One of my biggest struggles with distance running is fuel while running. Well, not just while running but also before and after running a race. I really do struggle with this while it seems so effortless for other runners.
Every runner fears the runner trots. This fear is the basis for our obsession with proper fueling. Any running support group you go to will have tons of posts about post race and during the race pooping issues. As embarrassing as this topic is, it is a very real issue runners deal with.
I recently listened to Kevin Hart talk about his latest marathon; The Chicago Marathon. He recounts running by two older female runners. One he says had poop running down the back of her legs and the other popped a squat on the side of the road and relieved herself. I laughed so hard at his story that my stomach hurt for days!
For me, my bathroom issue always reared its ugly head pretty much as soon as I crossed the finish line. Trust me, no one wants to spend anytime in a port a potty at a race venue!
After a few years of having issues, I learned that anything with maltitol is terrible for my gut. I mean really terrible……
Unfortunately most running energy chews contain maltitol. In addition, dehydration also is a gut killer for me.
In effort to combat this very real problem, I started running with a hydration pack. I went to REI, tried on multiple packs and finally chose the Nathan pack that carries 2L of water. As it turns out, I really love running with a pack on. Having cold water with Nuun all the time is AMAZING! Dehydration problem now solved!
Next it was time to tackle the fueling problem. I needed to find fuel options with no maltitol. So, I tried running with pretzels and marshmallows. The pretzels just turned to paste in my mouth. Marshmallows are awesome except they turn into a sticky ball of goo in the plastic baggy.
I read on-line that some runners run with candy. This was perfect because as it turns out, I love candy! A lot of thought went into finding my perfect running candy (or so I thought).
After much deliberation, I decided on Skittles. Why Skittles you may ask…
Well Skittles can be both chewed and sucked on. They are fruity therefore no more bad taste in my mouth. Also, they don’t melt easily, get sticky and are easily portable. Of course, they are also full of carbs. Problem solved right!?
Fast-forward to May 13, 2018, the Kirkland Mothers Day Half Marathon. It was a beautiful day! The course was advertised as a “gentle” downhill course. That was definitely a lie! There were a few tough hills!
I was having a great run. My pace was consistently in the 9 minute mile and the weather was great. A mere 5 miles from the finish line, I tossed back a couple of Skittles and started sucking on them. As it turns out, I tossed those Skittles back a little to hard.
Next thing I know is I am choking! Like really choking!! I try to cough and no sound nor air comes out. Panic sets in……
Of course no one is around me. Next thought is that I am going to die right there on the trail 5 miles from the finish line and on Mothers Day.
BTW…..I am an ER nurse!
I look around me and see a wood fence. So I ran over and threw my abdomen against it as hard as I could. Still choking! So I do it again and again. Upon my fourth time, the offending Skittle came shooting out of my mouth. Low and behold, I could breath!
Another life saved…..
After taking a couple of minutes to recover, I finished the last 5 miles. Boy did I have a story to tell. My husband in addition to my ER coworkers were dying when I told them.
The icing on the cake was I had a great run! Also, no stops at the port a potty were required. I consider that a win!
Total time on the 13.2 mile course was 2 hours 8 minutes and 58 seconds. That works out to an average 9 minute and 48 second pace per mile. Even faster if you subtract the time I had stopped to choke, save my self, recover and then finish the race. AWESOME!
One of my dreams is to run in the Boston Marathon. Improving this pace slightly put my training in line to hopefully qualify in the next few races if all continued as planned. I’m 45, so my qualifying time is not as fast as others.
My next full marathon was to be the Seattle Rock and Roll in June 2018 and that was to be followed by The Tunnel Light Marathon. Little did I know, my future was bleak….
However, lesson learned. No more hard candy on runs!