My Cross-Country Race Breakdown

Community Member

So, today I ran in one of my last high school cross country races. You would think that I have perfected the art of managing blood sugars for this event by now, but no such luck. However, there are a few things I do as "standard preparation" for each race.

My pre-race routine is different from my pre-practice routine because I check my blood sugar way more often and eat more carbs right before  I run. Usually, for a regular practice, I will just have a 20 carb snack about an hour beforehand; I sort of nibble on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and sip gatorade for up to 10 minutes before a race. Also, I take some insulin before the race, while I don't give any extra before running at practice. Maybe it would be better to follow the same routines for races as I do for practices, since my blood sugars are often just fine without all the extra monitoring and carbohydrate intake However, my anxiety before competitions compels me to check my bgs and do as much as possible to prevent extremes.

Here is how things worked out this afternoon:

12:30 pm - During my AP Statistics class, I checked my blood sugar and it was 274. My nerves were already affecting my blood sugars, almost three hours before the meet! I gave myself a full correction bolus, and kept drinking lots of water to stay hydrated.

1 pm - I left school with the team and headed to the site of the race.

1:45 - After arriving at the race course, I checked my blood sugar again and it was 294. Time for more insulin...and even though I should probably have held off on eating, I had my 1/2 peanut butter and jelly sandwich anyway. I continued to drink water.

2 pm - I munched on trail mix since I was still hungry; kept drinking water; too afraid to check my blood sugar again!

2:15 pm - Time to start warming up for the race. I took my pump off. (If we were just having practice, I would have taken the pump off earlier. But I also would not have eaten so much.) We jogged about 3/4 of a mile, then stretched for 15 minutes. After stretching, I checked my blood sugar again and it was steady at 276. Certainly not ideal, but with less than 20 minutes before the gun, all I could do was hope that the insulin "on board" would kick in, and focus on running well no matter what. My sugar was not dangerously high, and I have run with similar levels before.

2:45 - We jogged down to the starting line. My mom, who was there to cheer the team on, held on to a glucose gel for me in case anything were to happen during the run.  Our team did strides and a little more stretching.

3 pm - The gun went off and as well as 20 minutes of pain and lactic acid buildup  and burning muscles and all that good stuff!

3:25 pm - The team gathered after the race to do a cool down jog and stretch. Before that, though, I checked my blood sugar and put my pump back on. A blood sugar of 242 was better than I expected; generally the level is much higher immediately after a race because of the adrenaline rush. I gave a full correction bolus, plus extra insulin, so I could eat pumpkin bread and drink chocolate milk :)

4:15 pm - Blood sugar had come  down  to 185, and since my pump indicated that I still had insulin on board, I  figured that I was in the clear for the rest of the night...a.k.a the craziness from the race was over.

This wasn't the most successful effort of mine on a race day, but despite the hyperglycemia, I felt all right. Of course, performance is always enhanced if sugars are controlled better. I have noticed that if I start a race with a bg at 150 and finish with 120, my  race time is a lot faster. Hopefully  I can achieve this for the next one.