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IM Aftermath on Basal Rates

Posted Jul 20 2010 9:11am
For the past few weeks I've been traveling between the East & West coast interviewing for jobs that will be the first step in my post-MBA career.  Over that time I've had to pay extra special attention to my blood sugars as breaking out in a full sweat while interviewing with a Senior VP at a multi-billion dollar company isn't the best way to make a first impression!  That's given me the opportunity to really see what effect recovery from an Ironman has on blood sugars and basal rates.

In the week following IMCDA my basal rates slowly climbed from the 11ish units per day my basal was set at on race day.  Towards the end of the week my blood sugars were consistently in the mid 200s to low 300s.  As my muscles recovered from a brutal training year and arduous race alot of insulin was needed to transport glucose from my blood to my muscles for the recovery.  8 to 10 days after the race my basal rate had jumped about 5 points to 16 units per day.

As I began to do some unstructured workouts and my sleep schedule returned to normal my basal rate started to slowly fall.  Last Monday, some 2 weeks after the race I started to encounter low after low.  My Dexcom would wake me up several times a night with a low alarm, and during the day I'd constantly be fighting my way out of the 70s.  Finally my metabolic rate had returned to normal, my body finished it's aggressive recovery and I have reduced my basal rate to about 13 units of insulin per day.

The variation of blood sugars and basal rates has all sorts of short-term consequences on one's mood and energy.  All the lows I encountered as my basal rates returned to normal forced interrupted sleep and had me exhausted in the mornings.  Additionally, the high blood sugars after the race increase irritability and really just made me feel kind of "icky."  Active management of my blood sugars with a focus on basal rate patterns was necessary to get back to feeling like myself as quickly as possible.
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