“Diabetes poses hurdles, but hurdles are meant to be jumped over,” says 24-year-old Jacob Rothstein who has been living with Type 1 diabetes (T1D, or type 1) for almost 4 years and is currently training for the New York City Marathon this fall.
“I always like a good competition and pushing myself,” says Jacob. “I not only wanted to do this marathon to push myself and accomplish a difficult task, but to show that it can be done with diabetes, to prove to others that diabetes does not have to hold you back in any way shape or form.”
As the race is nearing, Jacob’s training is in full swing but will soon reach its peak. His training runs take place on Tuesdays (a shorter 5-mile run), Thursdays (a medium 8-mile run), and Saturdays (a long run of increasing distance, most recently, 19 miles).
“I felt great! 19 miles was the longest I have ever run, and I felt like I could have run the whole 26,” he said. Jacob has found success in maintaining his blood sugar during these long-distance workouts by eating more carbs the night before and about 15 g every 30 minutes until the end of his distance. He said he purposely aims for a higher blood sugar of about 200 mg/dl at the start of his run, and his endocrinologist has suggested he use the temporary basal feature on his Omnipod® System to reduce the amount of basal insulin that is delivered during and after his run.
“So far, this has been working,” he said. “Although sometimes I am chasing post-run high blood sugars, which I hate.”
On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays Jacob does weight training. And on Sundays he tries to take his bike outside for a light bike ride if he is feeling up for it, but more recently, he has used this is a rest day since his running mileage has increased. In short, Jacob hasn’t stopped moving despite a recent diagnosis of IT Band Syndrome. Because of this, Jacob is also participating in a PT program, which he says is definitely helping.
Although Jacob is spending a lot of time preparing his 26.2-mile trek through New York City on November 3rd, his everlasting dedication to help those living with T1D doesn’t sleep. Jacob currently works with us here at Insulet Corporation, the creators of the Omnipod® System, as an Inside Sales Specialist. This means Jacob works with potential new customers interested in trying the Omnipod® System. He reaches out to gain insight into their diabetic journey, why they chose Pod Therapy, and how using our system will most benefit them both health wise and cost efficiently.
“What I like most about the position is that I get to help clients make the most informed decision about their pump therapy. I get to help them in a style that is unique, offering them insight not only from a sales rep’s standpoint but also from a type 1 and user’s standpoint. This resonates well with my customers as it pertains to not only product knowledge but establishing trust with them,” Jacob says.
“The first year was very gloomy,” says Jacob, describing life after his diagnosis with type 1 diabetes at age 20. “I felt like I did not know who I was and was very discouraged about having to do things differently,” he admits. Carb counting, injections, and continuously keeping track of your blood sugar is a lot of work, and certainly takes getting used to.
But Jacob was not about to back down. He had always been an athlete; from playing lacrosse and soccer in high school, to ice hockey and snowboarding recreationally. He never ran cross country or track, and because of that, running was a whole new world for Jacob. But he decided to give it shot when he entered college.
“My first running competition was a 5K my freshman year of college. I then did two other 5K’s and continued to keep myself in shape,” Jacob says. All of his hard work, sweat, tears and the Omnipod® System led him to persevere and run his first Half Marathon, tube-free, in June 2018.
Jacob continued to prove his immense determination when he decided to sign up for the TCS New York City Marathon. “Seeing as I only plan to do one marathon in my lifetime (I say that now) I wanted to make sure that I did it right and went big. This led me to realize that I wanted to do NYC, as it is the largest marathon in the world” Jacob says.
But Jacob isn’t facing this massive challenge alone. Jacob is a part of the team Beyond Type Run, which is a tenacious community of runners living with type 1 and running NYC, organized by the advocacy organization Beyond Type One. He has the support of 30 teammates who know exactly what it’s like managing type 1 diabetes every day alongside work, training, and life. “All of our training is geared in a way for managing type 1 while competing. This allows me to feel a strong connection with my teammates as we take this challenge on together to destroy stereotypes and show what living beyond type 1 looks like” Jacob says.
Every dollar raised for the team directly supports efforts to educate, advocate, and cure type 1 diabetes, which Jacob says, makes running this marathon even more worthwhile.
The Beyond Type Run team has a platform where they share their fitness journeys while living with T1D. This includes sharing habits on monitoring their blood glucose levels, what are good sensible snacks, and how to use temporary basal programs.
“It’s been a great experience training with others who have type 1 and tackling any challenges we experienced that week.” Jacob said one recent issue was that he had to travel for business and experienced high blood sugar from eating out and being out of his routine. This led to emotional frustration in how it affected him physically and emotionally. “It has been a big crutch being able to work through difficulties like this with other Type 1’s!”
In addition to giving and seeking advice, the team also shares pictures to update one another on their fitness journeys, and to inspire one another to endure their training.
“It has been very nice and reassuring seeing people going through things I have experienced,” Jacob adds. “I am really looking forward to meeting the other 29 runners in New York.”
The Omnipod® Team is cheering on Jacob for the race of his life, keeping the power of the Pod on his side, and running the marathon tube-free.
Go Jacob! Way to be, Podder™ Strong!
-Jillian Bowdring and Amy Drauschke