After last weekends' deuce of long run fails I felt some pressure to get 18 miles logged. The mileage actually didn't phase me too much. I wasn't nervous about whether or not I could complete it, especially when I thought of it as two loops around the Sandrat trail. But, unfortunately, even though I tried hard to eat clean this week I ran into some unknown trigger ingredients towards the end of the week. I suspect decaf coffee uses corn as a preservative on the beans and also in the de-caffeination process. Companies will swear up and down they don't use any chemicals, blah-blah in their process but corn avoiders pretty much have a hard time finding a safe coffee -especially decaf. Anyway that and a couple other ingredients led to some more days where I just felt sluggish and had bodily function problems.
Never-the-less, I got out to the trail a 1/2 hour earlier than the usual meet-up time to run 2 miles. Shaving those off left me with two 8 mile loops.
Gary was waiting in his car as I came out of the woods. After waiting around a bit we decided no one else was coming and set off into the forest. I like running with Gary because he lets me fly at my own pace and has lots of conversation for keeping your mind occupied. We talked about jobs, family, endurance running and the Hawk 50. We saw mulberries and snake berries (pictured to the right). We ran into our fellow Trail Hawk, Christine, who was a Hawk Marathon finisher last weekend. And then Gary taught me a big trail lesson I'd been wanting to know about: Poison Ivy. Because the trail is a popular biking trail for weekend warriors (the ones that don't know the rules of the trail and that the runner actually has the right of way), we have to quickly step aside off the trail as they come swishing by at top speed. They almost never slow down. They barely say thanks. Mostly they just breeze by as we are teetering on the edge of the singletrack and the brush just glad to have seen them in time to hop out of the way. Well, I had be worrying that every time I'd jump to the side, I was standing in poison ivy. It turns out I was right, it's everywhere. Gary had me point it out along the way (I think I got pretty good!). The trail is maintained super well but still, there's so much poison ivy that it seems a matter of time before I'm going to come in contact with it.
While chatting we were trying to come up with a Trail Hawk name. It's customary for each new member (I finally paid up in dues) to be named out on their next trail run. Laurie had already came up with a hilarious name about a month or so ago but then Gary suggested 'Bama Hawk.' It's hard to sum up who you are in one little name, but as soon as he said that I thought, yeah, I got a soft spot in me for the deep south. And it stuck.
Southern Girl, Erykah Badu (Link to Play or Lyrics)
After about 8 miles, where I'd felt pretty good, the cramping came back. Gary thought it was salt/water intake. It was warm but I'd ran farther distances in lots of warm weather and I knew from experience and from the days before that it was my food issues. I was still paying for mess ups the day before. Heck I still had eczema and issues from a week ago when I ate wheat.
I slowed down a lot and started walking off and on. ARGH. Makes me want to pull my hair out that my body overreacts to food that isn't truly a poison.
I thought about taking a break and going to a bathroom where I could deal with part of the issue. But, I was so thrown by my previous failed attempts that I couldn't let myself stop, even if it was just a break. I was worried I'd go home and log another too-short attempt.
So after saying goodbye to Gary I headed back into the cooler woods and plugged my ear buds into my ears. Surely the scenery, the music and the cooler forest would help move me forward the last 8 miles. Relentless forward motion as they say.
I did move for a few miles but then as a lovely biker came hurling towards me around a corner. I stepped out of the way in time but he chose to stay in the middle of the path instead of hugging the opposite side of the trail (as I was) and totally clipped me.
It hurt but wasn't lasting. More frustrating than anything else. And sometime soon after that the cramps and nausea came back and the last 6 miles were a battle. The closer I got to finishing the worse I felt. I just needed to get the h-e-double hockey sticks off the trail.
But I wasn't going home early that's for sure. I was sticking it out if my body had to blow up and all I had left was legs.
I was finishing.
And I did.
18 miles DOWN!
Food that worked: Coconut Water, Whole Foods Electrolyte Water, Reed's Ginger Chews (2), Chocolate #9 Agave Gel @ 6mi., Banana @ 10 mi.
Next up: Storm the Dam Trail Half Marathon, El Dorado, Kansas