Running from 3 to 33 in the Californian mountains


I was excited.

A trail run in California on a beautiful sunny winters morning with a close friend who kicks ass at ultra running.
We jump in the car and drive the 40 mins to the start of the trail.
My bgls are sitting around 10.7 after a coffee with a dash of soy milk. I give a tiny bolus of 0.5 units and eat half a banana.
With my CGM on my arm I don’t think I need to take my glucose meter so I leave it in the car with my wallet and phone. Alex had his phone and a camelbak for the both of us. We were good.
We had plenty of snacks for the two of us – 4 gels, 3 clif bars a couple of other snacks for a 3-hour run.
Not even a couple of miles in we are climbing up and my bgls are heading down – 7.7 with triple arrows. I eat a clif bar immediately.
I’m feeling good, suspend my pump and breathe in the fresh air as we look out at the incredible view of the ocean in between the mountains.
As we continue to climb over the next few miles my bgls continue to drop…..well at least according to my CGM. I have a gel and keep going. Walking up the mountain and running on the flats and downhills.
I was in heaven. The magic of running on trails is something I knew in that moment I need to explore more in 2017.
Nature has a way of calling you when you need it most.
I was having fun chasing Alex down the mountain, I needed more sugar as my bgl was showing a 3.5 then 3.1 after consuming almost 200g of carbs with no insulin. We got to 6.5 miles when I realized we were out of snacks. Totally. Half way through our run and I was out of fuel with a bgl of 3.1. This was not part of the plan.
Trying not to panic….I was doing a horrible job of that, we had to walk a couple of miles back to the car park that was close by to figure a plan of attack, how to get down the mountain to where we parked the car without Alex having to carry me or call an ambulance. Funny but also potentially a serious situation. More so the latter.
As we sat waiting to see if my bgl went up, I was hoping for triple arrows up so we could continue our run and I didn’t have to call it quits.
I’m stubborn to say the least when it comes to my diabetes management and not letting it dictate my decisions, especially when I am running. My approach is generally aggressive and fast. I think this contributes to my overall good control and tight management, but today wasn’t one of those days.
The highest reading I got after sitting down for 30 minutes was 5.7. I was angry at myself, a rare occurrence. I should have bought more snacks, I should have bought my glucose meter, I shouldn’t have given insulin prior to the run. Why didn’t I make any right decisions.
I frustratingly made the decision to call it quits with a lot convincing. With no reception we hitchhiked a ride down the mountain to a gas station and called an uber to take us back to the car.
I test my bgls as soon as we got in the car. At this stage I knew my bgl was high. I had a horrific headache, my CGM read the message “SG value not available” – anyone with a CGM knows what this means and it’s not generally good news, I was thirsty as hell and not in a good mood.
The meter reads “above 33.3”! Fuck. I test again. Same message. Fuck.
Fuck my CGM, fuck my stupid decisions. And as I curse at myself continuously in my head I bolus 10 units through my pump and another 4 direct into my calf muscle with my insulin pen (this is extremely dangerous – do not do this unless you have experience with injecting directly into a muscle).
As Alex calmly drives back to his apartment, I continue to be angry with myself, frustrated at my stupid decisions pumping more insulin.
I haven’t had a bgl over 33 in at least 5 years.
Let’s just say it felt absolutely horrible and fiercely reminded me why I need to keep good control.
Severe headache, blurred vision, nausea, extreme thirst and hunger. 20+ units later (more than my total daily bolus), 2 liters of water and a couple of hours later my bgls went to 27.6 – I haven’t been so excited to see a number that high ever. 1-hour later 12.2…..thank you insulin. Now I could eat and feel almost back to normal.
January 1, 2017. A not so subtle reminder to always put my diabetes management first so I can control it rather than letting it control me.
I tell myself this situation isn’t happening again, and I mean it.
Thank you California for the 90 mins of heaven. Ill run you again soon. And this time I’ll be prepared.
And a special thanks to Alex for looking after me when I was both low and high. Friends are invaluable and help you when you need it most.