this project AND to reach the starting line on Sunday morning. The work is now done, Sunday will be a celebration that will push my limits, but like I've done before, I'll find a way to reach the finish line. I WILL reach the finisher's chute with a smile on my face.

Thank you for adding so much to my life and looking forward to the years ahead!!

P.S. - I will have a blog entry summarizing as much as I can following raceday - by Thanksgiving weekend :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

30 days and counting!

Well, in an hour and 20 minutes, it will be. Working on a blog entry, more to come tonight...

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Start of summer

Kona race pics came in few days ago... here, inhaling some Gu coming back from the Hawi aid station along the Pacific coastline.

Rode my Roubaix road bike up Lookout Mtn yesterday and that became an ordeal. Near the top, my rear tire pretty much exploded... something I've never had happen. I heard the rear tire suddenly making a rubbing sound and within a couple of seconds, it blew - sounding like a gunshot. It caught the attention of several other cyclists making the 2,000 foot climb that were in the area. The tire was completely shredded. That was all for the day and a trip to the bike shop was in store for the afternoon. It could have been worse, I was 80% of the way up the climb and had it happened on the way down the mountain at 40-45MPH, that could have been problematic.

Got out this morning to catch my Triabuddy, Parker Gregston, play a soccer match. Parker is a 12-year old from the Denver area who has a pretty good handle on managing his diabetes. He also has Celiac disease and I have a ton to learn from him - he's a terrific young man. He, his family and I are trying to find a 5K on the calendar this summer to run. As part of the Triabuddies program, he will participate in some exciting opportunities. Each of the Triabuddies will venture out to the Channel Islands this November the week before the Ironman and will set sail off the coast of Santa Barbara for a multiday outdoor adventure with guides and Insulindependence staff. They'll arrive in Tempe the day before Ironman and we'll all get the opportunity to meet up, celebrate the year's accomplishments and prepare for raceday on Nov 22. A few hundred yards from the finish line, I'll pick up Parker along the ropes and we'll cross the finish line together - should be an awesome experience! I think if it were up to Parker, he might want to join me for the last few miles - I wouldn't want to slow him up... lol. Parker is helping raising money for the Triabetes program and I encourage anyone to visit his fundraising site (First Giving). Having had the opportunity to speak with a few of the 2008 Triabuddy families over the course of the last six months, I can speak firsthand of the positive impact this program is having on families' lives.

It's great to be back in the drier air, Kona was so humid. Had some rough weather this afternoon in Denver, but it's set the stage for a nice cool evening. Plan to swim the next several mornings as I'll be forced out of the water for 3 weeks following my Wednesday PRK laser eye correction surgery. It's going to be different to lose the glasses I've had for 20+ years, but looking forward to being able to see on my own again - transition stations will be so much easier not worrying about finding the prescription shades.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


As friend Peter texted to me last week, "soak it up, you're in Mecca..." I had never been over to the Hawaiian islands, but I got the distinct impression that Kona is a bit different from other areas of our 50th state. From swimming the official IM swim course (see pic) several mornings to riding the Queen K Highway, it quickly became apparent that this is the center of the world for a triathlete. From the heights of Mauna Kea (13,800 feet high) to the depths of Kailua Bay and the dolphins swimming beneath us, it was an amazing experience. Saw snow fields on Mauna Kea and experienced the heat of running and riding thru the lava fields.

Saturday's race performance provided decent improvement from my first tri out at Wildflower 3 weeks earlier. The swim provided 200m visibility to the ocean floor and I was out in 58 minutes. The ride was a rolling one across the Queen K and I managed those 56 miles in about 3.5 hrs. The run was rough... hot, humid, blisters developed early on my heel and ran out of salt tablets too early. To call it a run might be a bit of a stretch, more walking than running. I was out on the run course an hour longer than I should have, but it's always good to get to that finish line. Stuck with my overnight Levimir injection the night before to keep some insulin on board during the swim and reconnected my Medtronic insulin pump coming into T1 after I had exited the water. Turned basal to 65% of normal and consumed about 60g of carbs an hour and tried to consume around 60 oz of water an hour. I held that regimin fairly well thru the ride and felt pretty strong coming into T2. The run quickly deteriorated in the first two miles as I felt increasing discomfort on my heels. I should have stopped a medic and taken a minute or two to bandage them up, but got into the mindset that I didn't have a minute to spare - lesson learned. I should have worn socks I had practiced in rather than buying a new pair a few days before the race. BG's were 97 out of the water, 146 at the midway point on the bike and got up to 210 early in the walk/run before coming down in the 140 range on a few additional checks late in the race. All in all, I think I've got the diabetes management dialed in pretty well for race-day's. I may need to increase the basal rates and consume a little more on the carb side, especially on the run. My nutrition on the run is not where I think it should be - think I'm going too light.

The trip out also provided another opportunity to reach out to the diabetic community. To the Oregon State student I met on Saturday, keep up the good work and stay active... it makes all the difference in the world. Before entering the water on race morning, I had an internist identify himself and ask me about the catheters plugged into my abdomen. When I told him I was a T1 diabetic and I'd connect my insulin pump when I exited the water, he asked me some good questions about how I deal with insulin on race day. Yet another opportunity to educate...

A huge thanks to the entire Carlson clan for the week out there... you all are awesome!! I will not forget making the last turn on the golf course and seeing you run to the ropes to get a high-five coming down the home stretch. Diabetes' marriage with triathlon started out there with Billy 26 years ago and look how far it has come - a remarkable legacy! Bill, let's both get back out there for Kona in October in the years to come! In the meantime, we'll work on getting the Insulindependence Kona office established - we ought to be able to do it for $175 :)

Monday, May 18, 2009


The past week has been an exciting learning experience. The new Kestrel Airfoil Pro SL Special Edition arrived about a week ago and I got it put together. What a sweet looking ride it is! After one ride on it, it was pretty clear I had entered a new dimension in cycling. I described it as scary fast to a family member last week. I thought I had a pretty nice road bike, but this Kestrel is like being on a rocket ship. It handles differently from a road bike (not nearly as nimble), which I had been forewarned about. I had the opportunity to get up to Ft. Collins on Saturday evening and get a custom fit done with Steve Owens of Colorado Premier Training. I've been working with Steve, Rick Crawford and Nancy Eastman to establish a training program and they've been terrific from the start. It's a unique opportunity for an amateur like myself to gain the experience of some real professionals. Steve's worked with the likes of Apolo Ohno, Christian Van de Velde and David Zabriskie, among many others. In our Saturday session, he really brought to me an appreciation of the impact of aerodynamics on the time trial positioning. We worked on the set up of the aerobars, the seat, positioning of loose cabling and the hydration system that will go on the bike, head positioning and a few other pointers. Anything that will help slice thru the wind more efficiently will obviously save energy and improve time. Got my first test post-fit on Sunday for a series of brick workouts down near Waterton Canyon. It was quite an eye opener. I rode up through Deer Creek Canyon, which is a very popular cycling trek outside of Denver and was not passed by a single road bike in two hours of riding... and there were plenty out there who were better cyclists than myself. After my first ride on the aerobars the previous week and some pretty intense discomfort, I felt pretty good down on the aerobars on Sunday. The Kestrel is SO much faster and really easier to power thru pedal strokes than my road bike. Also realized it works on some different muscle groups than the roadie does. I'm now eager to see how well I can keep my positioning on the aerobars out in Kona in a few weeks. Jumping on the bike fresh (like I did on Sunday) is quite different than jumping on the bike after a 1.2 mile swim. We'll see how it goes soon.

Earlier on Saturday, had the opportunity to get out for a DESA meeting for the local Denver chapter. Thanks to Mark Haywood for getting that set up. I continue to meet some remarkable people at such outings. John Moore and I had the opportunity to meet a young nine year-old (recently diagnosed) and her father and it's so encouraging to see someone like that battling through the up's and down's daily management of this disease can bring. Awesome to see the smiles on young kid's faces who deal with this. Also had the opportunity to meet the parent of a Type 1 and witness the toll it can take on a parent - something I've tried to understand better but that I don't have the real world experience to draw on. It was a reaffirmation of everything Insulindependence, Triabetes and other similar groups are doing.

Stay well!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


After catching up on work and sleep the past several days, wanted to catch up on the Wildflower experience this past weekend. My first triathlon was pretty demanding as I felt like I was climbing the hills of Monterey County, California, 99% of the day. Although my swimming has loads of improvement ahead, I did make it out of the water! It was quite a different experience than swimming laps in the pool with all those bodies in the water - dodging arms and kicks :) I stayed patient and got through it though. BG's were spot on out of the water at 125. During the ride, the BG's stayed pretty level and under 200. "Nasty Hill," at mile 43 took its victims and brought a few participants to tears from what I saw. It was a beast of a grade at that stage of the race and I think took a lot of my legs with it for the run. At mile 50, I developed a flat at a place that had no shoulder to give me room to change it. Thanks to the CHP officer for providing me some cover on that rather blind hill. My coach had instructed me to walk the first few miles of the run back in March when we discussed strategies for Wildflower - knowing this would be my first tri. Like I could of run, anyway :) I was pretty gassed at the start of the run and some rising BG's (260 about a half hour in), I think, started to impact my endurance and performance. Bolusing was something I didn't want to do, so I took an alternative approach and basically stopped fueling for an hour, going with just water. By the half way point of the run, BG's were coming back down to where I wanted them and the nasty hills on the run/walk were behind me. That was about the juncture where we ran through the campgrounds that held 20K or 30K people, and that has a way of motivating you to step it up. Continual cheering from the crowd definitely helped. I was able to run the last 2-3 miles straight thru as I regained some energy. Finished up with a BG of 130, as the pic shows here. I realized following the race that I had some gas left in the tank and have felt really good this week so far. As I wasn't concerned about time at all, it gives me some confidence heading out to Kona in a couple of weeks. I don't think I'll be racing a more challenging course than Wildflower. It does feel good to have a 70.3 under my belt, though.

Lake San Antonio is an awesome spot to hold such a storied event and I'm fortunate to have been able to participate. Thanks to teammate Anne, friends Shannon, James, Jill and Tomas for their experience in guiding me through a memorable Wildflower weekend and hearing so many funny stories. Great to catch up with Erin and Tony on Saturday night as well! It was awesome to catch up with many of our Triabetes sponsors, including Polar, FLUID and TriSports. The folks from FLUID put a tent up with a crowd at about mile 6 of the run and were rowdy enough to keep me going for several additional miles... thanks gang! We've got the greatest group of sponsors. For those of you who know Wildflower and have asked about the nude aid station, I think the kids from Cal Poly SLO have done away with that. Rather, they now streak the campground at about 7PM on Saturday evening as everyone is grilling out after the race :)

Huge props to Anne for legging out the cycling leg with a relay team... only three months following her horrific crit crash. Awesome job, Anne!!

Out for a run now and seeing what I can do to improve performance at Kona.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Race prep

So, I'm ten days out from pitching a tent for Wildflower and getting all my gear set up. I work with a few folks who've raced 70.3's in the past and have spoken with a few other friends who apparently have dealt with pre-race jitters and nerves. I was asked the question over the weekend, "Are you getting nervous?" I answered it honestly... absolutely not. I don't know why, but I've never been one to get nervous... maybe it has to do with having diabetes, but people have often told me I'm able to keep things in perspective. I've always perceived nervousness to be wasted energy. I've got too many other things to spend time on with my daily diabetes management to let nerves get in the way. I'll always feel like I could do more to be race ready, but I know others have done far less, too. And in a way, aren't all our life experiences preparing us for the trials we'll encounter throughout life, whether it be triathlon stresses or other challenges in life we'll face? I'll be happy to be out there on the competitive playing field.

Got to e-mailing a friend about what I plan to do with the swim and my Medtronic pump, which is not waterproof. Thought it might be worthwhile to share what I've been working on with our team doctor, Dr. Matt, if disconnecting an insulin pump during the swim is a concern for others. He and I got to discussing this during Diabetes Training Camp down in Tucson. He started me on a dose of Levimir that I typically inject around 11PM at night. I stop my basal when I inject the Levimir. I've found that the Levimir which I dose at half what an daily dose would be typically will be good for about 10 hours before it begins to lose its potency. This permits me to have a manageable amount of insulin on board when I swim in the early mornings. I've not seen significant fluxes during my swims and if my pump is hooked back up by 9AM the following morning, my BG's have been quite good. My overnight BG's have also behaved quite well. For those of you that might not have waterproof pumps, it might be worth discussing with your doctor.

Before I sign off for the night, I want to give a shout out to teammate Brian Foster for his outstanding finish in Boston on Monday... way to go Brian!