Safely running marathons with Diabetes

girl steele
By girl steele Latest Reply 2012-10-19 13:12:29 -0500
Started 2012-08-31 14:49:21 -0500

Hello again DCC!
I'm a Type 1 Diabetic & will be running in a 1.5 mile muddy obstacle course in September. I really want to do this not only for myself, but to also prove that just because I have diabetes does not mean I can't do anything someone without diabetes can do. We can do anything we set our minds to. I do run/walk at home & have an idea of bow my body responds to strenuous exercise…but know it can be different from one day to another. With it being a muddy obstacle I really don't want to risk trying to carry my meter but will put a few glucose tabs in my bra (hope full they don't melt lol). I'm honestly feeling a little anxious about not having my meter on me. Anyway, any suggestions would be appreciated…eating, insulin adjustments, etc…?

23 replies

girl steele
girl steele 2012-10-09 21:22:06 -0500 Report

Like this? I'm on my Kindle so it's wierd sometimes. Anyway, this was at a ski resort so the obstacles weren't so bad but the hills were awful! They would take you up the hill, back down & then right back up! Legs were like jello…definitely a challenge. Your friend IS crazy. Haha!

Nick1962 2012-10-10 07:52:07 -0500 Report

No, there should be a reply button under what I wrote. maybe that feature isn't available on a Kindle.
It sounds like a challenge all right. Do you plan to do it again? Or maybe a half or full marathon?
Funny thing about my friend and that 40 mile run - he actually tells me where he'll place at the finish (in the top 5) and is usually right. Talk about confidence. Kinda makes me jealous, but then he can't cook, so I guess it evens out (yeah, right).

girl steele
girl steele 2012-10-11 08:18:44 -0500 Report

Now I'm on my laptop & I selected the 'reply' under your comment, but there isn't one on my kindle; just a box to type in.

Anyway, yes I do plan to do it again; Spring 2013. At least I know what to expect. Although they change it up every run, add more mud, more obstacles, etc..

No marathons for me yet. I really love to workout & be active, but I fake it when it comes to actual 'running'… not a big fan. I can go a couple miles, but that's about all the torture I can stand. Maybe someday. Your friend does sound confident, that's good. I suppose your cooking is a contender with his awesomenss. lol We all have our things that make us happy. :)

Nick1962 2012-10-11 08:55:27 -0500 Report

There you go, that’s the one. This way, when you respond to individual comments, people get notifications that you responded. The other way people don’t and might miss something unless they’re tracking the topic/post (one person unfriended me because she thought I was ignoring her).

It’s really great that you’re not going to let a little blood sugar stand in your way. I’m no runner, but I know for some if you don’t have exactly the right pair of shoes, laced just right, it can throw you way off. I imagine this is like that for you right now, until you find that right fit and management, things will be off for a while, but it seems like you’re well on your way to getting into your comfort level. So many people (and it seems more likely in women than men) let something like this stop them dead in their tracks, when it really can be only another minor obstacle. Kudos to you! I think it would be a real help to some if you posted a new thread about the run and just what you had to go through – training, watching the sugar, the course itself, etc. Everyone likes a success story!

girl steele
girl steele 2012-10-11 18:38:52 -0500 Report

I may just have to do that. Thanks Nick1962! I appreciate the kudos. :) Oh, By the way, I'm on my phone now so I'm not sure if the reply is working like its supposed to.

girl steele
girl steele 2012-10-09 14:12:16 -0500 Report

Thanks Nick1962. I was actually walking a 'tightrope' & holding another rope above…all the while over a very large, deep mud puddle but the profile pic wouldn't fit it all. It was a blast!

Nick1962 2012-10-09 14:47:02 -0500 Report

Sure sounds like it was fun. Even a lazy guy like me would like it.
Now if you want a real challenge, why not try this 40 miler a friend of mine runs each year (I think he's certifiably nuts)
Oh and did you know you can reply directly to anyone's comment by using the reply button below it?

girl steele
girl steele 2012-10-09 09:45:51 -0500 Report

Well everyone. I have done the mud run! I was very nervous at first because I wasn't sure really what to expect from my sugar. I just chewed a few glucose tabs during the run and my sugar was at 140 when I was done! I will definitely be doing it again next year. I feel much more confident now in being able to control my sugar while I run. Thank you so much my DCC Buddies for your wonderful advice, it was very much appreciated and considered.

IronOre 2012-09-15 08:30:08 -0500 Report

Hi Girl Steele,
I have been T1 for 37 years now, and couldn't agree with you more with your comment "I can't do anything someone without diabetes can do'. Since being diagnosed I have never had diabetes keep me from doing anything ~ including vigorous activity. After 37 years I have no diabetes complications.
Ok . . . I may contradict what other are saying here, but this is what I do.
Don't forget an acceptable BS reading is from 70-170 and some have told you to get it to 110 before a race (IMO) is a bit crazy (even dangerous).
I may get up to (and even above) 170 (200?) before the activity so that I don't go low during it. And then a while after the activity I will check it and bring it down with insulin if I need to, or eat/drink something if required.
Maybe do a trial shorter run and take readings before and after (maybe wait 20 minutes) and see how much you have come down, and work from there.
The problem with taking food with you is that it doesn't act fast enough if you go low. A drink with carbs works better and faster. Fruit juice is the first thing that comes to my mind here.
Since the first day that I was diagnosed with diabetes until now - I have always been told that it is always better to be a bit (even more than a "bit) high than going low, so don't worry about getting your BS high for the event. I feel strongly that there are many diabetics out there who keep their BS too low and the consequences are not good.
You may come across other diabetics during the event ~ and you can discuss with then what they do ~ IMO it is usually better to get advice from those who live it than from someone who gets their knowledge from a textbook or an Internet web link.
Eventually you will be able to do the longer courses without issues.

Type1Lou 2012-09-17 09:44:39 -0500 Report

I wholly agree with you that diabetes did not limit me in what I accomplished. We just have to make allowances for its effects. I have had it for 36+ years now and do have some beginnings of complications due to improper decisions in my early years as a diabetic..(mild neuropathy and beginning signs of retinopathy…but neither have become worse in the past 8 years as my control has improved). A few seasons ago, a participant (and I think winner) in the TV show "The Amazing Race" was a Type 1 doctor.

IronOre 2012-09-17 12:41:49 -0500 Report

Now how cool is that . . . that doctor rocks !!!!
I was lucky . . . In my early years of being a diabetic (starting at age 14) I was a heavy swimmer, and did so for several years after high school ~ So I think that has something to do with me doing so well now.

Pharmacist George
Pharmacist George 2012-09-15 04:53:55 -0500 Report

Hi girl steele,

You are definetely a girl of Steele and you are a model of an active person who is making all the right lifestyle choices regardless of whether you have diabetes or not. Having Type 1 is just a secondary factor in your life that you're handling pretty well. As you said, having diabetes must not be a handicap to any person with any diabetes Type in achieving whatever endeavor they choose whether a physical or professional challenge.

With regards to your inquiry of running a mud course I will give you a couple tips from my background as a pharmacist expert in diabetes and also as a personal trainer and certified in nutrition guidance.

First and foremost you do not need to carry your glucose meter on you but just take a reading before the activity begins and right after it ends. Your goal would be to have a reading around 100 to 110 before that activity and about 70 to 110 after the activity ends.

A couple days before the challenge begins make sure you consume balanced amounts of complex carbs sources such as whole grain bread ( high fiber), high fiber cereal such as Fiber One or Fiber Plus, or whole wheat pasta, or brown or wild rice or a medium baked potato with skin.

Also have balanced amounts of proteins and vegetables. I would use the plate method that I recommend in my book and that first lady Obama have started recommending recently which is a great way to gauge portion Sizes and macronutrients. Also adequate hydration of 6 to 8 cups of water per day is a must.

Then the meal before the challenge must be small and consumed no sooner than 2 hours prior to the start of the challenge. In other words, you must not have any solid food within 2 hours of the start of the exercise bout because during digestion blood rushes from your brain to your stomach to aid in the digestive process. If you perform any exercise bout within 2 hours of a meal you might get light headed and possibly passout and your muscles will not have the adequate energy they need to perform at their best.

During the mud marathon you must hydrate your body every 10 to 15 minutes with about an ounce of Gatorade like beverages. They contain a small amount of sugar that you'll need for the exercise challenge but more importantly it contains much needed electrolytes and water for your working muscles.

It is a good idea to keep glucose on you and you need to dissolve 3 to 4 wafers back to back at the first sign of hunger which signals that your blood sugar is dipping below the 100 or 90 mark.

With regard to insulin I would skip the pre meal insulin dose before the last meal before the physical challenge. But confirm this with your doctor and get your doctor's clearance for this Marathon anyway.

At the end of the challenge I would immediately drink 8 to 12 ounces of any fruit juice to replenish blood sugar that's been lost during the marathon and take a blood sugar reading.

I hope these were helpful tips and wish you the best for this challenge and I highly encourage you to keeping on with your current lifestyle choices.

girl steele
girl steele 2012-09-03 20:43:05 -0500 Report

Thanks everyone for the great advice. Nick1962, it's a 1 1/2 mile muddy obstacle course, there's noway I could do a 15 mile - although I wish I could. :)

Nick1962 2012-09-17 11:40:59 -0500 Report

Just saw this. You'll be fine. This'll be a walk in the park for you. You probably already did it by now, so how was it?

Nick1962 2012-09-01 19:01:16 -0500 Report

This gave me a chance to e-mail my only other T1 aquaintance (I needed to anyway). Her job (environmental engineer) frquently has her out in the mud for 2-3 miles at a time. Usually with gear and heavy hip boots.
You did say 1.5 miles right? Not 15?
I've been on one of these trips with her, and while it's not a run, it was more than a workout for me. She said she's never had an issue, but if it's hot, and she knew she had to do it before hand, she's have a "one unit" snack and a shot first. I assume she meant one unit of insulin and the equivelant of food. But she always carries tabs in a keyring vial.

Type1Lou 2012-09-01 14:51:40 -0500 Report

You might want to check out "Team WILD Women Compete" article in the news article section. It 's about diabetic women participating in a Wisconsin Ironman triathlon. I would encourage you to bring a meter…you might be able to get an extra one from the manufacturer if you explain why you want it…they are usually really accommodating since they want you to use their strips. I use both a One Touch Ultralink meter that communicates with my pump and a smaller OneTouch Ultra Mini when I don't want to carry the bigger Ultralink. The manufacturer might also be able to recommend how to protect the meter from mud, rain, or other undesirable elements. Good luck on your marathon and please let us know how it went!

roxygyrl1970 2012-09-01 07:17:23 -0500 Report

You can search for one at amazon under "Waterproof Container Airtight Case ID Keys Money Beach" to see what they look like.

roxygyrl1970 2012-09-01 07:10:10 -0500 Report

Why not double zip lock bag it an see if you can find one of those boxes they sell at the water parks that have the seal. i used to have one that I used for jet skiing and nothing in it ever got wet.