Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Alley Loop Skate Ski Marathon Feb 2, 2008

The Alley Loop is a ski race that winds through the alleys and streets of Crested Butte, CO (8800ft) and then heads out of town for a while. Depending upon how long of a race you do depends on how many and which laps you do. I signed up for the 41K (26 mi) three lap race. The race started at 10:00 and a balmy 3-4 F. It may have been 10F at the end of the race. The snow was a bit soft as it had snowed that night and the previous days. I knew the 42K was going to be painful on the last lap as I hadn't done a lot of long skis yet this year.

Skate skiing is like ice skating except you use poles and go up hill. It will raise my heart to high levels and keeps it there. It is one of the hardest work outs I have done. Anyway the first two laps went pretty smoothly. The last lap began to hurt however. My arms and butt muscles began to get very stiff. I did however make a point of drinking as much as possible as in previous races I had gotten nauseous from dehydration. The hills became suddenly very hard and I began to have visions of sneaking onto the 21K lap for a shortcut. I got passed by a few people but ended up not passing out....

I ended up making it in in 2:53 and 34th out of 64. If I had done the 21K I could have easily placed in the top 10 out of 37 as I was ahead of a friend that was doing the 21k and got 10th. I was pretty beat but had a good time AND the girl in the bunny suit finished behind me this year!

How did the diabetes affect the race. Well not really at all I would say. I ate a Gu every lap or just under. My sugar was about 130 20 min before the race so I ate some food to bring it up a bit. When I finished I tested it it was 140 after eating a gu on the last lap. You may ask, didn't you check your sugar during the race? This would've been difficult with the cold temperatures and to get my glove off I would have had to take off my ski pole straps. Not really worth it for just 3 hours.

Go to for more on the race and pictures. These two pictures are from a few years ago when it was sunny out.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bonking and bonking hard-the diabetes way...

So most people have experienced low blood sugar episodes. Maybe you didn't eat breakfast and had a busy morning and felt shaky and weak. Or maybe you were on a long bike ride or a race of some sort and didn't eat enough and just couldn't keep up due to a lack of sugar in your system. So what is it like to do this in a much more intense way. The diabetes way.

I had a friend who would ride his bike and not eat on purpose to force is his blood sugar low so his body would "get used to it" and he wouldn't be affected so much by it in races. If he only knew the sure way to due this is take insulin.

The funny thing about taking insulin is that it can sometimes act unpredictably. As I wrote before that when you take insulin if forces sugar into yours cells and causes the blood sugar levels to drop. For me when I'm awake I am ultrasensitive to how I am feeling. Am I having a hard time with simple concepts? Can I add simple numbers? Do I have that feeling I get when I have low blood sugar? If I am excercising, do I feel lethargic or tired? Is it the sugar or am I just tired? Some people can go from perfectly normal to acting drunk (a sign of low blood sugar), sweating profusely, unresponsive to you, or even mean or beligerent.

If I feel "funny" I check my blood sugar. The funny feeling might just be all that coffee I drank. Of course this complicates things... You always need to have a test kit and insulin handy and of course a sugar source. It can feel like climbing with out a rope to be out with no source of glucose nearby.....

Bonking at night can be another story for me.... It hasn't happened much but it has happened and can happen anytime. Luckily for me Anne, my wife, was there to save my butt the time it was worse.... Usually at night I wake up, I might be cold, having weird dreams or feel shaky and can get some juice or something (in this state I am in a feeding frenzy mode and will eat most anything I can get my hands on and very quickly--like a starving dog). Well not this time......

I got ready for bed with a blood sugar reading of 140 after a long skate ski that day. I like it to be around 150-170 at bed time as insurance that I will get up in the morning, especially if I have excercised extensively. I was watching TV while Anne went to bed. Apparently the insulin I took acted more quickly than anticipated as I fell asleep while watchin TV.

The next thing I remember was Anne's voice like out of a dream telling me to "drink this..." I slowly recognized it as orange juice. I was completely covered in sweat and freezing as slowly I realized I was on the tile floor in front of the couch. My elbows felt like someone had beat them with a baseball bat, my legs felt like I had just run 20 miles and crampy.

Slowly I became more aware and heard her reading, "feed something to supply sugar over the long term." (or something like that). I really felt awful and a bit nauseous. After another 15 minutes my blood sugar was 33 and I could talk to her. Finally after some more food I was completely aware and my blood sugar was above 80 or normal. Anne was obviously shaken and it took nearly as much time for me to get her to tell me what happened as it took me to come out of my stupor.

She had heard a noise downstairs. Some banging. She was initially uspset that I may wake the baby, I think. She found me basically in convulsions banging the back of my elbows into the tile floor quite violently. So that's why my elbows hurt and there were large bruises forming. She said I was also kicking my legs. So that's why I felt like I ran 20 miles.

It wasn't until the next day that I got her to tell me everything. She had to hold down my leg and give me a shot of Glucogon to get my liver to release sugar from stored glycogen (like starch). I found the left over package an sure enough it said, "feed person fast acting sugar and then feed something to supply sugar over the long term." It also listed side effects as nausea et al...... This was very hard for her to do but I am very glad she did it..... Luckily this type of reaction is rare this was the worst in 12 yrs... Some people have reactions like this quite regularly...