The Highs and Lows of the Mountain to Valley Relay Race (M2V)


I was a total mess when I got home from the Mountain to Valley 215 kilometer,  (133.5 miles) off road, relay race (M2V) on Friday morning.  After 28 hours of driving, running eating on the go and sleeping very little, I arrived home exhausted, but pleased with myself.

I had left home at 6:00 a.m. the previous morning, and drove to the upper Galilee, the northern region of Israel, where the race took place.

I ran in a team of eight, which meant I was supposed to run three 5-7 mile parts.

I wasn’t very concerned about the running, although some of it was quite difficult. My main concern was managing my blood sugar. It’s one thing to manage BG during a morning race, but for 24 hours while eating, sleeping, driving and running at very irregular hours, it’s a very different challenge.

During the first leg (10 miles) of the race, my blood sugar did well (with my new temporary basal rate of 120% during most of the day and 50% when I ran).

My second leg was a very difficult run with a steep down hill (-800F) at the beginning and then a very difficult climb (1,300F).   I was totally exhausted not used to the terrain.  In fact, it was so difficult, my teammate and I even walked part of the hills after realizing that we where basically running in place, and walking would be faster.  After 4 miles I stopped to check my blood sugar. I felt fine but wanted to be safe.  Good call. It was 65.  I took a gel and continued to run. My legs felt like they were going to explode while we climbed the hills and when the course flattened out we tried to speed up, but couldn’t go all that fast. We finished our 7-mile run in 1:22 including our BG stop.

After our run, at around 10:30 p.m. we stopped at a burger place and ate a late dinner, and rewarded ourselves with a beer. I had green beans instead of fries. I felt good and happy that the nighttime run had gone relatively well and that the hardest part was behind me.

trying to get some sleep

After dinner we headed to our next station where we hoped to get some sleep before we headed out again at around 3:00 a.m.

The station was packed with runners eating, sleeping and socializing. We took out our sleeping bags and tried to get some rest. I managed to fall asleep but was woken up by someone’s cellphone after 40 minutes. I tried to sleep some more but it was no use. I checked my blood sugar and was happy to find it was 122.

We put our things in the car and put on our reflector vests and headlights on.

While waiting for our team members to arrive (it is a relay race after all) I checked my blood sugar again. It was 75.

“Shit,” I said out loud as I took a gel out of my pouch.

While swallowing my gel I realized I hadn’t set my temporary basal rate to 50% yet, so I did just before we headed out for our last 6 mile run. This portion was also an uphill run, but most of it was not very bad and we actually ran at a good pace.

Two miles in I started to feel weak, as if I was running out of steam.

“I have to stop and check,” I said.

“Whatever you need,” my very understanding teammate said.

My blood sugar was 52.

I had another gel and we continued running. I felt sluggish and worried and after another mile stopped to check again. It was 65.

“That’s better, isn’t it? It’s going up,” my friend said to me, not entirely convinced. (He’s learned a lot about blood sugar levels over the last couple of years.)

“Yeah,” I said. “Let’s run.”

We continued to run at an increasingly quicker pace. We passed a few other runners and I felt like I was back. I felt good and we finished the last leg at a good pace. After I finished I checked my blood sugar again, it was 70!!!.

I was shocked to see that I had run the entire distance low and felt okay.

We walked to our car and drove to wait at the finish area (with another member of our team). We got there at around 5:00 a.m. and decided to try and get some sleep in the car.

We slept for an hour and a half. When I woke up I felt a strange scratching feeling on my side. I put my hand under my shirt and found my infusion set had been pulled out.  I had brought extra supplies, but forgot the inserter. I have never put an infusion set in without one and didn’t want to do it for the first time there. I checked my blood sugar it was 120. I decided to wait it out, figuring that if I didn’t eat anything I would be okay until I got home.

At around 9:00 a.m. after our team completed the race, I headed home. There wasn’t much traffic and I made it in a little over an hour and a half. My blood sugar was 175. I showered and put a new set in feeling very tired, but happy I had managed to do what I’d set out to do (barely).


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Scott K. Johnson
9 years ago

What an adventure! Very cool! 

I’m glad none of the lows caused you too much trouble, and that you made it home in one piece even with a yanked infusion set! 


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