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!)