Sue describes how she tests her blood sugar while running.
It’s been different, as I said earlier, I have done five half marathons. The first year I did the half marathon with the PF Chang here in Arizona, my meter did not work. It was so cold that year that I could not get any glucose readings. I ran scared. I was scared to death that year. I went into a tent at one of the medic tents and they did not have a glucometer so I had no idea. I had to go by the way I was feeling.
In other races it’s been better. I have been able to test my sugar. I will give you my example of the most recent race that I remember. I will start out, I will go about 7 miles. At that point it’s a little over an hour that I have been running and maybe hour fifteen minutes – something like that.
I will then have my fanny pack in front and I will take out everything I need and slow to a walk but I will not stop. I would slow down to a walk and I will kind of jiggle and I will get everything ready, you know, put my finger and put the blood on the strip and see what I am, and then I’ll make a decision.
Do I need a little more fuel on board? Am I sitting down around 100? 100 would not be good for me because I know that I am going to just keep running and that’s going to get too low. If it’s real high, if it’s a 220, which it could be, then I would take a tiny bit of insulin, give myself a little hit of insulin through my line and that would bring it down.
Last year the beauty of the full marathon, I did complete a full marathon last year. I have only done one and I was 54 years old when I ran my first full marathon. They had other type-1 diabetics on the course for me and I am a little emotional about this – I will never forget a man named Paul who is a type-1 diabetic and I was running and I hadn’t tested yet and he came out from the sideline, he ran alongside me and he said, “Have you tested?” I said, “Not yet, it was still early.”
He said, “Let’s test now.” He had his kit with him. He tested; he said, “You’re 223. How do you feel about that?” I said, “It’s a little high”, and he is a type-1 runner. He knows the science behind it and he understands the emotional behind it as well.
He said, “How do you feel about that?” I said, “It’s a little high”. He said, “What would you take normally?” I said, “I probably take like eight tenths of a unit to bring it down.” He said, “But do you feel comfortable taking that much?” I said, “No, it’s too much.”
So we settled on a number, I took like four-tenths of a unit of insulin, which being running and physically active, I do not need as much because when you are physically active your sugar is dropping anyway, whether you take insulin or not.
And oh, one other thing I need to tell you that’s very important about running, I set my basal rate on a percentage. When I am just a normal person doing a normal routine I have an amount of insulin that’s always in the background. When you run I lower mine and I take it down to about 30 percent. So I cut it in half or more. If I wouldn’t lower my background insulin the running would put me in a very dangerous position with a low blood sugar.
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