I had a bad run today. It would be more accurate to say I had a great 11 mile run which dovetailed into disturbing 3 mile run.
It was a 13 mile day. My wife was gong to a store down in Anaheim, so I decided to take a circuitous route and meet her there at 11am.
I took to the road at the appointed hour on an August day that wasn’t unreasonably warm. I brought gels and a Camelbak with water, and for quite a while, I was happy with pace, my music and how things felt.
About mile 9, it got warm felt as I sucked that last of the water out of my Camelbak. Somewhere after that point, my thoughts became befuddled. I ran past the point I was supposed to exit the river trail. My mind had locked on the exit with the largest landmark on the horizon was my exit rather than the one I had planned.
I didn’t understand why it was taking me so long to run this route, I should have met my wife about 11am and yet at that time, I was no where close to where my brain thought I was going. Things just didn’t add up, because my pace was fine. I kept on running.
At two points in the final miles, I wanted to close my eyes, just for a minute while I ran. There was a sharp rocky drop off into the river bed, so that didn’t seem like a good idea. Let’s just say I did have a few very long blinks during this run.
I knew something wasn’t right when my Garmin hit mile 12 and I was still on the river trail. How could I have screwed up the distance?
Only because I felt bad about being late for my meetup with my wife, I decided to get off the trail and ask my wife meet me about a mile away. My wife texted me a few times to confirm where I was meeting her. She seemed confused about my location, but I didn’t understand why. She didn’t seem to understand that I was quitting early.
As my Garmin registered mile 14, I didn’t understand how I could have gotten off the trail early and still have so many miles behind me. My mapped route should have only been 13 miles to the final destination. Nothing added up in my fried little brain.
When I finally got to our new meeting point I was disoriented. I slammed the bottle of chocolate milk that she was carrying for me. I reclined the passenger seat and sat there brain-dead listening to the radio. I knew what show she was listening to, but I didn’t understand what they were saying. I have run this distance a hundred times in worst conditions; and this time, I wasn’t right.
As we approached home, I asked my wife to stop at 7-11. I wanted a Slurpee, but I knew I needed more fluids.
When I got home, I drank fluids. I laid on the floor by the bed for about an hour. I was too stinky to sit on any furniture and I wasn’t ready to take a shower. I just sort of laid there in a haze watching the end of the Yankees game, dozing on and off. Finally I was able to get in the shower and wash the dirty, dusty trail off of me. Then I crawled into bed and took a nap.
I ate and read the paper after my nap and tried to figure out what the hell happened to me today. I ran 20 hilly miles two weeks ago and last week I ran 7 hot and incredibly difficult the day after giving platelets. I’ve never had an experience like this before (and I hope I never do).
I’ve always felt that nutrition is more about what I’ve eaten in the previous 48 hours rather than just since dawn. After a while the pieces came together and I realized that although I had eaten a good breakfast this morning, I really didn’t eat enough the days before. In fact I woke up famished about 2am, a problem that has hit me three times during this marathon training cycle. I had a high carbohydrate dinner, but the balance of the day was soup and salad. That had to be it.
I hope that I never get in that situation again, but if I do I hope I realize the signs that the disorientation brought. The scary part of it was that my legs and the part of my brain driving them, just kept going.