breaking rules

14 Apr

I am not a newbie runner anymore.  I know the “rules” for running.  And yet I seem to keep breaking them during this particular training cycle.  One of the cardinal rules of running is to eat the same things the night before/morning of an important training run and/or race.  I have ALWAYS kept to this.  For about a year now, we eat pizza on Friday night before a long run.  I’ve heard some people say that’s gross, that it’s not healthy enough, but I’ve never had issues if I do it.

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Last night, I went to monthly Girls’ Night Dinner, which we had to change from a weeknight to Friday night.  When we were deciding on a place to eat, we picked Half Moon Salads in an attempt to try something new.  I was excited–I really love salad, and it’s nice to find “fast food” joints that are also healthy.  Or at least comparatively healthy.

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As I was driving to meet the girls, I started thinking about the wiseness of eating something new the night before a planned 20 miler.  I wasn’t too sure that it was a good idea, but at that point, it was too late.  I got to the restaurant wishing I had eaten some bake-n-rise pizza and just gotten a drink and snack or something.   I ate my salad and hung out with the ladies for some good convo and girl bonding time.

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Last night, when I went to bed, my tummy was gurgling.  When I got up this morning, it was still not feelling right.  I really never have stomach problems on runs (or really ever, except if I eat something really fatty/greasy because we don’t eat that way often)–I’ve heard of the dreaded runner’s trots, but really never experienced them.  This morning, I nervously shoved some toilet paper into my water belt, just in case. 

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Sure enough, about an hour into the run, both of us needed to make a pit stop.  The lady at the gas station we stopped at wasn’t going to let us use the bathroom (only for employees) but then she let us (she must’ve seen the desperation in our eyes).  Eric went first and by the time he was done, my tummy had settled again.  We carried on.  When we got to Charlotte Beach about another hour in, I was so thankful for another bathroom chance.  Except the only bathrooms available were porta-potties, which have been out all winter (I’ve had to use them a few times on long runs this winter), and they no longer lock.  Lame.  I still couldn’t go to the bathroom, so we continued on.  I was happy with my time at that point–over 11 miles in and at 1:45:00.  I was remembering a time, not too long ago, when 9 miles took me that long.  Yay for progress.  My legs still felt good at this point, and the stomach issues were manageable–sometimes I’d have to slow the pace a little bit to let some cramps pass, but really I seemed OK.

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As we started up Lake Ave, the wind started whipping–right into our faces.  And I fell apart.  My stomach started cramping, the wind was SO cold, and I felt like I couldn’t move.  We decided to cut things short to be closer to home for bathroom purposes.  As we continued on, I started feeling like I was going to throw up.  At one point, I stopped at a sewer grate, hands on me knees, just waiting for it, while Eric encouraged me to “just let it go.”  Nothing came up, though.  Then I got a cramp that went from my back all the way around my side and under my boob–every breath I took hurt.  My stomach was still cramping like crazy, and I was alternating between feeling like I was going to shit my pants or puke.  I was miserable.

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We got home around 15 miles in–I used the bathroom and felt moderately better, so I changed shirts, Eric grabbed his bike, and we headed out for a little more.  I was another mile in, considering a run/walk for another 25 minutes, but Eric said he didn’t think that was going to help me much.  I thought about it, then agreed.  I’ve pushed through runs where I felt like puking, and then had to lay on the couch the rest of the day, recovering.  It’s just not worth it to do that.  I’m glad I called it when I did.  I had a really great run for the beginning 11 miles or so, and I know I would’ve been just as strong had my stomach been better and the weather remained calm (Eric actually said as we were in our last mile that he was glad we had started at 6:30 today, which is earlier than usual, so that we had as much time as we did running in relatively calm weather).

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Tonight, I feel mostly better.  My legs feel good.  I’m going to run tomorrow–probably 10ish miles?  Next weekend, I will try to get in 18-20.  I am not worried about not finishing–I know I will finish this marathon.  But I really have high hopes of running well and taking significant time off of my first marathon time.  I guess I will just run my long run next weekend, then race the Flower City the following weekend, which should give me a good indication of what my fitness level is and help me set more realistic marathon goals.  Stay tuned for updates on how that goes…

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