A lot has happened over the last two weeks since my last post. After months of training, I ran my first ever 10k race. I got overloaded with work as a deadline loomed overhead. And Boston happened. I went to reflect on my 10k race and training last Monday around 3PM to write this article. As I began to write, I received an email from my sister about the Boston marathon bombing and I got derailed. This hit so close to home not only because my husband is from Boston and has family and friends up there, but also because I had just finished my race two days prior and I could relate to all the emotions the runners were feeling as they were crossing the line. My thoughts and prayers go out to all that were affected and I am glad they were able to catch the suspect alive so they can question him. Last week was also the six-year anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings. I am a VT alum and had graduated a year prior to the shootings but I knew a lot of people that were affected. The anniversary came just a day after the Boston bombing and when trying to process and deal with all that had happened, I found this image that I absolutely love.
Now that a week has passed and work has calmed down, I am able to reflect on the last week. I love how the community has come together for Boston. I was telling my husband that it is sad that an event like this has to happen for people to come together but then I remembered, that’s not true at all. The Diabetes Online Community (DOC) is always there for one another. I can’t believe it took me so long to find the DOC since I have had Type 1 Diabetes for almost 20 years now. As a case in point, I received so much support throughout my 10k training. Even the day of the race I had someone on Twitter wish me good luck (thanks Amy!).
Last Saturday, the 13th of April was race day. A week before the race, meteorologists were calling for rain. I was not looking forward to my first official race in the rain because I knew that the majority of the race was just mental for me. If it was going to rain, I would not be as “pumped up” about the race and I might have given up and walked some. Luckily, it turned out to be an amazingly perfect day-65 degrees and sunny. My goal that day was to run the entire time. I had signed up for the 70-75 minute group so my second goal was to try and finish within the time for which I signed up. My husband and I had been running about a 12-minute mile (I know not too fast but hey I couldn’t even run for 1 minute back in November). Running a 12-minute mile would put us across the finish line around 74 and a half minutes so just barely squeezing in under the 75-minute mark.
Of course, those were my non-diabetic goals. My main “diabetic” goal was to complete the race with my blood sugar under control. This made me nervous because adrenaline is one sneaky trigger, causing my blood sugar to climb high. All morning long I was trying not to get too excited or nervous to keep away Mister Adrenaline. My plans for a good blood sugar day were slightly altered when the night before the race I thought it was a good idea to load up on carbs to give me energy for the following day. This caused my blood sugar to get pretty high-245 at bedtime and then woke up at 2:30AM with blood sugar of 280! I bolused (put in insulin) for the high blood sugar and went back to bed. When I woke up at 6 to start getting ready for the race, my blood sugar had dropped down to 208, which was still higher than I wanted. I didn’t bolus for the high though (need to do basal testing because my rates are too high) and by 7:50AM, my blood sugar had dropped to 172. I ate a half a cup of cereal (around 15 carbs), put in 0.5 units of insulin and waited for race time. Ten minutes before I was set to start, I tested my blood sugar one more time and I was 245. Definitely higher than I wanted to be but not too high where I didn’t think I could run. I ran the race and afterwards my blood sugar was 130-pretty perfect for me. I did drop over 100 points but I think some of that was from my breakfast bolus and because my morning basal rates are too high.
Reflecting back, I started my couch to 5k program back in November and the first few weeks were hard. I remember thinking I must be allergic to exercise because I googled certain symptoms I had after my first few runs. Having red, itchy legs after a run is a symptom for an actual allergy to exercise, but I think in my case it was more my blood vessels freaking out about blood moving fast through them. The red, itchy legs luckily subsided after a few weeks. My blood sugars also went a lot lower than I was used to; running and getting low blood sugar actually helped me to be more comfortable lower, something with which I have always struggled. I went through a week or so where my left foot hurt like crazy but then I bought new running shoes and that fixed the problem instantly. Then, I started to get blisters on my feet until a good friend told me about this amazing product called body glide and you can put it all over your feet to curb blister formations. This also really helped. There were weeks when I didn’t feel well or mentally I didn’t think I could push through and do a longer run. I remember feeling exhilarated when I ran 4 miles straight for the first time. After that run, I knew if I couldn’t complete a 4 mile run it was all mental since I had done it.
I used to be really worried about my blood sugar when I ran and would test during runs, but with help from the DOC I learned to make an exercise journal which really helped me to see how my blood sugars did before, during and after runs and I became more confident on how my blood sugar would react to runs and became less nervous. Running has not only helped control my blood sugars but it has helped me to be much more aware of my blood sugars which contributes even more to tighter blood sugar control.
Race day for me was a success. My blood sugar, despite starting a little higher, was OK. I didn’t drop too low or get too high. I finished the race and ended up running the entire time! Goal #1 accomplished :). We finished the race in 76 minutes so not under the 75-minute goal but my GPS said we ran 6.4 miles not 6.2 so I’m telling myself that we did finish the 6.2 in under 75 minutes ;-).
For someone who never consistently worked out, I have now run three times a week for the past six months. Admittedly, I didn’t do that every week for the past six months but the majority of the past six months I did. It was so nice to have the 10k training team over the past 10 weeks to keep me motivated and now I’m wondering what race I will sign up for next?
Happy running DOC!