Today starts my “official” 12 week training before my half-marathon. Running a half has always been a goal of mine, but with the ups and downs I’ve had with T1D, I didn’t know if I ever would.
A couple months ago, Thatcher, Sally and I ran the Terrapin 5k. We were running late and I checked my blood sugar as we were walking up to get our numbers. Of course, it was low. So I quickly grabbed a Cliff bar and began running. It was terrible. To start so low then go so high all while trying to just keep a pace and complete my first 5k. I ended up telling them to run ahead of me because I knew I was going to have a tough time. I learned a lot from this race.
Preparing for a long-run with T1D is different for everyone. Then there’s checking your blood sugar/ eating carbs during your run, the potential high/low right after your run, and then the lows for the next day or two after. I’ve run a few times this summer and I’ve started to figure out what works best for me, what I need to change my pump settings to, what blood sugar I should start with, etc.
The toughest thing so far has been not being able to run whenever I want. I have to carefully plan when I run and check my blood sugar to see if I am even ready to run at that point. I should be aware of what I’ve eaten and how much insulin I have on board. To start this process off, I’ve been running in my neighborhood, coming home after every loop to check my blood sugar. That’s helped me to gauge where I am after every mile and I hope to find the same sort of system when I am back in Athens.
I’ve tried a few different things:
1) Starting a long run with higher blood sugar levels. They naturally come down when you exercise so it’s kept be from being too low but I also feel more dehydrated than I would like to.
2) Starting around 120-150, which is normal/ slightly higher than normal. So far I’ve liked this range because it keeps me from getting too low when I’ve gone three miles but isn’t so high that I feel thirsty as soon as I start running.
All I can do is continue training and keep checking my blood sugar. Completing this half- marathon is a big test to myself and my commitment to stay healthy.