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.