Hypoglycemia Unawareness or a Sweaty Fingertip?


When the alarm went off at 4:45 yesterday morning I wasn’t sure what was happening. It took me a couple of minutes to get myself out of bed. I wake up early most mornings but it’s never easy, and  Wednesdays are always the hardest (being the third consecutive running day of the week – then a break).

I got up, made myself a cup of coffee and checked my blood sugar which was a little higher than usual (184). I got dressed and prepared for my run – a 9 mile tempo at my half marathon pace (with a warm up and cool down, I would run a good 12.5 miles).

Being only  a week and a half away from my last half marathon of the season (my forth since August) and hoping to improve my time again, despite my morning daze, I pushed myself. At 5:30 I was out running towards the park. I started out slowly feeling sluggish and heavy. It took me half a mile to wake up and even then I still felt like there was no way I was going to run a 9 mile tempo at a pace of 7:15-7:30 minute mile (I ran my last half at a 7:30 pace).

After two miles I stopped to stretch, drink and check my blood sugar. It had dropped to 106. So like most mornings I had my first meal of the day – a GU gel. 

I waited a few minutes as if a bell or horn were about to go off and then realizing I was just wasting time I started my 9 mile tempo. I took off a little too fast but after a half a mile or so I got into a good steady pace of a little under 7:30.

I ran another three miles before stopping for water. I decided to check my blood sugar again. I pulled my glucometer out of my pack and checked. OMG 40!!! I couldn’t believe it.   “what the fuck?” I said out loud. About to panic I decided to check again.

I wiped my finger off well and tried again this time I got a reading of 106. I had another half a gel and continued.


I felt good and was able to increase my pace running the second half of my run at around a 7:20 pace. I stopped once more after 6 miles, and although my blood sugar was still 106, I didn’t take another gel thinking I didn’t have very long to go.

When I finished the tempo I felt great and much more confident about my upcoming race.

The lesson here is to double check before you assume you’re suffering from severe hypoglycemia unawareness!

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10 years ago

Definitely a good tip.  I checked my blood sugar the other night and it said 40.  I know when I’m that low so I kept checking until I had a pattern of higher numbers: 88, 77, 84.  Damn meters! 

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