A Tale of 2 Races - Part 2 - NJ Ultra Fest 100 Mile Race Report

When speaking to diabetic athletes new to training, or more common, parents of diabetic kids in sports, a common question is how to handle a high blood sugar during an event. Common sense would tell you to skip your nutrition and let the exercise bring down the blood sugar.

In practice for me, this works, albeit slowly and at risk to performance in the given event. So staring at my 351, I took about 65% of the insulin I normally would when that high, and still loaded up at food at the aid station and headed out for my second 10 mile loop.

Another diabetic complication soon followed. When CGMs and blood sugar readings are as far apart as these 2 were, it’s not uncommon for the CGM to ask for another calibration test. Because I just left the aid station, I didn’t have time to give it one. Soon after, the CGM stopped reading until I would provide it with that test.

Despite the diabetic issues, the run was going well at this point and the second loop progressed uneventfully. I came into the aid station at the twenty mile mark about five minutes ahead of schedule, inadvertently missing my family in the process.

I was hopeful to find my blood sugars back in line, or at least heading that way but when I tested at mile 20, both gave me temperature errors, due to the cold. I shifted my one meter from my race vest to my waist belt, hoping that would warm it up by the 30 mile mark.

At the 30 mile mark, I was thrilled to finally meet up with my family at the aid station. While I had a long day in front of me, it was awesome to greet them with hugs after nearly 5 hours of running. The cold weather had my nose running freely and I was able to ask my wife to bring me some skin cream for it. I was a little disappointed, however, to find both of my meters still frozen! I gave my wife the larger one and told her to keep it someplace warm. I also removed the smaller one from my race belt and slipped it under my glove – in retrospect something I should’ve done far sooner.

Out on the trail, I was bumping into Ryan every hour or so. By now, he was running strongly in 2nd place, though first was well in front of him. I thought it was funny how every time I saw him he was walking while I still had my runner shuffle going. He’s walking, I’m running, and he’s kicking my butt by more every time I saw him!

I came into the 40 mile mark at 6:48, and was thrilled that my meter warmed up enough to give me a reading of 77. In 30 miles, I had taken enough insulin to knock down the high and had kept the fuel going in me enough to keep from going low. 5 hours and 30 miles with no blood sugar tests and I still had close to a perfect blood sugar. I ate a bit more than usual and headed out for the trail.

In addition to diabetes, I was employing other strategies to make the miles pass. I started taking a couple ibuprofens at mile 10. I had hoped to wait until at least 20, but the foot tendinitis I’d been dealing with for the past few weeks made itself apparent when I was leaving the aid station after the first loop, so I thought it best to be a bit proactive. At mile 20, I’d also added music to the mix – a huge eclectic play mix of everything from old country to alternative and Meat Loaf.

When I met up with Ryan on the trail after mile 40, he told me a lot of runners were pulling the plug, due to the deteriorating trail conditions. The shoulders of the mud puddles had pretty much given way to the slush by this point and every loop required getting our feet wetter and colder. I had switched my socks at 30 miles and wondered if the other 3 pair that remained would be enough.

Still, I was surprised to hear that so many runners were quitting. While the trail was in horrible shape, it was still a flat trail. Wait and take my chances on another trail on another day? No thanks, I thought.

The next 30 miles didn’t pass in a blur, but they did pass. Aside from 1 strange pass where I got in a funk for 5 minutes, I didn’t walk at all, aside from up the 1 hill each loop. I talked a bit with some runners, but not much, and was fairly satisfied with being alone with my music. The highlight of each loop was magnified by seeing my wife and kids at the close of most of the loops. A particular spot of brilliance was when my daughter got the idea to take my soiled socks to the laundrymat, which allowed me to switch every 10 mile for the rest of the race.

I couldn’t call it a perfect blood sugar day. I had a habit of eating too much at 1 aid station and too little at the next, so I’d see myself vacillating from 170 to 100. Still, all in all, it was pretty good.

By now, the guy in first place had quit and Ryan had taken control of the lead.

As for me, I had hoped to be somewhere between miles 60 and 65 when the sun went down, and was thrilled to be at 67 when I turned on my light. It was at this point that I began to realize that things were going better than I’d expected.

I came into the aid station at mile 70, and my wife said, “Do you know you’re in 4th place?” While the number was surprising to me, I can’t say I was overly surprised. At this point, I’d been running steady for 13 hours and things were feeling awesome. For the first time, I acknowledged that I might have a shot at a coveted “Speedster Buckle,” reserved for those under 20 hours.

Fortunately, I didn’t spend too much time worrying about the Speedster buckle, because while I left the aid station at mile 70 on top of the world, things were about to some crashing down.

End part 2


  1. "At this point, I’d been running steady for 13 hours..." That statement alone is freaking amazing to me.

    Anxiously awaiting part 3...


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