Hello everyone! This is a guest post (sorta) from former Olympic Cross Country skier Kris Freeman. Actually, this wasn't written for Arden's Day - it's from Kris's Facebook page and I am posting it here with his permission. We talk on the Juicebox Podcast all of the time about how I use Arden's Dexcom data to make small adjustments to her insulin with settings that are available on her Omnipod. When I saw Kris's post I thought, "this is the next level of those ideas" and I wanted to share his process with you. Please visit Kris on FB or his blog, he's also been featured on Arden's Day a number of times and been a guest on the podcast twice. -- #BoldWithInsulin
Yesterday I competed in and won the Sea to Summit triathlon. The race traditionally starts with a 1.5 mile swim in the Salmon Falls river, continues with a 92 mile bike ride to the WildCat MT ski area parking lot, and finishes with a run up the Tuckerman Ravine trail to the Summit of MT Washington.
Unfortunately due to the heavy rains NH has had over the previous week, a lot of fecal matter has ended up in our waterways and the bacteria level in the river was above the safety limit. The swim was canceled and the event became a biathlon.
The swim would have taken approximately 40 minutes so I had to change my insulin dosing strategy to accommodate the slightly shorter race. My glycogen stores were topped off so I was running a 24/7 basal rate of 1.0 units per hour on my Omnipod. To cover race nerves, readily available glycogen stores and carb/calorie intake I settled on the following protocol.
Hour 1 = 1.0 units per hour
Hour 2 = .7 units per hour
Hour 3 = .3 units per hour
Hour 4 = .3 units per hour
Hour 5 = .3 units per hour
Hour 5-5.5 = .3 units per hour
Hour 5.5- to finish = off
It is very difficult to estimate how much insulin I will need in an event this long. I have to guess how insulin sensitive my body will become from prolonged exertion as well as how many calories I will need to fuel myself. The program that I used yesterday ended up being a little too aggressive and I had to force feed myself at the end of the race. On the bike I drank 60 ounces of Gatorade, 20 ounces of custom Cola/Coffee mix, and 24 ounces of RedBull. I had planned to take in solid food but I was sweating buckets and my stomach was not calling for it.
The bike took me four hours and ten minutes and my glucose was 116 at the transition to running. I drank another 16 ounces of Gatorade during the first 40 minutes of the hike. At this point my glucose was 117. I decided to pull off the Omnipod that was delivering .25 units per hour as I did not want to have to overfeed to get to the top of the mountain. I was wearing two pods and the other one was delivering the minimum dosage of .05 units per hour.
I ended up having to overfeed anyway. I drank another 16 ounces of Gatorade over the next 20 minutes but my sugar dropped to 80. I had to pull out my emergency flask filled with 5 Untapped Maple syrup gels. The flask contained 105 grams of sugar and I finished it five minutes before winning the race in five hours and forty-four minutes.
Every race is a learning experience. If I could do this race over I would reduce the first hour dosage to .7 units, the second hour to .5 and then I would have run .3 up until 4 hours at which point I would have suspended delivery. The attached picture is a graph of my glucose on a Dexcom during the race. It looks "perfect" but I really would have preferred to not take on over 100 carbs in the last 30 minutes of the race.