Sunday, 26 February 2012

Blood, Sweat and Fears!

My circumnavigation of the City

Training has reached a point where, rather than aiming for several relatively short runs each week, I am having to combine longer runs closer to race distance with plenty of rest and recovery days in between. Hence the reduction in blog entries of late! I did go for a mid-week run of around 4 miles, but was still feeling some twinges from last Sunday’s long run in my right Achilles, so wanted to make sure I recovered fully before attempting today’s epic tour of the city!

I had it in my head that I wanted to run ten miles this morning, so I spent much of yesterday going through possible routes in my head that would be both interesting and feasible in terms of the inevitable hills I would encounter and at what points on the route. In the end I decided on some variations on last weeks long run, with the additional diversions hopefully making up the distance to ten miles – as it turned out, I actually ran 10.38 miles, so a pretty good estimate of distance there!

I chose to start off up a long, steep climb that was nevertheless not as monstrous a challenge as the steep hill of last week, which practically required pietons, crampons and safety ropes. This new hill took me to the top of that monster, but less precipitously and also adding some of the necessary distance to the morning’s run. There was still a small, sharp ascent right at the top, but then it was a gradual downhill stretch until I reached the eastern end of the broad bridge spanning the river.

It was a lovely, crisp morning and I opted for leggings to keep my muscles warm and t-shirt to keep my torso cool. I set off at sunrise, so the sky was already brightening and as I ran up and over the bridge I had the wide river ranging  far off into the distance on either side, its still blue water unruffled by any hint of a breeze and merging with the blue sky as the view extended out to the south and the Solent.

My aim throughout was that this should be a gentle, steady ten-miler, so I endeavoured to keep my pace nice and even and not overtax my lungs on the occasional climbs. Important too, that I should not run too quickly down slopes, in order to avoid the excessive impact on my fragile muscles, tendons and bones. Passing through the town centre I was heartened to realise that over four miles had now been completed in total comfort, with the prospects for the remaining six looking promising!

As I approached the Common I was passed by a runner, a much younger man (I had at least 30 years on him), who quickly disappeared into the distance. It’s good to see younger people run like that, and it reminds my of how glad I am that I was inspired by a friend back in 1983 who ran the Sheffield Marathon that year, and I was determined to equal his feat the following year, which I duly achieved. I was never a sporty person at school – most of the sport concentrated on rugby and cricket, neither of which particularly attracted me. But from the first few weeks into training for that first marathon I was hooked. Since then I have run many more marathons, but running has also been a big part of my everyday life. It gets you out of the house for very little outlay, takes you to places you may never go and offers immense flexibility in where you go and quickly or slowly you choose to get there.

Running undoubtedly has contributed to very good management of my blood sugar levels since diagnosis. The contrast in my sensitivity to insulin during running periods and lazy period is quite astonishing. During my last really lazy period where I probably didn’t run for a month or more, my insulin requirements doubled, and more. Currently I have one unit of lantus per day, back then it was eleven units, with similar hikes in bolus insulin. It’s something a non-diabetic simply isn’t aware of because they don’t need to consider it. I certainly had to consider it today though, as I finally reached the last stretch of my run through the park. As I was now at 8.5 miles I thought it prudent to eat something, so paused a moment to consume a jelly baby. I didn’t test as it didn’t seem worthwhile. The short pause and the sweet appeared to give me greater energy and I felt that the final couple of miles were easier – easier indeed that the first couple had felt!

So, I was very encouraged by the fact that I had achieved my goal of ten miles, and not only that, but ran the distance faster than I have done for many months or even years. It augers well for the race which is now two weeks away. The main concerns I have after the morning’s experiences are that I was very hot, and will be even hotter on race day in my costume. Another concern was that, just as I reached my door I wiped my nose against the back of my hand  - and noticed that it was covered in blood! For some unknown reason I had had a nosebleed – hope that doesn’t happen on the day, it might ruin my fairy dress!

Time               1:46:09
Distance        10.38 miles
Pace               10:14 per mile
BG before      8.7
BG after         6.5
Calories         1341

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