Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Nightmare of a 5k Race Report

I do my best to keep things honest on my blog.  Some runs and races go well, others do not.  If you live with diabetes, you (most likely) know that some days will be great, and others will be less than stellar. 

SMG 5k Race Details:
Time: 21:12 ) *1 second PR
Pace: 6:50/mile
Overall: 17/187
Female: 5/89
Age Group: 1/7

The short version of the SMG 5k race report:

My legs felt heavy when I was doing my mile warm-up so I tested and was 47.  I took 4 glucose tablets and attempted to open a miniature Gatorade I keep in my car, unsuccessfully. 

The first mile of the race I felt pretty good.  The second I started to get tired and knew my blood sugar was doing down.  The third mile was awful and I wanted to stop.  I knew I was low, and all I wanted to do was finish.

I ended up finishing with a blood sugar of 50 and feeling disappointed that I had such a bad race because of my blood sugars.  I hate it when diabetes gets in the way of my running.  I am happy that I PR'd under unideal conditions.  It makes me wonder what I could do even more now.

SMG Long Version Race Report

I still wasn't sure if I was going to run this race on Friday morning, but after school got out decided to run it.  I wasn't tapered at all.  I didn't run on Friday, but did 8+ miles on Thursday.  I got to the race later than I wanted to considering I had to register that morning.  I arrived at 7:30 and got back to my car to put the bag in there a few minutes later. 

I was going to do a mile warm-up, but decided to stop at 0.7 because I was feeling so sluggish.  I went back to my car to test my blood sugar, thinking it was around 80 or so.  It was 47.  I took 4 glucose tablets and wanted to drink some Gatorade, but couldn't get the lid off of it.  I am a person who gets frustrated incredibly quickly when I am low, so I was upset about it.  I thought that the glucose tabs would be enough.  My blood sugar is very sensitive in the morning.

I walked to the starting area and stretched out a little bit and attempted to calm myself down.  A PR was still attainable, even if my blood sugar was not ideal for starting the race.  Quickly, the gun went off and the race started.

The first mile went well.  I felt strong and just kept thinking about a new PR.  I was near the front.  I kept telling myself that all I had to do was run hard for 20 minutes, and then it would be done.  Running a 5k vs. half marathon and beyond requires me to have a different mentality. 

At mile 2 I started to feel tired.  There was a long incline that seemed to take a lot out of me.  I realized that I was low based  on how I felt and how I was running.  When I am low, I tend to think only negative thoughts and beat myself up.  I contemplated stopping, but then realized that it is only a 5k.  If I stop, my time would be ruined.  At this point, a PR was still a possibility.  I decided to keep running as fast as my body could go. 

During mile 2 to 3, I really just wanted to be done.  My legs felt like they had bricks attached to them while my brain was elsewhere, out in "low land."  It definitely was not focused on the task at hand.  I was so happy when I could see the finish line.  After looking at my watch, I knew I would be close to the time I ran at my 5k PR race in March.  I attempted to sprint in to the finish and ended up PRing by 1 second.

I kept thinking about the race throughout the day yesterday.  I did PR, so I should feel good.  But, I wanted to run in the 20s, not 21s.  When I think about my performance and the conditions that my body was under, I think a 20-minute 5k is attainable for me.  Naturally, a person runs slower when they have a low blood sugar.  I think I could have gotten it if my blood sugar was higher.  But, that didn't happen.

It is times like these that really makes me frustrated.  I ate my normal breakfast, took even less insulin that normally, and was low.  How did that happen?  Sometimes I do not understand my body.  There was no explanation for what happened. 

But here is the thing: it is only a race.  There are 5ks all the time.  I could run one in a few weeks and PR if everything goes well.  One crappy blood-sugar wise race does not define me as a runner.  It motivates me to work even harder to prove myself that I am more than my disease.   


  1. Wow. you're a tough cookie!
    I gotta give you kudos for running through that low and making it happen! it's good AND bad for all the obvious reasons. Hope you recovered alright. Hey, do you bother setting temp basals for short runs like that?

  2. I don't set temp basals for 5ks... Since I am running ("fast"), I noticed that I don't need them. If I set one, I'll typically end up high. Therefore, I just run with a normal basal rate.

  3. Wow, I am impressed, a PR on a rough day, congrats

    You will get that sub 20