I did it! I did it! I did it! Yesterday I ran the Tel Aviv marathon faster than I ever thought I could. The night before the marathon, however, I was certain I was going to have the worst run of my life. To start off, I got very nervous although I’d done everything I’d planned to do. I ate two sweet potatoes for lunch and had an early dinner of chicken, quinoa and a small salad. I loaded up on carbs (relatively speaking). But unlike the previous time I’d done this, I had a very hard time covering it with insulin. I spent most of the day high in the 200s. I’d eaten dinner early to avoid nighttime surprises, but when I checked my blood sugar before going to bed it was 205. I took an extra unit of Apidra and went to bed.
I didn’t sleep well; I never do the night before a marathon. I woke up at 3:00am and checked my blood sugar. It was 264, and I was not happy. I decided to take another unit of insulin to try to get my blood sugar down to the 160-180 range. I fell asleep for a short while but got up again a little before 4:00am (before my alarm). My blood sugar was 283. This was not good. I started to get ready for the race: got dressed, had coffee and at 4:45 checked my blood sugar again. It was 302. Panic! I knew I couldn’t start a marathon at that level, so very nervous and unsure of my decision, I took another two units of insulin. With the needle still in my thigh, I was cursing myself, sure I was making a mistake and that I would drop during the race. But I didn’t know what else to do. By 5:05 my blood sugar was 264. It was going down, but was it dropping fast? Was I going to be dripping in sweat before the race even began? I didn’t know so I packed up my glucometer and took some halva (14grams of carb per snack) with me just in case.
I arrived at the starting area at 5:50 and met up with the rest of the members of my running group. I got there feeling disaster written all me. After all of my planning and training and I ended up injecting insulin right before the marathon. Anticipating a hypo, I checked my blood sugar again. It was 280. I didn’t understand what was going on and I felt helpless to do anything but wait to see what would happen.
Only three of the members of my group were running the full marathon. Most were competing in one of the other events – half marathon or 10K. At 6:00am we started to warm up. It was the first time I’d warmed up before a marathon. I always felt it was a waste of energy. But as part of the group, I did what our coach said to do and ran a mile and a half before the marathon began. At 6:20 I went to the starting line and checked my blood sugar again. It was 274.
The race started at 6:30 am. It was cool and cloudy and I started off much faster than I had planned. The warm up had done the job and I felt good from the start. As I started to run, I totally forgot about my blood sugar issues. It rained on and off a few times, which was invigorating. I tried to slow down but found myself running at a pace I’d planned to reach much later in the race. This continued throughout the race. I tried to pace myself worried I would crash into a wall at 20 miles, but I didn’t. I felt great. After around 21 miles I reached the 3:45 pacer (never thought I’d see him). I asked him if he was really at the 3:45 marathon pace and he said he was. I couldn’t believe it, but I passed him and kept on running. I had taken my gels and my salt and I was feeling strong. The wall was nowhere in sight and I ran the last few miles at an increased pace. I crossed the finish line at 3:42:58. I couldn’t believe it. I still can’t. Before the race, I felt like diabetes was going to get the better of me. I felt handicapped. But I proved to myself that I’m not. Diabetes may frustrate me, and I may lose sleep because of it, but it isn’t going to slow me down.