Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Sounds of a Diabetic Runner


I woke up 247 this morning. My blood sugar has been a bit out of control since I got back from New York last Friday. While I was there my numbers were great thanks to my no-carbs-while-traveling policy, which means that I strictly followed the Paleo diet. But since I’ve gotten home I’ve just been a mess.

This would not be such a big deal if I wasn’t only one month away from the Tel Aviv marathon, which should mean peak condition and super BS control.

I was training very well over the last month thanks to my new coach and running group. A few weeks ago after deciding to run the Tel Aviv marathon, I sought the help of a running coach. I told him I was planning to run the upcoming marathon and that I have type 1 diabetes. He told me he had never trained someone with diabetes before and that he recommends I rest and run another marathon next fall.

I said “I’m running in the TA marathon. I’ll take care of the diabetes if you take care of the training.”

Today it felt like I wasn’t holding up my end of the deal. I didn’t let the high blood sugar hold me back and decided to go out and run 11 miles as scheduled (a 1 mile warm up and 10 miles in under 8 minutes per mile). It was cold and windy and it rained for 3 of the miles, but I had a great run. When I returned my BS was 140.

It wasn’t easy for me to decide to train with a coach who wouldn’t take diabetes into consideration (who didn’t even know how to).  But I’ve  spent months figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t and although it’s not perfect I finally got to a point where I feel comfortable training with other (non diabetic) runners.  In short, I don’t think I need to be trained in any special way because I have diabetes.

On my first run with my new running group the coach came up to me and asked what the noise coming from my direction was. It took me a second to understand what he was referring to since I have gotten so used to it I don’t hear it any more. I explained that that was the sound of my test strips shaking in their container. Other runners asked me what my glucometer was and so I had to come out as a diabetic. But my training is the same as everyone else’s and although some of the runners are much faster than me (and younger) I am far from the slowest one there.

After four weeks of training under my new coach I can say that it was the right thing to do. I feel quicker and am training harder than before. The only thing bothering me is my blood sugar, and I know what I need to do.

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Catherine Price
12 years ago

Thanks Kathy. I am not there yet. I actually don’t check while I run any more. I just keep the glucometer with me in case I feel bad.

Also, my insurance won’t cover me – My A1c is too good and I’m not a child (that is what I was told)

12 years ago

Have you considered a Continuous Glucose Meter?  They are fabulous. Then you dont have to stop and test or run with the test strips.  I have the Dexcom and its a lifesaver when doing endurance events.

Megan Beatie
Megan Beatie
12 years ago

So true!  I always feel like a pack mule wihen I run, but it’s worth it.  Congrats on the Tel Aviv marathon training. 

Amy Stockwell Mercer
12 years ago

I can totally relate to the noise factor on an otherwise silent run….I often run to the steady beat of my glucose tabs thumping up in down in their plastic container, which always alert the dog walkers etc. to my approach.

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