I turn off my headlamp and stumble, hands-on-knees, away from the trail and lie down in a ball. I don’t care about the wet ground or the leaves smeared against my face, and I certainly don’t care about my race anymore. I am vaguely concerned that someone will shine their own beam on me and come over to help. The only help I want is to lie here until the fire inside my gut settles down. I comfort myself with a resolute, this time I really mean it: Never Again.
I know I don’t really mean never. But for now anyway, I’m sticking to shorter races. I went into this race, the Dirty Girls 12 hour, with my stomach already bothering me for several weeks, and adding a few hours of sugar fueling did me in. Later I felt embarrassed that I didn’t even last until midnight (the race started at 8pm), but that was overridden by the reality that obviously there was more going on with me than a bad race. The irony is that I’d have lasted longer if I hadn't fueled at all.
Since then I've started eating more protein (tempeh is my new staple) to put carbs in a better balance, cut way back on the loads of fruit I was consuming, and eliminated practically all other sugar (bye bye Snickers). The difference in just a couple of days was phenomenal, with the bloating, abdominal pain and lethargy gone.
As far as running, I still need to figure out how much gel I can handle versus other foods, and what the best approach is for me. If the rest of my diet is in good balance, then I can definitely get away with more of the quick, easy fuel in races, but based on past experiences I still think I will do better with less sugar. Obviously I don't need to get all of this figured out to perfection (who ever does?) but somewhere more effective than 'lying beside the trail' is definitely required.
In the meantime, I’m looking forward to heading up to Haliburton in a couple of days. I had hoped to try to improve my time in the 50 miler, but that will have to wait. I’m going to run the 26k, and am really excited about it. I’ve also signed up for Run for the Toad 25k later in the month. There may even be room for one more race between these (maybe Whiteface?). Then who knows after that.
|View from beautiful little Mt. Jo, NY. I had the summit all to myself on our recent camping trip.|