“Crazy K” Came Out to Play
While I have had a number of challenges over the past 13 weeks, I ear-marked three major ones on the schedule:
1) Running 18-miles
2) Running 20-miles
Mountainous Marathon Training…
I have officially overcome two of the aforementioned hurdles. 20 miles is on the horizon – in two weeks – and yes, I’m terrified… almost as terrified as I was of spandex before I learned its the best thing ever (especially fluorescent spandex).
I have the most tolerant loving parents in the world. They were willing to turn Easter brunch into a later Easter lunch in order to accommodate my run, and daddy even helped me map it. We mapped a gorgeous there-and-back from my parents’ cabin on the Green River Reservoir to Craftsbury. It was a stunning bluebird day, the road had very little traffic (Northeast Kingdom classic), and the temperature danced around 45 degrees. I couldn’t have asked for better conditions.
Please note, I will NEVER do that run again. I’ve included a screenshot of the elevation analysis to garner your sympathy and so that you can all validate that it was completely silly-stupid-hard…
Some things I discovered myself doing in order to get through the run:
1) I pictured incredibly attractive, single, fit young men who were ready for me to impress them with my unhindered pace and incredible determination. I did this with every car that passed me during the run, which was about seven (Yay N.E.K.!).
2) I created elaborate scenarios in my mind:
• How I would outrun or wrestle a moose/bear?
• How I would take on a raccoon? If it had rabies? If it had an uncommonly high level of intelligence? Intelligence and rabies?
• What I would do if an axe murderer pulled up on this abandoned road looking to dump a body?
• How I would communicate with aliens if and when they wandered out of the woods?
• How do we rid the world of McDonalds and Miller Lite? (such a pretty run with such ugly garbage)
3) I named my RunKeeper “audio cue” Karen and thanked her for the time and distance updates (I turned off pace – F that).
4) And then, towards the end of the run, I began to beg Karen for an update; I wanted her to reveal the little amount of distance I had left. What was more disconcerting was when I imagined her response: “Kiersten, do you really need know how far you’ve come? You know you’re nearly there. Now, keep it up! Get it done! Moveit!Moveit!Moveit!”
5) As I approached my last hill, I shouted at it, “Hey, Hill! I’m totally gonna kick your ass.” Unfortunately, the hill responded in my head, “Nope, definitely gonna kick yours.” (P.S. I kicked its ass.)
Once you get into these longer runs, they really become epic adventures across towns and sites. I should probably secure a buddy in the future, eh? Things get a little too weird when I am left to my own devices.
This past Friday, I popped into Green Mountain Rehab to buy some more Clif Gel Shots in preparation for the big run, and Andy was there closing up for the weekend. He asked me if I had a post-run food plan as well. “Eat everything?” I said with a devious smile – because that’s pretty much what I did. Clearly I hadn’t taken this aspect of my run as seriously as the “during dining.” What I didn’t know at the time was that Andy has psychic abilities, and he was reading my imminent running future (Disclaimer: Andy has not claimed to have any kind of psychic abilities)
Easter Mimosas with Mom, about 45 minutes before disaster struck; aw, I look so happy and carefree…
After my big run, I did my usual long stretch session, and then jumped into my parent’s hot tub with a mimosa. After the hot tubbing, I took a tiny cat-nap in the sun, and then woke up looking to eat. I proceeded to gorge on a chocolate Easter bunny, jelly beans, some brie with apples and crackers, that spinach and artichoke dip that is clinically addicting from Costco (you know the one; and guess what?! It no longer lists MSG as an ingredient – yay!), and those also-addicting chocolate-covered pomegranate candies. It was halfway through Easter luncheon that it hit me – overwhelming nausea. For what must be the first time in my entire life, I left half the food on my plate and said I had to go lie down.
The nausea was terrible, the worst. I laid still, breathed carefully and deeply, and quite honestly, I burped non-stop praying it wouldn’t evolve into something ugly. I hit the runners’ discussion boards online to see what I could dig up. Some discussed dehydration, but running-consultant-Sam-Davis had me all over that issue very early on in my training. I made sure to drink plenty of water the night before, drank a little prior to the run, and wore my Camelbak during for sips every thirty minutes and gulps-and-swishing with the Clik Gels (yep – staying dead sexy). Salts and electrolytes were discussed, but I assume those Clif Gels are packed with that stuff. And then there was something about how during long runs, essential blood flow is diverted from important functions (i.e. digestion) to deliver oxygen to the muscles during and after the run, and this can cause severe nausea up to an hour or two after finishing; other runners suggested going easy on the system until you know you’re in the clear.
Was 18 miles my ceiling? Did I have to “eat carefully” when I run those kinds of distances? That would pretty much be the worst news ever…
For a second, I considered giving Sam Davis a late afternoon “Happy Easter! Please verify that this online crap I just found by Googling “Post-long run nausea” is total BS” phone call. And then, when considering the conversation, hypothetical Sam Davis responded in my head (because Crazy K was still driving, apparently):
Sam: “So Kiersten, you’re telling me that you woke up at 8am, ate nothing but Clif Gels from 8:30am – 11:15am, downed a mimosa in a hot tub, and then binged on 100 different things after a quick and insufficient nap? And you’re asking me if we should be concerned about your post-run nausea?”
Me: “Yeah… Well, when you say it like that Sam, I feel kind of like a stupid Rookie.” Sam: “Yeah…”
The nausea didn’t subside until around 9pm Sunday evening (10 hours after the run). My mom texted to see how I was feeling and I assured her that Easter-lunch-round-#2 was in the microwave. (It was a total success, by the way – I know you were concerned)
‘The 18-miler experience’ was a bit of a wake up call. I won’t lie, 18 miles did have me worried and intimidated, but I was determined to play it down – act like it was no big deal. I mean, I still have a 20 miler left and then the actual MARATHON.
Nagging, deep down, I know that something out of my control could jump in and ruin this for me – a rolled ankle, my re-built ACLs failing when pushed further than they’ve ever been pushed, hyper-intelligent-rabid raccoons, etc. I wanted to believe that if I just played things down a bit – not take it too seriously, sailed along on my humor and care-free attitude, I could potentially skip/twirl across that finish line on May 25th.
Part of me is still determined to do just that, however, I realize it might require at least a wholesome meal between the run and the mimosas/hot tub. Thanks for the pep-talk, imaginary-Sam-Davis.
Keepin’ it a Little Crazy*,
I would like to point out that Real-Sam-Davis and I will be running the Rollin’ Irish together next weekend, so I WILL have a very qualified buddy at my side – not licensed psychologist-qualified as far as I know, but it should still help keep the Crazy K at bay a bit.
*synonyms for crazy include “interesting, fun, intriguing” (No, I do not have a citable/legitimate source for this, but it’s true… I “pinky swear cite it.” That’s a thing, right?)