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Kris Freeman

Fri, Nov  7, 2008 - By Zach Caldwell

Kris ran a 20:39 on Sunapee today. As discussed in the previous post, this is directly on target with expectation. I had predicted a 20:42 - eleven seconds shy of his record. He beat that by three seconds - 0.24%. Specifics: At his mid-station split (after the first “half” of the course which is flatter and faster) Kris was twelve seconds off his record pace. This underscores the expectation that I stated in the previous post that his running-specific fitness would be a limitation. In the second half - when the terrain got steep - Kris went five seconds faster than his record pace. In the end he paced the effort perfectly. If I really wanted him to go out too fast I probably shouldn’t have publicly predicted that he would. I will stand by my prediction - even though it’s 0.24% off - and say that if he had gone out a bit faster he would have hit the 20:42 nail on the head. But I like 20:39 better.

Sugar control was excellent in spite of a dosing error. When it came time to up his dose fifteen minutes prior to the start Kris transposed some keys and ended up lowering his dose. Still - he finished with his blood glucose at 160 - well within target range and quite good for a sustained hillclimb effort. This indicates a couple of things. First, his insulin sensitivity is appropriately high based on the training load he’s been carrying. Second, the new dosing strategy that we developed during the last Whistler camp is pretty good - he had enough insulin in his system based on the 1.5 hour pre-race ramp-up of his basal dose to manage without the final 15-minute-prior spike in dosing. It would be nice to know whether there were a few more seconds available with the added insulin, but given that his finishing sugar was good and his finishing lactate was an on-target 11.9 I would guess that a few seconds is all that might have been expected. Contrary to some speculation, we’ve seen no evidence that extra insulin can turn Kris into superman. But we’ve also seen no evidence that extra insulin will hurt him while he’s racing, and we know that insufficient insulin is BAD.

Dosing error aside I’m extremely pleased with this test. As I suggested in the previous post, it was hard to know exactly what to predict. It’s reassuring that my prediction was quite good, as it underscores the sense that we’ve got a really good handle on the level that Kris’s preparations have brought him to. The level is high - definitely quite good. There’s still the question of execution. Kris has been in great shape each of the two previous seasons, but has struggled with execution on the big days. This year we’ve been focused on execution from day one of the training season. Execution means managing energy and race efforts. We’ve got a better idea of what that takes for Kris than ever before.

Kris has just finished the best training season of his career. In the past couple of years my state of mind entering the season has been somewhere between hopeful and optimistic. Somewhere out there is confident. I think Kris is quite confident right now, but that’s his job. He’d better be confident. My job is to worry. Even so, I’m much closer to confident on the continuum than I’ve ever been. Many of the nagging unknowns of the past have come into better focus this year. It remains to be seen what will happen on the snow. I’m way past hopeful, and somewhat clear of optimistic. I’m about two good results from confident. It would be really good to be confident going into 2010. That will require a good season in 2009. It’s time to see…