Bear Mountain hosted the first stage of the North Face Endurance Challenge on Saturday April 12th. Rather then test my luck or prove my insanity to the world I opted for the mild (or so I thought) 10k, versus the 1/2 marathon or ultra distances (50k and 50 miler) that took place. Since the race was close to my parents house this also marked the first time they would see me compete in an endurance sport. Most of their lives have been spent chasing after my sporting events; although my college was over 5 hours away from their house and we played some away games over 10 hours away from the house they amazingly never missed a game.
Friday night I drove home from the city and prepared my pre-race meal of ground buffalo, whole wheat protein enriched penne pasta and a ton of water for my parents and younger sister - a great test run for IMLP! That evening I went to bed with a great blood sugar and fell into a deep slumber until the pouring rain woke me at 5am - perfect for a trail run I thought. At about 7:45 am I had a pistachio muffin and a large glass of coffee as I filled my fuel belt bottles with the Ironman Cocktail. At 8:10 am we left Mahopac and headed to Bear Mountain. I think I gave both my Mom and Dad migraines by blaring Wolfmother on the ride over!
Pre-race my blood sugar was a fantastic 214, for the first time in the past 4 or 5 events I wasn't nervous of a low heading into a race!!!! However, this enthusiasm was short lived. At the start of the race something simply felt "off", before we even reached the start of the trail I started to almost hyperventilate; I was able to control my breathing but as we started the monstrous climb my muscles felt insanely fatigued. Just outside of the group of lead runners I pulled over to the side of the rocky trail and tested - 395, not good, not good at all - for the first time since my diagnosis I had to bolus during a run; this also meant I couldn't take in any nutrition for a while.
The 1,000 foot 2 mile climb was freaking insane, add to that the high blood sugars and it was a rough rough day, my second test of the day at about mile mark 2.5 my blood sugar had come down to 248, so I gave myself another small bolus and continued on. After finally reaching the aid station I gulped down 2 glasses of water and headed out on the second leg of the course. Shortly after that I felt my body return to somewhat normal but the fatigue had really set in. I finished somewhere in the front of the middle pack at just over an hour and 20 minutes; although I wasn't thrilled with my effort, I couldn't have asked for better experience. Each new race is going to bring a different obstacle and while the blood sugar kicked my butt I was able to deal with it and fight through to the finish.
This race also gave me a whole new appreciate for xterra runners and ultra marathoners. The trail was BY FAR the hardest run I had ever done; rocky, hilly and wet. We ran through streams, plodded through mud and sweated up a storm. Areas of the course were so technical that all you could do was walk and pray that you didn't fall down on the jagged rocks. Without question a totally new experience and while I'm not sure that trail running is for me, it was alot of fun.