After the Melbourne marathon I got my first serious injury that has me off my feet until mid-December, if all goes well.
In the 3 years I have been running I’ve been lucky enough to have no injury setbacks that lasted more than a few days.
I attribute this to a few things – good diabetes management, a diet high in anti-inflammatory foods and continuously learning to listen to my body, knowing when I can push hard and when I need to slow down.
During the Sydney marathon I experienced big blisters on the balls of my feet which caused a lot of tenderness and pain, subsequently getting inflamed again during Melbourne forcing me to change my running technique and gait to make it through the marathon.
When I got back to Sydney the arch of my left foot was in a lot of pain, more than just tired feet.
After a doctor’s appointment and an ultrasound there was no definitive diagnosis. I didn’t have any tendon tears in my foot, but there was a lot of swelling. It was unlikely I had a stress fracture, but most likely my bones were weak and “under-stress”.
No running for a minimum of six weeks. Okay, this was going to be tough.
The first thing that came to my mind was the delay in the start of my training for Boston and the UTA 50 – my next major two races.
I knew I had to do some form of exercise to keep my cardiovascular fitness up.
I was taking a couple of spin classes and doing some strength training focusing on the right side of my body to alleviate any pressure on my left foot.
I was determined not to be on crutches if I could avoid it.
I decided to try out swimming for the first time since I was 16. After being burnt out from years of swimming squad as a child I wasn’t particularly excited.
My first session in the pool was incredible. I felt relaxed, strong and fell right back into a rhythm I thought I would have lost. Exactly what I needed to help with my recovery.
Whenever trying a new form of exercise or sport, I know there is going to be a bit of trial and error to get my basal doses right to keep my blood glucose levels in range.
Initially with swimming, I disconnected my pump prior to jumping in the pool and reconnect after a 1-hour+ session.
My BGLs were stable while swimming generally sitting around 5mmol/L.
Post-swim was not so great. My sugar levels would shoot up to above 15 within the hour, even after reconnecting my pump, increasing my basal and giving a small bolus of 1-2units.
I knew something had to change to try and fix the post-swim highs that make me feel unwell for the next few hours while I couldn’t refuel with carbohydrates until I am back in range.
With a recommendation from a fellow diabetic athlete I kept my basal on and my pump on during my next swim.
To my own surprise I didn’t drop low during this swim even with my full basal rate on and to my joy my post-swim spikes generally maxed out at 10mmol/L if they got that high at all.
This not only helped with my control and management but also my sanity. Swimming was now even more enjoyable.
As I have started to change my attitude towards the challenges in my life in recent years, especially with diabetes and running, I reflected on what my current injury is teaching me.
I truly believe everything happens for a specific reason and there is always a positive lesson to be learnt. More on this in an upcoming blog post!
Why I am happy to not be running for six weeks:
- Running takes a big toll on my body.
Running consistently for 3 years takes a toll on your body, and I don’t seem to notice this until I stop.
Hitting the pavement day in and day out gets your body used to running when sore and tired, it strengthens you mentally and increases your pain tolerance for race day.
At the same time when I am forced to rest or take a break after my initial frustration I am really grateful to give my body a break and it has a positive impact on my performance.
- I learnt to love swimming.
This is a big one for me. Especially as it is extremely low impact, yet challenging at the same time. I needed to expand my enjoyment for sports and exercise outside of running and I am happy I found swimming again.
And a few friends have made some not so subtle hints I should try a triathlon… we will see J
- I can focus on my diabetes management without the pressure of a training plan.
Sometimes trying to manage my diabetes with all the variables from exercise can really test my patience.
I’ll have unexpected hypos and hypers. Trying to figure out the right amount of insulin to give post-exercise – sometimes a little less, sometimes a little more.
Making sure I always take hypo supplies with me on my runs.
So much planning and intensive monitoring while ensuring I get in the scheduled runs and workouts.
A short break from a committed training plans allows me to be more flexible with my work outs and focus on my diabetes management more – time to squeeze in some basal and I:C ratio testing!
Last but not least November is diabetes awareness month! Here is my diabetes footprint: