Listening to my Blood Sugar Levels


Since being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes I’ve become much more in tune with my body. This didn’t happen all at once but as the years have gone by I’ve learned to listen to it and feel like I have a much closer relationship with my body than I did before.   

Friday morning I went out for a long and difficult 15.5 mile run. It was hot and humid and my blood sugar didn’t come down the way it usually does when I run. I woke up with a blood sugar level in the 160’s – much higher than the numbers I’ve been seeing since increasing my dose of metformin. I figured I must have messed up on carb counting the night before and didn’t think much of it.  But even after my run and after bolusing throughout the day my blood sugar levels seemed to not want to come down.  They stayed above 130-140 most of the day.

My body was telling me something, but I wasn’t paying attention to it.  I decided I was dehydrated from my long run and that a good nights sleep and a lot of water would take care of it.

On Saturday morning when I woke up for my morning run, a relaxed pace eight miler, my numbers were high again and during my run I didn’t need a gel to keep my blood sugar above 130. It just didn’t come down.

I felt crapy most of the day, after my run, and realized my numbers were off, not because I had been doing something wrong but because I was getting sick. I had caught some sort of cold.

Throughout Saturday and Sunday my blood sugar levels continued to frustrate me. I kept testing and bolusing, but my blood sugar insisted on creeping up towards 200. Although I felt like crap and was coughing and blowing my nose all day, I kept on blaming myself for the bad numbers. I thought “I’m not really sick since I don’t have a fever.” I was not listening to what my blood sugar was telling me.

On Monday morning I pushed myself out of bed for my group run, a ten-mile run incorporating 4*1 miles at a 10K pace. I felt terrible but got through the run, coughing and feeling like I wasn’t getting any oxygen. I also didn’t need to take any gels since my blood sugar stayed over 150 throughout the run.

When I got home I felt terrible. I understood I had made a mistake. I should have given myself a break. My body, via my blood sugar levels, was telling me to take a break, but I wasn’t listening.

I felt sick all day Monday and my blood sugar wouldn’t come down. I tested before going to bed. I was 196. I bolused and set an alarm. When I woke up an hour and a half later, I checked again. I was still 190 something. I bolused again and went to sleep hoping things would be different when I woke up.

My alarm woke me at 5:00 a.m. to go running. I got up and checked my blood sugar. I felt terrible, but then I usually do at those hours. When I saw the result – a “perfect” 200 – I decided I was officially sick. I got into bed and spent half the day sleeping. It was as if I had finally admitted to being sick and collapsed.

When I finally got up I felt better, more congested but my breathing was better as if the cold had risen from my chest and gone to my nose instead. My blood sugar levels also got better.

When I went to sleep I was unsure if I should run in the morning. I decided to let my body decide. I woke up around 4:00 a.m., a little before my alarm.  I tested my blood sugar before I got out of bed – 120. I was relieved. I quickly got up and dressed and headed out to meet some friends.


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Nathan Shackelford
10 years ago

You are right! We are sort of lucky in that we have numerical info that tells us important stuff. I know that whenever things aren’t normal I’m either stressed, sick or not getting enough sleep. My BG levels show it before I notice anything else. It’s pretty cool. Nice job figuring out what your body was telling you.

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