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The wrong 50K?

Big lessons earlier this month, both running and diabetes. Neither to be underestimated, the simple things seem to catch me out – if you have the patience read on to see if there is anything in it for you.

A busy summer with events has meant that it has been hard to get in to any routine, both my training and to a large degree my diabetes has taken a back seat. Both have suffered as a result – in many ways I look forward to the winter when I can slide back in to a routine.

Cartmel 3 peaks

A few weekends ago I was keen to get out for a long run, I mistakenly thought there was an event on locally the Cartmel 3 peaks (Howbarrow, Hampsfell and Humphrey Head) a little 22 miles.. by the time I realised it was the following weekend I had in my head that I was running.


A few tweaks, added a bit more food and another water bottle and lunch with the kids I was off. Great day out on many new paths I didn’t know. 5 hours of running and I was back in Cartmel pleased that I could pull off 22 hilly miles with little training.

Humphrey Head

The following evening as I set off with the local running club for a gentle run up Humphrey Head. Half way up I got the shivers and sweating more than what the temperature and effort I was exerting suggested. For most diabetics I think it’s fair you want to manage it so that whilst people know, it doesn’t interrupt everything you do. It is with that thought I asked my 3 other runners if they mind for me to stop and check my blood. 2.6 oh shit! we were a good 15 mins from the road.. sorry guys got to head back, one of the other runners called a partner to give me a lift.. was not much conversation from me as I jogged with a sense of purpose to get to somewhere useful before I fell over.

Quaffed some food and climbed in my car checked blood 7.4 – can’t really describe how cheesed off I was. 22 miles yesterday, yet couldn’t manage 3 tonight, I really am useless at this (maybe that is a little harsh).

WHY.. well I need to turn my insulin pump right down around 30-60 minutes before I start running. When I’m running especially at high heart rates it’s like someone has put the foot on the accelerator pedal. I only turned the pump down JUST after I started running.

The second reason is that after the 22 mile run the day before my body is a lot more sensitive to insulin so the ratios I normally use kind of go out of the window for a few days. I’d eaten just before running and put in the normal amount.

Hey hoo – next time..

Ultimate Trails 100K

The following Thursday morning an opportunity came about for me to to run in the Ultimate Trails 100K race on the Saturday. I figured that at my normal pace I should be able to crack it in around 18 – 19 hours – the event started at 6.00 am so I figured that I would finish about midnight.

The thing was on Sunday I had a train to catch at 10.50am. I was helping out on an event with Richard Whitehead, a double leg amputee paralympian who was running from John O’Groats to Lands End. In summary turning up in a mess and hobbling whilst it may be funny was not really an option I had to be running on all cylinders.


Photo Credit Ultimate Trails / James Kirby

I had a bit of a fitful nights sleep in the back of the car, kept needing the loo – 4.30am came around, porridge, tea and I was on the start line at 6.00am. It felt a more respectable pace at the back than the Lakeland 100, overtaking a few people especially on the descents.

The route headed from Brockhole – Garburn – Nan Bield – Bampton – Howtown and Patterdale, well that was the first 50K the second 50k had its twists and turn over to Borrowdale.

I’ll cut this short.. I went for a tumble down to Mardale, proper superman job. Didn’t know which way was north for a good 10 mins. Grateful to the runners who stopped. Got my head together and ran on soon realising that the cut offs were getting tight – I was ticking along at an OK speed but clearly not fast enough.

Mental calculations started going around my head, at Howtown that I knew I was not going to finish this event until the small hours, as it was I was getting close to a few cut offs.

I sacked it at Patterdale – 50K in. There was a 50 km version it’s just I did the wrong one. Returning to registration I did get cold again, shame thought I may have solved that one.

I set off home for a good nights sleep and ready for another week on Richard Whiteheard RUNS Britain.

Just for the record cause there is a bit of grumpyness going on about this event, I thought it was great – lots of marshals, signage was not silly but appropriate and cleared following last runner, all good…

Not so good – should have issued a proper map, food ran out on a few feed stations – and race organisers need to realise that racers need to get on top of food early in the race not later – biscuits, flapjack and jelly babies won’t get the back markers around. But all easily changed and no doubt they will be on top of this for next year.

Ultimate 100

Blood sugar (green) v Heart Rate (red)

From a diabetes point of view I thought I had this nailed… but I didn’t – I had a shocking night before the event with some low blood glucose readings and whilst I went in to the event high – in effect for the first 3 hours my sugars were heading south. I suspect when I fell I my blood sugar was around 5 ish, I was also a little dehydrated.

From there on it was a case of getting food in when I could and holding on to hope I could make it around. As ever on these things it was my undoing.. I need to be about 10-15% fitter so I can turn down the Heart Rate and get proper food in.

Ultimate 100 Sensor Data


Trend showing blood sugars and showing low sugar night before the event.

Another blog to follow – what happened when I followed Richard Whitehead to Lands End.

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