Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Training is not just training to a diabetic

I was thinking the other day on my run about... well, running.

Running can be complicated.  There are so many things to take into consideration.  Hydration and food the days before, sleep, fueling and hydrating on the run, shoes, clothing, temperature.  Things like heart rate, pace, time and distance.  Electrolytes, fatigue, muscle cramping and blisters.  Sweat stinging my eyeballs, sunscreen and proper body glide placement.

That's what your normal every day committed runner probably contends with.  I contend with all those things, that's how I came up with that crazy list.

What else though?


I only WISH that was the only things I had to deal with because that's a lot of things to think about.  Unfortunately I've got the 'betes and with that comes a whole new messed up world.  There are two sides to every adventure when I lace up my runners (or climb on my bike for that matter.)  The side that every athlete deals with and then the diabetes side.

Take that list and add to it just as many bullet points.

Carrying a blood glucose meter, keeping the strips and meter dry and warm.  Carrying fast acting sugar as well as gels.  Carrying a fucking obnoxious where-the-hell-do-I-put-this-thing cell phone.  Temp basal programs hours before, what to bolus for what kind of food at what time?  Checking blood sugars mid run and needing to be ON TOP of it.  Making decisions on the fly.  To take the gel or not to take the gel.  Take insulin, don't take insulin.  High blood sugar, need gel, take insulin, don't take insulin, will the run bring it low enough, but I need the gel....  Ah fuck.  Hours of planning before the run.  Hours of monitoring after the run.   Did I run this morning? Did I run two mornings in a row?  Did I run THREE mornings in a row?  The more days I run consecutively, the more it effects my blood sugar for the next 24 hours.

As much as I wish to be "just like everybody else" I am not.

Training for a marathon takes a lot of time.  It takes motivation, determination, discipline and a heck of a lot of planning.  Training for a marathon with diabetes?  well for fucksake!  I've gone many months not really thinking about all the extra consideration and planning involved.  Then during my last long run it all hit me.  I am not just like everyone else.  Training for a marathon is all about training your body.  Getting your muscles used to being under that kind of continuous stress.  I have experienced all of that and then some.  I have had to train my diabetes.  Even though Diabetes doesn't follow plans or preparations or anything for that matter.  I suppose it's not so much training my diabetes as it is training my diabetes management.  Hoping that I've encountered everything and anything possible.

There is just SO much to know.  There's no way around that and there's no way to simplify it.

I do often wonder what the hell drives me to pursue this kind of shit.  I don't wonder why I do it because I know why I do it.  I do it because I love to exercise, I make it work because the desire to run trumps the hell of the diabetes planning.  Because it's worth it.

I'm glad that training for a marathon with diabetes has become something I don't really think about.  THAT way it makes me FEEL like everyone else.  I just have a problem remembering that when I'm out on the course I have to take special consideration to my diabetic needs before my other needs.


  1. There aren't too many things that totally suck the way running with diabetes sucks. There also aren't too many things that are so totally worth it. Glad you feel the same way.

  2. I agree with you! But the run is always worth it in the end.

  3. Love this line: I don't wonder why I do it because I know why I do it. I do it because I love to exercise, I make it work because the desire to run trumps the hell of the diabetes planning.

    I feel the exact same way! You're totally going to kick that marathon's ass and I can't wait to hear all about it. Massive Hearts!

  4. DSMA tomorrow night (and DSMA Live Thursday) is about serious athletic pursuits like yours. Might be helpful.

    Not for me, I am more likely to WATCH a marathon. ;)

  5. What a great way to point out how diabetes seriously complicates something that is already super challenging. I quit two sports (softball and basketball) before I really wanted to because I didn't know how to keep up with playing four sports and manage my diabetes (I was a young teenager and still very green to diabetes). Of course, I stuck with my beloved soccer. That brings me to my point that diabetes will do one thing...it will push us to recognize what is really important to us by making all things harder. So when we do push through and DO something, we know it really matters to us. And that's a good thing to know about ourselves. For you, I truly can tell you love running because I know that diabetes makes it a serious pain in the butt and you getting through all the obstacles to do it means your love of it is serious. As always, I'm so glad you write about it. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. You are awesome! A doc once said to me that managing T1 was like having a partime job on top of whatever else it is you do. All. The. Time. Like even when sleeping. To use that metaphor "I run marathons and work my part time job simultaneously" is quite eye opening. Of course, I argued with the doc about the "part" time bit, it can be full time!


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