Diabetes Devil on Your Shoulder

Although I managed to fit in quite a few sessions, the Christmas season in athletics is a chaotic one. As a result of track closures due to bad weather and holiday days off for the staff- training can become quite erratic. But now the festive period is over it's back to training everyday- building back up until the outdoor season. With all this training hypos were bound to be an occasional result and hence the title 'Diabetes Devil on Your Shoulder'. Tonight I was faced with the challenge of do I finish my training session or stop because of my diabetes' bad behaviour.

After collapsing at the athletics track from a hypo just before Christmas, I keep a close eye on my blood sugars throughout my training sessions. I test before, during and when I finish my sessions to prevent it from happening again and tonight was no exception. My blood sugars were 6.0 mmol an hour before staring so I had some sugary snacks and drove to the athletics track. Expecting my blood sugar levels to have gone up I was surprised to see that they were still only 6.2 mmol. I prefer to train with a blood sugar of about 10.0 mmol to combat against any sudden drops, so with this I took on board about 20 grams of sugar and went on to do my warm-up. I should also mention that I reduce my insulin levels in my pump by 40% the hour before training and during too.

My sprinting session tonight was short sharp runs but lots of them so I got started on those. My first set went really well, it was fast and technically good and my coach seemed to be pleased. So I did five runs and went to start my recovery. As my blood sugars had been low before, I took my pump off to run, so then in my recovery I put it back on and removed it for the start of the next round of runs. It was after this set that I started to feel the tell tale signs of a hypo. Always airing on the side of caution I stopped immediately and tested again and found my blood sugars were 5.0 mmol. I drank another 20 grams of sugary drink and waited... and waited... and waited and over half an hour my blood sugars carried on and around that same level. Despite the fact that I'd stopped exercising.

Unfortunately diabetes can often feel like the devil on your shoulder, because on one hand I want to train hard and as often as my competitor's are able. But on the other hand diabetes is a constant reminder to be careful and sensible so as not to end in a severe hypo for example. I wouldn't wish my diabetes away, but sometimes I do wish I could have a break from it, just for a short amount of time to get on with other things. But having said this diabetes is also a driving force to do better the next training session and to show that it doesn't have to stop you but inspire you to do better.


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My blog takes you through a daily look at sport, diabetes and everything in between. As an athlete that lives with type 1 diabetes I want to let you into news, views and all that is important to both of my passions.

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