Diabetes and the racing equation

(It’s taken me longer than I intended to post this second part of my Vancouver First Half half marathon recap; again, I blame chemistry.)

So where were we? Oh right, I had just kicked my last personal best out of the park, knocking off a solid four minutes. And oh how I wish I could have started this post with a conquering WAHOO all around, but sadly, frustratingly, Dear Diabetes was having none of that.

Vancouver First Half: Racing strategy win. Diabetes strategy fail.

Dear Diabetes drew me in early on, tantalizing me, teasing me with a good, solid streak of no lows while training. I didn’t dare gloat or boast about it for fear her ugly head would rear, I just kept happily running along, diabetes NOT at the front of my thoughts. But then, it all turned sour. About a month and a half ago, ohhh right about the start of chemistry (see above), my running blood sugars went every which way but the right way to Sunday.

Race day was no exception.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday night, I started feeling pukey. I checked my blood sugars and they were higher than I like. They kept going up and up and up. I checked them multiple times through the night, gave myself insulin at least three times, and still they didn’t come down. I woke up with them at 8.8 (I like them to be 6.0). I knew they’d surge up following breakfast given how they’d been the last month or so for long run Sundays. I increased my basal rate by 80 per cent for the hour following breakfast, hoping that would counteract a major high. By the time I got to the race course an hour before the start, they were 10.1. It was too late to give another dose of insulin or to increase the basal. I hoped, though, also given the Sunday run patterns that they’d soon drop… just not bottom out.

Initially I was planning to take drastic measures with my temporary basal throughout the run. Instead of dropping it down 50-70 per cent has been my normal, I was going to shut it off outright to avoid any kind of low. But something in me just didn’t feel right about that decision, so I was bit more conservative and only dropped it down to 80 per cent.

The second part of my diabetes strategy was to load up on shot blocks and my homemade sports drink throughout the entire run. Again, maybe a little drastic, but I did not want a low, and it seemed for all my long training runs lately, I couldn’t stuff the shot bloks in fast enough to keep my blood sugars level. I popped my first three shot bloks and took a swig of drink about 5 minutes before the start . Every subsequent 20 minutes, I popped two more with a shot. In total, I went through two packages of shot bloks, save two, and two 400 mL bottles of the sports drink.

The third and final diabetes strategy: I was not to test my blood sugars.

So let’s review shall we: I dropped my basal to 80 per cent for the duration of the run; I loaded up on sugar-filled carbs, some might say overdosed; and I did not keep a running track of my blood sugars while doing so. Pretty much, the basics for What Not To Do With Diabetes.

Five minutes after crossing the finish line, my blood sugars were 15.8. Crap. I jacked up my basal rate to 100 per cent for two hours, gave myself an instant bolus correction dose, did not have a thing to eat (no recovery carbs/proteins for me), and shook my head with the injustice of it all. About an hour later, they were at 23.3. Holy freaking crud ugly monkey, what the frick! One hour after that they were 18.8. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. And three hours later they were 3.1.

Bloody freaking hell. Just run me over with a train why don’t you.

Death by highs.

The feeling of high blood sugars, 5,000 times worse than the worst hangover!

No wonder I felt like absolute crud the last 4 or so kilometres of the race.

Diabetes fail.

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2 responses to “Diabetes and the racing equation

  1. Well this wasn’t entirely unexpected but I wasn’t expecting it if that makes sense. Your last post about the race was so amazing and I was thrilled and proud! I found it weird there was no mention of the diabetes race.
    When we participate in events there’s two parts. The event and then the diabetes. The fact that you were able to write an entire post about how you managed this disease makes it so much more apparent how awful and difficult it is to deal with diabetes and exercise.

    It’s almost like the two are never meant to meet. I’ve felt that way for years. How much easier life would be if I either just did diabetes or didn’t have diabetes and exercised. Y’know??

    I’m sorry this happened. I was reading and feeling every single thing because I know exactly how it all felt. Right down to the utter frustration of it all. I find once I get into that mindset of “how much did I eat, how much insulin did I take? How far/hard did I run? I lose track of it all and it become a big jumble in my head. It gets to the point where you just have to sit back and watch it like a hawk every 20 minutes not knowing if you did too much or too little or if you’re gonna tank or go sky high.

    long comment. Great post. I wish that didn’t happen. (the diabetes hell not the post or the comment)

  2. Oooohhhhh, it pisses me off when diabetes pulls that crap. I can’t even imagine how horrible you must have felt during and after the run. 😦

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