Monday, March 26, 2012

Looking Back: That Half-Marathon I Did.

In lieu of fresh material this week, I'll be looking back on some old (can they really be "old" if this blog isn't even two years old yet?) blog entries and sharing some posts from friends gracious enough to temporarily take the reins for me here on TMP. The reason for the break? I've been invited (for the first time!) to the second annual Medtronic Diabetes Advocates Forum which occurs later this week, and I'll be busy getting ready to be gone for a few days. You understand, right? I'm sure I'll be sharing some take-aways with you all once I get back! (And until then, feel free to follow the hijinks on Twitter.)

In the meantime, here's a post I wrote after doing the first (and only?) half-marathon of my life. With my recently renewed interest and resolve to exercise regularly, I hope to be back in this kind of fighting form again soon.

* * * * *

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.

Ponytail. No makeup. Utility belt full of
diabetes crap. Awesome!
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 focus on moving forward.

I feel like I did learn alot 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.


  1. Nice work! I ran my first 5k last year and I think that is far enough for me. :-)

    Next time... (there's GOTTA be a 'next time') try to train & race with a basal of 30%... you need some insulin or your cells starve and you have too much sugar in your blood. You figured it out the hard way, but it couldn't have felt great. You'll need to work hard(er) to keep your BG up, but your cells won't starve and your muscles will have something to work with.

    I'm super impressed. You finished 13+ miles on foot, on purpose. CRAZY.

  2. I somehow missed the original so glad you re-visited! Congratulations on finishing. Who cares if you were slow - you went over that line!

  3. I remember this!
    "it's not about the finish time, it's about the finish line"
    each race is an accomplishment, trust me (coming from a slow'ish runner)

  4. You went to a Medtronic Advocates Forum? I am so freakin' jealous! I wish I knew how I Can Do This!

  5. Nice job (again)!!! You rule, Kim!


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