Saturday, March 2, 2013

Running on empty

Last Saturday I went for an 11.1 mile long run. About two hours after the run, just as I was sitting down for lunch, I was overcome by nausea. It was terrible. I almost didn’t eat, but thought food might help. I ate very slowly and soon felt better. Weird.

Today, I decided to try an 11.2 mile run. After mile 8, my legs started to feel tired. After mile 9, my legs were really tired, but I was determined to improve on last week’s run and kept going. At 11.22 miles I was exhausted and finally stopped running. It was cold, in the 20s, and I never really warmed up like I usually do. By the time I got to my car I was shivering. I downed a bottle of very cold water and headed for home.

When I got home, I took a nice hot shower and then proceeded to make lunch – soup and sandwich. The minute I opened the can of soup (Progresso, the good stuff), I was once again overcome by nausea. It was so bad I had to go lie down for a few minutes. My stomach was ills and hungry at the same time. I asked my husband if he could finish making lunch, and he did. I sat at the table and stared at my food. The nausea was getting worse. I picked at my sandwich and sipped the soup. After a half hour, I had managed to eat most of it and the nausea was finally receding.

So on the two longest runs of my running career; I was racked with nausea within a few hours. Probably not a coincidence so I headed to the internet to see what was going in. After reading about a number of runners experiencing them same thing after runs of 9 miles or more, I knew what was going on. Dehydration.

My summer running buddy.
In the summer, I carry water for longer runs, but in the winter, there’s no way I’m going to carry a bottle of cold water with me. And all the water fountains at the Park are turned off so they don’t freeze. I also drink at least three cups of coffee on the weekend. Coffee is a great dehydrator. The cold weather isn’t helping either. The body wants to keep its extremities warm so it pulls blood away from the stomach which means even if I was drinking water, it might just sit in my stomach and slosh around.

So what do I do? The obvious answer is to run less miles when it’s cold. That’s going to be hard because I have a half marathon coming up in May and the longest distance I’ve done is 11.22 miles. On race days, I have one cup of coffee and hydrate like crazy at least two days before. I should probably do this for long run days as well. I could also put a bottle of water on the hood of my car and make my car part of the course. I run near my car at least four times. It wouldn’t be hard to alter my run and stop for two seconds to gulp down some water. I doubt anyone is going to take it. I’ve never tried sports drinks because I’ve read they don’t hydrate any better than water, but they contain electrolytes and sodium which is lost through sweat. The lack of sodium is what causes nausea. I could also carry a bottle of water or sports drink.

Live and learn. I’ll be better prepared for next Saturday and maybe it will be a little warmer. It is March finally. On a positive note, I didn’t have even a hint of side stitch. I was probably running too slow.

11.22 miles, 1:49:24 miles (I really slowed down after mile 7), 9:45 pace (kind of sucky)

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