Running and Pumping for the First Time


When I woke up Tuesday morning with my blood sugar at 99 I was pleased and felt that I had made the right decision giving up insulin shots and getting a pump.

I got myself ready to go out on my first pumping run making sure to take my glucometer and a few energy gels.  I started an 8 mile run with blood sugar that was a little bit low for pre-exercise.  I stopped to check after 2 miles and my BS was 89. I had felt the drop starting and was happy I had caught it in time. I took a gel and continued to run. I planned to stop and check again a few miles later but feeling good and running strong I forgot all about it until I got home. When I did check my blood sugar it was 89 again, meaning that the gel had kept me above 90 for about 45 minutes.

This morning I planned to run a hilly 10 mile run so I was happy when I woke up with my blood sugar at 148, probably as a result of some late night snacking.

At 5:30am I was out and running to meet up with a good friend of mine who lives a few minutes away. I had all my equipment with me and I planned to check my blood sugar after 3 miles, thinking that since I’d started a little high it made sense to check a little later in the run. My legs were tired after the previous two days of running, but I felt fine for the first couple miles. At 3 miles when I stopped to check my blood sugar I knew something was wrong before I saw the 52. I had a gel and waited a few minutes. Then I tried to resume my run. It was no good. I couldn’t run. I felt terrible. At least I wasn’t alone on the walk home.

My friend, who has witnessed a few of my running lows including a very bad 35, asked me what he should do if I lose consciousness. I told him I wouldn’t but if I did he could shove a gel into my mouth and call an ambulance. I also told him to make sure and tell whoever came that I was diabetic.

When I decided to go on the pump I knew I would have to make many adjustments, especially in my running. It took me a long time to get to the point where I felt diabetes wasn’t holding me back or interfering in my training and I knew that going on the pump would set me back. I timed the move so I would have plenty of time to adjust before I start marathon training.  But when it actually happened this morning I felt like s**t. Not  just because hypoglycemia does that to you, but because it made me realize that there would be no short cuts and it would just take a while to get back to where I was just a few days ago.

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Jane Kokernak
9 years ago

Did your diabetes educator talk to you about setting a temporary basal rate when running? (Here’s explanation here: This is aimed at kids with pumps, but really it applies to everyone.) This is such a great feature of a pump, if you use it — the ability to turn down your insulin. It’s also a hard conceptual switch to make, after having the long-term and short-term multiple injections therapy ingrained in you.
I don’t mean to be bossy! but a temporary basal rate can really help you keep your BG even and prevent hypos while training.

9 years ago

I sympathise. I don’t have diabetes but my husband and daughter do, and I am a runner. I have seen how they feel when they have a hypo, and I know all too well how it feels when you have to almost start training again from scratch (after pregnancy, a slipped disc and various other injuries over the years). No short cuts, right. Hang in there and keep running! It will come back.

Dr. Mariela Glandt
9 years ago

Mikey keep it up!!!

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