This weekend I ran my first 10k race with my insulin pump. It was more of a fun-run than a race. It took place in the Jerusalem hills, on the historical Burma Road. The weather was much cooler and less humid than I am used to since normally I run on very flat terrain near the Mediterranean Sea.
The race was scheduled for 8:00 a.m., but since my running plan calls for more than 10k (6 and a quarter miles) on the weekend, I met two other guys from my running group at 6:15 a.m. and we ran an extra 10 miles before the race.
I did everything I had planned: I reduced my basal insulin an hour before to 35%, checked BS every few miles and took my gels. It all went well, for the most part. But, while we were running the pre-race run, I kept hearing a beeping sound. It wasn’t my Garmin and it wasn’t my friends’ Garmins either. I glanced at my pump and didn’t see anything wrong.
We got a little lost and almost missed the beginning of the race. I barely had time to check my blood sugar. I drank some water, had a gel and a salt capsule. I attached my number to my shirt and started to run.
It was hard and I was tired and dehydrated from my first 10 miles. I finished the race in an hour, my slowest ever, feeling wiped out, but happy. I went to the refreshment area and checked my blood sugar before helping myself to some watermelon (I felt I’d earned it). I took my pump in my hand to plug in my BS and cancel the reduced basal rate. When I pressed the ACT button the pump showed a big battery low and shut off.
I didn’t have an extra battery with me. Why hadn’t my pump (a Medtronic Minimed Paradigm Veo) have the decency to let me know ahead of time that this was going to happen. The battery icon had been on “one bar left” for a while and I figured it would let me know ahead of time that the time has come to get a new battery (like the gas light in a car). It’s true the beeping I heard must have been a warning, but it came a little late and when I did look at the pump it didn’t show any sign of emergency (I was moving too fast to notice the tiny bars on the battery icon).
Lucky for me the store where the race ended had AAA batteries for sale. But what would I have done if they hadn’t? Do I also need to carry an extra battery everywhere I go?