Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Succumbing to the G-force

Maniacmum is hosting an online marathon party here.

As you all know, running is not my thing but I do love a good online party ...

And it will be interesting to attend an official one, as opposed to a squatted rave in an abandoned comments box ...

Since all life is now geared to G's run on Sunday, I thought I'd post here the interview G did for the author of this book, so you can see what he (and yours truly) are contending with.

Greg Kat – marathon story

My running career started strong, petered out in my teens and then took off again when I was in my forties.

When I was 14, I was the Junior All-London 1500m champion, but gave up running soon after due to teenage angst and a lack of confidence.

Over 3 decades later, I started running again to keep fit and decided to enter the
London marathon in 2000. I chose the marathon as it’s the ultimate challenge. I work in the leisure industry (at that time as a lifeguard and now as a swimming teacher) so managed to get a place through work.

I ran for Diabetes
UK. When I was 21, I was diagnosed with insulin-dependant diabetes and inject 4 times a day. A marathon is high endurance, when the body is constantly taxed over a long period of time. I knew that even if I got my sugar levels spot on at the beginning, they would be bound to fluctuate during the run. It was impossible to predict how my body would react, so I decided I was in it for the experience, not to achieve a particular time. If my sugar went low, I risked collapsing. If it went high, there was a risk of ketoacidosis – a potentially life-threatening condition.

I started at the back of the field, where it takes ages just to reach the start line, and refuelled during the run constantly with Lucozade and jelly beans. I completed the course comfortably in 4hrs 33mins 28secs and was happy with that. I saw it as the first part of a steep learning curve.

In 2001 I ran again – this time for a small charity called Equal Weight – and knocked over an hour off my previous time, finishing in 3hrs 27mins 52secs.

The following year, when I ran for the Child Poverty Action Group , I improved my time again – this time to 3hrs 11mins 25secs, qualifying me for an automatic place the next year in the ‘Good for your Age’ category. Suddenly everything seemed possible. I set myself a target. I wanted to complete a marathon in under 3hrs.
But then in 2003, when I ran for a small school in north London, I had a disaster. On the 10th mile my sugar plummeted to a dangerously low level. I ended up in an ambulance and the woman wouldn’t allow me to continue until she was confident I was stable. She eventually let me go (reluctantly) but radioed ahead to the first aid station on the 16th mile and told me to stop there and have my blood sugar checked again.

When I got to the 16th mile I felt fine and would have run past. But the wonderful marathon team were having none of it! The guy ran out into the road holding my number aloft and demanded I stop. When I said I didn’t want to, he ran alongside me and tested my blood!

I met my family and friends on the 25th mile and stopped to tell them what had happened. I completed the course in 3hrs 33mins 51secs. People told me that in many ways this was my greatest achievement yet, considering the circumstances, but I was really disappointed. I was desperate to crack that 3hr mark and had failed in my own eyes.

In 2004 the experience was better. I ran for Kids Out
and was back to my previous time – 3hrs 11mins 14secs.

I decided to take a break and didn’t take part in 2005, though I continued to train as well as running half marathons and in other events. I was averaging 60-70 miles per week. Every week. Come rain, snow or sunshine …

Last year I was tantalisingly close to my target. I ran for ALD Life and finished in 3hrs 1min 47secs.

This year I’m running for Refuge , the domestic violence charity.
You can sponsor me here.

Will 2007 be the year I break that magical 3hr mark?

It will be my last opportunity to do it before I turn 50 …

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

By gum, quite a Man you got there, Debi!!
I once ran 70 yards (not miles) but the bloody copper still caught me. If I'd been stealing lucozade instead of cigarettes...