FUDiabetes

Small container for strips when running?

My son uses an armband for his phone and sugar when running. I would like to give him a small glucose meter and some strips too. I have been looking for small water-resistant containers to take 8-10 strips (Wisconsin has high humidity) but have not had much success.

Do you have any ideas for me?

I can send you a holder. The ones I use make it easy to pull a single strip out, and they don’t fall out. They each hold 10 strips - enough for most runs.

For a normal run, the humidity should not be a problem. You don’t use the holder to store the strips, just for use during the run.

The only time I have had problems was with sprinklers, spilling water or gatorade on them, or rain. For just normal runs, even with high humidity, there is no problem.

This way you don’t have to fumble with a container with strips falling out.

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Eric, that is super-nice!

How do you carry it? In a front food pouch?

I have a couple of different ways. Either hooked onto my running gear belt, or in a SPIbelt. It just depends on what I am carrying on the run and how far I am going.

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strip holder photo

Hi, I’m Cody, and I’ve been a diabetic for just over 18 months now. Eric, thank you so much for sending me this strip holder. I am planning on using it for my first 5k, which is this Thursday. I’d also like to ask you for advice on how to treat for the run. Last Friday I ran a 3k, and went from a pre-run blood sugar of 130 to 350 thirty minutes after the run. I’d like to keep my blood sugar as close to a flatline as possible, and I would be extremely grateful for any help. Thank you,

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Hi Cody, I am Kaelan. I have been a diabetic for just a bit less than 18 months. I am in 8th grade. I also started running recently. But most of the year I swim (in winter, you can’t run around here because it is full of snow and ice).

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Hi Cody,
First of all, welcome to the site! Glad you could join us.

So that spike you are seeing is your body’s natural response to intense exercise. You won’t spike like that from a slow long run or jog. What you are seeing is normal for a hard and shorter effort.

That is a typical “fight or flight” response. If you were being chased by a lion, your body would want to make sure it does everything it needs to do for you to escape!

Your body releases hormones - epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. Your heart rate and blood pressure increases. The oxygen that goes to your tissues increases. And your liver releases glycogen stores to give your body fuel.

Everything that is happening to you on a short fast run is the same as it would be for a non-diabetic. The only difference is that the non-diabetic doesn’t see their blood sugar spike because their pancreas automatically releases insulin.

So your spike from 130 to 350 tells me three very good things:

  1. It means, other than your pancreas, your body is working perfectly normal in every other way!

  2. It also means you are not jogging or taking it easy on that run, you are working hard. Your BG wouldn’t spike if you were jogging easy!

  3. And finally, it means you are doing something good with your body. Instead of sitting around playing Xbox, you are putting forth physical effort. And that is wonderful. Way to go!


So here are a few things that can help you:

You do not need a lot of food before a 5k. Most of your fuel will be from the carbs already stored in your muscles. Make sure you eat well a few days before.

You can eat a very light meal at least 2 hours before. Don’t eat closer to the race time than 2 hours! You want to minimize your IOB. A small meal will help you a little bit, but it isn’t absolutely necessary. The key is to be flat before.

You want to try to be as flat as possible, so don’t experiment with something for the first time before the race. Use a meal that you know how to bolus for! Try it tomorrow if you can! Check your BG often and try to make sure you have a meal and bolus amount that will keep you flat.

And now, here is the thing no endocrinologist will tell you to do. I started doing it years ago, and it took a lot of…guts. But I started taking insulin right before the start of the race to prevent the spike. I kept spiking from every 5k race, and finally I decided to have the faith that I would always spike until I took a little bit of insulin.

I don’t want you to rush into that. The first step is to be comfortable and start to believe that you will spike. Also, if you don’t put forth a hard effort and get your heart rate really pumping hard from the effort, you won’t spike as much. So you need to become confident that you will spike, and you need to know that if you take insulin before a race, you really need to run hard so you don’t cause yourself to drop.

Once you are ready to take that leap of faith and take a little insulin right before the race, you want to start with just a little bit the first time. You will need to experiment until you find the right amount. Too much would be a problem! So you start with just a little bit at first, and build up until you are comfortable with the amount, and figure out the right amount.

You have to do it right before you start. If you do it 10 or 15 minutes before you start, that can be a problem!

And remember, if you take a little insulin before a race, you better run hard!

But wait until you are comfortable that you will spike before you try that…


BTW, you probably would not need insulin right before a 10k. That is a little bit different energy system.

Anyway, feel free to ask questions!

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Thank you for the advice Erik. I’m thinking of starting out with a dosage of 1 unit before the race starts, and then I can hand my pump to coach. I also notice that in your post you say to “eat well” for a few days before. Does this mean low carb, or simply that I eat a varied diet to keep my body well fed? Also, all of my coaches are telling the team to refuel after the race with chocolate milk or protein bars. Does this apply to me as well? And if so, should I dose for the carbs before the race, so the insulin has time to begin acting? Thank you again for your knowledge.

Kaelan, I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to hear that somebody else is going through the same thing. Sometimes it feels like I have to figure everything out on my own for the first time. I hope that this forum can help not just me to figure out how to treat for some situations, but that it can help you too.

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Hi Cody,

On that 1 unit before the race, is that a lot for you? You just want to make sure to not take too much. I don’t know your numbers, so it might be fine. But you can always ease into the pre-race dosing and add a little more for the next race. I don’t know your numbers, so use your best guess. But know that you have many more races to get it figured out, so you can start safe and build up the amount at the next race.

You want your muscles to have a fuel storage of carbs. The way to do that is with healthy carbs. No, low carb is NOT what you want on the days leading up to a race. You don’t need to pig out, but eating a couple of good full meals a few days before will usually top off your muscle glycogen (that’s the stored carbs your muscles use for energy). I assume your coach is not going to run you hard for a few days before your meet, so that gives your body time to replace, since you won’t be burning as much fuel.

Two things there - chocolate milk has carbs, so it replaces your muscle glycogen, and fills your fuel tank for the next day. Milk also has a number of good proteins. The milk protein and the protein in the bars are for your body to repair and rebuild muscle fibers that you kind of “beat up” when you run hard.

So yes that applies to you. The trick is to take a good dose of insulin as soon as you are done with the race.

What I do is double up my insulin for the carbs I am taking right after, and then follow up with carbs as needed for the next few hours. That helps prevent a spike.

So even though I am taking more insulin than I need, I am aware of it, and keep feeding myself carbs as needed. That kind of prevents spikes and drops.

So think of it like this:
Take two chocolate milks, bolus for two, but drink only one right away. Keep an eye on your BG, and when you need it, drink the second one. Make sense?

I would not do that. That is a little bit much to have in your body for a race. As soon as you finish the race, bolus for the milk. You can wait a little bit (only if you need to) before you drink the milk.


One other thing. Try to keep your test strips dry. Sweat and water and gatorade will kill them. So put them in a place that will be the least likely to get sweaty. I know that can be hard where I live.

Would like to hear about your race! Good luck!

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This sucks, doesn’t it?

Right now I am having a hard time with bad spikes. When I came back from Costa Rica I had an ear infection, so now my BG is all over the place because I am a bit sick. Sometimes I have to use almost 30 units before I can bring a spike down. I wish it was easier to figure out how many units you need the first time you inject.

But in general the hardest thing for me is lows after sports (mostly swimming but sometimes soccer too), because when they last a long time into the night I am really tired when I go to school the next day.

What do you have the hardest time with?

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@Eric, do you mean you take twice the insulin for your chocolate milk?

When I refuel right after swimming, if I use as much insulin as I should need, I go super low. Normally I use about 2/3 the insulin I would normally need so that I don’t go too low.

Eric, his current TDD is between 28-30 units. That is eating about 100g of carbs a day.

It’s kind of tough to tell. You might be in the right ballpark, but it is one of those things that needs experimentation, because an adrenaline spike is not really a number that uses a ratio you can look up or use any of the current numbers you are familiar with.

I mean, until you’ve done it, you don’t really know how much you need for adrenaline spikes, compared to a cupcake where you can look at carb numbers and use your IC. It’s really a matter of experimenting.

You can go aggressive, or more cautious and gradually add to the dose each race.

From the TDD and carbs numbers, he might be in the right ballpark. Unfortunately, there is only one way to find out.

The best measure to start with is this - if his instinct tells him 1 unit, then do 1 unit. I don’t want to talk him down! It takes guts to do that right before a race when your BG is not high yet, and I applaud his willingness to do it.

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Yes, I take more than I need because the insulin action is faster when you take more. So I don’t follow normal ratios. I take in a lot of simple sugar, like 40-100 grams right away. So I double up insulin to hit the carbs faster. Rather than a rise and fall later, I want it to be flat with a quick drop, so I can take in more carbs within an hour.

This is a bit of a tricky subject we can explore sometime.

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Cody, I got to tell you, diabetes is really hard, but it helps a lot when you get to talk to other diabetics. I’m really glad you joined, and welcome.

I just received this in the mail last night! Eric, thank you so much for sending this to me, I am reallly looking forward to try it out on my next run! This is one of the most interesting and cool gadgets for diabetes that I have seen so far.

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Hey, I am glad you got it! Let me know how it works for you. I use mine all the time. I have a total of 8 of them now!

When you use it for running, the trick is to not get sweat on the strips! Or spill water on them when you are drinking!

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