@CarolynA at the Frozen Otter: FUD Meetup in the Great North

This wekend we had a great FUD Meetup at Mauthe Lake, in central Wisconsin, in order to celebrate the intrepid @CarolynA and her dear (@)Watson racing in a 75K/100K race, the Frozen Otter in (very) cold Wisconsin!

@CarolynA drove all the way from Colorado to do the race! @Michel and I met up with her the night before for dinner and had a wonderful chance to bond with her and her lovely parents, Bruce and Patty. She is an AMAZING person and we were both in awe. We are considering adopting her outright if her parents will let us.

How tough is the Frozen Otter? How about extra-hyper-super tough? There is an 80% drop-out rate: it may be the hardest cold weather race in the Midwest. But it did not seem to phase either @CarolynA, her father (also racing), or her super dog (@)Watson who was also racing the first 8 miles: Go, Watson, Go!

The morning was really cold:

It was so cold that there were ice crystals in the car! OK, this may be an exaggeration: I suspect that these are, in reality, dust particles on the dash (it is @Michel’s car after all…). But it was really cold: 1F at 8:00am, 7-10mph winds, -15F windchill about 1 hour SW of Mauthe Lake where the start of the race is.

We drove up to Mauthe Lake, worrying about the windchill factor: if it stayed below -15F the competitors would have to carry tents along (they do have to carry bivvies and mergency supplies either way), another several pounds of weight, and, of course, worsened risk inherent in the extreme cold, for a race that can last up to 24 hours.

We arrived in the start area around 9:00, about one hour ahead of the start. You can see how truly cold the Frozen Otter is:

Yes, you are seeing it correctly! Less than 30 yards from the start area, the ice is supporting a 3500 lb SUV, and there are people ice-fishing through very thick ice…



We rigged up: it was pretty darn cold! @Kaelan, @Michel and I had carpooled up. We all were wearing 3-4 layers of clothing, big gloves and thick hat… Here I am, rigged for the Great North weather:

We quickly found our way to the main shelter where the last briefing was going to be given. Everyone looked cold but eager:

Right in front of the shelter, we found our heroine, @CarolynA, who was much readier than we were, waiting, stoic, with her best friend (@)Watson:

(@)Watson was ready! We found him numerous times plotting to do all he could to get another competitor out of the race if there was any way he could figure out:

We were awaiting the briefing with some concern, in part to find out if carrying additional shelter would be required. We found out we were missing the temperature limit only by a couple of degrees: close, but no extra shelters required, Phew!



By then, we were within 20 minutes of the start. It was time to complete the last prep. @CarolynA adjusted her chest strap and her gloves:

then she turned her SPOT tracker so that we could follow her on our phones as she went. Once that was done, we all tried to settle as comfortably as we could without freezing altogether, hard to do if you don’t move. Here you can see @CarolynA, @Kaelan, @MaryPat, and, as a dark shadow (as always) in the lower left hand corner, @Michel taking the pic:

Pretty soon it was time to walk to the starting area. @CarolynA and @Kaelan started slowly, discussing race strategy:

But pretty soon, (@)Watson got impatient, and started imposing a higher tempo on the walk:



A few steps from the start, we stopped for a last race discussion:

Then we gathered for our compulsory event picture. As always, it was impossible to get everyone to both look at the camera and have their eyes open at the same time. We settled for pretty much nobody looking or having their eyes open (true!). You can see @CarolynA, @Kaelan, @MaryPat (I am the only one listening to the photographer), Carolyn’s mom Patty, (@)Watson who, for once, obstinately refuses to face the camera, and on the other side of the camera (invisible, but not silent…), @Michel:

By then we were 2 minutes form the start. @CarolynA walked to her assigned area, following (@)Watson who made a bee line for the PETS PROHIBITED area:

The next minute brought a last chance for the athletes to focus and visualize, of which (@)Watson took advantage under the admiring eyes of other competitors:

Then (@)Watson was ready (I am not quite sure about @CarolynA):

Right then we heard the warning for the start:

Then the “gun” went off (really it was a malfunctioning compressed air horn, which barely meowed):

Within a few seconds, the whole group of competitors had moved on and away at a quick pace:

The temperature was still quite low, and expected to go below zero overnight:

As for @Michel, @Kaelan, and @MaryPat, quite exhausted as you can imagine after all this commotion, we stopped on the way back at Fussy Feebies in Campbellsport:

in order to recover our strength with a healthy breakfast:

Roast Beef and gravy over red potatoes, rye bread, and mega butter

So go, @CarolynA, go (@)Watson, we are cheering for you!

(I’ll keep on updating the race as we go)


4:43pm Update

I am not having an easy time manipulating the SPOT map. As far as I can see, @CarolynA reached the northernmost point of her first 46 mile loop at 4:43pm before coming around. So elapsed time was about 6:43 for the first 23 miles.

I was hoping to post screenshots of the SPOT tracker map, but the scale does not work: I’d have to take too many screenshots, then assemble a full map of them. The SPOT map updates very slowly (it may be poor connectivity on my part) so it is not feasible :frowning:


8:15pm update

@CarolynA is not quite 3/4 of the way for the first 46 mile (75k) loop: on the way back from the northernmost checkpoint, she is not quite half way back home.

When you have made it through the first 46 miles, you are back where you started. Then you can choose whether or not you will go another 18 miles (25k).

The temperature is dropping: it is back down to 5F, after having hit about 10F at its highest today. What’s good, though, is that the wind is down to 5mph. It makes quite a difference. Temperature will hit -3F around 5am.

Darkness fell around 5:30pm, so, for the past almost 3 hours, @CarolynA has been walking by her headlight.

Keep strong, @CarolynA !


How @CarolynA is managing her BG

She uses a CGM that she monitors on her phone, with a spare receiver along. She has several ways to inject insulin with her.

My understanding of her method: she eats some carbs all along (in such long races you eat non-stop) so that she stays even or goes slightly up. If she hits 150, she injects to come back down.


10:30 pm update:

@CarolynA has progressed well. We are expecting her to complete the 46 mile loop sometimes between midnight and 1:00am: she is truly amazing!

Temperature is down to 2F, with a 2-3 mph wind blowing from her port quarter. One of us will hopefully be there when she arrives, so I may not be able to give further updates until after her arrival from the 46 mile loop.

Go, @CarolynA, Go!


Midnight update:

Around 11:00pm, @Marypat’s SPOT tracker disappeared for a while. I jumped into the car and arrived at the arrival area around midnight. The volunteers had lit a fire, and were keeping warm food and beverages ready for all the racers arriving from the 46 mile (75K) loop:

Right as I was looking around for people I recognized, @Marypat texted me that she had found @CarolynA’s tracker again: it looked like she was a bit more than 5 miles away, and that, therefore, we should expect her around 1:30-2:00am. So I went back into the car and tried to find a way to stay warm without using too much gas…


2:00am update:

Around 1:30am, I rejoined @CarolynA’s parents in their car so as to keep warmer by talking. It worked! (@)Watson, after his 8-mile race, was very mellow and easygoing in the back seat. We looked at the white lights approaching from the trail and tried to guess which ones were the good ones, to no avail.

The temperature kept on dropping. Staying warm, even in the car, was a challenge. It reached -2F around 2:00am:


Eventually, right around that time, we noticed a white light coming in very fast, and, when we checked it further, we found that it was bib #5, our favorite Frozen Otter competitor, @CarolynA, tired but triumphant:

The first thing I asked, practically, was—How is your BG? She showed me her Dexcom receiver, flat as a board around 106.

She had made it: an extraordinary achievement, 46 miles (75 kilometers) non-stop in 16 hours! I still can’t quite believe what @CarolynA, a true woman of steel, accomplished! We are SO proud of her!


Thank you guys for the support it was such a fun weekend meetup! On our way back to Rockford after a big breakfast. (Hankersons in west bend is the place to go for breakfast- I still remember staring at the bakery items when I was a little kid)

I’m still hobbling today and will be sore for the next couple days. I felt good until the marathon mark and ok until 50k then the last 25k my back and feet hurt so we slowed down a bunch. Fuel was mostly tailwind with some pretzels/sausages/gu blocks/oreos. Thanks for the pen- I kept it in my sports bra so it didn’t freeze along with a prefilled syringe of lantus. Hit with a unit every time I hit 150 and my numbers were great. That was much simpler than my usual strategy of a bunch of pre loaded 1 unit syringes. Didn’t need much insulin- mostly just feeding the basal to minimize hands out of gloves time.

I’ll report more later. Tired!!!


@CarolynA - Wow, what a competition and Congratulations!! Your are a true Unlimited!!


Wow, @CarolynA - I’m in awe! Congratulations!


My legs are sore just from reading @Michel 's posts.

Congrats @CarolynA


@CarolynA I can barely imagine walking that long in temperatures around zero. It is amazing to me how someone can sustain that level of effort for as long as you did. Just as glucose normal I would consider doing this a great achievement, but you being a diabetic makes it all the more awesome. I would not be surprised if you were the first T1D to run this race.

I noticed another runner making breakthroughs as well:

He also may have been the first Wookie in the Frozen Otter?


LOL! Nice catch, @Kaelan.


The Wookie was fast! He was in 3rd overall coming back the other way like 8mi ahead of me. Did you see the guy wearing the unicorn horn at the start too? Now we know- Wookies beat unicorns.


I can’t believe I missed my first unicorn! AND running at the Frozen Otter too!


I never bothered with changing basal, just got more sensitive to it and fed it. when I got back to hotel, downed a bottle of regular sprite and my body just sucked it up to replenish reserves. Had a no bolus day yesterday. Didn’t eat crazy carbs but some (100 or so yesterday spread out) and spiked only to about 150 before I dropped again. Never dropped below 55 just ate to the alarms. After dinner it seemed like my reserves were mostly replenished so I stopped dropping quickly after eating. Had a couple taffies overnight but woke up at 80 to fairly flat line… probably half boluses today and I’ll just eat more if it ends up too much. Very lazy management style post race since I’m sore and it hurts to hobble down to the fridge. Sit on couch with a bag of chips and cookies and eat as needed… nice kindle book, blanket,and dog too. Taking it easy today, beer with friends later then drive long tomorrow.

For ultra type races you eat as much as you can but it will never be as much as you burn. I had at least 3000 calories during those 16hours but likely burned twice that.

Snowed overnight. Now the landscape looks right.


Congrats on your great race! That’s awesome.