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As a woman who trained and ran in 1 marathon (and has a clear memory of how difficult the whole experience was!), I was fascinated by my conversation with Heidi-Jane and wanted to know more about her her superwoman abilities.

So I asked her, How do you prepare?

The key to training for Ironman is consistency.  You have to swim, bike and run almost every morning and evening each week.  I like to think of myself as just the same as any other Ironman athlete except I have to test my BG levels and inject insulin.  I train anywhere between 10 – 20hours per week and on top of a full time job this is quite a commitment.  I’m lucky because my husband, Mark, does Ironman too so he understands what I’m going through.

What is it like on event days?

I test between 6 – 12 times a day.  Its most important for endurance training that you have your BG levels controlled (5 – 10mmol).  I adjust my insulin pump basal rates for each discipline (swimming and cycling is less of an adjustment than running). I also have to have around 40 – 60grams of carbohydrates per hour to prevent hypos and to refuel the muscles.

I think that your BG level are what they are because of something I did so if I test all the time I can see patterns and make better, more informed decisions.

Does your bs run higher because of adrenaline?

Never really experienced High BGs due to adrenaline in Ironman training, but when I used to run track and shorter road races I would go high just before the start.
The tools I have help me to get through Ironman without too many problems.  I use an aquapak in the swim to protect my insulin pump from the water.  I take my CGMS off for the swim and leave it on the glasses table at the edge of the swim exit.  This means I can have it working by the time I reach the bike.  I test in every transition so I don’t have to worry about calibrating my CGMS while I’m biking or running.  In each transition I have a syringe with novorapid, glucagon injection, other hypo gels, and a tester.  I make my reductions of basal rates in transition for the next part of the race (which I work out on the spot).  You just have to be prepared for anything.  I write a plan the week before the race.  The plan discusses every possible eventuality in the race, what would I do if my pump stops working, what would I do if I have a hypo, etc.  I try not to over complicate things but by having a plan you already know what you are going to do in each situations.
As an athlete, I remind myself that I have done all of the training and I have to trust that my body will cope with each event.  I don’t panic because I know I can do it!

Yes She can!