Give me all the Gatorade


I like to test my sugar on mailboxes. They’re generally the perfect height, sturdy, and readily available in suburban neighborhoods where I run. I think of them as little curbside tables. Unfortunately, most half marathon courses don’t wind through the ’burbs. Something about providing runners with courses along picturesque coastlines, down scenic city streets, and through rolling country sides. And it’s true – oceans are beautiful and the pulse of a city can inspire a kickass pace. But most of the time, that means I have to test on the ground … or a tree stump, sidewalk, curb, or other flat surface that forces me to bend my tired butt over and get back up. Mailboxes don’t make me bend. Mailboxes don’t make me get back up. Mailboxes understand.

So when I was ten miles deep in a race along the Narragansett, Rhode Island, shoreline and I felt much lower than Dexcom was showing, I was elated to come across a random mailbox. I’m pretty sure if I’d knelt to test on the curb, I’d have never gotten back up. Or I would have tumbled ass over teakettle on my way down. Either way, it would have been a mess.

The internal monologue that ensued went a little something like this: [Thirty-eight. Shit. Okay, okay, be cool. Be. Cool. How long until the next water/Gatorade station? Has to be less than a quarter of a mile. Right? Yeah, yeah. I can make it. I have to make it. I am out of fruit snacks and gel. What do they say to do in these precarious situations? A short burst of high intensity can raise my BG? Is that right? Should I sprint to the aid station? Do I even have the capacity to sprint right now? What if it does the opposite? What if my sugar drops more? Damn, I really should have tried that in training. What if I *literally* crash and burn? Road rash, road rash. I do not want that. Okay, shut the fuck up and get moving. Every step, slow or fast, is one step closer to carbs. Sweet, beautiful carbs.]

This is where it’s supposed to get wicked inspirational as I describe how I dug deep or struck some burning internal motivation, mind over matter, used the force, yada yada, and power sprinted to the next aid station. I didn’t. I trudged forward at a not-quite-slow-pokey pace focusing on staying vertical. When I reached the station, I skipped the pleasantries, grabbed a cup, dumped its contents and made a beeline for the vat of Gatorade powder mix behind the tables. I happened upon some poor, unsuspecting high schooler to whom I practically shouted, “I need a whole scoop in this cup, please!” The scoop was, of course, just about the same size as the Dixie cup in my hand. So his startled response of, “Um, hi. Are you sure you mean the whole scoop? We use a scoop or two to mix the big coolers,” was completely legit.

“Yeah,pleasejustputitallinthiscup.I’msorrytobeademanding,painintheassrightnow,butmybloodsugaristanking.” No breaths and minimal pauses for verbal punctuation. There may or may not have also been some slight slurring. Hard to tell. At that point an adult volunteer joined our exchange that was passing for conversation (I have no idea how he got there. I’m assuming he apparated.), and kindly poured the entire scoop of powder into my cup. “Do you want some water or would you rather just chew it?” I thought about hugging him. [Be cool, be cool, be cool.] I refrained.

[Was Dex so off because I’m dehydrated? Because of my shirt’s tech fabric? Because I was just dropping so fast and it couldn’t keep up? Whatever.] I took the water. I thanked the guy profusely for his help, gave the kid a quick high five, mumbling something along the lines of, “Really appreciate everything. These races wouldn’t happen without volunteers like you,” and bounded off like Popeye after wolfing down a can of spinach.

Three miles later I crossed the finish line at 88. Not a mailbox in sight … but plenty of car hoods.

That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.

Read Meme-ing My Way Through Diabetes by Meredith Miller. 

WRITTEN BY Cat Carter, POSTED 10/06/16, UPDATED 12/09/17

Cat Carter is an instructor and academic advisor at a small (but mighty!) community college in northern Connecticut. She believes in the power of education, coffee, and the undeniable truth that the basketball universe revolves around Storrs, CT. When she isn’t training for a race or getting lost in the latest Stephen King book, she’s probably hanging with her wife and their brood of furry babies. For the record, their windows are not dirty -- they’re just serving as a gallery for Parker’s nose art. She was diagnosed on Feb. 4, 2015, shortly after her 30th birthday. You can find her on Facebook and Linkedin: catherinecarter20.