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Ottawa Loves Diabetics

May 28, 2011

I’m hopping a bus to Ottawa this afternoon for a quick 24-hr visit to run the Ottawa Half Marathon. It’s the biggest marathon event in the country, and it seems like half of Montreal will be there to run some distance or another. It occurred to me this morning that I should probably think about what to pack. My running clothes are smelly-beyond-bearable, so a trip to the laundromat is already in order.

But the big mental-check-list item for any long run for this here diabetic is, you got it, glucose.

On my long training runs (read: 2 hrs on the pavement), I need to plan my glucose levels rigorously. I have to get my blood sugar high enough prior to take-off, but not so high that I’ll go into a ketone-coma five kilometers in. I need to pack enough spare sugary stuff – my little Running Room shot-bottle full of OJ or diluted maple syrup, for example, and some spare dates stuffed into the pocket of my glucose meter. The regular re-fueling of my glucose usually needs to start about 40 minutes in – and that’s if I started at a pretty high reading. Diabetes being what it is, I am always at risk of being surprised.

And then I have to consider how to schlepp all this crap with me. Sometimes I just don’t have enough hands to carry all the glucose I’ll need for my journey. And I like to run in skin-tight leggings, so no jiggling pockets for this lady. Often, I just make my life easier by slipping a fiver into my glucose kit and buying myself a juice box at the hour-and-a-half mark.

Because I’ll be running tomorrow in a far off land, away from my home-base apartment and off the grid from my usual glucose checkpoints, it occurred to me this morning that I might be needing to schlepp a whole lotta crap on my run.

Then I looked online at the Ottawa Run website.

They have a complimentary bag-check service for all runners. That means I can leave my insulin at the finish line, and have it ready for my post-run snack bolus shot. (My cell phone too, so I can meet up with the various folk that’ll be in the crowd!)

They have gatorade stations every few kilometers, and glucose gels at the half-way point. That means I won’t have to run with two giant cans of maple syrup bouncing in each of my hands, along with my glucose meter.

I realize that runners universally need sugar fuel-ups on long runs. I realize they didn’t plan these stations just for the diabetics in the crowd. But as someone who manually manages her own metabolism with injected insulin, this need for glucose on a long run is just that little more life-or-death. Reading the into this morning on the website, I kinda got flooded with emotion and love for the Ottawa Race organizers. Thank you for taking care of me.

See you in the Nation’s Capital!




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