Saturday, April 11, 2009
Running? Dangerous? Yes! That is, if you're a distance runner, it can be quite dangerous if you don't take the right precautions. I'm not talking about crossing busy roads (though that definately plays a part!), I'm talking about running out of fuel.
Today Rob and I went on our longest run until the half-marathon in three weeks. We had to run 12 miles, and it was the one run we were dreading from day one into the training program. Figuring we would need some some extra umph to get us through, we bought 2 packets of Gu Energy Gels to take with us. However, we didn't bring any water or sports drink, which turned out to be quite a dangerous mistake.
About halfway through our run, Rob was beginning to cramp up from loss of salt and other electrolytes. I sensed this probably didn't bode well. We actually had to stop at a B.P gas station and ask for some free water, because the Gu Energy Gels had made us dehydrated more quickly. The water helped, but Rob was still having trouble.
About 2 miles from home, he had to walk, the pain was so bad. I could see all the salt collected on his face, and it scared me. I was in quite a bit of pain myself, but I knew I needed to get home so I could rescue my husband and get him some Gateraid or salt water. Just last night we had read about what the loss of salt could do to you- extreme injury or even death! Though I did not think he would die, I was worried about a potential trip to the ER. I have never pushed it so hard to get home as I did then.
Immediately after I was able to fuel him back up, his cramping started to diminish, and we both made it back home uninjured. We learned a difficult lesson, and we're NEVER going to let this happen again. From now on, instead of chugging lots of water, we are going to chug sports drinks. This is so critical for Rob more than me, because he tends to sweat ten times as much as I do on a run. Also, we are buying a hand held water bottle for Rob and a running belt for me. We thought we could save some money by not purchasing them, but now we realize we need to save ourselves! So, if you're a runner and you're reading this, I hope you take this lesson we learned to heart and save yourself from a dangerous situation. This is also another confirmation that you should never run very far without a partner- so crucial if one of you were to get hurt, dehydrated or lost.
So, what's my overall review of the Gu Energy Gels? I like them. They didn't give me any cramps, and I actually felt a lot better after slurping one. So far, I've had Plain Jane and Tri-Berry. I think I like the Tri-Berry much better than the plain version. I took one at 50 minutes in and at 1:20 minutes in. For race day, I plan on bringing 3 of these, just in case I need a little extra towards the end or on the HUGE hill that's conveniently in the middle of the race!! I'll also bring about 10-20 oz. of sports drink for race day.
I'm looking forward to the next 3 week of running, because from here on out, it's all tapering for us! We've reached the top of the hill, so to speak, in our training program, and now all we have left is two long runs of 9 and 8 miles! Hopefully we will be prepared and ready to tackle the half-marathon after months and months of training!
Have you ever had a running horror experience like mine? What lessons did you learn and how has it made you a wiser runner?