Once you’ve been a runner for a while, your sense of shame decreases precipitously. You’ll change anywhere and any tree is considered sufficient coverage for a bathroom break. In fact, if you are a male racer at Boston or Vermont City, the side of the road with your back to other racers is evidently considered adequate coverage. Over the past year, I’ve changed in Gutterson Garage countless times and peed in an apple orchard and on the side of 89.
This week’s motivational picture from Runner’s World is offered in that vein.
I’m having a fuel issue. Two workouts a day mean that my calorie requirements are enormous and I’ve done a poor job of meeting them, resulting in lethargic workouts and exhaustion. I’m bonking in workouts and there are ketones in my urine, a sign that I’m burning muscle for fuel because my body is literally starving. (I struggle with this enough that I regularly check my blood sugar and pee on ketone strips after long workouts.)
Part of the problem is the sheer bulk of food I need to consume to power my workouts. I’m burning upwards of 2000 calories a day with workouts, plus the regular calories I need to exist. I don’t particularly care about food (as in, I’d take intravenous nutrition if it were practical), which means that I’m likely to skip a snack or meal. The other problem is that under stress, I have no appetite. Before my long run on Sunday, getting down one packet of oatmeal was a challenge. Not surprisingly, I was hungry by mile 6 and bonking by 9.
Thankfully, with a mom who’s an RD, I have a backup plan. When food makes me gaggy, I can often tolerate liquids, which means that until my stress level comes down or my appetite comes back, I’m drinking a lot of juice, Ensure, chocolate milk and protein shakes. I’m back to carefully menu planning, so that I can’t wiggle out of dinner by eating a string cheese.
You need to fuel well to run well and over the next few weeks, I need to be more vigilant about fueling the workouts I’m asking my legs to carry me through.
5Ks bring a special kind of pain. Unlike the marathon, which feels easy until about mile 20, the 5K hurts at the start, in the middle and at the end. Badly. As a result, I am happy to announce that I survived the First Run 5K with only a little vomit (not my own), fleeting discomfort and a hissy fit that only lasted through my cool-down.
We had bizarre weather this weekend. New Year’s typically finds us firmly below zero, but highs on Saturday were close to 50, beautiful weather for a race. At the start, many of us remarked that we weren’t even slightly cold in tee shirts and shorts. Those in costume were almost definitely overheated. (My personal awards? The two-women bobsled teams, the Gingerbread Man and Spiderman, whom I suspect ran the entire race in character).
I am a terrible short distance runner, so didn’t have great expectations, especially coming off a stomach bug and fueled primarily by cookies and brie. I resigned myself to the simple goals of survival and a smart race and went 1 for 2.
I started way too fast, ticking off the first mile somewhere around 6:10, totally inappropriate for my current fitness. Per usual, I got distracted during the second mile and my pace dropped precipitously. Even other ponytails passing me failed to kick me into gear. I hit the second mile around 13:20. I did manage to collect myself in the third mile, finishing in 20:03. My prize for finishing? Vomit down the back of my legs, courtesy of the runner behind me, second worst chute experience ever.
Lessons learned? Don’t get pulled along in a hard start. Work more on turnover. Run more 5Ks so they hurt less and you finally figure out how to pace. Brie and cookies are not great running fuel.
Congrats to all 600 some runners who kicked off the New Year in style.