Perfect Balance


I’m just one week away from the Tiberias Marathon  and I’m nervous. I know I’m in better shape than I’ve ever been in. I’m lighter (165 lbs.), faster, and have trained well.   I’ve run some good races to prove it. According to the Yasso 800’s prediction I should run the marathon in under 3:40 – but that is obviously not going to happen. (Yasso doesn’t take diabetes into account.)

I’m not nervous because of my not very successful long run last weekend or because of anything else specific. I’m just nervous. I don’t want to blow it this time. I can remember the moments when I hit the wall last year at the Tiberias marathon and I don’t want to feel that way again. The only way to make sure of that is to try and find the perfect balance of carbohydrate and insulin before the race.

In my head I’ve been planning my diet for the few days before the marathon. I’ve been working my way back from the morning of the marathon, all the way to three days before the race. I’m trying to figure out how to carbo load without going on a two-three day blood sugar rollercoaster ride. The trick is to eat more carbohydrates than I am used to (much more since my primal diet allows for very few) without losing control of my blood sugar.

For the past few months I’ve been trying to understand how to do this and I think I have figured it out (far from perfectly, but hopefully well enough).  I have realized that eating a few small portions of complex carbs throughout the day while checking my blood sugar frequently (and taking small doses of insulin) helps keep the numbers down. And making sure that I eat dinner early (finishing by 8:30pm) helps me avoid any night time surprises.  The problem, of course, is putting the theory into practice. Having food available and ready and making sure nothing gets in the way of eating at the right time for a few days while staying on top of work and my busy family life isn’t easy.

The day before the marathon is going to be the most difficult. Tiberias is a three hour drive from where I live so I will be spending the night before the race at a hotel. There are a few pluses to spending the night in a Tiberias Hotel. First, the hotels will be packed with runners and there will be a small expo with vendors selling running gear at discount prices (not really all that much cheaper) making it feel like a runner’s convention.   Second, Tiberias is a small town and although the marathon is small (1,500 runners) the race takes over the town,  or at least the hotels.  It’s a lot of fun.  Third, spending the night in a hotel may also insure a decent night’s rest (at least my children won’t wake me up) if nerves don’t keep me up. The one big drawback is the food issue.

Last year when I stayed in Tiberias, I went looking for food at 8:00pm the night before and ended up eating grilled chicken breast and a salad. Not exactly the meal I needed to fuel my body for a 26.2 mile run. This year I will be taking food with me. For lunch, dinner and any in between meal I may feel like having. I’ve decided to not let food get in the way and hopefully I will manage to achieve something close to a perfect balance before this marathon.

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Sam Gellman
12 years ago

good luck michael, can’t wait to hear about it.  for me this is the single hardest thing about diabetes- fueling yourself appropriately ahead of a big day of exercise without giving yourself too much insulin to nose-dive two hours later while also not going to 300 for the first half of the race (which is what I often end up doing, unfortunately).  i’m sure you’ll figure it out and do well, and i look forward to hearing about it.  all the best!

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