Chasing lows not miles

You know that old adage, If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again? That’s exactly what my last long run emulated.

I had plans to run the Seawall; it was the perfect distance. From Waterfront Station to Granville Island is 19 km start to finish. I woke up first thing, dressed in my short shorts and tank top, grabbed my fuel belt and hopped on the Skytrain.

The weather was perfect in New West. It was grey, not too cold, not too warm. But in Vancouver, it was a completely different book. It was black clouds, biblical rains, gusting winds, and cold, man, it was blow-you-over cold. I stood in the shelter of the Convention Centre, waiting, hoping, praying for the rains to subside.

Tick-tock. Tick-tock.

10 minutes; 20 minutes; 30; 40. What the? It was not stopping.

Normally, rain isn’t a huge issue for me , I mean, it’s a challenge getting out into it, but once you’re out there, it’s usually pretty decent and oftentimes quite fun – IF you’re dressed for it. Recall: short shorts, tank top. I did NOT want to be slogging through puddles for 19 km, shivering, miserable.

At 60 minutes, I cut my losses, grabbed a hot tea and boarded the train for home. Miserable.

The whole ride, I could see glimmers of blue sky trying to peak out from the grey towards New West, towards Richmond, even in Burnaby. But I didn’t want to run in those locales, I didn’t want to battle traffic, exhaust fumes, lights and other nuisances, I just wanted the beauty of Vancouver’s waterfront.

When I got home, it was crystal blue sky – both in New West, and, if the webcams were accurate, Vancouver too! No black sky, no rain, not even a droplet of evidence of the earlier storm – it was full sun, blue sky.

Are you freaking kidding me?

Most people probably would have continued to cut their losses, slogged through a run in an area they hadn’t intended running, or forgone the run entirely, but not me, nope. I wolfed down a PB and banana sandwich, kissed my Rings goodbye and hopped back on that skytrain 🙂

Look at that sun!
Look at that sun!
And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!
And look at the smile; so proud I had stuck it out!

I’d love to say it was a wonderful run, that it was worth the effort of three Skytrain trips, but annoyingly, that was not the case. I had two huge impediments bringing me down.

First, I was completely overdressed. Despite the webcam showing blue sky, I hadn’t forgotten that cold breeze of the hour earlier, and thought surely it couldn’t have warmed up that significantly. I was wrong. Dressed in two running shirts and knickers, I was completely overheating. I ended up taking off one shirt and tying it around my fuel belt. Still, my legs were on fire the entire distance.

The shirt didn't stay on long... and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!
The shirt didn’t stay on long… and, seriously, negotiating the removal of a shirt with fuel belt and insulin pump and other wirings, not the easiest task!
Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed unless I switched my route to Wreck Beach instead.
Unlike the shirt, the pants could not be removed, unless, of course, I switched my route to Wreck Beach!

Secondly, my blood sugars. Like most long runs lately, I was chasing lows the entire time. Eating every 20 minutes trying to prevent bottoming out rather than elevating my energy scores, which, in the end, had me heavy footed, turtle-paced, lethargic. I know it was diabetes getting in my way, but there was still that inner demon berating, hating, judging me.

Stop. Before you consider chastising me for those thoughts, think about it, think about something you truly enjoy doing, maybe it’s running, and think about how you would feel if you consistently failed in your efforts, or consistently had something holding you back from being at your best. Think about it. How would you feel? I know I don’t do this for a living, but I do do it for gratification and endorphins. If I’m not getting either, what’s the point?

1:30 p.m. BG before: 6.3
Temp. basal: -50 per cent
Carbs: 2 dried apricots
Distance: 19.17 km
Average pace: 5:54 min/km
Time: 1:53:13
Fuel: @20 minutes, BG 5.7: 3 shot blocks
          @40 minutes, BG 4.3: 3 shot blocks, 2 dried apricots
(At this point, I turned basal insulin off, which I never do.)
          @60 minutes, BG 4.2: 2 shot blocks, 4 dried apricots
          @80 minutes, BG 4.6:
(I didn’t eat anything, starting to feel ill, saw they were coming up, took chances)
3:30 p.m. BG after: 5.7

Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.
Little Ring taking me through a much-needed post-run stretch.

3 thoughts on “Chasing lows not miles”

  1. Do it for the end-run stretch and technique analysis your having with that young man in the last picture of your blog?
    You can’t get better moments than THAT!! 🙂

  2. I found your article by googling running with diabetes. And – already on WordPress, I can leave a comment without signing in – what a surprise! First – I enjoyed the article. I was interested throughout. (And I don’t often hang with writings over a few hundred words very well.)

    66 years old, running half-marathons, I am recently having to learn to manage glucose swings. (Type II, obviously.) Yes, it is easy to feel like a failure. Low blood sugar readings affect more than just energy and run speeds; emotions are also affected. Sadness and insecurities easily come into play when my glucose plummets. (Funny! Slowest long run this morning – ever – despite the best management of glucose – ever. Keeping glucose up after the run – without raising it too much, seems to be yet another challenge. And, discouragement comes easily.

    I like to think of these feelings being much more biological than emotional. And, I certainly do not consider them a lack of commitment. Even a small wavering of commitment and I would simply quit. I have so many good excuses to quit. COPD. Diabetes. Age. Not running until age 63. No one as slow as me to run with. No one as old as me to run with. Not one friend willing to even WALK with me, let alone run. So, I truly believe my showing up and doing my best to manage my health and improve my running does NOT show a lack of commitment. But, right now, until I get my blood sugar up, I am truly feeling like a failure.

    Hang in there. You are doing everything you can to be as fast as you can and as healthy as possible for as long as possible. Keep it up – and when you find your emotions don’t match reality – do what I do: blame the (lack of) glucose!

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