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Fallout

Kris Freeman

Tue, Sep  16, 2008 - By Zach Caldwell

Every bomb has some fallout, the Kris’s high blood sugar day on the 6th was no exception. We decided that he would do the test again on Tuesday - three days later. In between he would do some volume training to try to stabilize things. It worked and it didn’t work.

Kris trained nine hours between his Saturday test and his Tuesday test. It’s safe to say that he didn’t come into Tuesday’s effort well rested. We talked quite a lot about insulin dosing for the Tuesday test - we took everything we’ve learned so far and put it into play to create a new multi-step pre-race dosing strategy. And Kris did the Tuesday effort on his highest-ever dose of insulin, as a test. His final instructions to me as I headed up the hill in front of him to meet him at the finish were: “if I’m not there in 25 minutes come find me and rip the Omnipod off my arm.” Great. Unnecessary as it turned out.

Kris ran basically the same time as he had on Saturday. He averaged seven or eight beats per minute lower, and had a slightly lower finishing lactate. He looked much better at the finish, and we were both quite surprised that he hadn’t run faster. We concluded two things. Kris was tired, and Kris’s Saturday effort was quite impressive in spite of the blood sugar issues. Overall we concluded that the effort to restabilize Kris’s blood sugar and get a well controlled test was successful, but that the training load was too high to be conducive to good results.

When I say that the sugar control was successful it’s worth noting that, in the second test, he finished at about 176. A far cry from 300, and probably not representative of a significant performance decrement, but definitely more high than low. And this is with 50% more insulin than he’s ever taken before.

The USST departed town Wednesday morning early and headed to Park City for testing. On Friday Kris climbed onto the treadmill and proved what we all knew - that he is very tired. He had his worst test since July ‘07. This presents an interesting set of juxtapositions. In July of this year he went to Park City and put up his best treadmill test of all time. Then he came up here and ran the hillclimb as part of a camp schedule that culminated in a World Cup-worthy 30K time trial, and he felt good throughout the camp. A month later he was back. He had two totally unsatisfactory efforts on the hill climb, and in both of those efforts he went faster than he did in July. Then he went back down to Park City and got in the treadmill and was worse by 14% in his maximal effort. OK - so at submax his lactates and heart-rates were a little bit off - not 14%. But his max fell 14% shy of his July max in time to exhaustion at max stage.

The only sense that I can make of any of this is that the day to day swing of performance with variations in energy and fatigue level is huge. A capacity test is a test of capacity right now. This reinforces everything we see in race results and other tests. Energy management on a day to day level is critical. To get a good result you need to be fit, but you also need to be ready to go, and really ready at exactly the right time.

Kris is back home now. He got an extremely minor head cold after traveling home. It was clear that something was coming on, and so far it looks like something very minor. He should be over this blip within a couple of days. As discouraging as the last week or so has been, my optimism for the season is undimmed. This last Whistler camp was not integral preparation - it was a test of a concept. As such is was a total failure. Good to know - we won’t try that again. Until the next time we want to learn an old lesson over again, in any case.


Reprinted with permission from the Kris Freeman website at http://www.krisfreeman.net/. Copyright © Zach Caldwell and Kris Freeman

Caldwell Sport Specialities