Beyond the Wall - Kate's Marathon

Sunday, October 10 was host to perfect conditions for the Melbourne Marathon Festival.  HypoActive featured runners in almost every event presented on the day, including two participants in the Big One.  A big thanks to new HA volunteer John Thompson for his role in coordinating/motivating/updating everyone for the day.  Marathon runner Kate Flentje has kindly shared her remarkable tale of her second ever attempt at this distance.  What an absolute trooper!









Beyond the Wall by Kate Flentje

The marathon was a second time attempt for me. I did the gold coast marathon back in 2008 and had a terrible time. I decided about 2 weeks before the race that I wanted to do it and thus had not trained properly and didn't really know what I was getting myself into. I finished this race (practically walking at the end) in 4 hours 19 mins plus 1 sugar low and 2 very sore legs! I hadn't drunk enough water, hadn't trained properly and opted for eating lollies everytime I felt a little tired, low or just bored instead of testing my sugars.

This time round it was a different story. With my aim set at doing a time under 4 hours and the confidence of having a pump attached doing the bsl controlling for me I set out to achieve my goal. I wrote myself a detailed and personalised running program which included long weekend runs, mid-week speed sessions and recovery pool and yoga sessions. All went well in the lead up and I learned how to adjust my pump to the different types of sessions I was doing - through trial and error of course - there were plenty of highs and lows to begin with! I battled a couple of minor injuries and depleted enthusiasm along the way, but mostly I stayed on track! The night before the race my body was bouncing with energy... I was ready to run there and then, but instead I calmed myself, ate my pasta dinner and got a good nights sleep.

The morning was perfect. Overcast, around 11 degrees, not too windy - great conditions for a race! I set out with my new hypoactive race singlet (feeling pretty much like a pro) and my trusty sugar tester in my back pocket. I planned to test my sugars twice mid-race and found this quite rewarding (having never tested mid-race before) as I knew exactly what my body was doing and didn't have to stress about dropping sugars as had happened in previous races. With perfect conditions and nearly 6000 on the start line ready to run we set off. Everything went perfectly for the first 30k - my sugars remained around 10 pre and during race, I ate my gels at the 10k markers and I hydrated at every water station (about every 3k), I was ahead of the 3.30 pace group and still full of energy. However things started to go downhill after 30k. I had tested my sugars and knew they were fine, but was starting to fall behind. The 3.30 pace group passed me... And so did the 3.45 group. Things were not going well. Suddenly everything became too hard and my body gave in at 36k. I couldn't breath and started wheezing terribly.

Lucky for me I had a friend on the sidelines who came to my rescue - like a knight on shining bicycle?? He calmed me down and distracted me by singing ridiculous songs and telling jokes. I was able to breath again - thank goodness! Now the next hard part - my body didn't want to move again. I tried to get my stride going, but really struggled. My legs had decided they didn't want to move anymore and started cramping and spasming. It was tough. I think I have blanked out most of what happened between that point and the finish line, but somehow I made it there and amazingly in under 4 hours (3.45). The excitement of finishing was overshadowed by the need to cry and vomit all at once. I did neither and instead opted for collapsing on the grass outside the MCG. Things got better after a few hours and I was able to walk and talk again. The pain was similar to my first event which frustrated me as I had trained much harder this time around. Oh well, at least my sugars hadn't let me down and I had achieved my goal! Next aim is under 3.30 in 2011! I'd better start training!

John Thompson, Kate Flentje and Dan Seller at the finish

Insulin Injected Engines all the way round!

Thanks to Wendy and Dennis Flentje for providing photos.