Trail running with diabetes

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Mont blanc and its glaciers taken from the "jonction".

I’m training for a 100km ultra marathon around mont blanc. I’m learning a lot about running, training, physiology and diabetes. Today though was all about the joy of running and being in the mountains.

It started with a four mile run in London at 5am. I hadn’t factored in just how heavy my bag was, and I had to really push it to make my train. The doors closed as I arrived on there platform, so I panicked, waving to the driver hoping that I wasn’t going to miss my second plane in a week! Luckily he let me on.

Cut to arriving in Chamonix and running up a mountain. I’d never done this run before. 1800m climb from the valley floor up a spur in between two glaciers. The views were breath taking and I was constantly amazed when they kept getting EVEN BETTER. It was just me, some chamois and the rock and the ice. It’s such an amazing feeling to run up a mountain into that environment. What a day.

My phone camera can’t possibly do it justice but pics below.

My blood sugar was 5.9 before setting off. Then 4.6, 4.8 and 5 during the run, before finishing at 10. After the first hour (when I ate just 15g of carbs) I ate about 60g of carbs an hour. My blood sugar only got high when running down hill. Presumably because I was working less hard aerobically (although the legs were screaming!). I’ve only needed to eat about 30-40g of carbs an hour when running recently so it’s interesting that I needed to consume so much more today. The whole outing took 3:36, was 18km and 1800m vertical height difference.

(The other number is carbs eaten vs fast acting insulin. I ate 470g of carbs over the day and had 2 units of fast acting insulin. The benefits of exercise for insulin sensitivity!)

It’s not about the stats though – either diabetes or otherwise – it’s about the joy of running in these mountains!

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A very happy runner at la jonction

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The les bossons glacier tumbling below. I witnessed a large serac (ice) fall. Awesome.

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The spur I was running up had the les bossons glacier on one side and this view of the taconnaz glacier the other.

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When the "gite" was marked on the map, I thought it would be a building of some kind. It was a rock! Nice story though.

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Peaking over the top of the aiguilles rouges and the Chamonix valley.

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The Chamonix Aiguilles

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I was very close to missing my plane at 5:24am.

Can diabetes make you happy?

Which line to ski? We ended up doing one of the smaller ones! (Red Arrow)

Which line to ski? We ended up doing one of the smaller ones! (Red Arrow)

When I was diagnosed in august last year my first concern was could I go skiing again?! After exercising daily, testing my blood obsessively and plenty of trial (and some error) I’m pleased to report that diabetes has had very little impact on my ski season. The weather and snow conditions have made it frustrating at times but I’ve still managed to have some awesome experiences.

My final ski of the season was the Gigord couloir in chamonix, last week. Skiing this kind of thing is a great transferable skill for managing diabetes. I need to carry the right kit (just like a diabetic), manage risk (just like balancing the risks of low blood sugar with the long run costs of high blood sugar), and solve problems with a clear head.

The start of the route we’d planned was a very short traverse from the top of the grands montets cable car. This combined with the warm sunshine gave us the deceptive feel that it would be easy. Looking up at the route it looked short and easy and whilst excited I also felt a bit of regret that we weren’t doing one of the classic north faces round the corner.

The Gigord Couloir marked in red

The Gigord Couloir marked in red

Illusions that this would be a walk in the park were quickly dissipated by a gust of wind so strong that we had to turn our backs to the snow and ice being driven into our faces. Yup: despite it being BBQ weather in the valley we were in the high mountains.

I tested my blood sugar (6.2) and ate the second half of my snicker’s (15g of carb) to preempt any risk of a hypo. We put skins on our skis (these allow you to walk up hill) and I bashed an unsocially steep skin track up to the burgshrund whilst Mark swore at his skins (which were coming off one ski) and announced he was in a bad mood!

Crossing the bergschrund was much easier than last time I was here a few weeks before (that time we had climbed half way up the neighbouring chevalier couloir before throwing in the towel and skiing down). The recent snow fall had covered the blue icy chasm and I could just walk straight over it.

Mark’s skins were still misbehaving so we ditched our rope, swapped skis for crampons and started our boot pack straight up the couloir. Skinning and boot packing up hill are similar intensities to running so I kind of know how much sugar I need to take on. I ate four jelly babies (20g of carb) before getting going.

After slogging up some deep powder for about 100m the snow turned firm and grippy (this kind of snow is called neve) and we shot up to the top, with Mark commenting “it’s steep!”

At the top there was no question of finding a ledge to put our skis on. We attached ourselves to some pitons left in a rock and busied ourselves with the precarious business of swapping crampons for skis and trying not to let poles, axes, bags or gloves tumble down the 55 degree slope – we had to tie everything on to either ourselves or the pitons. The faff involved in diabetes management is pretty trivial compared to managing all this kit in a howling gale on a seemingly near vertical slope!

In the shade and the wind and at about 3600m altitude my hands were too cold to contemplate a blood test so I just ate another five jelly babies (25g carb) which I knew would probably push my blood sugar over the recommended 8 mmol/l. But I needed zero risk of a hypo in this situation.

With my blood sugar sorted I could focus completely on the skiing. I took myself off the anchor – no losing balance allowed now – and started the ski. My plan was to side step for half a metre and side slip for another half a metre to get the measure of the snow. It was good. Firm and grippy.

I looked down. The slope is 50-55 degrees for the first two hundred metres. A fall in the first 150m would probably result in cartwheeling into the rocks on the side of the couloir. I’ve never turned on snow this steep and I’m in a situation where the consequences of falling are serious. I look up at Mark. “I’m not gonna lie: I’m pretty nervous!”

He tells me he’s happy to ski first, but I know I’m going to have to do my first turn at some point so I lean forwards, plant my poles and jump my skis round. As I land my skis kick up a load of snow and ice which the wind blows up into my face: unexpected, cold and beautiful. I’ve done it! I carry on turning, feeling more confident each time and also relieved that the gap between me and the rocks is narrowing with each successful turn.

The snow is giving me a serious ice cream headache and I’m kind of feeling sick from the cold. I’m used to the feeling from surfing in cold UK waters so I know it will pass. I stop to wave my arms around to get blood back in my fingers and to watch Mark doing his turns down the steepest part of the slope.

Neve turns to powder and before we know it we are jumping across the bergschrund and flying back to the familiar slopes of Grands Montets. Despite the fact that the top lift has been unloading skiers all morning we find some untracked powder in great terrain and we’re skiing in the sun with huge grins on our faces and whooping with joy.

We didn't take any photos on the day because we were concentrating and it was cold! This is Mark shredding Grand Montets on his telemark skis a couple of weeks beforehand.

We didn’t take any photos on the day because we were concentrating and it was cold! This is Mark shredding Grand Montets on his telemark skis a couple of weeks beforehand.

I test my blood: 12. Too high but I know it will go down quickly and much much better this way than having a hypo on a slope which requires total commitment.

It’s the closing day of the ski season so we round the corner to a massive party at midstation. Pumping tunes, BBQ and a water pool which all manner of crazy skiers are schussing down to and flying across. Some in their underwear, some on piggy back, even a guy on cross country skis!

We find Emily, eat our sandwiches (1u insulin for 50g of carbs in the bread), bask in the sun and laugh at the water pool attempts. It’s a different world from our mini adventure an hour ago. But I’m on such a high and feeling unbelievably happy about my last day’s skiing.

The pool party

The pool party

The diabetic medic wrote one of her favourite quotes on her blog. Epicticus said: “it’s not what happens to you but how you react to it that matters.”

I feel really strongly about this and think that it’s a very important piece of the puzzle of finding happiness. I sometimes seek out stressful situations for fun. And I’m often happiest after a ski or a climb if it was difficult but I managed to overcome my emotions (normally of fear!). I like the satisfaction of solving problems when things go wrong.

Of course we don’t get to choose all the stressful situations we face. My diabetes diagnosis last year was life changing, unwelcome and dominated most of my waking thoughts for a couple of weeks after (and a good deal of them on a permanent basis).

But I’m incredibly lucky. Not just because I have the opportunity to ski or climb in beautiful places, but because these activities have taught me to stay calm under pressure, to evaluate failure in a measured way and to learn from it rather than become frustrated.

I’ve managed to transfer the same attitude to my diabetes management. I was amazed to find that I quite liked learning about the condition. Whilst the digital hour glass on my glucose monitor display is spinning I look forward to, rather than dread, the result: it’s an extra bit of data I can learn from. Whether it’s good or bad I’ll be that little bit better at controlling my diabetes in the future.

It’s how you react to it that matters. Getting diabetes is obviously rubbish. But I feel that I’ve reacted well to it. And that makes me happy. The amazing thing? I’ve picked up an incurable autoimmune disease which requires constant daily effort and I’m happier than I was the day before it happened!

I’m more grateful than I was for the simple joys of running along a trail or turning my skis down a slope. The joy of living life to the full is a very very big motivation to learn to live with my diabetes.

All this…

My first prescription! Insulin pens for injecting, spare needles, the expensive testing strips and a "sharps" disposal box

Is a small price to pay for this…

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Sunset at orestes

 

 

Double Guinness Record for Collins Brothers!!

Before the start. My, my brother (the monk) and a bride we met on the way from the station.

Before the start. My, my brother (the monk) and a bride (Camilla Kerr - another totally inspirational person) we met on the way from the station.

We did it!

I really didn’t know if I could beat 2:51 this morning. I thought chances are I would be too hot and too blind (I can’t see out of the costume very well). I was more confident that my brother Tom would beat the monk record of 3:45, but then we saw a really fit looking monk at the start so not only did he have the record to beat but he had to beat the other monk too!

It’s  such an emotional day. I could see the other runners (most of the time) but couldn’t see the crowd. I was looking for the JDRF supporters and couldn’t see them. I was looking for my friends and relatives and couldn’t see them. (I wasn’t looking for a speed bump at Canary Wharf, tripped up on it and got a massive cheer from the crowd!) But the roar of the crowd was absolutely amazing.

With ten miles to go, I knew I was going to do it and started to enjoy myself.

A friend managed to catch my two seconds of fame on the BBC!

A friend managed to catch my two seconds of fame on the BBC!

I finished, was interviewed by BBC London Radio, another radio station and the Guardian, and made my way to the JDRF recovery area. I felt so proud to have run for such an amazing charity. All the other runners have very personal connections to the charity, with children, partners, good friends or themselves with type 1. It was such an amazing effort from everyone!

Thank you everyone!

The motivations for running the marathon and beating the record are many. I wanted to see if I could do it with type 1. I wanted to raise the profile of JDRF and raise cash for them. I wanted to run for all the other people with type 1. I hope to inspire other people with type 1 to exercise as much as they want and as much as a “healthy person”.

I have also had such fantastic support (financially and words of encouragement) from so many people. My family and friends have been amazing. I’d also like to make a special mention to two other groups though: the few “randoms” who I’ve never met and my work colleagues. I have been blown away by how generous so many people have been. Some I know well and some I hardly know at all.

Thank you everyone!

Just in case you haven’t sponsored me yet!

Virgin Money Giving here.

Stats – me

I ran 2:48:29.

My blood sugar was 7.6 just before the start. 6.9 and 9.2 during, and 5.1 when I finished. (I have to stop dead to actually place the drop of blood on the glucose meter, and I could hardly see the numbers through my costume.)

I overtook the first placed fancy dress runner – a Thunderbird – at mile 25, to finish as the fastest runner in fancy dress.

I am very very happy!

My brother

He ran 3:29:something.

He overtook the other monk with two miles to go.

His blood sugar was probably perfect all the way round – but he doesn’t have to test so will never know!

He’s very very happy!

A few photos

The brothers after the race.

The brothers after the race.

Luan and Jon organised an incredible event for JDRF. Thank you!

Luan and Jon organised an incredible event for JDRF. Thank you!

Trying not to look too knackered with my wife Emily after the run.

Trying not to look too knackered with my wife Emily after the run.

Mo Farah is a total inspiration!

Mo Farah is a total inspiration!

 

How does a diabetic tiger train for a marathon world record?

Frosties is a third sugar and drinking orange juice is like drinking coca cola. Not suitable for diabetic tigers!

Frosties is a third sugar and drinking orange juice is like drinking coca cola. Not suitable for diabetic tigers!

Not all tigers were created equal. Some are diabetic. Some don’t like lazing around and like running long distances instead. So how does this tiger train for the breaking the Guinness World Record for the fastest ever marathon in an animal costume?

Nutrition

For a diabetic some nutrition is easy, some difficult. First the easy bit – excessively sugary foods are banned. Period. Since becoming diabetic, I have not eaten a single Frostie or had a single glass of orange juice. Even if I took the appropriate insulin for the carbohydrate content, if I ate these foods my blood sugar would rocket far quicker than the insulin could take it down.

The bad news for all you healthy people out there is that Frosties and orange juice are really bad for everybody. So don’t eat them!

The harder bit is knowing what to eat before and during the marathon. I’ve had diabetes for 8 months now, and so my pancreas still makes insulin. Although the amount of insulin I produce is decreasing over time. Some describe the pancreas as a “stuttering carburetor” which switches on and off randomly and makes blood sugar control more difficult. Mine hasn’t been that bad, but my insulin sensitivity has been changing - both the amount of insulin I need to take with meals and the amount of carbs I need to eat whilst running.

When I did my ultra marathon, I knew exactly how much carbohydrate I needed to eat whilst running. Going into the Marathon this weekend I have very little idea. It means I’m going to have to test more regularly whilst I’m running – which will be a challenge at speed and whilst wearing a morph suit with no eye holes!

Running

Tigers are like humans. They more running they do the faster they get. I have been running about 50 to 60 miles a week when at peak training. Although I’ve lost two weeks to illness and two weeks to minor injury. I’ve hardly done any running for the past three weeks and all the running I have done has been on mountain paths with loads of ups and downs. So not very specific training but I am very fit for it!

Tiger running

Stretching

Seeing a physio before my ultra was the best decision I’ve made running-wise. I’ve been following his stretching regime religiously. I think it’s made a real difference to my strength and flexibility.

A world of pain!

A world of pain!

Stretching every day s really important

Stretching every day s really important

Meeting other tigers

The tiger community is really vibrant and I met a fellow tiger whilst skiing recently. He gave me some great tips about sliding down mountains but didn’t know much about running unfortunately.

I met another tiger whilst skiing! I asked him for tips for combining athletic activities with being a tiger.

Cross training

Spending time at altitude trudging up mountains is far from a tiger’s natural environment. But it’s fun and I’m still doing it in my first year with diabetes. I was lucky to spend the first two weeks of my three week “taper” in Chamonix. Skiing, climbing, and running. By the end of the holiday I was totally exhausted!! But I’m hoping that the tiger will be super fit for the marathon even if he’s a bit tired!

Good cross training for marathon training is carrying two pairs of skis up a steep couloir at 3000m altitude.

Good cross training for marathon training is carrying two pairs of skis up a steep couloir at 3000m altitude.

On the way up to the Col du Passon with the Aiguille Vert in the background

On the way up to the Col du Passon with the Aiguille Vert in the background

I have no idea if I can break the cow’s record of 2:51

I’ve had some very unconventional training. Am not as well prepared as I had hoped, but hopefully the crowd will spur me on and I’m going to give it my best shot. If you’re going to the London Marathon on Sunday, please keep an eye out for the diabetic tiger running as fast as his spindly little chicken legs will carry him. I’ll need as much cheering as you can muster!

Diabetes as Art

Travis working working hard to get the right shot

Travis working working hard to get the right shot

I’ve been going to the monthly quantified self meetup whenever I can. They are really interesting evenings. At each evening, three people present on any aspect of self quantifying they have been doing. Given that I have diabetes and track a lot of data these days, I feel like there’s stuff I can learn from the presentations. Even if they’re not relevant to me they are normally fascinating, and this techy geeky world is something I wouldn’t have discovered without my diagnosis (the gift of diabetes keeps on giving…!).

At the last meetup a photographer called Travis Hodges gave a presentation on his work. He is doing something called “follow me” which is where he took a photo of someone, got them to tweet one of their friends and then took a photo of them. The chain goes on. The collection was so successful that he was asked to do an exhibition in Brixton, and decided to do portraits of self trackers, their devices, their motivations and their data.

So I found myself sitting at my table with Travis taking photos of me sitting in front of my lunch, glucose meter, syringes and scales to illustrate me going through the thought process involved in eating. (Weigh food, work out carbohydrate content, think hard, and inject.)

Travis was then kind enough to go to the park with us to take photos of me running in my tiger costume. Hopefully they will be useful for the publicity for my Guinness world record attempt at the fastest animal (costume) to run the marathon.

Getting ready for the tiger photo shoot!

Getting ready for the tiger photo shoot!

Tiger to run London Marathon – Guinness World Record Attempt

The tiger in its natural environment.

The tiger in its natural environment.

I have decided to run the London Marathon (in about a month’s time) dressed in a Tiger costume. It covers my whole body – feet, hands, head and face! It’s going to be hot.

I asked the Guinness Book of Records if there was a Onesie category (I wanted to run as a type-onesie) but there isn’t, so they suggested the animal.

The record is currently held by a cow in 2:51:18. It’s going to be really hard to go faster than this but the London Marathon is all about having fun and pushing personal limits so I’m really excited about trying. When I signed up for the marathon straight after diagnosis, I wasn’t even sure whether I’d be able to do it with diabetes. I’ve come a long way since then, and hopefully wearing a stupid costume will raise awareness that people with type 1 can do everything a “healthy” person can.

Guinness are very keen for a record attempt – they have many at each marathon – but I’m still waiting for them to confirm whether my costume is acceptable or not. Fingers crossed!

How will I train?

I’m going to post more on this later, but basically my training is now a mix of normal marathon training, gathering data to know how to manage my blood sugar (my body’s sensitivity to insulin seems to be changing – I hardly need to eat any carbohydrate when I run at the moment – which adds an additional challenge), and running in really hot clothes so that when I do the marathon with my entire body covered in material it’s not too much of a shock. Oh, and I’m still doing loads of stretching to stay on the right side of the precarious balance of training hard and injury.

I ran 23 miles today in 2:45 with the last 10k in 40 minutes. It was a lovely lovely spring day, but hot for running and I was only wearing shorts and a t-shirt. So I’ve got mixed feelings on my chances: I think today was a good run considering I ran 65 miles in the week before, played squash and had a few glasses of wine last night. But doing it in an animal costume is going to be a lot more difficult.

I’ve run in the costume twice since getting it on Wednesday last week. The first time was on the treadmill at my work gym. I must have got some funny looks, but I can’t really see out of the costume very well, and I’m quite glad that my colleagues couldn’t identify the lunatic in a tiger suit! The second time was a 9 mile run on Friday morning. I did feel a bit self conscious when I started to run, but English people are incredibly reserved. Most didn’t bat an eyelid when seeing a tiger running towards them, although there were some pretty funny reactions from some.

My virgin giving account is here. I’m raising funds for the JDRF, which sponsors research into finding ways to manage, prevent and cure type 1 diabetes. It’s a great organisation, doing great work, and I hope to be able to help them.

Diabetes and being ill don’t mix

Gratuitous shot of Mont Blanc. What an amazing view to have whilst marching 850m up a hill.

Gratuitous shot of Mont Blanc. What an amazing view to have whilst marching 850m up a hill.

I’ve just come out of a two week long cold. Despite evidence to the contrary (I got diabetes six months ago), I think of myself as someone who never gets ill. So getting a cold and feeling low on energy and not wanting to run was a real blow. Not least because my fund raising page reminds me that I only have 54 days left to the Marathon. Given that I want to run it in a very challenging time, two weeks of almost no quality training is a real blow. I’m still waiting for comments on whether I should run the marathon in a Onesie by the way. So far two people have commented, and that’s not quite enough to encourage me to do it!

Blood glucose control is also a challenge when ill

Seasoned diabetics must know this well, and I did in theory from reading the JDRF information book I was given on day one, but getting a cold affects blood glucose control. In my case I was merrily going about my business taking my usual dose of insulin (about one unit per 50g of carbs that I eat), when my glucose control started to go mental. I was getting very high readings on a very regular basis. Had I suddenly ceased to be in the honey moon phase? Was I now a proper, full-on type 1 diabetic? Will my glucose control strategy whilst running have to totally change? Was I going to go blind because I couldn’t control my blood sugar?

If you’ve got a problem, solve it

I’m really lucky, because I have never got upset or frustrated with diabetes. This time was no different – I was surprised to find myself actually enjoying the challenge of coping with the condition. After wondering what was going on for a couple of days, I remembered that being ill affects glucose control. When the body is ill, the liver releases more glucose into the blood, according to the Diabetes UK website. So as a diabetic one needs to take more insulin. I gradually increased my insulin doses – I didn’t want to overdo it and give myself a massive hypo – until I had my blood sugar under control. This meant that I ended up more than doubling my insulin dose (from one unit for 50-60g of carbs to one unit for 20g very briefly). This worked, and I’m now back up to about one unit to 40g of carbs. So maybe that means I’m getting better… The chart below shows a history of my blood sugar control. Any guesses about when I got a cold? That’s right: when average blood sugar levels went much higher.

Average daily blood glucose (black line) got a lot higher, and the range of daily readings got much wider whilst I was ill.

Average daily blood glucose (black line) got a lot higher, and the range of daily readings got much wider whilst I was ill. I aim to keep it between 4 and 8. Click on the chart to enlarge.

The next chart shows how variable my blood sugar was during my illness. It also shows how much I had to change my insulin dosage.

This chart is really geeky. To see whether my blood glucose was more variable while I was ill (grey patch) I calculated the standard deviation of daily blood readings. Basically if readings become more erratic the standard deviation goes up. You can see that the green line - standard deviation - did go up while I was ill. As I started to get blood glucose under control, by taking a lot more insulin (red line), my blood glucose readings became less erratic, and the green line came down.

This chart is really geeky. To see whether my blood glucose was more variable while I was ill (grey patch) I calculated the standard deviation of daily blood readings. Basically if readings become more erratic the standard deviation goes up. You can see that the green line – standard deviation – did go up while I was ill. As I started to get blood glucose under control, by taking a lot more insulin (red line), my blood glucose readings became less erratic, and the green line came down.

The fear of night time hypos…

One of the most uncomfortable things about increasing my dosages of insulin so drastically whilst ill was taking what felt like huge doses of insulin before my evening meal, which is often very late in the evening and just before I got to bed. Would I get a bad hypo whilst sleeping? Luckily, one of the advantages about being so exact with all this data I’m generating is that I actually have a much better chance of getting glucose control right compared to if I was doing it “blind”. I didn’t have any night time hypos. Interestingly, despite my blood sugar being all over the place during the day, even when I was ill, I was waking up with good levels. Probably because I’m still in the honey moon phase which is why I’m hoping that one day treatments like the monopeptide trial I’m participating in will allow newly diagnosed patients to remain in the honey moon phase perpetually.

The grey region shows when I had a cold. You can see that whilst my blood sugar was generally high when I went to bed, it always seemed to be back to normal in the morning. This must be the honeymoon phase...

The grey region shows when I had a cold. You can see that whilst my blood sugar was generally high when I went to bed, it always seemed to be back to normal in the morning. This must be the honeymoon phase…

First world problems: how to do glucose control whilst ill and skiing

Another advantage of analysing all my data so carefully is that I have the confidence to change my regime if I think it’s the right thing to do. So my golden rule of not taking any insulin before or during skiing (only in the evening) was broken recently when I was skiing. I was much less sensitive to insulin than normal, so could take it before skiing. I had a fantastic and frustrating weekend all in one a week ago. There was loads of powder around to ski, and very few lifts open to ski it. We solved the problem on one day by walking from the bottom of the ski resort to the top – twice! (Good training for the marathon.) The lift queues were actually so bad that on my second lap, I think I got up as quickly as Emily, who opted for the lift! I don’t have any control over the weather, so can get annoyed when it conspires to rob me of a day’s skiing. Diabetes on the other hand is down to me to control so I don’t get frustrated with it (yet). Ask me if I feel the same way when I’m out of the honey moon phase.

Chamonix isn't really that busy is it? After a days skiing - well more walking uphill than skiing - we opted to ski a kind of crazy cat track down to the station. No-one else did so we could enjoy the sunset by ourselves whilst everyone else crowded like a sardine into the bus.

Chamonix isn’t really that busy is it? After a days skiing – well more walking uphill than skiing – we opted to ski a kind of crazy cat track down to the train station. No-one else did, so we could enjoy the sunset by ourselves whilst everyone else crowded like a sardine into the bus.

When is a hypo not a hypo?

At the top of the Grands Montets cable car, I tested my blood and found it to be 1.3!!! That is a really bad hypo. The thing is, I felt totally fine. I have been told that the glucose monitor works at altitude. So I had the choice to believe my own senses or the monitor. I ate four jelly babies and skied off. On testing myself 20 minutes later, I was back up to around 8. If I was 1.3, that’s really worrying. But I’m just not sure I believe it. I still feel low blood sugar when I drop below 4.3 or 4.4 so I should definitely have felt it at 1.3! Maybe my glucose monitor didn’t work. Maybe gaining altitude rapidly (like on a cable car) causes blood glucose readings to go wrong (the reading was fine at a similar altitude 20 minutes later). Maybe the fact that all the exercise I do means that my liver is used to routinely releasing glucose into my body and I can handle bad hypos? (That’s what Roger Hanney thinks and his diabetes hasn’t stopped him achieving incredible things.) Who knows? Neither Roger or I are doctors. I’m going to ask my doctor, and carry on being super cautious about hypos up a mountain.

Oh. My. God. Am I about to die?!?! Luckily I felt fine and just munched some magic jelly babies.

Oh. My. God. Am I about to die?!?! Luckily I felt fine and just munched some magic jelly babies.