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How Does Being Diabetic Impact Life & Sport? - Elise Quarrington

How Does Being Diabetic Impact Life & Sport? - Elise Quarrington

A bit about Elise…

My name is Elise Quarrington, I’m 26 years old, born in Ascot but I live in the wonderful Winchester countryside.

When did you get into sport and what sport did you do in your early years?

I was into everything as a kid – swimming, running, ice skating, horse riding… I settled on rowing as my main sport when I was a teenager and rowed to a National level. I was aiming for big things but unfortunately a bad back injury (stress fractures to my lower spine) put me out for a few years. I joined university and fell in love with swimming and fell into joining the triathlon club! Since then (2011) I have raced as a GB age group triathlete and loved competing. I have raced all over the world and want to keep racing over the upcoming years in some elite open water swim races.

What do you do and why?

Day to day I am a midwife, but I have recently started my own videography business as I wanted more flexibility in my routine. I love being a midwife, it’s a job that’s really like no other.

When did you find out you were diabetic? What were the symptoms?

I was diagnosed 3 years ago, on the day I was meant to be at my friend’s wedding. I had almost lost my eye sight, I had lost 6kgs of weight relatively quickly, I was drinking gallons of water – I had this in depth thirst I couldn’t get rid of. I remember going into an hours lecture and panicking that I only had 2 bottles of water and that wouldn’t be enough (looking back I wonder how I didn’t spot the symptoms sooner!). My family thought I looked grey and ill, I was shattered and turns out I was quite unwell! After waking up at 3am and downing 2 pint glasses of water, I decided this wasn’t normal and I went to the GP. My blood sugar levels were tested and came back at 32mmol/L (they’re supposed to be between 4 and 7….) and I was told it’s a medical miracle I’m still standing and not in a diabetic coma. I was started on insulin that day and the rest is history!

How does being diabetic impact your life and sport?

Having diabetes has been a roller-coaster of emotions. I have felt happy, sad, pain, angry, defeated, uplifted, encouraged…..everything comes with type 1 diabetes. I have always been determined not to let it stop me however. I want to encourage others with type 1 that it doesn’t stop you. Yes it’s a big change and adaptation to your life, but it has taught me so much strength and resilience. I don’t resent having it, I work with it to make my life and other’s lives better.

With regards to sport, I just have learnt the hard way that how I manage my session and my blood sugars depends on what I am doing. If I am doing a longer, slower endurance session I need to take a lot of carbs with me – cereal bars, bananas, jelly babies and sugar tablets. If I am doing a short fast session, my blood sugar generally spikes, so I don’t start the session if my levels are high already – I have to wait to be stable. If I am doing a race, I just start with my levels running a bit high and take sugar tablets on the course with me!

How do you manage it?

For me, I am learning as I go. There is a difference between type 1 diabetes and type 2. Type 1 is an autoimmune disease, meaning no matter how healthy or fit you are you could get it – just like me. I was at the height of my sporting career and was diagnosed. However, now eating healthy does benefit my blood sugar control – I can still eat pizza and ice cream (don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff…) but a low carb dinner means I will have much more stable blood sugars through the night. I just like to think – I have diabetes, but diabetes doesn’t have me. I am in control of this, it is up to me how well I control this. Ok, sometimes I have terrible out of control blood sugar days that are unavoidable, every type 1 diabetic does, but I try to take a step back, take a deep breath and start tomorrow as a new day.

What’s next for you?

I am aiming to become a competitive open water swimmer – swimming has always been my strongest of the three and the one I most enjoy. I just need to find a way to eat sugar tablets underwater now….

View this post on Instagram

If you see anyone in pink fly past you on a training ride, it will probably be one of our #TeamMeglio athletes in their new summer kit. @the.athletic.diabetic is a very talented triathlete. She’s pretty inspirational as she has type 1 diabetes but doesn’t let that hold her back. She’s just trained to be a midwife and she’s a skilled videographer as well as a fitness model. Where are you planning to cycle this weekend? Watch out for the pink! #cyclinglife #forabetteryou #mymeglio #pinkjersey #castelli #cycleride #triathlete #triathlontraining #triathletesofinsta #tri4life #swimbikerun #sundaycycle #bankholidaycycling #triathlonteam #triathlon_world #training #cyclingphotos #cyclinggirl #cyclingclothing #cyclingjersey

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