Monday, January 4, 2010

Failure to Fuel is Not Good!

I received a rude reminder yesterday. Failure to fuel properly is not good. Especially on long run day. But, I'll start at the beginning....

The weather this time of year in Southern California can be difficult to dress for. If it's 20 degrees outside, you can layer up for a run. But how do you dress when it's mid 40's to start and mid 70's by the time you're done? What I do is delay my start so that I don't have to worry about carrying discarded layers. So, I didn't make my way out the door until 10:30AM. The problem? No breakfast. I would find out later what a huge FAIL this would be.

On the plan was a 16 miler. It was an absolutely stunning day, so I decided to try a new route - a beach run:

I think a lot of other people had the same idea:

I started on the boardwalk (well, we call it a boardwalk) in Newport Beach. Did I say it was a spectacular day?

My run went to the north for 8 miles. By mile 4 I had left the confines of Newport Beach for the paved paths of Huntington Beach. It will be along this route that my next race (Surf City Half) will make it's way:

The start/finish line without it's bunting:

I slowed at mile 6 to pop a couple Endurolytes and a Hammer Gel. I was already starting to feel spent. Not a good sign with 10 miles left to go. As I pushed on I tried to use the sights to get my mind off my ever slowing pace:

I turned around at mile 8. I was physically hurting, which was real interesting because on Saturday I whipped out an 8 miler with no problem. The difference? Look at the second paragraph above. No breakfast. No fuel. No go.

I stopped at mile 11 to quaff a couple more Endurolytes and another gel. But I also had to rest. If there is a good place to stop on this route, it's the world famous Huntington Beach pier. They don't call it "Surf City USA" for nothing:

These folks are missing Woodstock something fierce:

From there it was *still* five more miles. Another mile down the trail my calves started cramping. Man. This is less than a half marathon and I'm in pain and cramping. Jeesh. If I was less experienced I'm sure I'd be pretty down in the mouth today. But instead, I pushed on the best I could, part shuffle, part walk, part stop and eventually made it back to the car. Final stats: 11:34 pace, at a heart rate of 75% MHR. That pace *is* a little skewed since everything after mile 9 was slower than 12 minutes. Ooooof.

All of you experienced runners know what I'm going to say next, but I'm going to say it anyways. There are three lessons here:
  1. Fuel fuel fuel. If the tank is empty at the start, it ain't getting full along the way! I should've had my apple fritter.
  2. Bad runs are as important to your training as good ones are. If nothing else, the bad runs will remind you of what you should be doing.
  3. You should be living in Southern California.

That wrapped up a short 29.5 mile week. Travel early in the week and my desire to keep my "I'm not using a hotel treadmill" streak alive, meant my running week became a three day week. Got my hill repeats in on Thursday though, so the week wasn't an entire loss.

On tap this week will be my new modified plan that I discussed yesterday:

  • Monday: Ergometer! I'll grab the Concept2 workout of the day and pull the chain for a few kilometers. Stretching and core work.
  • Tuesday: 9 mile tempo run. Yikes!
  • Wednesday: Erg erg erg erg. Stretching and core work.
  • Thursday: 4 mile GA run.
  • Friday: Scheduled rest day
  • Saturday: 20 miles. Note: grab apple fritter on my way to meet up with the group
  • Sunday: 8 miles GA run
  • Total planned: 10 kilometers on the rowing machine, 41 miles on the trails

Finally - anyone here follow Penny (@southbaygirl) over at Planet Ynnep Running? (If not, shame on you!) She lives on that hill over there. Did I say it was a spectacular day?

On tap tonight - a date with my rowing machine.


  1. omg I think that picture of Huntington beach has the hotel that i stayed in with my team when I went to Cali! Aww how i miss the warm weather! Great job on the run! Must be nice!

  2. Hey, you were lucky enough to get another learning experience in your running career. Now you'll be sure not to do that again.

  3. Ouch. I hate those "lack of fuel" runs. There are few things worse then starting to feel spent before you're even halfway done! It's even worse on an out and back route because there's no way to cut the thing short.

    Way to stick it out and log another reminder to fuel properly!

  4. Better to fuel incorrectly when you have a nice beach run on tap rather than during a race. Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  5. What do you use to take pictures during your runs? I really want to do that but I'm afraid to break my camera or cell phone.

  6. "If the tank is empty at the start, it ain't getting full along the way!" Very well put, Glenn. I really like the way you said that.

    At least you finished it! A run is a run. Speed is just the byproduct. Hope you have a great week!

  7. I definitely follow Planet Ynnep! I see a huge difference with the timing of my breakfast/run. If I'm out before 9, I don't eat. If it's after that, I eat first. I like how you always learn something even from the FAILS!

  8. the fuel-less bonk is never fun. glad you were able to finish at least!

    yes, do you have a spare room? it's 2 degrees. TWO DEGREES. get me out!!

  9. This makes me homesick for my birthplace. Sigh. Gorgeous pics...and a nice long run. Wow.

    I have never done 16 miles...but the few times I have done 7-8 milers I have found that macadamia nuts are great little sources of calories and energy...easy to carry, to.

  10. The weather has been fabulous, but Penny would have hated the day yesterday...too much sun (LOL)

    I love the beach people with the drums. I always wonder, did the group of them PLAN to meet at the beach or is it like a pickup basketball game, and they all just showed up with their drums (and tambourine)?

    LOL..I love the beach!

  11. Love number 3 in the lessons!