Standing in the kitchen on Saturday morning at 5:45am, staring down two dates and a chocolate mint gel, I couldn't help but think "man, swimming is a heck of a lot easier than running".
My stomach is usually fairly well behaved but it does have a few rules that are best to follow. One of them is that it prefers to ease into breakfast rather than be force fed. It does NOT like to be rushed. And preferably no food before 7am if possible.
That makes 6am workouts a little tricky but it seems the level of trickiness varies with the activity.
Six am swims are easy. The most I ever have to eat, if anything at all, is one date and that's only if my blood sugar is below 6.0. I can nibble on it and sip my water while I get my shoes on and my stomach is perfectly happy with that arrangement. Breakfast happens at 7:30am when I'm back from the pool and by then I am READY to eat.
Six am runs are a little different. I need to eat before a long run. It's too hard of a workout to do on an empty stomach plus my blood sugar would tank and I'd end up in a heap on the side of the road. I prefer not to eat a lot because lots of food + 1 1/2 hours of running = a bad case of the nauseas.
So I need high carb, high energy, low volume food (i.e. dates and gels)
Back to Saturday morning at 5:45am. My blood sugar was 7.2 so I needed two dates and a gel to get me into a safe running zone. I lined them up on the counter and started eating as I got ready. I got half a date down before my stomach started whining. I felt like a little kid staring down a plate of boiled mushy carrots. "Just eat it!" "I don't wanna!!" "Eat it!" "NO!!"
Twenty minutes, and a few suppressed gag reflexes, later I managed to eat everything and was ready to hit the road.
Man, if I were swimming I would have gotten up, gotten dressed, driven to the pool, showered, hopped in the water and swum a few lengths in the time it took me to eat two dates and one gel.
That, my friends, is just sad.
But it works.
I set off at 6:15 and, after giving my stomach a few minutes to settle in, I felt great the entire time. No nausea, no shin pain and lots of energy. I ran 16k - the longest I've run since last October. Doug met me at 8k with water, my glucometer, half an orange and a big grin. My sugar was a lovely 12.2 so I ate part of the orange, a few edisks and guzzled a bunch of water. I made it home with a negative split and a blood sugar of 5.2.
AND, I ran 16k in 1:38:00 (not counting the BG stop). My fastest time before that was 1:45:00 and it took two friends and the promise of a medal to get me to run that pace. This time, I just ran, watched the sun rise, listened to the birds and, what do you know, a 7 minute PB!
So guess what I did when I got home?
I signed up for the Niagara Women's half marathon. Because, if I can run 16k pain free in April, chances are I can run 21k by June 3rd.
And that, my friends, is just plain wicked!