I am low, I ate all my low food already and I’m 2 miles from my car

April 20th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I debated telling you this story.  It makes me look a little less than smart.  Then I remembered you might learn from my experience—you might learn that you aren’t alone—and that is what I want for you, so here it goes. 

I went for a run on Friday after work.  I had spent the afternoon high, so I knew I still had some insulin still swimming around in my body that would make me go low if I ran without modifying my plan.  So I started a temporary basal about 45 minutes before I thought I was going to start running, and I had a bar with 16 grams of carbohydrate.  The combination of all of this should have meant I had about the right amount of everything (energy, active insulin, carbohydrates) for the run.

Now, this is one of the hardest runs I do.  I run about a mile uphill and then start a four mile loop that has about 6 of the most heinous hills in the area before returning to my car, parked a mile from the loop.  I hate it, but it’s good for me.  (I am running a trail 10k in May and need to prepare myself for those hills!)  I also had plans for a pizza dinner when I got done.  Pizza is a food I always enjoy that much more if I feel I have earned it. 

I should also say that there are a zillion walkers and runners out on the loop.  Knowing that I will not be alone affects how I plan and how I pack for my runs.  On this run, knowing I was high before and knowing I had just eaten, I brought a bag of sport beans (24 grams), my car key and my phone.  (I didn’t even have my Garmin Forerunner with me—this was bare bones running!)

I was about 4.5 miles into the run and I thought about eating my sport beans.  Generally, if I find myself thinking “maybe I should eat”, I know from my years of checking while running that I absolutely should eat.  Where is the down side if I’m wrong?  Not that I am wrong often—running is a big glucose-lowering activity for me.

I should also mention that during the first 30 minutes of the run my CGM stopped working.  Usually, I can’t count on my CGM to be at all accurate for me while I run, but it still makes me feel better to have it.  I later discovered that I had dislodged the transmitter from the sensor when changing into my running shorts, but I didn’t know that while I was running and the little guy was alarming like crazy.

So here I am, out on this crazy hard course, my CGM is out of commission, I’ve worked all day and am just trying to get in a good hard run to round out a not-great work week, and I have the thought that maybe I should eat.


I had one more hill after that one, so I ate a few sport beans and kept going.  As I went up the final hill, though, I was still wondering if I had had enough beans.  That’s it; game over.  I’m still wondering, that’s enough.  EAT.

Eat and walk.  Great; that was so not my plan for the run nor was it the workout my psyche needed!!  Sigh.  Oh well, I got in a good 50 minutes of running and I was sweaty.  I guess diabetes wins this round.

There is a little guard hut at the bottom of the loop, and I thought about stopping there and asking the guard if he had any sugar in his hut.  I knew from my experience that my beans would bring me up if I gave them a chance, though, so I skipped the question and kept walking to my car. 

I did call my husband and tell him what was going on and where I was and how I was getting to my car.  (I hate to think how he would feel if someone else called him to let him know his wife had collapsed.  I hate to think how he would feel if I disappeared someday and he would have to look for me.  These are reasons I always let him know where I plan to run.)

He was incredibly sweet and offered to stay on the phone with me as I walked back to my car (taking a shorter route back).  It was a nice chance to chat with him and to see a different route; I ended up walking alongside a creek and you would not have believed the croaking frogs!!  They were so loud my husband asked me if he had just heard frogs through my phone chatter.  When I was at my car, I checked and was 60 so I had some juice. 

I don’t have a moral for this story.  I’m just saying: we do the best we can, we make the best choices we can make, and sometimes we win and sometimes diabetes wins.  I feel lucky and strong to know that I win way more often than my diabetes does.

Although, I’m considering giving the guard hut a pack of glucose tabs to keep in there.

Be Sociable, Share!


  1. barb marzarella says:

    Great story. I dont run anymore lately due to a disc problem but I am an avid exerciser and walk my dogs everyday. I have come into my problems with lows and some Im just werent prepared for because I just didint want to lug everything woth me. I dont do that anymore !!
    It sounds as though your husband is very supportive as mine is as well. He could be an educator after dealing with me for so long.
    Question….how many units do you average a day ? The few people Ive run into that are on the pump seem to take so much insulin and I wonder if that is the norm or Im just overly careful. Thanks for any info.

  2. I just checked; the past two weeks I have averaged 37 units/day. I try to keep to using as little insulin as possible!
    I always run with some sort of food; it isn’t worth it to be out there and feel like I have no options! I was in the 200s when I started on Friday and had reduced my basal to 33% of normal for the hour before I started.

  3. KG says:

    I would like to point out that, in reading this story, that I didn’t takeaway a W in the diabetes column. To me, you got outside, moved your body, and made it back safely. I think that’s a W in your column, imho.

  4. Thanks! I consider it diabetes “winning” if I have to modify what I have planned because I need to take care of a blood glucose or insulin need instead. In this case, I had planned a 7 mile run but could only do about 5 miles because I went low. Not a big deal in the grand scheme, for sure! :)

  5. MaiaJane says:

    I’ve stared worriedly up many a hill thinking “if I pass out before I get to the top, how far will I fall?”
    There is one, particular, trail that is made up of steps cut into the hillside (without railings or ropes anywhere, let alone where the steps end in a cliff-like fashion…) and I’m pretty sure just looking at that hill my bloodsugar plummets.
    We try our best but we can’t plan for everything!

Leave a Reply