Welcome to JDRF Bay Area’s blog, One on 1, a series of interviews with people who live with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Members of our community talk about how T1D affects them, how they manage it, and what they have accomplished despite it. For this entry, we invited Garrett Jensen, leader of the JDRF Young Leadership Committee (YLC) of Silicon Valley, to interview fellow YLC member, Type One Run leader and recent CarbDm 5k Fun Run Age Group Champion, Sean McPherson. They both live with T1D.
GJ: What was your final time and pace for the CarbDM 5K Fun Run?
SM: My final time was 20:35, which factors to about 6:37 min/mile pace.
GJ: What is your role in Type One Run (T1R)?
SM: I am the T1R South Bay group leader. The T1R Bay Area chapter is so awesome that there are two groups, South Bay and San Francisco. Eliza Kinsolving from JDRF runs the San Francisco group. My role is to coordinate runs and plan events for the group.
GJ: What is your vision for Type One Run?
SM: What I like about T1R is the relaxed atmosphere. It is really about having a group to run with where you don’t have to worry about pace, and to run with others that understand what you are dealing with and can help if necessary.
That said, I think the local chapter will continue the slow organic growth by promoting low key events, and a fun, welcoming environment for all experience levels.
GJ: What does running do to your blood sugar? How do you prep? What do you bring in your pockets? Take me through the prep execution.
SM: I’ve been running for a while, and studied exercise physiology quite a bit for my own interests. So I can probably talk way to long on this topic. However, I’ll give a brief overview of what works for me, but remember that everyone is an experiment of one and will have to find what works for them.
In general, moderate aerobic activity will increase insulin sensitivity while strenuous anaerobic activity can have the opposite effect due to the release of hormones. So for an easy run you generally want to lower your basal rate, and for an intense run you might not.
If possible I prefer to have as little insulin on board as possible (aside from basal), so if I can eat three or more hours before a run that is ideal. For shorter events, like a 5k, I plan not to eat anything during the race, so I’ll try to start with a slightly elevated BG (above 150 mg/dL) and hope that my levels stay above 100 mg/dL until I finish. For longer events, when I know I’ll have to eat during the race, I’ll try to start closer to 120 mg/dL and consume an energy gel every 30 minutes.
Post run, especially for longer, slower runs (aerobic) you will likely continue to be more sensitive to insulin for two to three hours after, so you have to factor that into any boluses given for food post run. There is no magic formula here on how much to adjust. You just have to find what works, and be careful (CGMs are amazing for this). Strenuous races can be more difficult to deal with. Typically the hormones will keep your BG numbers elevated for a while after a race (one to two hours), but they eventually wear off and you can crash pretty quickly. You want to treat the elevated numbers, but understand they will come down after the hormones have worn off.
No matter how short I ALWAYS have either glucose tablets, or at least an energy gel on me for every run. As we all know, T1D is unpredictable, so you just have to be prepared. If you are running with me and need some sugar just ask because I’ll always have something.
GJ: Anything else you want to add?
SM: The one piece of advice I’d give to others with diabetes would be to use the insight into your body that diabetes gives you to your advantage. Yes, keeping blood glucose numbers in control can be a challenge at times, but see those out of the ordinary numbers as a signal. Are your numbers high because you are stressed out? Then do something to treat the stress as well as the high blood glucose level. See each reading that isn’t perfect as something you can learn from.
To contact Sean and sign-up for the next T1R run visit: facebook.com/groups/typeonerunbayarea/
Pictures from the event can be found here: photos.lookfamily.org/CarbDM/CarbDM-Fun-Run-2018/
To learn more about CarbDM visit: carbdm.org
Join our JDRF YLC Facebook page for our next happy hour: facebook.com/JDRFYLCSV/
About JDRF YLC
The Young Leadership Committee (YLC) of Silicon Valley is a group of young professionals dedicated to raising funds for and awareness of JDRF. We host various fundraising, networking, and social events that attract many young professionals between 21 and 40 living in the Bay Area.