I am very pleased that I smashed my previous longest distance of 23km by completing 30km yesterday. It was also my longest continual exercise at 3 ½ hours (just over 33,000 steps!). Of course, I did this without sugar or carbs as usual.
Especially given the challenges that arose, I was very happy with this time. This distance is about 71% of a full marathon distance (42km) so whilst it will be challenging, I feel I might be on track to meeting my target of a 4 ½ hour marathon. We will see!
My next goal is to run 35km next week.
Thank you so much to everyone who has sponsored and supported me on my “marathon without sugar” journey. I am overwhelmed with the donations and kind words received. Find out more about my Marie Curie marathon in memory of “my third grandparents”.
How did it go?
I am particularly pleased with these results, not only because I ran further than I realistically thought I could at this point, but also because within this run, I also achieved my fastest ever km and fastest ever mile. In addition, the exercise duration of 3½ hours is half an hour further than it had been suggested I could go without sugar (I am confident I could have continued, but I have respect for my knees). My blood sugar was raised by the end of the run (as has been usual so far) despite no dietary carbohydrates.
As I am experimenting with how far I can go without sugar and have been advised I could become hypoglycaemic (“hitting the wall” as runners in the UK call it, or “bonking” as it’s called almost everywhere else 😊). This basically means you run out of sugar. I’ve been told the 3-hour mark is where it all begins. By following my own protocol, I have confidence that my body can generate the sugar it needs, along with protective ketones that will also fuel my brain. I am also remaining in an aerobic state to minimise my energy requirements.
However, not being blasé about my life or my health, and given I am now doing longer distances I have started to take precautions. I have started to take my blood test kit and a glucose tablet with me, so I can check my status and if all else fails get the sugar I need to get well again. I will also soon start carrying a note – particularly to make sure any medics know that I am NOT diabetic. They might make this reasonable assumption if they saw this kit. My mum will be particularly happy with these precautions, and I thank her for supplying the tablets! 😊
I have also ensured I carry my “backup phone”. This is an ancient but highly reliable phone that can put up with any weather condition, happy to be dropped, and has a battery life of about a week. Whilst I hope never to have to make a call to the emergency services, I have confidence this phone will get the job done – without the fuss of wet touchscreens, fingerprint readers, and dead batteries.
My biggest issues with this run aside from big blisters was a recurring heartburn, which became so severe around 15km I almost quit. Why did this happen? Well, I broke my own protocol the day before. The reason is I had a business trip in London, and alas trying to find healthy and nutritious food on the move there is a tough task. In the time I had I also could not find a healthy sit-down meal anywhere either – everywhere seemed to be full of drinkers! I ended up fasting for most of the day, then snacking on the way home. Whilst the snacks were within my usual carb / macronutrient limits – they were highly processed. As per a previous experience of having some KFC the day before a long run – the result is awful heartburn! So, I was reminded of the importance of eating well the day before – and not eating too late.
Fortunately – I realised that around my 15k I would be near some shops. So, via a sweeping visit, I picked up some antacids, took one and this got me back up and running – much to my relief!