Prior to my Type1 Diabetes (I was diagnosed in 2012) I’d always been a physically active individual and always up for a challenge.
My initial reaction to my diagnosis was simply to try and accept it and move on. I knew I had a lot to learn about the condition and what I was up against if I was going to continue to take part in sport and exercise.
I didn’t ever buy into the idea that my Type1 Diabetes would stop me doing anything that I could do before my diagnosis. In fact my initial reaction to diagnosis was to book myself on to the York 10k Run, Great North Run and the Yorkshire Marathon for the following year 2013.
I completed all three runs successfully. However whilst taking part in the Yorkshire Marathon, I experienced some issues with my blood glucose monitor around 15 miles into the run. I had to consciously assess how I felt during the remaining 11 plus miles of the race without any ability to test my blood glucose levels, not something I would recommend doing. Following the Yorkshire marathon I recognised I needed to educate myself a bit more, if I was to continue to compete in endurance events. So I decided to sign up to the Animas Sports Weekend (ASW2014). I learnt so much from the ASW2014 which definitely increased my understanding of exercising with Type1 Diabetes. I would thoroughly recommend it to other people with Type1 Diabetes who have an interest in sport and exercise.
Shortly after taking part in the marathon I moved from multiple daily injections, to an Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump to give me greater flexibility in managing my type 1 during exercise. The fact its waterproof was a big factor in my choice of insulin pump, as my future triathlons will include open water swimming.
Fitting in training has been the toughest part for me, as I work full time. Also last year I saw the arrival of our twins and when you add in our three year old too, life is pretty hectic. Therefore training runs tend to take place after 8pm when the children are in bed or around 5.30am on a weekend, so I’m back home to help with breakfast.
Since my diagnosis I’ve now run 3 marathons, 3 Great North Runs and numerous 10k races. I’ve been using the events to gain the fitness required to complete an Iron Man triathlon which was a nagging ambition of mine prior to diagnosis.
2016 sees my event distance go up again with my first Ultramarathon taking place in the form of the 40 mile River Ayr Way Challenge in September. This year has already included the successful completion of the Greater Manchester Marathon and the Yorkshire 3 Peaks Challenge (24.5 mile). I’ll also be adding the Great North Run and Yorkshire Marathon into my events calendar this year too which is a total of 130 miles over five events raising funds for JDRF. My preparation for the Ultramarathon has been similar to that of the marathons, a couple of midweek runs plus one or two weekend long runs. However later in the year I’ll be extending my long training runs to build my endurance for that extra mileage.
I’m hoping my ‘’Journey to Iron Man” inspires other people with diabetes to take part in sports and exercise if they want to. I’ve been blogging my experiences and have created a Facebook page to share my journey.