Monday, September 5, 2011

Running Lessons

Ah Labour Day! 

The temperature even dropped 10 degrees in honour of back to school.  People are walking by the house in their coats and scarves. How nice.  

If only it had done that two days earlier.  Saturday was not cool and crisp.  It was hotter than hell (we checked) and the humidity was beyond ridiculous.  

Saturday morning's 32k run began at 6am and ended at 10.  The four hour journey was a test that I thought I failed.  I realized later that I didn't.  

It started off well.  I left in the dark and was feeling a wee bit nervous about the distance.  I told myself that I could start off running as slowly as I needed to (it always takes me 5-6k to warm up and for my stomach to settle down) but, once I found my groove, I had to keep my pace at 6:30 min/k (no faster) no matter how good I felt. The reason for this is that I want to get better at spreading out my energy over the entire distance of the run - rather than running out of steam about 4k from home.  

Doug went out early to plant water because we were running a route that took us through lovely country roads and had us meeting up with the rest of our running club (and water support) at around 22k.  So water was planted at 9k and 16k to keep our hydration levels up. 

By 9k my pace had settled nicely into its groove and my blood sugar was 7.6 (perfect!  I ate one date, two eDisks and one salt tablet).  At 16k it was 10.1 (a little high but I figured it would start dropping so I had another date).  By that point, it was getting close to 8am and the temperature was rising alarmingly fast.  I upped my water intake and took another salt tablet. At 22k, I found Chris and Erin.  Not having seen either of them in weeks, I happily stopped to chat for a few minutes.  They refilled my bottles with cold water and checked out my shin tape job.  I figured I'd check my sugar again before carrying on.  It was 19.5.  

Damn it! 

I took 0.8 units of insulin - not much but enough, combined with exercise, to help it drop back down.  I guzzled more water and resumed the run.  

I checked again at 26k.  I was 8.0.  Holy bananas!  That's a horrifyingly fast drop.  Part of me wanted to eat something in case I kept dropping.  The other part said no - wait to see what happens first.  

By this point I was feeling really nauseated from the sugar coaster and pretty cooked by the heat.  There were still six kilometres to go and I no longer had the strength to run.  I would run for 5 minutes and then walk.  Run again, then walk.  The runs were getting shorter, the walks were getting longer.  I just couldn't do it.  

Tears of frustration hit at 30k and I walked the entire last two kilometres.  I walked in the house feeling dejected and very much a failure.  

My sugar, upon arrival, was 6.6.  Perfect. 


It took me four hours to cover 32k.  I lost 5 pounds during the run.   I was humbled and seriously beginning to doubt my ability to run a marathon. 

Doug and I went out for dinner with some running friends on Saturday night.  They are seasoned runners - strong and capable.  They run marathons regularly and do it well.  I was dreading having to answer the question: "how was your run this morning?".  Luckily they answered first.  It turned out that they all struggled with their Saturday morning run in the heat.  They all cut their runs short.  One even had to get picked up.  Really?  

On Sunday morning, I chatted with a few people before our bike ride and they all struggled too.  And cut their runs short.  Really??

It wasn't me.  I had an awful run but so did everyone else.  It wasn't that I didn't have what it takes to run the distance.  It was just a brutally hot day and we all got cooked.  

I'm ok with that.  

So here's what I learned during that run: 
  • taping my shins works wonders.  I had no pain, no pressure, no nothing.  Yay! 
  • taping my shins and then running in the sun for several hours makes for really silly looking tan lines. 
  • I can actually sweat so much that I can fill my shoes with sweat. They were squishing as I ran.  That is really gross. 
  • my hair can get so full of sweat that it becomes too heavy to stay in the bun I put it up in. I had to keep stopping to retie it.  That is really gross too...and annoying.  I need to find a better way to tie my hair up so it stays...
  • salt tablets really work and may have saved my run on Saturday.
  • Doug can leave 30 minutes after me, run 32k and get home an hour before me, looking fit and fabulous as usual.  


  1. You're an inspiration! No way I can run that distance yet, but I've struggled with what I can do. I'm glad to hear that everyone struggles with runs and feelings of failure even when you reach such astounding distances.

    Congrats on finishing your 32k!

  2. *sigh* and my saturday run was a total waste of time too. Cut it short AND walked a bunch. I sat around doubting my abilities also. Then it felt okay to "blame it on the weather"
    you are a strong runner! I couldn't keep a 6:30 pace for 32km straight.
    where do you get your salt tablets?