Here's the skinny on the Germantown Half Marathon -
Flashback - The 2012 race was infamous, to say the least. I had trained up to 12-miles, some days easier than others. I felt good on race morning. I ate oatmeal, which probably sent my undiagnosed Diabetes into hyperglycemic nightmare-land. The rule of thumb is that you do not exercise if your blood glucose reads above 250 mg/dL, because you can often spike it even higher and spill ketones in your urine. I imagine this is what was happening to me. I ran 9-miles, some of which were faster than my training pace. I ate a Gu (25-carb shot of glucose that folks take for energy on longer runs) about an hour into it. I imagine that spiked my blood sugar even higher. At that 9th mile, I felt like death. My friends were passing me by, and I couldn't even muster the energy to keep running. I walk-ran the rest of the way, ultimately finishing at 2:31:00. Afterward, I felt worse. I was nauseated. I couldn't eat or drink. I drove home, forced down Pedialyte, and fell asleep for hours. I failed all of my goals, and I felt horrible.
Fast-forward one year. Now, I am an official Diabetic, and I have learned a good deal about what that means for me. Exercise is encouraged for us, but doing so safely is of paramount importance. Training season and the race could not have gone more perfectly. On race day, I had my Dexcom, two Gu packets, and my cell phone. I wore my Medical ID bracelet (just in case). The weather was fabulous. I'll take an overcast day in the 50s for a race any ol' time. I started off a bit slow. Around mile 3, I thought to myself, I feel good. Mile 3 is about when my blood sugar starts to fall from breakfast. I ate two pieces of whole wheat toast with peanut butter this morning. My blood sugar topped off at 155 mg/dL and declined once the run began. Around Mile 5, my knees started hurting. I tried to ignore it. This year, I found myself with the energy to smile at the onlookers and cheerleaders. Around Mile 7, I grabbed beer. Yes, beer. It is hardly any, but I thought it would be fun. The road back is pretty straight and flat. I picked up my pace a little. Around Mile 8, I saw Sheri and Dave Hogue (shout-out for the great support!), and that helped me pick up the energy even more. When I came across dreaded Mile 9, I felt this sense of intense relief. I felt so much better than last year. My body was working with me and not against me. Between Mile 9 and 10, I saw a bunch more friends, and that gave me the boost I needed for the final three miles. For that last mile, I decided it needed to be my fastest, and it was. I even mustered the energy to sprint across the finish-line.
I can't tell you how amazing it felt. First, this is a goal that has been on my To-Do list for a while. Last year did not even count for me because I had to walk some of it. Second of all, my goal was to run the race in under 2:30:00, and I ran it 15-minutes faster than that. Third, it was symbolic. I feel like an empowered person, but I also feel like an empowered Diabetic. I know tons of Diabetics run races all the time, but I wondered if I could be one of them. I can! For two-thirds of the race, my blood sugar hung out in the 80s.
Do I want to do another one tomorrow? No. My legs feel terrible, and the training is time-consuming. Our next goal is to run a 5K per month. Working on speed with the shorter distances will be fun.
By the way, Andrew ran the half-marathon in 1:34:00. For a new runner, I'd say that is amazing. For any runner, it is amazing.
What we earned: a medal (everyone does), the right to a 13.1 sticker, and I am about to buy us a 13.1 Tervis. Oh, and a heck of a lot of pride...