Testing blood sugars – in motion

The day I learned how to test my blood sugars without stopping in the middle of a run was one of my greatest accomplishments with type-1 diabetes.

I’m smiling as I imagine the looks some of you are likely giving the screen right now after reading that sentence.

How on earth can that be the greatest accomplishment, you’re probably questioning – wouldn’t consistent time in range, or optimal HbA1c, or even just getting out and exercising with this disease be a much greater accomplishment?

Sure, I get the importance of those, but please hear me out.

As an active individual with type-1 diabetes, I hated having to stop to test my blood sugars in the middle of a run or bike ride. I wanted to be able to spend an hour, two hours, even three hours consistently running like so many others I saw around me.

Having to physically stop, pull out my meter, prick my finger, get the blood in the strip, wait a few seconds for the tell tale beep, and then start again was so bloody frustrating.

In total, it took maybe 30-45 seconds, which in the grand scheme of things wasn’t much at all.

But still, it was 30-45 seconds that slowed me down. It was 30-45 seconds that my muscles were stopped. It was 30-45 seconds that my mental focus was halted. It was 30-45 seconds that had me out of the game and back into the diabetes head. And sometimes it was multiple 30-45 seconds.

I did not want to be there.

So when I spotted a YouTube video of others perfecting the art of running while testing, I endeavoured to master it myself. It took a few tries before I accomplished it well (it was more challenging on the trails) but when I did, I shrieked so loud, others around thought I’d seen a bear.

That was 5 years ago.

I no longer rely as heavily on the finger poking method; I’m now predominantly a Libre sensor scanner.

I’m also more of a cyclist than a runner these days (dang foot injury!).

Even though I’ve been cycling long distances for about 14 years, I never learned how to ride my bike hands free and I don’t trust my balance at the best of times when I lift my hands off the handlebars.

Screen Shot 2020-07-20 at 10.54.14 AM
This pic was from 10 years ago; pretty sure I haven’t tried no hands since!

Even one handed, my confidence feels a bit wobbly; I’m working on that.

So as easy as scanning the sensor is most times, when you’re moving 20-30-40 km/h, pulling that sensor out of your back jersey pocket, and swinging it over to the other arm for a scan, can be somewhat scary to say the least.

Or, maybe that’s just me 😉

Again, I was forced to stop in the middle of my rides, or try to hit a light in order to test my blood sugars. And again, my mental game was forced out of the ride and back into the diabetes head. And again, I did not want to be there.

Not anymore, friends.

The last 3 weeks I have been practicing, challenging myself every ride, to scan in motion. If I can do hand signals, I told myself, surely I can scan.

And guess what, I can!!!!


cycling 2

Cue the shrieks of joy!

*If you try this at home, please make sure to practice safe cycling scanning protocol when on the bike, be aware of people, cars, other bikes, etc., etc. We don’t want any unnecessary crashes out there; that would totally suck and you’d probably refrain from trying again!

What are your achievements in sport with type-1 diabetes?

1 thought on “Testing blood sugars – in motion”

  1. Pingback: Fuelling in motion – with T1D – Diabetic to Dietetics

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