Running on Peanut Butter and Raindrops
We were traveling over the weekend which meant my usual long trail run day training for my first 50K could be spent doing 3 mile laps on the road around my in-laws lake house in sub freezing temps or…I could wait till we got home and run on Monday. The weather at home in Little Rock was perfect all weekend, it was cool and sunny when we left and it stayed cool and sunny until we returned. That’s when the clouds gathered and the chances of me staying dry for a slow 15 miles of trail was lower than the chance of it raining meatballs into my mouth to fuel my run.
I’ve been having a little trouble in the nutrition on the run department. I know there are a lot of folks who don’t need anything other than a little water for a 15 mile run. I have found that I have to fuel properly before and during a long trail run or I start running out of steam around mile 10. I always joke with my husband that the chubby girl needs to eat. I have to eat when we cycle for more than 2 hours too. He doesn’t. On a 100 mile ride last year I swear he kept saying he wasn’t hungry while I practically rode my bike right up to the Taco Bell counter in North Little Rock to get a damn taco at mile 80. Bonking is no good. If I’m going to make it through running 32 miles of tough terrain including a trip up and over Pinnacle Mountain, I need to know exactly what my body needs and what it will keep down under stress.
I find if I wait until mile 6 or 7, it doesn’t work as well and I start to feel weak. I can’t eat a GU every 5 miles. I mean I could, I don’t WANT to. It’s not that they taste bad, or don’t work, I just feel like after a couple of them, I’ll have to force myself to eat it and that’s no good.
I set off Monday with my Osprey pack bladder full of Skratch spiked water and a rain jacket just in case. I also stashed a honey stinger waffle and a half a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to eat as a test. At about mile 5, as if I had planned it, I was near the covered bridge in Burns Park when the clouds opened up and the rain poured down. I sought shelter from the rain under the bridge. I got my raincoat out and took advantage of the stop to eat the honey waffle.
Luckily the rain didn’t last long, within minutes it slowed to a sprinkle and I was back on the trail. I made it all the way to mile 12 when I started feeling it again…not hunger, it’s not in the belly of the beast, it feels more like disorientation. Dizzy if you will. I started tripping a bit more often and my feet got sloppy. I needed to eat. I pulled out my PB&J and wolfed it down while still hiking as fast as I could. As I hit the home stretch I had to go over the Big Dam Bridge. Bruno Mars’s song Locked out of Heaven came on my iPod and as I was running up the incline I looked at my watch and realized my pace was almost 2 min/mi faster than it had been on the semi flat trail of Pfieffer Loop that I’d just left. I was up on the bridge alone, in the rain, singing as loud as my heaving lungs would let me, running on peanut butter and raindrops.