Diabetes on the Run!

After a bit of a hiatus, I’ve finally returned to my blog! I’ve been extremely busy balancing work and a microbiology class, and just haven’t been inspired to write about anything in particular- until now!

One of the other things I’ve been doing this summer is training for a 5K. I’ve tried to start running a few times in the past; it was never something I stuck with, for one reason or another, but running was always something I dreamed of being good at.

Well, maybe “good” is an overstatement- just being ABLE to run a few miles will be good enough for me, no matter how slow!

Diabetes was actually not my main concern when I started my program. I figured “I know people with diabetes who run marathons- how hard could it be to manage my blood sugar for 3 miles?” It turned out to be a bit harder than I thought. Up until now, my main strategy for preventing lows during exercise was to cut back on my insulin for whatever came before my exercise, or to eat a snack before going out. I should add that neither of these worked very well for me- cutting my insulin would result in a sharp spike, and a sharp drop once I started exercising, and eating a snack without insulin usually led to¬†cramps.

But I didn’t know what else to do, and so I stuck with my terrible low-prevention strategies for quite a while. Until I got some advice from an experienced runner with diabetes a few months ago, who said to never run with insulin on board. That ONE suggestion has been a lifesaver! If I can wait until at least 2 hours after my last bolus, I don’t drop as quickly once I start running, and experimenting with temporary basal rates has also helped.

Sometimes my levels run a little higher than I’d like, and sometimes I’m a little too low for comfort, but I’m sure I can even them out, with a little more experience. Having to run with a Dexcom, juice box, glucose tabs, and my meter is also pretty annoying, but I’d rather be safe than sorry- “sorry” being, stuck two miles from my house with a low blood sugar and nothing to eat or drink!

Running (and balancing that with other activities like swimming, hiking and yoga) has enabled me to cut back on my daily insulin- I’ve decreased most of my basal rates and ratios, and I’m expecting a drop in my A1C as well. I’ll find out in a few days- fingers crossed!

While I’m not a great runner yet, the positive changes I’ve seen so far in both my endurance and my diabetes management are encouraging me to stick with it. It will be challenging, but I’m ready to take it on, since I’m finished with school for the time being. I’m looking forward to running in the fall, once it gets a bit cooler- of course I picked what must be the hottest summer on record to start training! I also find running to be a nice stress reliever- a quiet time for reflection or to think about nothing at all.

Here’s to longer runs and fewer lows!