My daughter and I have stuck with the running program we started in December. On Sunday (tomorrow) we are registered to run in the St. Patrick’s Day 5K in South Boston. (Yes, today is St. Pat’s Day, but presumably the race is scheduled for the day after so as not to get in the way of the serious celebrations that go on in Boston on this green holiday.)
This will be my first 5K ever, and even though Lydia and I have been running this distance for weeks, I’m a little scared. It’s the diabetes.
In our regular runs, I’ve worked out a routine. We drive to a nearby reservoir or pond, park the car, and run on the walking path until our 5K distance is reached. I only run if my BG is at a safe level. I have a juice box in my fleece pocket and my glucose meter and more juice boxes in the car. Worries about hypoglycemia are kept in check by these precautions and the familiar path.
For tomorrow’s race, the car with my supplies in it will not be nearby. The day will be too (unseasonably) warm to wear a jacket with pockets for my stuff. Only Lydia knows me, and she runs faster and will probably get ahead of me in the first 1K, and I’ll be chugging along surrounded by strangers.
What will I do if I experience hypoglycemia? Will I have the stuff I need? Can I manage it in the road race environment? These are the questions that have been running through my mind.
A little fear can be a prompt. I have tried to anticipate the 5K — which I realize is only a modest feat — and preempt problems. I bought a fanny pack (more elegantly called a “runner’s pack” at the sporting goods store). I bought some glucose gels to substitute for my usual juice box; they’re smaller and lighter and will fit in the small pack along with my glucose meter and strips. And I’ll either take off or suspend my insulin pump for the duration.
And Lydia’s looking out for me in advance. She knows my magic glucose number: 150 to run. Tonight she suggested I wake up a little early tomorrow morning, test my blood sugar, and give myself a couple of hours to make adjustments and eat to get the number in the range I want it at.
A few months ago I wouldn’t have thought I had the stamina or strength for this. And just two weeks into the program, with my feet and legs regularly sore, I would have said that the time in life for running had passed me by. On some days, getting out the door was a chore, and I wouldn’t have done it if not for my dear and determined running partner. At some point doubt slipped away. It was a turning point when we found out about the South Boston 5K and made the commitment to run it.
Scared and prepared — I’m both of those. On the eve of my first ever 5K road race, I’m also excited. We’re doing it!
Image credit: Boys and Girls Club of Boston, St. Patrick’s Day Road Race, photo galleries