I have had some time to think about my experiences at this amazing race. Right after the race I was overwhelmed with exhaustion and didn’t really feel like running another really long race again, let alone a 50km or longer race. Then, after a nice meal, a beer, and a good night’s sleep I came to realize what I had accomplished.
I was semi-competitive for most of first 50km race but ran out of juice in the last 5-10km without having run more than 32km in my life. I was around 20th at the final aid station and was passed by about 40 people during the final ascents. I ended up finishing in 60th out of 177 people with a time of 6:22hrs. I was really tired and ended up stopping often. My heart rate was sky rocketing when walking. However, if I did it again I think I know how to better push through the exhaustion. I have used this in recent 5km races and workouts to push.
I did not have any issues regarding my diabetes. My insulin pump site stayed attached and I remembered to insert a spare(did not need it), keep another in my bag along with a syringe. I was within a good range the whole race and I cannot complain what so ever about this. Even my control following the race was amazed and I had to guess on the dosage a bit and accommodate what I guess would be a lot of glycogen depletion.
I learned that a really slow run is a world faster than walking and it generally turns into a faster paced run. After a hill or a quick break I was able to say lets go and just ease back into it. I have been meaning to read it, but the title of the book “Relentless Forward Progress” is very apt in this case. I kept repeating that title and pushing through.
The conditions were really good. It started cool, but not cold and I wore a long sleeve shirt and shorts. Towards the end it got warmer but for the first 3 aid stations I did not need to refill my water. Afterwards I ran out before each aid station. I was expecting more snow, but there was only a little and it was easy to get through. The mud was awesome. Not so deep that you got stuck, but it made people try to go around. Big mistake. I was passing others trying to navigate around the mud and working half as hard.
As for after the run, I was not broken. Trails are amazing for that. They hurt and tire you but generally leave you intact. A few months before this race I did a half marathon on the road that broke me for a month.
That leaves now. I am focusing on some faster races and then will do another 50km race in October. The Wild Duluth 50km race. Should be exciting and not too hot. Next week is the first mile race of the season and I have won a couple local 5km races in the past month. Running fast is fun too.
I thought I would share my thoughts on my first ultra yesterday, the Superior Trails Spring 50km. Not the running part, it was great but I worked on that for months before the race. I am really excited about how well my blood sugar was both before and after.
I used a pump and a CGM. I found a way to keep them stuck to me for over 6hrs I was out there and didn’t need to go to my backup site I had inserted, my spare site in my backpack or a syringe. My checklist seemed to help as it kept my mind on what to bring because luck would have it that if I forgot my spares like I did at my first trail marathon, I would have needed them and ended up pulling out.
The race started at 7am and I wanted to eat prior so I got up at 2:30am so that the bolus was mostly gone. In the past, the tail end of the bolus becomes very significant with the change in sensitivity I have. Normally under 0.1units wouldn’t be noticed. Then at 5am I set a temporary basal of 15%.
As expected, I started trending up going in but started the race at about 7.0mmol(125) and this continued for a bit and then started to drop. At about an hour in I started dropping a bit, this seems to be the magic time, and I ate a sport gel. This brought me back up and it kept trending up for a while. So I used a correction bolus of 0.2units and upped my basal to 20% of normal. This is where I wish my pump had a smaller increment than 0.025units/hr as it seems that somewhere between 0.150 and 0.175units/hr for the first few hours would have been perfect and later on, somewhere between 0.175 and 0.2 would have been. But I just kept bouncing my glucose between 6.0mmol and 10mmol after the initial little high of around 11mmol. I am not complaining at all. Although, I did notice that 7mmol/L seemed to be the sweet spot for how I felt.
Long story short, I was able to run my race, perform well and diabetes did not get in my way. It has kicked me in the butt enough times and I actually feel invincible now. I have no hypo’s or hyper’s much past 10mmol/L, it is possible to have decent control in tough situations.
As for the running part, I trained for about a 5hr race and had about 5hrs in me. I think I was top 20 until the base of Moose Mtn on the way back and between there and the finish I dropped 40 spots to finish 60th out of 177 people. I have never run more than 3.5hrs before so I cannot complain. I actually don’t feel beaten up or hurt much at all. I have hurt way more after a hard or really long run. I feel invincible almost. So maybe it is time to throw some speed back in the game and own a 5km or two. Get that time under 18min again.
I will be running in a trail half this Sunday and I plan to have some fun with it if this newly acquired cold lets me go. Might be a forced taper. I already have my 1/2 marathon time this year of 1:28 in the local Miles with the Giant 1/2 marathon course and can play with the pacing this weekend. I am thinking of pushing it a little earlier on and trying to hold onto some of the relay teams.