Diabetics who run Marathons!

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Diabetics who run Marathons!

Diabetics who run Marathons!

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Comment by Jerry Nairn on February 2, 2012 at 11:28am

Congratulations on your commitment to your first marathon, Erin!
And atta boy to you, too, acid!
As long as we're talking about what we've signed up for, I might as well admit to my own insanity.
I signed up for the Bataan Death March Marathon again. It's March 25th at White Sands Missile Base in New Mexico. I did it a few years ago, and it was a profound experience. Thousands of military personnel participate, including many Wounded Warriors. When I did it, there were a few WWII veterans who had survived the real Bataan Death March as POWs in the Philippines. They walked out and shook hands at the start with as many people as they could. Very inspiring.
And the course was something else. Jeep/tank roads, steep hills, headwinds, desert heat, and miles and miles of loose sand.
So having done it once already, I wanted to do something different this time, so I signed up for the Heavy Division. No, that doesn't mean I'm a Clydesdale.
"Marchers in the heavy division must have a minimum of 35 pounds in their rucksacks/backpacks, which will be weighed and verified at the finish line."
So, yeah, I've got to start training wearing a backpack.

Comment by erin2 on February 2, 2012 at 10:33am

I signed up yesterday for the Chicago Marathon too!!! My 1st marathon!!! Excited and nervous!!

Comment by acidrock23 on February 1, 2012 at 3:42pm

I signed up for Chicago today, here we go again...

Comment by acidrock23 on January 31, 2012 at 5:24pm

Jerry, your rambling is what I was talking to myself about for 5 hours (except for the having ran 12 marathons before bit...) during the race!

On race day I was gonna go no matter what. For a while I felt like I was going to blow up and not finish but my aunt who I ran with did a great job being supportive and letting me walk/run 12-15 minute miles for a long way. I feel good that I finished too, I saw a lady fall over right in front of me and she went down *hard*. Bystanders helped but I figured "If I bend over to ask her if she's ok, I might fall on her and kill her, keep going..."

Comment by Jerry Nairn on January 31, 2012 at 9:31am

I had run 12 marathons before I got my pump, and I used to leave my insulin at the same level and just consume more carbs during the race.
Justina,
You ask why fiddle (that was the f word, right?) with a good thing, then you talk about some of the reasons you might want to use a pump.
I don't want to evangelize for a pump if you really aren't going to do any better with it. It's easy to over-state the benefits. Most of the things you talk about dealing with when you're on injections are still issues when you go on a pump.
Delayed starts for example, have been a pain for me on a few occasions.
So, about going high occasionally, for an hour or two, I have an opinion. I think this relates to your concern about competition, too.
Training for and competing in these things makes diabetes management more complicated, but it's worth it. The benefits far outweigh any negatives, even if you're temporarily out of control every time.
But we should be trying not to be out of control every workout. We should be using our workouts, besides conditioning our bodies, to learn, or at least try, to keep our blood sugars even.
On race day, like everyone else, we have different priorities.
You wrote about feeling great and rolling along and having to stop. It's hard to imagine something happening when I'm feeling great and rolling along in a race, and I would have to stop.
If I felt crappy, I might stop to test my blood sugar. I had my infusion set pull out about halfway through a marathon once. I could have quit and walked back to my car, which was only a couple of miles at the time, but instead I made the race day decision that I would be fine for a couple of hours of no insulin while I was running my blood sugar down anyway.
I hope I'm not just rambling here. I guess what I'm saying is we go for even blood sugars while running, but the priorities are different on race day, and the important thing is never perfect blood sugars, but just getting out there and doing it.

Comment by Mike on January 31, 2012 at 8:56am

I ran 5 marathons on shots and I just took a few units less the night before a big run. It didn't seem to F-up the rest of the day because of the high mileage.

Comment by Justina on January 31, 2012 at 6:31am

It sounds like you guys all have pumps. I don't...by no means am I against them, I just have fantastic blood sugar control with shots...and why F' with a good thing right? So that being said, I will still have insulin working in my system at the start of the race (Lantus). Now I don't think it is very responsible for anyone to choose to have high blood sugars on a regular basis, or for any doctor to tell you to. Now what happens if it's every once in a while for an hour or two? And what if your highs aren't that high? I do have a few options....say the marathon starts at 7 a.m. I could get up and eat by 4:30 a.m. and take my bolus insulin (Humalog how I freaking love you) It would peak before the race. That is what I've done for previous races. But that makes for a really long day. And what happens if there's a delay in the start of the race? And what I meant by competitive exercise and blood sugar is you have all of the extra factors to think about....time (for all of us with out a pump), and nerves. They are both huge blood sugar factors for me personally. I'm never scared of a long run on a non race day. If I have to stop and eat, drink, check my sugar...no big deal. BUT on a race day, what a freaking bummer to have to stop. Especially when you feel great and you're just rolling along. No matter how tough we are...how tough we think we are. We are at a disadvantage because of diabetes. And I'm fine with that! Okay I have to be fine with it, I don't have anyother choice :)

Comment by Stephen Meo on January 30, 2012 at 11:43am

Great conversation going on here!

Personally, I wanted my BGL around 160-180 on MDI when starting a long run or race, but on the pump, as Jerry mentioned, I seem to have better numbers when I start a little lower and reduce my basal ahead of time. That having been said, I don't get concerned if I see a number ~200 when racing as I'm confident it'll level out.
Regarding competitive exercise - I think most runners I know that race at all are at the least competitive with their own historical times. I've been in a few local races where I'm racing head to head for a podium spot, and I don't think I am running any harder than when I'm just going for time.

Comment by acidrock23 on January 29, 2012 at 3:25pm

The martial arts school I trained at was not competitive. We read several interesting books, "No Contest" by Alfie Kohn and "Rambo and the Dalai Llama" that discussed the notion in more detail. I've tried it playing tennis but don't play that much but it changes the game in an interesting way. I'm always racing myself with my Garmin but don't really worry about other people, except maybe at the end of the race.

Part of the reason I like to shoot for flatter BG through a race is that I love to eat at the end of it!

Comment by Jerry Nairn on January 29, 2012 at 1:51pm

I think there is a whole range of competitiveness possible, it's not something you either are or are not. I agree that we are all individuals, and even as individuals, each of us could handle our diabetes challenges in more than one way. I don't think anyone chooses to compete with super high blood sugars because they have to. I think they've found something that works, to some degree, and they are reluctant to change.
Of course, I've decided to try to keep my blood sugars closer to normal, but at the start of any race there might be some reason my blood sugar was over 300. I would be figuring out what to do about it, but it happens.
I don't want to give anyone the impression that I have my own body figured out, let alone anyone else's.
Which gets back to that side-stitch thing. It was an idea that is sometimes the solution. Sometimes running with something in your stomach can bring those on, but it's not the only thing.
Good luck!

 

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