I recently wrote about the fun part of placing first in the “My First 10k” race that I ran over last weekend. But in celebrating that victory, I failed to mention the rest of that day, which was utterly miserable. So in the interest of full-but-not-too-full disclosure, let me explain.
I finished the race strong, and my muscles, lungs, and mind felt like I had just worked them hard, but not too horrible immediately after the crossing the finish line. The trouble started in the minutes afterwards, as I had my husband snap a couple victory photos. The skin on my stomach felt frozen, and I became very cold very fast. I could feel my stomach starting to get upset, so we drove home, with me whining and complaining the whole way. I thought that a hot shower should be the fix, but after the shower, I was doubled over in bed in a pile of blankets, freezing and in a lot of stomach pain. After several hours of rest, googling symptoms, some Pepto, tea, applesauce, and oatmeal, I was back to my normal self.
So what happened? According to Dr. Google, all the blood went to my legs and out of my gut while I was exerting myself, and my pre-race eating was probably not optimized for the effort. In my online “research,” I found this article on the Washingtonian that strikes the right tone and informativeness. Basically, I was probably somewhat dehydrated, ate too close to the start time of the race, and didn’t think enough about what I ate the night before.
For the real deal half marathon coming up in a month, I’m going to do the following to optimize my digestion:
1. Start hydrating early
I’m horrible about drinking enough water at work, but there’s still a month to work on upping my hydration game. I have a habit of downing a bunch of water several hours before my long run and planning plenty of time to use the bathroom before heading out, but I think accumulating adequate hydration over the course of a few days before the race should be even better.
2. Eat light the night before
I was guilty of indulging in a nice dinner out with my husband the night before the race. We went out pretty early, around 5:30 pm for dinner, and I thought it would be plenty of time ahead of the race for me to get out unscathed. I don’t even want to admit in public what I ate the night before the race, so I’ll leave it to your imagination.
3. Wake up early for breakfast
I did a breakfast of frozen waffles with peanut butter the morning of the race. It was something I had done before long runs in the past, so it felt pretty safe. I’m not sure if I should have woken up and eaten it a little earlier, though.
4. Trial other fuels for immediately before and during the race
I tried a couple of sports chews before and during the race and carried a small water bottle with me during the race. I think the ratio of carbs to water wasn’t quite right. I’ve done sports drinks or water and jelly beans in the past, so I might have to go back to that.
I still had a few more long runs ahead of me in my training, so I should try all of these things out over the next few weekends before the big race. I’ll let you know how it works out. What do you do to stave off post-race discomfort?