Monday, May 4, 2009

Flying Pig Half Marathon - the great, good, bad, and ugly

I am still digesting the events from the weekend, but it was definitely memorable. The Flying Pig was great, good, bad, and ugly. Before this race, I didn’t know I could feel such a way about a race, but now I do. According to the brochure in the Race Expo. Bag, the Flying Pig is one of the top 10 most fun marathons in the U.S.

I got to Cincy a little before 5:30 a.m. I woke up at 3:30 to eat breakfast because I did not want to have any active insulin in my body on the start line. I went into the stadium and got loose – “stretched” and used the bathrooms (a major plus of this race is that runners actually got to use real bathrooms and not porta-potties). At about 6:15, I was finally out of the ridiculously long bathroom line and decided I should make my way to the start. My dad went with me, so I gave him all my warm-up clothes and proceeded down to the street.

I should have come down a long time before that because I went into the crowd and noticed I was with the 5 hr. marathon pace team. My original plan was to run with the 3:30 pace team. I had to scramble through thousands of people to try to get up to the place I wanted to be. It never happened, and the whole first mile was a sprint for me to catch up to Pace Roger.

The first 5 miles went well. It was neat to cross the bridges in downtown Cincy and run into Kentucky. There were a lot of fans out in Covington and Newport to support us. For the race, I decided to rely solely upon my CGMS. My last race with it went well and it was very accurate, so I decided that would be best for this race, too. However, I was totally wrong. My CGMS was not accurate at all.

At the start line it said I was 150-something, which is where I wanted to be. The first 5 miles I dropped to the 130s, so I ate some glucose tabs but my blood sugar would not come up according to my sensor. The hilly part of the half marathon started at mile 5, and I wanted to make sure I had enough gas in my tank to conquer the hills. I ate 4 more glucose tabs at this point, and then it all went wrong. At mile 6 I was still with the pace team, but started to feel kinda bad. I felt sluggish and knew that I shouldn’t. I ate some more glucose tabs since my sensor was still reading 120. I thought I was just low. At the halfway point, mile 6.5, I put some tabs in my mouth but could not chew them. I felt them get stuck in my throught and started to choke. It felt like I could not breathe. At that point I knew that I had to stop because I felt like absolute crap.

I went off to the side of the hill and just stood and tried to swallow the tab in my mouth. A lady that was watching came up to me and rubbed my back, saying “are you okay?” I told her that I just really, really needed water. Luckily, at that time, another spectator, a middle-aged man, was walking up the hill and happened to have a water bottle. The woman said to the man, “can this girl have your water bottle? She really needs something to drink.” The guy responded by saying he drank half of it, but said I could have it. I drank a huge gulp of water and thanked them both. I walked for a couple more steps and then started to run up the hill again.

At that point in the race, I was well behind the 3:30 pace team with many hills left to conquer on my own. I ran the 7 – 9 miles relatively slow, still recovering from my choke. By mile 10, I felt a little better and began passing people again. I picked off people and used positive thinking to finish. By mile 12, I knew it was possible to PR so I poured it on. My last 1.1 miles was under 7:30, which I was happy with.

I PR’d, a miracle considering everything that happened (read on further for more explanation). My official time was 1:43:07. I am happy with it, but wished I could have broken the 1:43 mark. I thought I would with the chip time difference, but it was not meant to be.

When we got back to the car, my CGM was still reading 140. However, I tested and my real blood sugar was “Hi” on the meter – over 500!!!! No wonder I could not swallow the glucose tabs – I had no water in my mouth and probably had tons of keytones at that point. I was beyond disappointed in my sensor and wanted to throw the whole thing in the garbage when I got home. Being off by over 300 is not okay!!

The ugly – my numbers during the race; my starting position; choking on glucose tabs

The bad - the fact that I did not listen to my body signals and solely relied on my CGMS

The good – the fans were good. At each water station there was a different organization. My personal favorite was a high school football team. They had funny comments as I ran by.

The great – People are good. The lady and guy that helped me were so nice. I don’t know what would have happened without their generosity. Also, it is good that I PR’d.

Who could forget a day like that?

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