Pete is a determined trail runner, who has lived with type 1 diabetes (T1D) for about 25 years. He believes that within that time, his T1D has allowed him to hone in on certain skills like problem-solving, resilience and organisation – all whilst he has tackled trail after trail! In this story, Pete recounts his experience with Dexcom G6 and how he uses this tool to optimise his trail runs!
Q. Tell us a little about you.
I was diagnosed in my mid-20s, with no family history. I have always been on multiple daily injections and have used Dexcom G6 since July 2020.
Other than that, I used to work in the international development sector, so spent many years overseas living in Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Bangladesh and Albania working for the United Nations, the UK government and the Government of Afghanistan. I have always enjoyed travel. Now I’m based in Australia full-time, working from home as an evaluation specialist for development programs. I am also a trail runner, having recently taken part in a 82-kilometre event in the Victorian Alpine region!
Q. What would you say to someone living with diabetes who is just getting started with trail running?
My overall tip is get out there and give it a try! Trail running offers you so much more than road running – I find the air is fresher, the scenery is amazing and you get to explore places you would not normally visit. There’s also quite a lot of walking involved as you climb the hills, so it’s pretty relaxed.
For me, the main priority for running with T1D is safety; ensure you have a way of knowing where you are e.g. the route on your watch, or an App with the map on your phone etc. When you start trail running, it always helps to run with someone at the beginning who knows the trails, as this will help you get familiar with the areas where you run.
And realise that trail running affects your BGLs in a variety of ways – personally, I find that climbing hills lowers my glucose levels and bombing downhill increases them. Dexcom CGM has been crucial here to show me what affects my glucose levels, for example the terrain, temperature, length of time I run, food I consume – these all have different impacts.
Q. Why do you like using Dexcom G6 as part of your diabetes management plan?
My initial motivation was a result of my trail running, as I was progressing to longer distances and more time on the trails (often without seeing anyone else for many hours!). Being able to share the data with my wife via Dexcom Share has eased her previous concerns, as she knows that I can keep on top of my glucose levels and take action to rectify changes before they become an issue, particularly when I’m running solo and in a remote location.
Using Dexcom G6 has also really helped with my driving to and from the trails, as quite often I drive a reasonable distance to get there and it’s really good to be able to keep track of my levels when I drive home after a long run. I can see that I’m okay to drive and be aware if my levels start to drop as a result of the exercise.
Generally, it has really improved my diabetes management, as I can see the impact of exercise, different foods, stress etc. I can also manage my glucose levels throughout the night much better, as it takes the guesswork out of my evening long-acting dose adjustment. And with the data tracking, I can look for patterns and see how my glucose levels have been controlled over a 90-day period on Dexcom CLARITY.
Q. Has Dexcom G6 helped you better compete in running events? If so, how?
I have always accepted that I have diabetes and must live with it. The only time it bothers me is when I am competing in an ultra-running event, as I know that my performance is not just linked to how much I’ve trained, it will also be significantly influenced by how well I can control my glucose levels over many hours – in addition to carrying more food than anyone else.
I also believe there is a lot of trial and error with diabetes management, as there are so many variables and so many different factors that can impact your glucose levels. However, as Dexcom G6 provides me with immediate information and data that can inform my decision-making, it provides the peace of mind for me to take on challenges that I would have possibly not taken on in the past. And that provides comfort to my family as well, that I am well-informed and they can track my progress in real-time.
As I don’t have to stop to test my blood*, I feel that I can monitor my glucose levels much quicker with the Dexcom G6 system too. I also have a much better understanding of how different distances and terrain impact my glucose levels and ultimately, I feel more on an equal footing with the other competitors.
Q. How would you sum up your experience with Dexcom G6 so far?
The Dexcom G6 CGM system has been life-changing for me and my diabetes management. It’s helped me improve my control in all aspects of my management, not just with exercise. I now wonder how I managed before using it. I have learned so much about all the many different things that impact my glucose levels – exercise, food, stress, travelling through time zones etc. I initially thought that I would only use the G6 for fixed periods of time, when I trained for an event etc, however, I soon realised how much of a difference it made and I’ve not wanted to take it off since I first put it on.
Q. What would you say to someone looking into Dexcom G6?
I know there is a financial cost involved, but I think Dexcom G6 has brought the most value to me out of everything I have to spend as part of living with diabetes. For me, it’s made a big difference in terms of understanding my diabetes.
After 25 years with T1D, I am still learning about life with diabetes, but Dexcom G6 has brought me so much additional knowledge and understanding. I have learned more in the last 18 months that I have worn Dexcom G6, than I had in the previous 20+ years.
Q. Lastly, what is your outlook on your T1D?
I try not to be defined by my diabetes, but it is a big part of who I am. I take a lot of pride in my running, knowing that it shows others living with T1D, we do not have to be constrained and that we can do whatever we want to do. Having T1D for nearly 25 years has provided a variety of skills, including problem solving, resilience and levels of organisation that I would not have if I was not a T1D.
Wanting to share your personal journey? Join our AMSL Diabetes All Star Program and claim your exclusive AMSL Diabetes All Star kit today at product.amsl.com.au/all-star-program.
Always read the label and use only as directed. Read the warnings available on amsldiabetes.com.au/resources before purchasing. Consult your healthcare professional to see which product is right for you.
*If your glucose alerts and readings from the G6 do not match symptoms or expectations, use a blood glucose meter to make diabetes treatment decisions.
“I can manage my glucose levels throughout the night much better, as it takes the guesswork out of my evening long-acting dose adjustment. And with the data tracking, I can look for patterns and see how my glucose levels have been controlled over a 90-day period on Dexcom CLARITY.”
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