one of those days.

Wouldn’t it have been disappointing, if after all the montage ridiculousness and melodramatic music, Rocky woke up and decided he couldn’t proceed into his glorious victory because of a stubbed toe? A huge wave of disappointment and a gasp of disgust would probably roar through the theater at that moment. Boos and hisses would be in abundant. And not only from the audience, but Sylvester himself. He would boo himself.

Okay. Maybe I’m the one being melodramatic.

But it felt exactly like that a couple weeks ago. Except that I’m not Sylvester Stallone. And I don’t have amazing theme music as I ride. And instead of a stubbed toe, I have a bum pancreas.

It started out almost like a Rocky montage though. Almost.

photo (16)

The plan was to ride a good 20 miler. At breakfast, my blood sugar was 100. Perfect…if I wasn’t going to be biking. It was one of those diabetic moments, where I sit there dumbfounded for a second, not knowing what to do. On the one hand, I needed my blood sugar to be at least 150 to be sure I would not go low. But with my calculations, I was going to be consuming 40 grams of carbohydrates; an amount that was possibly just a smidge too much for me to completely skip my bolus. On the other hand, I didn’t want to take too much insulin. Doing any kind of exercise soon after taking insulin will in effect make the insulin “work faster,” thus causing the insulin to go through my system faster than the carbohydrates I had swallowed and causing me to go low. On the other hand, I was planning to ride longer than I had before, so I might need extra carbs to sustain me.

I just didn’t know.

So, like a good diabetic, I guessed. I bolused for 10 grams of carbs. And then got nervous and drank 9 grams of juice that I wasn’t planning on drinking. I hoped that I ate enough food to get my blood sugar up to a good level but also gave enough insulin where I wouldn’t go high.

(Cue Rocky intro)

After breakfast, I get all biked up. I put on my life-saving shorts. Put water in my new hydration pack (which I love!). Get glucose tablets and snacks stored. My tires are checked and my handlebar made straight. Put my cap on (forgot the sunscreen). My head hurt and I was kind of cranky but I thought maybe I just didn’t sleep well.

(Arms raised in triumph–double fist pumps)

I check my blood sugar one last time before heading out.



I decide it’s okay. It will come down by the time we get to our first check point. I will be fine.

We head out on our usual route. It’s a little wet but bearable. Our first stop, where I have been regularly checking my blood sugar, is only about 3 or 4 miles into the ride. We weren’t even half way there and I was hurting. My head was pounding. I was out of breath. It felt like I had come down with the flu and decided it was a good idea to go ride 20 miles. It felt like my body was working twice as hard as it should be.

photo (16)

As I slow down to the stop, I secretly cross my fingers that it was all in my head. That I was actually feeling better. (drum roll)


It had gone up. What?!?

(Cue disparaging trumpet- “wha wha”)

As a good diabetic (I hope by now you know that I am being somewhat sarcastic when I say good), I know that it is not recommended to exercise if your blood sugar is 250 or above. And if it is this high, you should check for ketones in your urine. I didn’t have ketone sticks with me (because I’m such a good diabetic), but I did have water, which is probably the next best thing. So, we decided to take a rest at a picnic table while I drowned myself in water, hoping the combination of fluid, insulin taken earlier and 3 mile ride would bring it down in 20 minutes.

I was wrong.

20 minutes later it was 269.

I bolused some more. And drank some more. And hoped some more that it would go down. We even took a walk to get a little bit of exercise in.

Again, 20 minutes later, it was 267. We were officially an hour into our ride and I had drank 2 liters of water and had gone only 3 miles.

I felt defeated. And even though I wanted to say f$!% it and keep going, I was not in the mood and I reluctantly wanted to be a “good” diabetic. So, we turned around. I drank some more water, bolused again, and laid on the couch for another 30 minutes before I decided to change my pump site and get new insulin, guessing again what would work. By 2:30 (about 5 hours after breakfast, and after multiple bathroom trips), I had come down to 172, still a little high but a lot better.

This is what diabetes is. Unpredictable. Frustrating. Tiring. Maybe I should have bolused half of my insulin for breakfast instead of 1/4. Maybe we should have left earlier instead of an hour after breakfast. Maybe I should always have Rocky theme music playing as I get ready to pump me up. Wait. That might get my adrenaline going and make my blood sugar go even higher.

Photo courtesy of Andrew Levy

Photo courtesy of Andrew Levy

That week wasn’t all doom and gloom though. I was able to ride a short ride later in the week. (All by myself actually. My riding partner had a bum toe. Oh, the irony.) And, I got to experience real-life professional bike racing for the first time.

It was the the Tour de C-U. I think it is about the 4th or 5th year that the local community has hosted a professional bike race. It was a world that I knew very little about. I had read about it in Not Dead Yet by Phil Southerland, but to actually see it was a different experience. This was a competition of speed. Riders entered in different “level” of rides, depending on their expertise. The riders made a loop around downtown Urbana. Each ride was a certain time limit; the fastest rider and first one across the finish line won. The way the riders hugged the curves, and seem to melt into their bicycle was a thrilling spectacle. There was so much energy put into one single purpose; to cross the finish line.

It has been a few rides since that day, and my blood sugar has not thrown a fit again. I have been between 140-160 before I start riding, which seems to be a sweet spot. Now, I just have to figure out how to maintain my blood sugar while I ride. Which means, I need to figure out what is easy, tasty, and portable to eat as I ride.

(Cue Rocky music)

May the montage of taste tasting, riding, and checking blood sugar begin!

the numbers.

Last training day: 4/28/2013
Mileage: 4 😦
Total Mileage to Date: 64.85 miles
BG Before: 243
BG After: 197

Last training day: 5/5/2013
Mileage: 10
Total Mileage to Date: 74.85 miles
BG Before: 134
BG After: 151

Last training day: 5/13/2013
Mileage: 11
Total Mileage to Date: 85.85 miles
BG Before: 147
BG After: 102

Last training day: 5/16/2013
Mileage: 15
Total Mileage to Date: 100.85 miles
BG Before: 131
BG After: 144

Last training day: 5/18/2013
Mileage: 10
Total Mileage to Date: 110.85 miles
BG Before: 198
BG After: 67


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