Tuesday, 10 February 2015

The end of 2014, 3 PBs, 2 pumps and £1100 for charity

As usual, I’m nowhere near where my plan of writing something every week or two, but given this time of year my working life becomes all consuming and it’s such a struggle just to fit in any exercise that writing about becomes less important.  That’s exactly what I said in the last update, so that’s enough of that.
Last time I’d just gotten the Insight pump, and that was what I was wearing/using for my last race of the year, the new year’s eve 10k at Little Downham, right through my village, with the start line less than half a mile from my house.  This was my 7th time at this race and I still love it, in that dead time between Christmas and starting work again, it’s great to get out there and do something positive rather than sitting around the house all day finishing off the leftover roast and mince pies.

This year the weather gods were kinder to us than they have been previously and although it had been raining and icy in the lead up to the race, race day itself was cool and dry, but still with that characteristic Fenland wind, as usual up the final straight, but the bit that concerned me the most was the finish.  Going back about three years it was in a field, muddy and slippy, but a straight line.  These days they’ve moved it to the lane next to the field which is a much harder run in being twisty as well and muddy, and on my last run two days before the race very icy.
That was the same for anyone, so no use making any kind of a fuss about it.  Much as I love this race, it’s actually probably not the best for a PB, but I still come back every year.  Maybe 2015 will be my year for a summer 10k or two as well.  As usual, the village hall was buzzing when I got there and it was a struggle to find some space to put your vest out and pin your number on, stuff your spare clothes in a bag and sling them under a table somewhere while you go and warm up.  This race has 700 entries and they are all sold out within 3 days, it’s that popular; this year 590 of those who’d paid actually turned up.

Back to the race, warm up done, nerves as always starting to kick in and I was early to the start line.  I think too early as I ended up getting shuffled back a bit further than I wanted, which became quite important later on as it knocked a useful chunk off my gun time when compared with my watch. Quick brief from the race director warning us of some possibly icy corners, the bagpiper playing us away, a pregnant pause and then the hooter.
Shuffle, shuffle, shuffle, trot, jog, run, elbows to elbows for the first 500m, then a bit of space starts opening up as we head out of the village and the rabbits bolt away from the line.  Time to slow down or I’ll blow early. Pace plan is in the watch, beeping away at me telling me I’m going too fast, which I already know in my brain, but the adrenaline in the blood is pumping and pushing me on.   My target average pace for this race was 4:17.5/km, which should have brought me home in 43 minutes; that’s not to say I was planning on that pace for 10km as I don’t run 10ks like that.  For me an increasing pace works best, or negative splitting, taking advantage of a strong finishing burst.  With that in mind I was supposed to be running the first 3km in 13min 15sec, not the 12:48 I did it in, but the next 3km was bang on target in 13 mins. 

So first 6km, about 27 secs ahead of plan and my heart rate was by now at maximum sustainable with 40% of the race still to go, and just about to turn into that upwind section.  I was running alongside three other people all holding on for grim death and muttering to each other under our breath.  The next two km destroyed my average pace to that point, and then came the “hill” only 15m up in about 250m, but at that point in the race with just over a mile to go it’s nasty.  That said it’s always my opportunity to reel in some of those early rabbits who went off at the beginning and I had just such a fluffy little bunny in my sights.  A rather scrawny little bloke who looked like a tidy runner, and I’m sure I’ve seen him at other races as well, but this time he’d got his pacing wrong as I slowly pulled back about 15m on him down the back straight and then passed him up the hill as if he was standing still.  He tried to go with me, but another burst and he was off my heels and going backwards.  Three or four more scalps were claimed leading up to the final km and the twisty section through the houses and the finishing lane.  I was pushing as hard as I could on tired legs by now with the HR at 175 and the pace down to 4min per km.  Steady into the final few turns, some straw on the slippery bits, good, try and pick the quickest line up the verge on the lane and lunge for the line. 
Through the finishers funnel for my t-shirt and bottle of beer and a chat with the rest of the finishers.  See who did well and who wished they’d laid off a few mince pies.  

My time, by my watch 43:39, a PB by a massive 43 secs.  The official time was not so generous though at 43:54 having had to shuffle my way across the start line.  That’s the benefit of chip timing, but not at such a small race.  Either way it’s a PB, and that meant another £50 donation to my charities for the year.  In terms of placing, I came in 104th overall and 23rd in my age group, not bad considering.
All in all, with a late flurry from workmates and other well-wishers I met my target of £1000, getting to £1140 with gift aid, being split equally between Highfield Special School (http://www.highfieldschoolely.co.uk/supportus/about-us/) and JDRF (https://www.jdrf.org.uk/ ).

And how did the blood sugar control work out?
Well, I took advantage of the flexibility of the pump to try and manage the race BG and the race adrenaline but without needing to run high beforehand.  Breakfast was light on the carbs in any case to avoid the need for a large bolus, and then that was adjusted downwards for a low starting blood glucose and the later race.  That got me up to 5.6 2 hours after breakfast, and 6.4 90 mins before the race.  That’s where the features of the pump com into their own, allowing me to turn down the basal rate to 30% of normal, set for the next two and a half hours to allow for the lead up to the race and the race itself.  Pre warm up , OK at 6.6, dropping to 6.1 20 mins later so top up the carbs,  a quick 9-bar for slow release and then an energy gel 15 mins pre-race with the final test at 5.3, a bit on the low side but expecting the adrenaline to bring that up.  No chance to test in the race itself unlike longer distances so the carbs were essential to prevent any drops.
One hour later, after regaining my ability to see straight and breathe again, BG was at 8.4.  That was entirely due to the adrenaline causing the liver to dump its load of stored glucose.  That’s normally higher than I’d want to be, but it should get reabsorbed over the next couple of hours so a correction bolus here would not be such a good idea.  Pre-lunch that had gone up to 10.0, with the bolus adviser on the pump advocating a strong correction, which I resisted.  One hour later down to 7.0, two hours late 6.4, perfect.

That really is the beauty of the pump. Previously I’ve have had to cut both my morning background insulin injection and the breakfast bolus which would have had my BG elevated all morning.  The ability to fine tune and drop the basal rate an hour or two before the event allows a much more gentle rise for a shorter period of time.

It doesn’t always work quite right though, which is the subject of the next blog.


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