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Pell Bridge Run.

When my friend Liz asked me to do a race with her in November, I was more concerned about whether or not I was home to participate instead of concerning myself with the specifics of the race itself.

“November 10th?  Sure, I’m home that weekend.”

And then I looked at the details:  it was a a 4.2 mile race over the Pell Bridge in Newport, RI.  At 6.30 in the morning.  On a Sunday.

A Facebook message to my friend:  “Liz, I finally followed directions and signed up. But this shit starts at 6.30 in the morning? Blargh.”

But what sounded like the absolute suck was a really amazing experience, watching the sun rise as several thousand runners crested over the bridge, moving towards a common goal.


Performance-wise, I struggled, but that’s okay.   Lots of rookie mistakes in play:  a terrible night’s sleep (< 4 hours), a new infusion set put in morning of, a fasting blood sugar of 298 mg/dL that required an aggressive correction bolus (so that I would come down in time to not have the desire to pee on the peak of the bridge), and too much insulin on board (IOB) when I met the rest of the racers at the starting line.  Thankfully, I reduced my basal rate at 4 am when I woke up, so I didn’t have my normal dawn phenomenon rate in play.

CGM check 20 minutes before the race:  158 mg/dL with an arrow pointing straight down
Meter check for confirmation:  139 mg/dL.
Bananarama:  Ate a banana without bolusing for it, and chewed a Shot Blok to get some carbs coursing through my system before setting off.
Packing heat:  And I had my Spibelt with two sleeves of Shot Bloks, my Dexcom receiver, and my meter.  I was ready for anything.

At 6.25 am, five minutes before the starting gun, I was 108 mg/dL on the Dexcom with an arrow pointing due east, so I hoped the banana/Shot Blok combo was enough to see me through.  But as the gun fired and runners started up the bridge, I felt that telltale heat washing over my body in waves of oncoming hypoglycemia.  I popped another shot blok, but shaky hands told me I needed to consult my CGM, so 3/4 of a mile into the race, I acknowledged the 50 mg/dL  and the down arrow winking back at me.

“You can go screw,” I thought.

I had to slow my pace down to fuss through the low, but after a few minutes (and thanks, in part, to the adrenaline that surely helped spike me closer to range), the down arrow disappeared and was soon replaced by a gently sloping northeast arrow on my Dexcom graph.  I continued down the bridge, and then through downtown Newport, towards the finish line.

It was early, it hurt, I was a little sluggish post-low, but my legs responded to my requests, and I kept going.

Thoughts of “I can’t do this,” were replaced by, “Oh hell yes I can.”

I’m not a fast runner.   Not a graceful one, either (more of a plodder).  But I get there.  And even though diabetes was a bit to blame for delaying my sprint across the finish line, it is fully to blame for bringing me to the starting line.

(And this run gave me a great Big Blue Test to log – 139 mg/dL at the outset, 158 mg/dL at the close, after 4.2 miles, 44 minutes, and about 40 grams of carbs.  Exercise for the freaking WIN!)

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m sorry your diabetes didn’t cooperate, but Kerri, I’m super proud of you for kicking ass on this! Way to go, sister!

    11/12/13; 11:53 am
  2. Lisa #

    Go girl! I used to “run” a lot. I would tell people, that I don’t run, I “trot”. :-)

    11/12/13; 11:59 am
  3. I can so vividly remember, not all that long ago, a conversation we had about how running just wasn’t your thing. And now, not only have you done 5Ks, but you’ve done this more than 4 mile race too. On a day when diabetes was being a . . . . . censored content . . . . . You rock!

    11/12/13; 12:04 pm
  4. Yay you! And even with your plodding that’s a better pace than mine!

    11/12/13; 12:58 pm
  5. laura #

    nice job, kerri!!! way to conquer 4.2… and overcome a low! with no rebound high, to boot! awesome.

    11/12/13; 1:33 pm
  6. Awesome. The bravery and resilience it took to finish is really what makes you a champion in this race. Well done… congratulations!

    11/12/13; 4:34 pm
  7. k2 #

    YOU. ROCK.

    11/12/13; 7:30 pm
  8. I did this beautiful run a few years ago.

    Your Shot Bloks made me remember laughing with a friend at a lady who had on one of those fanny packs with two full-size water bottle holsters. She had not only the two water bottles but also a banana hanging out of the back of the thing. We were all, “I’m running four miles I’D BETTER BRING A SNACK” as if that were the equivalent of wearing a football helmet and gas mask to walk down the street. Ha ha ha haha.

    No idea.

    50 mg/dL & keeps on running. I admire you!

    11/12/13; 10:17 pm
  9. I did a 10K in September that had me at 302 mg/dl at fasting… I also corrected, a little too aggressively and ended up crashing in the middle. Two Gu gels later and I was OK but not happy it slowed me down. I should have bolused less because my sensitivity skyrockets when I exercise. In fact, I try to avoid running with any IOB… I seem to crash no matter how good I think I am at reducing the dose.

    11/12/13; 10:39 pm
  10. Lindsay #

    I was running my first half marathon on Sunday! I, too had my own low moments and had to down two whole packages of shot bloks over the course of 5 miles. Then once my blood sugar had stablized my pod (omnipod) let out the death shriek. Yeah, it died at about mile 7. But I had my CGM in my hand the entire race and finished in the 160s, so I’ll take it. Nothing like running to give you that awesome feeling of “Hell yeah, I can do this!” Screw you Diabetes!

    11/13/13; 4:33 pm
  11. Harvina #

    Nice helicopter shot. I run half marathon 2 years back. It tired experience because I was never run for too long. It was good experience.

    11/14/13; 6:31 am

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