The Perfect Race


One of my basic running rules is to try to get a good night’s sleep on the night before a race.  But, on Monday night that was pretty much impossible.  A few nights ago, Jessica decided to stop nursing Adam.  To say the least, he’s having a hard time with it.  But, at two-and-a-half, we figure it’s fair enough to wean him.  And in response to this, he is pretty much saying the toddler version of “f-you!” 

So since there’s been very little sleeping going on over the last few days and a lot of crying, I wasn’t surprised when Adam came down with a fever on Monday night.  His resistance had to be down.   I was, however, surprised to wake up to the sound of him vomiting in my bed.  You can guess how the rest of the night went.  And how I felt on Tuesday  morning, the day of the Nike Night Run.

Until this year the Nike Night Run was part of the Nike “Human Race” but it seems that Nike stopped the international event, though has continued the Tel Aviv 10K race.  I have run all five of the Nike races held so far in Tel Aviv and they are great. I’ve usually viewed them as a fun run (although I did set a record last year), not deciding how I would run the race until the bell rang. This year was different.   I decided I was going to try to break my personal record set last May (45:10) and run a sub 45:00 10K race.  And as I wiped vomit off the floor in the middle of Monday night, I was thinking I’d be lucky if I make it to the race at all.

I was nervous and exhausted throughout Tuesday, trying to make sure I ate correctly-enough to have the necessary energy, but not too much. I also tried to make sure my blood sugar was under control.  I didn’t want to have any active insulin in my system before the race.  I also took some tooth picks out to hold my eyelids up.

Somehow, I got through the day and met my friends an hour before the race began.  With 15,000 runners all wearing a yellow Nike race shirt, it wasn’t easy to find people, before or after the race.  When I arrived at the meet-up spot my blood sugar was 113. I had lowered my basal rate at 6:15 p.m., taking the warm up into account, and worried that the insulin I had in my body from my 3:00 p.m. lunch would still be active (45 minutes earlier I had been 126).

We ran a mile-and- a-half warm up including some short sprints. We didn’t have much time because we needed to get to the starting area by 7:30. Once in the starting area we stopped to stretch and I checked my blood sugar. I felt like I was dropping so I wasn’t that surprised when I saw my blood sugar was 86. I took a gel. It was 7:24 and I was very nervous, not only because of my blood sugar. I didn’t know if I would need to take another gel or not and the wrong decision could cost me the race.

We finished stretching and got closer to the starting line. It was crowded and with the loud music playing you could feel the nerves and adrenalin in the air.  I pretty much forgot that I hadn’t slept the night before and started to feel energetic.   At 7:37 I checked my blood sugar again it was up to 112. Better, but still too low to start a race.   

I didn’t know what to do. I took another gel out of my pack but decided to wait a few more minutes and check again. At 7:43, it was 147. Relief. I put the gel back in my pack with my glucometer.


At 8:00 the race started.  It was crowded, but I managed to get loose without losing too much time. I was running at a much faster pace than I had planned. I tried to slow down but couldn’t. I felt good and strong. I was worried I would pay a price later in the race, but after the half way point I realized I was going to be okay. I held back a bit between the 6th and 8th kilometer but after that I just decided to run all out and see what happens.

I set a new personal record: 43:29. I felt fantastic, Like I had run the run of my life, I couldn’t believe it. After the race I met up with some of the guys from my running group and we decided to go out for a drink. We walked to a nearby bar. I was in a great mood and decided to have my first beer in a year-and-a-half (I wasn’t in the mood for anything stronger). I checked my blood sugar so I could bolus for the beer. Like the race, it was perfect, 100.


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Scott K. Johnson
11 years ago

Nicely done Michael!  

And I completely cringed at your little one puking in your bed.  Been there, and it is not a fun situation for anyone involved.  Hopefully your little one is feeling better. 

Your neighbour
Your neighbour
11 years ago

43: 29 ??????????
I want some of what you got.
Astonishing. Hope you get puked on the night before your next race too :) 

Catherine Price
11 years ago

Thanks – it felt great. although I still feel it. I really didn’t think I had it in me.

11 years ago

Well done! Congratulations on a great time!

Michelle S.
Michelle S.
11 years ago

What a great run!  that must have felt fantastic!  i ran three races last summer and the first two i was worried about going low and boosted my sugar too much, finishing with a very high BG.  but the third one was perfect and it was just an exciting as my time (i took 5 minutes off my 10K).  of course, the two were probably related!  congrats, it is not easy racing with blood sugars to worry about.  I would love to run under 50 minutes someday… under 45 is amazing!

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