Tuesday, May 15, 2012

About Me

I'm a runner.  I'm a mom.  I'm a wife, full-time employee, PhD candidate.  And I have Type 1 diabetes.

I noticed there are not a lot of blogs devoted to how to manage type 1 diabetes and vigorous exercise.  Most websites encourage diabetics to exercise, to walk, ride a bike, or perhaps jog for 30 minutes a day.  I am a long-distance runner, I enter races and run distances from 5K's to 26.2 miles.  I am even toying with the idea of ultra-running.

Yet I have struggled.  I couldn't find any advice about how to balance my carb intake, my sugar spikes and my A1Cs with training and pushing my body to it's limits.  So here I am.

My name is Suzanne and I am a Running Diabetic.

I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in 1989.  I managed my disease as a pre-teen pretty well.  I ate the right things and I was a competitive springboard diver and gymnast.  And then I rebelled.  Oh, how I rebelled.  From ages 16-26, I smoked cigarettes.  Packs and cartons of cigarettes.  I drank.  I partied. I stopped exercising.  There wasn't just one thing that got me serious about my health and my disease.  There was a cascading effect of a few life events that brought me here.

My first cousin, also a type 1 diabetic, died at age 39.  He forgot to re-plug in his pump after a shower and fell asleep.  He fell into a coma and died - the official cause of death was heart failure.  Soon after that, I got married and oh-so-soon after that, I got pregnant.  I had just quit smoking a month before I got pregnant and immediately stopped drinking.  I even quit caffeine!  While I was pregnant, my brother's friend, also a type 1 diabetic, died of severe hyperglycemia while on a camping/hiking trip with his father.  Like so many of us diabetics know, when your blood sugar gets too high, it can mimic the feeling of a low.  And that's what happened.  He treated himself for a low blood sugar when really it was high.  He was 28 years old.

And that was it.  I got serious.  I couldn't resume smoking or drinking, or at least decrease my alcohol intake.  I had to start exercising.  Luckily, I had started a program at the gym to lose weight before the wedding, so I was relatively fit.  Through a series of "coincidences," I entered my first 5K race in September 2009.

It was awful.  I hated it.  I didn't do well.  So I started running more, and more.  And I raced another 5k, then a 10K, and on October 28, 2010, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon.

I ran it again last year.

And I'm doing it again this year.

My blood sugars and A1Cs spiked.  My appetite shot through the roof and I had no idea how to fuel myself.  I couldn't carbo-load like non-diabetic runners since it so adversely affected my sugar levels.  And so I played around with everything.  I surely don't know it all but I have a better handle on my diabetes and exercise than I did before.  I'd like to use this blog to give all Diabetics (and non-diabetics) some help on their journeys.  Or maybe tell some entertaining fart jokes, who knows.  I'll share recipes, workouts, how I use my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) and pump to keep my sugars in check and my energy high.

Happy Trails to you. 

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