You Never Know When You’re Going To Go Low


I prefer running in the mornings. I didn’t always. I used to run in the evenings after work, or after the kids went to sleep. There were two problems with this. The first was that it took up too much of my family time. The second was that I spent the whole day worrying about eating and injecting correctly for my run. So I started running in the mornings.

Until a few weeks ago when I began my new training program, all my runs were pretty much the same. The distance changed and with it the speed, but they were all more of the same. My new program has 5 different kinds of runs. One of my new workouts (runs) is a kind of tempo run were you increase your heart rate every couple miles (today’s HR were 140,145,150,155,160). I like this workout; it’s hard but very rewarding. I always spend the first few miles wondering if I can really finish it and by the end I always feel great – as if I could go on running for a few more miles.

Like most mornings since Adam, my 10-month-old son was born, I woke up tired and forced myself to prepare for my run. My BS was decent (I woke up 120 and with the help of the milk in my coffee it went up to around 150) and the weather was great. I didn’t eat or take any insulin. I felt a little fatigued which is not surprising since this was my third day running without a break. (I usually have a one day break in between runs but I had to change my schedule this week).

The first few miles were uneventful and went by quickly. I ate an energy snack after 2 miles. I don’t eat before I run, but if I’m running for more than an hour I eat something during the run. I increased my HR every 2 miles which meant I was increasing my pace too. HR is affected not only by pace but also by heat, fatigue, terrain and most probably also blood sugar levels. Everything seemed great but after 7 miles I began to feel a little weak and had a hard time increasing my HR level. This persisted until the end of the run. I managed to stick to my plan but I felt weak and was struggling to keep up the pace. It occurred to me that my BS may have something to do with it, but I was scared to eat something sweet and have my BS go too high. I finished my run and walked back home. I walked slowly feeling a little shaky. When I got home I immediately checked my BS.  It was 53.

I’ve had much worse experiences. The last was during the final long run before the Tiberias Marathon. It was a very stormy day but I decided to run anyway. I headed out hoping it would clear up, but it didn’t.  It just got worse. I ran the first 19 miles and felt fine. But then suddenly I felt terrible.  I thought I hit the wall. I kept on going for four more miles at a ridiculously slow pace. I had to stop and walk after that. By the time I got home my BS was 37.

The thing about these lows is that even when you think you have it all figured out, it just happens. I guess diabetic endurance athletes at all levels need to accept this as part of training and sometimes as an extra hurdle in a real competition. (I’m thinking of Kris Freeman’s 30K race right now).

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12 years ago

I take a meter with me on any run of more than about 10 miles. I just put a small meter, a lancing device, and a few strips into a little plastic bag. It hardly weighs more than couple of gel packs. I also always carry some source of carbs. If I feel low, and don’t have a meter with me, I will eat something and check when I get home or to my car or wherever my meter is. I didn’t always follow these rules. I have run until I fell to the ground twitching seizing in uncontrollable spasms.… Read more »

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