Training before & after T1-Part 1

So if you read my post on my diagnosis story, then you already know I love to run. Being T1, training looks a little different than it used to. Before I was diagnosed, I used to just go out and run. I would spontaneously go for a morning run or lace up my shoes after work without a second thought other than where I was going. I was half-way through my goal of running 20 marathons in 10 years and had completed my first 50 mile race in 2015. Life was good!

After T1, running and working out has completely changed for me. When I was first diagnosed in June 2017, I went from being in the best shape of my life and running marathons, to recovering from Diabetic Ketoacidosis and barely being able to walk one lap around the Intensive Care Unit of the hospital. Then, my new endocrinologist told me that I “wasn’t allowed to run for a month” while we adjusted my insulin dosing. That month was filled with so many scary low blood sugars and eating a ton of junk/sugar to correct. I put on some weight, had mental breakdowns where I couldn’t stop crying and fits of anger that I couldn’t seem to get this disease under control. The worst part was that running had always been my sanctuary, the way I cleared my head and healed myself. Without that I felt lost! I began meditating, which helped but for me it just wasn’t the same as getting lost in the woods on a run. Even now that I’m back to running, I have kept meditation as a tool in my toolbox and would absolutely recommend trying it for anyone who is struggling, especially in the beginning.

Finally, with experimentation, we got a little closer to finding my correct dosage, although I don’t know if it ever gets to “perfect”. My low blood sugars became less and less frequent and I was finally cleared to run again. There was only one catch, I couldn’t run alone and I couldn’t run for more than an hour. Now, from the doctor’s perspective, I understood why. If my blood sugar dropped low mid-run I could end up unconscious or dead in the middle of nowhere and no one would know what happened to me. On the other hand, it was frustrating to have to limit my runs and try to coordinate with other people’s schedules. Part of what I previously enjoyed about running was how I could just pick up and get out there whenever the mood struck me and that was no longer going to be possible. 

So I began running again, very slowly. It was like I didn’t even recognize my own body. On top of that, I was constantly worried about how my blood sugar would react to the workout. So much for my runs being meditative! In the beginning, they actually stressed me out more than they helped. This was also before I got my pump and CGM so I was also stopping to check my blood sugar every mile or so. My poor running partners, mostly my husband, Marty, and my Dad, had to deal with my frequent stops and periodic emotional breakdowns on runs. I’m certain this could not have been fun for them but they stuck by me and supported me. At least I was running again and getting to spend extra time with those I love the most and I was just thankful for that!

All misfortune is but a stepping stone to fortune.” -Henry David Thoreau

Running in the woods, pump just hanging on by a thread… or in this case the tubing!

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Published by Jenny Nat

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