Sunday, July 27, 2014

Tummy Problems.... Solved?

How is July almost done and I've written nothing? I didn't mean to let that happen! But it turns out that vacations and summer craziness has slowed down the blogging. Time to get back to business!

I've had a bit of a eureka moment lately. I've found a few things that I think I love and they are WORKING.... for now.

When I did my first 50k in 2013 I spent the majority of the 9 hours on the trail feeling nauseous. During the entire race I ate two gels, a Lara Bar, and a couple of orange slices. Is that enough fuel for 31 miles? No. But my tummy felt awful.

The first thing I came across that helped ward off the nausea was Vespa! I won't take the time to try to explain what it is (frankly I'm still not clear on all of it), but you can read about it here:

People ask me how I know it works, and my answer is.... I dunno. I know that I don't always train with it, but when I do REALLY long training runs or race, I do use it and those runs seem to turn out better. The first time I used it, I had zero nausea until the very end of the race which was a HUGE difference for me. Could it all be in my head? Sure, but who cares! After a few races on Vespa I started to believe that maybe I could run long distances without feeling barfy. Sadly, I never really knew that was an option.

The second thing I came across were Gin-Gins. They're a fairly strong gummy ginger candy. Ginger is well known for tummy soothing and inflammation reducing and I like the taste of it. How could I go wrong?!?!?! I remember the first time I ate one during a long run and was thrilled that it was soothing to my stomach. Now, I don't run anything longer than 10 miles without them.

Hoping that I don't jinx myself, I think that my third product could be a game changer for me. When I ran my first 50 miler this Spring my stomach was a WRECK from minute one. The race took me thirteenish hours to complete so that's a LOT of miles feeling sick. I think there were quite a few factors that led to an extra bad gut day. I started dehydrated, then I over hydrated, then it got hot, then I didn't want to eat, I was a nervous wreck... As if 50 miles of forward movement isn't hard enough, doing it while feeling like you're going to puke is a whole lot of NOT FUN.

When the race was over I realized I HAD to do something different. I've heard of the product Tailwind for years while listening to Trail Runner Nation podcasts. They sang the praises of it over and over again, but I was too skeptical to try it. However, after such a spectacular gut fail at my 50 miler, I thought, maybe it's worth a shot. I've never had a problem drinking, but I always lose interest in eating. Why not drink my calories?

I ordered some smaller sizes to give it a try and HOLY CRAP!!!!! First of all, it doesn't taste like a giant chemical factory. It tastes.... good. Now, if I add too much mix, the taste is not as good, but whoa. I've never tasted a running drink that was so yum. I took it out on a few longer runs with no problems, but I was still eating a little. And my runs weren't any longer than 18ish miles.

Then came Hawthorne Half Day. I didn't have much of game plan for the race, but I was ready to try Tailwind on its own (with Vespa and gin-gins). I ran a 50k that day sipping Tailwind as my only real nutrition. AND IT WORKED!!!!!! I hit no "wall", I had no nausea, and I wasn't hungry.

I still carry a Lara Bar and a baby food or two with me in case I get hungry for actual food, but I'm completely sold on this stuff. In fact, I'm so sold on it that I signed up for another 50 miler. Because, I wonder how a 50 mile race would feel when I wasn't pukey the entire time? I hope to find out!