December 4, 2013 by scratchtype1
As a type 1 diabetic, I had a bad day yesterday. They happen sometimes, it’s hard to manage everything perfectly and the body’s metabolism can jump around some to complicate the best efforts to keep bloods sugars in a good range. Perhaps it was a bit of a bad omen that as I got into my car to drive to work yesterday morning, my eyes popped open and I said out loud, “I forgot my Lantus shot.” For those who are non-diabetic, I take Lantus insulin to cover what are known as basal insulin needs. Basal insulin is insulin that is used to balance out against the glucose the the liver provides. The liver is sort of like a battery, it keeps us charged up by releasing glucose into the bloodstream. But you need insulin to make use of that energy.
If I’d forgotten that shot yesterday, it would have made the rest of the day more complicated. I use another insulin as well, a fast-acting insulin that lasts approximately 4 hours, so if I had arrived at work and realized it then, I would have spent the day injecting multiple times the fast-acting insulin to mimic some like how the Lantus would have worked. I also would probably not have run, it would be too much difficulty and uncertainty to feel good and safe about running.
But I remembered, ran inside and took the Lantus.
The blood sugar test after I arrived at work was a good result. I ate my morning snack and injected insulin for it. When I tested 2 hours later, got a result that was totally wild, and way high. I injected insulin to try to get me back towards normal levels before lunch. About 20 minutes prior to lunch, a test showed that I had come down very fast and needed to eat some gum drops to prevent me from crashing. I did so and then soon had lunch, only injecting a little insulin for that as there was still a lot of insulin left from the correction shot earlier.
But things would go badly. About 2:30 my blood sugar was badly low, 38 mg/dL, or 2 mmol/L. I ate more gum drops. 20 minutes later I was still hanging there and sweat was popping off my arms. At 3:10 I was still about the same level. And cautiously eating gum drops to bring me up, but I didn’t want to overcorrect and send my blood sugar skyrocketing. At 3:40 I had climbed up to 59 mg/dL. Finally at 4 PM I had reached normal levels of 86 mg/dL.
During the stretch where my blood sugar was about half of what person’s blood sugar normally is, I was irritated and frustrated and upset. Some of that was because it’s hard to think straight when the blood sugar is like that, some of it was because I didn’t know if I could get myself ready to run or if I even wanted to run. I had a strong urge to drive straight home after work and say, “Fuck it.”
But I got out there, about 4:20 in the afternoon, a somewhat warm day for December and nothing on my feet. I had been using the Xeros over the week before because I had developed a crack much like a heel crack on the side of the right foot by the ball of the foot. I’ve been using Flexitol on it and scraping the callus that had formed there down, but it’s been a bit stubborn about healing up because of the flesh there gets flexed with every step. Finally it felt good enough to run on.
Then, there, with bare soles, I remembered, just how much more sensual and sensuous it is to run barefoot versus the Xeros. After about 20 minutes, I felt fully alive and happy. I loved how silent the footfalls were, I loved the connection between the Earth and me, I loved the smoothness and ease of my running form. I felt human and felt comfortable with all of me, all that’s good and all that’s less than good. I didn’t have to apologize to myself or anyone, I could just dance along the path and for that 45 minutes or so, be alive in the dwindling light, to the music of the light wind and traffic on the nearby road, and that fundamental important touch of human skin to the ground. I have come to believe that touch of skin to the ground is far more important than we know in our culture of shoes. It’s perhaps programmed into us, an expectation that we would run, that we would run barefoot. Without that, we can feel lost or a sense of loss, but in a culture where we’ve been bound into shoes, we can’t recognize why there is that feeling in so many of us.
I feel this when I run barefoot — this is me. It’s that simple. I am more me than at any other time. And that is wonderful.
Sadness tinges it some though, when I think how it’s a bit sad that there aren’t many of us running barefoot presently. And that many might see me and think I’m crazy for doing so. Or that many lack the courage or knowledge necessary to say, “Why don’t I try it?” So I don’t know. Would I be happier if those evenings I run in that small park that there were others there, running barefoot? Would that make us a community? I don’t know.
But that’s a small portion of it. The big part is the sense of wholeness and connection. If I can stay healthy and maintain some amount of barefoot running for the rest of my life, it ought to help keep me sane and happier.