The beauty of a Bad Run

Oy.  That Hurt.

Saturday was the winter edition of Mark Iscool’s semi-annual Really Early Morning Run (REMR).  A group of 10-12 crazies (mostly ultra-junkies) gather at 2 a.m. to run up to 25 miles.

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Upon returning to Mark’s house, runners enjoy coffee, baked goods, and lots and lots of BACON.  Its always a good time.

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The companionship and BACON did not disappoint this year, but the run…ugh.  Its been a long time since I hurt that badly.  While I am really annoyed at myself for suffering like that, there are a LOT of lessons to be had.  I realize that we need these bad runs (or bad parenting days) every so often so we don’t take the good ones for granted.  Just because one has the base mileage doesn’t mean one can ignore such important factors like recovery, nutrition, sleep, fuel and hydration.

  • Recovery.  Still healing from running hard at Holiday Lake.  Upping the strength training has left me with aching quads and glutes.  The tendons and ligaments in my feet are also still sore.
  • Sleep.  The run started at 2 am.  I did not get ANY sleep beforehand.  I went bowling instead.  Bad Annie.
  • Nutrition.  I’ve had a lot of luck with eating a big breakfast, protein-rich lunch, and carb-based early dinner the night before a big run.  A bowl of oatmeal 2 hours before the start tops off my tank and gets me through the first 2 hours feeling strong.  Friday, I had a small breakfast, a salad for lunch, and ate a late dinner – a huge mexican meal that sat like a rock in my stomach.
  • Fuel.  The undigested food in my tummy meant I had NO desire to eat anything during the run.  I forced down a gel around 90 minutes in, but it had no noticeable effect.  I ate nothing else the rest of the time, and I bonked HAR D around mile 14.
  • Hydration.  I also had no desire to drink anything.  I forced down about 20 ounces of fluid, but probably needed twice that amount.

I believe ALL of these factors contributed to the extreme nausea that plagued my run.  I knew 1/2 mile in that it was going to be rough.  By mile 6, I was questioning my ability to continue.  I wanted to throw up, but couldn’t.  I ended up slogging through 18.5 miles – almost 3 hours.  Even though it was miserable, I knew it was good training.  I’d much rather feel this was on a fun run than in a race.  As an added bonus, it was dark – so no one could see the near-death expression on my face!!!

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I have more of these “bad runs” as a mother than I’d like to admit.  When my patience frays.  When I’m not as present with the girls as I’d like to be.  When the clutter, mess, dishes, and laundry take over the house like a mutant-plant-creature in some B-grade horror movie.  If I can just step back, there are always root causes.  There are always solutions.  And, like muscles, bones, and tendons, my family grows stronger each time we’re tested.  Thank goodness for tomorrows – a chance to wipe the slate clean and start over again.

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