Amy’s T1D Adventure: I Wear My Sunglasses at Night

Back in Quito

Amy's T1D adventure: One drop daily summary An hour-long flight later and I am back in Quito, in all honesty to see a boy that I’d grown fond of when I was first here.

I realized I lost my seeing glasses so it was time to pull out my prescription sunglasses, which I had to wear indoors, outdoors, and even at night! Damn, I needed to get a new pair in Quito.

My BGs weren’t having the best of days either. They stayed high, likely from the mix of stress and adrenaline I was feeling before seeing my friend again.

I was happy to be back in Quito for the next two weeks, as  I had city adventures, running 1bloodydrop half-marathons, and the Nike Run Club on my mind.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Photo at Nike Training Club Saturday was date day and the start of Easter. With most things closed we were limited in our choice for activities. My day didn’t start off well with my BGs running high. I don’t think my body liked that I cooked pasta for dinner last night.

We headed to the local mall for some pool in the afternoon. I won, of course, and then we went to see Danish Girl — what an incredible movie! Definitely deserved the Oscars. By the time we got back to the apartment we were exhausted and all we could whip up for dinner was chopped bananas and surprise, surprise I had perfect post-dinner BGs!!

An Uplifting Surprise

Amy's T1D Adventure: Photo in front of a Diabetes awareness sign Sunday was a better day with more stable BGs and adventures in Parque Gualapo.

To my surprise and excitement we found a campaign for type 2 diabetes spread throughout the park. The smile on my face was truly genuine! With the rise of type 2 diabetes as a growing epidemic in Latin America, any advocacy towards preventing, treating and managing it is progress. Now all they need is more education on nutrition.

The afternoon turned rainy and stormy, which would remain a constant weather pattern over the next two weeks. We dined in an organic restaurant for lunch in the fancy suburb of Cumbaya – I was a little disappointed by my Quinoa salad cooked in lots of oil. Organic doesn’t always mean a win.

Monday was run day along with errands. I ventured to a park which used to be the old Quito airport (very cool!) and ran a short 4 and a bit miles. After a fruity breakfast I was off to find a new pair of glasses so I could finally see again without being in constant darkness!

Tricky Half-Marathons

Tuesday was half marathon 4 for 1bloodydrop. I headed back to the old airport and pushed through zig-zagging up and down until I hit 13.1 miles. It was hard to get through it as I was running on a flat Tarmac path, alone. During my run I overcompensated a little with carbs when I was 96 and finished at 220. Sometimes it’s hard to judge how fast your BGs are going to drop during a run. I generally base it off my pace: the faster I run per mile, the faster my BGs will drop and I’ll need to refuel more frequently. My pace was slower than usual today so I should have known to refuel with 25gms instead of 50. Even an elevated BG didn’t stop me from having a fruity breakfast – and it tasted so damn good!

Amy's T1D Adventure: Fruits

The week flew by with not much to report on. I ventured to the Nike Run Club, with little people in attendance (it was Ecuador vs Panama in the soccer that day) and we only logged a short 5km. I wasn’t too happy as I’d eaten enough pre-run snacks for the usual 10km and ended around 220 again. The perils of an unpredictable change in exercise routine.

Saturday was a big day: another half marathon for 1bloodydrop, this time with my friend’s company and on a trail! In summary – fun, adventurous, and a few challenges along the way.

I woke up with an appalling BG of 291!!! Ughhhhhh. And I knew exactly what is was from. I ate roughly 50gms of fat the day before, well above my body’s limit. The delayed high was inevitable. I gave 0.7 units of insulin, no pre-run snacks and we headed out at 5am to beat the heat.

The Magic of the Morning

When you head out for a run while it’s still dark in the morning there is some magic in the air. It’s super, super quiet, everyone is still sleeping, the birds are just waking and the sun is yet to warm up and stretch its arms. It’s almost like the universe is meditating, becoming ready to start the day for the world.

Amy's T1D Adventure: Sunrise

Learning from my T1D Runs

When I run 13 miles or more, I test my BGs at miles 6, 10, and immediately when I’m done. At mile 6 I was at 200 so gave an additional 0.2 units of insulin. I was feeling good and strong on the run which was up, down, up, down and at 3000+ meters in altitude. Amy's T1D Adventure: Blood glucose readings during run
To makes things a little more adventurous I decided to fall over twice during the run, scraping one of my knees pretty badly. But, nothing was going to stop me from finishing those 13.1 miles, not even blood dripping down my leg. We managed to push and push until we made it to 16-miles.

Amy's T1D Adventure: One Drop BG recordIt was one of the best runs on my travels so far. Running with someone who cares for you makes it so much more incredible and motivating (highly recommend it!). Running in nature has this incredible feeling, as if every step you take connects you to the earth (even when the trees use their roots to trip you up). I’m definitely a road runner but I could get used to running the mountains that surround Quito!

It was a bit of a bumpy road with my BGs during my run, but they decided to behave for the rest of the day during my recovery (well maybe a few lows in there). And yes, my legs were hurting!

That afternoon after lots of fruit and veggies we discovered vegan cheese at an artisanal organic store! This got me very, very excited and we made a dinner topped with delicious melted vegan cheese!

Sunday was pretty low key, but my eating habits weren’t on point. I consumed about 30gms of fat in the first half of the day and it showed on my BG meter in the evening.

The week ahead was a very stormy one which meant a lot of times indoors. The sky cleared enough on Tuesday evening for a trip to the Nike Training Club, which was different from the usual Run Club workout and consisted of short, explosive cross-training exercises. Not my favorite, I’ll admit, but a good switch up for the body and boy, could I feel it the next day!

Amy's T1D Adventure: Photo at Nike Club

Back to Road Running & Workout Frustrations

On a roll with ticking off my 40 half marathons for Type One Diabetes Awareness, Thursday morning called for #6. Wanting to find a new route and brave enough to take on a trail on my own (it’s guaranteed I’d get lost), I woke up before the traffic and decided to do a road run. BGs were a little high before I started, but perfect during and after.Amy's T1D adventure: Bike Monument

The frustrations of changing your workout routine are low BGs, which I had the pleasure of experiencing all day leading up to the Nike Run Club in the evening. I consumed a lot of raisins, which taught me I am allergic to them…but I made it to Nike and joined the beginner’s group for an easier session.

Friday was my last day in Quito and it felt bittersweet. I was sad to leave a city I’d grown to love and my friend, but I was excited and ready for my adventures in Lima, Cusco and, of course, Machu Picchu.

It was also an interesting day for me in diabetes land because I was testing my insulin sensitivity after two days of intense exercise.
At lunch my insulin to carb ratio was 1:50, so I gave 2 units for 100 grams of carbohydrates. 2-hours later my BG was at 79 and heading for a low.

What to do on your last night in Quito when the rain is pouring down? Perhaps head to the top rated Mexican restaurant in the city. YUM. It was delicious. I tried to limit my guacamole, and ordered tostadas with mushrooms and caramelized onions topped with veggies.

I think I chose the best thing on the menu! Sipping juice and sharing stories over some delicious food as the rain fell hard on the roof was a nice way to say goodbye to Ecuador.

Hasta pronto, Peru.

This is a guest post series from Amy McKinnon, a One Drop user and 28-year-old ex-advertising executive who recently swapped her NYC apartment for an oversized backpack to explore the streets of Latin America for six months. Amy has lived with type 1 diabetes for 15 years and tries her best to balance blood glucose levels,marathon training and a high-carb raw vegan diet. Now she has thrown travel into the mix. EDITOR’S NOTE: Amy is a performance athlete and consumes a high-carb diet. At One Drop, we believe that a low-carb approach to food reduces the risk of high and low blood glucose incidents and can effectively reduce blood glucose levels overall. However, we want to share a variety of personal experiences so we can all learn how other people live their lives with diabetes. Always consult your doctor before making changes to a prescribed regimen.




Amy McKinnon
Amy McKinnon

Amy McKinnon is a One Drop user, marathoner, ex-advertising executive, and has lived with type 1 diabetes for 15 years. Amy is currently exploring the streets of Latin America for six months.