Wow, talk about my body rebelling! I mean this is the 3rd year I have run this course, and it is not the most difficult of 50 mile courses. I felt like shit run over by a tractor, dried out, and then beat to death with a muddy carpet!
But that is all part of the fun of ultra running! The thing that made me mad was that I was really faithful on following Elena's dietary, electrolyte, and fluid replacement recommendations, and I still felt horrible. It was a stressful week at the CJC, maybe that was part of it. My week started with Monday, being a day spent with a client in crisis, Thursday, some tough therapy sessions, and Friday, my boss having some heart issues that I was trying to help her with. Although I made sure I got sleep Thursday night, Friday did not go as planned. I had planned on leaving work at 5pm, getting my race packet from Striders , and then sleeping on the Island.
This did not work out because I was tied up until after 8pm, and so I finally left Lindon around 9pm. I stopped into Walmart to get some last minute food for my drop bags, and a meal for my 2am feast before the race. Elena is telling me to eat 200g of carbohydrates 3-4 hours before the start of the race, which means I have to wake myself up and eat, and then go back to sleep. I bought a hoggie from the Walmart pre-made food section, a Coke, and some other random stuff high in carbohydrates. I then went to the parking lot, and made a bed with my thick subzero sleeping bag that my parents gave us for Christmas a couple of years ago. I have been really glad to have these bags, because they make the back of my van very comfortable and I just sleep at the start line for races! This was especially important because the Island closes at dark, so camping on it was not an option.
The weather on Friday was scary. It was snowing, and the temp was freezing. I was worried, and I ended up packing a lot of warm weather clothes even though the forecast was nice for Saturday, I don't trust Utah because the weather often changes different than the weatherman predictions.
I ended up driving to the gate of the Island, and parking just off the side of the road to sleep. I was quite bushed, and I woke up without my alarm at the right time to eat, and then went back to sleep until 4:30. When I woke up that hoggie didn't feel right, and I thought I was going to hurl. I went and got my race bib. I have been the first person to register for two years in a row, making my bib number 1 for the second year in a row! It is funny to be number one, when that is the only time you have had that number as a finisher :) I drove to the start line where I spent 30 minutes in slow motion getting dressed, and then taking my drop bags to the start line.
Then Jim Skaggs, gets on the half working megaphone with whatever is on that hat of his (is that a Beaver or some kind of inbreed alien?) tells us where to run.... go that way for a while, and then turn that way, and then..... clear as mud...j/k. And then we start. The temp was cold, but not as cold as I thought it might start out. I was feeling horrible for the first 2.5 miles, and then I started to feel a little better, just having those indigestion burps that come up like rotten eggs, and make you want to hurl. I don't know if it was the sandwhich or the Village Inn lunch that I had eaten with another intern at the CJC earlier on Friday. Or maybe just the stress. I started doing better around the backloop. I still took it a little slow, because I always approach the first 13 miles of this course more conservatively and make up a lot of time later, at least that has worked in the past. got to Elephant Head, and I made that loop pretty quickly, and then picked up a lot of time down to White Rock Bay (around 19 miles) I did have a bit of trouble the last mile down to White Rock, but it was a psychological weird thing. I got to my drop bag, and stripped down to a tank top. It helped with the nausea to be more on the cool side. I saw my friend John Bozung taking pictures as I prepared for the next phase. I never take Advil in a race, I am too afraid of it effecting my kidneys, but I decided to take 400 mg because I had a muscle in my calf tightening and poping. That was a really strange feeling. It didn't hurt, it just popped for about a mile, and then it stopped. I walked up to mile 20, and then I ran again. I was doing fine until I hit mile 25, and then started to lose energy. I got to mile 27, changed my pants (I have a bad bladder leakage problem I wish I could figure out how to fix. So far I am working with a urologist and the medication he tried made it worse, and then my last appointment he was in surgery, so I won't get to have any other ideas until I go in this Friday. Yes, I know that is really probably TMI, but if you are a female you should know about this problem. It causes major chaffege, and it rather embarrassing.) I fueled up and was doing better for a couple of miles but then my energy bonked 3 miles from the Ranch.
I came into the Ranch feeling like I was going to pass out. I was mad, because I was not going to have another DNF, especially not on my easiest course of the year! When I got there, I figured out my blood sugar was low. I ate a whole PB&J, cookies, oranges, and I don't know what else! I ate a ton, went to the bathroom, and felt a bit better. I was still dizzy, but just took it slow back to the Lower Frary aid station. At this point I figured I could walk the course at 3 miles per hour or less, and still finish in under 12.5 hours. So I walk/ran, and then when I got to the aid station, my energy was gone again. I had been drinking water at a rate of 5-10 oz every 15 minutes consistantly throughout the course. I was doing 2 scaps per hour, and eating 30-60 grams of carbs at all the aid stations. I suspected at that point, that maybe my body was needing smaller amounts of carbs more frequently, instead of eating it all at once since I was eating enough, but crashing, and my urine was starting to smell like acetone.
I took a handful of dates and started on the last 11.5 mile stretch. I felt horrible, but nibbling on dates, did help keep my blood sugar more even. I had to stop a couple of times to regain my equalibrium, but I just kept an even walk/run pace. I got to the aidstation at mile 44, and was not feeling great, and my husband and kids where there to cheer me on. It was glad they were there, but it was funny because my body was so off at that point that hearing them yell actually made me more puky! It was like I couldn't handle any extra stimulation at that point. My husband was really nice and peeled me a whole orange, so I could carry some food with me and keep my blood sugar up. I felt week, but made it to the Bridger Bay campground at mile 45.8 where John Bozung was there and gave me some Enlighten strips. I have not been a believer in them as being more special then Scaps, but I am wondering if because I hate drinking electrolyte drinks, and get most of my electrolytes from scaps, if it is not all absorbing fast enough. I might actually have to try to have some of those on the next race, and see if I stay more even!
The last 4 miles was hell! I was having major breathing issues. I seem to have this problem on dusty trails. At the end I feel like I am drowning in fluid. The funny thing was, my legs felt just fine the whole race, but between my energy dips, and lung issues, running was hard. So I was slow the last 4 miles, but I made it in 12:08 and was happy to be done with this one! I was more happy that I didn't listen to my mind and DNF.
So I think I am learning a few things about my body from this race. I need to eat carbs every 15 minutes, I need a faster absorbing source of electrolytes with teh scaps. I think the biggest thing that made it harder was that my last race was at the end of October, and my training has not been great in the winter. So this is like waking my body out of hybernation. After I had a tough time on Bear last year, I ran St. George marthon 1 week later, and felt fine, and did a fight the next week, and then ran OV 50 the next week. OV 50 was my easiest course all year. I did a PR on that course even though I felt like I was not putting much effort into speed because I was only out to have fun and finish that one! I took off 25 minutes of that course, and probably could have taken off a lot more time if I would have actually been trying :)
I am sure my body will adapt now. From this point on, I have at least 1 50 mile course, event, or activity planed until the end of October, and I think my body will do better. It seems like the closer the runs are, the better my body adapts, and does not crash. A winter full of grad school, and fewer long runs made this a hard course. But it was still a great day, and I am glad I finished! This is my 3rd year running Buffalo, and I wasn't about to break a streak! Plus, my main goals are to finish Wasatch 100, and finish the two courses I DNFed last year. So finishing this race while feeling so horrible was probably a good psychological test of toughness when it comes to how I might feel on Wasatch!
After the race I sat down with Colleen Ford, and a couple of other people (sorry I didn't catch their names) and ate Jim's famous buffalo stew, and drank a Coke out of my finishers mug. I then drove out to the local Walmart and parked, and took a nap for an hour an a half. I woke up tired, and nauseated, and drove to a 7-11 where all I could think of to get some of the carbs, and fats I needed was nachos and cheese and gatoraid. When I am that bushed, my normal healthy eating habits become non-important. After eating and drinking enough to get my blood sugar and electrolytes back to normal, I drove toward home, but got really tired again and pulled off 9 miles from the Lindon exit to sleep. I slept for another 1.5 hours before I could be awake and alert enough to drive the last 17 minute stretch. I don't think I have ever been that wiped out from a 50 miler. I usually can jump in the car and drive home no problem! It was strange!
I got home and work up a few times and took scaps and ate figs throughout the night, and slept until 12pm. Then I decided I needed some fats and protein, and couldn't find anything in the house, so I went to Sonic and after eating 3/4 of a burger and a milkshake came home and puked. The only time I have ever puked after a race! Maybe it is because normally I hate fastfood, I don't know, but then I have felt better since then, and my legs actually are not very sore at all. They were only a little sore last night, and hardly any soreness today. Just my body trying to adjust back to normal. It took until this afternoon for the acetone urine smell to start to go away, so I know my body is metabolizing more normally finally.
I am not sure what is causing the acetone, but the research I did on it makes me thing my body either wasn't utilizing carbs because I was eating too much and then having too long of a space between eating again. It was never more than an hour, but I think I need to eat 15 grams of carbs every 15 minutes. Maybe my body will adapt more now that I will be running longer runs closer together, that probably has something to do with how well my body metabolizes.
I think part of the fun of racing, is that there is no hard fast rule about how to fuel in an ultra event. The same thing doesn't work for everyone, and you have to find out what works for you.