Category Archives for Events

Diabetes UK Bike Ride Press Release

I’m going to take part in the Diabetes UK bike ride on 29th September: a 50 mile ride in the Peak District, and was recently mentioned in one of their press releases. [Post script: unfortunately the event was cancelled. Turned up, no one there. Checked the website and it said ‘Due to unforeseen circumstances … event cancelled.’ Boo hoo. Anyway, still had my 5 minutes of fame :-)]

I recently raised £1,100 for the charity during my Ironman and Diabetes UK profiled me in their press release for the event. Coolio! And one day recently while getting ready for work I heard ‘diabetes … bike ride … Ironman … Matlock … Robert [sic] Eyre’ on Peak FM radio and my ears pricked up. I’m famous! At last 🙂

Here’s what the press release wrote:

For immediate release – Monday 12 August  2013

“Ironman” signs up for next challenge for Diabetes UK

Having completed the Outlaw Triathlon for Diabetes UK, a Derbyshire man with Type 1 diabetes has signed up for his next charity challenge, a 50 mile bike ride in the Peak District.

Robin Eyre, aged 40, from Matlock, was diagnosed with diabetes in 2008.  Since returning from working in the Far East he has set himself various physical challenges to raise funds for Diabetes UK. On 7 July, in grueling temperatures of over 30 degrees, he completed the Nottingham “Ironman” Outlaw Triathlon where he raised £1,000 for the charity.  To do this, Robin successfully completed a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and marathon run, all within a single day.

Robin has now signed up for the Diabetes UK’s Peak District Bike Ride to be held on Sunday 29 September.  The ride starts at the Visitor Centre, Tittesworth Water, Meerbrook, near Leek and riders can choose from a 25 or 50 mile route through the beautiful Peak District National Park.

Robin said:  “I was living and working in the Far East when I was first incorrectly diagnosed as having Type 2 diabetes, at the age of 35.  It was not until my return to the UK, three years later, that I was correctly diagnosed as having Type 1 diabetes and treated with insulin.  It is quite unusual to be diagnosed with Type 1 at this age, so perhaps that’s where the confusion arose.  Since being back in the UK I have had excellent treatment and set myself some physical goals to prove to myself that having the condition doesn’t stop me achieving my ambitions. In fact, being fit, healthy and taking regular exercise helps me to manage my diabetes much more effectively.

“I’ve decided my next event will be the Diabetes UK’s Peak District Bike Ride.  The bike ride is in a beautiful location and for me, compared with the Outlaw Triathlon, it is a more gentle 50 mile route, but there is also a shorter route of 25 miles for those perhaps doing it for the first time.  I can really recommend taking part, for the great sense of personal achievement when an event is successfully completed, as well as supporting the work of Diabetes UK.”

Joy Jones, Diabetes UK’s fundraiser in the Midlands, said:  “A huge thank you to Robin for the £1,000 he raised for us by completing his triathlon.  It is a fantastic achievement to complete such a tough physical challenge.  I hope others will be inspired by him to fund raise for us and sign up for one of our events.  Our work would not be possible without the money raised by supporters like Robin.

“At Diabetes UK we are working towards a future without diabetes. Through the charity’s work we help people manage their diabetes effectively by giving them expert advice, information and support; campaign for better treatment; fund pioneering life-changing research and are working to reduce the rise of Type 2 diabetes in communities across the country.  There are now 3.8 million people in the UK with diabetes who need our help.”

There is a registration fee of £15 for adults and £10 for children taking part in the Peak District Bike Ride.  Each cyclist will receive a goody bag on the day from Giant bike manufacturer.  This is the second year of the event and last year 120 cyclists took part, raising over £9,000.  For more details and to register please contact Diabetes UK Midlands Office on 01922 614500 or email

– ENDS –

For further media information please contact Charlotte Redman on 1922 707838 or the Diabetes UK Media Relations Team on 020 7424 1165 or email

For urgent out of hours media enquiries only please call 07711 176 028. ISDN facilities available.

Notes to editor:

1      Diabetes UK is the leading UK charity that cares for, connects with and campaigns on behalf of all people affected by and at risk of diabetes.  For more information on all aspects of diabetes and access to Diabetes UK activities and services, visit

2      In the UK, there are around 3.8 million people who have diabetes.  There are 3 million people living with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, and around 850,000 more who have Type 2 diabetes but don’t know they have it because they haven’t been diagnosed.  As many as 7 million people are at high risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and if current trends continue, an estimated 5 million people will have diabetes by 2025.

3      Diabetes is a condition where there is too much glucose in the blood because the body cannot use it properly.   If not managed well, both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes can lead to devastating complications.  Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK and is a major cause of lower limb amputation, kidney failure and stroke.

4      People with Type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin.  About 10 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 1.   No one knows exactly what causes it, but it’s not to do with being overweight and it isn’t currently preventable.  It usually affects children or young adults, starting suddenly and getting worse quickly.  Type 1 diabetes is treated by daily insulin doses – taken either by injections or via an insulin pump – a healthy diet and regular physical activity.

5      People with Type 2 diabetes don’t produce enough insulin or the insulin they produce doesn’t work properly (known as insulin resistance).  85 to 90 per cent of people with diabetes have Type 2.  They might get Type 2 diabetes because of their family history, age and ethnic background puts them at increased risk.  They are also more likely to get Type 2 diabetes if they are overweight.  It starts gradually, usually later in life, and it can be years before they realise they have it. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity.  In addition, tablets and/or insulin can be required.

6      For more information on reporting on diabetes, download our journalists’ guide:

By Robin Eyre

The Outlaw Long Distance (Ironman) Triathlon and Diabetes

Outlaw TriathlonI did it! The Outlaw Triathlon, Nottingham, 7th July: a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, then a 26.2 mile run. An Ironman-distance event. This is my report on the Outlaw Ironman Triathlon and diabetes.

It was oppressively hot at 32 degrees which ultimately affected my performance. My swim was so-so, my bike I was quite happy with and my run was more of a walk but I’m ever so chuffed I’ve done it and as a type 1 diabetic quite proud of myself. I set myself a big challenge and I came out on top.

I’ve so far raised £900 for Diabetes UK. Donations are still being accepted on my Just Giving page up until around 7th October, just in case you were wondering … [Post script: As of 9th September I’ve now raised £1,120.]

Here are some photos. Blog below.


I’d registered and racked the day before and checked out the lake and transition area. I was worried the lake would look intimidating and I’d get the Fear, but it looked quite manageable. I’d practised 3km+ swims regularly so knew I was comfortable enough.

Rhodri and Safi had come up the day before and we’d camped next door. I was up at 4:30 having surprisingly had a couple of hours sleep. My sugar level was pretty good at 7.7 mmol/l (139 mg/dl). I thought it would be raging high. Had my brekky of Sugar Puffs, egg sandwiches and a coffee. I didn’t take a bolus shot of insulin as I wanted my sugar levels to be high enough for the swim.

Swim, 2.4 miles / 3.9 km

Safi played a starring role by acting as mother to us both and we handed her our kit before the swim. My mum and sister, Wendy, were also somewhere on the sidelines watching. Couldn’t decide if I wanted the toilet or not but thought I’d better go … and that was the start of my swim problems.

I was last out of the khazi and the compere was already saying transition was closing. My wetsuit was round my ankles and I asked a couple of chaps to help me put it on which they kindly did, telling me not to panic. At the same time I wolfed down a gel only to notice that my wetsuit had ripped on the left forearm!

All of a dither I ran through transition probably a minute before kick off still trying to get my wetsuit right, cursing myself over and over. I was last into the water. What a dreadful start and I felt such a bloody fool.

And gooooo …

I was annoyed with myself. Not good having felt positive and confident just half an hour ago. I’d lost Rhodri when I’d shaken off my breakfast but later heard he’d started in a different bay.

As I set off I felt my timing tag flapping around my right ankle! Oh no! I didn’t want to stop to readjust it as I might have been smacked around the head by another swimmer (there were hundreds behind me) and I would have lost my stride. To add insult to injury a plaster on my other foot was coming loose which was damned distracting so I just swam without kicking my legs which wasn’t good, hitting my confidence and slowing me down as I simply couldn’t swim the way I wanted.

On the other hand I was expecting it to be complete and utter chaos with 1,000 competitors thrashing around. Yes, it was chaos, but I’ve played enough rugby to know what being at the bottom of the ruck feels like and it wasn’t that bad. I suppose we were all in it together. No one wants to fall at the first hurdle and we were quite respectful of each other.

The tag fell off 3/4 of the way round and I thought I might be disqualified / unrecognised if I didn’t have a time.

However, as soon as it fell off my swimming immediately improved, and I noticed the plaster had gone as well. I was kicking properly and suddenly 100 per cent more confident. Just cursing myself over and again for being such a fool.

I took a gel at about the same time which always adds on a couple of minutes – a skill I’ve had to practice. On long distance swims I keep a couple of gels under my swim cap. It might look a bit odd but the alternative isn’t pretty.

As I climbed out of the swim I asked a couple of ladies behind me what time they did. Disappointing at 1 hour 20 mins. I was certainly hoping for 1:15, and if I’m honest 1:10, but only five minutes over target wasn’t a disaster and it was going to be a long day.

One down, two to go.

Transition 1

I told a marshal my tag had come off and he told me not to worry. I’d have an overall time. Just no splits.

There were professional wetsuit-taker-offers which I thought was good. I held on to one as the sun steadily rose above the lake. Did I say it was hot? IT WAS HOT. I later heard it was 32 degrees.

Sugar level 11.3 (203). Perhaps I’d not needed the gel after all.

Transition was uneventful which was good. Tried to force down an egg sandwich but felt a bit sick and ended up giving it to the ducks. Not sure how much they enjoy egg sandwiches. Probably as much as cows enjoy burgers.

I was only carrying two bottles: one water bottle and a tool bottle with gels, a Mars bar, spare blood glucose meter, insulin pen and needles … slowly warming up in the heat. My tools and spare tyre I carried in a pocket in my  jumper. I’d wondered how I was going to fit everything else in to my jersey pockets: insulin pump, BG meter, two accessible gels, another Mars bar and big piece of fruit cake.

I’ve tried combinations of a seat bag / seat bottle and cage, but as my seat post isn’t standard (it’s aero!) finding the right combo was difficult and I discovered I preferred riding without an extra kg or two behind my bum and above the centre of gravity.

Solution: I bought a Fuel Belt from the expo the day before – a small bag with velcro straps which rests on the top tube of the bike close to the stem. Brill. I’d tried the Ironman branded one before but it just didn’t cut the mustard and kept falling off to one side. This was sturdy. It was the business!

As I was heading out of T1 one of the marshals stopped me and tugged at the tube hanging out my jersey from my insulin pump. ‘What’s that?’ she asked, thinking it was an iPod or something. ‘An insulin pump,’ I replied. ‘I’m diabetic.’ ‘Oh, sorry.’ Luckily she didn’t pull it out.

Bike, 112 miles / 180 km

I’d turned my insulin pump basal down to 20 per cent for the duration of the event which proved fine, and just plugged myself in after the swim.

The course headed out east through Radcliffe-on-Trent and on towards (almost) Newark. I’m not a terribly fast biker and people soon began to overtake but it was gonna be a long day and I had to do my own race. No one else’s.

I was aiming for a seven hour ride plus time for testing my sugar levels and taking on board food and water.

Simon Picking, whom I met at the Animas Sports Weekend, was also there en famille doing the bike leg for his team, Matt’s Monday Night Swimmers. His version of events is here. It pretty much tallies with mine. LOL.

I’d written down distances between feed stations on a piece of paper and kept it in my pocket. I referred to it during the ride as I find it easier to manage the route in bite sized chunks. Knowing the next food stop or landmark is only 30 km away is far easier to digest than knowing the finish is 130 km away.

Feed stations had a mixture of water, High 5 drinks and gels and bananas. There were six along the way.

Did I say it was HOT?! Well, it was. The sun was now climbing high. I was later told it had reached 32 degrees! It was hot! Damned hot and it felled a few people during the day.

Dare I say it I quite enjoyed the bike ride. I’d driven and biked much of it a few weeks before so I knew it reasonably well. Luckily, apart from the weather, it was pretty uneventful. I was making good time despite the heat.

I generally tested my sugar level at each food stop and took on board gels and bananas as and when needed. One hour into the race I was astonished to see my sugar level at 24.1 (434)! Checked it again immediately and it read 21.9. I was sky high. May have been the nerves and I probably didn’t need the gel in the swim so I took half a unit of insulin and within an hour it had fallen to 12.6 (227).

I had a piece of fruit cake in my back pocket but never ate it. Nor the second Mars bar or all the gels, but I’d rather err on the side of caution and take a little too much.

The bottom half of the course was flat. The top half hilly. While I was being overtaken on the flat I was creaming people on the hills. Probably due to training in ‘ills ‘ere in’t Peaks where I live. I remember whoo-hooo-ing when I reached the top of Oxton Hill. Not because it was that difficult (though I think others found it so). I was just enjoying myself. Nobody else joined in my enthusiasm mind.

Very happy to see Ed and Janet out to support at Oxton and my mum, sis and her two boys at Farnsfield and later on during the run along with my dad. The timing tags were uploading times to the web, live, at various stages. I knew I had a fan club watching online and I knew my family were depending on it so they could be at strategic points along the route so I was still bloody annoyed with myself for losing it in the pond. Nonetheless I saw them at Farnsfield and had a quick word. I later heard Matthew, a colleague from work, had been at Orston but at 10 am the sun had got the better of him and he’d decided to get some shade indoors.

During the bike my blood glucose levels were:

  • 24.1 / 21.9 (434) @ 8:30 am
  • 12.6 (227) @ 9:45 am
  • 8.2 (148) @ 10:40 am
  • 11.1 (200) @ 11:20 am
  • 6.5 (117) @ 12:20 pm
  • 6.3 (113) @ 1:20 pm
  • 6.2 (112) @ 2:30 pm

Jesus, Mary and Joseph. This is almost text book! Watch and learn kids. Watch and learn.

I filled up with water at every stage. I don’t think I could have physically drunken any more.

This is my bike timing. I turned off the GPS as I didn’t want the battery to run out. I was out for 6:50 and biking for 6:35 so I was quite happy with that with an average riding speed of 27.7 kmh. My bike’s speedo was pretty similar as a cross-reference. My plan had aimed to be back at the lake for 2:30 pm at best, and I seem to remember I was back there on the nose so I’d made up good time. Also no loo stops yet. I’d never done a 100 mile bike ride, let alone 112 miles. The most I’d done was 85+.

Two down, one to go. Now, just for the small task of a marathon.

Transition 2

Not speedy. I’d found the last few miles on the bike tough. Did I mention it was hot?

Run, 26.2 miles / 42.2 km

I’d never done a marathon before. I’d done a couple of 30 km training runs and my long runs were rarely less than 20 km but if I’m honest I was never looking forward to the run with relish. Friends had told me ‘You can always walk it’ and that’s what I pretty much did.

I felt pretty rubbish at the start. I knew I was dehydrated but didn’t want to walk. I wanted to run but knew that walking the first few km wasn’t going to affect my time too much. Filled up with water at each watering hole.

I linked up with Kevin Kavanagh, #476. I’m ever so glad I did. What a great chap to be with for 26 miles. A good sense of humour and chatty and he really helped pull me through. He’d recently picked up an injury and was quite happy to walk. We ran a bit but as he said ‘It’ll be the best seven hour marathon you’ll ever do’ and he was right.

The sun continued to beat down and it got slightly cooler around 8 pm.

And at 10 pm, 16 hours later, we crossed the finish line. Not pretty, but I’d set myself a challenge and I did it. My aim was 14 hours and had it not been for the heat I think that would have been really achievable on this course. My legs and feet were aching. I’d not been to the toilet all day either. Kevin had been several times during the run. Huh? So I went to the medical tent for a check up and was given the OK.

My blood glucose levels were between 6.3 (113) and 10.6 (191) throughout the run.

Rhodri, I found out later, had been defeated by the heat and lack of training. Sounded as though he’d made really good time but his legs gave way 10 km into the run.

Mum and Wendy were still there at the finish line and I’m ever so grateful they hung in.

Without a timing tag my results took a couple of days to come through but thanks to the timing guys: true to their word I was recorded. I came 884th out of 999 starters.

I’m not really that fussed about my splits. Each discipline could have been improved. I’m disappointed with my run but the heat was an absolute killer. I did it after all.

The next day I felt surprisingly good. It was my hangover two days later which floored me – but well deserved I say.

My blood glucose levels were generally fine but for several days after the event I’ve been considerably high, certainly double digit regularly. I can only put this down to my body thinking I’m still doing exercise and my liver’s pumping out bucketfuls of glucose.

A big thanks to my family and friends for coming to support and a big sorry to those who were watching online. I’ll try not to drop my tag next time. Did I say next time? We’ll see …

And finally, a massive thank you to everyone who sponsored me.

By Robin Eyre


Wild Boar Half Ironman

Post Script: Half Ironman Triathlon, Endurance Sports, Diabetes and Ketones

Having completed the Wild Boar Half Ironman, been on a DAFNE course and had time to reflect on the event (oops, almost wrote ‘race’ then, LOL) I’ve come to the conclusion that I probably developed ketones during it as my sugar levels were too high, I felt sick for much of it, got stomach pain during the run and my performance was ultimately affected – a result of not taking any insulin that day.

This article is my version of endurance sports and diabetes as a type 1 diabetic and my experience during the event. This is a useful article on ketones.

I suppose the easy diagnosis is to put these symptoms down to just being in a long triathlon and I’m going to feel tired and perhaps not terribly great no matter what, but diabetics are saddled with complications which shouldn’t be dismissed and as my sugar level gradually came down I did feel considerably better.

During training I wouldn’t take any insulin if I was about to exercise, regardless of the duration or intensity. Depending on what my sugar level was I might take a gel or have a bowl of cereal or piece of toast before heading out in order to keep it sufficiently high. My sugar level would always come down and I’d take gels, Dextro tablets and sports drinks to keep it up – my sugar level that is 😉

It mystified me why my sugar level remained so high but I put it down to carbo loading the week before, perhaps more carbs than usual immediately prior to the event and the excitement (nerves) of it all. My body was loaded! Expecting my sugar level to come down I didn’t take any insulin. A small shot during the bike ride would have done the trick I think.

Going on the DAFNE course taught me about the physiology of the body and ketones. I’m now on an insulin pump (about which I’ll write later) and wear it the whole time. Prior to the event ideally I’d exercise first thing in the morning or after work. For the latter there’d be little insulin washing around inside me as my last shot would have been at lunch time and it lasts for only four hours in your body. If I was exercising soon after a meal, e.g. breakfast, I’d usually head out an hour later with no insulin. Now, to address ketones, if I’m heading out after a meal I’ll take half my usual dose of insulin and wearing my pump I reduce the the background dose by 50%.

However this now means I’m forever going low which is not fun. Went out for a bike ride yesterday after brekky and half insulin dose. My sugar level caved in: I went down to 1.2 (21.6)! Yikes! The lowest I’ve ever been. I felt low, but not THAT low. I thought I should be clinically dead at that level. Had a gel quickly and two minutes later was 4.2 so I think it might have been an anomaly as surely it takes time for the glucose to get into your bloodstream. I’d planned a 113km hilly ride but after 1 1/2 hours I’d had four gels already – big gels, 60ml, each with 51g of carbs in (85g per 100ml) – and half a pack of Dextro tabs. I’d taken six gels with me and could see myself running out if I carried on like this so I cut it short, turned my background insulin down to 20% and headed home ending up doing just 64kms.

The same thing happened on a run recently. I have a 20km hilly route I do. Usually takes just under two hours. Kept going low and it took me 2:30.

Anyway, my point is that taking insulin prior to exercise just makes my sugar level plummet so I think I’ll go back to my old regime of taking none at all if I’ve just eaten and maybe reduce my background a little more still. If my sugar level seems to be remaining high I’ll just take a small shot to sort it out.


By Robin Eyre


Wild Boar Half Ironman

Race Report: Wild Boar Half Ironman Triathlon

I Swam. I Biked. I-Ron

I did it: 5 hours 57 mins. Quite happy with that for a 1.9km swim, 84km bike and 21km run. My first half-Ironman triathlon 🙂

This article is about my half ironman triathlon and diabetes, the Wild Boar, the race, the troubles I faced and the whole experience.

I reckon my diabetes added maybe 30 minutes on to my overall time: testing my blood sugar level in transitions, on the bike and during the run added time as it would normally do, but the meter also kept giving error messages as I’d not filled the test strips sufficiently so I had to keep retesting until I got a reading. Also I generally felt a bit sick from persistently high sugar levels during the first half of the bike and middle of the run which slowed me down. So testing probably added 15 minutes on to my time and a slow second half of the run added perhaps another 20 minutes.

Picture gallery here. Race report below.

Got down to the event late Saturday afternoon and pitched tent. Rhodri was also racing (well, he was ‘racing’, I was just ‘entering’) and arrived at the same time; had a coffee and went for dinner. Continued my carbo-loading with a good burger, chips and cheesecake. Early-ish bed.

Awoke at 07:30 with blood sugar level 11.8 (212.4) which was high for a normal day but I wasn’t intending having breakfast until 10 minutes before race briefing at 09:00. Kick off 09:30. Had breakfast of Sugar Puffs and a banana. No insulin. Despite giving ourselves lots of time I was still scrambling to attach my race numbers and sort myself out as the competitors were called to the briefing. Not a great idea as it just built up the nerves. Then a Zipvit gel immediately prior to plunging in the lake. I was absolutely loaded!

Swim, 1.9kms

I’d heard there were HUGE fish in the lake, and the night before we’d been down and seen just how big they were. Fully grown carp! Scary. Was hoping not to meet any during the swim.

A sign directed swimmers into the lake for a 150m swim to the start! Should have just walked around the edge of the lake instead like the sensible folk.


Got caught up in the mêlée so I hung back a bit not wanting to get booted in the face, but from early on I was feeling sick. I’d not tested my sugar level since waking up but still eaten my race day breakfast as planned followed by the gel a little later just before the start – a bit more than usual as I’m always fearful of going low on the swim. Thought about swimming for the gaps but only to see that a few lengths ahead was another competitor and had to decide whether it was good to go, or not.

Once I got into a gap I was overtaking them (amazing) but finding that gap, not getting into a scrap and putting on a burst at this early stage in the race was hard as I felt full of energy but didn’t want to tire out so early on. There were a few clashes of arms and bumping of shoulders but nothing on purpose and no one really batted an eye lid. Just got on with the swim.

It took until about a quarter of the swim to get into a position I could swim at my own pace without clashing too much. The weeds were often at less than an arm’s length from the surface of the water and a few times I got a faceful – but at least I didn’t get attacked by the fish. In fact I didn’t see any at all.

Thankfully the swim was relatively uneventful and I completed it in 36 mins 23 secs.

Transition 1

I entered the transition area surprised to see loads of bikes still there. Just loads. I’d refrained from looking behind me during the swim in case I was right at the back and got demoralised, but what a great surprise this was 😮

Transitions aren’t a part of the race I’d practised though I’d run through them several times in my head and separated my kit into different bags. The important thing I felt was to be comfortable and have good sugar levels. An extra 30-60 seconds putting on tri shorts, cycling top and watch etc wasn’t going to make much difference to my time.

When testing your blood sugar level it’s good to get a nice, small conical drop of blood on the end of your finger to be soaked up by the test strip. If this doesn’t happen you get an error and have to try again. However two problems I’ve found about taking sugar levels during exercise are:

  1. Wet or sweaty hands: your blood ends up running down your finger or into your nail and isn’t a sufficient amount to fill the test strip. You end up only getting a tiny sample which gives the meter an error reading and you need to continue testing until you get enough blood to fill it properly; and
  2. Failure of the lance to draw enough blood in the first place: you can always lengthen the lance depth but this can be painful, so it means having to keep pricking your fingers until you do draw enough blood. Grrrr! 😡

Having wet hands I ended up taking three tests during this transition. Blood sugar level 16.1 (289.8). Huh? This was way too high. No wonder I’d been feeling a bit sick on the swim. I’d thought it was just nerves! Maybe a bit of both.

Weather was cloudy and it didn’t look like rain; reasonably warm. While most people headed out in just a tri suit I put on my cycling and long-sleeved tops. Ended up with a transition time of 5 mins 26 secs (of course without a watch on or clock it’s difficult to know how long the swim and transitions take at the time, but it didn’t seem really long).

Bike, 84kms

With a high sugar level I thought it wouldn’t be long before I’d bike it off. I’d been down to recce the course three weeks before so I had a mental picture of it (a rectangular course with food stop near the start) and I knew a speed I could keep to.

My plan was to test at the food stop after laps one and two then pretty much play it by ear after that. However this went out the window at my first test. My readings were, after laps:

  1. 19.7 (354.6), 24kms – how can it go up after 24kms on the bike?
  2. 19.2 (345.6), 45kms – it’s not really gone down!
  3. 16.1 (289.8), 66kms – better, the right direction

On the first lap I was feeling a bit sick again. Not surprising! How could my sugar level keep going up? During training I’m constantly taking gels and Dextro tablets. I’d not taken anything to eat or drink since the gel before the very start. On lap two I had a few sips of drink (Zipvit) so I changed this to water at the food station. Seemed to do the trick. Third test was 16.1 and the marshal said I looked better 😮

Didn’t have aero bars on but passed people with them – mind you, folks with aero bars also passed me. One lady complained I was drafting her. Pathetic! We were overtaking each other at various stages on hills and flats. It came to one place where I thought I could overtake her but it didn’t happen and I stayed for a moment a few bike lengths back to her right. On another occasion I was overtaking her on a hill. I caught up and we maintained the same pace. ‘Drafting!’ she called out and put her foot down. I suppose you get some …

Could hear the racers creeping up from behind whooshing past with their aero wheels. Sounded like a helicopter approaching. I think they were on a mission.

Not a bad course at all. Just felt a bit sick on the first two laps but better thereafter. Took on no food during this time due to high sugar levels. Amazing, no food for almost four hours. Usually I’d have taken two or three gels and tablets by this stage.

Bike time 3 hours 2 mins.

Transition 2

Much the same as T1. Tested myself two to three times before getting a good sample. Changed into running vest, bum bag. Sugar level 8.6 (154.8) – perfect 🙂

Transition time 4 mins 4 secs.

Run, 21kms

With a great sugar level I strode out onto the run, quite happy with my time so far. Took a Zipvit gel a minute out of transition. It must have taken me 2-3kms to find my legs but my pace was really quite OK. Passed Rhodri coming on the in-leg in the other direction which was no surprise.

The run was two laps, out and back, of an undulating course – far flatter than what I train on in the Peak District. Was starting to feel a stitch coming on after the first quarter and couldn’t decide if I was hungry, tired or my sugar level was playing up so I tested about three-quarters through the first lap: blood sugar level 15.2 (273.6). Huh, again? I never run for 35 mins and my sugar level goes up so high even after a gel. I thought with all the exercise over the past four hours I’d be lower than this. No wonder I was feeling sick and ill again.

Entered the 10km turnaround point and my time was pretty good at about 53 mins. If I could keep this up I’d be getting a PB. The only other timed half-marathon I’d done was in Abu Dhabi in 2003 and I did 1 hour 52 mins. However I was feeling quite rough and really slowed down and sometimes walked. Sun had come out which didn’t help but at the turnaround point / 15km mark of lap two I tested again and my blood sugar level was now 17.1 (307.8). It had actually gone up after an hour and a half without taking any more food!!!

Kept plodding on and walking and after maybe 15 minutes I began to feel better with my sugar level evetually dropping and had a steady jog back to the finish with a blood sugar level at the end of 9.1 (163.8). Perfect 🙂

My time for the run was 2 hours 8 minutes. Not great but all things considered not a disaster either. My total time was 5 hours 57 minutes. I came 105th out of 124. This, for me, was fine. I did it in under six hours and I really just wanted to see if I could do it despite my condition.

Final Thoughts

A good event. Woke up with stiff knees this morning and have taken a day off work.

Was happy with the swim, bike and first half of the run but the second half was poor and I really put that down to high sugar levels and feeling ill. Would have been great to get a PB on the run and I reckon I could have done it at least 20 minutes faster if I’d felt better.

I think I’d been high throughout the race due to all the carbo-loading I’d done in the previous week so my glycogen levels were sufficiently high already and I probably didn’t need either so much breakfast or the gel before the race. Saying that, I would have still expected it to come down quicker, especially during the bike and run as during training I am always taking gels, Dextro tablets and drink. Always!

I didn’t take any insulin during the event – I never have during training. Perhaps I should do in the future but I didn’t think I should try anything new during the actual event.

Had a triathlete’s lunch the next day: the new M-meal from McDonald’s, chips, filet-o-fish and chicken nuggets 😉 (oh, and a Diet Coke).

My next challenge? I’m taking part in a clinical trial of insulin pumps next week so will be wearing one for the next two years; maybe some more triathlons; maybe learn a new language or learn the guitar.

Anyway I have some holiday to take soon 😉


By Robin Eyre


Holymoorside 10k

Race Report: Holymoorside 10k

Holymoorside 10k

Part of the course

I did the Holymoorside 10k today. This was my second outing, my first being in 2010. I seem to recall my time then was 52 mins (only last year’s results are still up on their website so I can’t verify). This time it was … you’ll just have to read on!

‘Moorside is a lovely rural, Derbyshire village. I was in fact at primary school here and we lived just a few miles outside the village so I have good memories of it – I think most people have positive memories of primary school don’t they. The run raises funds for the local Cub Scouts, of which I used to be a member 30 (ahem)-ish years ago. ‘DYB, DYB, DYB. DOB, DOB, DOB’ and all that. I don’t recall doing a 10k run was one of the badges you could earn though.

I awoke with sugar level 11.2. Had been ‘umm-ing and ahh-ing’ whether to do this race or go for a bike ride, but the weather was good and I felt reasonably healthy after a run out yesterday with the Ashbourne Hash at Cannock Chase. However it was a race to the start after I’d finally made the decision, got my stuff together, driven there (20 mins), found a place to park near to registration and paid. That left me with precious little time to change etc and head off to the start. Not the ideal pre-race prep. Just got there in time. Learn from this!!

I didn’t take any insulin with breakfast. All I had was an apple and felt I’d ‘run it off’. It was also the first time I’d done a 10k without any carbohydrate drink. This was planned and not a case of leaving it in the car due to my pre-race rush. I usually take 500ml+ of PSP22 or Viper Active, but kind of felt confident enough to be out for 50-60 mins without a drink. I knew the course. Still, took a bum bag with gels and testing kit.

The course is literally 50% up hill gaining 200m+ in elevation, then 50% down so I don’t think any records are ever broken here. This is my route for the Holymoorside 10k.

Finished with sugar level 10.6 which was surprisingly high so I think I should still take a dose of insulin even if my brekky is small – see other posts about this.

My time: 52 mins 15 secs. I’m quite pleased actually: I just finished in the top half: 119 / 246 competitors!!! Astounding. This never happens. Honestly. In every event I’ve entered I’m always in the lower half and pretty much in the lower third. I was also 8kgs lighter when I ran this two years ago so I figure I’m getting a bit fitter, able to carry more weight at same speed.


Me and Rhodri

Race Report: Ashbourne Duathlon

Me and Rhodri, Ashbourne Duathlon

Me and Rhodri, Ashbourne Duathlon

Weather had been awful for days. Officially much of the UK is in a drought – but it’s been the wettest drought we’ve known for years! Nonetheless, weather was dry but windy. Was quite nervous to start with as I’d not done an endurance event for several years. (Ok, I did the Matlock Triathlon, sprint distance, 2 years ago, but since then perhaps 5-6 years since.)


  • Run: 12kms around Carsington Water
  • Bike: 40kms via Wirksworth, Via Gelia and Longcliffe
  • Run: 4kms out-and-back


  1. Brekky: corn flakes about 1 hour before start, 1/2 dose of normal insulin amount
  2. Run: carbohydrate drink (either Viper Active or PSP22)
  3. T1: TEST + flap jack and gel
  4. Assuming a 90 min bike: gel every half hour, TEST after 1 hour
  5. T2: TEST + gel

Had a hypo the night before, ate too much to recover and awoke with sugar level 16.9.

Brekky as planned 1 hour before race but in actuality the plan didn’t go according to plan.

Run: as planned with carbo drink.

T1: Sugar level: 8.9. Completely forgot to take flapjack and gel I was so intent on getting out on the bike.

Bike: Remembered as soon as I was on bike to take gel. Thought about turning round, but no! I’m on a mission. Opening a gel at speed isn’t easy as I found out as much of it went over my brand new Patagonia top!

Gel #2 after 30 mins. Stopped at top of Middleton after 60 mins to test and take gel #3. By this time the small bag on my top tube holding gels, testing kit etc was very sticky as the remnants had leaked inside. So, sticky fingers, sticky test strip box, sticky lancer! Sugar level: 7.9 and the warning light on the meter came on saying low battery! The bugger was that I’d just caught up this chap at the top of Middleton hill and had to let him go as I had to test.

As a ‘just in case’ I’d put more gels and tabs than planned into the top tube bag. As I’d forgotten to take on board fuel at T1 I’d have been buggered if I’d not done this as the bike took longer than expected. Finished gel #4 at 90 mins and started on a couple of Dextrose tabs. Felt my biking uphill had improved as I caught up and rode past people (including the guy I had to let go) despite my 2 minute or so stop for testing! I’ll say that again: ‘I caught up and rode past people’! Unheard of. This put some wind in my sails and I blitzed the last few kms.

T2: OMG what happened? After digging my über sticky testing kit out of the bag: first test strip failed to work; second didn’t take enough blood, battery indicated it was dying! Had taken another kit again just in case – good idea, remember for next race. Dug it out and tested: sugar level 9.1. Transition took me 4:17!

Final run as expected but amazingly windy. End, sugar level: 8.7. All in all, I’d say that was pretty damned good for my sugar levels.

The event took me 3 hours 29 mins. Not very fast though I don’t think I could have gone any faster. It’s OK I suppose. Would have liked to have biked faster but at least I now know my speed. But hey, I did it. That’s the main thing. I reckon testing my sugar levels added on about 7-8 mins. Here’s my route.

Rhodri was much faster at 2 hours 50 mins, but he’s a 2-time Ironman and regularly enters events despite him saying he didn’t feel really fit!

Evening meal: Big Mac, large fries, large Diet Coke, filet-o-fish and cheeseburger – ohhh yeaahhh!

My bike

Trying some variations

My bike

My bike

I sometimes cycle to work – a 40km trip – and back. It’s a nice ride. However I still find it difficult to keep my sugar levels high on the return journey.

The morning ride is generally fine. Have a bowl of cereal about an hour before I set off and 1/2 the amount of usual insulin, i.e. maybe 2 units. Arrive at work and, to date, I’m below 10 (180).

Going back home I set off with a reasonably good level (I like to be between 11-13 (198-234) before any strenuous exercise) yet always find myself low (very low) after about 20km – there’s a petrol station where I can refuel. How low? About 2-4 (36-72). So I stock up on a flapjack and chocy etc. I figured this might be because I didn’t have a meal before setting off.

So this week I had a big sandwich before leaving work and half the amount of insulin I’d normally take with that amount of food … and lo and behold I still came crashing down to 3.6 (65) by the 20km mark. I was 11.3 (203) before the sandwich. This was disappointing as I felt fine. If I’d not stopped I feel I could have been in trouble so there’s a lesson here …!

So I had a Maxi Fuel gel and half a flap jack and set off again hoping it would last me the other 20km back home. Errm, sort of. Checked 1/2 an hour later: 7 (126) so had a Power Gel – ooohhhhh, they’re good, strawberry and banana. Suppose it was going in the right direction though.

Still trying to plan my strategy for this week’s event: Ashbourne Duathlon. I think my plan will be:

  1. During run: Viper Active drink
  2. Transition 1: test + gel + flapjack
  3. Bike ride: more drink, test half way, gel (+ flapjack if necessary)
  4. Transition 2: test + gel

Sounds like a plan 🙂


Ashbourne Duathlon

Right, I’ve entered the Ashbourne Duathlon on 28th April with a mate. He’s a 2-time Ironman so I’m not going to race him. I’m just looking at this as an event – not a race or even competition. Luckily it’s only about 10 mins from home. Should be nice as it’s in the Peak District and, oddly, not massively hilly. The course is:

Run: around Carsington Water, 12kms

Bike: 40kms, circular route

Run: 4kms

Should be fun. Wish me luck.