Diabetes & Marathons - Perfect together?

About four months ago, as I was booking my next appt. with my endocrinologist, I realized that I was due for an appt. two weeks after my marathon. This allowed me to schedule my blood work five days after the marathon, which I found really interesting. Simply put, I was curious to see how screwed up my blood chemistry would be so soon after a 26 mile race.

Unfortunately, there's no really cool stuff to report - everything was pretty much normal.

Diabetes-wise, let's discuss my A1C. In a nutshell, an A1C is your average blood sugar over the past 70 days or so. It's pretty much the "de facto" test for diabetes control. We all have bad blood sugars in certain moments, but the A1C says how you're doing overall.

Last I checked, the ADA recommends an A1C of less than 7% and some society of endocrinologists recommends an A1C of less than 6.5%. Generally speaking, I'm usually somewhere in between those two figures - I was 6.6% in the summer. (Quick advertisement for the insulin pump - Prior to going on the pump, I was usually between 7-8.5%.)

I was curious what my A1C would be as good marathon training and diabetes management forces the diabetic to drive their blood sugar up (slightly) to compete certain workouts. I often have a goal of starting a workout at 200, which translates to an A1C reading of 7.8%.

Moreover, the taper period also drove my blood sugars higher than usual, as my body wasn't burning up as much sugar.

In the end, I was a little surprised to see my A1C was 6.3%. Not overly surprised - Type 1 diabetes management is mostly about doing easy, rapid math in my opinion and realizing that everything you eat and do will have some impact on your blood sugar - but a little surprised. So, I was pleased with that and so was my nurse practitioner (I'm currently between doctors - which is an entirely different story.).

It wasn't all rosy, though - my thyroid levels have gone up again, which will result in an increased dosage of Synthroid. If diabetes management is a science, thyroid management is an art form, requiring time and nuance to balance oneself, and I'm not looking forward to changing my dose again. However, a proper new dosage should result in a higher energy level, and I'm all about doing that in any legal way I can.

One quick note about running - the two runs I did last week after the marathon were difficult and I wasn't sure how well I was healing. Yesterday's run was the first since the marathon when I felt fresh, which is a good thing, as I'm still looking at what's coming next.


  1. Great news on the A1c. My sugars were better than ever the week after the marathon, it's like my body was thanking me for giving it a break...

    Glad to hear you had a good run. A friend, who has run 4 marathons, told me that it takes a good 6-8 weeks to get back to normal...sounds like you are on your way.

    And the Halle Berry comment...nice of her to go to bat for the diabetes community...isn't there enough confusion and misinformation already. The worst part is that people will actually listen to her.

  2. Anonymous1:53 PM

    Congrats on a great A1c! Also, read your post on the marathon, I'm still in awe - that's so damn fast from my perspective - Only in my dreams, and only for a 5K! Congrats, and happy healing to you, sounds like things are going the right direction.

    Seems to give up one's diabetes, you must also surrender your brain. I think I'll stick to Type I! :-)


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