Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chippewa revisited

Ok, initially, I was pretty disappointed, I wanted to have a good day and instead I had stomach issues and an array of other irritants and I did not achieve what I wanted at least that's the way I felt after the race. Having given it a bit more thought, I did finish and I did beat last years time by 15 minutes, so that was an improvement. So, did I take Chippewa for granted, no, at least not consciously, but I definitely didn't come in thinking clearly or having a well thought through plan.

A bit after the race, I did do some additional math, if not for my wrong turn, I could have come in around 7:45 which would have seemed better, not the 7:30 I was expecting but better. So looking back, I survived and learned a lesson I didn't think I would need to learn again which is I will never come into a 50k (or any race for that matter) without thinking through everything.

I also confirmed that I was dehydrated based on re-reading Karl King's reports on Water Intake and Nausea and some additional investigation on my own. Although my hands were pretty swollen, all of the other symptoms were classic dehydration. I was so thirsty when I was done, my bodily functions took hours to return and then the output was pretty dark so the bottom line is I blew it with my hydration which probably led to the 2nd half slow (melt) down, my wrong turn, my headache, my frustration. Here is what else I know, coming into the race I thought I had a pretty good hydration plan, which was to run with my Nathan using its 70 oz bladder and then switching to my 50 oz camelbak bladder. If it went as planned, the 70 oz would have been consumed over the first 4 hours, the 50 oz over the last 3 hours and I had an extra bottle (16.9 oz) in the car that I figured I would grab and carry to the finish just in case I needed it. That is how I had trained, I had it figured out, it was working.

Instead, here is my reality. I drank not quite 50 oz out of my 70 oz Nathan bladder before I switched bladders at around 4 and 1/2 hours, I checked it after the race and was amazed how much was still in it, I did drink almost all of the 50 oz in the Camelbak in the final 3 and 1/2 hours and never used the extra bottle. So that means for my almost 8 hours of running, walking, kneeling I consumed around 100 oz of fluid, that means 12 oz per hour compared to a planned 17 oz per hour, so I was drinking about 30% less than I had in my training, oops. So I was 20 oz light minimum during the first 4 hours and possibly 30 oz since it was a bit warmer. Would I have been able to eat if I had taken in more fluid, I say no as I have never been able to but my guess is that I may have avoided the stomach issues, without the stomach issues I might have not missed the turn and I might have not slowed as much which would have meant I might have been within 10 minutes of a 7:30 so lesson learned again.

Even knowing that I was probably a bit dehydrated, I am still irritated by the stomach issues. For 15 years, I have struggled with stomach issues and I thought I was finally making progress. I have thrown up after many events, occasionally during the event and felt like !@x! for way too many both during and after. Just once when I finish a race I would like to be able to eat something, instead it seems every time I am getting close to figuring it all slips away. When I hear about the food after, I don't even think about it as I figure I won't be able to eat anyway. This year I tried a cookie, one bite is all I could take.

I have done all of my 50k's and 4 or 5 of marathons over the last year or so drinking just Clif Shot electrolyte, no water, and I thought it was starting to work. Up to and including Chippewa, I have yet to get sick (nausea is not sick, throwing up is), which is good. But I have yet to be able to eat anything afterwards. It takes me hours and hours before I can eat. Am I the exception or the norm in this area, as it looks to me that I see most people eating? Just once would like to be able to do that.

Ok, my rant is over but if you have advice on what works for you, I am open to learning so drop me a note or an email and let me know.

Final and most important thought, I need to remember that I run for enjoyment, yes I would like to be faster but not at the expense of enjoying the experience. I will never win the race or probably my age category but I can I always finish and for me that is a victory. So for Chippewa next year, I am bringing my camera and taking pictures throughout the race. It's too nice an area not to capture some of it on film. If it costs me some time so be it, if I train better, plan better the time will be better and if it isn't that's ok as I will enjoy every minute with the exception of the final hill and maybe I will enjoy that too and if I slow down some who knows maybe I will be able to eat some of that chili and have a leinies :-)


Kel said...

Does your stomach act up on training runs too, or just races?

Ginger in some form (I carry crystallized ginger aka candied ginger in a small baggie) can help settle an upset stomach. Zombie Runner carries several different kinds of ginger candies, or you can get crystallized ginger at some grocery stores in the spice section (or Penzey's spices).

Matthew Patten said...


Sorry I didn't get a chance to say hi. I was sitting in the chair at finish when you came across, but was rather focused on not screwing up the recorded numbers (Larry, Eve, and Nancy gave me crap at first for not paying attention :)

I struggled with some of the same issues last year, and you will be surprised at what has held it off so far.

1 - Lose body fat - Once I lost 10 pounds, I felt like a new man. The body fat insulates you and makes it harder for your body to cool.

2 - Consider different types of food during training and racing. There has been a lot written on how much water it takes to break down certain types of carbs. If your body is using a lot of water to digest food, it might be using water for essential body cooling. (the is an extreme over simplification).

Trial and error = experience.

Experience = longevity

Keep at it. Not many people in this world can make it through that course like you did.

Missing course markings is.... part of the game. When you lose concentration, it is really easy to do. Real Easy

SteveQ said...

I get hand swelling in long races and, counter-intuitive as it is, it's a sign of dehydration. So, you're down to just one problem.

Mike W. said...

Kel - yes I have issues in training but it depends on how long I run and how hard I push it, usually it takes 4 hours or longer. I also just don't bother to try and eat afterward. I have been trying boost right after and I have been able to tolerate it.

Matt - no problem, I wasn't probably feeling overly social and it's not my nature anyway. Next time I will say hello. Body fat for me might not help as I had the issues when I was much leaner. It would help my times however so I will be working on that and who knows it might help now. Food choices will probably become my focus along with fluid intake monitoring.

Steve - good to know and maybe dehydration is my main issue.

Thanks everyone


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