There was a moment during the half marathon, where I looked around at the 10,000+ people up early on a Sunday morning and thought to myself about how funny it was that we all paid $60 to get our butts kicked by 13.1 miles worth of concrete. But just like the vast majority of the other folks in the crowd, the moment I crossed that finish line felt like it was worth a million bucks. That, my friends, is a feeling that I will forever wish could be bottled up and carted around with me, because there’s just nothing like pushing yourself to your physical limits and gettin’ it done.
So the short story is the half marathon went great. Perfect weather, rocking crowd, beautiful course with miles of ocean views and no major problems to speak of. And, yes I ran the whole way “barefoot style” in my Vibram Five Finger shoes (see Friday’s post for a pic) and yes, we got a lot of comments on them. Some runners actually carried on entire conversations about our shoes right behind us, as if we couldn’t hear them even though my boyfriend and I didn’t wear headphones and could hear them perfectly. Apparently, running gives you immunity to side conversations? I don’t know. But I do know that I am a believer in the minimalist running shoe for sure now. I have no major joint problems to speak of, my legs and calves especially feel stronger than ever, and I ran this half marathon faster than my last one.
Things that also went better this half marathon included my blood sugars – although they were far from perfect. The last half I ran was before I was on a CGM, and due to overdoing the during-race GU packs from fear of lows, I finished that run with a BG of over 500mg/dL, feeling like crap. This race, I had my CGM strapped to my stomach in my Tummietote belt, and was able to control things better.
By better though, I mean I did top out at 286mg/dL, and chilled in the high 200s for most of the race. Ug. I’m actually not entirely sure what happened, but I’m going to blame this one on nerves because I know I was managing the big D well. I pulled into the parking lot with a BG of 156. I ate an apple, which I have been doing before all my long training runs, and as to be suspected, my blood sugar bounced up to about 200 right away. I turned my basals down anyways though, to make sure I didn’t bottom out. But by mile two, I had two DexCom arrows pointing straight up in the air and a reading of 240. I used my OmniPod pump controller, also in my belt, to give a half unit bolus (while still running, I might add!), and carried on.
But that damn blood sugar stuck AROUND. I mean for literally the entire race. It was as if my blood sugar was completely unaware that there was any physical activity going on. It might as well have been heckling me the whole time from the sidelines with “well ain’t ya gonna BOLUS for this, Alexis?” I didn’t bolus again after that half unit though– one because I’m so nervous about bolus insulin on board while working out and two because on every other run I’ve gone on, I’ve had it come down about half way through! Oh what’s that you say? Diabetes makes no sense? Oh right, now I remember that.
I took a sizeable bolus right after the race though, and after a small spike post lunch, I settled down into the 80-120 range for the evening, which was a nice reward for all the hard work. And although running in the 280s didn’t feel awesome, it was manageable, and about 1000 times better than running so dangerously high in my last halfer. I also feel like I genuinely couldn’t have done much about it – I had to make those diabetes management decisions based on the information I had at hand, and sometimes, you just don’t get it right.
And I have to say, I was in good company for this race: Insulindependence had a HUGE presence at this race – tons of runners in their team jerseys were out on both the marathon and half marathon courses. I ran into a friend of mine along the way and we chatted for a minute while running. He told me his CGM had been about 100 points off that morning when he tested. “Not the right time DexCom, not the right time” he said jokingly – and I certainly felt his pain. Our technology is the most amazing thing in the world when it works right. But machines make mistakes, and they don’t care if it’s race day or not. It was fun to talk to another person with diabetes on the course about our own little secret world of CGMs and d-management. It’s a funny little club we’re in here. I was so impressed with the Insulindepence crew though, they really helped a lot of people with diabetes do this race, and knowing that you can push yourself further than you ever imagined is SUCH a powerful tool for diabetes confidence.
My favorite diabetes part of the race was two moms that ran up next to me during the last half hour of the run. I know they were moms because the first one sidled up next to me and said “I Run on Insulin (she had read the back of my t-shirt), are you doing ok? Feeling good?” in a way that only a mom would.
I looked her straight in the eye and reassured her: “I’m doing great!”
Her running buddy was on the other side of us, and said “My son has diabetes, I just love your t-shirt! I gotta take a picture of that!”
“Oh cool!” I panted back to her, “He can do anything he wants to do!”
“And he does!” she shouted back, with a huge smile on her face. I loved that. I loved that she was so proud to say that her son has diabetes and that he doesn’t let it hold him back. Her enthusiasm and clear pride for her kid made me beam, and it gave me that extra push at mile 12 that I needed to finish strong.
My favorite non-diabetes part of the race though, was finishing side by side with my boyfriend. I’d never done any athletic event with a partner before him, and my boyfriend is always willing and excited to do these activities together – from Tour de Cure to kayaking to this half marathon, he’s never balked at my “special needs” during our athletic endeavors. He’s always been right where he was at the finish line on Sunday: by my side.