Worst Case Scenario Run

Happy Friday all! This is going to be a super quick post because I have lots on the agenda today. But I did want to share some details about my awful run and my lessons learned. Part of my lessons learned can be explained by yesterday’s eats.

Breakfast was all good – I had oatmeal with frozen raspberries. Yummy – and a side of cranberry juice.

I had my normal granola bar for a snack around 11:00 a.m. and then the trouble started after that. I was busy with meetings and tons of stuff going on, so I didn’t actually get to eat lunch until after 2:00 p.m. I didn’t have leftovers and hadn’t had time to pack anything that morning, so I went out and grabbed a salad.

It was yummy and all, but in retrospect, maybe not the best pre-run fuel. Shortly thereafter I ate my Chobani yogurt with some granola and then a little later, about half of an apple (both not pictured).

After work I flew out of the office and home so I could try to squeeze in an 8 mile run. The weather report had been precarious all day, but now it was saying that rain would hold off until later that night. I quickly changed and set out – my plan was to try to maintain a pace of about 8:15 – 8:25 throughout the whole run. That did not happen – here are my stats:

Mile 1 – 7:56
Mile 2 – 8:14
Mile 3 – 8:20
Mile 4 – 8:30
Mile 5 – 9:37
.39 – 4:02

Total mileage – 5.39 miles in 46.43. Average pace: 8:40

Yeah, so not exactly 8 miles and not exactly a constant pace. What happened? Well, right around the middle of mile 4 I started getting nauseous, experiencing shooting stomach pains and just generally feeling awful. Then I began burping, and I know this is really gross and TMI, but it smelt and tasted like salad. Clearly, I think the combination of my salad choice and it being so late in the day was wreaking havoc on my tummy.

I trudged along and finished mile 4, but as I moved into mile 5 things just got awful. I was heading south on the East River Promenade, down by about 72 street and the waves of nausea just became unbearable. I really wanted to stick it out and at least run 7 miles, but at one point I visualized myself vomiting on the promenade and made a quick turnaround to head home. I did not want to be “that girl” that puked on the promenade.  

I made it home without any true catastrophes, but my stomach was on fire. A few rolaids, crackers and glasses of water later, I felt slightly better. But I decided dinner needed to be something safe. I made some wheat pasta with sauce and called it a night.  

So that’s my awful run experience. The lessons I’ve learned are:

  • I need to fuel with complex carbs (like rice, bread, pasta, etc.) before a run.
  • Salad is not an optimal pre-run meal for me – especially for runs over 5 miles.
  • I need to eat my lunch around the normal time (1:00 p.m.) and then snack wisely in between lunch and my afterwork run.
  • I should not take my good and great runs for granted! I’ve been having some pretty fabulous runs lately and I haven’t even been appreciating them!
  • A bad run, while torturous at the time, will only make the good runs seem sweeter.

So that’s that. I’m hoping that maybe that will be my only bad run for a while. But who knows – bad runs seems to pop up out of nowhere. With this one, I could clearly define some of the contributing causes, but I’ve certainly had other runs that felt impossible or were just not that great and there wasn’t really anything I could point to as a cause.

All in all, it hurt (physically and mentally) and left me feeling disappointed, but I’m moving on.

What about you – have you ever had a really tough run (either because of a particular factor or for no reason at all)? Were you able to push through it and finish the run, did you have to stop, and what did you do differently next time?

The one thing I did think to myself while the awful run was occurring was: Thank God this is not the morning of the marathon! And then after having just experienced what would probably be my “worst case scenario” for a marathon run – I prayed that my marathon day would be nothing like it!

Have a great Friday all – and a great weekend!


14 responses to “Worst Case Scenario Run

  1. all too familiar with “smelling” my lunch during a post work run, although your speed and distances are much further! do you notice a difference in how you fuel for early morning runs? do you eat before, even if it’s really early? i am trying to exercise before work and changing the way i eat the night before and during the day.

    • I fuel much differently in the morning. For early morning (5:30-5:40) a.m. shortish runs (5 miles or less), I usually just make sure I have a hearty meal for dinner the night before and don’t eat anything in the morning. However, when I’m doing longer runs in the morning, I fuel up with an English muffin with peanut butter and banana and water. Evening runs seem to be tougher for me sometimes.

  2. Your post reminded me of my best friend, Karen, who was “that girl” during our trip to NYC a few years ago. Food poisoning was the culprit and she eliminated said bad food in front of Sephora near Times Square. I felt awful for her.

    Don’t get discouraged. You have been doing great. It is just one run and keep in mind that you are much faster than me even on one of your so called bad runs! Tell Bill to make a lunch for you! : )

    • Oh no! She actually was that girl?! That’s awful. It was a scary possibility for me last night.

      I’m trying not to let that one bad run get me down. Hahaha – Bill making lunch for me – that’s hysterical! He looked at me like I was crazy when I came home last night with my stomach pains.

  3. I always struggle with what to eat before running and my tummy issues really hold me back. I have an insulin-releasing defect so my body will dump insulin – causing major low blood sugar – at inopportune times (like mid-race). So it makes sense to eat first and make sure I have some ready fuel in my stomach. But if I eat, I get horrid stomach cramps and nausea! I try to walk that fine line every time I run. SO frustrating!

  4. Sorry to hear about the salad burps 🙂 I have to be really careful what I heat before longer run. I stay away from salad and yogurt, because both give me cramps when I run.

  5. Ugh… yep had a few of those runs before, although I tend to have the emergency need to go to the bathroom. Not good when you are running in the middle of nowhere. No fun. I have gotten better and fortunately never had an issue at a race! I think my nerves get things moving so that I’m good to go by race time after a few visits to the port-o-potties. sorry TMI.

  6. Thanks for sharing this, I had an awful run on Thursday, I think it was because I’d had a drink the night before and I don’t drink very often! What I eat before a run or a workout always has an impact on my performance.

  7. Yeah, I’ve learned from experience that roughage pre-run doesn’t cut it! My worst experience ever was eating a bunch of broccoli the night before a marathon. Live and learn!

  8. When I know I’m doing more than 4 or 5 miles, my daily eats are much more carb-infested than when I know I’m not. You’re right, salad is not good as running fuel. I learned that lesson, too!

  9. Ughhh! So sorry you felt to sick but I just wanted to say your runs are sounding great! Let me know if you want to meet up some weekend, I’m a little slower than you (8:20/5 miles ish) but if you ever need someone it would be a blast!

  10. I’m working on my pace right now as well. So far I’ve only ran an 8k, but I’m hoping to do my first half marathon in the future. I look forward to reading more from you!

  11. Pingback: A Running Rut « Eat, Read, Run

  12. Pingback: An Early-Morning Running Revival | Eat, Read, Run

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