Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Being Diabetic on Race Day

This summer was full of races for me. I completed many more races this year than in the past, which has taught me a lot. I ran 6 races between June and September, all of which were different lengths, ranging from a 5k to a half marathon and then the MC200, which was 21 miles, but not consecutively. I liked being able to focus on different running skills - speed work some weeks while logging distance weeks the next. Variety is the spice of life, right? The only thing I didn't get to accomplish was my marathon. There is always next year, right? (I hear that a lot now that I live by so many Cubs fans!)

Although each race was different, one thing was always the same: I came to start line as a person with diabetes. Before the races while other people were warming up, stretching, listening to music, or just goofing around, I was testing my blood sugar, analyzing how much insulin on board I had, and how the distance and my nerves woudl affect my blood sugar.

Testing my blood sugar is such an important of my pre-exercise routine. ALthough I norally run in the afternoon and races are held in teh morning, I always check. Information is key to success. On race days I wake up 3 hours before the race and eat breakfast. I do this because I do not want any active insulin in me when I race. I try to eat the same breakfast to eliminate that variable on race day as well. I test about an hour before the race, but I also like to test 30 minutes and then again before entering the starting corral or walking up to the start line, depending on the race.

Since I like to test a lot before I race, I need my meter. I do not run with my meter. I feel like it would be another thing to carry or somehow attach to me. Sometimes I already feel rather bionic with my insulin pump, ipod, and glucose tablets and don't want another device. I only rely on my body during the race, which has its ups and downs. So you might be thinking...if you don't run with your meter but test right before entering the starting corral, where is it? Luckily, I have the most caring and helpful mom in the world. She typically comes to my races and carries my purse that has everything in it - meter, extra infusion set (many fall out because I sweat a lot), Gatorade, glucose tablets, shot blocks, water, gum, and just about everything else. After the race we find each other, where I can test again.

It is wonderful to have someone accompany me to the race and hold all of my diabetes stuff. It makes my life s much easier. My mom has come with me to 3 half marathons, my dad 1 (he really did not enjoy holding my purse!), and the other 2 I had to do on my own. This summer, I had someone come with me in 3 out of the 6 races, not counting the MC200. The MC200 was a little different with the vans, so I guess it kind-of counts since my meter was always at the start of my run and finish. So, I'm 4 out of 6.

All those logistics are great...but then I always worry about my body after the race. However, I think I'll save that for another post. How do you take care of your diabetes before races?

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