April 19, 2008

2008 Cohutta 100 - Result: DNF

Daily Total: 38.60 Race: 04:14

Time  BG  Carbs Units
----  --  ----- -----

22:09 104OT 12g .7u
19:32 97OT 32g 1.1u
18:05 33OT
14:57 54OT
12:51 176OT 30g 3.3u
12:07 192OT 1.6u
11:21 96OT 30g .5u
09:56 46OT
09:21 79OT
08:52 53OT
08:22 42OT
07:47 31OT
06:27 56OT
05:09 17g 1.1u
05:05 154OT 12g .8u
04:05 333OT 4.4u

The 2008 Cohutta 100 took place in Duckton, TN at the Ocoee Whitewater Center which hosted the 1996 Olympics. Cohutta is the first race in the 2008 National Ultra Endurance Race Series (http://www.usmtb100.com) of 8 events. The race is a 100 mile loop through the Cherokee National Forest, of which 97 miles is off-road and 35 miles is single track. The course also features 12,000 feet of climbing. The NUE is a very competive series, and dozens of well known pros and teams where in attendance.

I struggled with whether or not to even attend this race. I had been fighting a very bad cold the week leading up to the event. Between that, and the lost of sleep due to the baby, I was feeling very tapped. All of these issues where causing my blood glucose levels to be very erratic during the week, and I wasn't very confident that it would be in check during the event. Since I had already registered and wasn't going to get a refund, I thought I would go ahead and give it go. In hind sight, I should have not attempted this event under these conditions.

It was a 6 hour drive from Durham, and George and I arrived in perfect weather mid afternoon on Friday. After arriving and meeting up with Marcy, we picked up our race packets. Spent sometime hanging out, and then went to the hotel to check in. After checking in, we headed to dinner in Murphy, NC. I usually try to eat a little more than I normally would to ensure that I don't go low overnight before the event. Trying to cut it too close has led to issues in the past, and I preferred not to be trying to catch up after waking up.

I woke up an hour early running much higher than I would have liked. So at 04:00 I bolused to correct a 333. Took the full recommenced bolus, and had 3 hours to race start time.  At 05:00 George and I got up, and I was at 154. Perfect. I took in 12g of measured carbs and only bolused for the carbs, not the BG of 154. A little later I ate a PowerBar Pria bar which contain 17g of carbs. I bolused for that as well.

On the way to the race course, I lowered my basal rate to 50% of normal at 06:03. It was raining, and had been raining all night. Course would be a wet, muddy mess, and I would need to wrap my pump and test kit in zip lock bags. No problem.

Got parked and setup to go by 06:27, and tested one last time before heading to line up for racers meeting and race start. I was SHOCKED to notice I was at a 56. This is of course a worst case scenario for me for such an event. I consumed a regular soda (very quickly) to dump 50g of carbs into the system. I was feeling very relaxed and not anxious at all. I was only expecting to finish today, so no pressure at all. I put a full bag of jelly beans in my pack, just in case I needed the simple sugar later on. Thank goodness I did this. I then lowered my basal rate to 35% of normal at 06:30. I usually do this as my BG normally drops leading up to race start.

Race began at 7:00 sharp. The group of 250 riders headed out on the paved road up a good grade for 3 miles. Heart rate was all good, and the legs and lungs felt fine. I was near the back, as I was specifically trying to conserve energy as I was sure my BG level wasn't up to par yet.

From the road we dumped into a beautiful single track section, maybe 10 miles long. The trail was muddy and a little slick, but my tire selection was spot on (Kenda Karma rear, Maxxis Ignitor up front). I stayed on the fueling plan of 1 PowerBar Gel every 30 minutes, and 8-10 oz of water per hour.

I continued for 45 or so minutes, and figured I should stop and test to see where I was at that point. At 07:47 my BG had fallen to a fairly dangerous 37. This still makes no sense to me, as I was totally chill with the heart rate, my pump setting was low, and I had consumed the soda and plenty of fuel up to this point. I stopped and opened my bag of jelly beans. I ate a couple of handfuls, and took 5 minutes to compose myself and think.

Slowed my pace a little more, again trying to conserve, and continued to ride on. I was still not feeling myself, so I stopped and tested 30 minutes later. Still very low at a 42. Not good. Not good. Again I took in some jelly beans, and also through in some peanut m&m's for sugar and fat. Continued on at my relaxed pace for another 30 minutes. Again, I could tell I was low as the legs where certainly not firing with any authority. At 08:52, I tested at a 53.

Man, I am in BIG TROUBLE here. Ate some more sugars and tried to continue on.

At this point I had consumed more food than my body could process given my output, and I began to develop some GI distress. I puked a couple of times in the next 30 minutes, and was then really concerned about what type of energy I had on board.

I reached Aid Station 1 at 09:15. I was hoping to reach it in 90 minutes or so, but it was farther out than I though. I chilled there for about 20 minutes and was able to get to a BG of 79. Ok... feeling better, so lets keep on going.

Headed on out to reach Aid Station 2. Picked the pace up a little bit, but still not quite at my target race pace. About 30 minutes or so later, I could feel I was crashing again. Tested at 09:56 at a 46. Consumed more M&M's and jelly beans and just sat on the side of the trail.

At this point I released that my 100 mile race was finished.

Given the BG and performance trent I would not make the cutoff time required by Aid Station 6 (mile 80). If I missed it, I would not be allowed to finish. I certainly didn't exactly know how far Aid Station 2 was, and was concerned about having a MAJOR issue before reaching that point. I figured I was one of the last 100 milers by this point, and there would only be a handful of people behind me at best. Struggling with blood sugar issues in a national forest without knowing where I was or how far I had to go was not a smart idea right now.

I made the VERY, VERY difficult (but certainly wiser) decision to abandon the 100 miler. I truthfully got a little emotional at this point. I was very disappointed. Very disappointed.

I needed to get myself relaxed, and figure the best way to get me back to the start/finish. Basically, I turned around on the course and road back to Aid Station 1. When I reached Aid station 1, I turned the other way to follow the 35 and 65 mile routes. Since aid station 1 was at 18 miles, I figured I only had 17 or less to go if I followed the 35 mile route.

Slowed my pace way down, and pretty much just tooled around in my granny gear. I continued to consume a Gel every 30 minutes, and tried to stay on the hydration plan.

I was still not feeling right, and actually missed a marker for a turn on the 35 miler. This sent me past a rest station on that route TWICE. The folks at the stop noticed me the second time, and stopped me to check with me. I was put on the right course and ate some cookies while there. This was probably around 10:40.

In the final 4 miles I got a flat up front, and just laughed to myself. What a day.

Got back to the start/finish at 11:10. I figured I completed about 45 miles or so during the 4 hour 14 minute ride.

Energy Expenditure 4219 kcal
Number of Heart Beats 38911 beats
Minimum Heart Rate 98 bpm
Average Heart Rate 153 bpm
Maximum Heart Rate 186 bpm
Ascent 5198 ft

Tested at a 96 at 11:21, and decided to put my pump back to a normal basal rate. Ate right away, and took in a very minute bolus for the carb intake. Not sure what to expect in terms of sensitivity and recovery.

George (The HERO!) finished up just after 19:30. I was very excited for him for finishing. Nice work!

We left Duckton shortly after 20:00 and headed for the long drive home.

This event was a disaster for me right out the gate. I am not even sure what I can learn and take away from the series of events with my BG today. Basically I started the race like a old, worn dollar bill which set my blood sugar off erratically. I need to do everything in my power to be sure not to enter an event in that state again. It was a extremely bitter disappointment that will linger with me for a long while. There was just nothing I could to correct my blood glucose today. Nothing.