It’s been a while…..

It’s been a while since my last blog and I know it’s long overdue, life kind of just took over these past few months (in a good way). The twins are now 10 months old and our little three year old is a typical bundle of energy plus work has got crazy busy so I’ve neglected the blog a bit more than I would have liked! Anyway, this year is another step up with some big challenges including my first ultra-marathon running with type 1 diabetes. I’ve decided to raise funds for JDRF this year, if you would like to donate please visit my JustGiving page at

Embracing my type 1 diabetes as my critical friend!

I honestly feel like I’ve embraced my type 1 diabetes lately and I’m learning to “work with it” during exercise. I’m happier this way and so are those around me. It’s difficult to describe but I’m not fighting it like in the early days of my diagnosis. Instead I’m managing it, carefully working with it whilst developing a working knowledge of what insulin and carbohydrate adjustments work for me over different distances and exercise types. A lot of this is a result of trial and error, removing variables like exercising with an active bolus on board then working back towards exercising with an active bolus once I feel confident enough to do so. To anyone struggling to manage their condition during exercise, persevere, keep trying, ask for help when you need it and if it gets a bit much just make things a little easier, lower the carbs for a while, reduce the variables or concentrate on your basal rates.

The year ahead

This year is a BIG one and I’ve got some huge challenges planned as I continue my journey towards Iron Man fitness. I’m going to need to brace myself as this year’s events are pushing me to a whole new level:

  • Greater Manchester Marathon – 26.2 miles (10th April) Completed in 4hrs 30min 12sec, New PB
  • Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge – 24.5 miles, 3,000m ascent (1st May)
  • Great North Run – 13.1 miles (11th September)
  • River Ayr Way Ultra-marathon, Scotland – 40 miles (17th September)
  • Yorkshire Marathon – 26.2 miles (9th October)

September and October are going to be huge and will really depend on injuries and recovery times with my first ultra-marathon just six days after the Great North Run, then the Yorkshire Marathon just three weeks after that.

Main events 2016

Greater Manchester Marathon – New PB but lessons learned

A friend and I decided to sign up to the Greater Manchester Marathon at quite late notice, in honesty a bit later than I’d like but hey, nothing’s perfect so we decided to run it anyway. The rapid increase in training mileage has led to a bit of knee pain in the form of ITB syndrome (runner’s knee) so my long runs in training have peaked at 16 miles. With a bit of sports massage and acupuncture I still felt as ready as I needed to be on race day although surprised even myself with a new PB of 4 hrs 30 min 12 sec! I know, those 12 (plus 1) seconds right!! I’m not going to dwell on a few seconds particularly as I had a pretty serious battle for the last 6 miles of the race (the lessons learned bit).

andy craig finishers JDRF Manchester Manchester marathon finisher

So here is my diabetes related pre-race checklist:

  1. Running belt stocked with enough carbs to get me to the water/gel stations
  2. Dexcom G4 CGM with at least 5 days of calibrations
  3. xDrip sending my CGM readings to my watch
  4. Blood glucose meter fully charged (clipped to my running belt)
  5. My Animas Vibe insulin pump (obviously)
  6. A 20% basal rate for 2 hrs prior to race (or minus 80% on Animas Vibe) – this is what works for me, remember your basal rate should be adjusted to suit you as we’re all different when it comes to these adjustments, remember to trial, error and record!

What could possibly go wrong?

At mile 20 and running at a 4 hr marathon pace my battery in my insulin pump went from displaying as full battery (replaced a week before the race) to completely empty with zero insulin delivery!! The result of this was stopping to ask spectators and local residents if they had a battery for my insulin pump, with no replacement battery forthcoming I decided to run the final 6 miles using just effort and water to maintain an in-range blood glucose level. My friend Andy finished in an incredible time of 3 hrs 2 mins so I sent him a text to try and source a spare battery from somewhere. I have to thank Andy and the fantastic first aiders at the first aid tent in the race village as they somehow had the replacement battery ready for me as I crossed the finish line, crisis averted and a new PB, fantastic!

I did suffer from a significant spike in my blood glucose levels for around 4 hours post-race which was inevitable given I’d run without any insulin present for around an hour and a half but managed to correct them pretty quickly. Safe to say in future I’ll be dropping a spare battery in with my blood glucose meter to avoid this happening again.

Plan for the rest of the year

The main event really is the 40 mile River Ayr Way Ultra-marathon, I’m now moving deep into unknown territory but feel incredibly excited about pushing myself to new limits.

This past 18 months or so has been fairly running intensive, now bearing in mind the Iron Man will involve all three triathlon disciplines of swimming, cycling and running I’m hoping to book a triathlon sometime in the late summer following a few open water swimming sessions. I’m also incorporating cycling the 36 mile round trip to work at least twice a week so I’m training those muscles used for cycling too. I feel like I’ve made steady progress over the past 12 months and edging closer to that Iron Man, still a bit off but getting there slowly and surely.

Manchester Marathon medal 2016


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Written by Craig Waugh


Deborah Lewin

I am a type one backpacker and have done many trails in the Alberta region and in the Ontario region I am looking to expand! Thank you for branching out the word that people w type 1 can be as active as they want . I do this everyday with trying to explain to people that I will tell them if I need to test et change my site or change my dex etc


Alex is a former British Army engineer and was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2014. He loves to lead an active life and is currently training to run Yorkshire’s Tough Mudder 2015.


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