JDRF, the type 1 diabetes charityStoriesWeek one of my JDRF Sponsored Swim: certainly a challenge, but interesting!

Week one of my JDRF Sponsored Swim: certainly a challenge, but interesting!

Author: Karen's story | Posted: 13 January 2017

This week I took my first plunge in my local swimming pool as part of the JDRF Sponsored Swim challenge, and it has been both challenging and interesting in terms of my type 1 diabetes control.

Karen Addington
Karen Addington

Taking the plunge

I am taking part in a virtual ‘Swim the channel’ in the weeks up to April. That is 21 miles in 12 weeks, the equivalent length of swimming the English Channel.

I have completed four swims so far each of 50 lengths.  The first one was tough as I didn’t realise it would take such a long time to swim that far.

This challenge is going to take some planning to fit it into my busy work life.

I had my younger son swimming with me on my first swim and both lapping me (he swam 80 lengths while I did my 50 lengths) and encouraging me to swim freestyle.

He’s not coming with me again!

The challenge and my type 1 control

The swim has been interesting in terms of my type 1 diabetes control.  I began by reducing my basal insulin by 50 per cent for two hours for the first three swims, but still had a low blood glucose level and needed some juice afterwards.

Read an expert’s guide to exercising and type 1 diabetes


After some advice from the diabetes online community stalwart The Grumpy Pumper who is training for the Ride LondonSurrey bike ride, on my fourth swim I reduced my basal by 80 per cent for an hour and a half and the result was much better.

Karen's blood glucose levels after yesterday morning's swim
Karen’s blood glucose levels after yesterday morning’s swim

I also read a paper from Pratik Choudhary about type 1 and exercise which I found useful and interesting.

As well as raising funds and awareness for JDRF I am hoping that I will get much fitter and improve my insulin sensitivity.

The challenge becomes international

The week after next I am travelling to San Francisco for a JDRF Chairmen and Chief Executives summit meeting.  There is a pool close to our hotel so I am planning to carry on swimming there.

I have also persuaded the Chairman of the JDRF International Board of Directors Mark Fischer-Colbrie and a JDRF colleague from Texas, Margo Lucero to do the swim challenge too.

I hope you might consider sponsoring me, to do so please click here.

Will you take the plunge and make a splash for type 1 diabetes?

The JDRF Sponsored Swim is for all ages and abilities and is ideal for families. There are four different distances: the full Channel Swim, the Half Channel and 1 and 2.1 mile swims.

Find out more