The thoughts were nagging at me all morning. What do I do about my blood sugar? What adjustments should I make to my insulin? How should I manage my meal bolus?
I was scheduled to meet up with some members of The Pancremaniacs this afternoon for our last team ride before the Tour de Cure (which is next Saturday). I’ve done three of these team practice rides so far, and they have been great. I’m so grateful to Auntly H for getting me back on my bike after so many years.
Exercise for those of us living with diabetes is a tricky monster. It is so beneficial, but can be damn near impossible to get through without a LOT of trial and error. With today being only my third time out with the group, I’m still trying to figure out the blood sugar part of things. I’ve learned that my body, when my blood sugar cooperates, can push it pretty hard (relatively speaking) for around 20 miles. It wipes me out, in a good way, cranks my metabolism, and supercharges my insulin for a long time. Today was different.
As I watched my CGM for the first few hours of the day, I was pretty happy with a steady blood sugar in the mid 100’s. I ate a very low carb lunch (no breakfast – shame on me…). I was trying to keep from having a bunch of insulin in my system during the ride. I also started a temporary basal rate, reducing my basal/background insulin, about two hours before we started.
Just before we started riding, my CGM buzzed at me, letting me know my blood sugar was rising. Makes sense, lower your basal insulin, your blood sugar should go up. In a perfect world, the exercise I would be doing would drop my blood sugar, and the scales of diabetes justice would balance out and I’d be fine.
A little more than halfway through the ride, I was struggling to keep up, and felt I was working WAY too hard. We stopped for a BG check (it is SO nice riding with other PWD’s and T3’s), and I discovered that I was in the mid 300’s. No wonder this ride was kicking my ass. Muscles don’t work right when you are that high, and I was really sucking wind. It’s like I couldn’t use the oxygen right with so much sugar clogging things up (I have no idea if that is how it works, but the visual seems to make sense, right?). I took a partial correction and downed a bunch of water.
The last third of the ride felt like it took forever. I couldn’t keep up with the group, and I was working so hard. I hated it. It felt like I was riding up a hill the whole way. It sucked, big time.
We reached the end of the ride (FINALLY!), and I was so thankful. For the rest of the day I felt exhausted and worn down. It seems like exercising out of range is harder on the body. That makes sense too I guess – the fuel and energy systems in my body was all goofed up – of course it would have to take drastic measures just to make it through.
That afternoon of torture, and being wiped out for the rest of the day were all the result of a very small miscalculation (I reduced my temporary basal rate too much) early in the day. I was totally spent. The thought of doing anything productive for the rest of the day was just total nonsense. I didn’t have it in me.
As I rested and recovered the rest of the day, I thought about how such a small thing could influence the way my day went for such a long time afterward. I also have to watch out for post-exercise LOW blood sugars for most of tomorrow.
Is it any wonder why exercise is so hard for us? There is so much more than the average obstacles of fighting our inner-lazy and finding time to do it.