Diabetes Blog Week, Day 4: Let's Get Physical-Wildcard Managing diabetes during exercise can be tricky, so share what works for you or your loved one with diabetes and maybe it can help someone else. What to do when you want to work out, but your blood sugar is lower or higher than you want? How do you cope with this? Or how do you manage gym days at school for your child with diabetes? How do you stay motivated to work out? Or how do you encourage your loved one with diabetes to get active? What is your favorite kind of exercise-conventional or non-conventional? (Let's see how many types of exercise we can find!)
I ran the Go! St. Louis Half Marathon on April 10. I have run several half marathons and logged many, many miles over the years. This race was special; as I approached the JDRF tent, I discovered there were many people. Just. Like. Me. Just like me, setting their insulin pump's basal rates down before the run, finding a place to hook their CGM on their shorts/running pants. Plus, we were wearing the infamous JDRF Challenge shirts, which was helpful while on the course. They, too, were struggling to control their highs and lows while running for a disease that causes it. Ironic, really, but knowing that I was fighting for something so close to home, got me to the finish line. My message to myself and others: DIABETES DOES NOT DEFINE WHO I AM!
The half marathon distance was more difficult than I remember. At the first hydration station I had gatorade. Blood sugar control is a complicated process during exercise, but I pride myself on routine...In the car, I ate two lowfat, whole wheat waffles covered with peanut butter. This week, however, I experienced high blood sugar levels during each and every mile. In fact, the high blood sugar caused nausea. Thinking of all of the other Challenge runners out there, I continued. I skipped the Gatorade and sipped water at each station.
Have you heard that commercial, "Sure I flew around the world solo, but I was never alone?" As I was running through the miles, this commercial ran through my mind as my playlist reminded me...
My spinning class: Wings
Bob: ANY Beatles song
Katelyn Faith: Move
Kimmie: Come on Eileen
JG: Right Now
It's true, those songs reminded me that relationships and support systems were there. Not physically, but mentally and emotionally. I am never, ever alone.
The question remains: was I exhausted and sore from 13.1 miles or high blood sugar levels? BOTH?! The very cause I was running for made it a difficult task. My typical routine involves decreasing my basal rate by half, one hour before exercise. I often need a snack before I run, which can be frustrating when I am exercising to burn calories...#irony! Also, the time of day plays a large part of my exercising-and-not-passing-out success; my blood sugars are more steady in the morning. If I try to run in the afternoon, I won't make it 1/2 mile before my blood sugar drops and I am forced to stop. Technology is a tremendous help, as well! My CGM is wonderful as it displays how I am trending before, during and after exercise (I just have to find the perfect place to put it).
I finished the half marathon that day. Was it easy? No. Did it go as planned? Of course not. My take-aways include how I am never alone and I hope no one, particularly those in the diabetes community, feels isolated. We are all in this together....