Running alone brings out the Spibelt, and I cram it full of my on-the-move necessities: glucose tabs, Dexcom receiver, keys, and phone. Even though it’s reasonably streamlined and doesn’t bother me too much to tote around all that stuff, it’s a bulkier system than, oh, I don’t know … making my own insulin.
But lo! The child rides a bike! And insisted on having a bicycle basket! To which I said, “Yes! Excellent idea and can you please carry all my shit, too?” only I did not cuss at the child!
The miles might be logged a little slower than when I’m by myself, but there’s nothing more convenient than making use of her bike basket to carry all my diabetes stuff, and I love sharing some outside play moments with my daughter.
And she likes being in charge of such important things, since she is a “big girl” and can “carry the glucose tabs because then if I want a very, very, very small bite of a glucose tabs, I can just reach in and have one, right, Mawm?”
“Sure. But only if you make sure you slow down if I need a glucose tab, okay?”
Bartering with my happy little helper of a diabetes pack mule.
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.
CGMcheck 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!)
But, for the record, you don’t have to summit Everest to be eligible. Or the Everglades (which would be a bit easier to summit, I’d imagine – watch the video for the joke). You don’t have to be participating in elite races or trot your little self across the Sahara desert in order to consider your athleticism an achievement. Celebrating diabetes and exercise isn’t a right limited only to people who cross the finish lines first, or even at all.
Celebrating diabetes and exercise is about being inclusive and recognizing that our lives, our health, and our community as a whole are better for keeping our bodies moving. So get up. Go run around a little bit. And consider submitting a video TODAY, showing everyone how diabetes doesn’t have to be a conduit to chaos, but can be a catalyst for healthy change.
I am not a doctor. I am not a certified diabetes educator. I have no medical degree. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice, and if you are taking it as medical advice, I suggest you contact your doctor immediately for issues other than diabetes.
This is my diabetes life - if you are interested in making changes to yours, you need to consult your doctor.
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