Thursday, August 8, 2013

Whatever you do - DON'T BONK!

As I mentioned in an earlier post this week, I am right smack in the middle of the hardest two weeks of training for IM Wisconsin.  This morning I headed out on my 18 miler with a pouch full of gels, endurolytes and a good attitude.  I was ready to check this workout off.  

I have done an Ironman, a few marathons and have run 18 miles at least 15-20 times before.  Never during any of those have I bonked.  Until today.  For those of you who don't what bonking is, it is sudden exhaustion or loss of energy when the glycogen stores in the muscles is depleted.  It can cause people to act a little loopy, get lightheaded, cry or just sit down on the side of the road.  As an endurance athlete you definitely want to avoid this.  Avoidance can be achieved by properly fueling throughout the workout. 

Around mile 13 I took my last gel and it just tasted awful.  I could not choke it down.  What I did ingest sat in the top of my stomach for the next two miles and made me want to yak (sorry for bluntness but really best description).  I had been craving Gatorade for a couple miles already and by mile 16 I NEEDED it.  My training partner, Elisabeth, and I were approaching a food hut on the lake and had already established we had no cash on us. I wondered if I could just give the vendor my credit card number in exchange for an ice cold Gatorade.  I tried to recite my credit card number in my head and I could not get it straight.  Hold up.  I  KNOW my credit card number.  But I could not get the numbers right in my head.  Ummm, this was bad.  

I told Elisabeth and we cut off the path and headed straight for Seven Eleven, about a half mile away.   All I could think about was putting one foot in front of the other and not falling flat onto my face. I ran in and slammed a fruit punch Gatorade while she ran home to grab some cash.   My super hero in her Spark gear was back in 5 minutes with a twenty and by then my head was on straight.   I ran my last 1.3 miles with my tail between my legs and a spark in my step after that yummy, sugary drink.

The good news is that we train to avoid these situations on race day, so here is what I took away from today:

1) Two gels is my max per run.  After that I need to switch to a chomp or drink or something that is a different consistency.  I actually knew that already, but pushed my luck today.

2) Don't skip dinner. It has been a busy week here.  Gene is traveling and between work, training and mommyhood I did not have a lot of time for dinner last night.  A bowl of Cheerios at 7:30 pm is not gonna cut it the night before an 18 miler.

3) Always bring cash on a training run. I typically do but since I was running with Elisabeth today just did not think about it.  If I had gotten that Gatorade at mile 14 I could have completely avoided this situation.

4) Running with a partner is good.  No matter how much you plan, when you start to run long distances, it is really great to have someone there to have your back.  Thanks, E!

Hopefully that is it for setbacks for a while!  Happy training/racing weekend, it is going to be a good one in the Midwest!
-Coach A

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