A Type 1 Diabetic’s Journey to Her First Triathlon: Part 2
This is the second in a series of blog posts by Jess Buchanan, a Vermont woman training for her first triathlon. Jess was diagnosed with Type I diabetes in 2007. Read her first post “A Type 1 Diabetic’s Journey to Her First Triathlon: Part 1.”
Well, training is coming along! I won’t say that it’s going awesome because well, then I’d be lying. But it isn’t going horribly so I guess I’ll count that as a win! With about a month left to go until the big day, I’m learning more and feeling just a little more ready every day.
I’m feeling confident in the running and biking legs. I’ve run several 5K races and a 12-mile bike ride is a normal occurrence for me (a bonus of living on the beautiful Burlington Bikepath). Swimming, however, is a different story. I really want to train in open water, but Lake Champlain is still a bit cold to go in without a wetsuit.
My diabetes is, of course, throwing lots of curveballs my way. That’s not anything new really, pretty much the nature of the beast, but I’m also now actively seeking patterns and solutions. The first few weeks of training had me glucoasting, but things eventually settled down, and I figured out which changes needed to be made to my routine in order to keep things a bit more level until I increase the length of my workouts. I’m grateful for the tools I have at my disposal such as temp basals for my pump as it helps make the management just a bit easier.
My food intake is changing as well. I am actually physically craving things like red meat and nuts, and I know my body needs them so I oblige. It also craves cupcakes sometimes and if I’ve worked hard, I’ll have one of those, too. Mainly though I’m having several small meals throughout the day. Items like peanut butter, egg salad and boneless skinless chicken breasts are staples in my diet.
As far as the exercise goes, it feels great. I’m currently working on getting in three runs a week and three bike rides per week. The runs vary from 1-3 miles and I always aim for at least six miles on the bike. Some days I’ll even get a one-mile run done and follow it up with a six-mile ride. I hope this will help me prepare endurance-wise. I also am trying to do more yoga as I know I can benefit from not only the relaxation and stretching, but it also helps me to focus, which I will need to do hardcore on race day.
I’ve been using an app on my phone called Fitocracy to track my workouts and it seems to be working great! It awards me points for every workout, which creates a small incentive for me. I’m all about rewards so I’ve been using things I need to complete this triathlon as rewards as well. Good run? Go ahead and buy that TummieTote you’ve been wanting. Blood sugars reacting well? How about those Pump Peelz you’ve had your eye on (I bought this one and this one, in case you’re curious)? I’ve bought some crazy colored new running shoes, everything I need for swim training and even a new bike. I’m learning that this could turn out to be an expensive hobby but if my mind and body can learn and grow from spending a little money, I consider it well worth it. Check back next month as I continue the countdown to race day. Do you think I’ll ever be ready? I do!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, dietician, nutritionist or endocrinologist. I am a T1 PWD who is eager to share my own experiences and lessons. Nothing written in this blog is to be taken as medical advice as I have no formal medical training. Should you have questions about your own care, please speak to your doctor.
Jess Buchanan grew up in Colchester, Vermont. She has been a Type 1 diabetic for 6 years. She enjoys cooking, reading, singing, dancing, working out and planning her 2014 wedding while playing with her pet bunny Grier.