Jan 6, 2008


i tried to come up with a more inspired title. but right now, post 21 miles, that one sums it up best. i have conducted every long run since the columbus marathon as a little experiment. an experiment in food & fueling. there could be no more crash landings on any sidewalks. i had to learn exactly what worked and didn't work while on the run. so while today's 21 miler was fairly miserable; i have learned what does and doesn't work. real food works. energy gels do not. and so i think these long run food and fueling experiemnts have been a success in that i know exactly what works now.

i got rid of sugar, i got my gi system back on track. i've since re-introduced sugar in small bits, and even dairy in small bits. the next step was to re-introduce energy gels and drinks on the run. we were waiting until longest run to start. since i wanted more than one shot at it, so there could be some comparison, we started last week. sadly, they don't go down so well. last week, all the sugar in the gels contributed to some extreme post-run soreness. this week, about four miles after the gel, my intestines announced their existence. my intestines have not made their presence known on a run in a long time; and really, they are not invited on my runs. i do not want to know they exist. today, they reminded me.

and so for the middle 7 miles i tried to work through the stomach pain. and i haven't had to do this in a long time. i was bummed. i was pissed. and i was miserable. i had some pretzels that i had packed helped to settle things down. once i got to mile 14, things were looking up. my stomach had settled and i was feeling a bit better. but around mile 16, my lower back decided it didn't want to run anymore, and so the last 5 miles of the 21 vascillated between moments of feeling fairly good and working through the back pain.

i think the hope here was that once i got all cleaned up, i could better tolerate things on the run - have a stomach of steel so to speak; able to take anything they handed out at a marathon. i don't think i'm here. maybe i will be someday, i just don't want to sacrifice another run to experimenting with it. two sacraficial runs are enough. i'm going to stick to my tried and true: clementines, bananas, pretzels and HEED. these were the things that fueled the happy runs. and even though i was running through miserable conditions on almost every long run, physically, i felt good. this was the food. real food. real food fuels happy runs.

so my husband will have to keep driving around town after i've left on a run to throw fruit out the car window onto the lawns of friends and complete strangers. and he assured me today as i sat in an ice bath and needed to be talked off the ledge; that he would deliver anything i needed to me on the run in birmingham. why can't they pass out bananas and clementines at races? it would make life so easy.

i'm a smart girl. really, i am. i know that all the runs can't be good. its hard. it was really hard today. hard is ok. but still. i hate the runs that make you think you can't do this. i'm blaming it on the gel. have to blame it on something. it would have been a fine run had it not been for that vile stuff. well, it would have been fine at least until my back started screaming at me. massage girl has her work cut out for her tomorrow.

ugh. i didn't want to be here. i didn't want to need to be talked off the ledge. twice. coach called too, after i emailed a cry for help. shit. i thought i was past this shit.


Vickie said...

Suzanne, I feel SO bad for you! I hope you figure this out! Have you tried the simple pbj? It works on long bike rides. No GI distress. Easy to digest. Maybe it will work.

zanne said...

no, no don't feel bad for me! i am just being a whiny pee-pee pants. its ok - i have figured it out ... real food is what works. i'll stick with the real food plan.

house on hill road said...

ok, you know my gi issues are a bit different, but i find that it takes a LONG time for positive changes to have a lasting effect. and it is a really short road back to bad gi stuff once i get off the wagon, so to speak. so hang in there and rock the whole foods. they work for you. just buy a couple of crates of clementines and stick them in the fridge so you have them longer.

yeah, i am going sugar free. tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Its these lousy runs that allow us to appreciate what we're up to as runners. We push and test ourselves sometimes harder than our bodies want. Now imagine you next long run when you feel good and pick it up the last mile to drop your pace 30 seconds. Your body will thank you for all these lousy runs. Enjoy your next run I can almost promise a great run!!!! UCANDOIIII

Nancy said...

oh bummer. but, really, you have something that works. You tried a little something else and now you have information. That is what you needed, now you know. The next one will be better. Hang in there.

Gotta Run..... said...

You crack me up. Was it not cold enough outside to skip the ice bath. Just playing... you are a smart girl for doing the ICE!

Loved talking with you. A trail event might one day be in our future to meet at. Who knows, maybe next time my husband has business in your neck of the woods we can all meet then.

This past long run may not have been your best but I can bet that it was not your worst!! You have come a long way so don't forget that.

monicac2 said...

This reminds me of a horrible 14 mile run (I know, just 14 miles, LOL - but it's the longest I've ever run) I had a couple months ago. It was so, so awful, and I was so miserable - I walked, and was covered in this white, dusty salt/sweat, and it was sposed to be 14 miles but was like 15.5 because of my math errors, and I was miserable because one of my friends who is my fierce competition ran with my normal running buddy and I for the first time all training season, and here I was, falling apart.

I was so, so miserable, but also happy - happy that it was not race (half-marathon) day that I had fallen apart, happy that I'd had a swift kick in the butt about being lazy about hydrating, happy that I'd been humbled on a day that was not race day.

Race day ended up great - not only because of the great runs I'd had (part of my lamenting was that all my training runs had been so good - why did I fall apart on the one where my "competition" was also running?), but also because of the lessons I learned from that bad run. I needed them all.

RunToTheFinish said...

I have tried many a time to eat gels and they never ever sit right with me...also to be honest I think they are more mental boost than real boost, but that's just me. If the food works, then congrats you've got a system and this race is going to be great...plus wowo you have a true blue hubby

Anonymous said...

OK, not being a distance runner, I'm amazed at the feat of running 21 miles at all, let alone with GI and lower back issues!

Also, I can't tell you how happy it makes me to know that it is possible to use whole foods as fuel for endurance events. If I can ever solve my gait problem, I do want to start running longer distances, or maybe train for a sprint triathlon, and I've always been a little skeptical of the whole gel and Gatorade thing from a nutritional point of view. Refined sugar is bad for you unless you're doing endurance events and then it's OK? Maybe it's a percentage of total calories thing, but still. Clementines sound a lot healthier (and yummier in general, I think).

Unknown said...

You need to run the Marathon du Medoc -- I swear there were at least 10-12 stations with bananas, orange slices, nuts and dried fruit (but I suppose the wine they also hand out might aggravate those GI issue!)

Laurel said...

Unfortunately, we need the bad runs to make the other ones seem easy. Or at least tolerable. But I know you know this...

Your husband sounds like a great guy.

Hang in there, you are doing a great job figuring all this out. You'll get there.