I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes nearly 10 years ago, at the age of 32, and it made me a runner.
Immediately after my diagnosis, I began walking on a treadmill several days a week. As I built up my endurance, I started running and began entering local races. I finished my first half marathon, and then I started working on triathlons. Over the years I have added distance and speed and intention to my training. I train 5-7 days a week. I haven’t missed more than three consecutive days of training since I started, even through illness and injury (not necessarily always running, but always training).
Since my diagnosis, I have also cleaned up my diet. Over the years, I have cut out regular cookies (my addiction) and sweets, diet Coke (my real addiction), pop in general, and most recently, I cut out wheat. I have also added in healthy foods. My health has shown the benefits of exercise and diet, but while my medication has decreased over time, I still need medication to manage my diabetes. In the beginning, I was on Metformin and Glimpiride. The Glimpiride caused low blood sugar mid-morning and sometimes while running. I tried Januvia briefly, but it wasn’t managing my blood sugar the way it should. Then I was on Invokana (and Metformin) for several years, until I didn’t need the Invokana anymore. Now I am just on Metformin, and we (my doctor and I) continue to work on finding the most appropriate dose.
My disease is well-managed, but I still have diabetes and I always will. I have only lost 25-40 pounds over all the years and struggle to maintain my current weight. Nothing comes easily. As a runner with diabetes, I am well-aware of the stigma associated with having diabetes, much of it due to the disinformation about diabetes floating around the interwebs. To clear those up, I’m bringing you your friendly Salty Running guide to running with diabetes.