Saturday, 21 August 2010

Ups and downs – hills and blood sugar!

Cobden-Glenfield

I’ve managed to get out for 5 runs in the past 8 days, which is a huge improvement over my previous efforts. Not running very far, as yet, but the runs are challenging nonetheless, involving some very steep ascents and descents that test the legs and lungs! I’ve come to the conclusion that I run much better on such varied terrain. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to me, as most of my early running days were on the big hills of Sheffield and the Peak District, but I think I had started to forget this and have been, until recently, only running through the park where the terrain is only ever so slightly undulating.

Cobden-Mousehole-Peartree

This fact was proven to me in the fourth of my recent runs. For the previous three, I had run a demanding and varied hilly course and had thought that to then run on the flat would be a piece of cake – far from the truth! I found it much harder, not so much on the heart and lungs, but on my legs which quickly tired and left me aching for two days afterwards. It seems I’m much better suited to the effort and challenge of a hill, followed by the relief and recovery of crowning it and running down the other side. I think I also get a bit bored now running through the park as I have done the same route countless times over the past 10 years, so the change is very welcome!

Riverside Park-Mansbridge

My fitness is improving accordingly as is, I hope, my health. I had a visit to my doctor this week and there has been an improvement in my blood pressure, although it is still a little on the high side so my medication has been increased slightly. I also asked about my recent retinopathy scan and the worrying news that I now have ‘moderate diabetic eye disease. The doctor had a letter that provided more detail – apparently, what I have is still the background retinopathy reported last year, but the specialist had observed deposits rather closer to the macula than might be hoped for. Really, it’s the luck of the draw as these deposits can form anywhere on the retina, it just so happens in my case that they are potentially threatening the one area that is chiefly responsible for central vision. I don’t know yet if I will require any treatment for this, so I have an anxious wait until my aapointment at the eye hospital comes through.

Cobden-Midanbury-Woodmill-Riverside Park
There has been another, rather profound effect on me from my increase activity levels – my blood sugar levels have started to drop at such a rate that it has been hard to keep up by lowering my insulin doses. Two nights in a row I was awoken with hypos of 2.1 mmol/l (38 mg/dl) and 2.7 mmol/l (49 mg/dl), despite having snacks before bed. Thanks goodness I woke up! I have been lowering my basal insulin (lantus) as well as lowering my meal boluses (novorapid), but still battling lows so the effect of the exercise is even more profound than I can predict! I seem to be just about getting it right now, having reduced my lantus from 8 units to 5 and being very sparing with my meal bolus. My total daily dose is now around 30 units, with my basal comprising less than 20% of the total – normally, the split should be around 40-50% of TDD! Perhaps I’m nearly cured!

Hoping for another, longer run tomorrow, I’m already feeling a lot healthier and have much more energy, although I’m still a little on edge when going to sleep at night because of those hypos as they were the first night ones I have had for several months.

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