When I first started writing this post, I was sitting on a curb with the morning beauty of Jericho Beach before me and the determination of thousands of runners behind me. My face awash with tears, I was embarrassed, ashamed, effing pissed off. I never thought I’d see this day, I never thought I’d quit a race, especially a race I was on par to kick some serious ass at, and yet, there I sat, a quitter.
This morning I woke up and ate breakfast at 4 a.m., three and a half hours prior to the start of the Scotiabank half marathon, with the hope of having all the breakfast insulin out of my system before crossing the start line so as to avoid any unnecessary lows on the race. Over the last few days, my blood sugars had been going consistently low two to three hours after breakfast, which I did not want, so I gave a slight reduction of the insulin dose this morning. Seems that reduction combined with my nerves resulted in a blood sugar revolt. One hour post breakfast, they were 9.2. Two hours post breakfast, they were 12.0. Three hours post breakfast, they were 12.8. And they did not show any signs whatsover of dropping.
Eff me, are you freaking kidding me? My stomach was full on in a fit of worry.
I gave myself a conservative insulin correction dose, enough to hopefully prevent them from continuing to climb, but not so much they’d bottom out by 3 km. I also gave myself a 50 per cent less temporary basal rate, which in hindsight, I should have probably omitted, but given how quick my blood sugars have been dropping on runs lately, I didn’t want the possibility of a low.
Don’t worry, I didn’t have that.
The first 5 km of the run I tried to hold back my pace, about 10-15 seconds slower than race pace. Typically I go out way too fast, and by typically, I mean all the time, and half the time, by the end, even if I’m having a great race, I am so incredibly depleted, it’s all I can do to waddle across the finish, let alone sprint. At the suggestion of my massage therapist, I tried to give this technique a whirl.
Those first 5k flew by.
But the seam started to fray at my first walk break 30 minutes in. That’s when I first checked my Continuous Glucose Monitor to see where my blood sugars were at. The screen read 11.8. I had no idea if that 11.8 would continue to rise, or if it would slow down. I only had 1 minute to get myself organized. I knew I needed some form of energy, there was no way I could go without (I’ve done that previously and it sucked hard!) so I popped a couple shot blocks and hoped, hoped, hoped my BG would cooperate.
Cue the mental battle.
As soon as I started back running I started thinking. I started thinking about my rising blood sugars. I started thinking about the amount of sugar in the shot blocks. I started thinking I should have cancelled the temporary basal. The smart thing to do at that point would have been to stop and do just that, but the competitive demon on my shoulder told me no, I had to keep going, if I wanted a good time, I could not stop for anything other than my scheduled walk breaks every 30 minutes. I’d already slowed my pace, this was when I needed to kick it up.
By 7 km, feelings of nausea started to creep in. I had major dry mouth that no amount of water would appease. I was sweating and panting like a dog under the heat of the sun. And my legs felt as though they had chains wrapped around them.
I kept going. I let the downhill do the work. When my watch clicked over 10 km, and I saw 54:11, the fastest 10 km I have ever run, I was shocked, honestly, completely shocked.
And then I fell apart.
I was nearing my second walk break, my pace had slowed to a turtle’s crawl. When I looked at my CGM, the screen glared a 12.8 back at me. EFF YOU Diabetes! Knowing that my blood sugars were continuing to rise and not knowing when, if they would stop, combined with the pukiness that had taken over, my brain shut down, my mental fortitude shut down, I shut down.
And so, there I sat, shivering in my sweat, cursing my diabetes, admonishing my weaknesses. The runners long gone. My tears not.
Ashamed. Disappointed. Sad. Effing mad.