That's me, frantically stopping at the summit of the Grand Mesa in CO, digging in my bag for some quick-acting glucose.
I get asked the same question every time I talk about my cycling. "How?" For people without diabetes, the inquiry is more broad in scope:
"How do you find the time to workout eight, ten, twelve hours each week?"
"How do you find the motivation to exercise when the lure of a long sleep or an afternoon relaxing with book in hand beckons louder than the call of the bike?"
"How do you keep it up day after day, year after year?"
And for those with diabetes, the question is much more pointed:
"How do you manage your blood sugar while keeping active?"
My answers, of course, don't really matter to anyone but me. The motivation is different for us all, the incentives are going to vary, and the bit about my blood sugar? What works for me probably won't work for anyone else because diabetes is, at its core, a disease both personal and dynamic. Each day, each workout, each moment is different....but my routine is much the same.
I awake every morning at four o'clock, while my husband and kids are still asleep. Before my feet hit the cold of the floor, I check my blood sugar. I start my workouts, generally, with a blood glucose between 155-175 - a little high so I won't drop too fast, but not so high that I bonk. I either eat or administer a shot of rapid-acting insulin (or both), and begin my workout. For the next ninety minutes to two-and-a-half hours, I will run, cycle, lift weights. I will do intervals or resistance train. My heart rate will range from my resting beats per minute of about 50 to, at times, over 210. Throughout it all, a voice in the back of my head will ask, "How is your blood sugar? Too low? Too high? How do you feel?" I will check it at least two more times before I am finished with my morning exercise.
Then, I eat. I've consumed the exact same breakfast every morning for nearly five years, save those days when I travel (in which case it is instant oatmeal mixed with PB packets or apples and almond butter, all of which tucks into my suitcase alongside my other essentials). My standard breakfast is a smoothie designed by Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health: