I had a great fall of training and I headed out to West Yellowstone very confident in my fitness. I trained very little my first few days here and my energy felt great.
Things started going south on Tuesday evening. I woke up at 1:00 AM with a fever and severe nausea. I fought the urge to throw-up until 6:30 AM and then gave into a severe bout of regurgitation. I thought I had food poisoning as I felt much better afterwards. But I had a slight fever throughout the next day and my friend and roommate, Tad Elliot, came down with the same flu the following night. Our symptoms were identical and we were not eating the same food, so there was no doubt we had contracted a virus.
After 24 hours of recovery I felt well enough to test skis on Thursday in preparation for Friday’s sprint race. Predictably I felt drained. I slept 11 hours Thursday night and woke up to go race the sprint event. I felt asleep on my feet in the qualifier and just barely made the rounds. In the quarterfinal I was moving much better but was not sharp enough to progress to the semis.
The sickness in conjunction with racing and a lot of time being unconscious made my sugars very unstable. My basal insulin rate rose by 30% as did my overall daily intake of insulin. Before being sick I was using less than 30 units daily. Yesterday I used 55 units. Staying on top of my glucose has been stressful.
This morning the 15k event was held. I woke up with a glucose of 180 which was a little higher than I wanted and ate a low carb breakfast of eggs, soy sausage, cherry tomatoes and quinoa. I took three times the insulin I would have taken on Tuesday and my sugars still rose to 200 where they remained until I began my warm-up for the race.
After an hour of warm-up my glucose was at an ideal starting place of 150. I consumed no extra sugar and kept my basal rate at the 30% higher dose.
I felt good out of the start but after 5k I new I was still not 100%. I had to back off of my aggressive pace and start skiing more conservatively to avoid blowing up. I was frustrated but was still getting splits that winning the race was possible. I was 10 seconds down to the leader and in second place with 4k to go. I couldn’t up my pace though and two skiers passed me in the splits. I ended up in 4th place, 18 seconds down to the winner.
My sugar was 209 at the finish. I consider anything below 220 to be a success but below 180 is ideal. Given the circumstances my sugar control was very good. I am bummed by the result though. I was unable to ski as well as I should have and that is always frustrating. Skiing passively in a race is my least favorite thing in the world to do.
I wore my Suunto watch and heart rate monitor during the race and was able to download the data it recorded in graph form. The explanation for my subpar performance was pretty clear on the chart. My heart rate was within 10 beats 0f maximum for the entire race. When I am skiing well I get huge variation in my Heart rate when recovering on downhills. Swings of as many as 40 beats per minute are commonplace. With a variation of only 10 beats, the inability to really push hard makes a lot of sense.
I have a week to recover before the next super tour race in Bozeman Montana. I want to start training right away but I know that the combination of a flu and back to back races has left me very tired. Instead of focusing on training I will work to stockpile my energy for next weekend.