A couple weeks back I went out towards Greek Peak to the Hammond Hill Forest area for the Thom B. 2014 trail run. Jeney and I had previously run this course 2 years back – but this time I wanted to try doing 2 loops for a combined 26 kilometers (~15.75 miles).
The people that show up to the FLRC runs are always a good crowd and the organizers are really helpful. This year was no different – thumbs up to the FLRC crew and volunteers!
I showed up a bit early and did the usual bib-getting and wandering around before applying bug spray and sun screen before finding the outhouse. This was the first warmer weekend we had really had and the bugs were out in force. Also, I wasn’t sure how long I would be out on the course since this was the longest single trail run I had ever done by about 6 miles.
The course was pretty muddy due to recent rains but only a few smaller sections were true mudpits. The first lap went fairly well with a slower than usual pace. However, shortly after my rest at the half way point (1 lap), I realized that I hadn’t eaten anything and it had been well over an hour…
I then proceeded to learn some very important lessons about longer distance trail running! Hooray for learning!
- That whole thing about exercise longer than 90 minutes requiring sustenance? Well, what do you know, it’s totally true! I bonked hard at about 9 miles and the rest of the race was really rough. I did have water, but could have used some electrolytes as well.
- Being dehydrated makes me nauseous. Don’t get nauseous!
- Pace is really important. Even though it felt like I started out slowly I needed to really slow it down and walk hills from the beginning. Maybe in a couple months I can run the hills (on a course this long) when I’m used to longer distances, but for now I need to slow it down.
- Not really something I figured out, but having a hydration pack was great. It was the first run with my new Nathan hydration
pack. I used to occasionally run with a CamelBak in the Marine Corps and this is much more comfortable. Two thumbs up for this pack, especially for the lower price. While some people have reviewed the pack as not a good fit for phones, I would just put mine in the larger back zippered area and keep candy or granola bars up front.
After finishing in about 3:20 (yup…3 hours and 20 minutes) I was feeling a little off, mostly my stomach, but thought I was OK. On the drive home I started feeling a bit worse, and by the time I pulled in the driveway I knew I had issues.
Luckily my roommate was home and made me a salt water drink and got me some OJ. Sipping on it was not the most fun I’ve had in a while, but it did the trick and in an hour I went from nearly vomiting to walking around and starting to eat everything in sight.
The real upside to this run was the 14 mile trail run I did with Jeney and Taz (the other 2 that are training for the Virgil Crest 50 miler in September) the next weekend went much better. Mixing in Nuun with my water, starting to eat in the first 30 minutes and continuing to “snack” every 15-20 minutes, walking hills, and keeping a very moderate pace changed everything. No nausea, no hard bonk after 10 or so miles – I was tired when we finished, but not a wreck and ended up doing some yard work for the rest of the day.
So – thank you Thom B. trail for teaching me the importance of proper fueling and pacing. I learned my lesson and intend to make a habit of eating turkey and cheese bagels while running on trails – much tastier than Gu!
(full disclosure – I totally eat Gu and Shot Blocks and all that other stuff…but a bagel sandwich is just so good during a long run!)