Friday, February 11, 2011

Jef finds fun running, running on fumes in Florida

My coaches over the years have had plenty of chances to remind me that training dumb is better than racing dumb, but what's left unspoken is that it can’t hurt to try and do neither one dumb. It’s something for me to shoot for.

I’m apparently not there yet.

Last weekend Patty and I took a very welcome trip to visit some friends in Hollywood, Fla., near Fort Lauderdale. Among (many) other things, I was delighted to be able to run in shorts and a tank top, with actual traction. And I did run. I had two leisurely 6-milers to do on either side of a much-anticipated 18-miler. I couldn’t wait, but I’d have been wise to slow things down a bit – and I don’t mean in the early parts of the run.

No, I behaved myself just fine that way. I warmed up the first mile – 8:15 – and then settled into my 7:50/mi pace and carried on as planned: Hold temptation at bay early, hold fatigue at bay late. But it didn’t work that way. I never really fatigued in the classic sense, but I started slowing after 14 miles with the all-too-familiar sensation of the fuel-gauge needle veering suddenly and determinedly toward E. It’s an awful feeling, not least because it doesn’t feel awful enough. Heart rate: steady. Legs: Fresh enough, but just not moving. It’s very frustrating.

And it wasn’t supposed to be happening. I’d been carrying a belt full of bottles and emptying them on schedule. I wasn’t drinking my usual stuff, true. I left that at home, figuring I’d rather find a running or cycling shop in Florida than have a heart-to-heart discussion with TSA at the airport about the unlabeled powder in my luggage. But there were no such shops terribly close to our friends’ house, and they had a garage refrigerator full of Gatorade. No problem. I’ve run on Gatorade plenty of times. The grocery-store stuff is a little sugary, but if you cut it 50/50 with water, it works well enough.

Except when it doesn’t. Then you finish your run ticking off mid- to upper 8-minute miles and are even grateful when you get stopped by an open drawbridge.

Back at the ranch, I did what I should have taken time to do before the run. I dug the bottles out of the recycling bin and took a closer look at the labels.

Who knew they made a low-calorie Gatorade?

An update:
Huge, HUGE thanks to the readers who have pledged donations to Patty’s and my rappel-down-the-tall-building dope-on-a-rope effort. You have no idea how good that makes us feel. Hopefully you’ll have a better idea soon, when I hand-draw you the thank-you notes that are on my to-do list (behind getting the Frazz strips out on time and maybe juuuuuuust a few items after finally getting a blog entry out there). You guys really are the best.


Lynne the Lurker said...

I am trying to understand the 'why' behind low calorie Gatorade. I spoke with my daughter (who works in a small coffee shop) and she finds that many people buy Gatorade thinking it is a 'healthy' drink. In other words, you drink it to get healthy, rather than to energise your body before taking part in healthy exercise.

The logis is: If you drink like an athlete ... you are automatically healthy like an athlete. Another short cut that won't work.

However, by making 'diet' Gatorade, they are pandering to these same souls.

*and, you know, I've never seen a thin person drinking diet soft drinks either*

Liz H. said...

I love how you are so in tune with your body's capabilities that you noticed the effect on your performance BEFORE you went and read the label. I guess that proves it's not a placebo.

This further confirms my theory that Gatorade is more of a soft drink than a sports fuel. If it was really for sports and not for taste, why would they make a version that tastes the same but doesn't fuel the sports?

Netagene said...

LOL! I lived in metro Tampa about 30 years (jr. college, marriage, a family, divorce). I never was a runner, but if you ever make it to Tampa, the world's longest sidewalk is there. I've walked it RT: parked my car at the beautiful Ballast Point Park (long pier, snack shack, etc.), walked the 5 miles (you'll see runners, skaters, etc.) of Bayshore Boulevard, up to Harbor Island (made from the overburden of digging the Garrison Channel deep enough for seismology ships to dock). The Bayshore is a real wide sidewalk, too. Hope you and Patty can go there some day.