I woke up this morning, pumped for my six mile run (longest run to date) and excited to experiment with my samples of fuel, and what do I hear? Rolling thunder, wind and rain. My initial response: Dang it, dang it, dang it! Wind and rain, I’m comfortable with. Rolling thunder and lightening, on the other hand, was something I’m not going out in. Not for six miles. Luck was thankfully on my side, and it cleared enough that I could safely run my six. Armed with some Body Glide, a few Jelly Belly Extreme Sport Beans, a packet of raspberry Carb Boom! energy gel, my husband’s GPS and my eyeliner (yes, eyeliner), I was all set to tackle my run. I had a few fresh strawberries and handful of Sport Beans while the GPS located satellites, and did the stretches I was told would help prevent the calf pain I’ve been having. Then I was off!
What an awesome run! I ran throughout Historic Downtown New Albany, admiring all the homes built between the mid 1800’s to early 1900’s. Sigh…love. I was a little bummed to see the house I’ve admired, loved, longed for is no longer for sale. Congratulations, new home owners. I want your house. I did not, however, like running on the 100+ year old brick sections of the sidewalk in the Historic area. They were beautiful and partially moss covered, but were a craptastic running surface, and I felt all wobbly and unstable.
Again, overall, awesome run. I ran faster than I’ve been running, and felt pretty darn good. The stretches seemed to have worked as I was calf pain free. I did, however, have some stiffness in my neck and some right-sided epigastric pain (apparently, the right side of my body is just jacked because that side has all the problems) around mile 3.5. Mile 3.5 to 4.5 was rough. I hit a bit of a wall and walked for about a total of two minutes (two separate 1 minute walking stints), and that helped with the pain. Naturally, I later Googled my complaint and ran it by my long distant runner husband. What I found:
Abdominal pain in runners is a very frequent problem. The two most common areas involved are,
- the abdominal wall muscles (“stitch”) and
- the gastrointestinal system.
In the former, cramps occur as a result of very vigorous breathing and are thought to be related to decreased oxygen supply to these muscles. Usually, slowing down and grabbing or massaging the affected muscle will alleviate the pain. Triathletes have the added burden of having to exercise in 3 different body positions. The change from one sport to another can put sudden demands on a muscle group that may not have been as extensively used in the preceding sport.
Gastrointestinal (GI) complaints take a variety of forms — eructation (belching), flatulence, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating, intestinal cramps, and stomachache. Running causes more GI complaints than swimming and cycling. In some studies on marathon runners and triathletes, up to 40 – 50% experienced some form of GI complaint.. While not everything is understood about why this happens several concepts have emerged from the literature. Dehydration contributes significantly to GI disturbances, especially when >4% of body weight has been lost, and the pre-race diet is very important.
I believe my complaint was of the “stitch” variety.
What my run taught me
As I do with every run, I learned something new. This run, I learned the importance of using Body Glide on my feet. Who knew? Also, trying to choke down energy gel sans water is DISGUSTING, and I do not care for the raspberry flavor Carb Boom! gel. The grape pomegranate that I had post run was divine. My hubby is going to bring me a box home. I was pleasantly surprised how quickly the gel seems to work and thoroughly enjoyed the energy burst I got from it.
Another thing I learned, I really need to start carrying water with me on my long runs to keep hydrated and all that jazz, and it is a total must to chase gel with water. It says so on the package, but I can be hard headed about things and sometimes just have to learn the hard way for something to stick. I haven’t gotten thirsty during a single run, at least not in this weather, but I got schooled today in the importance of hydrating during your run. So next week when I do my seven mile run, I will be bringing water with me. I wonder if I can find a cute fuel belt? I could borrow my husband’s, but I kind of want my own. And I want it to be cute. Hell, I put eyeliner on before going for a run. I’m the kind of girl who likes to be cute in all that I do. Why not? 🙂 I’m also thinking about wearing a tutu over my leggings for one of my runs. Maybe the 10K. Again, why not?
Lastly, I learned that I am brimming with confidence now when it comes to my ability to run the Derby City Marathon. With just under two months to go, I am right on track with my runs, and my long runs are getting easier and easier. I now have done the distances for the first two races of the Triple Crown (5K and 10K), and am fully ready to run them (March 3rd for the 5K and March 18th for the 10K). A month ago, six miles seemed incredibly daunting. Now that I’ve done a distance that’s just under half of the mini marathon distance, I’m feeling pretty confident about my ability to run 13.1. That’s one amazing feeling!