First Ever 10K Race
Sunday 4th February 2018 was the day of my first ever 10k race. I booked a place in the event as part of my training program for the ➡ London Marathon in April. Not wanting to do just any old 10k I went for the London Winter Run, put on by Cancer Research UK. Being the biggest mass participation 10k winter running event in the UK, with 20,000 runners. This gave me great practice of taking part in a mass event ready for April.
In this blog I want to show my approach to competing in the race alongside how I (tried) to manage my blood sugars. I have been doing 5k Parkruns for 9 months now so have a good strategy for dealing with those. My training for the marathon has involved lots of long runs, so a strategy is developing there too. 10K however is a bit of step into the unknown. Too long to use my 5k strategy and not long enough to use my long run strategy – best approach I could think of was ‘’try it and see’’.
Below is what I did for MY race and MY diabetes. Yours could well be the polar (bear) opposite, that’s just the way diabetes is I guess!
Saturday 3rd Feb – 7pm Dinner’s Up
Night before the event, had a meal with decent amount of more complex carbs. Always best to make sure the glycogen stores are topped up and ready for the event.
10.00 pm – Bedtime
Living the rock and roll life and in bed by 10pm on a Saturday! Always best to go into any event well rested. Blood sugars at 8 mmol/l – perfect for once.
Sunday 4th Feb 6.00 am – Wakey Wakey
Up early to get ready and double-check I’ve got everything. At this time of the morning the only thing on the menu is coffee. No day can begin without it, next to insulin this is the liquid that keeps me going.
No breakfast for me, I always like to run with no active bolus on board to avoid hypos. Blood sugars 5.4 mmol/l – happy with that.
7.00 am – Out Of Here
Leave the house to get the train into town. Making sure I have my energy gels, glucose tablets, hydration drink and a protein drink. Having tried most brands on the market I have settled on Science In Sport products for my fuelling.
They work well for me and give me the results I need from a diabetes perspective. Blood sugars 7.3 mmol/l – happy days.
8.00 am – Top Tip
90 minutes prior to exercise I need to reduce my basal, or at least most of the time this works. So I set my pump to a 60% reduction in my basal rate. On longer runs I reduce by 90%, on 5k runs I reduce by 20%, so 60% seemed to be an educated guess for the unknown distance of 10k. Blood sugars 6 mmol/l – Mmmm needs to be up a little before race start – 15g glucose should help.
8.30 am – Hello London
Arrived at Charing Cross plenty ahead of my start time of 9.30am. I always like to be early, for everything! But this gave me the chance to take in some of the atmosphere of the day, not a bad thing in my book. Blood sugars 5.1 mmol/l – not so good, take 25g glucose on board to lift me up.
8.50 am – Pre-Race Adrenaline
Seeing a packed Trafalgar Square, full of runners of all varying ability’s, was pretty awesome. I can only imagine how exciting it is going to be in Greenwich Park on 22nd April. Adrenaline starting to kick in all ready.
I found in the Royal Parks Half last year my blood sugars dropped at this point, today proved to be the same. Blood sugars 4.9mmol/l – More glucose needed 25g this time.
9.15 am – Ready To Race
In the starting pen and feeling good. This is what all runners train for, this feeling right now. Irrelevant of whatever my blood sugars are at this point I would take on some fuel. Pretty sick of glucose tablets by now so go for a decent sized banana. Blood sugars 7.2mmol/l – that will do, had a fair idea with the hard effort I was about to put in my numbers would rise during the race.
9.30 am – And We Are Off
This was it, the race was on. At this point I’m all about the running. Type 1 runs with me, not the other way around, have a look on Twitter at #T1drunswithme. Having said that I know it still needs some respect and thought – it will bite you if you ignore it. I use Dexcom G5 CGM for keeping track of my numbers, and thanks to some clever folks I can get the data straight on the screen of my Garmin.
Start – 7.2mmol/l and rising
1km – 7.2mmol/l and flat
2km – 6.3mmol/l and dropping
3km – 6.3mmol/l and flat
4km – 6mmol/l and flat
5km – 5.7mmol/l and flat
6km – 5.7mmol/l and dropping steadily – decided to try a 10 second sprint to see if I could stop the drop
7km – 5.5mmol/l and flat – mmm only 3km to go, push on and take nothing on board
8km – 5.9mmol/l and rising – I had really upped my effort at this point, bloods responded by going up
9km – 5.9mmol/l and rising
Finish – 6.4mmol/l and knackered!!!
As you can see without CGM all of this data, well it just wouldn’t exist. There is no way I could stop every KM and check my blood sugars with finger pricking. CGM really gives me the safety blanket I need when training and running. It is fully attainable without it but for me, it’s a game changer.
10.15 am – Smashed It
10km in 45 minutes!! My quickest ever time over this distance, showing that #t1drunswithme Chuffed doesn’t even come close. Protein drink now, just helps get the muscle repair underway as soon as possible. 25g carbs in the drink as well, not a bad thing. With all exercise you need to put back in what you’ve taken out (isn’t that right Mr Bright).
11 am – Go On T
My diabuddy Teresa was also running in today’s event, and once again she smashed it with another P.B. Well done T, another diabadass showing #t1drunswithme.
Blood sugars now 5.7mmol/l and flat, kept the temporary basal on. Trial and error has taught me that a drop normally follows hard exercise. Keeping the TBR hopefully will prevent any hypos. As it turned out everything went perfectly today, luck or judgement, who knows?
So What Has My First 10k Taught Me?
Well quite a lot to be fair. 10k running is different to longer distances, and vastly different to 5k running. As with everything to do with diabetes and exercise, every day is a school day. There is no such thing as a bad run, these are good learning experiences.
When you consider I had taken on over 120g glucose and my blood sugars never went high, I consider today to be a success. The thing is that day had been perfect, if I could do this all again next week I would probably have completely different results. That is just the nature of diabetes unfortunately. All we can do is keep at it, develop a plan which usually works for us and adapt it as needed each time.
All the best plans are developed and worked out in training runs. Sadly race day is a different beast. Excitement and adrenaline response cannot be planned for, you just have to wing it. Look at the facts and make the best decision you can at that time. For me race events seem to make me run lower and flatter than I normally would.
As long as we make T1D run with us and not the other way around then we are winning #t1drunswithme.
If you would like to support me in my London Marathon challenge that would be amazing.
Take Care, April 22nd Is Just There