Monday, March 3, 2008

What I Learned Last Week - DON'T START OUT HIGH!

The Shamrock Marathon on March 16th in Virginia Beach will be my first marathon. Right now I have about as much confidence in my ability to perform during that race as a live chicken would have for its chance at survival in a tank filled with alligators. For the past month and 1/2 I've been going out for runs greater than 13 miles on Sunday and each Sunday brings about a different issue. Whether it's my surgically repaired knee flaring up due to a bone on bone condition, my blood sugar starting off too low, dehydration or not enough salt, something has made these runs way more painful than they should be. Of course this is all part of the transition from a strength/ power athlete to an endurance athlete but to be honest - the process SUCKS.

Yesterday I learned a really valuable yet frustrating lesson as a diabetic athlete. I was up at my parents all weekend spending some quality time with Moose and had planned to run on the Northern Westchester bike trail yesterday. However, a brief snow storm Friday night covered the trail in snow and ice (I had hoped it would melt away by Sunday but no such luck.) Of course I didn't realize that the trail was not clear enough to run until after I had gone through my morning protocol - eggs, a muffin, a clif bar, basal rate down to 10% - blood sugar up to 200 + and ready to go. At 12 pm I frantically packed my things - hopped into my car and drove to central park.

Since my body still produces some insulin when it feels so inclined I knew I'd need to eat something else prior to my run so I had 1/2 a turkey sandwich 45 minutes pre run. By the time I parked my car on 93rd street my blood sugar was 310!!!! No matter how much water I drank during my run or how much ensure I took it felt like my body was just blowing through whatever liquid I ingested. I could only manage 2 hours out of my 3 hour scheduled run and ended with severe cramping in my left calf - so bad that I could barely walk back to my car.

Diabetes and athletics takes a really delicate balance for success. Each day presents a new challenge; blood sugars spiking after you expect them to forcing you to miss a workout, blood sugars running too high ruining a nutrition plan. My knowledge base grows with every workout but between runs in cold temperatures, sore legs and a heavy heart I really could use a nice easy week :).


Shannon said...

Good luck with the marathon!!

It seems for, people with diabetes, there are an infinity of "learning experiences" when dealing with diabetes and fitting your lifestyle around it, LOL.

Scott K. Johnson said...

I marvel at how sophisticated the non-diabetic body is in regards to adapting to physical exertion. And it happens damn-near automatically.

We have to handle much of it manually, and it can really be a struggle sometimes.

But you are working through it, and adding to your knowledge base each and every time. And you are persistent. That counts more than anything else.

Cara said...

Yuck. Better luck next time.
You know, with diabetes, everything is more complicated. But I guess it just makes us work harder.

Paul Funk said...

Good luck with the marathon! Ive run two marathons since being diagnosed with type 1 and every run I go on continues to be a learning process. What works one day doesn't always work the next. Go Big