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Svend-Emil is an avid athlete, achieving provincially in high school sports, as well as a long time participant in ICD events, culminating in last summer’s 8 day, 116 km Bowron Lakes Paddle Circuit in BC. While he has lots of experience with many sports and outdoor activities, Svend-Emil decided to take on a new challenge: the Ed Whitlock Half Marathon in Waterloo, Ontario. He challenged himself physically as well as endeavouring to raise funds to support I Challenge Diabetes’ charitable programs. We are proud of Svend-Emil for his initiative to give back and congratulate him on reaching his goals – He finished 3rd in his age category with a time of 1:41:09 and raised over $600! Read on as he shares his training strategies as our guest blogger this month. 

Hi my name is Svend-Emil Poulsen, I’m 16 years old and on April 28th I ran my first half marathon while raising funds for I Challenge Diabetes.

In November of 2018 when I first decided to sign up for this challenge, I had many doubts in my mind. Was it possible for me to run that far? How would I manage my blood sugars while running for so long? How would I even prepare for something like this?

Up until this November I had been running for a bit over a year, but much less and the furthest I’d ever run was 10km -a half-marathon is 21.1km! It seemed like a very daunting task but I was up for the challenge. I spoke with one of my running coaches at school and made a plan for my training. I also developed a plan for keeping my blood sugars in check. I had to measure before, after, and often partway through my runs. I always carried some form of fast acting carbohydrates on me in case I was to go low, which happened a lot. 

After training for a month or so, I contacted Chris Jarvis at ICD and he gave me more advice and encouragement with my diabetes management. Besides testing and being prepared, I began thinking much more about when and what I was eating. I made sure I had enough carbohydrates to sustain my energy for longer runs. I also learned how big of a difference active insulin can make with changes in blood sugar while exercising. Using my insulin pump I set temporary basals while running, and carried my test kit with me for all my long runs.

Overall I am very happy with the whole experience, I learned lots from it and it has made my blood sugars more stable because of the increased activity.

By Svend-Emil Poulsen

Our community blog is written by a diverse group of ICD participants and supporters. We are grateful to be able to share the various perspectives of our community with you. These are opinions, not medical advice, and may or may not be right for you!

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