Thursday, August 25, 2011

Major Overhaulage Needed

Running hasn't been working so well for me lately.

I've run 3 races in the past few months.
The Mississauga Half-Marathon
The Beaches Jazz Tune Up 20k
The Midsummer Night's Run 30k

All of them were sort of shitty.  I finished them all feeling like I had done a crap job and for the most part, I did.  If you've read any of those posts one might ask why I even BOTHER to ever run.

I am having a great time with my training runs for the most part.  Since this past weekends' race, I really fucked up my recovery.  That was the Midsummer Saturday Night run.  On Sunday I didn't do anything to recover.  I didn't re-hydrate, I hardly ate anything, I didn't go for a recovery run or ride in fact I didn't do anything physical at all.  I felt sore and sick most of the day.  I sat at my computer working on freelance until I couldn't focus anymore.  I dreaded every time I had to get up to go to the bathroom as my legs were like blocks of wood.  My feet were no better.  I had a big painful blister on one toe.  I also had/have what looks like an infected toenail.  I lose toenails all the time, this is nothing new to me.  In fact my toenail had ALMOST finished growing back from the Around the Bay 30k race in March.  But now she's super fat, super swollen, super super super painful.  I know the deal though, I drained it countless times.  Usually that's all it takes but now... woah nellie, now it seems to be infected.  Not good and subsequently I haven't been able to run because of it.  I'll spare you a picture because it's fucking disgusting!

I don't think there is anything I can do for my feet or anything feet related.  I was just ranting about my stupid toe.

I'm having problems with post run recovery.  That's the first thing.  I should be eating at least.  Life's stresses has me lacking in appetite even after exercise.  I am hardly eating because I have no desire to. Here's my question for you folks, what is your recommendation of food stuffs for post run recovery?  I'm a vegetarian with celiac (I'm just going to refer to myself as such from now on) though which can make things difficult.  I just need a bit of guidance because not only am I stubborn I also don't give a shit and I need to give a shit.  Proper recovery almost means more than the training and I'm certainly not doing it right.  Eating for me is such a sensitive topic.  I get into these vicious circles where I eat the bare minimum and always end up with empty stomach cramps that I ignore.  I just don't care to eat.  Nothing seems appetizing and before I know it I'm in a world of discomfort and pain.  It's the post exercise eating I'm having the most difficulty with though.

My second HUGE problem is hydrating.  I have been thinking about this non-stop since the race on Saturday.  Looking back on it now, I can SEE everything that went wrong so clearly.  I started relating my thoughts to all my LSD training runs over the past few months and I think I've nailed it down to one thing.  I over-hydrate on runs.  It's a condition called Hyponatremia.  The link takes you to the Wiki definition.  I don't think it's the same as over-hydrating, it's actually quite serious.

The basic Scully'ized version of it is too much water dilutes the much needed sodium and causes everything to swell.  In worst case scenarios, brain swellage. I'm still quite confused on this but I am not a medical professional.  I just think that sodium makes things swell and makes you thirsty.  Yet a lack of it... does the same?!

The symptoms are similar to that of dehydration which is exactly what's been happening to me and exactly why I didn't think much about it. It's also why I kept drinking MORE because I thought I must have been dehydrated.  Yet if suffering from this condition, drinking more can be lethal. On Saturday it was the worst ever.  I actually felt like laying down and taking a nap, I was so sleepy tired.  At one point I burped up a bit of water vomit in my mouth.  Still didn't think much of it.  After an hour of running, water always tastes like sugar to me.  It's so fucked up.  I also didn't have any desire to take in any carbohydrates the entire 3+hour run which is also very very bad.   "In retrospect..."

Initially when I found myself severely thirsty on a run I thought it was because I didn't hydrate properly the day before.  Then it happened with every LSD run over an hour whether I hydrated or not.  This past weekend I counted how many times I got my bottle refilled at a water station.  I drank almost 6 full bottles of water DURING the race.  My bottle holds about 500ml, that's almost 3 litres!! Each time I was desperately thirsty and showed up to each water station with my bottle totally empty.  I hydrated with 3 litres of electrolyte water the 6 hours leading up to the race which I thought was plenty.  Yet, during the race I felt like I was going to DIE of thirst.  I kept having daydreams of ICE COLD WATER.  That was the ONLY thing I could think about.  Again, looking back, this should have been more apparent to me just how much of a warning sign it was.  It really reminded me of the pre-diabetes diagnosis.  The dire thirst.

So how do I fix this because this is a serious problem.  Well, after many days of thinking I believe my diet is WAY too low on sodium.  With my activity demands I should be taking more in.  Simply drinking electrolyte mix a few hours ahead of the run is not enough.  (I THINK).  It all goes part in partial with the poor diet.  I mean, my diet is not poor as in lacking nutrition, it's poor because I simply don't eat ENOUGH.  After reviewing my diet, it's quite lame.  I eat fewer than 90g carbs/day and never really sit down to anything substantial.  I basically snack on fruits and vegetables all day.  I almost never eat things with salt.  That tells me that maybe I'm low on sodium going into these long runs?  amongst other things I'm probably low on. The least I can do is force myself to take in a gel or two on 3+ hour long runs regardless of how high my BG is.  That's what a wee bit of insulin is for.  It's more important to get some carbs into me and deal with elevated blood sugars than to go without.  I honestly think I'm putting myself in dangerous situations like this.

I can only hope to have better luck if I just follow my own stupid advice.

Anything you can add to this?  Seriously.
What do you eat to refuel post run?  Do you use salt on a regular basis?  Have you ever gotten seriously and completely in dire need of water during long runs?  Anybody experience Hyponatremia?

Advice is definitely appreciated here.


  1. Hey you! The toe, I totally sympathize. After my first marathon, my big toe was black, and three days later after a rather horrific plane ride to France where I swear there was an oven below my feet, my toe was a nasty, red, angry, huge, swollen mess. It was so bad, it was painful to walk ... which really is not the best thing to be dealing with when traveling. Finally after about a week and a half, I was trying on a skirt, and bumped my toe against my boot, and all of a sudden, my sock was soaked - ahhh relief! Took 3 more months for the bloody thing to fall off!

    Re: post-run recovery food. I always find after a race that I can't bear the thought of food, my stomach is far too queasy to be sticking bagels or bananas (blech!) into it. However, I can manage to suck the juice out of oranges which gets me by for a little while. Grease is usually pretty great for curing the nausea ... for me at least. A good greasy grilled ham and cheese sandwich, with lots of butter and then salty tostitos always does the trick .... but guess that wouldn't work for you. Pretty much everything I've listed there doesn't fit :(

  2. What about taking a salt tablet or two every hour that you work out? I do that during races. I take enduralytes by Hammer Nutrition but there are other brands of salt tabs. I think that might help and post workout within 30 min you need to take in some protein, not sure carbs are all that important at that point but protein is super important. -Tara

  3. Edamame is a decent source of protein and fits the vegetarian requirement. Eggs are also good sources of protein but I'm thinking they're not vegetarian!

  4. Just saw this on the New York Times website! Who knew :-)


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