Like the Wind

I’m going to go ahead and bet that no one even remembers this, but about 300 years ago, I was blogging about running. I actually even ran about 12 or 13 times.

Running sucked, of course. But I loved it, of course.

I liked all the accessories I got to buy and wear. I liked my stretchy little belt that held my glucose meter and tiny boxes of Nerds. I liked the feeling of being done with running and then taking a shower and putting on sweatpants and eating hot food. I liked the methodology that was involved with working up to a goal, and seeing how each day got easier.

Things happened, though. At one point I hurt my ankles and had to buy weird black running socks, and I took a break. And then I started up again with the help of the awesome Mari Ruddy and Team WILD (RIP). And THEN I was unexpectedly pregnant, and my doctor wanted me to stop because I was new to running and my baby could have fallen out while I rounded a corner (or something). And that was TWO WHOLE YEARS AGO.


Please look at all the cat hair on my poor neglected arm band thing.

There are a number of things that have kept me from starting right back up again. It’s easy to point to my kid as one of those things, but as others have demonstrated, it’s not impossible to make time to run when you have a wee baby.

If I’m being honest about my unhealthy thought processes, I’ll admit that a thing that holds me back is resentment.

Every time I pass a runner on the side of the street (and in my neighborhood, it’s dozens a day), I think: “I bet that person isn’t worrying about his blood sugar.” Or, “I bet she’s not carrying an arsenal of juice boxes and test strips.” “I bet that woman got home from work and decided to go on a run . . . and then she just went on a run, like her life wasn’t possibly hanging in the balance.”

I have friends who pop up at the break of dawn to walk a few miles, and I’d love to go with them, but I’m afraid of waking up at 72 or 243 and then having to decline because, hey, I have diabetes and as much as I like to pretend it doesn’t affect me, it does. I’d have to stay home and eat, or bolus and wait. And probably bolus again and wait some more.

I know that it’s dramatic, and that I’m probably making more out of it than I should, but good God I hate being low, and that is a feeling that I directly equate with exercising.

My time doing the Team WILD thing (and, you know, all my other D-friends who are successful athletes) prove that it can be managed. I used to check 4 hours, 3 hours, 2 hours and one hour before heading out for a run. Then during the run. Twice. Then after. And I got good at it! I know it’s possible, but when I’m in the throes of self-pity, it’s another thing to get pissed about, and another reason to just hang out and watch Jeopardy after I get home from work and feed and bathe the Magpie.

Because just as quickly as I can recall the feelings of strength and freedom and pride that I associate with running, I can remember what it’s like to be 2 miles from home, weak and nauseated and crippled with cold sweats, worried that I’m going to lose consciousness on the side of the road because I didn’t pack enough glucose tabs or jelly beans to save my life and negate the calorie-burning benefits of exercise. How tragic I would look, laying there in my weird black compression socks, surrounded by empty Nerds boxes and trying to explain myself to the EMTs: “I’m getting healthy!”

I know the nagging fear — or the diabetes — is never going to go away. I just need to learn to manage it. Deal with the repetitive finger sticks and temporary basal rates and nauseating amounts of granola bars. I need to look it straight in the face, and then run. Far, far away from it.

19 comments on “Like the Wind

  1. Katie says:

    I was thinking recently about how I don’t feel diabetes holds one back from doing something. However, the catch is that diabetes is going to make whatever it is you want to do, harder. My decision to do, or not do something, is usually directly related to “how much harder would it be” to do said thing because of diabetes.

    I would LOVE to just get up and go running, but I don’t make it a thing I do because I’m not willing to put in all the extra work to do it. It has fallen into the “that is harder than I want something to be” category.

  2. Jamie says:

    I feel ya on this! I am trying to start excersizing ang being active but I get lows almost constantly. I went snowshoeing a few weeks ago and was in the 50’s for almost 2 hrs straight no matter what I did!

  3. Oh my word, thank you for writing how I feel about running out so eloquently. I just love how you phrased it. I don’t like running with people who aren’t really familiar with diabetes because I don’t want them to have to stop with me while I check, or gulp, or crunch on a snack to bring me up. I have been running, but not fast, and not for endurance. I want to start though. I want to push myself really hard, but that hypo fear is wedged so tightly in my psyche that acting on the desire always feels too complicated. Thank you for helping me understand myself a little better, and for sharing.

  4. Briley says:

    I find that running & exercise is one of the hardest parts of regular life with diabetes. I so wish that I could be one of those people that could squeeze in a run early in the morning, but between irregular BGs and a need for temp basals, I’ve never been able to do it on a regular basis.

    It is good that you’re thinking about it & brainstorming. You will find a solution that works for you and it will be amazing!

  5. Katie says:

    For sure it’s tough! And it IS crazy tough with a baby, and work, and working around your husband’s schedule, and then adding diabetes into the whole mix. And there are some days where it’s way easier to not go then to go … I’ve been there… many times!

    For me, what worked after Little Ring, was starting slow and relearning the intricacies of my body with running and with diabetes. And figuring out what times of the day, in those slow, short runs, worked best for all of me. Good luck!

  6. First, an aside: I’ve never felt any anger towards others because they didn’t have to deal with the diabetes stuff… but I have felt that anger about other runners not looking like a jellyfish flailing around out of water… which is pretty much what I look like running. My urge is more to go and kick those other people in the shins.

    Less of an aside: I do find the more I do a particular exercise, the more I’m able figure how my BG’s will be in future bouts of that exercise… but that could just be me?

  7. StephenS says:

    What you’re describing (especially how it feels) is something that everyone with diabetes goes through when they exercise, or even think about exercising. I wish I could say something that would make it easier.

    What I can tell you is that it’s overcoming those moments that makes you a Champion. With a capital C. Enduring that, overcoming that, isn’t weakness… it’s something that makes you the toughest kid on the block. Good luck.

  8. theperfectd says:

    So, I’m a little jealous. No, a lot jealous. If I could run, I would. (Blown lumbar disc, shin splints, bad ankles… you name it, I got it.) I want to be one of those runners who looks like they aren’t having fun, but are being healthy. I’m a lazy D. Yeah, I could walk, but between The Kid and the inability to figure out a way to not have scary lows hours and days after any bout of exercise, it just hadn’t happened. Can I just exercise vicariously through you? I’ll even wear sweatpants and drink lots of water for hydration. Promise.

  9. I completely identify with everything your saying about exercise and diabetes. Though this past summer I had the opportunity to go to Diabetes Training Camp. It was the most amazing, educational experience of my life and taught me so much about managing diabetes and exercise. If you’ve never heard of the camp you should definitely check it out.

  10. Sara says:

    Can I just pick ANY other form of exercise? I HATE running!

  11. I hear ya! One of the few things that gets met truly upset and frustrated with diabetes is when I juggle work and family to take the time to do something healthy for myself by exercising and my BG is crazy high or crazy low and ruins it. Any time I start a new activity there is always that fear of going too low or too high. (I have had to call my husband to pick me up during a bike ride because I crashed really low.) But I think the benefits of getting out there and doing something outweigh the fears and I often find that the really bad BGs are few and far between.

  12. Lucia Maya says:

    I hate running, and kind of believe it’s not as healthy as it’s made out to be. I walk, mostly around the block with my dog, and even then i always take something with me just in case i get low…
    I just found your blog and am so glad I did! Thanks for bringing honesty and humor to living with diabetes.

  13. Lauren says:

    I stumbled on your blog after seeing a “10 Things Not to Say to Someone with Diabetes” article you wrote and was posted on Facebook. After reading only 2 blog posts of yours, I have to confess I’m already a fan! I’ve had type 1 since I was 7, a little over 20 years now, and always am looking for people who really “get it”… This one about running and working out COMPLETELY sums up how I feel too! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and feelings… Even though I don’t know you at all and will prob never ever actually know you, it’s nice to not feel so alone!
    Take care,

  14. Aaron says:

    You nailed it, the type 1 diabetes running experience. There is extra challenge but it produces extra pride. I hated the comments when a fellow marathon runner saw me testing asked if I had diabetes and told me he did too. He had the type # ( oh I don’t have to dooo anything because I’m running that takes care of it).
    I also wanted to comment on your diabetic Dabs post: I rub the blood into my finger and it disappears. Why don’t others mention that technique?

  15. Stephanie says:

    Thank you so much for this post. Although it was written a while ago, I just read it, and am currently starting to train for a 1/2 marathon…and am scared to death. I have been a runner for about 12 years now (T1D for all of them) and have always been able to run up to 4 or 5 miles or so, but 13.1 just seems to much harder. I hate having to stop because of lows, and I hate lows so much that it prevents me from working out a lot of the time. And if I have to down 2 granola bars to burn 100 calories running for a mile, what’s the point?? Anyway – thanks for sharing this frustration. Makes me feel not so alone.

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