Last month, I attempted (and completed!) my first Half-Marathon. I had never done anything like that before, and have never historically been a fan of running. A few years ago, I forced myself to try it again, and it wasn't so bad. A friend of mine (non-diabetic) does this Half-Marathon each year, so I decided to give it a go with her. While the race itself was fun, my diabetes didn't agree. I was able to finish, but was very slow (this may also be attributed to my less-than-stellar dedication to training). Here's my marathon story:
I woke up at 5:00, and although my numbers had been good while I slept, I shot up to 175 for no reason as soon as I woke up (according to the CGM). I did a blood test to verify, and yes, that was right. I took one unit of Humalog, which brought me down to 125, almost literally right away. This kind of speedy drop is not normal for me.
I got ready, and my brother was here at 6:00 for us to go downtown to the start line, with my husband. (My brother, who is not T1 - and a phenomenal athlete - also ran. My husband met up with me in between aide stations to refill Clif Gels, give me some additional water, and whatever else I might have needed. As another runner said during the race, "He just earned Husband of the Year".) I ate a Snickers Marathon Nutrition bar on the car ride, with no bolus taken for it. I should also mention I turned down my basal to "OFF" at 6:00 am, and didn't turn it back on until after the race was over.
We lined up around 6:40, and my CGM said 83. Then, a few minutes later, 72. Really? I hadn't bolused for the bar I ate, and that was 22g of carb! This is where I panicked a bit. I ended up eating two Clif Shot gels - also about 25g of carb each - before the start. By the time we got to the starting line around 7:15, I was shooting back up, and was 157. I thought, "Awesome! Don't know what happened there, but at least I'm back up where I want to be, now."
Fast forward to mile 2 - I notice I'm over 200. Okay, not panicking yet. I "peaked", or so I thought, around 280 and then it showed that I was coming back down pretty quickly. Again, as a precaution, I ate another gel. This may be where my biggest mistake was, because I didn't drop too much more after that. In fact, I did most of the race over 300, and a good chunk of it "HIGH", which means I was over 400. I started taking a unit here and there after mile 8, not wanting to overdo it and drop too quickly.
By the 12th mile, I was back down to the 300's, so I was probably about 325 when I finished. Who knows how high I really got - but I tested before and after the race, and the CGM was accurate both of those times - so I have to believe those numbers are true. I felt pretty throw-upy feeling around mile 10, and I'm not sure if that was hyperglycemia-related, or not - but I slowed down, and the feeling subsided. I drank half a cup of gatorade around mile 5, and stuck to water after that.
It feels so good to know I was able to finish. I was very slow, and didn't run as much of it as I walked, but I finished, darn it - and that was the point. Finish, no passing out or throwing up. Check, check and check! I am usually very diligent about keeping my numbers in check, but for this race I wanted to focus on finishing - whatever that meant, diabetes-wise. I tried to not let the sight of such high numbers bum me out and just focused on moving forward.
I feel like I did learn a lot for next year. If I'm able to, I'd love to do this race each year, with a new goal - cut time, run more of it, have better numbers during the race, etc. Let's be clear: T1 does not hold me back from anything I want to do. It merely takes a little more effort and work to get there.