Glucose tabs and running

Getting out of the house in the morning to run is never easy. Mornings tend to be crazy with 3 kids under 10 years old because there is breakfast to be made, dishes to be put away, the newspaper to be read, diapers to be changed, teeth to be brushed and this is during the summer–school days are even worse.

This morning my husband was not leaving for work until 9am, so I didn’t have to rush quite as much. I got myself dressed in my running gear, testing my blood sugar (116), grabbed my glucose tabs, ate a piece of granola and said goodbye to the boys. By the time I was a half-mile from the house, I realized my hands were empty. I’d accidentally left the glucose tabs in the house. I panicked. 116 was not a good number to start a run, but I didn’t want to turn around and go back to the house. My hands felt naked. I kept running and hoped for the best.

Passing the library and turning toward the elementary school I maintained a steady pace. I breathed deeply, trying to judge the stability of my feet hitting the pavement. Was I feeling weak? Was my sugar dropping? I realized as I turned down Rebellion Road that what the glucose tabs gave me was confidence. Confidence to run strong and sure, confidence that if my sugar dropped, all I had to do was pop 3 tabs and keep going.

I’ve been running since I was fourteen years old. I started running shortly after I was diagnosed with diabetes because when I ran, I could eat the kinds of things my friends were eating: Smart Food, Cherry Cokes, and Sugar Babies. It was not the healthiest form of motivation, but it got me out the door and has kept me running for 25 years. The older I got, the more I cared about my figure and I stopped indulging in Cherry Cokes after my runs. I wanted to run without needing to consume extra calories when I was done and hated how sometimes when I was running, I had to stop and eat starbursts halfway through. The candy always melted in my hands and I felt stupid standing on the side of the trail eating. That all changed with glucose tabs.

Glucose tabs fit neatly into the palm of my hand without melting. They dissolve in seconds, sending sugar through my body so I don’t even have to break stride. Glucose tabs give me the confidence to run without fear.

I made it home this morning without getting low, but (if I can help it) it won’t happen again.

‘Confidence Gap’

As a woman with diabetes how confident do you feel?

A recent survey conducted by MicroMass Communications based on findings from 828 women with type 1 and type 2 diabetes found that:

“Our research shows that women with diabetes have far more confidence in their ability to take their medications than they have in their ability to make basic lifestyle changes. As a result, healthcare providers should be providing education and support programs that help build that confidence so that women can learn how to make the lifestyle changes necessary to successfully manage their diabetes,” says Andi Kravitz Weiss, MPH. Weiss refers to this discrepancy as “The Confidence Gap.”

I spoke to Weiss about the study (and will include our conversation in my upcoming book-A Smart Woman’s Guide to Diabetes), and she said that many of the women in the survey who were under 45 years old reported being ‘too busy to take good care of themselves.’ She realized that in order to close this confidence gap, women with diabetes need to give themselves permission to take care of themselves, to sometimes put their needs first.

After a long week with Christmas and family, I took Weiss’ advice on Friday morning. Our babysitter arrived and instead of running errands: returning gifts and grocery shopping, I drove out to my parent’s empty house and went for a run. It was an unusually warm, sunny day and it felt fabulous. I ran along the road that borders the intracoastal waterway and stole glimpses of the creek and felt the breeze in my hair. I returned to my parent’s house and sat on their deck and looked out at the sparkly water as I stretched my legs. It felt blissfully indulgent and it allowed me to return home to my children and the messy house and prepare for a visit with the in-laws with CONFIDENCE 🙂



Diabetes and Exercise

Working on my latest chapter on diabetes and exercise and have been reading some very inspirational stories! I got the chance to interview Dr. Sheri Colberg-Ochs, the expert on all things diabetes and exercise related, who gave some great advice on resistance training and variation. When we talked I was suffering from plantar fasciitis (from running in old shoes) and everything she was telling me made perfect sense. She said don’t do the same thing every day, and “If you only have time for 1 exercise, do resistance training, the biggest way to maximize insulin potential is through exercise.”

This may seem easier said than done, especially if you are like me and don’t like to go to the gym, but then I interviewed several other women who made motivational statements like Kathleen Fraser, Team WILD member who said: Through exercise, I have learned more about myself as an individual, a woman and a person living with diabetes. I now know that I can do anything. I no longer question if I can overcome a new challenge from a diabetes perspective. Wow! And Ann Rosenquist Fee who says she thinks about diabetes as her exercise partner: Skinny and rude like a syringe, with little syringe-cap-orange sweatbands and legwarmers. Barking her mean little bark, like, “I don’t care that the courts are closed. You’re above 200. Get out the door. Get moving. Keep moving. And I’ll see you after dinner tomorrow.

Thanks for the motivation ladies….time for me to get off my butt, pry my fingers from the computer, and stretch 🙂

Behavioral Diabetes Institute

After 25 years of living with type 1 diabetes and often feeling very alone, I finally got the opportunity to be in a room full of women with the disease. Thanks to BDI’s annual Celebration of Strength luncheon, I got to sit at a table next to Brandy Barnes of Diabetes Sisters and 6 other great women and talk about the realities of pregnancy and motherhood with diabetes. There were women who had lived with diabetes from 1.5 years to 50 years, there were women who wanted to focus on issues from exercise to complications….it could have been a room full of women writers or golfers or bankers, other than the one or two women wearing pumps in visible places, and the sprinkling of beeps going off around the room from pumps at lunchtime, we could have been anyone.

It’s going to take me a few more days at least to process the whole thing but it was really a weekend like no other. Mom flew out with me to help with Reid and while we got to stay in the beautiful Torrey Pines Lodge, it was a huge effort going from coast to coast with a 13 month old. And as exhausted as I am right now, it was completely worthwhile. Dr. Susan Guzman and Dr. Liana Abascal met me the following day to be interviewed for my book on the topics of depression and eating disorders and gave me some great information.

Most importantly, I think what will stick with me, was seeing and listening to and talking with the women who are the audience for my book….knowing that as different as we all are, we share this disease.

Plans are in the works for next year’s conference (October 9th I think) that will be a sleepover event with Diabetes Sisters. Count me in!