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Swimming: A New Challenge

February 24, 2010

Over the past 1,700 miles, I’ve gotten pretty good at controlling my BG while running.  Well, at least running first thing in the morning.  Running in the afternoon after lunch is still a bit of an adventure.  But, now I need to get a handle on my plan for swimming.

I have been following the same plan for swimming in the morning as I do for running.  2 hours before my swim, I will knock down my basal around 50% and and hour before, I’ll knock it down another notch.  I will also eat 20-30 carbs about 10 minutes before starting.  This works very well for preventing lows during 30-40 minute swims.  I usually come out of the water just a tad higher than I started, but for the most part, perfect.  The issue I’m having is dealing with a HUGE spike about 2 hours later.  We’re talking HUGE.  Jumping up 200+ from where I was right after getting out of the water.  This is even with giving myself a fairly large bolus to cover my after swim snack and to try and make up for the lowered basal.  I have to watch post-run highs, but they are nothing compared to what is going on after swimming.

One big difference to note is that I am not wearing my pump in the pool, so I’m getting no insulin for 30-40 minutes (oh, don’t forget shower time too).  This is much different from running where I’m wearing my pump and I try to let my basal rate go back to normal levels about 30 minutes before I’m done.  As I’m writing this and thinking about it, this is probably my problem.  Writing this blog is good for something…

So, the first thing I will try is reducing my basal only 1 hour prior to my start, but still plan to eat 20-30 carbs.  I’ll try this approach for my shorter 30-40 minute swims and see how it goes.  Once I get into the 1 hour plus range it’ll be a whole new ballgame.  I may even try to give myself a small bolus right before starting in effort to cover the time I won’t be wearing the pump.

I look forward to future lows in the water.  It’ll be fun.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lorraine permalink
    February 24, 2010 3:47 pm

    Nice update Gary. Swimming seems to be the biggest blood sugar reducing activity Caleb does and I’ve had trouble avoiding lows. I love how you blogged your way to potentially find your solution for highs. I hope the extra bolus works.

    PS: a friend’s ( son has started including an injection of lantus of a unit every hour and reducing his basal by a unit every hour to help deal with his lost basal when he is unclipped for sports. That’s how he started out anyway. They have been pleased with the results. Just a thought. 🙂

  2. Michelle permalink
    February 25, 2010 7:57 am

    Gary~ I have type 1 diabetes too, and I also run–so thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    I’m a swimmer too, and I’ve started noticing the crazy high after I swim, especially in the morning. My doctor tells me to increase my basal right after I swim to 120%. I haven’t tried it yet (just had the conversation last week), but I think it’s not going to be enough.

    At this point, I don’t decrease basal at all. I just disconnect before swimming, and eat a large banana. (45 minute swim) Afterward, my BG is usually around 80 mg/dL. I bolus for the missed basal, and without fail, 2 hours later, I’m at 200+, and most likely with ketones. Yuck.

    I think I need to bolus double for the missed basal (for the swim and shower), and maybe even increase the basal post-swim as well. I’m going to give that a shot on tomorrow’s swim.

    I’d love to hear your ultimate solution to this!

    Do you think we’re losing insulin in the pool? Like somehow some is leaking out?

    • February 25, 2010 8:09 am

      Glad I’m not alone. 😉

      I can’t imagine that increasing your basal after swimming will help right away. I would think that would just hurt in the long run and lead to lows later in the day.

      I think you’re bolus idea to cover the missed basal is a good idea. I’m going to try the pre-swim bolus tomorrow and see how it goes.

      The other thing I need to tinker with is the post-swim snack. Need to determine what I can eat without it affecting me too much. I think Cliff Bars cause me to spike.

      I don’t think I’m losing any insulin. I think it’s just a combination of the lowered basal, lack of insulin, and the length of time I’m exercising… not too mention the intensity of the exercise. Higher intensity can drive BG UP!! I’m probably going to need a long, slow swim plan and another plan for shorter, higher intensity swims.

      Thanks for the comment!

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