Monday, January 28, 2008

Race Report: Central Park Half Marathon

While fighting through major blood sugar issues and a strained quad I was able to finish my first half marathon in 1 hour, 50 minutes and 29 seconds - an 8 minute, 24 second mile pace; both well within my goal range and faster than the 10k pace from just a few weeks ago! My Coach, Mary Eggers and sports nutritionist, Lauren Antanucci both laid out a tremendous plan for me and continue to help my confidence as an endurance athlete grow.

Saturday I had a hard day of workouts with a 20 minute run and what was supposed to be a 3000 meter swim. I made 2500 meters of the swim and was totally gassed so I determined it was best to fight the water another day. That evening I had what has quickly become my favorite meal and what I will continue to have the evening before all my races:

1 1/4 cups whole wheat penne pasta
1/4 cup of peas 1/4 cup fresh cut mushrooms Red sauce with arugula Fresh Mozzarella cheese Basal, Oregano and Some Chilli Pepper 1/2 lbs. of ground buffalo

Total carbs - 80 and bolused with a 70/ 30 dual wave for 3 hours - perfect pre race nutrition and delicious!

Unlike the night before the 10k where my blood sugar spiked into the 200s I went to bed with a gorgeous bs of 91 - it seemed that my neighbors (in the building that is cady-corner to me) who like to shout chinese at each other and cook until 2 in the morning stayed up even later than usual but I still got a somewhat decent night's sleep. I woke up at 6:35 am and tested with a blood sugar of 125 - off to a perfect start.

For breakfast I had 2 scrambled eggs, breakfast chicken apple sausage and 2 slices of whole wheat toast, 6 oz of black coffee and 5 oz of orange juice. I hopped in a cab and arrived to the engineer gate at 7:40 am as planned, found a bench changed out of my pre-race get up into my CW-X tights, running hat and terminatoresque Oakley Radars.

Of course things couldn't continue perfectly! NYRR decided to have the bag drop be conducted somewhere other than the bag pick up location. They lined up 4 box trucks in a small corralled area to collect the bags from everyone. Each truck had 2 people collecting bags and a mass of people trying to throw the bags at the two people - this may have been the dumbest idea any race organizer has ever had. I've learned that some runners are pushy, arrogant and really annoying - force about 1,000 of them into a small area pre race to hand in their gear bag and it makes for a colorful situation. After fighting through the mash pit for 10 minutes I gobbled up my clif bar and made my way to the start area.

Here's where the day started to get really tough:

8:21 AM - 9 minutes before the start of the race I test and my blood sugar is just 112 - uhoh plan A that Lauren laid out so nicely was now out the window - time to go into emergency plan.

Emergency plan: 1/2 of clif bar (20 g of carbs), Accel Gel (25 g of carbs), 3 glucose tabs (15 g of carbs) in the 5 minutes before the race started.

First mile - ran at a 8:05 pace - so much for starting slow (sorry Coach!), I really thought I had held back but apparently not, I slowed it up a bit at this point and 2 minutes later I had my accel gel (25 g of carbs); at minute 30 - about 4 miles into the race I tested and was shocked to see a blood sugar of only 121 - I had ingested 85 g of carbs unbolused with only 10% of my basal rate in the previous 45 minutes and only had a bs of 121 - not good! I jammed down 3 more glucose tabs (15 g of carbs) which are really tough to eat while running and continued on my way.

At this point I made the decision not to test again for the rest of the race. I know - stupid idea. But, The goal has always been more important to me than my body. Getting the job done and proving to myself that I can do it, and do it well has always been # 1 in my book. My body and my health have always been secondary. This mentality will never change because it makes me who I am but this mentality is also really at odds with being a diabetic athlete.

Every 25 minutes for the rest of the race I had another accel gel (5 during the race) and grabbed gatorade at every other aid station. By the end of the race I had ingested about 250 g of carbs and my stomach paid for it the rest of the day. The biggest challenge I had was around mile 11, my hamstring started to tighten up and I had laid out a lovely fragrance on the course for the past 3 miles (thanks accel gels!) when I saw my salvation - a guy running in a Union Rugby t-shirt. My big rival in college was Union, our football team's hated each other - a maylay broke out after our game my sophomore year - think of this as a D-3 version of Ohio State v Michigan. Anytime I see a Union sticker on a car, someone walking in a Union Sweatshirt I instinctively say F*ck Union! (my friends can attest to this) and then in my head start singing Hobart's fight song - this guy gave me the adrenaline boost I needed to motor it home; for the first time in my life I can be thankful of seeing that awful scarlet color.

Quick update: I turn my pump down to 10% of basal rate at least an hour and a half pre run, maintain that 10% until 15 minutes after run than switch to 50% of basal rate for a couple hours. Thank you all for the suggestions in the comments!


Anne said...

Congrat's Ed!! I'm glad you made your time goal, and that the diabetes didn't get in the way too much.

I'm just curious, and maybe you've discussed this previously.. But have you tried shutting your pump off completely for an hour or so before you start exercising?

I'll write a blog entry soon on testing while running and biking! Running is pretty easy but biking takes a bit more practice. :)

Rest up!

Brett said...

WOW WOW WOW! You'll have to write a book some day full of matrices on starting BGs, intermediate during races, and post-race BGs along with level of stress and amount of carbs eaten. I can't imagine how many people out there could benefit from some general rules and helpful tips like 'what worked' and 'what didn't'.


Colleen said...

Hey Ed! Congrats on finishing your first half marathon! I know what a great feeling that is! I was thinking the same thing as Anne about shutting off your pump. When Tom was diagnosed, his doctor (who is a competitive biker) told Tom that exercise for him equals insulin. I'm sure that's true for you as well. Between your workouts and the pump, it's no wonder you have to ingest so much sugar. It seems like you are doubling the insulin and therefore having to compensate with sugar. Tom aims to start a run around 180 and very rarely needs sugar (no matter the distance), but he doesn't have insulin being pumped through. Inevitably his sugar drops slowly throughout the workouts naturally with exercise. Just a thought... also, you're still in the honeymoon phase. You'll find that your insulin needs are a lot less now, and will be more affected by exercise. Email me if you have any quesitons about all of this. I'm with Tom at every work out and we've gotten pretty good at controlling things! :) It's a trial and error. thekingerys at

Shannon said...

You did phenomenal!!!!!! Congratulations!

I'm curious, like Anne, to know whether you turned off your pump before and during the race.

Anonymous said...

Hey stop living in the past. Get over the petty college rivalries.

Dying Water Buffalo said...

your pre race dinner looks a LOT better on your blog than when you sent it to me on my cell phone!

Good race, I am psyched for you to have mile times that are far under 9 minutes! You were really cruising.

You better freaking test during lake placid. I am going to stab you myself whenever we pass each other on the course if you aren't doing it!

Paige said...

Does this mean, we'll be classmates!!! SO STOKED! :D