I don’t know about you, but when it comes to running and eating, mine a is a very calculated schedule. Everyone is different, but I know that I need to eat a moderately sized meal 90 minutes prior to a long run. I CAN roll out of bed, pound some pre-exercise hydration, and run right away, but given the choice I like to eat a proper meal and let it digest a bit before heading out.
Recently I was inspired to throw caution to the wind and seize an opportunity for a quick Cobble Hill Mountain run on little to no food. I’d had some water and half a smoothie or something, so I thought, “Why not? I’m sure I’ll be fine.” Shyeah. Right.
The run started out well. I was feeling light on my feet and enjoying the challenge of the incline. But about half way up, it started to happen. My legs started to feel like jello. My tummy started feeling a bit queasy. My eyes felt sleepy. Oh no. I was about to hit something I had never hit before—the dreaded Wall. I can honestly say I had never bonked out before this particular day. I am so regimented about when I eat for fear of it happening that I have managed to avoid it for almost 20 years. All I could do was kick myself for being so cavalier. How dare I run without having my favourite pre-run breakfast? How dare I think I could get away with it? Despite my better judgment, I decided to keep going.
At one point the trail forked and I looked one way and thought, “Too far.” I looked the other way and thought, “That looks shorter. I’ll take that trail.” Ha! Shorter all right. And way steeper. My spontaneity had lead me to The Wall, and now The Wall had lead me to making a poor decision. When would this nightmare end? I finally reached the top, had a short rest and then all I could think about was food. Glorious food. I burned down the mountain (carefully!), got to my car, and zoomed home to stuff my face. After which, I felt much better!
So what’s the point to this story? I suppose it’s a cautionary tale. I learned that for all these years I have been doing my nutrition right, and I shouldn’t waiver from my tried and true very much, if at all. I’m glad I had a taste of The Wall and know what it feels like, and I’m grateful that I didn’t hit it so hard that I was able to get my self home safely. Learn from my mistake. Experiment with your nutrition until you get it right, and then don't stray!