5.3.09

Return From Libya

Got back from Libya a few days ago and have had a lot of time to reflect and mull over the whole experience.
January was a mad month to build up to it. I had two weeks in China, then exams for two weeks, and then had to get onto some last bits of decent training for Libya, taking the weight vest for runs through the snow in the Peak District.
Me and my dad set off for London on the 21st to catch the Eurostar and a chartered flight with all the other competitors from Paris to Libya.
We had a day at the camp prepping or equipment (and minds), and the actual event began on the 24th, Tuesday morning at 10am. Everyone was up at 6am to get driven to an inflatable starting point in the middle of the desert. There was about an hour of hanging around and then we were off! The first section was a 15km run to a steep climb up about 1000ft. After that, the terrain was varied throughout with steep sand dunes and rocky paths.

Before starting, I made sure my blood sugar was fairly high to compensate for the 3 days of movement that lay ahead, because if it dropped too low and i ran out of food, that would be game over straight away. Conversely, my blood sugar stayed far too high the entire time, going off the scale of my blood sugar meter at one point. It seems that the high temperatures de-natured my insulin so it was very ineffective. With high blood sugar came dehydration as little water was retained (one symptom of diabetes pre-diagnosis is drinking and peeing a LOT). This was not ideal considering we were in 40 degree C heats in the day, and you can only drink as much water as you can carry between each 25km checkpoint.
Aside from all that, me and my dad were feeling strong for completing the race, and it was fully on our minds to do so. However, at check point 4, 100km in, my insulin pen went missing between setting off from the checkpoint, and stopping 500m down the road to search for it. After a couple of hours of searching and having the entire checkpoint and bags in the vicinity checked and emptied, it was game over. Without insulin I can't eat or get the glucose to the muscles, and with high sugar levels already, it was just not feasible to carry on. We had to drop out and get driven 5 hours to a hospital to find insulin (which was out of date) in order to eat for the rest of the days in camp from dropping out.

Although it is gutting to have had to pull out not from choice, me and my dad are on for doing it next year (without appealing for sponsorship from you lot, don't worry haha). It is something which I know I can do, and will not let a medical condition like diabetes stop it.

Aside from that though, it was an incredible trip and i plumbed new depths of having to 'dig deep' for me. I learnt a lot from it and met some mad people, such as ex French Foreign Legion security guards and someone who had run to Beijing in 150 days!

Thank you SO MUCH for the support, we have raised over £6000 in online and offline donations, so that is flipping awesome, a big two finger salute to the credit crunch.

Peace and love everyone.


Equipment and food for the event. About 10,000 calories.

The day before just taking a stroll outside the camp...


Minutes before the start

The British and Aussie contingent


Taking stock at checkpoint 2 before the push through the night.

Day 2 as dawn is breaking

Chilling having a sandwich



My crack kit supplied by the hospital after my insulin went missing on the race.

'HI', meaning 'your blood sugar is off the charts mate'.

5 comments:

  1. Hey man, This is an awesome write-up! I am so glad you had an awesome time despite the insulin episode and that you kept safe!I am really inspired - the pictures and the experience sound amazing!!! I haven't got diabetes and I sure couldn't do this with the strength and vigour you guys show. Go for it man! Don't let that desert defeat you! I know you will beast it next year!!! (and I won't mind if you do ask for sponsorship, heehee!)

    Peace,
    Rach

    ReplyDelete
  2. lol @ 'your blood sugar is off the charts mate'

    Well done for what you did and I'm gutted for you that you had to drop out early.

    £6,000 is immense. You must be proud!

    Haha what credit crunch?

    Don't worry about asking for sponsors again next year.

    Hope to catch up with you for some training or something around Springtime.

    Peace

    Ben

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hahahaha!! It must have been through the roof to make it not even register a number! Even on the bike ride in China when it dropped through the floor it still gave you a reading (about 2.8 if I remember correctly!) Scary stuff.

    ReplyDelete
  4. check this
    http://diabetic.friendsinhighplaces.org/biblio

    mum

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sick post man, while its a shame that it stopped you finishing it, I Still highly look up to you for it, I'm planning to do this too when I'm older. But yeah; awesome dude, keep it up (Y)

    ReplyDelete