I set my alarm for 5:45 this am so that I could wake up and go for a run before my husband left for work. I’d set my running clothes by my bed so I could get dressed without waking anyone up. I felt kind of funny and when I went into the bathroom to turn on the light and put my contact in, I was surprised by the giant bags under my eyes. Usually I am very alert as soon as I wake up and since I was feeling groggy and had these giant bags, I knew something was up. Fully dressed, I went into the kitchen and tested my blood sugar. 388. My heart sank. But I was already dressed and determined to run so I gave a big bolus and headed out into the darkness. I’ll walk for awhile until I start to feel better and then I’ll run, I told myself. As I turned onto the dirt trail that cut through our neighborhood, I thought about the cup of low sugar hot chocolate (10 carbs) I had with my boys before I went to bed on New Year Eve. I also had one graham cracker (12 carbs) and bolused .85 units. So what happened I thought as I walked past the still sleeping houses. 388 is a huge number. 388 makes me feel like crap. 388 is a terrible way to start 2012.
Fine, I thought, a cup of hot chocolate before bed is not worth this trouble. One more thing to put on my “no” list.
I was scared to run, scared that my blood sugar was too high and I would only make things worse so I kept walking. But I wanted to run. Running always makes me feel better.
I walked for 20 minutes and then I started to run. Soon I was in that familiar motion-feet pounding, steady breathing, arms swinging low by my hips-and I was feeling better. I can do this, I thought. This is not the end of the world. I’ll have tea instead of hot chocolate. I ran and lights in the houses around me started to flicker on, people came out the front door in their pj’s to get the dewy newspaper at the end of their driveway. I silently ran by, almost home. I stopped at the beginning of my street and walked the rest of the way home. When I opened the door my husband was in the kitchen drinking a cup of coffee. “How was your run?” he asked.
“Great.” I said.
Here’s some information about blood sugar levels during exercise from the Mayo Clinic:
Consider these general guidelines relative to your blood sugar level — measured in milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) or millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
- Lower than 100 mg/dL (5.6 mmol/L). Your blood sugar may be too low to exercise safely. Eat a small carbohydrate-containing snack, such as fruit or crackers, before you begin your workout.
- 100 to 250 mg/dL (5.6 to 13.9 mmol/L). You’re good to go. For most people, this is a safe pre-exercise blood sugar range.
- 250 mg/dL (13.9 mmol/L) or higher. This is a caution zone. Before exercising, test your urine for ketones — substances made when your body breaks down fat for energy. Excess ketones indicate that your body doesn’t have enough insulin to control your blood sugar. If you exercise when you have a high level of ketones, you risk ketoacidosis — a serious complication of diabetes that needs immediate treatment. Instead, wait to exercise until your test kit indicates a low level of ketones in your urine.
- 300 mg/dL (16.7 mmol/L) or higher. Your blood sugar may be too high to exercise safely, putting you at risk of ketoacidosis. Postpone your workout until your blood sugar drops to a safe pre-exercise range.