Marcus Grimm - International Racer

Whenever I travel for work, I usually do a cursory glance at the Internet to see if there might be a race I can fit in. It's not that I have a big desire to do them on these trips that are always slight on sleep and heavy on work and food, but it seems a shame if I would miss one.

Though I've been fortunate enough to travel to Europe many times in the past few years, I'd never been able to find a race when I was there that was close enough to my hotel to do. In addition, flying over on a Saturday nights means I land in the UK with about 3 hours of sleep, so I'm already a bit exhausted when I get there.

This time around, though, I got lucky. A 10k that had originally been scheduled for February 5 had been rescheduled (due to snow) at 11am the day I arrived in London. Of course, that didn't mean I was ready to race it well. Saturday had been a 20 mile run. Saturday night had been an overnight flight, where my best guess is I got 2.5 - 3 hours of sleep. We arrived in London at 6:30am. I had a 5 Hour Energy, bid my coworker farewell and took a cab to the village of Cheam.

While there were many small flaws in my plan, certainly one of them was the cab that deposited me at an empty park 2 hours prior to registration opening. I passed the time trying to stay warm in a park restroom.

About an hour later, I saw the organizers begin to arrive and I introduced myself. They were certainly a little shocked that anyone would be crazy enough to jump in their race just off of an overnight flight. Somehow, they seemed to take this to mean I might be a wonder of strong ability, and it took some convincing to assure them that, all things considered, I'd be happy for a 43 minute finish.

Meanwhile, my defective pancreas and well meaning insulin pump were struggling to figure out what I was doing and why I wasn't sleeping. Despite my usual energy bar, I still found my blood sugar dangerously low at 65 fifteen minutes prior to the start. I slammed down 2 gels, and hoped that would be enough as the gun went off.

Of the many races I have run, this one was one of the more interesting.... 4 laps around a park that was once the hunting grounds of Henry VIII. In addition, the park was over-run by pedestrians and dog owners, few of which seemed to know a race was happening. One time I had to hurdle a dog leash, just in time to hear, "Good show, mate!" Another time, I narrowly missed a toddler on a bicycle.

By the third pass on the park, I began lapping people, often to the labored breathing of a competitor saying, "Cheers, mate!" All in all, it was very British and very fun.

I kept the pace calm, so as to not push things after very little sleep in the middle of my Boston build. I took 10th place among the men and 12th overall. At the end, my blood sugar was a healthy 85 and I was proud to call myself an international racer.


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