BAA 10K. Bah!

I’m trying hard to keep some perspective on my 49:27 result in today’s inaugural BAA 10K in Boston.

It’s not the best 10K I’ve ever run, but it’s also not the worst. (That would have been the one where I finished last, well over a half-hour slower than today. I didn’t even have diabetes at the time.) I finished just out of the top quarter, so there were plenty of people who would have been happy with my time.

I ran into a bunch of people I know from work — Alex, Alexander and Portia, not to mention Annapoorna and Kaushik. I had a nice time warming up with Alexander, who finished about a minute behind me, and chatting with him and Alex afterward. (Alex finished about 20 minutes ahead of me, but we knew that he would be way up near the front.)

I saw the winners of the race a bit before my turnaround on the out-and-back course. (I couldn’t tell if women’s runner-up Kim Smith heard me when I cheered her with a “Go Kimmy!”) And there were loads of good-looking women up in the first-wave starting corral and around me during the race. It was when I couldn’t keep up with one of them — the one with the really steady 7:00 pace — that I knew something was amiss.

My first half of the 5K was really, really good. I knew I’d had trouble pacing myself in the past, so I decided to go out a clip that didn’t feel too fast. First mile: 6:53. Second mile: 7:08. These miles felt really comfortable . . . not easy, but I was certain that I could do the rest in that neighborhood.

In short, I was having a good great race, the kind that I had been envisioning when I visualized my performance and that I expected after looking over the previous couple weeks in my training log. This was my first “A” race since the triathlon seven week ago, and I had been feeling good about where I was with my conditioning and taper.

After slowing down at the tail end of the first 5K (which I did in 22:00 — just off my short-rest PR time last month) I had to walk a bit. I choked down a few chalky glucose tablets, though I wasn’t sure I was low. It took a lot of effort to push through the last few miles; the last one was a particular challenge. When I finished more than twenty-seven minutes later, shuffling along at more than 25% off my desired pace, I had the bright spot in my vision that I see when I’m low.

As I walked through the post-race corral, I had visions of myself needing a little help getting to my BG meter in my baggage, but I managed on my own alright, despite having “baby giraffe legs.” My finishing BG was 68 mg/dL (3.7 mmol/l). I suspect that’s the low-rent BG neighborhood where I was most of the last three miles.

So there’s the bad: diabetes got me (again) during one of the races that I’ve trained hardest for. But here comes the second slice of bread in the happy sandwich.

This is my first race at a distance that I’ve done before within the last ten years. The day would eventually come when I would have a disappointing performance in a race where I had a benchmark. Today was that day. This had to happen.

There will be more 10K races. There’s one every weekend it seems.* And I’m in the best shape of my life right now. I like how I’m progressing, how I feel and look, and what I’m capable of doing. I suspect that I have more potential left to develop, and I’m excited about giving it another go.

And, as always, this is another diabetes learning experience. I’m still just a novice badass diabetes mofo. (BA-D-Mofo?) Next time I’ll remember to lower my temporary basal rate 30-45 minutes before the start. (I made that mistake at New Bedford, too. On race mornings, I should write myself a note in Sharpie next to my watch that says, “Lower your basal!”) I’ll figure out how to eat something before an event so that I have something in my stomach and legs without messing up the insulin and/or BG. I’ll have more things worked out, and I’ll get that sub-43:00 I know I can do.


* — The only good thing about running those last few miles so slow is that my legs still feel relatively fresh. I could probably run another 10K next weekend, but I’m no crazy Mzungu. After all, I need to put some serious miles in on my bike so that I can ride all over Provence in a few months . . . and maybe do something else exciting, too. :^)

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5 Responses to BAA 10K. Bah!

  1. Caroline says:

    If it makes you feel any better…..I’ve run 4 (official) 10K races. How did they go?
    #1: I probably could have counted on 1 hand the number of times I had run more than 5 miles at that point. The course was horribly crowded and I got shoved out of the way on the narrowest bits plenty of times. Finished 12 minutes slower than hoped for.
    #2: Missed the train to Central Park, BG spiked out of nowhere, train broke down, got there 45 minutes late, ran the race by myself, crossed the finish line and broke down crying, went to the medical tent and discovered that my BG had crashed after the spike and that I had (also) run the 2nd half of the race low. I didn’t even have a finish time on that one.
    #3: Planned on running nice and easy because it was to be my marathon training long run (at the beginning of the season). Until I got really pumped up in the last mile and sprinted. And then crossed the finish line and puked in the grass. (Afterwards, a grizzled old marathoner told me that I run slowly because I’m too fat.)
    #4: This was the Healthy Kidney 10K where I debuted the Blunt Lancet shirt. I was coming off of a cold….so I barely got a mile in before my airways freaked out. I had to walk half the time AND skip off to blow snot rockets every quarter mile.

    I’ve lost hope of the “break 1:00″ goal, all I want is a 10K without any trouble!

  2. Scully says:

    Oh Jeff, that certainly does suck. The diabetes part of it.
    We really do have so much more to work with since we never really know how our sugars are going to go.
    It freaks me out that you ran a large portion of the race LOW! I guess you don’t carry a meter with you. I don’t know how you do it.
    Better luck next time, although you’re still a fast runner regardless!

  3. Jeff Mather says:

    Scully: I didn’t mean to run so much of the race low, of course. On my longer runs, I do carry a meter, which I had with me before the race. But I hate having to carry all that stuff; my pockets are already stuffed with my meter, Gu packets, and a tube of glucose tablets. I was hoping that the race would be like my typical outings, where I don’t carry a meter on runs less than an hour. But this one was different . . . in so many ways.

    Once I realized I was going low, I probably should have called it a day, hopped on the T, and waited for another day. I’ve never DNF’ed a race, though. I guess I am a crazy Mzungu.

    Caroline: Sorry you’ve had the suck during your 10K races so often. At least you have the longer races. Did you punch the grizzled old man in the face? (Or at least puke on his shoes?)

  4. Jeff Mather says:

    Oh, and I found my hypoglycemic race pace: 8:30-8:40. I suppose I can use that on shorter races to figure out when I’m going low. “Dude, you’re running at your typical recovery pace, but it feels like your hardest tempo run. Maybe you should stop.” Ha!

  5. Victoria says:

    Caroline — I agree and hoped you punched grizzled old man in the face. Also, thank you for the Blunt Lancet shirt idea! I’m totally buying one and wearing it in my upcoming sprint tri.

    Jeff — I run a 5K in what you just ran a 10K in. Just wanted you to know you are awesome!

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