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
11 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.

11 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
11 years ago

Mikey keep it up!!!

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