For the last week I’ve been preparing for my first race of the season, The Yarkon Park Half Marathon. The race, which will be held this Friday, will be the first real race I try to run with my insulin pump.
The race is a small local race started by my coach 5 years ago, to provide a half marathon for runners participating in Sep.-Oct. marathons like the Berlin and Amsterdam marathons (both of which are popular among Israeli runners). The race has grown from 40 participants in the first year to over 500 this year. The entire race is in the park so no police involvement is necessary. Only a license from the city. There are no sponsors or medals – just runners, water stations, pacers (I think), a medical crew and some race timing equipment.
My plan is to break my not so impressive personal record from last November – 1:48:41 – set before the Tiberias marathon. Since then I have run two sub 4 marathons, improving my personal record twice. I feel faster and stronger and have been training well for the last few months. The only thing I am not confident about is my blood sugar control during the race.
I have run a 13+ mile run every week since getting my insulin pump two months ago, but I have stopped a few times during each of those runs to check my blood sugar. On many occasions I needed to take a gel to raise my blood sugar to the safe zone and a few times when I didn’t check in time (on shorter runs), I paid a price. Although I have not reached the point where I know exactly when I need to take my gels, I plan to run this half marathon the way I run all of my races – without stopping.
I plan to run a 2 mile warm up, before the race, after which I will check my blood sugar and most probably take a gel. Then, depending on how low or high my blood sugar is, I will decide when to start taking gels during the race itself. I imagine I won’t take more than two while running since the gels usually last for about an hour with my basal rate turned down to 30% (i.e. usually 50-60 minutes after taking a gel my BS is back where it started).
I know there is some risk involved but I think the worst case scenario is that I don’t finish the race, and most probably if I do go low I’ll just have to stop, check my blood sugar and then run at a slower pace for a few miles.
Race Update: Earlier this summer I decided to register for the Amsterdam Marathon. A few weeks ago I realized the date conflicted with Tom’s first sailing competition of the year. So I decided to find another race to run. I will most probably run the Tiberias marathon again, which is in January. This will give me plenty of time to get the pump under control.