Must. Have. Sugar.

Last week I invested in some new running shoes. My previous pair, the Adidas Supernovas, had carried me through the NY Marathon, but only when paired with off-the-shelf insoles. The Supernovas didn't offer much arch support, and without the new insoles they left bruises on my arches. I have really, really flat feet, so I'm prone to overpronation, so to speak.
Fortunately, most motion control running shoes are cheaper than the average running shoe. Most manufacturers' top-of-the-line running shoes aren't motion control models. This time around I didn't want to have to buy separate insoles. I ended up with a pair of Saucony and a pair of New Balance motion control shoes to alternate with. Both had wide toe boxes to accommodate my toe-side-wide flippers.
Though stores let you test shoes out on treadmills or out around the block, you still never know just how well a pair of shoes fits you until you've put a few miles into them, which is why I cruised down the East River Park to the Brooklyn Bridge last Friday afternoon. The weather has been erratic lately, but on my return trip the sun was strong. Back at my apartment, I had to sit for a long time to cool off before jumping into the shower. I hate getting out of the shower while my core temp is still high and sweating some more. By the time I'd dressed, I didn't have time for dinner before catching a showing of The Odd Couple down on Broadway.
While waiting for the subway uptown, I bought a roll of SweeTarts and a tiny bag of gummy bears, two of my favorite candies. During the show, as Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick mugged on stage, I snuck one candy after another into my mouth, trying to chew discreetly. By intermission, I'd consumed all my sweets. You medheads can probably sense where this horror story is headed.
After the show let out, about 10:45pm or so, the plan was to grab dinner. My friend got called back into work, though, so I walked her back to her office and then headed out in search of food. A bit past 11:00pm, another friend called and said a bunch of folks were congregating at Katz's Deli for food and drinks in half an hour. Could I wait and join them there for a meal?
My stomach wasn't rumbling, so I agreed. As I walked towards the nearest subway stop, I started to feel hot inside, an odd sensation on such a cool evening. I pulled off my jacket, but it didn't help. I started to sweat, at first a little, and then a lot. I've never sweat like that in my life. Then my head started to spin, and my legs went weak. I could barely stand up, and at each street corner I held onto lampposts for dear life. What was happening to me?
My only thought was that I probably needed food. I'd bonked on a bike before, but it felt nothing like this. I staggered into the next restaurant I saw. The name of the place escapes me. A red lantern with a Japanese character on it was hanging out front, and I practically fell through the front door, a few smokers out front shooting quizzical looks my way. The hostess inside gave a start when she saw me, perhaps because I looked like I'd just emerged from four hours in a sauna. I signaled for 1 with my index finger, and she escorted me to the bar, where I sat and put my head down on the counter.
The bartender brought the usual Japanese restaurant amenities. I've never been so thankful for a wet towel, which I used to wipe my face and neck. I couldn't stop sweating, and now my hands were shaking. I ordered a coke, then called Alan and Sharon. Thankfully Sharon was up, and when I told her what was going on, she calmly diagnosed hypoglycemia and recommended something with sugar, like a fruit juice. When my coke arrived, I chugged it like I was chasing something awful, then immediately ordered another. A few appetizers dropped in front of me, and they disappeared just as quickly. By the time my meal was over, I'd stopped sweating and no longer felt like passing out.
Let's rewind to the start. After the run, my blood sugar was low. Then I shocked my system with the candy, and the sugar overload caused my body to release insulin. By the time the show was over, my body was entering insulin shock. I only know this now because Derek told me that researchers study hypoglycemia by doing roughly what I did to myself, except they give patients glucose drinks instead of SweeTarts and gummy bears. Self-experimentation isn't all that safe when done outside a controlled environment. Passing out on a dark street late at night in NYC? Not priceless.