Race report for 2018 YWCA Women’s Sprint Triathlon for a 2x cancer survivor who has type 1 diabetes

Looking Sharp before we raced on August 12, 2018

It’s a week later and I finally have enough energy and post event reflection distance to write up my triathlon experience for what is my 99th or so sprint distance triathlon. Okay, I confess, I’m exaggerating. I did my very first sprint distance triathlon in July 2005, which was just 13 years ago. No way I’ve done 99 triathlons in 13 years!! I have done at least 20 of them! They are super fun!! I love, love, love the triathlon community.

I set my goals for this race. I trained well. I felt ready on race morning.

Goals for this race

Best of all, I trained with a wonderful group of women from a variety of parts of my life. One woman, Shirlene is from my writing world. Cherie is from my Lean In Together world. And the many other women in the group are from Great River School where I work as a substitute teacher and consultant.

Me and Shirlene before we raced! Ready, set GO! Yes, we are wearing TeamWILD kits.  They work and look good!

I slept well on Friday night, two nights before the race. It’s essential to sleep well that night. On Saturday night, the night before the race, I slept terrible. Not really sure why. Luckily it matters less to sleep well the night before the big race! I woke up at 4:30AM to eat breakfast, take my new pup Sam for a walk, and pack my bike and all my gear into the car to depart on time at 5:30AM. I made it!





Tammy marked me on race morning!

I got to Brooke’s house by 5:45AM. All of us gathered and rode our bikes with our gear over to Lake Nokomis, arriving to the lake by 6:20AM. Plenty of time to set up my transition area, get marked, get our race chip and walk the ins and outs of the transition area. I loved having my dear friend Tammy, who was volunteering, be the one to mark me! Tammy is re-learning how to swim, as a goal she has is to do a full triathlon herself. She’s got the biking and running dialed in, just needs to improve her swimming confidence. I know all about that.

Dear friends at events make all the positive difference. Major thank you Tammy for being there! I am excited for when you do your triathlon! I will either race with you OR I will for sure be there cheering you on!


The Swim

Being silly before the swim!

My struggles with this triathlon happened in the first three or four minutes after I ran into the water. As luck would have it, as occasionally happens in triathlons, I got kicked about 5 times in those first moments of the race. I was so surprised and then shocked that I went into a mini anxiety attack. The worst part was that I then inhaled some water and coughed, and essentially for the rest of the 500 yard swim I had a terrible time catching my breath. I ended up swimming on my back for a good portion of the swim. In fact, I consider it a small miracle that I did the swim in 13 minutes, one full minute less than my goal time!

The Bike

I wasn’t speedy on the transitions. I decided not to be hard on myself with the transitions. Managing the order of activities is harder for me since the brain injury of five years ago. I completed the transition and got on my bike, my favorite part of the race.

Swim/Bike Transition (called T1) you can see my cgm on my arm

My goal was to average about 15 miles per hour on the bike and to finish the 15.5 mile route in under 1 hour. I started out strong and I felt good. My blood sugar, according to my continuous glucose monitor, was about 140, which is ideal. I had nutrition in one of my water bottles and I was consuming that.

Then about 5 miles in, I started to feel “off.” I checked my blood sugar on my cgm and I was still at about 120, still solid, still good. It wasn’t dropping too fast, I was consuming glucose. Then another few miles in one of my teammates passed me and she yelled a few encouraging words. I barely acknowledged her. Very unusual for me. Another clue that all was not well with me.  I looked at my cgm and now I was about 88. OH. My blood sugar was going DOWN.

So I ate a gu packet. And then about 5 minutes later I felt SO MUCH BETTER!!! I felt a surge of energy! I pedaled hard the last 4 miles to the transition area! I didn’t make my goal, but hey, I managed a lowish blood sugar and stayed in the game.

The run

You might recall that I broke my ankle and foot on April 2nd, just four months ago. I set my goal for the run high, to get it done in 45 minutes! I did quite a bit of run/walking during the run. I smiled lots and I cheered others on. Felt SO GOOD to have my blood sugar be in the ideal range again!

The finish!

Running to the finish line! I was smiling!

It was so fun and affirming to have the announcer announce my name and tell that I was a two time cancer survivor and that I lived with diabetes for 37 years! Coming across that finish line was a reminder that I am strong and capable! It’s always good to have affirmations in life. Yes, even I need those!

After the race, hanging with the amazing women who trained together and who celebrated together was AWESOME! Big shout-out of love and appreciation to Brooke and Jenny who got us organized and part of the Buddy Swim Wave called Looking Sharp! Being part of a community is THE BEST!

Brooke and Jenny at the end of the race! Thanks so much!!!

Thanks for being a supporter and one who cheers me and others on! May I do that for all of you too!

With love and much appreciation,

Mari, Forever a triathlete!


Looking Sharp at the end of the race!
Race Report! Not bad at all!
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12 thoughts on “Race report for 2018 YWCA Women’s Sprint Triathlon for a 2x cancer survivor who has type 1 diabetes”

  1. Just received my Dexcom 6 before participating in the relay bike portion of the Lake Tahoe Tri. How awesome was it to bike for over 2 hours and have by BG right on my handelbars!!!! No stopping for fingersticks, or guessing numbers. I loved every min. of it. Our gym Kaia Fit cheered on all the gals and then ended up cheering on everyone We had people come up afterwards and thanked us for cheering them on. Ohhh the power of cow bells, pink tutus and wonder women socks!!
    Love your stories!!

    • Pam,
      This is AWESOME!!!! I love having my bg on my wrist on my Apple watch!!! It’s the best! Your story warms my heart!!!

  2. I met Mari around 1990, neither of us are sure on the year. I am continuously inspired and lifted by the amazing life she lives!

    This triathlon is a great example of your strength, courage, endurance, kindness, fun, silly heart Mari Ruddy.

    Thanks for sharing it with us!

    Damiian Mario

    • Damiian Mario,
      Whatever year we met, it has been a joyous journey to be friends with you these many years. I keep learning from YOU!
      Ever grateful!

  3. That is wonderful, Mari!! You are an inspiration!! I also do sprint Tris and bike events like the Tour de Cure and MS 150 here in Florida. I am a type 2 diagnosed in 2005. I did my first tri in 2010 after watching and cheering some friends. I know I will not be first and, on occasion, I have been last…embrace the police escort…but I try to keep moving. Some days are difficult…injuries, weather, tiredness, depression and I don’t make it to the gym or train. I try to pick myself up…tomorrow is another chance to be awesome again. And now I have a new goal…I signed up for my first half marathon at the end of the year!! I have never been a “runner”…I am more of a “wogger” (walker/jogger)! I’m trying to figure out nutrition for this event….my tummy doesn’t like GU. So this will be interesting. Keep the posts coming!!! I really enjoy them!!

    • Debbie,
      YOU are an amazing inspiration! I love your term wogger!!! You made me chuckle! I love it that you signed up for a half marathon. I might be due for a 10 mile run in the nearish future!! I wish you the VERY best figuring out nutrition for your big run. Nutrition on a run is a bit harder. Have you tried Skratch Labs?? They have amazing products, super easy on the tummy!! Let me know how it goes!

  4. You are my encouragement! With this new knee, I can do anything! Does that mean a triathlon? Maybe… What an awesome race day. Thanks so much for sharing.

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