Posted by & filed under diabetes, running.

I crossed the finish line mumbling “never again, never again” with the last ounce of energy I could muster. I had just run the hardest 26.2 miles of my life.

Medal and II had trained hard for the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon and hadn’t missed a single training session. A few weeks previously I had run my longest training run, 20.4 miles at 8:21/mi pace. I wanted to run the London Marathon at a rather optimistic 8:00/mi pace and figured with the crowds, adrenalin and flat-ish course that I might be able to improve on 8:21/mi over the distance; how wrong I was.

Weather on the big day was much warmer than expected. I could tell standing on the zone 6 (of 9) start line that those runners with woolly hats, leggings and gloves would have to rethink their clothing strategy…or get hot. During the run I stepped over quite a few pairs of gloves, just discarded on the course — not really a surprise.

The first couple of miles were busy. Lots of runners jostling for limited road space. Organisation on the day was exceptional but nonetheless there were a lot of runners to squeeze out of Greenwich Park. Pace-wise I was doing really well with pace over the first five mile of 8:04, 7:45, 7:47, 7:46 and 7:57. Unfortunately, that was the best part. Miles 6 and 7 past The Cutty Sark were slower at 8:21 and 8:19 in part I think due to the caterpillar effect of all those runners slowing to go around the narrower course at that point but something else just didn’t feel right — I didn’t feel “on form” and sensed this run, although started well wasn’t going to finish the way I’d expected.

A slight speed-up at mile 8 to 8:15 once the throng had cleared a little was really the tipping point from which everything went downhill, race-wise.

I think the warm weather had me from mile 9 onwards when my pace just faded away; 8:21, 8:23, 8:29, 8:37 and by the time I turned to run over Tower Bridge, 9:01. Like water running through your fingers, my pace just slipped away and there was nothing I could do. At this point, crossing Tower Bridge I’d originally visualised myself running strongly across the bridge — it’s only half-way of course! The reality was different with the gradient up and over adding to the misery. The crowd there was amazing, shouting and cheering; a wall of noise that was amazing but really didn’t make me feel any better or conjure up any hidden energy reserves. At this point in the race I realised my ambitious target race time of 03:30:00 just wasn’t going to happen. Trying to keep running strong I passed the JDRF supporters between mile 13 and 14 and got treated to some enthusiastic waving and cheering which was great. At this point in the race I was struggling but worse was to come.

Miles 14 and 15 passed with continuing fading pace 9:31 and 9:44 and then somewhere between mile 15 and 16 I started to get cramp in both calves. I felt it building to the point where continuing to run felt like the muscle was just going to let go so I’d stop, stretch for 15–30 seconds, walk and then begin to run again resulting in a pace at mile 16 of 10:37.

I’d hit the wall…and it was a thick wall!

The cramp continued through miles 17–22 with pace of 10:14, 10:59, 9:54, 11:14 and finally 13:13, my slowest mile of the entire race. I also developed some cramp in my left quad. I think somewhere in this period I’d hit the wall…and it was a thick wall! This part of the race was the darkest of times. I was completely oblivious to where I was, passing mile markers, the JDRF supporters at mile 17 Mudchute Park and Farm (although they snapped me shuffling past) — it was grim. Runners running in the 2014 Virgin Money London MarathonSomewhere in Docklands I stopped looking at my watch to see what distance I’d covered; they were just passing too slowly! However, I needed to make sure I kept taking an energy gel every 30 minutes* so I was trying to time these without really “looking” at the time but it wasn’t really possible so I knew I still had an hour or more of running left to do. I’d lost my bearings really and, depressingly remember seeing the O2 large and seemingly right in front of me after I had thought it was well behind me. This was probably about mile 20 just before we turned to start leaving Docklands, although I didn’t know where we were other than pretty close to the O2 — that’s miles from the finish, right?

At one point during the “Docklands depression” when I had stretched away another bout of muscle cramp, started to walk and, well, carried on walking I got a pat on the back from a fresh-looking fellow JDRF runner with the name “Sharpey” on her back as she ran past me and smiled. I don’t know who this was but if it was you I’m very grateful as it was enough to kick-start my tired old legs and get me running again.

* As a type 1 diabetic I can’t just shovel in energy gels and drinks willy-nilly during the race. During training I had tested my blood glucose before, during and after training runs to ensure it never went too high or too low. Through trial and error I discovered that if I could start a long run with a blood glucose of around 7mmol and take an energy gel every 30 minutes I could finish pretty much with the same blood glucose as I started. On race day itself my blood glucose an hour before the race was 6.7mmol but I’d eaten high-carb porridge and toast at 6am which I figured would be pushing this figure up in the hour before the race, especially as my breakfast bolus Humalog insulin would be waning at this point so I gave myself a final 1½ units of Humalog insulin before handing over my kit bag to the baggage lorries on Greenwich Park. I finished the race with a blood glucose of 10mmol which, after a marathon is pretty good albeit slightly elevated because of the extra energy drinks I had taken to combat dehydration and (perhaps just psychologically) ease the muscle cramps in my legs.

Mile 22 saw slightly improved pace of 10:00 in part because I only had just over four miles to go; that’s the same distance as one of my many “comfortable” training runs. I passed the JDRF support station again but this time nobody saw me and I passed by unnoticed.

Mile 23 saw similar 10:13 pace. I had long ago discarded any thought of getting a good time from this marathon instead trying hard to ensure I crossed the finish line running.

Mile 24’s pace was 10:07, spurred on no doubt by the amazing crowds and the smell of the finish line!

I had a blip at mile 25. I’m sure this is where I first caught sight of Big Ben in the distance…and it did seem to be some distance! The crowds were amazing along the Embankment. Just a mile to go after this one but it seemed to go on and on and on. I stopped to take on board some more water, energy drinks and compose myself for the run to the finish.

I turned the corner at Big Ben, I knew this was near the finish but foolishly I had no idea quite how near (or not) it was! Was it a few hundred metres? A mile? More? I wasn’t really thinking straight but there was a corridor of spectator noise pushing me down Birdcage Walk and the sign that said “385 yards to go” — I had done it. Barely able to put one foot in front of the other I crossed the finish line. Other runners stopped abruptly in front of me, stopping their watches, some doubling over exhausted and I had to jam on the anchors abruptly too. Had I actually crossed the line? We were stood on the red RFID mats that log your time via the timing chip attached to the running shoe; I walked around the stopped runners just to make sure I was “across” before I truly realised I had just completed the hardest run, nay, hardest anything I’d done in my life.

GPS trace of my run on a map of London

Finishers were funnelled into lanes where I queued behind five or six other finishers to have my timing chip removed. The lady in front of me stepped back, onto my toes — argh! “That’s all you need” she said and she was spot on. Little did I know but my toes were already a mess, worse than they usually get after long runs. I think I’d had an incident at one of the water stations where my foot had slipped and twisted in my shoe; I felt my toenails do something “unnatural” at that point but, luckily I guess, never felt them again until after the race. Suffice it to say I will lose four, maybe five of the toenails on my right foot. My left foot, maybe only two nails.

After the timing chip was removed a race marshal place a medal around my neck and congratulated me. Wow, I hadn’t really run “for a medal” but this moment was immense.

A short walk on and I was thinking “where’s the water? I need some water” and then I found myself at the end of a short queue for the “goody bags” which contained a much-needed bottle of Buxton spring water as well as an apple, cereal bar, energy drink, massage oil and finishers t-shirt. That t-shirt has become my favourite tee now — it’s always washed and dried quickly so I can wear it again!

JDRF running top with race number 5931 and my name CarlAgain, a little further on and the lorries containing the bags we’d all deposited at Greenwich were waiting for us with their contents laid out in numerical order. I moved to my lorry and before I’d even reached it the marshal had called my number “5931” and another marshal had passed her my bag which was handed over with another “well done.” Wow, what a slick and efficient organisation! The organisers, marshals and spectators are a huge part of making the London Marathon the race it is and really don’t get enough praise.

Then I was out into the meet and greet area in Horse Guards Road and St. James’s Park to meet my wife at the QR zone; there are alphabet zones arranged so people could more easily find each other. After a quick catch up and “can you walk?” status check we walked through St. James’s Park where my wife grabbed us a 99 and I took a photo of me with my medal. Out of St. James’s Park onto Buckingham Gate, down Palace St. and along Victoria St., the odd passer-by saying “well done” or “congratulations” when seeing the medal, which I was still wearing. We reached Victoria Train Station around 3pm, I got a £20.30 ticket back to Maidstone, we got a McDonald’s and waited for the 3:45pm train. I was back home by 5pm.

At the time of writing this post we had raised £1,388.75 (including gift aid) for the JDRF.

It was one of the hardest days of my life and one of the best. What a day!

Oh, and the 2015 ballot opens on 22nd April and I’ll be entering again — I feel I have unfinished business with this London Marathon. Only 125,000 people can enter the ballot before it closes and only 15,000 places are available so even if you can get in the ballot before the website closes you still only have a 1 in 8 chance of getting a place in the 2015 Virgin Money London Marathon. It took me six years of trying to get my ballot place for 2014; that’s why I feel so privileged to have run in it this year.

The numbers: I finished in 4:10:06. 14,079th out of 35,819 overall. 10,760th out of 22,570 male runners. 1,517th out of 2,930 in my division (MEN 45 – 49). Over the final 7.2k I passed 441 runners and 466 runners passed me! My average pace over the race distance was 9:32/mi and my average speed was 6.3mph.

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Posted by & filed under web development.

I can never seem to remember the nuances of the CSS white-space property and its treatment of source markup with multiple spaces, embedded line breaks and the natural line breaks created due to space limitations of the containing element so I created this simple table to help.

  multiple spaces markup line breaks natural line breaks
normal ignored ignored honoured
nowrap ignored ignored ignored
pre honoured honoured ignored
pre-line ignored honoured honoured
pre-wrap honoured honoured honoured

Here’s a great, in-depth article on the CSS white-space property with lots more information and visual examples from where I got the information for my table.

If anyone has a really simple way to remember this without having to look it up, please share it in the comments Smile

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Dr. Fro Administers a Bolus Insulin Injection

Posted by & filed under diabetes, running.

On 13th April 2014 I will be running the 2014 Virgin Money London Marathon on behalf of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Sponsor me on Virgin Money GivingI’ve been blessed with type one diabetes since the age of 18. At the time of writing this blog post I’m 46.

Like many type one diabetics, I give myself an injection of fast-acting insulin before each and every meal and a “bonus” ;) injection before bed of a slow-release, basal insulin. On this basis, I estimate that, since being diagnosed I have given myself over 51,000 insulin injections and I’m getting to the point where I’d rather not have to give myself too many more.

Luckily for me, being 18 years old when diagnosed I was “grown-up” enough to handle many of the issues associated with type one diabetes. I can only imagine how much more challenging type one diabetes must be for those diagnosed at a younger age. We really must find a cure for this PITA condition.

…and then it rained!

Running-wise, I have been a keen runner since about 2008 and ran my first marathon distance back in April 2010. Currently, the only “organised” race I’ve run was the 20 Kilomètres de Paris which was an amazing experience. I’m hoping that running the Virgin Money London Marathon will be an equally awesome experience.

I have created a Virgin Money Giving* site where you can quickly and easily sponsor my run. I truly appreciate any and all sponsorship. If you can’t sponsor me then I’d be equally pleased if you could share this blog post or my JDRF fundraising page with your friends (FaceBook, Twitter, etc… links at the foot of this page) because they may just know somebody affected by diabetes and want to help the JDRF‘s research into curing, treating and preventing type one diabetes.

Thank you.

Carl

* Virgin Money Giving is a not-for-profit fundraising site where more of your sponsorship goes to the charity than other popular fundraising sites.

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Posted by & filed under running.

Jolly pleasant 13.4 mile run this morning. I am on-call for work this week and so I had my wife at home as taxi should I have got called and needed her to drive out and pick me up. Luckily she didn’t need to — nobody called :)

First of the many longer runs in my Virgin Money London Marathon training plan’s “Going Further” phase which ramp up to about 20 miles later in the year. In total I’ll end up running almost 700 miles of training runs before the race itself on 13th April.

Weather-wise a little colder than of late, around 2–3°C. Not sure my legs ever really warmed up but the rest of me was warm enough.

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Posted by & filed under running.

 

Last night was seriously wet and windy. Today’s run involved a lot of fallen branch and puddle dodging but luckily it was only a short and gentle three mile jog. Having said that I still spotted 7 wrecked fences and one damaged car port roof on my way round.

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Nick Wood, Glenn Cook and I with our medals having just run the 20km de Paris

Posted by & filed under running.

Sunday morning heading to the start

Over the weekend of the 12th and 13th of October, 2013 I had the privilege of running in the 20 Kilomètres de Paris.

The chance to run in this prestigious event was afforded me when my employer asked if anyone was interested in running this race; travel, accommodation and race entry provided. Like a fine wine, I don’t travel well (I didn’t even have a current passport) but this was to good an opportunity to miss so I put my name down for the race.

We departed, via EuroStar on Saturday morning and by the afternoon we were in Paris at the runners’ village collecting our race t-shirts and soaking up the atmosphere.

One traumatising taxi journey later we arrived at our accommodation, the Kyriad Hotel. If Paris had such a thing as a Highway Code it would be sponsored by Nike and contain three words; Just Do It!

Not everyone who drives in Paris is mad…but it probably helps if you are.

The evening was spent consuming a great carb-loading pasta meal at the Tardis-like Livio (it’s waaay bigger on the inside than it looks on the outside). The food was smashing and the company consisting of work colleagues, director, an owner and his family was fabulous.

Entrance to the startRace start was 10am on Sunday and after an early breakfast I was at the foot of the Eiffel Tower where the race was due to start some 45 minutes before kick-off. The weather was cool but not cold and with some glorious sunshine—perfect running weather.

The race was amazing with plenty of fantastic support from the Parisian crowd. 23,878 runners took part and it was a true spectacle to behold so many runners setting off up the Av. Albert de Mun on the start of the 20km course.

The course ran along the length of the Allée de Longchamp before doubling back down along Av. de l’HippodromeAllée des Fortifications and Bd. Exelmans before the final run along the north bank of the Seine, crossing at Pont Royal and returning along the south bank to finish at the foot of the Eiffel Tower.

My official time of 1h 40m 31s was beyond my expectations and due primarily with trying to keep pace with Glenn, a work colleague also in the race. It has also inspired me to set a challenging 3h 30m target for the 2014 London Marathon which I am running on April 13th, 2014. I was placed overall 7022/23878 and 1932/5248 in my age category. Splits were 5KM 00:25:08, 10KM 00:50:24, 15KM 01:15:20.

I’d run it again in a heartbeat.

I had a fantastic weekend and a totally different running experience from the lone, cold, dark, 5am morning training runs I’d been doing beforehand in preparation for the race. I’d run it again in a heartbeat.

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Posted by & filed under no particular category.

This procedure has been written about many, many times on the web however I just wanted a place I could quickly and easily find it when I needed it — hence this blog post.

Sometimes I’ve created a new user on my PC to allow others to connect to a share. Of course when I next login to my PC that new user account appears on the login screen when, typically, I just want to see my own user account. Following these instructions you can remove specific user accounts from the welcome / login screen and also the Control Panel User Accounts area.

These instructions involve using the registry editor which can royally mess up your PC if you don’t know what you’re doing. Please take care.

1. Run the Registry Editor by going to the Start Menu > Run or by pressing the Start Menu Key + R at the same time and when the Run dialog appears typing regedit and hitting the enter key. You need an account with administrative permissions to run regedit.

2. In the registry editor browse to:

HKEY_Local_Machine\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Winlogon\SpecialAccounts\UserList

3. Right-click on the UserList key in the left-hand pane and choose New > DWORD (32-bit) Value.

4. Type the username of the account you want to hide as the name of the new key and press OK. It will appear in the right-hand pane.

5. Exit the registry editor.

6. The account should no longer appear when you next view the welcome or login screen or in the Control Panel User Accounts area.

 

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Posted by & filed under running.

Slightly lighter pace this evening as I followed up with an hour’s worth of swimming.

4.15 mile run, 35′52″, 8′39″ avg pace.

Nimbus 11 mileage: 417.19

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