Running the Boston Marathon with Diabetes

Posted by linda on Fri, 10/25/2013 - 15:01 in

Marathon-with-DiabetesWhen I was a little girl, I never wanted to walk, waddle, toddle or shuffle. I wanted to run. Given that I was born and raised in South Africa, I had the privilege of participating in various track events since I was 10 years old. After school I continued running and became a keen road racer. I discovered a zeal for running that brought me great pleasure, happiness and solitude.

At the age of 30, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Initially I was troubled that having diabetes would affect and complicate my running. Now 13 years later, I still enjoy the marvel of running and it keeps getting better.

Starting on an Insulin Pump

My wish to have better blood sugar control, as well as reduce the amount of time feeling miserable because of hypoglycemia from running, propelled me into considering an insulin pump. At first I dismissed the idea, because I am not a gadget girl. I don’t like phones and devices! But last year I read about the Omnipod insulin pump for the first time. Its small size and the absence of tubes convinced me to make an appointment with my healthcare provider, because it would be convenient when running.

I received my Omnipod in December 2012 and must say I am a pleased “Pod-person.” The fact that the Pod sticks and becomes part of me, is great. I love the absence of multiple injections, I can swim with it and it is possible to receive small units of insulin. Another wonderful plus is that I can actually check to see whether I injected insulin or not, because I often forget.

Running the Marathon with my Omnipod Pump

The Boston Marathon was my first big-city marathon experience. My first marathon as a “Pod-person.” The first time my husband and I traveled without our two children. I decided the night before the race that I would run with a phone and my Personal Diabetes Manager (my children call it my remote control) in my back pack.

I think Boston crowds are the best. I have never seen such cheerful, involved spectators in my life.  Cheering, slapping hands, and handing out popsicles and kisses. Somewhere around mile 12, feeling dizzy, I stopped to test my blood sugar and it was low. I ate part of a granola bar and continued running. Other than that, everything went smoothly.

Remembering that Day Aside from Running with Diabetes

I finished in 3:50:25 and was almost three blocks past the finish line when the bombs went off. It felt so far away. "Maybe someone fired a gun?" I wondered. I talked to my husband on the phone after finishing. He was coming by train with our luggage so that we could rush to the airport. SWAT teams started running past me and ambulances arrived. I knew that something terrible must have happened. All I wanted to do was get away, to reach the airport on time.

I felt so lucky to have a phone with me, to finally reach my husband and to find him. We started walking, trying to reach a train station where trains were still running. Arriving at the airport, we saw the images of chaos as the bombs went off. Oh what sadness we saw and felt! Looking back at the race, I am astonished by the bravery, heroism and courage of the people. It inspires me to be Boston strong, to be brave and keep running.

To learn more about the Omnipod insulin pump and try a free demo for yourself, click here