Anne had warned me of some crazy changes in my basal rates for the days following the Ironman. However, 4 days after Lake Placid my blood sugars were still pretty reasonable making me think my bs would be stable. Saturday as my blood sugar climbed into the 300s throughout the day I realized my blood sugars were anything but stable.
The human body requires two types of insulin regulation to maintain steady blood sugars. The basal rate is the hourly units of insulin a diabetic takes to keep their blood sugars flat with no food. The other type of insulin injection is a bolus; the bolus is a one-time spike of insulin taken to "cover" the amount of carbohydrates in the foods we eat. The bolus can be broken down into smaller sub-categories like high fat or high protein meals require a different allocation strategy than a whole-grain does but the two main categories of blood sugar maintenance are basal and bolus.
In the days following the Ironman I noticed that my blood sugars around 10pm were creeping past the 200 mark. I assumed that this was because of how unhealthy I was eating (the rewards of 13+ hours of exercise!) or the fact that I had been drinking a few beers each night. Then on Saturday I could barely get my blood sugars to drop below 200, on Sunday I hit the mid 300s a few times then Tuesday evening my blood sugars soared into the mid 400s! For a 4 day stretch my blood sugar tested below 200 only three times!!!
This morning I was thrilled to wake up to a blood sugar of 124 - the first time since Friday that I woke up to a stable bs. The day before the Ironman my basal rate was 6.8 units of insulin per day, today my basal rate is 11.4 units of insulin per day. The stress and recovery of the Ironman totally threw my system out of its normal metabolic rate forcing a heck of alot more maintenance than normal. The lessons for a diabetic athlete continue! The fun will really start as I begin to exercise again and am faced by low after low because of a basal rate that is too high for my new metabolic rate.