Sunday I ran my absolute worst 5K ever. And diabetes was (mostly) to blame.
I will admit that we’d slacked a bit on training over the past few weeks. We tried to train on our cruise, but it just didn’t work. And then I got sick when we got back, and then life got busy. It sounds like a pile of excuses, and maybe it is. But the bottom line is that we knew we wouldn’t set any PRs during this race and we were okay with that - we just planned to go and have fun. Unfortunately, I really didn’t have any fun at all.
I think the problem all started the day before. We spent most of Saturday redecorating the living room. We hauled away our old couch (in pieces, because otherwise it wasn’t going anywhere) and carted off other old furniture and carried in new furniture and rearranged and reconfigured and basically were busy all day. I found myself fighting low after low after low, and it was no surprise when I woke up Sunday morning to a lower blood sugar than I liked. I drank my coffee but skipped my coffee bolus, made sure I had plenty of gels in my running pack, and grabbed an apple sauce to eat before the race.
Once we got to the race site I ate the apple sauce, still with no bolus. Ten minutes before the race I checked my sugar again, and I was still lower than I liked. Figuring out what to eat was a little tricky though. I’m used to running with a bit of insulin on board from breakfast, but Sunday I hadn’t bolused a thing. So I wasn’t quite sure how much to eat to hit that fine line between being high enough to run without crashing, but not so high as to feel a sluggish, syrup-in-my-veins crud. I decided a Clif Blok should do the trick.
Things started out fine. At about a mile in my CGM hit my high threshold (set at 165) and showed two arrows up. Usually that’s pretty perfect, because it’s about the time the exercise is starting to kick in and level the spike out. Usually, but not on Sunday. We hadn’t even gone another half mile before I started getting that fuzzy feeling. I slowed to a walk and tested and was only at 90. So I ate a couple more Clif Bloks. At the two mile mark I wasn’t feeling any better, so when we spotted a little fence I could lean on and test again, we stopped. I was even lower. Pete handed me a gel and as I sucked it down we noticed the safety van that follows the runners. It pulled up behind us to collect the cones marking the run route.
“Are we the very last runners?”, I asked Pete.
“Wait, there’s nobody behind us?’
“No. Don’t worry about it, baby. It doesn’t matter Take another minute to rest.”
But to me, it sure did matter. We were going to come in dead last and I still felt low and I was really frustrated that diabetes was making me a loser. And that is precisely when the tears started. I began walking that last mile and I cried. Sprinkled along the route were people cheering us on - telling us we were doing a great job and that we were almost done. The more they cheered, the harder I cried. The harder I cried, the more embarrassed I felt. Which in turn make me cry even more, which then made me absolutely humiliated. I knew it was the low making me overly emotional but there was nothing I could do to stop it. I was mortified and I wished more than anything that I was back home.
We were almost to the three mile mark when I started to get angry at diabetes. I wiped away my tears and ran the last few tenths of a mile. I gave a half-hearted smile to those who cheered as we crossed the finish line, and then I asked Pete to take us home. Our official race time was our slowest 5K ever, and a full 5 1/2 minutes slower than the one we ran in September. As it turned out, one person finished after us, about 7 minutes later, but that didn’t really matter to me. And I can’t help but wonder what his story was. Did he have an injury? Was he sick? Did a chronic condition mess with him? And did he feel completely discouraged and frustrated too?