Archive for August, 2014

on going low

Today was my first Saturday morning run in a long time and I was exuberant about it. I woke up with a lower blood glucose reading than normal so I made sure that I corrected that. It was getting hot and humid out so I decided I’d run on the treadmill instead of hitting the trails. The goal was 5K at LSD* pace. Things didn’t go exactly as planned and partway through my run, I started heading into hypoglycemic territory. 

For me, it goes something like this…

I’m running and I feel strong. Adrenaline goes up a little. As my blood sugar drops I start having coordination issues. I feel cool and clammy to the touch. Because I am running it is often hard to tell if the sweating is from a low or just the exertion. My heart rate goes up but that’s just like the sweating… hard to discern if it is from the run or not. I become fatigued and feel faint. I get klutzy and on occasion I will tremble. I show signs of confusion and my vision will often blur. Adrenaline goes up even higher. Many of the symptoms are similar to anxiety and sometimes I will get a headache. To someone who doesn’t know I am diabetic, I can appear like I am intoxicated. 

Today I was just beyond the 2K mark when I started to feel off. I was a bit dizzy and clumsy. I suspected hypoglycemia because of how I felt and because our little dog, Thomson, actually alerted me to it. Thomson comes and lays on the back of the sofa beside the treadmill when this happens. Sometimes, if I ignore him, he’ll start to whine and whimper. Today he was pacing back and forth on the back of the couch. That said, the only way to confirm that I am experiencing a low is to check with a blood glucose meter. I tested my blood and sure enough that was what was happening. My darling husband intervened with some honey before things got too out of hand and I continued to run.

Continuing on isn’t always a wise idea especially on a treadmill but I know my body pretty well. We agreed that I would finish out the kilometer and I would stop at 3K if I didn’t feel better. I should use the word “agreed” loosely. Bryan was genuinely concerned and reminded me of the injury I could sustain if I fell even though there is a safety key. However, I was cautiously determined to stick to my plan of 5K. He didn’t dare call me stubborn but I know he was thinking it because of the look of concern on his face. I assured him I wouldn’t push too hard. I promised that I would run to 4K and then check my blood glucose. When the time came my levels were on the rise again so I was able to complete the run.

I’m very happy I could get my full run in because I really needed this from a mental standpoint. If this had this happened on the trail though, I would have aborted the run and called home for assistance. Hypoglycemia isn’t something I wish to mess around with. It can be dangerous, and if not treated expediently can sometimes result in seizures, coma, or even brain damage. 

It has been quite some time since I’ve had to deal with a low on a run because the reality is that I haven’t been lacing up that often. I’m simply going to have to be a more careful now that I am back to a more consistent training schedule. Today was an important reminder of why I need to pay close attention to my body, nutrition, and timing of fuel. Despite this, I feel like I am back in the game both physically and mentally… I can’t wait for my next run. 

*LSD is a running acronym for long slow distance 

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I’ve been very quiet on twitter, dailymile, and my blog lately because I needed a break to get some perspective.

Over the last year life has interfered with my plans. Broken toes. Health issues. PTCA. Bronchitis. After a while this started to take its toll on me emotionally and I haven’t been feeling very exuberant about running. Yes, as über-positive as I am, I’ve had to face the fact that I’ve been in a good old funk.

It’s not the wallowing kind of funk. I’m not one to feel sorry for myself—I am content and happy for the most part. It’s more frustration that this past year wasn’t what I had hoped it would be. What happened with my heart coupled with not meeting my running goals for 2014 came down on me like a ton of bricks. I haven’t managed a single race since the day I kicked the dumbbell and broke my toes back in November 2013. It has been a roller coaster since then and there are times I find myself struggling.

I was still battling bronchitis for several weeks after announcing that I wasn’t going to run the 42.2K at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (STWM). As the incessant coughing started to wane, our family went on vacation. During this time away I began look at things from a different perspective.  Although I took my running gear with me, I didn’t run because I still wasn’t feeling great and I wanted to spend time with my family. Eight hours each way in the Jeep gave Bryan and I plenty of time for some great heart-to-heart chats. This helped me to resolve some of what I had been feeling. Despite this, when I returned home life got busy with the kids and other obligations so running got pushed into the background even further. Admittedly, I settled into that quite willingly.

This past weekend I started to reassess where I want to go with running and where I truly stand from a cardiovascular standpoint. My intent, when I decided I wouldn’t be able to run the full at STWM, was to run the half marathon and I changed my registration to reflect that. Now I am second guessing the decision to run at all. With a mere nine weeks left to train and taper for the event, squeezing training into that short of a time span is not exactly realistic given the challenges that I face, but part of me still wants to try. I don’t know what I’m going to do yet. While I haven’t lost all of my fitness, I’m not where I need to be in regards to running longer distances. Plus, I need to rediscover my love of the run. I seem to have lost sight of that recently. Perhaps it is simply because I’ve put too much pressure on myself. I thought about my situation, talked with Bryan, and we decided that it would be to my benefit to dig out my early training plans and pick a more appropriate starting point.

As you can read, I’ve accepted some difficult actualities and am beginning to come to terms with the simple fact that the big gaps in my training have affected my base adversely. These were circumstances that were not within my control and what will be, will be. That’s just life. Reality. It’s not easy embracing where I am at but there are positives. Despite what I have lost, I am by no means the same runner I was when I first started. Running has given me courage in so many other areas of my life and it has given me the wisdom to know that getting back to basics is essential. It has taught me to keep trying.

Taking a few steps back is often the best course of action when it comes to looking at the grand scheme of things. After all, life is like a dance and the past year mine has been a bit of a Cha Cha. It does keep things interesting, that’s for sure. For me, giving up is not an option and so I continue to work towards a fitter, healthier me. In the end, an approach to build a better foundation will make me stronger in body, mind, and spirit.

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