Running on empty

Brace yourself for some negativity. I had two eventful runs this weekend.

The first was a 3ish-miler and the first group run I’ve done with Team Challenge. I’ve been to a couple Team Challenge events now and, after hearing everyone talk about running, was worried that this would happen. What would happen? This… I’m the only “kinda” runner. Or at least the only one that was there on Saturday.

Two people took off at the start, and before I had time to dwell in my own envy they were out of eye sight. And by the time I started second guessing whether I was on the right path, I had lost the group behind me. There I was. Somewhere in between a runner and not a runner, trotting down the path by myself (on my group run).

And I will add – the wrong path. In my defense, the run was not planned well. A Team in Training group happened to be training in and around the same area, and somewhere along the line I started following their markers. In doing so I missed a turn (whoa, deja vu). Conicidentally (and thankfully) there was actually a turnaround arrow chalked on the sidewalk. And even though I hadn’t seen the two front runners since they cantered off into the distance, I decided to turn around.

Long story short, I don’t actually know how far I ran and irritated my hip a bit in the process. Beautiful. Sarcasm aside, I did catch a girl once I was back on track and managed to bank a few minutes of team bonding. So I guess it wasn’t a total waste.

I also found some value in the nutrition and hydration clinic that followed the run. And (apparently) chose to drive the lessons home through practice…

On Sunday I met up with a co-worker in San Francisco for an 8 mile run. I was pretty nervous leading up to it. Partially because it had been about two years since I last ran 8 miles. Partially because of my hip. And largely because she’s faster than me.

I’ll just cut to the chase (no pun intended) and say that the run itself actually went fairly well. We ran from the panhandle to the beach through Golden Gate Park and back. The way there was tough. Despite the slight downhill, I felt like I was struggling to keep up. But I managed to maintain the pace, and even a little bit of conversation here and there.

We took a pretty serious break when we reached the ocean, which was fine with me. It gave me some time to stretch out my hip and my calves (which – side note – feel like bags of rocks these days), and learned that Katie thought I was the one setting the pace! We were both in favor of slowing it down on the way back, and I found that I felt great cardiovascularly. Despite the now slight uphill.

So there was the downhill. Then the uphill. Then the DOWNHILL.

I didn’t eat anything before the run or during the run, and only had a few sips of water during our mid-run break. I ate a little and drank some water after the run and headed down to Union Square for some shopping. I don’t know if it was the continued exertion (even if it was just walking) or delayed effects of the run, but I kept feeling worse and worse over the next couple hours. At 3:45 I found myself waiting for BART with a splitting headache and an overwhelming desire to lay on the couch. There was no (probably) about it.

As if that wasn’t enough, something – I still don’t know what – went down on the tracks in between Walnut Creek (my stop) and Lafayette (the stop right before Walnut Creek). The result? BART turned around and headed back to San Francisco. Jason had to come pick me up at the Lafayette BART station and drive me to my car at Walnut Creek. I didn’t get home until 6:15. Yuck.

This run makes it official. I’m a horrific mess when it comes to fueling myself for and during long runs. I NEED YOUR HELP! What do you do? Eat? Drink? What gear do you use?

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4 thoughts on “Running on empty

  1. I can't eat before long runs (I do them right after waking up), so I skip eating and eat GU Chomps along the way and sip on G2. Afterwards, I drink chocolate milk. After that settles, I'm usually starving and just eat whatever is in sight but keep drinking! The headache (at least for me) is usually if I'm dehydrated. It took me awhile to figure out my combo…start experimenting and you'll find what works for you.

  2. I don't usually eat before running either. For an 8-miler, I would at least drink Gatorade (calories + electrolytes + hydration). If you're not a fan of the G, you might try water and some sort of gel. 8 miles is a long way to go with no energy or hydration! Hope you're feeling better!

  3. You need more water! I would bet any money that your headache was from dehydration. Also, did you have any coffee that day? I did a long run once and followed it up with a coffee, BAD idea! HUGE headache for the remainder of the day. For me, eating during the run is not as important as drinking during the run. Good Luck Laura! Feel better soon.

  4. I have a Nathan Speed 2 hydration belt that I use for longer runs. I always just put water in mine because Gatorade is never refreshing enough. For fuel, I use Clif Shot Bloks because the gels are hard to choke down.I'd recommend a fuel belt of some sort to start, and then trying out different types of fuel. Everyone tends to have their own preferences!

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