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Diabetics, 17 mile run and an Insulin Pump

A mixed bag for a title and all within 3 days. Have to admit The Fellsman a few weeks ago had knocked me for 6, not physically but more disappointed that I had to pull out. The context is there is 190 miles for the Howfast project, the Fellsman is a mere 61 and I yanked out just after 40 with that monkey of Hypothermia.

It has changed my thinking on the Howfast, in that I may have to hunker down somewhere warm (pub?) if the ambient temperature drops below 5 degrees.

Sports Weekend

So on to last weekend – over the past year I’ve met a few people who attended the Animas Sports Weekend at Loughborough in 2012.  So when the opportunity came up for 2013 I signed up and put the date in the diary.

Loughborough page 1

The venue again was Loughborough, I seemed to luck out with an executive room with a bed that could easily have fitted 6 bears. There were about 50 Type 1 diabetics on the weekend, all shapes and sizes and all with differing experiences of sport. Many had not done any sport at all and from those that I chatted to they were keen for this to give them the leg up.

Needless to say the social side for everyone was great, priceless for many who had never met another Type one who wanted or does sport. For me to meet other endurance runners / cyclists and to pick their brains about how they manage life was refreshing.

Conversely I’d say about 60-70% of people on the course had an insulin pump (which is in stark contrast to a recent report saying 7% of T1’s in the UK have a pump). This is indicative of insulin pumps being a great tool for sport.

The weekend was also peppered with sessions by experts in the field, Dr Ian Gallen, Dr Alistair Lumb and Dr Chris Kelly. All passionate about seeing Type one’s taking on sport – it was great to hear both their talks and to catch up with them out of sessions to chat about the Howfast project.

The other significant part of the weekend was exercise. Essentially 3 sessions where blood glucose was checked before, during and after. I was down for bootcamp (nasty circuit training upper body exercises), Fitness (bit the same but easier), and Cycling (spinning).


Photo credit Veronica Nervello

Have to confess I ached a little after the circuits and it did reveal I really am not that fit in regards to that illusive core. Cycling, in essence 20 mins spinning 5 min rest and then another 10 mins (I think). I really went for it on this one.. 1/2 way BG’s were just over 5, normally I’d back off or get some food down my neck, however the science says give it some and your BG’s will rise.

So with numerous consultants, diabetic nurses and 15 other diabetics in the room I though what the heck.. before long my Heart rate was at 184 (estimated max is 188). I was starting to get that stomach rising feeling that perhaps this was a tad too soon after dinner – in danger of throwing up in front of this esteemed group of wisdom and over this expensive Watt bike I backed off before I fell off. True enough my reading was 8.3 – but I was a tad unstable on my feet.

Fitness and Circuits

So top lessons from the weekend.

  • You can get blood glucose levels to rise during exercise
  • Best management is with a pump and if you can get, or afford one, a continuous glucose monitor
  • Your body does not need insulin to be injected during exercise
  • I was fascinated by the Fat Adapted diet used by endurance atheletes. I spoke to one T1 who had tried it and a consultant on the subject. In summary its near impossible for a type 1 diabetic to do it and arguably dangerous (no glycogen stores in case of a hypo).
  • I met some great people

For me the weekend finished too early (midday) with such a collection of people it seemed a shame to disband them at midday. Been good to have a quality session in the morning and close after lunch.

Back to the running

Still what it did mean was I had an opportunity to fit in a 17 mile run. For the Coast to Coast I’d recced all 190 miles bar 17 miles at the end of the North York Moors. Earlier in the Year Jim and I had cut this journey short so I needed to check it out. Knowing that where the route passes farms and uses more agricultural paths, a recce was worth while.

So instead of heading north on M6, I went north on the M1 to Northallerton. Arriving about 4.30pm I went to the station and found a taxi driver who was happy to take me to the start. I quickly got changed trying to grab odd bits of clothing and food that were in the car (I did have the foresight to bring maps).

The taxi driver thought I was nuts – 17 miles running? It was gone 5pm – must admit I was wondering if this was a sensible idea as the dark clouds started drifting in. He was a type 2 diabetic and wrestling with the weight issue, he was pretty chuffed having lost 2 stone in the last 6 months. Well done that man.

Out of the taxi up by Lord stones cafe, I sorted out kit – music / heart rate monitor / blood glucose and a jacket. It was raining and windy but it was GREAT.. I love this section of the Cleveland way the views across the vale of york even on this day were breath taking. Still was on a mission to do this before it got dark.

So with the forrest Gump Gene I just kept on running, a gel, a shot blox, apricot flap jack, another gel.. this was all good. Well until that last gel, now I’m a big fan of Clif products, for me the shotblox are a diabetics best friend – but that caffine gel was quite disgusting. Not sure I’ve ever EATEN a double expresso – here with the dilemma, eat it or try and fold up the gel until I find a bin. The latter always leaves a mess – so I crossed my eyes and finished it off. Little did I know that I would stay wired until 2 in the morning!

Half way in to the run I came off the escarpment and crossed the A19 (heck thats a busy road to cross if tired). The recce was proving its worth with path diversions around farms not marked on the map and tricky little turnings.

I was feeling a little spritely after that run, just over 3 hrs. Coming back to the car it felt odd that all 190 miles of the Coast to Coast had been covered in 5 months. A little jig and dance around the car to celebrate..


I jumped in the car and set off.. oh eck I’m getting cold. Made it to Scotch corner, change of clothes and shuffled shivering inside to get a Costa. How annoying, the hypothermia had its grip again and I needed to get warm. Cappuccino and chicken fillet sandwich.. feeling better but grumpy that I am afflicted by this.


Insulin Pump

This story is long enough for today, suffice to say Monday morning I was at Kendal Hospital to pick up my Insulin Pump. Not to be fitted for another week, more so I can read the tomb that comes with it and play with the buttons with it not connected to me.


I broached the idea of me paying for a continuous glucose monitor but the diabetic nurse was pretty anti that idea. I’m not sure she understands what I am doing.. I have a plan.

Still P day, as diabetics call it, is next Monday afternoon – 20th May.

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