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!)

Share: