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Xterra Grabouw


I did my first race since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I was super nervous because I wasn’t sure how my body would respond to the race. I had pictures of myself collapsing from being hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar).

This wasn’t just any race, it was the Xterra Grabouw which is an off-road triathlon. It is a 1500m swim, 25km mountain bike and a 10km trail run. It is one tough race! Probably not the ideal race for my first race as a diabetic but I enjoy the adventures in life.

I had been doing loads of training coming up to this race. So I was fit but I didn’t expect to receive as much punishment as I did!

The morning of the race I woke really early and had a monster breakfast of muesli and ProNutro, I inject less than what I would normally would. I did this because I wanted to start the race with a higher glucose level than I would normally.

Then I headed to the race with all my stuff.

The swim went well, I decided to start the swim smack bang in the front which I don’t usually do. I swam with the leaders until the first buoy and then fell back to the chase group which I stayed with until the end of the swim. I was told I came out the swim around 15th which is not too shabby (When there are 650 people racing).

I had an average transition and then headed out on the mountain bike section. This is where figuratively the wheels fell off. My legs felt terrible. The course was very sandy which didn’t help my legs and I had a bit of a crash when I hit the single track. I used the mountain bike section to do my nutrition. I ate 3 energy bars (Well almost, I lost a bit of an energy bar when I crashed) and drank and energy drink. I was hoping this was enough to see me through the race. Loads of people passed me on this section which was a bit of a let down. I am definitely going to put more time in on the bike this year.

I got back to the transition area and slipped on the running shoes and hit the course. The running section is about 2.5km to the base of the mountain and then 2.5km up the mountain, then 2.5km down the mountain and then 2.5km back to the finish. I felt a lot better on the run and managed to pass a few people. There is also a little river crossing which is awesome because I was getting hot.

In all it was a good race and loads of fun! I will definitely be back next year. I was happy with my result, I came 9th in my age group. I finished the race without collapsing and finished fairly well. I believe in giving my best and at the same time having as much fun as possible which I think I did. What is nice about races is that it gives you a goal to work towards which for me I find very helpful.

The lesson I learnt were:

  • Energy bars are not the best thing for these races, my mouth was dry during the ride and it was hard to chew and swallow. They are also hard to store on the bike and eat while trying not to crash.
  • I need to eat more or drink more during the race. At the refreshment stations on the run I had 3 cups of Coke which is not ideal but was necessary to keep me going.
  • I need to eat something almost immediately after the race because 45 minutes after the race I tested my glucose levels and I had dropped to 3.2mmol/L which is too low.

Here are a few pics of the race.

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